(19)
(11)EP 1 444 866 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
15.02.2006 Bulletin 2006/07

(21)Application number: 02767695.6

(22)Date of filing:  09.10.2002
(51)Int. Cl.: 
H05B 3/28  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/GB2002/004581
(87)International publication number:
WO 2003/032686 (17.04.2003 Gazette  2003/16)

(54)

A RADIANT ELECTRIC HEATING ELEMENT

ELEKTRISCHER STRAHLUNGSHEIZKÖRPER

ELEMENT CHAUFFANT ELECTRIQUE RAYONNANT


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR IE IT LI LU MC NL PT SE SK TR

(30)Priority: 09.10.2001 GB 0124190

(43)Date of publication of application:
11.08.2004 Bulletin 2004/33

(73)Proprietor: PANAGHE, Stylianos
Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 8TW (GB)

(72)Inventor:
  • PANAGHE, Stylianos
    Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 8TW (GB)

(74)Representative: Slingsby, Philip Roy et al
Page White & Farrer 54 Doughty Street
London WC1N 2LS
London WC1N 2LS (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
US-A- 5 657 532
US-A- 6 121 586
US-A- 5 998 049
US-A- 6 137 089
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] THIS INVENTION concerns radiant electric heating elements particularly, though not exclusively, for heating food products where the heating element is disposed closely against the product to be heated. Such an application would be a bread toasting appliance so that the heating element is producing radiant heat in a dry environment to toast the bread.

    [0002] It is an object of the present invention to provide a radiant electric heating element in which the useful life of the element is expected to be increased, and which will operate on reduced power consumption while ensuring safer user operation and the inherent ability for the element to be cleaned.

    [0003] Electrical toast making appliances, both manual and automatic have been around for many years, they were in the main constructed of a wire wound heating element embodied in a mechanism in such a manner that the material to be toasted is inserted at a suitable distance between and away from the heating elements, so as not to come into contact therewith. To overcome the disadvantage of large separation between the heating element and the toasting material, additional energy is required. Toasters are either manual or automatic. Manual toasters consist of a mechanical switch timer with a manual insert/ejector, whilst automatic toasters have an indirect browning sensor triggering a toasting material ejector to raise the bread slice to a level of safe accessibility.

    [0004] Traditionally, the heating elements have consisted of an electrical resistance wire of a suitable resistance value wound round either a mica plate supported in a metal frame or on a suitable length of ceramic rod or a spiral heating element enclosed in a quartz tube. They are delicate and easily damaged.

    [0005] To prevent the toasting material and the operator from coming in contact with the electrical conducting resistance wire a metal wire grid is inserted and spaced at a suitable and safe distance from the heating element, thus preventing the user from sustaining an electric shock. In addition, the grid centres the toasting material and acts both as a reflector and absorber of the energy thus reducing by a not insignificant factor the energy being received by the bread.

    [0006] The above method of toasting relies essentially on the radiation of heat from the heating elements, with the minor assistance of convection. This consumes relatively high amounts of energy for the required task.

    [0007] A low-cost method of making insulated electric heating elements is described in US Patent 5,657,532. The teachings of this patent provide improvements over a radiant electric heating element of the type described above, such as reduced risk of electric shock to a user, but this patent does not address the problem of power consumption and uniform heating in appliances employing such electric heating elements.

    [0008] According to the present invention, there is provided a radiant electric heating element comprising a base plate, a first ceramic track printed on at least one face of the base plate, an electrically conductive heating track printed on the surface of the first ceramic track lying remote from the base plate, and a second ceramic track printed on the heating track thus with the first ceramic track to surround and seal the heating track, terminal means being connected to the heating track for connecting same to a supply of electrical power.

    [0009] Further according to the present invention there is provided a method of producing a radiant electric heating element, comprising the steps of providing a base plate, printing a first ceramic track on at least one face of the base plate, printing an electrically conductive heating track on the surface of the first ceramic track lying remote from the base plate, such that the heating track is electrically insulated therefrom, printing a second ceramic track on the heating track so that with the first ceramic track the heating track is surrounded and sealed by the first and second ceramic tracks, and providing terminal means for connection of the heating track to a supply of electrical power.

    [0010] Further according to the present invention there is providing a toast making appliance comprising at least one radiant electric heating element as aforesaid, including means for supporting at least one slice of bread in close proximity to the heating element, even in direct contact therewith.

    [0011] The technique proposed here is that the toasting of bread can be improved by moving it closer to and almost in touch with the printed heating element. The printed heating element is fabricated on a thin plate of a suitably selected grade of stainless steel after a cleaning procedure that ensures the steel surface is free of any contaminants.

    [0012] Preferably, two or more such plates are placed in parallel. The distance between them and the power-on time of the plates determines the user's toast requirements. These are user adjustable before and/or after inserting the material to be toasted.

    [0013] The method of determining the degree of toasting can be either manual, or automatic. The manual type will have its energising power controlled by an adjustable time switch which can be either electronic or mechanical, whilst the automatic type will have its energising power controlled by a user-adjustable browning level detector.

    [0014] An infrared emitter-receiver scanning detector may act as a browning sensor. In such a device, the infrared beam is directed to, and at suitable positions on, the surface of the material being toasted, monitoring the change in colour. The colour setting control then activates completing the process. It may be that the material to be toasted starts with a different colouring thus having a different rate of change of colour. This difference in the final colour of the toasted material is set by auto-zeroing the initial conditions at each and every toasting process.

    [0015] A heating element can be printed either in single or multiple tracks, either on one side or both sides, meandered in such a fashion as both to cover the whole area of the plate and to ensure a power distribution over the plate for an even toasting of the material.

    [0016] An embodiment of the invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:-

    Fig. 1 is an elevation of a radiant electric heating element made in accordance with the invention;

    and Fig. 2 is a cross-section taken on line II-II of Fig. 1.



    [0017] By way of example, a heating element configured for a side-by-side toasting is shown in Fig. 1 indicating the heating element track(s) (5) of suitable width printed on a relatively wider ceramic track (3) (Fig. 2) with the same configuration which is itself printed on a stainless steel plate (2) having a low thermal mass. It is then covered with a high temperature insulating material (4), usually the same material as is used for printing the ceramic track(s), the electrically conducting resistance track (5) thus becomes hermetically sealed. Such an arrangement essentially eliminates the use of a protective metal grid. The toast can be in direct contact with the heating element itself as the heating element is electrically insulated from the toast. Electrical connections (1) for the supply of power can be by means of either spring contact, or by insulating fasteners, or by soldering.

    [0018] The ceramic insulating layers (3, 4) protect the user from coming into contact with the electrically conducting track (5) and thus prevents the risk of an electric shock.

    [0019] The use of printed heating elements in a toaster offers several advantages. For example, the electrical power required to toast bread can now be relatively reduced, and the mechanism for inserting and centring the toasting material becomes easier, including the not insignificant factor of cleanliness in that the plates can be wiped clean.

    [0020] There are instances where the user inserts other readily available kitchen utensils, knives forks, etc. to remove or adjust the toasting material, although these actions are momentarily convenient they may conventionally result in the user accidentally burning himself, but with the heating element being hermetically sealed it will prevent an electric shock, or destruction of the toaster elements which was a common event in wire wound toaster elements.

    [0021] By placing a pair of radiant electric heating elements according to the invention back-to-back, slices of toast may be introduced between them so that both sides are toasted simultaneously, and by providing three such elements, two or more slices may be toasted at once.

    [0022] If required, means may be provided for effecting relative movement of the several heating elements towards and away from each other thus, selectively, to open or close the gap between the elements and thus the distance therefrom of the slices of bread.

    [0023] It is envisaged that the ceramic tracks will each be in the region of 75 microns in thickness surrounding the heating track which will be in the region of 0.3 to 1 microns in thickness.

    [0024] Preferably, a further layer (6) of dielectric substrate may be applied to the face of the stainless steel plate (2) remote from that to which the tracks (3) and (5) are applied, in order to assist in preventing the stainless steel plate from warping.

    [0025] The whole assembly is preferably bonded as a composite unit.

    [0026] An element made in accordance with the invention may generate a temperature in the region 300°C to 400°C thus rapidly to toast bread placed in close proximity therewith.

    [0027] While this invention has been described in relation to a toast making appliance, it may equally be used for heating, by radiation, any other substance which may lie in close proximity therewith in a dry environment.

    [0028] Material which may typically be used for the construction of such a heating element are ceramified glass for the dielectric ceramic tracks; silver, palladium or platinum for the conductive heating track, and the stainless steel base may be of the type having a chromium content of 17%, such a material being known by the reference number 430.S 17 stainless steel.


    Claims

    1. A radiant electric heating element comprising a base plate (2), and terminal means, characterised by comprising a first ceramic track (3) printed on at least one face of the base plate, an electrically conductive heating track (5) printed on the surface of the first ceramic track lying remote from the base plate, and a second ceramic track (4) printed on the heating track (5) thus with the first ceramic track to surround and seal the heating track, said terminal means (1) being connected to the heating track for connecting same to a supply of electrical power
     
    2. A radiant electric heating element according to Claim 1, wherein both ceramic tracks are wider than the heating track.
     
    3. A radiant electric heating element according to Claim 1, wherein the combined ceramic and heating tracks follow a meander pattern to cover a substantial area of the base plate.
     
    4. A radiant electric heating element according to Claim 1, wherein a ceramic layer (6) is printed or coated onto the face of the base plate remote from the ceramic and heating tracks.
     
    5. A radiant electric heating element according to Claim 1, wherein the combined ceramic and heating tracks are printed on opposed faces of the base plate.
     
    6. A radiant electric heating element according to Claim 1, wherein multiple combined ceramic and heating tracks are printed on opposed faces of the base plate.
     
    7. A radiant electric heating element according to Claim 1, wherein the first and second ceramic tracks are formed from the same material.
     
    8. A radiant electric heating element according to any preceding claim, wherein the base plate is of stainless steel.
     
    9. A method of producing a radiant electric heating element, comprising the steps of providing a base plate (2), printing a first ceramic track (3) on at least one face of the base plate, printing an electrically conductive heating track (5) on the surface of the first ceramic track lying remote from the base plate, such that the heating track is electrically insulated therefrom, printing a second ceramic track (4) on the heating track so that with the first ceramic track the heating track is surrounded and sealed by the first and second ceramic tracks, and providing terminal means (1) for connection of the heating track to a supply of electrical power.
     
    10. A method according to Claim 9, wherein the base plate is cleaned to ensure that the surface thereof is free of any contaminants, before printing thereon of the first ceramic track.
     
    11. A method according to Claim 9, wherein the combined ceramic and heating tracks are printed on opposed faces of the base plate.
     
    12. A method according to Claim 9, wherein multiple combined ceramic and heating tracks are printed on opposed faces of the base plate.
     
    13. A toast making appliance comprising at least one radiant electric heating element according to Claim 1, including means for supporting at least one slice of bread in close proximity to the heating element, even in direct contact therewith.
     
    14. A toast making appliance according to Claim 13, wherein a pair of radiant electric heating elements according to Claim1, are placed in mutually parallel relationship, means being provided to enable adjustment of the distance between said parallel pair of elements.
     
    15. A toast making appliance according to Claim 13 or Claim 14, including a browning sensor.
     
    16. A toast making appliance according to Claim 15, wherein said browning sensor is an infra-red emitter-receiver scanning detector.
     
    17. A toast making appliance according to Claim 16, including means to auto-zero the scanning detector before each toasting operation, thus to provide browning control of breads having different initial colours.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Elektrisches Heizstrahlelement mit einer Basisplatte (2) und einer Anschlussvorrichtung, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass es aufweist:

    eine auf wenigstens eine Oberfläche der Basisplatte gedruckte Keramikbahn (3), eine elektrisch leitende Heizbahn (5), die auf die von der Basisplatte abliegende Oberfläche der ersten Keramikbahn gedruckt ist, und eine zweite Keramikbahn (4), die auf die Heizbahn (5) gedruckt ist, derart, dass sie mit der ersten Keramikbahn die Heizbahn umgibt und abdichtet, wobei die Anschlussvorrichtung (1) mit der Heizbahn verbunden ist zu deren Verbindung mit einer elektrischen Energiequelle.


     
    2. Elektrisches Heizstrahlelement nach Anspruch 1, wobei beide Keramikbahnen breiter sind als die Heizbahn.
     
    3. Elektrisches Heizstrahlelement nach Anspruch 1, wobei die kombinierten Keramik- und Heizbahnen einem Mäandermuster folgen, um eine wesentliche Fläche der Basisplatte zu bedecken.
     
    4. Elektrisches Heizstrahlelement nach Anspruch 1, wobei auf die von den Keramik- und Heizbahnen abliegende Oberfläche der Basisplatte eine Keramikschicht (6) gedruckt oder aufgetragen ist.
     
    5. Elektrisches Heizstrahlelement nach Anspruch 1, wobei die kombinierten Keramik- und Heizbahnen auf entgegengesetzte Oberflächen der Basisplatte gedruckt sind.
     
    6. Elektrisches Heizstrahlelement nach Anspruch 1, wobei eine Mehrzahl kombinierter Keramik- und Heizbahnen auf entgegengesetzte Oberflächen der Basisplatte gedruckt sind.
     
    7. Elektrisches Heizstrahlelement nach Anspruch 1, wobei die ersten und zweiten Keramikbahnen aus demselben Material gebildet sind.
     
    8. Elektrisches Heizstrahlelement nach einem der vorausgehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Basisplatte aus rostfreiem Stahl besteht.
     
    9. Verfahren zur Herstellung eines elektrischen Heizstrahlelements, mit folgenden Schritten:

    es wird eine Basisplatte (2) bereitgestellt, auf wenigstens eine Oberfläche der Basisplatte wird eine erste Keramikbahn (3) gedruckt, eine elektrisch leitende Heizbahn (5) wird auf diejenige Oberfläche der ersten Keramikbahn gedruckt, welche von der Basisplatte abliegt, so dass die Heizbahn von dieser elektrisch isoliert ist, eine zweite Keramikbahn (4) wird auf die Heizbahn gedruckt, so, dass die Heizbahn im Zusammenwirken mit der ersten Keramikbahn umrundet und von der ersten und der zweiten Keramikbahn abgedichtet wird, und es wird ein Anschlussvorrichtung (1) zum Verbinden der Heizbahn mit einer elektrischen Energiequelle vorgesehen.


     
    10. Verfahren nach Anspruch 9, wobei die Basisplatte, bevor die erste Keramikbahn darauf gedruckt wird, gereinigt wird, um sicherzustellen, dass deren Oberfläche frei von irgendwelchen Verunreinigungen ist.
     
    11. Verfahren nach Anspruch 9, wobei die kombinierten Keramik- und Heizbahnen auf entgegengesetzte Oberflächen der Basisplatte gedruckt werden.
     
    12. Verfahren nach Anspruch 9, wobei eine Mehrzahl kombinierter Keramik- und Heizbahnen auf entgegengesetzte Oberflächen der Basisplatte gedruckt werden.
     
    13. Toaster mit wenigstens einem elektrischen Heizstrahlelement nach Anspruch 1, mit einer Einrichtung zum Halten wenigstens einer Brotscheibe in dichter Nähe des Heizelementes, möglicherweise in direktem Kontakt damit.
     
    14. Toaster nach Anspruch 13, wobei ein Paar elektrischer Heizstrahlelemente nach Anspruch 1 zueinander parallel angeordnet sind, wobei eine Einrichtung vorgesehen ist, mit welcher eine Einstellung des Abstandes zwischen dem Paar paralleler Elemente ermöglicht wird.
     
    15. Toaster nach Anspruch 13 oder 14, mit einem Bräunungssensor.
     
    16. Toaster nach Anspruch 15, wobei der Bräunungssensor ein Infrarot-Sender-Empfänger-Abtastdetektor ist.
     
    17. Toaster nach Anspruch 16, mit einer Einrichtung für einen automatischen Nullabgleich des Abtastdetektors vor jedem Toastvorgang, um eine Bräunungssteuerung von Brotarten mit unterschiedlichen Anfangsfarben bereitzustellen.
     


    Revendications

    1. Elément chauffant électrique rayonnant, comportant une plaque (2) de base et des moyens formant bornes, caractérisé par le fait de comporter une première piste (3) en céramique imprimée sur au moins une face de la plaque de base, une piste (5) de chauffage conductrice de l'électricité imprimée sur la surface de la première trace en céramique se trouvant à distance de la plaque de base et une deuxième piste (4) en céramique imprimée sur la piste (5) de chauffage, de manière à entourer avec la première piste en céramique, la piste de chauffage et à la rendre étanche, les moyens (1) formant bornes étant connectés à la piste de chauffage pour une connexion de cette dernière à une alimentation en puissance électrique.
     
    2. Elément chauffant électrique rayonnant suivant la revendication 1, dans lequel les deux pistes en céramique sont plus larges que la piste de chauffage.
     
    3. Elément chauffant électrique rayonnant suivant la revendication 1, dans lequel les pistes combinées de chauffage et en céramique suivent une configuration sinueuse pour couvrir une zone notable de la plaque de base.
     
    4. Elément chauffant électrique rayonnant suivant la revendication 1, dans lequel une couche (6) en céramique est imprimée ou revêtue sur la face de la plaque de base à distance des pistes en céramique et de chauffage.
     
    5. Elément chauffant électrique rayonnant suivant la revendication 1, dans lequel les pistes combinées en céramique et de chauffage sont imprimées sur des faces opposées de la plaque de base.
     
    6. Elément chauffant électrique rayonnant suivant la revendication 1, dans lequel de multiples pistes combinées de chauffage et en céramique sont imprimées sur des faces opposées de la plaque de base.
     
    7. Elément chauffant électrique rayonnant suivant la revendication 1, dans lequel les première et deuxième pistes en céramique sont formées en le même matériau.
     
    8. Elément chauffant électrique rayonnant suivant l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel la plaque de base est en acier inoxydable.
     
    9. Procédé de production d'un élément chauffant électrique rayonnant, comportant les étapes dans lesquelles on prend une plaque (2) de base, on imprime une première piste (3) en céramique sur au moins une face de la plaque de base, on imprime une piste (5) de chauffage conductrice de l'électricité sur la surface de la première piste en céramique se trouvant à distance de la plaque de base, de sorte que la piste chauffante soit isolée électriquement de celle-ci, on imprime une deuxième piste (4) en céramique sur la piste de chauffage, de sorte qu'avec la première piste de céramique, la piste de chauffage est entourée et rendue étanche par les première et deuxième pistes en céramique, et on prévoit des moyens (1) formant bornes pour une connexion de la piste chauffante à une alimentation en puissance électrique.
     
    10. Procédé suivant la revendication 9, dans lequel la plaque de base est nettoyée pour garantir que sa surface est sans aucun polluant, avant d'imprimer sur elle la première piste en céramique.
     
    11. Procédé suivant la revendication 9, dans lequel les pistes combinées de céramique et de chauffage sont imprimées sur des faces opposées de la plaque de base.
     
    12. Procédé suivant la revendication 9, dans lequel de multiples pistes combinées en céramique et de chauffage sont imprimées sur des faces opposées de la plaque de base.
     
    13. Dispositif électrique pour faire des toasts comportant au moins un élément chauffant électrique rayonnant suivant la revendication 1, comportant des moyens destinés à supporter au moins une tranche de pain à proximité immédiate de l'élément de chauffage, voire même en contact direct avec celui-ci.
     
    14. Equipement électrique pour fabriquer des toasts suivant la revendication 13, dans lequel une paire d'éléments chauffants électriques rayonnants suivant la revendication 1 sont placés suivant une relation mutuellement parallèle, des moyens étant prévus pour permettre l'ajustement de la distance entre la paire parallèle d'éléments.
     
    15. Appareil électrique de fabrication de toasts suivant la revendication 13 ou 14, comportant un capteur de brunissement.
     
    16. Appareil électrique pour fabriquer des toasts suivant la revendication 15, dans lequel le capteur de brunissement est un détecteur à balayage émetteur-récepteur à infrarouge.
     
    17. Appareil électrique pour faire des toasts suivant la revendication 16, comportant des moyens pour remettre à zéro de manière automatique le détecteur à balayage avant chaque opération de fabrication de toasts, pour ainsi fournir une commande de brunissement du pain ayant différentes couleurs initiales.
     




    Drawing