US 3848491 A
An improved slicing apparatus of the type wherein a slicing blade is rotated about a substantially vertical axis. A feeder is located above the blade for feeding material to be sliced to the blade while, below the blade, a stationary, slice receiving platter is provided. Provision is made for the adjustment of the angular disposition of the slice receiving surface of the platter relative to the blade.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 191 Fiesch [4 1 Nov. 19, 1974  Inventor: Keith E. Flesch, Garrett, Ind.
 Assignee: Peter Eckrick & Sons, Inc., Fort Wayne, Ind.
[ Filed: Apr. 16, 1973 1 App]. No.: 351,444
3,605,837 9/1971 Lambert et al. 83/77 X Primary ExaminerWillie G. Abercrombie Attorney, Agent, or Firm-H0fgren, Wegner, Allen, Stellman & McCord 5 7] ABSTRACT An improved slicing apparatus of the type wherein a slicing blade is rotated about a substantially vertical axis. A feeder is located above the blade for feeding material to be sliced to the blade while, below the blade, a stationary, slice receiving platter is provided. Provision is made for the adjustment of the angular disposition of the slice receiving surface of the platter relative to the blade.
11 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures  US. Cl 83/77, 83/86, 83/90, 177/120  Int. Cl 826d 7/00  Field of Search 83/77, 84, 86, 90, 73, 83/74; 177/120  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,204,676 9/l965 Gillman 83/73 SLICE RECEIVING PLATTER FOR SLICING APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates toslicing apparatus, and, more particularly, to improvements in slicing apparatus of the type wherein a blade is rotated about a substantially vertical axis.
Typical slicing apparatus of the type wherein a slicing blade is rotated about a substantially vertical axis includes a feeding device located above the blade for progressively feeding material to be sliced toward the blade along with a slice receiving platter below the blade to receive the slices as they are cut. Typically, after a predetermined number of slices have been cut, an intermittently operable take-away device is operated to engage the slices on the platter and remove them to a location for further processing.
When such slicing apparatus is employed in the slicing of meat products from loaves, it has heretofore been found necessary to progressively lower the slice receiving surface of the slice receiving platter a distance equal to the nominal thickness of each slice as each slice is cut. That is, for the first slice in a stack to be cut, the uppermost surface of the platter is located at a particular position to receive the slice. After it has received the first slice, and before the second slice has been cut, the slice receiving surface is lowered a distance corresponding to the thickness of the slice so that the upper surface of the first cut slice is in the same position as was occupied by the upper surface of the slice receiving platter prior to the cutting of the first slice. Such lowering of the slice receiving platter is executed in a stepwise fashion between the slicing of each slice.
The requirement of progressively and stepwisely lowering the slice receiving platter during a slicing operation has required the provision of a substantial quantity of mechanism to effect the lowering as well as for returning the platter to its original position when a completed, predetermined stack has been removed from the platter. In addition, since, dependent upon the particular product involved, the nominal slice thickness may vary, it has been necessary that such mechanisms include an adjustment for the platter lowering drive mechanism to allow the cutting of material at differing slice thickness.
The mechanism associated with such movable platters, due to its complexity, has substantially increased the cost of slicing apparatus of this type. In addition, the inclusion of such mechanism in the slicing apparatus decreases the reliability of the apparatus as a whole since more parts are present and subject to failure.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is the principal object of the invention to provide a new and improved slicer of the type wherein a slicing blade is rotated about a generally vertical axis and above a subjacent, slice receiving platter. More specifically, it is an object of the invention to provide a unique, stationary, slice receiving platter device in a slicer of the type mentioned to thereby eliminate the necessity for platter lowering and return mechanisms in such slicers.
The exemplary embodiment of the invention achieves the foregoing objects in a slicing apparatus having a slicing blade mounted for rotation about a generally vertical axis along with a means for rotating the same about the axis, and a feeding means located above the blade for feeding material to be sliced toward the blade through provision of a slice receiving platter below the blade which is fixedly mounted with provision for changing the angular relationship of the slice receiving platter relative to the blade. By appropriately adjusting the angle of the slice receiving platter relative to the blade, perfect stacking of cut slices may be accomplished without provision of mechanism for stepwise lowering of the platter and mechanism for return ing the platter to a desired position once the predetermined number of slices to comprise the stack have been cut.
In the exemplary embodiment, the slice receiving platter is defined by a first fork-like structure and a pusher means is associated therewith for pushing an accumulated stack of slices off of the fork-like structure onto a take-away conveyor. In the preferred embodiment, the pusher means includes a second fork-like structure having its tines extending between the tines of the fork-like structure defining the platter along with a reciprocal motor for driving the seond fork-like structure back and forth so as to push the accumulated stack of slices off of the platter. In some instances, the tines of the second fork-like structure, in addition to serving as an ejection device, may serve as a guide for slices descending to the platter as they have been cut by the blade.
In the preferred embodiment, the means for adjusting the angular relationship of the slice receiving platter include a means for rotating the platter about a substantially horizontal axis coextensive with its slice receiving surface. In addition, a second angular adjustment may be provided. Preferably, the same also provides for angular adjustment of the platter about a horizontal axis which horizontal axis is generally transverse to the first mentioned horizontal axis.
The invention is ideally suited for use in weighing systems wherein the weight of individual slices is monitored as they are cut and to this end, the mounting means for the slice receiving platter may include a substantially vertically extending rod to which the platter is secured. An end of the rod opposite the slice receiving platter is connected to a weigh cell so that the latter will provide information relative to the weight of the slices accumulated on the platter at any given point in time. Preferably, a tubular housing extends about the rod with the rod being freely movable therein so preclude debris from the slicing operation interfering with the operation of the weigh cell.
In the preferred embodiment, guide means are provided for mounting and guiding the weigh cell, the rod and the protective tubular housing and, of course, the platter, for rotation about the first-mentioned horizontal axis.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following specification taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective, somewhat schematic,'view of a slicing apparatus embodying the invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged, side elevation of the slice receiving platter and associated mechanism with parts shown in section;
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT With reference to FIG. 1, an exemplary embodiment of a slicing system made according to the invention is seen to include a cutting area, generally designated 10 through which a rotary knife 12 is moved in a direction indicated by an arrow 14. The knife 12 is mounted f rotation about a substantially horizontal axis on a drive shaft 16 and retained thereon by means of a nut 18. By means of a knife position control motor 20 operating through a linkage 22, the vertical position of the shaft 16 may be controlled to control the position of the knife 12 within the cutting area 10.
Located above the cutting area is a feeding means, generally designated 24, which is operative to drive a loaf or the like into the cutting area 10 to be cut by the knife 12 as the latter passes therethrough. The feeding means 24 consists of two sets of chains 26 and 28, respectively, which engage the loaf on opposite sides thereof to grip the same. The chains 26 are trained about a vertically spaced set of sprockets 30 and 32 with the sprockets 30 being mounted on an idler shaft 34 and the sprockets 32 being mounted on a driven shaft 36. Similar sets of sprockets 38 and 40 are associated with the chains 29 with the sprockets 38 being mounted on an idler shaft 42 and the sprockets 40 being mounted on a driven shaft 44. The driven shaft 44 is connected through a set of bevel gears 46 to a shaft 48 including a coupling 50 to a feed rate speed control unit (not shown). The rotation of the shaft 48 is such that the same imparts rotation to the shaft 40 in a direction so that the run of the chains 28 facing the chains 26 is driven downwardly in the direction indicated by an arrow 54.
The shaft 44 also mounts a sprocket 56 which, in conjunction with a sprocket 58 mounted on an idler shaft 60 mount a drive chain 62 which passes under a sprocket 64 on the driven shaft 36. The sprockets 56 i and 64 have the same pitch diameter, and as a result, the shaft 36 will be rotated in a direction opposite the direction of rotation of shaft 44 so that the runs of the chains 26 facing the chains 28 will also be driven downwardly in the direction of an arrow 66 at the same speed as the facing runs of the chains 28 to provide a positive feed of a loaf interposed and gripped therebetween.
Below the cutting area 10, and positioned to receive slices as they are cut from a loaf being fed by the feeding means 24, is a slice receiving platform, generally designated 68, and defined by a fork-like structure having a plurality of tines 70.
Associated with the platter 68 is an ejecting or pusher means,generally designated 72, which is operable to push an accululated stack or slices off the platter 68 onto a take-away conveyor, generally designated 74, for further processing.
Finally, the general structure of the slicing apparatus is completed by a weigh cell 76 which is connected to the platter 68 in a manner to be described in greater detail hereinafter so that the weight of an accumulated stack of slices on the platter 68 may be monitored if desired for the purpose of controlling the slicing operation to minimize give-away. The weigh cell 76 need not be present to enjoy the advantages of the instant invention, but preferably is included as forming a part of a weight control system such as described in the commonly assigned Lambert et al. US. Pat. No. 3,605,837.
As generally alluded to previously, a principal object of the instant invention is to provide a slicer of the type generally described previously wherein the slice receiving platter 68 can properly receive and accumulate slices to form a stack without the need for a stepwise lowering of the platter during the slicing operation and the need for returning the platter 68 to an initial position once the cutting of a stack of a predetermined number of slices has been completed. To this end, the platform 68, the ejector or pusher means 72, and the weigh cell 76 are stationarily mounted under the slicing blade 12 and means are provided whereby the angular relationship of the upper surface of the slice receiving platter 68 with respect to the blade 12 may be varied as desired. Thus, as used herein, the term stationary with reference to the platter 68 is not intended to preclude provision for adjustment of its angular relationship with respect to the blade 12, but rather, is intended to define a structure wherein, during a normal slicing operation, and after the platter 68 has been properly angularly related to the blade, the same remains stationary.
Turning now to FIGS. 24, inclusive, the platter, pusher and weigh cell structure will be described in greater detail.
As mentioned, the platter 68 is defined by a fork-like structure and includes a plurality of tines 70. The tines are generally parallel and are secured to a doubled base plate 80 by any suitable means with two of the tines having extensions 82 and 84 respectively to pass the base plate 80 as best viewed in FIG. 3. The extension 82 is slightly longer than the extension 84 and the two include aligned apertures 86 for receiving a pivot pin 88 which, in turn, is received in a collar 90. The upper portion of the collar 90 has a pair of flat surfaces 92 which are flanked by the extensions 82 and 84 and the extension 82 further includes an arcuate slot (not shown) for receipt of a clamping screw 94 which may be threaded into an appropriate tapped bore (not shown) in the collar 90.
The collar 90 also includes a vertically extending bore 98 for receipt of the reduced end 100 of a rod or shaft 102. A bore 104 in the collar communicates with the bore 98 and is adapted to receive a set screw or the like whereby the collar 90 may be secured to the rod 102.
The lower end of the rod 102 may extend through an elongated opening 106 in a base casting 108 forming the base of the slicing apparatus to terminate in a transverse end 110 which, in turn, includes a connection to the mechanical input 112 of the weigh cell 76. It should be observed that the weigh cell 76 is conventional and that the rod 102 and extension 110 merely serve as a mechanical means for transmitting the force applied to the platter 68 by the weigh of the slices accumulated thereon to the weigh cell 76 to enable the weight of the accululated slices to be monitored if the invention is employed in a weight controlled slicing system as mentioned previously.
By any suitable means, the weigh cell 76 mounts outwardly extending, oppositely directed rollers 114. Four such rollers are provided although only two are shown and the same are received in respective, arcuate slots 116 in guiding and mounting plates 118. As illustrated in FIG. 4, only one such plate 118 is illustrated and it is to be understood that a second such plate is provided to receive the remaining two ones of the rollers 114.
The slots 116 are formed as arcs of a circle having its center at a point designated by an X marked 120 as seen in FIG. 4, which point is coextensive with the upper, or slice receiving surface, of the platter 68. That is, the structure is such that a platter 68 is mounted for angular adjustment about a substantially horizontal axis extending through the point 120 coextensive with the upper surface or upper extremity of the platter.
A downward extension 130 of the base casting 108 includes an opening 132 through which a threaded rod 134 extends. One end of the threaded rod 134 is pivotally connected as by a pin 136 to the weigh cell 76, while the other end extends through an aperture (not shown in a bearing-like member of triangular configuration 138). Externally of the bearing 138 is a knurled, manually rotatable knob 140 threadably received on the shaft 134. Thus, by rotating the knob 140, the weigh cell, the rod 102 and the platter 68 may be rotated about the afore-mentioned axis extending through the point 120.
returning to the collar 90, the lower end of the same includes an enlarged, cylindrical cavity, 142 into which extends a tubular housing 144. The housing 144 surrounds the rod 102 but it spaced therefrom such that the rod 102 may move freely within the housing 144. It is also to be noted that the upper end of the housing 144 is spaced from the upper surface of the cavity 142 so that the collar 90 may move freely relative to the housing 144 with the rod 102. The lower end of the housing 144 is secured to a sheet metal element 146 shaped to provide a partial housing for the weigh cell 76 and located below the base casting 108. The sheet metal element 146 is mounted on the weigh cell 76 with the result that when the weigh cell 76 is pivoted as men tioned previously, the tubular housing 144 will move therewith.
Near its uppermost end, but below the collar 90, the tubular housing 144 mounts a block 148 which, in turn, mounts an upstanding guide 150. In addition, just below the block 148, is an elongated, inverted, cup-like housing 152.
The opening 106 in the base casting 108, which is elongated so as to accommodate movement of the tubular housing 144 and the rod 102 therein, mounts an upwardly extending, elongated sleeve 154 which extends a substantial distance into the housing 152. As a result of the foregoing construction including the interrelationship between the tubular housing 144 and the cylindrical cavity 142 in the lower end of the collar 90, it will be appreciated that the weigh cell and weight relaying linkage including the rod 102, are completely protected from debris generated during the slicing operation as well as from liquids that may be used in cleaning the slicing apparatus following the completion of the slicing apparatus.
Returning to the block 148, and the guide plate 150, the latter mounts a reciprocal motor 156 such as a solenoid or an air cylinder. The same includes a forwardly extending, extensible rod 158 which is connected to an elongated member 160 which forms the base of a second fork-like structure. Extending upwardly from the base 160 are a plurality of tines 162 which are interleaved with the tines of the platter.
One end of the base 1.60 is received in an elongated slot 164 in the guide plate so that the second fork-like structure is guided for movement between the solid and dotted line positions illustrated in FIG. 2.
The just-described structure forms the ejector or pusher means 72 and it will be appreciated that when the reciprocal motor 156 is energized to extend its rod 158, the tines 162 will push a stack of accumulated slices off of the platter 68 onto the take-away conveyor 74.
In this connection, it should also be observed that in some instances, the upwardly extending tines 162 may serve as a guide means for descending slices from the blade 12 so that one edge of the slices will be relatively flush against the tines 162 to form a stack susceptible to easy subsequent packaging.
In use, the angular attitude of the slice receiving surface of the platter 68 is angularly adjusted through the use of the knurled knob to achieve an angular relationship relative to the blade 12 such that the descending slices as they are cut will form a perfect stack on the platter 68. Normally, this adjustment, which involves rotation of the platter 68 about a substantially horizontal axis encompassing the point 120, will be all that is required. However, in some instances, it may be desirable to provide additional adjustments and, to this end, the clamping screw 94 may be loosened so that the platter 68 may be adjusted about a second, substantially horizontal axis as defined by pivot pin 88 which axis, it will be appreciated, is generally transverse to the axis of rotation passing through the point.
Lastly, and very rarely necessary, if desired, the position of the platter 68 may be adjusted about a vertical axis defined by the longitudinal axis of the rod 102 by loosening the set screw received in the bore 104 and making an appropriate adjustment.
From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that the invention provides a slicer that is more economically fabricated in that substantial mechanism relating to stepwise movement of the platter and return may be eliminated. The elimination of such mechanism also provides improved reliability of operation since the overall slicer is simpler and therefore less prone to failure.
It should also be observed that the invention finds special utility in weight controlled slicing systems such as those disclosed in the above-identified patent to Lambert et al. in terms to permitting more rapid slicing speeds. As will be apparent to those skilled in the art, when a weigh cell is moved progressively during a slicing cycle, more resolution time is required to determine the weight of each slice cut by reason of the movement of the cell at the tme it is operative. Since, in operation, the cell at the time it is operative. Since, in operation, a weigh cell in a slicer made according to the invention is stationary, resolution time is minimized, thereby enabling more rapid slicing.
Lastly, it should be observed that while reference has been made to angular adjustment about substantially horizontal axes, it will be appreciated that frequently, slicers of the type described are not oriented with the drive shafts for. the blades in a strictly vertical direction. Frequently, such an axis will be inclined approximately 20 and possibly more with respect to the vertical and the invention, as defined in the accompanying claims, is intended to encompass such a deviation.
1. In a slicing apparatus, the combination comprising: a slicing blade; means mounting said slicing blade for rotation about a substantially vertical axis; means for rotating said slicing blade about said substantially vertical axis; means above said blade for progressively feeding material to be sliced toward said blade; a slice receiving platter; means mounting said slice receiving platter at a fixed location below said blade to receive slices as they are cut by said blade; and means for adjusting the angular relationship of the platter in two planes with respect to said blade whereby said platter may be adjusted to receive slices in perfect stacks for a variety of slice types and stack thicknesses.
2. Slicing apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said platter is defined by a fork-like structure and further including pusher means selectively operable to push a stack of accumulated slices off of said fork-like structure.
3. Apparatus according to claim 2 wherein said pusher means comprises a second fork-like structure having tines extending between said upwardly through the tines of said first mentioned fork-like structure, and means for moving said second fork-like structure between the tines of said first fork-like structure.
4. In a slicing apparatus, the combination comprising: a slicing blade; means mounting said slicing blade for rotation about a substantially vertical axis; means for rotating said slicing blade about said substantially vertical axis; means above said blade for progressively feeding material to be sliced toward said blade; a slice receiving platter; means mounting said slice receiving platter at a fixed location below said blade to receive slices as they are cut by said blade; and means for adjusting the angular relationship of the platter with respect to said blade; said platter mounting means including a rod having one end affixed to said platter; a weigh cell; means connecting said rod to said weigh cell whereby said weigh cell may determine a weight of slices received on said platter; and a protective housing surrounding said rod while allowing said rod to move freely therein sufficiently to activate said weigh cell; and wherein said adjusting means includes means for pivoting said weigh cell, said rod and said protective housing about a point substantially coextensive with the upper extremity of said platter.
5. Slicing apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said adjusting means includes means whereby said platter may be rotated about a substantially horizontal axis extending through a point substantially coextensive with at least a portion of the uppermost extremity of said platter.
6. In a slicing apparatus, the combination comprising: a slicing blade; means mounting said slicing blade for rotation about a substantially vertical axis; means for rotating said slicing blade about said substantially vertical axis; means above said blade for progressively feedjusting the angular relationship of the platter with respect to said blade; said adjusting means including means whereby said platter may be rotated about a substantially horizontal axis extending through a point substantially coextensive with at least a portion of the uppermost extremity of said platter; and further including second angle adjusting means for adjusting the angle of said platter with respect to said blade about a second substantially horizontal axis substantially transverse to the axis of rotation of said platter encompassing said point.
7. Slicing apparatus comprising: a housing-like base; a slicing blade above said base; means mounting said slicing blade for rotation about a substantially vertical axis; means for rotating said slicing blade about said substantially vertical axis; feeding means above said blade for progressively feeding material to be sliced towards said blade; means defining a slide receiving platter interposed between said base and said blade for receiving slices as they are cut by said blade; an opening in said base below said slice receiving platter; a support for said slice receiving platter extending through said opening and secured to said platter; means within said base mounting said support for movement such that said slice receiving platter may be selectively angularly related to said blade by rotation about a substantially horizontal axis extending through the slice receiving surface of the slice receiving platter; and means for substantially closing said opening for all positions of said support therein.
8. Slicing apparatus according to claim 7 further including a weigh cell operatively associated with said support for generating a signal representing the weight of slices on said slice receiving platter, said weigh cell being located within said base.
9. Slicing apparatus according to claim 7 further including a manual adjustment means exterior of said base and a linkage extending from said manual adjusting means interiorly of said base for selectively moving said support on said mounting means.
10. Slicing apparatus according to claim 9 wherein said mounting means includes means defining at least one arcuate slot, said slot being formed as an arc of a circle having its center on said axis; and follower means connected to said support and received in said slot.
11. Slicing apparatus according to claim 7 wherein said opening is elongated and wherein said means for substantially closing said opening include an inverted cup-like housing secured to said support above said base and movable therewith and an upwardly extending elongated sleeve received in said opening and extending into said inverted cup-like housing.