The invention relates to a plant for the production of blocks of
ice cream or the like equipped with a translating device of the said blocks from
one advancement line to another. More in particular, the invention refers to a
plant for the production of blocks of ice cream of the type wherein a tray line
advances the said blocks of ice cream from a freezing zone to successive work
zones, such as chocolate-covering zones, zones for the application of syrups, zones
for the application of further layers of ice-cream, or similar; a wheel having
a double series of conveyors of pincers to move the blocks from the said tray
line to the stations for successive operations, such as the immersion of the same
in baths containing correpsonding substances and their drying; a line having a
double series of buckets finally receives the blocks from the said wheel with
a double series of pincers, which blocks have been subjected to the said successive
operations, and sends them to the wrapping area.
In a plant such as the one mentioned above, the problem arises of
having to send blocks of ice cream directly to the wrapping zone when the said
blocks are not to be subjected to any work operations beforehand.
The invention aims to solve this problem by realising the translation
of the tray line, upstream of the pincer wheel, to the double-bucket line; this
operation to be performed together with the advancement of other blocks on the
double bucket series line to be subjected to other work operations, up until the
pincer wheel, and thus to the double bucket series line. More precisely, the aim
of this invention is to obtain with one plant only both the possibility of producing
ice cream blocks requiring the said work operations through a pincer wheel and
the possibility of sending finished ice cream blocks directly to the wrapping
station without having to perform modifications to the plant, and maintaining the
synchronised phased movement of the plant.
The invention, as it is characterised in the claims that follow,
solves the problem of providing a plant for the production of ice cream blocks
and the like equipped with a translating device of the said ice cream blocks from
one advancement line to another, comprising in continuous movement phased synchrony
- a tray line for the advancing of ice cream blocks or the like, from a freezing
zone to successive work operation zones;
- a conveyor having a double series of conveyors of pincers for the gripping
and lifting of the ice cream blocks from the said tray line for successive work
- a line having a double series of buckets, which line receives the ice cream
blocks from the said pincer conveyor after they have undergone further work operations,
and which line sends the said blocks to wrapping stations;
the steps of the ice cream blocks, the pincers and the buckets being
equal and the distances between the lines of that same also being equal;
the above plant from a general point of view being characterised in that it further
comprises, in continuous movement and in phase synchrony, for the said blocks
arranged in order on at least two parallel conveyor lines, whether on the said
trays or in the said pincers or in the said buckets:
- a first tract of the said tray line and a first tract of the said line having
a double series of buckets, adjacent and parallel among themselves;
- a translating device, located above the said tray line and bucket line, at
the relative adjacent and parallel tracts; the said translator comprising an arm
which is mobile in two mutually-orthogonal directions lying in a plane which is
parallel to the plane containing the advancement direction of the said tray and
bucket lines, the said arm being equipped with suction means, having step and
distances between the lines which are equal to the said step and distances of the
blocks, the trays and the buckets, and performing the translation of the blocks
which are not destined for further work operations from the said tray line to
the said bucket line;
- a second tract of the said bucket line, located, with respect to the advancement
direction of the line, upstream of the said first tract of bucket line, in a position
which is angled at an angle α with respect to a second tract of tray line
situated downstream of the said first tract of tray line; the said first and said
second tracts of the bucket line being connected by a connection having a curvature
R5b in the internal series of buckets and a curvature R5c in the external series
- drive organs of the said conveyors of the said pincers conveyor, envisaged
between the said second tract of bucket line and the said second tract of tray
line, in such a way that the said pincers are arranged parallel to the said tray
line and the said bucket line in their said second tracts; the said drive organs
being constituted by identical cogged wheels having identical numbers of teeth;
the translating device and the conveyor being alternately and together
activatable and de-activatable with a maintaining of the phase synchrony for the
movement of the blocks from the extreme positions of exit from the said freezing
zones and entrance into the said wrapping zones.
Further characteristics and advantages of the present invertion will
better emerge from the detailed description that follows, of an embodiment of
the invention, herein illustrated purely in the form of a non-limiting example
in the accompaying figures, in which:
- Figure 1 shows, schematically in a plan view from above, and partially sectioned,
a translating device according to the invention of ice cream blocks or the like
from one advancement line to another of a plant for the production of the said
blocks, the aid translating device being described in the figure by a broken line,
and shown in extract in the form of a particular;
- Figure 2 shows, schematically and in plan view from above a portion of a plant
for the production of ice cream blocks and the like in a preferred embodiment
according to the invention, in which the dotted line, framed by a broken line A'-B'-C'-D'
has the translating device as represented in figure 1 positioned above it.
With reference to the invention, in the figures 1 denotes a tray
line, and 2 a freezing zone, while 3 denotes areas for further work operations,
4 a conveyor line bearing a double series of pincers, 5 a line comprising a double
series of buckets, 6 a translating device and 7 a wrapping area.
With reference to figure 2, the tray line and the bucket line 5 are
conveyors, substantially of known type, suitable for their relative functions,
The trays 1a of the tray line 1, conveyed by a chain 1b singly bear six ice cream
blocks arranged on the intersections of the broken and dotted lines. The couples
of buckets 5a, conveyed by chains 5b and 5c bear two ice cream blocks each, one
block for each bucket. The pincer conveyor 4 is also a conveyor of known type having
pincer carrying chains with pincers (not in the figures) connected at 45 degrees
to the vertical to two distinct chains 4a and 4b. The pincers are for the movement
of ice cream blocks for the purpose of determined work operations, such as their
covering with chocolate, with syrups or with other layers of ice cream, and the
The translating device 6, of known type, schematically illustrated
in the particular of figure 1, comprises an arm 6a which is mobile in two mutually-orthogonal
directions and lying in a plane which is parallel to the plane containing the
advancement directions of the tray line and the bucket line. The arm 6a, equipped
with suction means (not represented in detail in the figures) for the gripping
and the release of the blocks, performs the translation of the blocks which are
not destined for further work operations from the tray line 1 to the bucket line
According to the invention, a functional whole is formed by the tray
line 1, the pincer wheel 4 and the bucket line 5 with the translating device 6.
In order that the said functional whole can be realised the steps P10, P40, P50
respectively between the blocks of ice cream, the pincers and the buckets are
equal, and the distances D10, D40, D50 respectively between the lines of blocks,
the pincers and the buckets are also equal.
Furthermore, a first tract 11 of the tray line 1 and a first tract
51 of the line having a double bucket series 5 are adjacent and parallel to each
A second tract 52 of the bucket line 5 is situated, with respect
to the advancement direction of the bucket line itself, indicated by the arrow
T, upstream of the first tract 51 of the bucket line 5, in an angled position α
with respect to a second tract 12 of tray line 1 situated downstream of the first
tract 11 of tray line 1, with respect to the advancement direction of the tray
line 1 iteself indicated by arrow P.
The second tract 52 of the bucket line 5 is connected to the first
tract 51 of the said tray line 1 by a curvature R5b and R5c respectively for the
internal series of buckets and for the external series of buckets.
The translating device 6 is situated above the tray line 1 and the
bucket line 5, at the said relative first adjacent and parallel tracts 11 and
51, in the zone indicated by the broken fine A' -B'-C'-D', and the line A-B-C-D
of figure 1.
In the zone defined by angle α between the second tract 52
of the bucket line 5 and the second tract 12 of the tray line 1 are positioned
drive organs 41, 42 of the transport chains 4a 4b of the conveyor 4 pincers, in
such a way that the said chains 4a and 4b and the relative pincers are arranged
parallel to the tray line 1 and the bucket line in their second tracts 12 and 52.
The drive organs 41, 42 are constituted by identical cogged wheels
having an identical number of teeth.
In one embodiment, according to the design shown in figure 2, the
steps P10, P40, P50, P60 between the ice cream blocks, the pincers, the buckets
and the suction means of the translating device are 95.25mm; the distances D10,
D40, D50, D60 between the lines of blocks, pincers, buckets and suction means
of the translating device are 154.7mm; the cogged wheels 41, 42, have 45 teeth
with a step of 19.05mm, the angle formed between the second angled tract 52 of
bucket line 5 with respect to the second tract 12 of tray line 1 is 36 degree,
while the curvatures R5a and R5b, respectively for the internal bucket line 5a
and for the external bucket line 5b are 424.50mm and 576.09mm.
During the functioning of the plant according to the invention, the
ice cream blocks exit at a constant speed from the freezing zone 1, arranged on
the trays 1a of the tray line 1 in ranks of three blocks of two line for each tray.
The products to be subjected to further work operations, for example
covering with chocolate, are taken off the trays 1a in the second tract 12 of
the tray line 1 by means of the pincer conveyor 4, which moves at a constant speed
identical to that of the tray line. The chocolate-covering operation of the blocks
removed by the pincers is performed by Immersion for example in a bath (not in
the figures 9 (zone 3 of figure 1). The run of the pincers is sufficiently long
to permit the drying of the covering. At the end the blocks are deposited by the
pincers on the second tract 52 of the bucket line 5, which through a curved course,
represented only in part in figure 2, leads to the wrapping zone 7.
The products which are not to be subjected to further work operations
are taken by the trays 1a by means of the translating device 6 with suction means,
which moves in an alternating direction, first in the direction of the trays and
then in the opposite sense.
During this run the blocks are deposited on the bucket line 5 in
the first tract 51 of the said bucket line 5, which through this curved run leads
to the wrapping zone 7.
According to the invention, the translating device 6 and the wheel
4 are activatable and deactivatable alternatingly or together with a maintenance
of the phase synchrony for the movement of the ice cream blocks from the freezing
zone to the wrapping zone.