(19)
(11)EP 2 856 880 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
18.03.2020 Bulletin 2020/12

(21)Application number: 14187592.2

(22)Date of filing:  03.10.2014
(51)Int. Cl.: 
A21C 3/08  (2006.01)
A21D 13/80  (2017.01)
A21C 9/08  (2006.01)

(54)

Device and method for circularizing croissant dough

Vorrichtung und Verfahren zur Zirkularisierung von Croissantteig

Dispositif et procédé de circularisation de pâte à croissant


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 04.10.2013 JP 2013208900

(43)Date of publication of application:
08.04.2015 Bulletin 2015/15

(60)Divisional application:
20154639.7

(73)Proprietor: Rheon Automatic Machinery Co., Ltd.
Utsunomiya-shi, Tochigi 320-0071 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • Harada, Nobuaki
    Utsunomiya-shi Tochigi 320-0071 (JP)
  • Ueno, Sadao
    Utsunomiya-shi Tochigi 320-0071 (JP)
  • Kuwabara, Hitoshi
    Utsunomiya-shi Tochigi 320-0071 (JP)

(74)Representative: Dehns 
St. Bride's House 10 Salisbury Square
London EC4Y 8JD
London EC4Y 8JD (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 0 490 190
WO-A1-2011/144191
EP-A1- 0 647 404
  
      
    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] The present invention relates to a device for circularizing croissant dough (that is, shaping a piece of croissant dough into a circle), a device for forming croissant dough into a U-shape, a system for producing croissants, a method for circularizing croissant dough, and a method for forming croissant dough into a U-shape, each of which is suitable for large-scale production.

    [0002] Croissants are known for their unique shape of a crescent or a circle in which the tips of the crescents are connected. Machines for forming croissants into such a shape have been developed. However, though the croissant dough is formed in that shape, it swells during a later process (such as a rising or baking process) and tends to return to its original shape, such as a crescent or a bar. A method for putting one tip of the crescent on the other tip and bonding them by pressure has been known, to thereby maintain the shape of the croissant dough.

    [0003] For example, in a method disclosed in EP 0490190 (Publication 1), croissant dough is circularized by a pair of bending arms. One of the bending arms is equipped with a tab for lifting. When the bending arms are swung about their respective base ends, the croissant dough that is formed in the shape of a bar by being rolled up is formed to follow the shape of the bending arms. The bending arm that is equipped with the lifting tab moves upward when it swings, and so one end of the croissant dough is lifted by the lifting tab. Therefore, when the bending arms swing so that their front ends come close together, the tips of the croissant dough that is circularized to follow the shape of the bending arms overlap. Subsequently, the portions that overlap are pressed by a plunger to be stuck together.

    [0004] In a method disclosed in WO 2011/144191 (Publication 2), croissant dough is circularized by a pair of retaining jaws and a pair of shaping jaws. Both ends of a bar-shaped piece of croissant dough that has been rolled up are clamped by the retaining jaws and the shaping jaws. The pair of retaining jaws and the pair of shaping jaws are moved by a pair of pivot carriers so as to circularize the bar-shaped croissant dough. One of the pivot carriers moves upward when it swings. Thus one end of the croissant dough is lifted so that the ends overlap. Subsequently, the portions that overlap are pressed by a plunger to be stuck together.

    [0005] It is preferable to form symmetrical croissants. However, neither Publication 1 nor Publication 2 discusses croissants being symmetrically formed. Japanese Patent No. 2747778 (Publication 3) discloses a method for symmetrically forming croissant dough. In that method, bar-shaped croissant dough that has been rolled up passes through a space between a pair of hourglass rollers to be moved to the centre in a conveyor that conveys the dough. The croissant dough is pushed at the centre of its back side (that is located at the centre of the conveyor) by a member that moves along the centre of the conveyor in the direction for conveyance. It is squeezed into a space between a pair of belts that inwardly incline in the downstream direction. The pair of belts form the croissant dough in a symmetrical shape.

    [0006] However, in the method of Publication 1, since the pair of bending arms swing about the base ends, the croissant dough cannot pass through the space between the bending arms. Thus the bar-shaped croissant dough is dropped into that space from the rollers that are located above the bending arms. Since in such a method the position of the bar-shaped croissant dough is not constant, it is difficult to form it in the required shape. Thus, the method is impractical.

    [0007] With the method of Publication 2, setting the forces to clamp the croissant dough by the retaining jaws and the shaping jaws is difficult. The portion of the croissant dough that is clamped is often crushed. Further, since the croissant dough is clamped to be lifted, the operating speed is limited and the capacity for production is restricted. Further, the device for carrying out the method is complicated and large.

    [0008] With the method of Publication 3, since the croissant dough that has been rolled up has a thick centre that is difficult to bend, it is not always formed symmetrically, depending on its elasticity (the hardness of the inside of the dough). The term "elasticity" as used here means the elasticity or hardness when the dough is inwardly pressed. This inconsistency is a problem.

    [0009] At least in its preferred embodiments, the present invention aims to provide a device and a method for quickly and stably circularizing croissant dough.

    [0010] At least in its preferred embodiments, the present invention also aims to provide a device and a method for forming bar-shaped croissant dough into a U-shape, then quickly and precisely arranging both legs of the U-shape to have the same length, and producing croissants in the required shape.

    [0011] According to a first aspect of the invention there is provided a device for circularizing croissant dough as defined in claim 1 (for example as shown in Fig. 1 and Figs. 8-1 to 8-12) that circularizes rolled-up croissant dough that has been bent at a centre to be formed into a U-shape and is conveyed by a conveyor, the device comprising: a first guide for reducing a width that is adapted to move a first end of the U-shaped croissant dough toward a centre of the U-shape; and a pusher that is adapted to vertically press the first end and a second end that are moved to the centre of the U-shape so as to stick one to the other; characterized in that the device further comprises: a plate that is adapted to be inserted under the second end of the U-shaped croissant dough and to lift a lower face of the second end above an upper face of the first end; and a second guide for reducing the width that is adapted to slide on the plate to move the lifted second end toward the centre of the U-shape.

    [0012] The device for circularizing the croissant dough may, for example as shown in Fig. 1 and Figs. 8-1 and 8-2, further comprise a pair of holders that are adapted to enfold the U-shaped croissant dough from both sides.

    [0013] Preferably, in the device for circularizing the croissant dough, for example as shown in Figs. 8-1 and 8-2, a holder of the pair of holders, which holder is positioned near the first end, is integrated with the first guide for reducing the width so that the U-shaped croissant dough is enfolded by the pair of holders at the same time as the first end is moved to the centre of the U-shape by the first guide for reducing the width.

    [0014] The device for circularizing the croissant dough may, for example as shown in Fig. 1, further comprise a conveyor for conveying the U-shaped croissant dough to working positions for the first guide for reducing the width, the plate, the second guide for reducing the width, and the pusher; and a sensor for detecting the croissant dough that detects the U-shaped croissant dough, to thereby generate a signal; wherein the conveyor is stopped based on a signal from the sensor for detecting the croissant dough, and wherein the timing of stopping the conveyor is adjustable.

    [0015] Preferably, in the device for circularizing the croissant dough, the timing of vertically pressing the first end and the second end together by the pusher or the distance by which the pusher is lowered to press the first end and the second end together, or both, is adjustable.

    [0016] Preferably, in the device for circularizing the croissant dough, for example as shown in Figs. 8-3 to 8-5, the first guide for reducing the width has a face for moving the first end, the second guide for reducing the width has a face for moving the second end, after the second end is moved to the centre of the U-shape the plate returns to the level that it was at before moving upward, the second guide for reducing the width moves downward by the distance as the distance that the plate moves when it returns to the level that it was at before moving upward, the face for moving the first end and the face for moving the second end may form walls on both sides of the first end and the second end that are moved to the centre of the U-shape, and the pusher is adapted to vertically press the first end and the second end between the walls.

    [0017] The device for circularizing the croissant dough may, for example as shown in Fig. 1 and Fig. 8-10, further comprise a second pusher that is wider than a distance between the walls and is adapted to further press the first and second ends that have been vertically pressed by the pusher to be stuck together.

    [0018] To solve the problems, a system for producing croissants in accordance with claim 8 is provided, for example as shown in Figs. 1, 2, and 7, which comprises: devices for circularizing croissant dough as described above; and a device for forming croissant dough into a U-shape that supplies the U-shaped croissant dough to the devices for circularizing the croissant dough, the device for forming croissant dough into a U-shape comprising: a conveyor adapted to convey rolled-up croissant dough arranged so that a longitudinal direction of the croissant dough is perpendicular to a conveying direction; a pair of side belts, wherein one side belt is provided on each side of the conveyor, and wherein the pair of side belts are adapted to contact respective legs of the U-shaped croissant dough to transport the croissant dough in the conveying direction; a centre pin that is adapted to push a centre of a length of the croissant dough that is conveyed by the conveyor in the conveying direction so as to feed the croissant dough to the pair of side belts; and a sensor that is adapted to measure the lengths of, or a distance between ends of, the legs of the U-shape; wherein the device is adapted to adjust the rates for transporting the U-shaped croissant dough by the side belts of the pair of side belts, based on the lengths of the legs of the U-shape or the distance between the ends of the legs of the U-shape measured by the sensor, to make the legs of the U-shape have the same length.

    [0019] Preferably, in the system for producing croissants, in the device for forming croissant dough into a U-shape, a contacting condition between the pair of side belts and the croissant dough is less slippery than a contacting condition between the conveyor and the croissant dough.

    [0020] The invention also extends to a method for circularizing croissant dough in accordance with claim 10, for example as shown in Figs. 8-1 to 8-8, that circularizes rolled-up croissant dough that is formed into a U-shape by being bent at a centre of a length, comprising the steps of: carrying U-shaped croissant dough to a position for circularizing the croissant dough by conveying the croissant dough in a predetermined direction (see Fig. 8-1); and moving a first end of the conveyed croissant dough to a centre of the U-shape (see Fig. 8-2); characterized in that the method uses the device of the first aspect of the invention and includes the further steps of: lifting a second end of the conveyed croissant dough so that a lower face of the second end is above an upper face of the first end, and moving the second end to the centre of the U-shape (see Figs. 8-2 and 8-3); and vertically pressing and sticking together the first end and the second end that have been moved to the centre (see Fig. 8-5). The step of moving the first end to the centre may be carried out either before or after the step of lifting the second end, so that the lower face of the second end is above the upper face of the first end.

    [0021] The method for circularizing the croissant dough may, as shown in Fig. 8-2, further comprise a step of enfolding the conveyed croissant dough from both sides of the U-shape.

    [0022] In the method for circularizing the croissant dough, for example as shown in Figs. 8-4 and 8-5, at the step of vertically pressing and sticking the first end to the second end, walls may be used for preventing the first end and the second end that have been moved to the centre from spreading toward the sides of the U-shape.

    [0023] The method for circularizing the croissant dough may, for example as shown in Fig. 8-10, comprise a step of again vertically pressing, over a width that is greater than the distance between the walls at the step of pressing, the first and second ends that have been stuck together at the step of sticking.

    [0024] In the method for circularizing the croissant dough, a length of the legs of the first and second ends to be stuck together at the step of sticking may be regulated.

    [0025] The length of the first and second ends to be stuck together may be regulated by adjusting a position so that the first end is pressed so that it is moved to the centre of the U-shape and a position so that the second end is pressed so that it is also moved to the centre of the U-shape.

    [0026] In the method for circularizing the croissant dough, at the step of sticking the first end to the second end, a duration of vertically pressing the first end to the second end may be adjusted, or a distance of travel to vertically press the first end and the second end so that the first end and the second end are stuck together may be adjusted, or both may be adjusted.

    [0027] The invention also extends to a method for producing croissants in accordance with claim 17, the method comprising: a method for forming croissant dough into a U-shape, and the method for circularizing the croissant dough as described above, which croissant dough has been formed into a U-shape by the said method for forming croissant dough into a U-shape, the said method for forming croissant dough into a U-shape comprising the steps of: conveying rolled-up croissant dough that is placed so that a longitudinal direction of the croissant dough is perpendicular to the conveying direction; pushing a centre of a length of the croissant dough in the conveying direction during the conveying step; contacting the pushed croissant dough from both longitudinal ends to form the croissant dough into a U-shape and to transport both legs of the U-shape in the conveying direction during the conveying step; and measuring lengths of the legs of the U-shape or a distance between ends of the legs of the U-shaped croissant dough during the conveying step; and adjusting rates for transporting both legs in the conveying direction during the step of transporting both legs of the U-shape, based on the measured lengths of the legs of the U-shape or the measured distance between the ends of the legs, so as to make the legs of the U-shape have the same length.

    [0028] By the device for circularizing the croissant dough of the present invention, since the device comprises the first guide for reducing the width, the plate, the second guide for reducing the width, and the pusher so as to vertically press and stick together the first end to the second end, the croissant dough can be quickly and stably circularized.

    [0029] By the device for forming the croissant dough in a U-shape of the present invention, since the device comprises the conveyor, the pair of side belts, the centre pin, and the sensor so as to adjust the rates for transporting the croissant dough by each of the side belts so as to arrange the lengths of the legs of the U-shape to have the same length, croissants in the required shape can be produced by quickly and stably arranging the lengths of the legs of the U-shape to have the same length.

    [0030] By the method for circularizing the croissant dough of the present invention, the method comprises the steps of carrying the croissant dough in a position for circularizing the croissant dough, moving the first end of the conveyed croissant dough to the centre, lifting and moving the second end to the centre, and vertically pressing and sticking together the first end to the second end that are moved to the centre, the croissant dough can be quickly and stably circularized.

    [0031] By the method for forming the croissant dough in a U-shape of the present invention, since the method comprises the steps of conveying the rolled-up croissant dough that is placed so that the longitudinal direction of the croissant dough is perpendicular to the direction for conveyance, pushing the centre of the length of croissant dough in the direction for conveyance, contacting the pushed croissant dough from both longitudinal ends to form the croissant dough in a U-shape and to transport both legs of the U-shape to the direction for conveyance, and measuring the lengths of the legs of the U-shape or the distance between the ends of the legs of the croissant dough so that the rates for transporting both legs in the direction for conveyance are adjusted during the step of transporting both legs of the U-shape so as to arrange the lengths of the legs to have the same length, the lengths of the legs of the U-shaped croissant dough can be quickly and stably arranged to have the same length so that croissants in a required shape are produced.

    [0032] A preferred embodiment of the invention will now be described by way of example only and with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

    Fig. 1 is a plan view of a device for forming croissant dough into a U-shape and a device for circularizing the croissant dough;

    Fig. 2 is a front view of the device for forming the croissant dough into a U-shape and the device for circularizing the croissant dough of Fig. 1;

    Fig. 3 is a plan view of the principal portion of the device for circularizing the croissant dough of Fig. 1;

    Fig. 4 is a front view of the principal portion of the device for circularizing the croissant dough of Fig. 3;

    Fig. 5 is a side view of the principal portion of the device for circularizing the croissant dough of Fig. 3, taken from the upstream side;

    Fig. 6 is a side view of the principal portion of the device for circularizing the croissant dough of Fig. 5, with the second guide for reducing the width being omitted;

    Fig. 7 is a plan view that illustrates how the side belts arrange both legs of the U-shaped croissant dough to have the same length, where Fig. 7(a) shows that a sensor measures the lengths of the legs, and Fig. 7(b) shows that the side belts arrange the legs to have the same length;

    Fig. 8-1 shows how the croissant dough is carried to the device for circularizing the croissant dough, where Fig. 8-1(a) is a plan view and Fig 8-1(b) is a side view taken from the upstream side;

    Fig. 8-2 shows how the croissant dough is enfolded by holders and the first end is moved toward the centre by the first guide, where Fig. 8-2(a) is a plan view and Fig. 8-2(b) is a side view taken from the upstream side;

    Fig. 8-3 shows how the first end is lifted by the plate and moved toward the centre by the second guide for reducing the width, where Fig. 8-3(a) is a plan view and Fig. 8-3(b) is a side view taken from the upstream side;

    Fig. 8-4 shows how the first end and the second end overlap and the plate and the second guide for reducing the width are lowered, where Fig. 8-4(a) is a plan view and Fig. 8-4(b) is a side view taken from the upstream side;

    Fig. 8-5 shows how the pusher vertically presses the first and second ends so as to have them stick together, where Fig. 8-5(a) is a plan view and Fig. 8-5(b) is a side view taken from the upstream side;

    Fig. 8-6 shows how, after having the first and second ends stick together, the pusher moves upward while blowing air through the hole for blowing air, where Fig. 8-6(a) is a plan view and Fig. 8-6(b) is a side view taken from the upstream side;

    Fig. 8-7 shows how, after having the first and second ends stick together, the first guide for reducing the width, the second guide for reducing the width, and the holders all retract in the direction for being separated from the croissant dough, where Fig. 8-7(a) is a plan view and Fig. 8-7(b) is a side view taken from the upstream side;

    Fig. 8-8 shows how the croissant dough is conveyed to the second pusher, where Fig. 8-8(a) is a plan view and Fig. 8-8(b) is a side view taken from the upstream side;

    Fig. 8-9 shows how the second holders enfold the croissant dough, where Fig. 8-9(a) is a plan view and Fig. 8-9(b) is a side view taken from the upstream side;

    Fig. 8-10 shows how the second pusher presses the first and second ends that have been stuck together, where Fig. 8-10(a) is a plan view and Fig 8-10(b) is a side view taken from the upstream side;

    Fig. 8-11 shows how, after pressing the first and second ends, the second pusher moves upward while blowing air through the hole for blowing air, where Fig. 8-11(a) is a plan view and Fig. 8-11(b) is a side view taken from the upstream side; and

    Fig. 8-12 shows how the second holders retract in the direction for being separated from the croissant dough, where Fig. 8-12(a) is a plan view and Fig. 8-12(b) is a side view taken from the upstream side.



    [0033] Below, with reference to the drawings, an embodiment of the present invention will be discussed in detail. In the figures, identical or similar elements are designated with the same symbols, and duplicate explanations are omitted.

    [0034] First, the device 10 for forming the croissant dough into a U-shape will be discussed with reference to Fig. 1, which is a plan view of a device 10 for forming croissant dough into a U-shape and a device 100 for circularizing the croissant dough, and Fig. 2, which is a front view of the devices 10, 100.

    [0035] Croissant dough 3 that has been manufactured by a device for producing croissant dough (not shown) and rolled up by a device for rolling dough (not shown) is shaped as a bar that has a thick centre. It is placed on a conveyor 22 so that its longitudinal axis is perpendicular to the direction for conveyance (in Fig. 1, its longitudinal axis is vertical). The croissant dough 3 is conveyed by the conveyor 22 from the left in the Figures; that is, left is upstream and right is downstream. A conveyor 24 is provided downstream of the conveyor 22, and a conveyor 26 is provided downstream of the conveyor 24. These conveyors 22, 24, 26 are collectively referred to as conveyor 20. The conveyor 20 is not necessarily composed of three conveyors 22, 24, 26. The number of conveyors is arbitrarily determined based on the distance to convey the croissant dough, and so on. Thus, in the following discussion, references to the conveyor 22, 24, or 26 are nothing more than a discussion of a specific embodiment and do not limit the scope of the invention.

    [0036] A water feeder 70, which applies water to a part of the ends which are to be stuck together to circularize the croissant dough, is provided at the conveyor 24. The water feeder 70 comprises a nozzle 72 that extends downward and a cylindrical sponge 74 at the lower side of the tip of the nozzle 72, which sponge is rotatably supported by a horizontal shaft.

    [0037] The configuration of the water feeder 70 is not limited to that discussed above. It may be a known water feeder that can apply water to the end of the croissant dough 3. For example, a brush may be used instead of the sponge. It may drop water from a nozzle, without a sponge, to directly apply it to the croissant dough. Further, the term "water" here is not intended to be limited to water, but also covers paste for food such as starch paste, or a liquid that is suitable to stick the parts of the croissant dough together. The water feeder 70 may be positioned downstream of a device 50 for grooving to facilitate bending the croissant dough (a device for grooving 50), which is discussed below. The water feeder 70 may be positioned anywhere where it can apply water to the end of the croissant dough before the croissant dough is circularized.

    [0038] The device 50 for grooving is provided in an upstream portion of the conveyor 26. The device 50 facilitates bending the croissant dough by making grooves 6 in the thick portion of the croissant dough 3 that is rolled up so as to be shaped like a bar with a thick centre. The device 50 for grooving comprises two blades 52, a shaft 54 and a motor 56 for grooving to facilitate bending the croissant dough (a motor 56 for grooving). The blades 52 make the grooves 6 from above in the thick portion of the croissant dough 3 that has been rolled up and is conveyed on the conveyor 26. The shaft 54 supports the blades 52 and allows them to rotate. The motor 56 for grooving rotates the shaft 54. The number of grooves made in the croissant dough 3 (which corresponds to the number of blades 52) may be arbitrarily determined based on the size, thickness or elasticity of the croissant dough 3. Depending on the croissant dough 3, it may not be necessary to provide a device 50 for grooving.

    [0039] The device 50 for grooving comprises a belt 60 for pressing the croissant dough down and rolling the croissant dough. The belt 60 presses the croissant dough 3 down if the croissant dough 3 is lifted by the blades 52 when it adheres to the blades 52 while being grooved. The belt 60 also rolls the croissant dough 3 in which the grooves 6 are made, so that the grooves face upward to facilitate bending the croissant dough 3 into a U-shape. The belt 60 is an endless belt made of a flexible material such as rubber. A plurality of belts 60 are rotated between a plurality of rollers 62. At the lower portion (the side which contacts the croissant dough 3), the belt 60 moves downstream more slowly than the conveyor 26 does, or moves in a direction opposite to the direction of motion of the conveyor 26. When the croissant dough 3 is grooved by the blades 52, the belt 60 presses the croissant dough 3 down so as to separate it from the blades 52 if it adheres to and is lifted by the blades 52 while being grooved. The lower portion of the belt 60 is lowered by a middle roller 63. When the croissant dough 3 moves towards the downstream side of the blades 52, the belt 60 contacts the croissant dough 3. Because of the difference in the speeds for transporting the croissant dough 3 by the belt 60 and the conveyor 26, the croissant dough 3 is rolled. The rotation of the belt 60 as an endless belt is carried out by rotating one roller 62 or multiple rollers 62 by a driver 64 for the belt. In the embodiment in Fig. 1, the grooved croissant dough 3 is pressed down by four belts 60. At the downstream side, it is rolled by five belts 60. However, the number of belts 60 is arbitrarily determined, and may vary from these numbers.

    [0040] A sensor for detecting the croissant dough 38 is provided above the conveyor 26 downstream of the device 50 for grooving. The sensor 38 detects the croissant dough 3 that is conveyed on the conveyor 26 so as to determine the timing of the operation of a device 30 for a centre pin that is provided downstream of the sensor 38. The sensor 38 can be of any type that can detect the croissant dough 3, and may be of a contact type or a non-contact type. For example, a microswitch or an optoelectronic sensor may be used as sensor 38. The sensor 38 need not be located above the conveyor 26; it may be at the side of the conveyor 26 or at another conveyor.

    [0041] The device 30 for a centre pin and side belts 40 are provided downstream of the sensor 38 on the conveyor 26. The device 30 for a centre pin pushes, by a centre pin 32, the centre of the bar-shaped croissant dough 3 which is conveyed on the conveyor 26 so as to feed the croissant dough 3 to the side belts 40. The device 30 comprises a belt 34 for the centre pin, which belt rotates between at least two rollers. It also comprises one or more centre pins 32 that are fixed to the belt 34. The centre pin 32 is located at the widthwise centre of the conveyor 26, so as to push the centre of the length of the croissant dough 3 that is conveyed. When the rollers rotate, the centre pin 32 moves downstream above the conveyor 26 at the same speed as, or slightly faster than, the conveyor 26, and returns to the upstream position. In the embodiment shown in Figs. 1 and 2, the belt 34 rotates around three rollers. However, the number of rollers is arbitrarily determined, and may be two, or more. In this embodiment, the roller at the upstream end is driven by a motor 36 for the centre pin, so that the motor 36 is located above the highest part of the croissant dough 3. The operation of the motor 36 is controlled by a signal for detection from the sensor 38. Thus the motor 36 is activated in a timely manner so that the centre pin 32 pushes the croissant dough 3. The member that moves along the centre line of the conveyor in the direction for conveyance of Publication 3 may be used for the centre pin 32.

    [0042] The side belts 40 are located downstream of the device 30. The side belts 40 are a pair of belts 40a, 40b that horizontally face one another. Each of the side belts 40a, 40b is supported by two pulleys so that the faces that face one another are parallel or so that the space between them becomes narrower downstream. Each of the side belts 40a, 40b rotates between the two pulleys as a result of the rotation of the pulley that is driven by one of the motors for the side belts 44a, 44b (44). The pair of side belts 40 enfold the croissant dough 3, from two sides. The croissant dough 3 is pushed and fed by the centre pin 32 so as to be formed into a U-shape that is open in the upstream direction. The pair of side belts 40 also transport the croissant dough downstream. The upstream ends of the pair of side belts 40 are located at, or near, the ends of the croissant dough 3 that is pushed and fed by the centre pin 32. That is, the ends of the croissant dough 3 that is pushed and fed by the centre pin 32 contact the pair of side belts 40. The croissant dough is bent so that the place that is pushed by the centre pin 32 is the centre. Thus, it is formed into a U-shape. Then the pair of side belts 40 contact the legs (the limbs or vertical parts of the U) of the croissant dough 5 that is formed into a U-shape to transport the croissant dough 5 in the conveyance direction. The space between the pair of side belts 40a and 40b that face one another can be adjusted.

    [0043] Above each of the side belts 40, sensors 48 are provided to measure the lengths of the legs of the U-shaped croissant dough 5. The sensors 48 for measuring the lengths of the legs may be a contact type or a non-contact type. For example, a microswitch or an optoelectronic sensor may be used. Instead of the sensors 48 for measuring the lengths of the legs, sensors may measure the distance between the positions of the tips of the legs. The distance between the positions of the tips of the legs is the distance between the positions of the tips of the legs in the direction for conveyance at any instant of time. It may be measured as the difference between the times when the tips of the croissant dough 5 that is being conveyed pass a line that is perpendicular to the conveyance direction. The sensors 48 need not be provided above the side belts 40; they may be at the sides of the side belts 40 or in other positions.

    [0044] Based on the data measured by the sensors 48 for detecting the lengths of the legs or alternate sensors, a controller (not shown) of the device 10 for forming the croissant dough into a U-shape calculates how to move the legs to ensure that the lengths L1, L2 (see Fig. 7) of the legs are the same. Based on the result of the calculation, the rates Va, Vb for transporting the legs of the croissant dough 5 by the side belts 40a, 40b are adjusted so as to arrange the lengths L1e, L2e (see Fig. 7) of the legs to be the same. The contacting condition between the side belts 40 and the croissant dough 5 is less slippery than the contacting condition between the conveyor 26 and the croissant dough 5. Thus, even though the conveyor 26 conveys the croissant dough 5 at a constant rate V, the rates for transporting the legs of the U-shaped croissant dough 5 are changed by changing the rates Va, Vb for rotating the side belts 40. Thus the lengths L1, L2 of the legs can be changed so as to ensure that the lengths L1e, L2e of the legs are the same. In order to ensure a less slippery contact condition between the side belts 40 and the croissant dough 5, the side belts 40 may for example be formed of soft rubber. The faces of the side belts 40 that contact the croissant dough 5 may be rough. Alternatively, the pressure to contact the side belts 40 with the legs of the croissant dough 5 may be high. The device 10 for forming the croissant dough into a U-shape includes the devices 20, 30, 40, 50, and 70.

    [0045] Next, the device 100 for circularizing the croissant dough will be discussed. A conveyor 122 is provided downstream of conveyor 26. A conveyor 124 is provided downstream of conveyor 122. These conveyors 122, 124 are collectively referred to as conveyor 120. The conveyor 120 is not necessarily composed of two conveyors 122, 124. The number of conveyors is arbitrarily determined based on the distance to convey the croissant dough and so on. Thus, in the following discussion, references to conveyor 122 or 124 are nothing more than a discussion of a specific embodiment, and do not limit the scope of the invention.

    [0046] A second sensor for detecting the croissant dough 138 is provided above the upstream portion of the conveyor 122. The second sensor 138 detects the croissant dough 5 that is conveyed on the conveyor 122 so as to stop the croissant dough 5 at the working positions for a first guide 114 for reducing the width, a second guide 116 for reducing the width, a plate 118, a pusher 130, and so on, that are located downstream of the second sensor 138. The second sensor 138 is also used for determining the timing for actuating these members. The second sensor 138 can be of any type that can detect the croissant dough 5. It may be a contact type or a non-contact type. For example, a microswitch or an optoelectronic sensor may be used as second sensor 138. The second sensor 138 is not necessarily located above the conveyor 122; it may be at the side of the conveyor 122 or another conveyor.

    [0047] Holders (first holders) 110, 112, the first guide 114 for reducing the width, the second guide 116 for reducing the width, the plate 118, and the pusher (a first pusher) 130, are provided on the conveyor 122 downstream of the second sensor 138. These members are collectively called a principal part 102 of the device for circularizing the croissant dough. The principal part 102 circularizes the U-shaped croissant dough 5.

    [0048] Based on the signal for detection by the second sensor 138, the croissant dough 5 that is conveyed by the conveyor 122 is controlled to stop at the working positions for the principal part 102. The working positions for the principal part 102 mean the positions where the principal part 102 circularizes the croissant dough 5, which principal part is discussed below. The positions to stop the croissant dough 5 can be precisely adjusted within the working positions for the principal part 102. That is, after the second sensor 138 detects the croissant dough 5, the distance to convey the croissant dough 5 before the conveyor 122 stops (namely, if the conveyor conveys at a constant rate, the time from detecting the croissant dough to stopping the conveyor) can be adjusted.

    [0049] Now, with further reference to Figs. 3 to 6, the configuration of the principal part 102 is discussed. The holders 110, 112 enfold, from the sides, the legs of the U-shaped croissant dough 5 that is conveyed on the conveyor 122. The faces of the holders 110, 112 that contact the croissant dough 5 are generally flat. However, they may curve in a horizontal plane. These faces are made of a material such as metal and plastic, that does not deform or adhere to the croissant dough 5 when enfolding it. The holders 110, 112 are driven by a driver 104 to come close to, and separate from, one another. The movements of the holders 110, 112 may be synchronous or non-synchronous. When the holders 110, 112 come close to one another, they enfold the legs of the croissant dough 5 from the sides.

    [0050] The first guide 114 for reducing the width moves the end 5a of one leg of the U-shaped croissant dough 5 to the centre of the U-shape (see Fig. 8-2). The face 114f of the first guide 114 that moves the first end 5a is preferably rounded in a horizontal plane in the downstream portion, i.e., a portion near the thick centre of the croissant dough 5 (the upper part in Fig. 3). That is because the legs tend to spread out toward the downstream side when the end 5a is moved to the centre. The other parts of the face 114f may be flat or curved in a horizontal plane. The first guide 114 is moved by the driver 104 between a position to move the end 5a to the centre of the U-shape and a position to retract from the end 5a. The position to retract from the end 5a means the position where the croissant dough 5 does not touch the first guide 114 when it passes through it. The face of the first guide 114 that contacts the end 5a is made of a material such as metal and plastic, that does not deform nor adhere to the croissant dough 5 when moving the end 5a. The first guide 114 may be integrated with the holder 110. If the first guide 114 and the holder 110 are integrated, the number of members decreases. Further, one driver 104 can move both of them. Thus the device becomes more economical and its reliability is improved.

    [0051] The second guide 116 for reducing the width is located to face the first guide 114. It moves the other end 5b of the U-shaped croissant dough 5 to the centre of the U-shape (see Fig. 8-3). The shape and material of the second guide 116 are the same as, or similar to, those of the first guide 114. The second guide 116 is vertically moved by a driver 105 to follow the vertical movement of the plate 118, which is discussed below. It is moved by a driver 106 between a position to move the end 5b to the centre of the U-shape and a position to retract from the end 5b on the plate 118. Holes for blowing air may be formed in the faces of the first guide 114 and the second guide 116 that contact the croissant dough, to blow air that is supplied from an air source (not shown).

    [0052] The plate 118 is inserted between the second guide 116 and the conveyor 122 to lift the second end 5b. The plate 118 is connected to the driver 104 and is horizontally reciprocated with the holder 112. Further, it is vertically moved by a driver 107. It is made of a material that has sufficient stiffness so as not to bend when the plate 118 lifts the second end 5b and that does not adhere to the croissant dough 5, and is typically made of a metal plate. When the U-shaped croissant dough 5 is carried to the principal part 102, i.e., the position to circularize the croissant dough, the plate 118 is moved by the driver 104 toward the centre of the conveyor 122 to slip under the second end 5b. After moving to the centre so that the second end 5b is mounted on it, the plate 118 is moved upward by the driver 107 to lift the second end 5b. It moves to a height such that the lower face of the second end 5b is higher than the upper face of the first end 5a. After the second end 5b is moved to the centre of the U-shape by the second guide 116, the plate 118 returns to its original height (just on the conveyor 122). Thereafter the plate 118 retracts from the centre.

    [0053] The pusher 130 is vertically moved by a driver 108 so as to press the first end 5a and the second end 5b, which have been moved to the centre, so that they stick together (see Fig. 8-5). The pusher 130 vertically moves between the walls that consist of the face 114f of the first guide 114 and the face 116f of the second guide 116 (see Fig. 8-5). The first guide 114 is at the position to move the first end 5a to the centre of the U-shape. The second guide 116 is at the position to move the second end 5b to the centre of the U-shape. The gaps between the pusher 130 and the walls 114f, 116f are preferably as small as possible without causing trouble in moving the pusher 130 vertically. The pusher 130 has a face for pressing the first end 5a and the second end 5b. That face is typically flat, but may be curved. The shape of that face is arbitrary, and in the example embodiment it is shown as a rectangle. The pusher 130 is, for example, longer in the direction for conveying the croissant dough than in the direction perpendicular to the conveying direction. The pusher 130 is made of a material that does not deform or adhere to the croissant dough 5 when pressing the first end 5a and the second end 5b, and is typically ' made of metal or plastic. A hole for blowing air 136 is formed in the face for pressing the first end 5a and the second end 5b (see Fig. 8-6) to blow air that is supplied from an air source (not shown). An elastic material such as a spring may be positioned between the pusher 130 and the driver 108 so that a pressing force is applied to the croissant dough. If the driver 108 is an air cylinder, the pressure of the air supply may be adjusted to regulate the degree to which the first end 5a and the second end 5b are stuck together (the strength).

    [0054] For the pusher 130, the time for pressing the first end 5a and the second end 5b and the travel to move downward to press them (that is, the height s from the conveying face of the conveyor 122 when the pusher 130 is lowered [see Fig. 8-5]) are adjustable. Either the time or the travel (or both) may be adjustable. By adjusting the time for the pusher 130 to press the first end 5a and the second end 5b or the travel distance for the pusher 130 to move downward to press them, or both, the degree (strength) to which the first end 5a and the second end 5b are stuck together can be regulated.

    [0055] Further, since the positions to stop the croissant dough 5 within the working positions for the principal part 102 can be precisely adjusted, the position for the first guide 114 to press the first end 5a to move it to the centre of the U-shape and the position for the second guide 116 to press the second end 5b to move it to the centre of the U-shape are regulated. Thus the length L4 of an overlapped portion of the first end 5a and the second end 5b is regulated and controlled. The position for the pusher 130 to press them is also regulated. Since the length L4 of the overlapped portion of the first end 5a and the second end 5b and the position for the pusher 130 to press them are regulated and the degree (strength) to which they are stuck together is also regulated, the shape of the croissants after baking can be regulated, to thereby produce croissants in a desired shape.

    [0056] Now, a second pusher 144 that is provided on the conveyor 124 and structures that relate to the second pusher 144 will be discussed. A third sensor for detecting the croissant dough 148 is provided above the upstream portion of the conveyor 124. The third sensor 148 detects the croissant dough 7 that is conveyed on the conveyor 124 so as to stop the croissant dough 7 at the working positions for second holders 140, 142, a second pusher 144, and so on, that are located downstream of the third sensor 148. The third sensor 148 is also used for determining the timing for actuating these members. The third sensor 148 can be of any type that can detect the croissant dough 7, and may be a contact type or a non-contact type. For example, a microswitch or an optoelectronic sensor may be used as third sensor 148. The third sensor 148 need not be located above the conveyor 124; it may be at the side of the conveyor 124 or at another conveyor.

    [0057] The second holders 140, 142 and the second pusher 144 are provided on the conveyor 124 downstream of the third sensor 148. The second holders 140, 142 enfold from the sides the circularized croissant dough 7 that is conveyed on the conveyor 124 (see Fig. 8-9). The shapes and material of the second holders 140, 142 are the same as, or similar to, those of the holders 110, 112. The second holders 140, 142 are moved by drivers 141, 143 to come close to, and separate from, one another. The movements of the second holders 140, 142 may be synchronous or non-synchronous. When the second holders 140, 142 come close to one another, they enfold the circularized croissant dough 7 from the sides.

    [0058] Based on the signal for detection generated by the third sensor 148, the croissant dough 7 that is conveyed by the conveyor 124 is controlled to stop at the working positions for the second holders 140, 142 and the second pusher 144. The working positions for the second holders 140, 142 and the second pusher 144 mean the positions where the croissant dough 7 is processed by the second holders 140, 142 and the second pusher 144. The positions to stop the croissant dough 7 can be precisely adjusted within the working positions for the second holders 140, 142 and the second pusher 144. That is, after the third sensor 148 detects the croissant dough 7, the distance to convey the croissant dough 7 before the conveyor 124 stops (if the conveyor conveys at a constant rate, the time from detecting the croissant dough to stopping the conveyor) can be adjusted.

    [0059] The second pusher 144 is vertically moved by a driver 145 so as to again vertically press the first and second ends 7a, 7b that are stuck together (see Fig. 8-10). The second pusher 144 is wider than the gap between the walls that are made of the face 114f of the first guide 114 and the face 116f of the second guide 116 (the length of the croissant dough 7 in the direction perpendicular to the direction for conveyance). For example, the second pusher 144 is formed to be wider in the direction perpendicular to the conveyance direction than in the conveyance direction. The second pusher 144 has a face for pressing the first and second ends 7a, 7b. That face is typically flat, but may be curved. The shape of that face is arbitrary, but in this embodiment is generally rectangular. The second pusher 144 is made of a material that does not deform or adhere to the croissant dough 7 when pressing the first end 7a and the second end 7b, and is typically made of metal. A hole for blowing air 146 is formed in the face for pressing the first end 7a and the second end 7b (see Fig. 8-11) to blow air that is supplied from an air source (not shown).

    [0060] For the second pusher 144 the time for pressing the first end 7a and the second end 7b and the travel to move downward to press them (that is, the height s2 from the conveying face of the conveyor 124 when the second pusher 144 is lowered [see Fig. 8-10]) are adjustable. By adjusting the time for the second pusher 144 to press the first end 7a and the second end 7b or the travel for the second pusher 144 to move downward for pressing them, or both, the degree (strength) to which the first end 7a and the second end 7b are stuck together can be regulated.

    [0061] Further, since the positions to stop the croissant dough 7 within the working positions for the second holders 140, 142 and the second pusher 144 can be precisely adjusted, the position for the second pusher 144 to press the first end 7a and the second end 7b is regulated. Since the position for the second pusher 144 to press them is regulated and the degree (strength) to which they are stuck together is also regulated, the length L5 of the ends that are stuck together can be regulated. Thus since the second pusher 144 presses the first end 7a and the second end 7b, the croissant dough as a whole becomes round. Further, the shape of the croissants after baking can be regulated, to thereby produce croissants in a desired shape.

    [0062] For example, the drivers 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 141, 143, 145 of the device for circularizing the croissant dough 100 may be direct-acting-type air cylinders. However, any other known driver may be used. The positions for driving and the strokes of these drivers can be regulated so as to follow the change of the size of the croissant dough to be shaped.

    [0063] Next, a system 1 for producing croissants that includes the device 10 for forming the croissant dough into a U-shape and the device 100 for circularizing the croissant dough will be discussed. Upstream of the device 10 for forming the croissant dough into a U-shape, the system 1 for producing croissants has a device for producing croissant dough, a device for flattening the croissant dough, a cutter for cutting the flattened croissant dough, and a device for rolling up the croissant dough. The device for producing croissant dough interfolds fat with dough that is produced by kneading raw materials to form "roll-in dough", which is a laminate of dough and fat, and folds the roll-in dough to produce the croissant dough. The device for flattening the croissant dough flattens the croissant dough into a thin sheet. The cutter for cutting the flattened croissant dough cuts the flattened croissant dough into triangular sheets. The device for rolling up the croissant dough rolls up the triangular croissant dough so that the centre is thick, but becomes less thick toward the ends. The system 1 for producing croissants may include conveyors to convey the croissant dough between these devices.

    [0064] The system 1 for producing croissants may include a part for turning over the croissant dough downstream of the device 100 for circularizing the croissant dough. The part for turning over the croissant dough turns over the circularized croissant dough 7 so that the upstream portion becomes downstream and vice versa. In the embodiment of Figs. 1 and 2, the conveyor 150, which is downstream of the conveyor 124, is positioned so that a step is formed between them. When the croissant dough 7 drops at that step, it is turned over so that the upstream portion becomes downstream and vice versa. The system 1 for producing croissants further includes a chamber for causing the croissant dough 7 to rise and an oven for baking the risen croissant dough 7 to finish the croissants.

    [0065] As the device for producing croissant dough, the device for flattening the croissant dough, the cutter for cutting the flattened croissant dough, the device for rolling up the cut croissant dough, the chamber for causing the croissant dough to rise, and the oven for baking the risen croissant dough may be known devices, detailed discussion of them is omitted. Further, combined devices, such as a device for producing and flattening croissant dough that is a combination of the device for producing croissant dough and the device for flattening the croissant dough, may be used. Further, not all of the devices need to be included. For example, if croissant dough that has been kneaded and folded is carried to the system, then the device for producing croissant dough need not be included.

    [0066] Next, a method for producing croissant dough by using the system 1 for producing croissants that includes the device 10 for forming the croissant dough into a U-shape and the device 100 for circularizing the croissant dough is discussed. Raw material for the croissant dough, such as flour, sugar, salt, butter, and yeast, are kneaded with water by a mixer to produce dough. The device for producing the croissant dough interfolds fat with sheet-like dough and folds the roll-in dough to produce croissant dough that is a laminate of the dough and the fat. The croissant dough is conveyed to the device for flattening the croissant dough, to be flattened into a thin sheet. Next, the cutter cuts out triangular sheets of the croissant dough from the flattened croissant dough. The device for rolling up the dough rolls up the triangular sheets of the croissant dough so that the centre is thick, but becomes less thick toward the ends. Specifically, the triangular sheet is rolled up from the base to the top of the triangle. The bar-shaped croissant dough 3 that has been rolled up is placed on the conveyor 22 as in Fig. 1 so that its longitudinal axis is perpendicular to the direction for conveyance.

    [0067] The croissant dough 3 that is conveyed by the conveyor 22 is transferred to the downstream conveyor 24. The croissant dough 3 is also conveyed on the conveyor 24 so that its longitudinal axis is perpendicular to the direction for conveyance. The water feeder 70 is provided on the conveyor 24. When the croissant dough 3 passes by the water feeder 70, the sponge 74 of the water feeder 70 contacts an end of the croissant dough 3 (the end that is the lower one in Fig. 1, which is the first end 5a at the later step) to apply water.

    [0068] The croissant dough 3, to a part of which water has been applied, is transferred to the downstream conveyor 26. The croissant dough 3 is also conveyed on the conveyor 26 so that its longitudinal axis is perpendicular to the conveyance direction. First the croissant dough 3 on the conveyor 26 is conveyed to the position under the belts 60 for pressing and rolling the croissant dough. Further, it is conveyed to the device 50 for grooving. There, two grooves 6 are made by the blades 52 on the thick portion that is rolled up.

    [0069] The croissant dough 3 that is grooved with grooves 6 contacts the belts 60. It is transported downstream by the conveyor 26 and the belts 60. The rate for the transportation of the belts 60 is less than that of the conveyor 26, or the direction for the transportation of the belts 60 is opposite to that of the conveyor 26. Thus, the croissant dough 3 is rolled about its longitudinal axis by about 90 degrees. As a result of this rolling, the grooves 6 on the croissant dough 3 face upstream.

    [0070] The first sensor for detecting the croissant dough 38 detects that the rolled croissant dough 3 is passing through a predetermined position. When the sensor 38 detects the croissant dough 3, a signal is sent to the controller (not shown) so that the controller generates a signal to timely activate the device 30 for the centre pin 32. Here, "timely" means the timing for the centre pin 32 to push the croissant dough 3 that is conveyed on the conveyor 26 before it reaches the side belts 40 so as to feed it to the side belts 40. The side belts 40 may be activated by a signal from the sensor 38.

    [0071] The croissant dough 3 is pushed by the centre pin 32 at its centre while being conveyed by the conveyor 26. Since the centre is pushed, the croissant dough 3 is formed into an arc where the centre advances downstream further than the ends. Since the grooves 6 are made in the upstream portion of the croissant dough 3, the croissant dough 3 is easily formed into an arc where the centre advances downstream further than the ends.

    [0072] The croissant dough 3 that is pushed by the centre pin 32 at the centre and that is deformed into an arc where the centre advances downstream further than the ends is fed to the space between the pair of side belts 40. There, the centre pin 32 moves upward by the rotation of the belt for the centre pin 34 and separates from the croissant dough 3. Since the arc-shaped croissant dough 3 moves into the space between the pair of side belts 40 that is narrower than the distance between the ends of the croissant dough 3, that distance narrows to equal the distance between the side belts 40, so that the croissant dough 3 becomes U-shaped. The U-shaped croissant dough 5 is conveyed by the conveyor 26 and the side belts 40 at the rate for conveyance V.

    [0073] The lengths L1, L2 of the legs of the U-shape of the U-shaped croissant dough 5 are measured by the sensor 48 (see Fig. 7). Alternatively, the distance L3 between the positions of the tips of the legs may be measured. Although the centre of the rolled up croissant dough 3 that has the thick centre is pushed by the centre pin 32 and both sides of it are enfolded by the side belts 40, the dough is not necessarily bent at the centre. Actually, it is often bent at a position slightly off centre, that is, with a deflection. Thus, based on the lengths of the legs as measured by the sensor 48 or the distance between the positions of the tips of the legs, the lengths of the legs are arranged to be the same, and without any deflection.

    [0074] Based on the lengths L1, L2 of the legs as measured by the sensor 48 or the distance L3 between the positions of the tips of the legs, the rates for transporting the respective legs Va, Vb by the side belts 40a, 40b are adjusted. As shown in Fig. 7(a) for example, if one leg (the lower one in the Figure) is longer, the rate Va for transporting that leg by the side belt 40a is increased to be faster than the rate for conveying the dough by the conveyor V. Thus the lengths of the legs L1e, L2e are made the same as shown in Fig. 7(b). Alternatively, the rate Vb for transporting the leg by the side belt 40b may be decreased to be slower than the rate for conveyance V. Since the contacting condition between the side belts 40 and the croissant dough 5 is less slippery than the contacting condition between the conveyor 26 and the croissant dough 5, the lengths of the legs can be regulated by adjusting the rates for transporting the legs by the side belts 40. Since the side belts 40 move so that the points on the side belts 40 that correspond to the tips of the respective legs come to the line that is perpendicular to the direction for conveyance of the conveyor 26 (that is, the rates Va, Vb of the side belts 40a, 40b are adjusted relatively), the lengths L1e, L2e are arranged to be the same. Thus, the lengths L1e, L2e are accurately and quickly arranged to be equal. The rate Va or Vb for transporting the leg by the side belts 40 is returned to the rate for conveyance V when the lengths L1e, L2e of the legs of the croissant dough 5 are the same. The croissant dough 5 is transferred to the downstream conveyor 122.

    [0075] The second sensor for detecting the croissant dough 138 detects that the croissant dough 5 with legs that have the same length is passing through a predetermined position. When the sensor 138 detects the croissant dough 5, a signal is sent to the controller (not shown). The controller generates a signal to timely stop the conveyor 122 and a signal to timely activate the principal part 102. Here, "timely" means timing for the croissant dough 5 to reach the working positions for the principal part 102.

    [0076] When the croissant dough 5 reaches the working positions for the principal part 102, the conveyor 122 stops so that the croissant dough 5 remains in the working positions for the principal part 102. Alternatively, the croissant dough 5 may be clamped by the holders 110 and 120 so that it is not conveyed, so as to remain in the working positions for the principal part 102. As a further alternative, the principal part 102 as a whole may be moved downstream at the same speed as that of the conveyor 122 so that the croissant dough is circularized.

    [0077] Below, with reference to Figs. 8-1 to 8-12, a method for circularizing the croissant dough 5 will be discussed in detail. First, as shown in Figs. 8-1 and 8-2, the first holders 110, 112 enfold the legs of the U-shaped croissant dough 5 from the sides to hold the croissant dough 5. Simultaneously, the first guide 114 for reducing the width moves toward the centre of the conveyor 122 so as to move the first end 5a of the croissant dough 5 to the centre of the U-shape. Since the holders 110, 112 hold the croissant dough 5 from the sides, the croissant dough 5 as a whole is not moved when the first end 5a is moved to the centre. In the embodiment as shown in Figs. 8-1 to 8-7, the holder 110 is integrated with the first guide 114 for reducing the width. By doing two things at the same time, that is, enfolding the croissant dough 5 from the sides by the holders 110, 112 and simultaneously moving the first end 5a to the centre by the first guide 114 for reducing the width, the working time can be reduced.

    [0078] The plate 118 that is placed on the conveyor 122 moves to the centre of the conveyor 122 so as to slip under the second end 5b. After the plate 118 slips under the second end 5b, the plate 118 and the second guide 116 for reducing the width move upward to lift the second end 5b. The height h to which the second end 5b is to be lifted is such that the lower face of the second end 5b is higher than the upper face of the first end 5a.

    [0079] After the second end 5b has been lifted, the second guide 116 for reducing the width moves on the plate 118 to the centre of the conveyor 122 as in Fig. 8-3. In doing this, the second guide 116 for reducing the width moves over the end of, or to the end of, the plate 118, near the centre. The second guide 116 for reducing the width moves the second end 5b to the centre of the U-shape. That is, the second end 5b is moved above the first end 5a. The second end 5b may be lifted before the first end 5a is moved to the centre.

    [0080] When the second end 5b has been moved to the centre, since the plate 118 does not support it, it is lowered to overlap the first end 5a. If the second end 5b is moved to the centre before the first end 5a, the first end 5a must be moved to the centre before the second end 5b is lowered to the height of the upper face of the first end 5a. The first end 5a and the second end 5b are the portions of the croissant dough 5 from the tips to the overlapped part. Though one of the tips overlaps the other in Fig. 8-3, the first end 5a and the second end 5b may cross, and so no tip may overlap the other one. The positions where the first guide 114 presses the first end 5a and the second guide 116 presses the second end 5b can be regulated by slightly adjusting the timing to stop the conveyor 122 after the sensor 138 detects the croissant dough 5, thus slightly adjusting the position where the conveyor 122 stops in relation to the principal part 102. As a result, the part where the first end 5a and the second end 5b overlap can be easily regulated.

    [0081] After the second end 5b has been moved to the centre, the plate 118 is lowered to the face of the conveyor 122 as in Fig. 8-4. The second guide for reducing the width 116 is also lowered by the same travel distance h. The overlapping second end 5b and first end 5a are wedged between the face 114f of the first guide 114 for moving the first end 5a and the face 116f of the second guide 116 for moving the second end 5b. That is, the face 114f and the face 116f act as walls for the first end 5a and the second end 5b, respectively.

    [0082] As shown in Fig. 8-5, the pusher 130 moves downward between the walls of the face 114f and the face 116f, to press the overlapping second end 5b and first end 5a so that they are stuck together. Since water has been applied to the first end 5a, they are easily stuck together. Further, since the walls 114f, 116f are provided on the sides of the first end 5a and the second end 5b, the croissant dough 5 does not spread laterally when it is pressed. Thus the portions that are pressed by the pusher 130 are securely stuck together. Specifically, the croissant dough 5 spreads between the walls 114f, 116f. However, since the gaps between the pusher 130 and the walls 114f, 116f are small, no substantial effect exists. By adjusting the time during which the pusher 130 presses the first end 5a and the second end 5b or the distance through which the pusher 130 is lowered (the distance s between the face of the pusher 130 for pressing and the conveying face of the conveyor 122), the degree (strength) to which the ends are stuck together can be regulated. Thus, the length of the overlapped legs of the croissants after baking can be changed. Further, by adjusting the position in the conveyance direction where the croissant dough 5 is stopped in relation to the pusher 130, the length L4 of the stuck legs (see Fig. 8-7) can be easily regulated. Thus the croissants after baking can be formed in a desired shape.

    [0083] After the pusher 130 has vertically pressed the first end 5a and the second end 5b, it blows air A through the hole for blowing air 136 as in Fig. 8-6. Since air A is blown, the pusher 130 is separated from the croissant dough 7. During or after blowing air A, the pusher 130 moves upward.

    [0084] After the first and second ends 7a, 7b have been pressed to be stuck together, the holders 110, 112, the first guide 114, the second guide 116, and the plate 118 retract as in Fig. 8-7. After the holders 110, 112, the first guide 114, the second guide 116, and the plate 118 have retracted, the conveyor 122 is reactivated so that the circularized croissant dough 7 with the ends stuck together is conveyed downstream.

    [0085] The circularized croissant dough 7 is transferred to the downstream conveyor 124. The third sensor 148 detects when the circularized croissant dough 7 is passing through a predetermined position. When the sensor 148 detects the croissant dough 7, a signal is sent to the controller. The controller sends a signal to timely stop the conveyor 124 and a signal to timely activate the second holders 140, 142. Here, "timely" means the timing for the croissant dough 7 to reach the working positions for the second holders 140, 142 and the second pusher 144.

    [0086] As shown in Fig. 8-8, when the croissant dough 7 reaches the working positions for the second holders 140, 142 and the second pusher 144, the conveyor 124 stops so that the croissant dough 7 remains in the working positions for the second holders 140, 142 and the second pusher 144. Alternatively, the croissant dough 7 may be clamped by the holders 140 and 142 so that it is not conveyed, so as to remain in the working position for the pusher 144. In a further alternative version, the second holders 140, 142 and the second pusher 144 as a whole may be moved downstream at the same speed as that of the conveyor 124, so that the ends of the croissant dough are stuck together while being conveyed downstream.

    [0087] As shown in Fig. 8-9, the second holders 140, 142 clamp from the sides the croissant dough 7, which remains in the working position, to hold it. After holding the croissant dough 7 by the second holders 140, 142, the ends 7a, 7b of the croissant dough 7 that are stuck together are again vertically pressed by the second pusher 144 as in Fig. 8-10. Since the second pusher 144 is wider than the pusher 130 (in the width direction of the conveyor 124), the portion to be stuck spreads out, so that the circularized croissant dough 7 as a whole is rounded. That is, the pusher 130 causes the first end 5a and the second end 5b to stick together mainly in the longitudinal direction (the conveyance direction), and the second pusher 144 has them stick together mainly in the width direction. By precisely adjusting the time to stop the conveyor 124 after the sensor 148 detects the croissant dough 7, the positions of the first and second ends 7a, 7b to be pressed can be easily regulated. In the embodiment of Figs. 8-9 and 8-10, the conveyor 124 is stopped so that the portion to be pressed by the pusher 144 overlaps part of the portion pressed by the pusher 130. The pusher 144 is vertically moved to press the first and second ends 7a, 7b. Thus the length L5 of the first and second ends 7a, 7b that are stuck together becomes long. By again pressing the first and second ends 7a, 7b by the second pusher 144, which is wide, the croissant dough 7 is rounded. Like the pressing by the pusher 130, by adjusting the time during which the second pusher 144 presses the first end 7a and the second end 7b, or the distance through which the second pusher 144 is lowered, that is, the distance s2 between the face of the second pusher 144 for pressing and the conveying face of the conveyor 124, or the position to be pressed by the second pusher 144, the length L5 of the first and second ends 7a, 7b that are stuck together can be regulated. Thus, the croissants after baking can be formed in a desired shape.

    [0088] After the second pusher 144 has vertically pressed the first and second ends 7a, 7b, it blows air A through the hole for blowing air 146 as in Fig. 8-11. Since the air A is blown, the second pusher 144 is separated from the croissant dough 7. During or after blowing air, A the second pusher 144 moves upward.

    [0089] After the first and second ends 7a, 7b have been pressed by the second pusher 144, the second holders 140, 142 retract as in Fig. 8-12. After the second holders 140, 142 have retracted, the conveyor 124 is reactivated so that the circularized and rounded croissant dough 7 is conveyed downstream.

    [0090] The discussion on the method for producing the croissants by using the system 1 for producing croissants is now continued. The circularized and rounded croissant dough 7 is transferred from the conveyor 124 to the conveyor 150. The conveying face of the conveyor 150 is lower than that of the conveyor 124 so that a vertical gap is provided between the conveyor 124 and the conveyor 150. The height of the gap is determined so that the croissant dough is turned over when it drops over the gap. That is, the two faces of the croissant dough 7 are altered. Thus the croissant dough 7 that is arranged on the conveyor 124 so that the thick portion is at the upstream side and the stuck ends 7a, 7b are at the downstream side is turned, and is placed on the conveyor 150 so that the stuck ends 7a, 7b are at the upstream side and the thick portion is at the downstream side, or vice versa. In the embodiment of Fig. 1, the end of the dough that is rolled up is directed from the inside toward the outside of the circularized croissant dough 7 in the device 100 for circularizing the croissant dough. If that croissant dough 7 is baked as it is, the surface of the end of the dough that is rolled up (upper face) of the croissant is directed toward the outside. Its appearance is not good. Thus the dough is turned over so that the end of the dough that is rolled up is directed toward the inside. Depending on the direction for rolling the croissant dough by a device for rolling dough, the end of the dough that is rolled up may be directed toward the inside of the circle. In this case, the croissant dough 7 is not turned over.

    [0091] The turned over croissant dough 7 is conveyed to the chamber for causing croissant dough to rise. The chamber for causing croissant dough to rise is heated at a temperature that is suitable for causing the croissant dough 7 to rise. In the chamber the croissant dough 7 is heated at a predetermined temperature for a predetermined time, to cause it to rise. As the croissant dough 7 rises, it becomes large. When it becomes large, a force tending to return its shape to a bar is generated. However, since the end 7b overlaps the end 7a and the ends have been vertically pressed to be stuck together, they do not easily separate, and so the circle is maintained. In fact, the croissant dough 7 also rises at room temperature, but rising at room temperature is slow. The degree of rising during the conveyance from the device for producing the croissant dough to the chamber for causing the croissant dough to rise is generally so little that assuming that the dough does not rise at room temperature causes no substantial problem. The croissant dough may be allowed to rise at room temperature for a long time without heating it in the chamber.

    [0092] The croissant dough that has risen in the chamber for causing the croissant dough to rise is conveyed to the oven for baking. In the oven, the risen croissant dough is baked to become finished croissants. The croissant dough is turned over when it is transferred from the conveyor 124 to the conveyor 150 so that the end of the rolled up dough is directed toward the inside, and it is baked. Thus the appearance of the baked croissants matches the common image of the croissants. The baked croissants are taken out from the oven to be sent to a following step, such as packing.

    [0093] As discussed above, in the system 1 for producing croissants, while being continuously conveyed by the conveyors 20, 120, 150 the rolled-up croissant dough 3 is formed into a U-shape, the lengths L1e, L2e of the legs of the U-shape are made the same, the croissant dough 5 is circularized to form the circularized croissant dough 7, and the circularized croissant dough 7 is caused to rise, and then baked. Thus the croissants are quickly produced, so that many croissants may be produced. Further, since the lengths of the legs of the U-shaped croissant dough 5 are the same, and the length of the overlapped portion of the ends 5a, 5b is easily regulated when the croissant dough 5 is circularized, and the length L4 of the stuck ends is easily regulated, croissants in a desired shape can be quickly and reliably produced. Further, since the end 5b of the croissant dough 5 overlaps the end 5a, and they are vertically pressed to be stuck together, the parts that are stuck together do not separate during rising. Thus the circularized shape is maintained. Further, since water may be applied to the parts 5a, 5b to be stuck together, they can be strongly stuck together.

    [0094] In the device 10 for forming the croissant dough into a U-shape or the method for forming the croissant dough into a U-shape as discussed above, the lengths L1, L2 of the legs of the U-shaped croissant dough 5 are arranged to be the same by adjusting the rates of the pair of side belts 40. Thus the lengths L1e, L2e of the legs are accurately and quickly made the same.

    [0095] Further, since the contacting condition between the pair of side belts 40 and the croissant dough 5 is less slippery than the contacting condition for conveying the croissant dough 5 by the conveyor 28, the lengths L1e, L2e of the legs can be easily arranged to be the same by adjusting the speed of each of the side belts 40.

    [0096] In the device 100 for circularizing the croissant dough or the method for circularizing the croissant dough as discussed above, the U-shaped croissant dough 5 that is being conveyed by the conveyor 122 is circularized quickly. Further, since the ends 5a, 5b of the croissant dough 5 overlap and are vertically pressed to be stuck together, the stuck ends 7a, 7b can only be separated from each other with difficulty. Thus, even when the croissant dough becomes large because it rises later, the circularized shape can still be maintained. That is, the croissant dough 7 is stably and reliably circularized.

    [0097] Further, since the holders 110, 112 enfold the legs of the U-shaped croissant dough 5 from the sides to move the ends 5a, 5b to the centre of the U-shape, the croissant dough 5 as a whole does not move, and so the ends 5a, 5b are reliably moved to the centre. Thus the croissant dough 7, or the croissants, are produced in a desired shape.

    [0098] Further, since the holder 110 and the first guide 114 for reducing the width are integrated so that the croissant dough 5 is enfolded from the sides by the holders 110, 112 at the same time as the first end 5a is moved to the centre by the first guide 114, the cost for the device can be reduced, the reliability of the device is increased, and the croissant dough 7 is quickly circularized.

    [0099] Further, since the sensor 138 detects the croissant dough 5 that is being conveyed by the conveyor 122 and the conveyor 122 is stopped while the position to stop is adjusted so that the principal part 102 is activated, the length L4 of the overlapping portion of the first end 5a and the second end 5b is regulated to form the croissant dough 5 in a desired shape.

    [0100] Further, since the time for the pusher 130 to press the first end 5a and the second end 5b and the height of the pusher 130 to be lowered for pressing them are adjustable, the degree (strength) to which the first and second ends 7a, 7b are stuck together is regulated. Thus, croissants in a desired shape after baking can be produced.

    [0101] Further, since the walls that consist of the face 114f of the first guide 114 that moves the first end 5a and the face 116f of the second guide 116 that moves the second end 5b are provided for the overlapping ends 5a, 5b, and the pusher 130 presses the ends 5a, 5b between the walls, the ends 5a, 5b do not spread, and so can be securely stuck together.

    [0102] Further, since the stuck ends 7a, 7b are vertically pressed by the second pusher 144, which is wide, the circularized croissant dough 7 is rounded. Thus the croissant dough 7, or the croissants, are produced in a desired shape.

    [0103] Further, since the hole for blowing air 136 is formed in the pusher 130 so that air A is blown after the pusher 130 presses the ends 5a, 5b, the pusher 130 is separated from the stuck ends 7a, 7b by means of the air A. Thus, the shape of the stuck ends 7a, 7b is not changed by the upward motion of the pusher 130.

    [0104] Further, by adjusting the time for the pusher 130 to press the first end 5a and the second end 5b and the height of the pusher 130 to be lowered, the degree (strength) to which the ends 7a, 7b are stuck together can be adjusted so that the length of the overlapped portion of the product (baked croissants) is changed. By adjusting the position to stop the croissant dough 5 in the direction for conveyance in relation to the pusher 130, the length L4 of the stuck legs (see Fig. 8-7) can be easily regulated. That is, the croissant dough 7, or the croissants, are produced in a desired shape.

    [0105] Though the device 10 for forming the croissant dough into a U-shape is explained to show that it feeds the U-shaped croissant dough 5 that has legs with the same length to the device 100 for circularizing the croissant dough, it may feed the U-shaped croissant dough 5 to a device other than the device 100 for circularizing the croissant dough, such as a device for pinching dough parts as in U.S. Patent Application No. 2011/0097467. It may form bar-shaped dough with a thick centre, but not the croissant dough 5, to be in a U-shape, and may arrange the legs to have the same length.

    [0106] Further, though the pair of side belts 40 in this embodiment form the croissant dough 3 that is fed by the device 30 for the centre pin into a U-shape and arrange the legs to have the same length, the side belts 40 may be used for arranging the legs of croissant dough to have the same length, which croissant dough is preliminarily formed into a U-shape without using the device 30 for the centre pin.

    [0107] Though the device 100 for circularizing the croissant dough circularizes the croissant dough 5 that is formed into a U-shape by the device 10 for forming the croissant dough into a U-shape, the U-shaped croissant dough 5 may be supplied from a device other than the device 10 for forming the croissant dough into a U-shape.

    [0108] Further, though the device 100 for circularizing the croissant dough comprises the holders 110, 112 to enfold the croissant dough 5 from the sides, it may be comprise no holders 110, 112 to enfold the croissant dough 5 from the sides, and may move the ends 5a, 5b toward the centre.

    [0109] Further, though the device 100 for circularizing the croissant dough has walls provided by the face 114f of the first guide 114 for reducing the width and the face 116f of the second guide 116 for reducing the width so that the pusher 130 presses the ends 5a, 5b between the walls, the pusher 130 may press the ends 5a, 5b without the walls being provided.

    [0110] Further, though the device 100 for circularizing the croissant dough comprises the second pusher 144 and its related structures, it may comprise neither the second pusher 144 nor the related structures. Further, though the second holders 140, 142 enfold the croissant dough 7 from the sides so that the second pusher 144 presses the ends 7a, 7b, it may comprise no second holders 140, 142, and the second pusher 144 may press the ends 7a, 7b without enfolding the croissant dough 7 from the sides.

    [0111] Further, in the device 100 for circularizing the croissant dough, the plate 118 may not lift the second end 5b. The second guide for reducing the width 116 may not move vertically. In this case, the first end 5a and the second end 5b are vertically pressed by the pusher 130 when they form a row in the width direction, and one end does not overlap the other end. Thus they are stuck together, but the degree to which they are stuck together is low. Therefore, when the croissant dough has risen or has been baked, they may become unstuck so that the croissant dough is in a C-shape, not in a circle. If C-shaped or crescent-shaped croissants are to be produced, the device 100 for circularizing the croissant dough may be used by not vertically moving the plate 118 and the second guide for reducing the width 116.

    [0112] In the device 100 for circularizing the croissant dough, if neither the plate 118 nor the second guide 116 for reducing the width is vertically moved, the first end 5a and the second end 5b that are moved to the centre of the U-shape may not be vertically pressed by the pusher 130. The croissant dough may tend to be a bar when it has risen or has been baked. However, depending on the elasticity of the croissant dough, or on the degree to which it becomes large while being caused to rise, or on the required shape of the croissants as products, the croissant dough may be caused to rise and be baked without sticking the first end 5a and the second end 5b together.

    [0113] Though the system 1 for producing croissants comprises the water feeder 70 to apply water to the part of the ends 5a, 5b to be stuck together, it may comprise no water feeder 70, and water may not be applied to the part to be stuck to the other part.

    [0114] Though the croissant dough that is formed by the side belts 40 and the principal part 102 and by the second holders 140, 142 and the second pusher 144 has its legs positioned in the upstream side of the central portion, it may instead be formed so that the legs are positioned in the downstream side of the central portion, and the devices may be configured to fit that positioning. In this case, the croissant dough is preliminarily formed into a U-shape to be fed to the side belts 40. For example, the apparatus disclosed by EP 1132003 may be used for the device for forming the croissant dough into a U-shape.


    Claims

    1. A device (100) for circularizing croissant dough that circularizes rolled-up croissant dough (5) that has been bent at a centre to be formed into a U-shape and is conveyed by a conveyor (120), the device comprising:

    a first guide (114) for reducing a width that is adapted to move a first end (5a) of the U-shaped croissant dough (5) toward a centre of the U-shape; and

    a pusher (130) that is adapted to vertically press the first end (5a) and a second end (5b) that are moved to the centre of the U-shape so as to stick one to the other;

    characterized in that the device further comprises:

    a plate (118) that is adapted to be inserted under the second end (5b) of the U-shaped croissant dough (5) and to lift a lower face of the second end (5b) above an upper face of the first end (5a); and

    a second guide (116) for reducing the width that is adapted to slide on the plate (118) to move the lifted second end (5b) toward the centre of the U-shape.


     
    2. The device for circularizing croissant dough of claim 1 further comprising:
    a pair of holders (110, 112) that are adapted to enfold the U-shaped croissant dough (5) from both sides.
     
    3. The device for circularizing croissant dough of claim 2, wherein a holder (110) of the pair of holders (110, 112), which holder is positioned near the first end (5a), is integrated with the first guide (114) for reducing the width so that the U-shaped croissant dough (5) is enfolded by the pair of holders (110, 112) at the same time as the first end (5a) is moved to the centre of the U-shape by the first guide (114) for reducing the width.
     
    4. The device for circularizing croissant dough of any of claims 1, 2, and 3, further comprising:

    a conveyor (122) for conveying the U-shaped croissant dough (5) to working positions for the first guide (114) for reducing the width, the plate (118), the second guide (116) for reducing the width, and the pusher (130); and

    a sensor (138) for detecting the croissant dough that detects the U-shaped croissant dough (5), to thereby generate a signal;

    wherein the conveyor (122) is stopped based on a signal from the sensor (138) for detecting the croissant dough, and wherein the timing of stopping the conveyor (122) is adjustable.


     
    5. The device for circularizing croissant dough of any of claims 1 to 4, wherein the timing of vertically pressing the first end (5a) and the second end together (5b) by the pusher (130) or the distance by which the pusher (130) is lowered to press the first end (5a) and the second end (5b) together, or both, is adjustable.
     
    6. The device for circularizing croissant dough of any of claims 1 to 5,
    wherein the first guide (114) for reducing the width has a face (114f) for moving the first end (5a),
    wherein the second guide (116) for reducing the width has a face (116f) for moving the second end (5b),
    wherein after the second end (5b) is moved to the centre of the U-shape the plate (118) returns to the level that it was at before moving upward,
    wherein the second guide (116) for reducing the width moves downward by the distance as the distance that the plate (118) moves when it returns to the level that it was at before moving upward,
    wherein the face (114f) for moving the first end (5a) and the face (116f) for moving the second end (5b) may form walls on both sides of the first end (5a) and the second end (5b) that are moved to the centre of the U-shape, and
    wherein the pusher (130) is adapted to vertically press the first end (5a) and the second end (5b) between the walls.
     
    7. The device for circularizing croissant dough of claim 6, further comprising:
    a second pusher (144) that is wider than a distance between the walls and is adapted to further press the first and second ends (5a, b) that have been vertically pressed by the pusher (130) to be stuck together.
     
    8. A system for producing croissants comprising:

    devices (100) for circularizing croissant dough of any of claims 1 to 7; and

    a device (10) for forming croissant dough into a U-shape that supplies the U-shaped croissant dough (5) to the devices (100) for circularizing the croissant dough, the device (10) for forming croissant dough into a U-shape comprising:

    a conveyor (20) adapted to convey rolled-up croissant dough (3) arranged so that a longitudinal direction of the croissant dough (3) is perpendicular to a conveying direction;

    a pair of side belts (40), wherein one side belt is provided on each side of the conveyor (20), and wherein the pair of side belts are adapted to contact respective legs of the U-shaped croissant dough (5) to transport the croissant dough (5) in the conveying direction;

    a centre pin (32) that is adapted to push a centre of a length of the croissant dough (3) that is conveyed by the conveyor (20) in the conveying direction so as to feed the croissant dough (3) to the pair of side belts (40); and

    a sensor (48) that is adapted to measure the lengths (L1, L2) of, or a distance (L3) between ends of, the legs of the U-shape;

    wherein the device (10) is adapted to adjust the rates (Va, Vb) for transporting the U-shaped croissant dough (3) by the side belts (40a, 40b) of the pair of side belts (40), based on the lengths (L1, L2) of the legs of the U-shape or the distance (L3) between the ends of the legs of the U-shape measured by the sensor (48), to make the legs (L1e, L2e) of the U-shape have the same length.


     
    9. The system for producing croissants of claim 8, wherein in the device (10) for forming croissant dough into a U-shape, a contacting condition between the pair of side belts (40) and the croissant dough (3, 5) is less slippery than a contacting condition between the conveyor (20) and the croissant dough (3, 5).
     
    10. A method for circularizing croissant dough that circularizes rolled-up croissant dough (5) that is formed into a U-shape by being bent at a centre of a length, comprising the steps of:

    carrying U-shaped croissant dough (3) to a position for circularizing the croissant dough (5) by conveying the croissant dough in a predetermined direction; and

    moving a first end (5a) of the conveyed croissant dough (3) to a centre of the U-shape;

    characterized in that the method uses a device of any of claims 1 to 7 and includes the further steps of:

    lifting a second end (5b) of the conveyed croissant dough (3) so that a lower face of the second end (5b) is above an upper face of the first end (5a), and moving the second end (5b) to the centre of the U-shape; and

    vertically pressing and sticking together the first end (5a) and the second end (5b) that have been moved to the centre.


     
    11. The method for circularizing croissant dough of claim 10, further comprising the step of:
    enfolding the conveyed croissant dough (3) from both sides of the U-shape.
     
    12. The method for circularizing croissant dough of claim 10 or 11, wherein at the steps of vertically pressing and sticking the first end (5a) to the second end (5b), walls (114f, 116f) are used for preventing the first end (5a) and the second end (5b) that have been moved to the centre from spreading toward the sides of the U-shape.
     
    13. The method for circularizing croissant dough of claim 12, further comprising the step of:
    again vertically pressing, over a width that is greater than the distance between the walls (114f, 116f) at the step of pressing, the first and second ends (7a, 7b) that have been stuck together at the step of sticking.
     
    14. The method for circularizing croissant dough of any of claims 10 to 13, wherein a length of legs of the first and second ends (7a, 7b) to be stuck together at the step of sticking is regulated.
     
    15. The method for circularizing croissant dough of claim 14, wherein the length (L4) of the first and second ends (7a, 7b) to be stuck together is regulated by adjusting a position so that the first end (5a) is pressed so that it is moved to the centre of the U-shape and a position so that the second end (5b) is pressed so that it is moved to the centre of the U-shape.
     
    16. The method for circularizing croissant dough of any of claims 10 to 15, wherein at the step of sticking the first end (5a) to the second end (5b), a duration of vertically pressing the first end (5a) to the second end (5b) is adjusted, or a distance of travel to vertically press the first end (5a) and the second end (5b) so that the first end (5a) and the second end (5b) are stuck together is adjusted, or both are adjusted.
     
    17. A method for producing croissants, the method comprising:

    a method for forming croissant dough into a U-shape, and

    the method for circularizing the croissant dough of any of claims 10 to 16, which croissant dough has been formed into a U-shape by the said method for forming croissant dough into a U-shape,

    the said method for forming croissant dough into a U-shape comprising the steps of:

    conveying rolled-up croissant dough (3) that is placed so that a longitudinal direction of the croissant dough is perpendicular to the conveying direction;

    pushing a centre of a length of the croissant dough (3) in the conveying direction during the conveying step;

    contacting the pushed croissant dough (3) from both longitudinal ends to form the croissant dough into a U-shape and to transport both legs of the U-shape in the conveying direction during the conveying step; and

    measuring lengths (L1, L2) of the legs of the U-shape or a distance (L3) between ends of the legs of the U-shaped croissant dough (5) during the conveying step;

    and adjusting rates (Va, Vb) for transporting both legs in the conveying direction during the step of transporting both legs of the U-shape, based on the measured lengths (L1, L2) of the legs of the U-shape or the measured distance (L3) between the ends of the legs, so as to make the legs (L1e, L2e) of the U-shape have the same length.


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Vorrichtung (100) zum Zirkularisieren von Croissantteig, die aufgerollten Croissantteig (5) zirkularisiert, der in einer Mitte gebogen wurde, um eine U-Form zu formen, und von einer Fördereinrichtung (120) gefördert wird, wobei die Vorrichtung umfasst:

    eine erste Führung (114) zum Reduzieren einer Breite, die ausgelegt ist, ein erstes Ende (5a) des U-förmigen Croissantteigs (5) zu einer Mitte der U-Form zu bewegen; und

    einen Schieber (130), der ausgelegt ist, das erste Ende (5a) und ein zweites Ende (5b) vertikal zusammenzudrücken, die in Richtung einer Mitte der U-Form bewegt werden, um aneinander zu kleben;

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Vorrichtung weiterhin umfasst:

    eine Platte (118), die ausgelegt ist, unter das zweite Ende (5b) des U-förmigen Croissantteigs (5) eingeführt zu werden und eine untere Fläche des zweiten Endes (5b) über eine obere Fläche des ersten Endes (5a) anzuheben; und

    eine zweite Führung (116) zum Reduzieren der Breite, die ausgelegt ist, auf der Platte (118) zu gleiten, um das angehobene zweite Ende (5b) in Richtung der Mitte der U-Form zu bewegen.


     
    2. Vorrichtung zum Zirkularisieren von Croissantteig nach Anspruch 1, weiterhin umfassend:
    ein Paar von Haltern (110, 112), die ausgelegt sind, den U-förmigen Croissantteig (5) von beiden Seiten einzuhüllen.
     
    3. Vorrichtung zum Zirkularisieren von Croissantteig nach Anspruch 2, wobei ein Halter (110) des Paars von Haltern (110, 112), der in der Nähe des ersten Endes (5a) positioniert ist, mit der ersten Führung (114) zum Reduzieren der Breite integriert ist, so dass der U-förmige Croissantteig (5) von dem Paar von Haltern (110, 112) eingehüllt wird, während das erste Ende (5a) zum Reduzieren der Breite von der ersten Führung (114) zu der Mitte der U-Form bewegt wird.
     
    4. Vorrichtung zum Zirkularisieren von Croissantteig nach einem der Ansprüche 1, 2 und 3, weiterhin umfassend:

    eine Fördereinrichtung (122) zum Fördern des U-förmigen Croissantteigs (5) in Arbeitspositionen für die erste Führung (114) zum Reduzieren der Breite, die Platte (118), die zweite Führung (116) zum Reduzieren der Breite und den Schieber (130); und

    einen Sensor (138) zum Erkennen des Croissantteigs, der den U-förmigen Croissantteig (5) erkennt, um dadurch ein Signal zu erzeugen;

    wobei die Fördereinrichtung (122) basierend auf einem Signal von dem Sensor (138) zum Erkennen des Croissantteigs angehalten wird und wobei der Zeitpunkt zum Anhalten der Fördereinrichtung (122) einstellbar ist.


     
    5. Vorrichtung zum Zirkularisieren von Croissantteig nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4, wobei der Zeitpunkt des vertikalen Zusammendrückens des ersten Endes (5a) und des zweiten Endes (5b) durch den Schieber (130) oder der Abstand, um den der Schieber (130) abgesenkt wird, um das erste Ende (5a) und das zweite Ende (5b) zusammenzudrücken, oder beide, einstellbar ist.
     
    6. Vorrichtung zum Zirkularisieren von Croissantteig nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5,
    wobei die erste Führung (114) zum Reduzieren der Breite eine Fläche (114f) zum Bewegen des ersten Endes (5a) aufweist,
    wobei die zweite Führung (116) zum Reduzieren der Breite eine Fläche (116f) zum Bewegen des zweiten Endes (5b) aufweist,
    wobei, nachdem das zweite Ende (5b) zu der Mitte der U-Form bewegt ist, die Platte (118) auf das Niveau zurückkehrt, auf dem sie sich vor dem Aufwärtsbewegen befand,
    wobei sich die zweite Führung (116) zum Reduzieren der Breite um den Abstand nach unten bewegt, wie der Abstand, um den sich die Platte (118) bewegt, wenn sie auf das Niveau zurückkehrt, auf dem sie sich vor dem Aufwärtsbewegen befand,
    wobei die Fläche (114f) zum Bewegen des ersten Endes (5a) und die Fläche (116f) zum Bewegen des zweiten Endes (5b) Wände auf beiden Seiten des ersten Endes (5a) und des zweiten Endes (5b) bilden können, die zu der Mitte der U-Form bewegt werden, und
    wobei der Schieber (130) ausgelegt ist, das erste Ende (5a) und das zweite Ende (5b) vertikal zwischen die Wände zusammenzudrücken.
     
    7. Vorrichtung zum Zirkularisieren von Croissantteig nach Anspruch 6, weiterhin umfassend:
    einen zweiten Schieber (144), der breiter als ein Abstand zwischen den Wänden ist und ausgelegt ist, das erste und das zweite Ende (5a, b), die vertikal von dem Schieber (130) zusammengedrückt wurden, weiter zusammenzudrücken, sodass sie aneinanderkleben.
     
    8. System zum Herstellen von Croissants, umfassend:

    Vorrichtungen (100) zum Zirkularisieren von Croissantteig nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7; und

    eine Vorrichtung (10) zum Formen von Croissantteig in eine U-Form, die den U-förmigen Croissantteig (5) den Vorrichtungen (100) zum Zirkularisieren des Croissantteigs zuführt, wobei die Vorrichtung (10) zum Formen eines Croissantteigs in eine U-Form umfasst:

    eine Fördereinrichtung (20), die ausgelegt ist zum Fördern von aufgerolltem Croissantteig (3), der derart angeordnet ist, dass eine Längsrichtung des Croissantteigs (3) senkrecht zu einer Förderrichtung ist;

    ein Paar von Seitenbändern (40), wobei auf jeder Seite der Fördereinrichtung (20) ein Seitenband bereitgestellt ist und wobei das Paar von Seitenbändern ausgelegt ist, jeweilige Schenkel des U-förmigen Croissantteigs (5) zu kontaktieren, um den Croissantteig (5) in der Förderrichtung zu transportieren;

    einen Mittelstift (32), der ausgelegt ist, eine Mitte einer Länge des Croissantteigs (3), der von der Fördereinrichtung (20) in der Förderrichtung gefördert wird, derart zu schieben, dass der Croissantteig (3) dem Paar von Seitenbändern (40) zugeführt wird; und

    einen Sensor (48), der ausgelegt ist, die Längen (L1, L2) von oder einen Abstand (L3) zwischen den Enden der Schenkel der U-Form zu messen;

    wobei die Vorrichtung (10) ausgelegt ist, die Raten (Va, Vb) zum Transportieren des U-förmigen Croissantteigs (3) von den Seitenbändern (40a, 40b) des Paares von Seitenbändern(40) basierend auf den Längen (L1, L2) der Schenkel der U-Form oder dem Abstand (L3) zwischen den Enden der Schenkel der U-Form, der vom Sensor (48) gemessen wird, um zu bewirken, dass die Schenkel (L1e, L2e) der U-Form die gleiche Länge aufweisen.


     
    9. System zum Herstellen von Croissants nach Anspruch 8, wobei in der Vorrichtung (10) zum Formen von Croissantteig in eine U-Form eine Kontaktbedingung zwischen dem Paar von Seitenbändern (40) und dem Croissantteig (3, 5) weniger rutschig als eine Kontaktbedingung zwischen der Fördereinrichtung (20) und dem Croissantteig (3, 5) ist.
     
    10. Verfahren zum Zirkularisieren von Croissantteig, das aufgerollten Croissantteig (5) zirkularisiert, der durch Biegen in der Mitte einer Länge in eine U-Form gebracht wird, umfassend die Schritte:

    Tragen des U-förmigen Croissantteigs (3) zu einer Position zum Zirkulieren des Croissantteigs (5) durch Fördern des Croissantteigs in eine vorbestimmte Richtung; und

    Bewegen eines ersten Endes (5a) des geförderten Croissantteigs (3) zu einer Mitte der U-Form;

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Verfahren eine Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7 verwendet und die folgenden weiteren Schritte einschließt:

    Anheben eines zweiten Endes (5b) des geförderten Croissantteigs (3), so dass eine untere Fläche des zweiten Endes (5b) über einer oberen Fläche des ersten Endes (5a) liegt, und Bewegen des zweiten Endes (5b) zu der Mitte der U-Form; und

    vertikales Zusammendrücken und Aneinanderkleben des ersten Endes (5a) und des zweiten Endes (5b), die zu der Mitte bewegt wurden.


     
    11. Verfahren zum Zirkularisieren von Croissantteig nach Anspruch 10, weiterhin umfassend den Schritt des:
    Einhüllens des geförderten Croissantteigs (3) von beiden Seiten der U-Form.
     
    12. Verfahren zum Zirkularisieren von Croissantteig nach Anspruch 10 oder 11, wobei in den Schritten des vertikalen Zusammendrückens und Aneinanderklebens des ersten Endes (5a) an dem zweiten Ende (5b) Wände (114f, 116f) verwendet werden, um zu verhindern, dass sich das erste Ende (5a) und das zweite Ende (5b), die zu der Mitte bewegt wurden, in Richtung der Seiten der U-Form ausbreiten.
     
    13. Verfahren zum Zirkularisieren von Croissantteig nach Anspruch 12, weiterhin umfassend den Schritt des:
    erneuten vertikalen Zusammendrückens, über eine Breite, die größer ist als der Abstand zwischen den Wänden (114f, 116f) in dem Schritt des Zusammendrückens, des ersten und des zweiten Endes (7a, 7b), die in dem Schritt des Aneinanderklebens aneinandergeklebt wurden.
     
    14. Verfahren zum Zirkularisieren von Croissantteig nach einem der Ansprüche 10 bis 13, wobei eine Länge der Schenkel des ersten und des zweiten Endes (7a, 7b), die in dem Schritt des Aneinanderklebens aneinandergeklebt werden sollen, reguliert wird.
     
    15. Verfahren zum Zirkulieren von Croissantteig nach Anspruch 14, wobei die Länge (L4) des ersten und des zweiten Endes (7a, 7b), die aneinander geklebt werden sollen, durch Einstellen einer Position reguliert wird, so dass das erste Ende (5a) derart zusammengedrückt wird, dass es zu der Mitte der U-Form bewegt wird, und einer Position, so dass das zweite Ende (5b) derart zusammengedrückt wird, dass es zu der Mitte der U-Form bewegt wird.
     
    16. Verfahren zum Zirkularisieren von Croissantteig nach einem der Ansprüche 10 bis 15, wobei in dem Schritt des Klebens des ersten Endes (5a) an das zweite Ende (5b) eine Dauer des vertikalen Drückens des ersten Endes (5a) an das zweite Ende (5b) eingestellt wird, oder ein Bewegungsabstand zum vertikalen Zusammendrücken des ersten Endes (5a) und des zweiten Endes (5b), so dass das erste Ende (5a) und das zweite Ende (5b) aneinanderkleben, eingestellt wird, oder beide eingestellt werden.
     
    17. Verfahren zum Herstellen von Croissants, wobei das Verfahren umfasst:

    ein Verfahren zum Formen von Croissantteig in eine U-Form, und

    das Verfahren zum Zirkulieren des Croissantteigs nach einem der Ansprüche 10 bis 16, wobei der Croissantteig durch das Verfahren zum Formen von Croissantteig in eine U-Form geformt wurde,

    wobei das Verfahren zum Formen von Croissantteig in eine U-Form die Schritte umfasst:

    Fördern von aufgerolltem Croissantteig (3), der derart angeordnet ist, dass eine Längsrichtung des Croissantteigs senkrecht zu der Förderrichtung ist;

    Schieben einer Mitte einer Länge des Croissantteigs (3) in der Förderrichtung während des Förderschrittes;

    Kontaktieren des geschobenen Croissantteigs (3) von beiden Längsenden, um den Croissantteig in eine U-Form zu formen und beide Schenkel der U-Form in der Förderrichtung während des Förderschrittes zu transportieren; und

    Messen von Längen (L1, L2) der Schenkel der U-Form oder eines Abstands (L3) zwischen den Enden der Schenkel des U-förmigen Croissantteigs (5) während des Förderschrittes;

    und Einstellen von Raten (Va, Vb) zum Transportieren beider Schenkel in der Förderrichtung während des Transportschrittes beider Schenkel der U-Form, basierend auf den gemessenen Längen (L1, L2) der Schenkel der U-Form oder dem gemessenen Abstand (L3) zwischen den Enden der Schenkel, um zu bewirken, dass die Schenkel (L1e, L2e) der U-Form die gleiche Länge aufweisen.


     


    Revendications

    1. Dispositif (100) de circularisation de pâte feuilletée qui circularise de la pâte feuilletée enroulée (5) qui a été pliée au niveau d'un centre de manière à former une forme en U et est acheminée par un tapis roulant (120), le dispositif comprenant :

    un premier guide (114) destiné à réduire une largeur qui est adaptée pour déplacer une première extrémité (5a) de la pâte feuilletée en forme de U (5) vers un centre de la forme en U ; et

    un poussoir (130) qui est adapté pour presser verticalement la première extrémité (5a) et une seconde extrémité (5b) qui sont déplacées vers le centre de la forme en U de manière à coller l'une à l'autre ;

    caractérisé en ce que le dispositif comprend en outre :

    une plaque (118) qui est adaptée pour être insérée sous la seconde extrémité (5b) de la pâte feuilletée en forme de U (5) et pour soulever une face inférieure de la seconde extrémité (5b) au-dessus d'une face supérieure de la première extrémité (5a) ; et

    un second guide (116) destiné à réduire la largeur qui est adapté pour glisser sur la plaque (118) de manière à déplacer la seconde extrémité soulevée (5b) vers le centre de la forme en U.


     
    2. Dispositif de circularisation de pâte feuilletée selon la revendication 1 comprenant en outre :
    une paire d'éléments de retenue (110, 112) qui est adaptée pour envelopper la pâte feuilletée en forme de U (5) à partir des deux côtés.
     
    3. Dispositif de circularisation de pâte feuilletée selon la revendication 2, dans lequel un dispositif de retenue (110) de la paire de dispositifs de retenue (110, 112), lequel dispositif de retenue est positionné à proximité de la première extrémité (5a), est intégré au premier guide (114) pour réduire la largeur de sorte que la pâte feuilletée en forme de U (5) est enveloppée par la paire de dispositifs de retenue (110, 112) en même temps que la première extrémité (5a) est déplacée vers le centre de la forme en U par le premier guide (114) pour réduire la largeur.
     
    4. Dispositif de circularisation de pâte feuilletée selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1, 2 et 3, comprenant en outre :

    un tapis roulant (122) destiné à acheminer la pâte feuilletée en forme de U (5) aux postes de travail du premier guide (114) pour réduire la largeur, la plaque (118), le second guide (116) pour réduire la largeur, et le poussoir (130) ; et

    un capteur (138) destiné à détecter la pâte feuilletée qui détecte la pâte feuilletée en forme de U (5), pour générer ainsi un signal ;

    dans lequel le tapis roulant (122) est arrêté en fonction d'un signal provenant du capteur (138) pour détecter la pâte feuilletée, et dans lequel le moment de l'arrêt du tapis roulant (122) est réglable.


     
    5. Dispositif de circularisation de pâte feuilletée selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 4, dans lequel le moment de pression verticale de la première extrémité (5a) et de la seconde extrémité ensemble (5b) par le poussoir (130) ou la distance à laquelle le poussoir (130) est abaissé pour presser la première extrémité (5a) et la seconde extrémité (5b) ensemble, ou les deux, est réglable.
     
    6. Dispositif de circularisation de pâte feuilletée selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 5,
    dans lequel le premier guide (114) destiné à réduire la largeur présente une face (114f) permettant de déplacer la première extrémité (5a),
    dans lequel le second guide (116) destiné à réduire la largeur présente une face (116f) permettant de déplacer la seconde extrémité (5b),
    dans lequel après le déplacement de la seconde extrémité (5b) vers le centre de la forme en U, la plaque (118) retourne au niveau auquel elle se trouvait avant le déplacement vers le haut,
    dans lequel le second guide (116) destiné à réduire la largeur se déplace vers le bas de la distance à laquelle la plaque (118) se déplace lorsqu'elle retourne au niveau auquel elle se trouvait avant le déplacement vers le haut,
    dans lequel la face (114f) destinée à déplacer la première extrémité (5a) et la face (116f) destinée à déplacer la seconde extrémité (5b) peuvent former des parois des deux côtés de la première extrémité (5a) et de la seconde extrémité (5b) qui sont déplacées vers le centre de la forme en U, et
    dans lequel le poussoir (130) est adapté pour presser verticalement la première extrémité (5a) et la seconde extrémité (5b) entre les parois.
     
    7. Dispositif de circularisation de pâte feuilletée selon la revendication 6, comprenant en outre :
    un second poussoir (144) qui est plus large qu'une distance entre les parois et qui est adapté pour presser en outre les première et seconde extrémités (5a, b) qui ont été pressées verticalement par le poussoir (130) pour être collées ensemble.
     
    8. Système de production de croissants comprenant :

    des dispositifs (100) de circularisation de pâte feuilletée selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7 ; et

    un dispositif (10) de formation de pâte feuilletée en forme de U qui fournit la pâte feuilletée en forme de U (5) aux dispositifs (100) de circularisation de pâte feuilletée, le dispositif (10) de formation de pâte feuilletée en forme de U comprenant :

    un tapis roulant (20) adapté pour acheminer la pâte feuilletée enroulée (3), est agencé de sorte qu'une direction longitudinale de la pâte feuilletée (3) est perpendiculaire à la direction d'acheminement ;

    une paire de courroies latérales (40), dans laquelle une courroie latérale est disposée sur chaque côté du tapis roulant (20), et dans laquelle la paire de courroies latérales est adaptée pour entrer en contact avec les branches respectives de la pâte feuilletée en forme de U (5) pour transporter la pâte feuilletée (5) dans la direction d'acheminement ;

    une tige centrale (32) qui est adaptée pour pousser un centre d'une longueur de la pâte feuilletée (3) qui est acheminée par le tapis roulant (20) dans la direction d'acheminement de manière à alimenter la pâte feuilletée (3) par rapport à la paire de courroies latérales (40) ; et

    un capteur (48) qui est adapté pour mesurer les longueurs (L1, L2) des, ou une distance (L3) entre les extrémités des, branches de la forme en U ;

    dans lequel le dispositif (10) est adapté pour régler les vitesses (Va, Vb) de transport de la pâte feuilletée en forme de U (3) par les courroies latérales (40a, 40b) de la paire de courroies latérales (40), en fonction des longueurs (L1, L2) des branches de la forme en U ou de la distance (L3) entre les extrémités des branches de la forme en U mesurée par le capteur (48), pour faire en sorte que les branches (L1e, L2e) de la forme en U soient de même longueur.


     
    9. Système de production de croissants selon la revendication 8, dans lequel dans le dispositif (10) de formation de pâte feuilletée en forme de U, une condition de mise en contact entre la paire de courroies latérales (40) et la pâte feuilletée (3, 5) est moins glissante qu'une condition de mise en contact entre le tapis roulant (20) et la pâte feuilletée (3, 5).
     
    10. Procédé de circularisation de pâte feuilletée qui circularise de la pâte feuilletée enroulée (5) qui est formée en forme de U en étant pliée au niveau d'un centre d'une longueur, comprenant les étapes consistant à :

    transporter de la pâte feuilletée en forme de U (3) vers une position destinée à circulariser la pâte feuilletée (5) en acheminant la pâte feuilletée dans une direction prédéfinie ; et

    déplacer une première extrémité (5a) de la pâte feuilletée acheminée (3) vers un centre de la forme en U ;

    caractérisé en ce que le procédé utilise un dispositif selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7 et inclut les étapes suivantes consistant à :

    soulever une seconde extrémité (5b) de la pâte feuilletée acheminée (3) de sorte qu'une face inférieure de la seconde extrémité (5b) se trouve au-dessus d'une face supérieure de la première extrémité (5a), et déplacer la seconde extrémité (5b) vers le centre de la forme en U ; et

    presser verticalement et coller ensemble la première extrémité (5a) et la seconde extrémité (5b) qui ont été déplacées vers le centre.


     
    11. Procédé de circularisation de pâte feuilletée selon la revendication 10, comprenant en outre les étapes consistant à :
    envelopper la pâte feuilletée acheminée (3) à partir des deux côtés de la forme en U.
     
    12. Procédé de circularisation de pâte feuilletée selon la revendication 10 ou 11, dans lequel aux étapes consistant à presser verticalement et coller la première extrémité (5a) et la seconde extrémité (5b), des parois (114f, 116f) sont utilisées pour empêcher la première extrémité (5a) et la seconde extrémité (5b) qui ont été déplacées vers le centre de s'étaler vers les côtés de la forme en U.
     
    13. Procédé de circularisation de pâte feuilletée selon la revendication 12, comprenant en outre les étapes consistant à :
    presser à nouveau verticalement, sur une largeur supérieure à la distance entre les parois (114f, 116f) à l'étape consistant à presser, les première et seconde extrémités (7a, 7b) qui ont été collées ensemble à l'étape consistant à coller.
     
    14. Procédé de circularisation de pâte feuilletée selon l'une quelconque des revendications 10 à 13, dans lequel une longueur des branches des première et seconde extrémités (7a, 7b) devant être collées ensemble à l'étape consistant à coller est réglementée.
     
    15. Procédé de circularisation de pâte feuilletée selon la revendication 14, dans lequel la longueur (L4) des première et seconde extrémités (7a, 7b) devant être collées ensemble est réglementée par le réglage d'une position de sorte que la première extrémité (5a) est pressée de manière à être déplacée vers le centre de la forme en U et d'une position de sorte que la seconde extrémité (5b) est pressée de manière à être déplacée vers le centre de la forme en U.
     
    16. Procédé de circularisation de pâte feuilletée selon l'une quelconque des revendications 10 à 15, dans lequel à l'étape consistant à coller la première extrémité (5a) à la seconde extrémité (5b), une durée de pression verticale de la première extrémité (5a) à la seconde extrémité (5b) est réglée, ou une distance de trajet pour presser verticalement la première extrémité (5a) et la seconde extrémité (5b) de sorte que la première extrémité (5a) et la seconde extrémité (5b) sont collées ensemble est réglée, ou les deux sont réglées.
     
    17. Procédé de production de croissants, le procédé comprenant :

    un procédé de formation de pâte feuilletée en forme de U, et

    le procédé de circularisation de pâte feuilletée selon l'une quelconque des revendications 10 à 16, laquelle pâte feuilletée a été formée en forme de U par ledit procédé de formation de pâte feuilletée en forme de U,

    ledit procédé de formation de pâte feuilletée en forme de U comprenant les étapes consistant à :

    acheminer la pâte feuilletée enroulée (3) qui est placée de sorte qu'une direction longitudinale de la pâte feuilletée est perpendiculaire à la direction d'acheminement ;

    pousser un centre d'une longueur de la pâte feuilletée (3) dans la direction d'acheminement pendant l'étape d'acheminement ;

    mettre en contact la pâte feuilletée poussée (3) à partir des deux extrémités longitudinales pour former la pâte feuilletée en forme de U et pour transporter les deux branches de la forme en U dans la direction d'acheminement pendant l'étape d'acheminement ; et

    mesurer les longueurs (L1, L2) des branches de la forme en U ou une distance (L3) entre les extrémités des branches de la pâte feuilletée en forme de U (5) pendant l'étape d'acheminement ;

    et régler les vitesses (Va, Vb) de transport des deux branches dans la direction d'acheminement pendant l'étape de transport des deux branches de la forme en U, en fonction des longueurs mesurées (L1, L2) des branches de la forme en U ou de la distance mesurée (L3) entre les extrémités des branches, pour faire en sorte que les branches (L1e, L2e) de la forme en U soient de même longueur.


     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description