(19)
(11)EP 3 332 229 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
25.11.2020 Bulletin 2020/48

(21)Application number: 16745759.7

(22)Date of filing:  02.08.2016
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
G01G 11/04(2006.01)
B65G 47/96(2006.01)
B07C 5/18(2006.01)
B07C 5/342(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/EP2016/068465
(87)International publication number:
WO 2017/021421 (09.02.2017 Gazette  2017/06)

(54)

ASSEMBLY, AND METHOD, FOR PROCESSING FRUIT AND VEGETABLE PRODUCTS

ANORDNUNG, UND VERFAHREN, ZUR VERARBEITUNG VON OBST- UND GEMÜSEPRODUKTEN

ENSEMBLE, ET PROCÉDÉ, POUR LE TRAITEMENT DE PRODUITS À BASE DE FRUITS ET LÉGUMES


(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: 06.08.2015 IT UB201542584 U

(43)Date of publication of application:
13.06.2018 Bulletin 2018/24

(73)Proprietor: Unitec S.p.A.
48022 Lugo (IT)

(72)Inventor:
  • BENEDETTI, Luca
    48123 Ravenna, Frazione Savarna (IT)

(74)Representative: Modiano, Micaela Nadia et al
Modiano & Partners Via Meravigli, 16
20123 Milano
20123 Milano (IT)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 1 469 301
WO-A2-2012/039597
JP-A- 2001 219 129
EP-A2- 2 343 521
JP-A- H 067 748
JP-A- 2001 334 216
  
      
    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 an assembly, and to a method, for processing fruit and vegetable products.

    [0002] Nowadays, companies in the sector of distribution and marketing of fruit and vegetable products make ever-increasing use of highly automated lines and systems, which are used to carry out the necessary activities of movement, sizing, checking and packaging of fruit and vegetables.

    [0003] In fact, as is known, only by way of a particularly high degree of automation it is possible to achieve high production volumes (such as, indeed, those required by the large-scale retail trade), while at the same time containing the processing times and the associated costs (of labor and logistics, especially).

    [0004] Moreover, it should be noted that the peculiarity of each fruit and vegetable product, in terms of shape, size, structure, weight, defects, ripening path etc., impose different treatments and, more usually, pose different problems for makers of processing assemblies; therefore, dedicated adapted lines are often specially designed for each type of fruit (or vegetable).

    [0005] In such context, one of the fruit and vegetable products that requires the greatest care, forcing designers to go to extremes, is without doubt the pear, whose particular shape structure leads to several difficulties, owing to the frequent impossibility of controlling its movement and placement with precision.

    [0006] In more detail in fact, it should be noted that dedicated lines for the industrial processing of pears have, among other tasks, the task of weighing each one of them, while they are being moved along a predefined path.

    [0007] According to conventional methods, the weighing is performed by a load cell conveniently arranged along the line, so as to act on each pear in transit, while this is conveyed toward the stations downstream by adapted containment units (sometimes called "cups").

    [0008] The load cell is therefore designed to weigh each cup and, with it, the pear conveyed thereby.

    [0009] Such implementation solution is not however devoid of drawbacks.

    [0010] It should be noted in fact that each pear is deposited on the line at an upstream station, at which each fruit is released and transferred to a corresponding cup by gravity and/or rolling, optionally by way of the use of special delivery and transfer elements.

    [0011] In any case, in the moments following the delivery (and during its travel along the line), the pear can randomly and entirely unpredictably vary its arrangement, by oscillating or rotating about its center of gravity, and thus it is possible for it to be moved according to different inclinations.

    [0012] With the variation of inclinations, especially when the pear tips on one side, the number of cups on which that pear rests and distributes its weight (often not evenly, moreover) also varies.

    [0013] Furthermore, more simply, it should be noted that the number of cups on which the pear distributes the weight can vary as a function of the size of that pear (again, this is totally unpredictable).

    [0014] It thus appears evident that when such circumstance arises, the load cell (which as has been seen checks in sequence the weight of each cup in transit) will perform a measurement that is totally incorrect, rendering the entire activity unreliable and ineffective.

    [0015] Moreover, it is likewise clear that the problem cannot be resolved by using load cells that are designed in advance to act on pairs of adjacent cups, or on another number of contiguous cups chosen at installation time, since the random nature of the size and of the arrangement assumed by each pear (and therefore of the number of cups affected in each instance) would still make the measurement unreliable.

    [0016] Document JP 2001 219 129 A discloses a fruit or vegetable weighing system.

    [0017] The aim of the present invention is to solve the above mentioned problems, by providing an assembly for processing fruit and vegetable products according to claim 1, such as for example pears, that is capable of performing the weighing thereof precisely and reliably.

    [0018] Within this aim, an object of the invention is to provide a method of processing fruit and vegetable products according to claim 7, such as for example pears, which can move along a transfer line, that makes it possible to determine the weight thereof precisely and reliably.

    [0019] Another object of the invention is to provide an assembly and a method that ensure an exact and correct determination of the weight of each fruit and vegetable product processed, independently of its size and/or shape and/or arrangement assumed in each instance during the transfer.

    [0020] Another object of the invention is to provide an assembly that ensures a high reliability of operation.

    [0021] Another object of the invention is to provide an assembly that adopts an alternative technical and structural architecture to those of conventional assemblies.

    [0022] Another object of the invention is to provide an assembly that can be easily implemented using elements and materials that are readily available on the market.

    [0023] Another object of the invention is to provide an assembly and a method that are low cost and safely applied.

    [0024] This aim and these and other objects are achieved by an assembly for processing fruit and vegetable products, which comprises a plurality of units for containing fruit and vegetable products, which can move in sequence along a conveyance line, characterized in that it comprises at least one vision element, arranged along said line and intended at least to check the actual number of said containment units on which each product lies and is conveyed along said line, said actual number being able to depend randomly or otherwise on the size, shape, arrangement and/or method of loading on said line of the respective product, downstream of said at least one element there being at least one first device for weighing a first predefined number of said consecutive containment units and at least one second device for weighing a second predefined number of said consecutive containment units, which is different from said first number, for each fruit and vegetable product conveyed along said line said first weighing device and said second weighing device being activatable selectively by an electronic control and management unit, as a function of the respective actual number detected by said at least one vision element, for weighing said predefined number of said consecutive containment units that corresponds to the actual number of said containment units on which each fruit and vegetable product is conveyed.

    [0025] This aim and these and other objects are also achieved by a method for processing fruit and vegetable products, which consists in: arranging each fruit and vegetable product to be processed on at least one from a plurality of units for containing fruit and vegetable products, which can move in sequence along a conveyance line; checking, during transport, by way of at least one respective vision element arranged along said line, at least the actual number of said containment units on which each product lies and is conveyed along said line, said actual number being able to depend randomly or otherwise on the size, shape, arrangement and/or manner of loading on said line of the respective product; activating selectively, by way of an electronic control and management unit, one of at least one first device for weighing a first predefined number of said consecutive containment units, and at least one second device for weighing a second predefined number of said consecutive containment units which is different from said first number, as a function of the respective actual number detected by said at least one vision element, for weighing said predefined number of said consecutive containment units that corresponds to the actual number of said containment units on which each fruit and vegetable product is conveyed.

    [0026] Further characteristics and advantages of the invention will become better apparent from the detailed description of a preferred, but not exclusive, embodiment of the assembly and of the method according to the invention, with the assembly illustrated by way of non-limiting example in the accompanying drawings, wherein:

    Figure 1 is a perspective view of the assembly according to the invention;

    Figure 2 is a front elevation view of the assembly in Figure 1;

    Figure 3 is a cross-sectional view of Figure 2 taken along the line III-III.



    [0027] With reference to the figures, the reference numeral 1 generally designates an assembly for processing fruit and vegetable products A, which comprises a plurality of units 2 for containing fruit and vegetable products A, and the latter can move in sequence along a conveyance line 3.

    [0028] It should be noted from this point onward that in the preferred application of the invention, to which reference will often be made in the present discussion, the fruit and vegetable products A are pears, whose peculiar shape structure (and variability of size) makes it very difficult to foresee the arrangement assumed during the transfer along the line 3, and, especially, the number of consecutive containment units 2 affected in each instance.

    [0029] In any case it should be emphasized that the possibility is not ruled out of using the assembly 1 according to the invention for processing other fruits or fruit and vegetable products A in general, while remaining within the scope of protection claimed herein.

    [0030] According to the invention, the assembly 1 comprises at least one vision element 4, arranged along the line 3 and intended to at least check the actual number (generically referred to as "N" in the present discussion) of containment units 2 on which each product A lies and is conveyed along the line 3.

    [0031] It should be noted from this point onward that the actual number N is not usually defined in advance (and it is precisely this fact that leads to the problems that the invention sets out to resolve). The actual number N in fact identifies (for each pear or other product A conveyed), a value that can depend, randomly or otherwise, on the size, shape, arrangement and/or method of loading on the line 3, of the respective product A.

    [0032] For example, it should be noted that, in the figures shown, a condition is schematically represented in which two pears are moving along the line 3: the upstream one is larger and therefore lies on two containment units 2 (for this one therefore N=2), while the second, smaller one lies on and is conveyed by a single containment unit 2 (N=1).

    [0033] It should be noted moreover that both of the pears shown have the same alignment (which coincides with the direction of movement of the containment units 2 along the line 3): conversely, as has already been observed, in practice the variability of the actual number N can also depend, irrespective of whether the size is the same, on the different orientation assumed by each pear (or on other factors, such as those given earlier merely for the purposes of example).

    [0034] In any case, arranged downstream of the element 4, as has been seen, and intended for the detection at least of the actual number N for each pear or other fruit and vegetable product A, is at least one first device 5a for weighing a first predefined number n1 of consecutive containment units 2.

    [0035] In the example shown merely for the purposes of non-limiting illustration in the accompanying figures, the first weighing device 5a acts on a single containment unit 2 in transit (N1=1), and therefore it can for example effectively determine the weight of the second pear (the downstream one) illustrated in Figures 1 and 2.

    [0036] Furthermore, arranged downstream of the element 4 is at least one second device 5b for weighing a second predefined number n2 of consecutive containment units 2, which is conveniently chosen to be different from the first number n1.

    [0037] With further reference to the accompanying figures, it should be noted that, in such embodiment, for the second device 5b n2=2: the latter therefore is capable of effectively performing the weighing of pears that lie on two consecutive containment units 2, like the first pear shown in the figures (the one arranged upstream).

    [0038] In any case, and for each fruit and vegetable product A conveyed along the line 3, the first device 5a and the second device 5b can be activated selectively by an electronic control and management unit (which may be conventional), as a function of the respective actual number N detected by the vision element 4.

    [0039] In activating the respective device for weighing 5a, 5b, 5c, the control and management unit therefore ensures the weighing of a predefined number n1, n2, n3 of consecutive containment units 2, corresponding to the actual number N of containment units 2 on which each fruit and vegetable product A is conveyed.

    [0040] More precisely, in actuating each device 5a, 5b, 5c the control and management unit automatically weighs the corresponding predefined number n1, n2, n3 of consecutive containment units 2: since the weight of each containment unit 2 is known, by calculating the difference, and as desired, the weight is obtained of the fruit and vegetable product A conveyed in each instance by the consecutive containment units 2 that are weighed.

    [0041] This makes it possible from this point onward to achieve the set aim, in that the assembly 1 carries out the weighing of all and only the containment units 2 on which each product A lies and is conveyed, therefore ensuring an exact and reliable result.

    [0042] It should be noted that the electronic control and management unit can be a controller, a computer, a PC, or any other mechanism capable of receiving the data item corresponding to the actual number N, sent by the element 4, and of activating as a consequence, selectively, the corresponding weighing device 5a, 5b, 5c.

    [0043] Conveniently, and as a function of the heterogeneity envisaged and detectable in the reference parameters of the fruit and vegetable products A to be transported and weighed, the assembly 1 according to the invention can comprise a plurality of weighing devices 5a, 5b, 5c.

    [0044] Each device 5a, 5b, 5c can thus be used to weigh a respective predefined number n1, n2, n3 of consecutive containment units 2, which is different from the predefined number n1, n2, n3 weighed by the other devices 5a, 5b, 5c.

    [0045] Indeed, it should be noted that in the accompanying figures an embodiment is shown for the purposes of example in which the assembly 1 comprises three weighing devices 5a, 5b, 5c: the first weighing device 5a intended to weigh single containment units 2 (n1=1), the second device 5b capable of detecting the weight of pairs of consecutive containment units 2 (n2=2) and the third device 5c intended to weigh triads of consecutive containment units 2 (n3=3).

    [0046] Once again it should be emphasized that the possibility is not ruled out of providing assemblies 1 provided with four or more weighing devices 5a, 5b, 5c, at least one of which is intended optionally for weighing four or more consecutive containment units 2. It is likewise envisaged, for reasons of safety, double checking, or other applicative requirements, to have assemblies 1 according to the invention in which some of the weighing devices 5a, 5b, 5c provided weigh the same predefined number n1, n2, n3 of consecutive containment units 2.

    [0047] In the preferred embodiment, cited by way of non-limiting illustration of the application of the invention, each device for weighing 5a, 5b, 5c comprises (or is constituted by) a load cell, arranged below the transit trajectory of the containment units 2, while they are conveying the pears to be weighed, downstream of the vision element 4.

    [0048] Each load cell is therefore designed to weigh the respective predefined number n1, n2, n3 of consecutive containment units 2, which is different from the predefined number n1, n2, n3 weighed by the other load cells.

    [0049] The scope of protection claimed herein includes the adoption of any type of load cell, be it electronic or otherwise; furthermore, it should in any case be noted that the possibility is not ruled out of using other types of transducers or sensors (different therefore from load cells) in order to obtain the necessary weighing of the containment units 2 and of the pears conveyed thereby.

    [0050] Advantageously, the vision element 4 comprises a video camera 6, directed toward a first portion 3a of the line 3, while the previously-described weighing devices 5a, 5b, 5c are arranged downstream of the first portion 3 a.

    [0051] It should likewise be noted that the possibility is not ruled out of equipping the assembly 1 with two or more elements 4, each one of which optionally comprises a respective video camera 6, for the purpose for example of increasing the capacity and efficacy of vision.

    [0052] The video camera 6 (and more generally the vision element 4) will therefore be provided with adapted instruments (software) for analyzing and processing the images, conventional or otherwise, in order to identify the actual number N of containment units 2 on which in each instance each pear in transit is lying and is conveyed. Furthermore, according to conventional methods, each video camera 6 and/or each vision element 4 will be capable of communicating with the electronic control unit, transmitting in fact the actual number N associated with each pear.

    [0053] Moreover, the possibility is not ruled out of equipping the video camera 6 or in any case the vision element 4 with further means of analysis: for example, the video camera 6 can be used to carry out qualitative analysis on the pears, checking their coloring, degree of ripening and/or for the presence of defects (on the surface or in the pulp), and other properties and parameters of possible interest.

    [0054] Conveniently, to reduce light interference and therefore enable the video camera 6 and/or the vision element 4 to best operate, the first portion 3a of the line 3 is contained in a tunnel 7, which is open at the respective ends (for the entry and exit of the containment units 2 and of the pears).

    [0055] In such embodiment, and as incidentally can be clearly seen from the accompanying Figures 1 and 2, the video camera 6 is hung from the ceiling of the tunnel 7 (and directed downward, in order to frame the first portion 3a, or at least a section thereof). It is envisaged further to provide video cameras 6 that are variously inclined with respect to the perpendicular at the first portion 3a, according to the specific requirements.

    [0056] In the preferred embodiment, shown in the accompanying figures by way of non-limiting example of the application of the invention, each containment unit 2 is constituted substantially by a tray 8 shaped substantially like an open inverted pyramid, which is entrained along the line 3 by a respective movement apparatus.

    [0057] So in fact, it should be noted that each containment unit 2 is of the type sometimes referred to as a "cup", intended to receive each pear (or a part thereof) in the concavity defined by the (open) inverted pyramid shape.

    [0058] The subject matter of the present discussion also relates to a method of processing fruit and vegetable products A (be they pears or other products).

    [0059] The method according to the invention involves, in a step a., arranging each fruit and vegetable product A to be processed on at least one from a plurality of units 2 for containing fruit and vegetable products A, which can move in sequence along a conveyance line 3.

    [0060] Subsequently, while the fruit and vegetable products A are moving conveyed by the containment units 2, the method entails, in a step b., checking, by way of a respective vision element 4 arranged along the line 3, at least the actual number N of containment units 2 on which each product A lies and is conveyed along the line 3.

    [0061] As discussed earlier, such actual number N can depend randomly or otherwise on the size, shape, arrangement and/or manner of loading on the line 3 of the respective product A (and may be variable from pear to pear).

    [0062] After checking the actual number N in step b., the method according to the invention entails, in a step c., activating selectively, by way of an electronic control and management unit, one of at least one first weighing device 5a and at least one second weighing device 5b (while not ruling out, as previously noted for the assembly 1, the possibility of implementing the method using three or more weighing devices 5a, 5b, 5c).

    [0063] The first device 5a is therefore intended to weigh a first predefined number n1 of consecutive containment units 2, and similarly the second device 5b is intended to weigh a second predefined number n2 of consecutive containment units 2, conveniently chosen to be different from the first.

    [0064] The selective activation by the electronic unit, in step c. of the method according to the invention, therefore occurs as a function of the respective actual number N detected by the vision element 4, so as to weigh the predefined number n1, n2, n3 of consecutive containment units 2 corresponding to the actual number N of containment units 2 on which each fruit and vegetable product A is conveyed.

    [0065] At least one of step a., step b., and step c., can be carried out by way of an assembly 1 that has one or more of the peculiarities described in the foregoing pages.

    [0066] Operation of the assembly and execution of the method according to the invention are therefore clear in light of the discussion up to this point.

    [0067] As has previously been seen in fact, the assembly 1 is first and foremost designed to convey pears or other fruit and vegetable products A along a line 3, for example in order to transfer them to other work centers or stations, and/or in order to provide for their packaging.

    [0068] To this end therefore, the pears are first of all loaded onto one or more containment units 2: the loading can occur according to various methods (while remaining within the scope of protection claimed herein), and such method, as with the size, shape, arrangement (or other factor) can determine a different actual number N of containment units 2 on which each pear lies and is conveyed.

    [0069] Such actual number N is detected by the vision element 4 and it is sent by the latter to the electronic control and management unit.

    [0070] Arranged downstream of the vision element 4 are two or more weighing devices 5a, 5b, 5c (as a function of the possible values that it is expected the actual number N can take), each one of which is preset in advance to weigh a predefined number n1, n2, n3 (different from the others) of consecutive containment units 2 in transit.

    [0071] Thus, for each pear, of such weighing devices 5a, 5b, 5c the electronic unit activates the one intended to weigh the predefined number n1, n2, n3 that corresponds to the actual number N of containment units 2 on which the pear itself lies and is conveyed.

    [0072] It therefore appears to be clear that the assembly 1 and the method achieve the set aim: for each pear in fact, the weighing is activated of all and only the containment units 2 on which the pear lies, thus ensuring a measuring that is reliable and error-free.

    [0073] In fact, being able to draw on two or more weighing devices 5a, 5b, 5c, which are designed to weigh different predefined numbers n1, n2, n3 of consecutive containment units 2, whatever the arrangement and/or orientation and/or size of the pear, the control and management unit as a consequence varies the choice of the load cell (or other weighing device 5a, 5b, 5c), always and only using the appropriate one (the one such that the predefined number n1, n2, n3 corresponds to the actual number N).

    [0074] In practice it has been found that the assembly and the method according to the invention fully achieve the set aim and objects, in that the use of a vision element, adapted to recognize the actual number of containment units on which each fruit and vegetable product lies and is conveyed, and the sending of such information to an electronic control and management unit which as a consequence activates the most appropriate weighing device arranged downstream, makes it possible to provide an assembly, and to carry out a method, that ensures the weighing of fruit and vegetable products precisely and reliably.


    Claims

    1. An assembly for processing fruit and vegetable products, which comprises a plurality of units (2) for containing fruit and vegetable products (A), which can move in sequence along a conveyance line (3), characterized in that it comprises at least one vision element (4), arranged along said line (3) and intended at least to check the actual number (N) of said containment units (2) on which each product (A) lies and is conveyed along said line (3), said actual number (N) being able to depend randomly or otherwise on the size, shape, arrangement and/or method of loading on said line (3) of the respective product (A), downstream of said at least one element (4) there being at least one first device (5a) for weighing a first predefined number (n1) of said consecutive containment units (2) and at least one second device (5b) for weighing a second predefined number (n2) of said consecutive containment units (2), which is different from said first number (n1), for each fruit and vegetable product (A) conveyed along said line (3) said first weighing device (5a) and said second weighing device (5b) being activatable selectively by an electronic control and management unit, as a function of the respective actual number (N) detected by said at least one vision element (4), for weighing said predefined number (n1, n2, n3) of said consecutive containment units (2) that corresponds to the actual number (N) of said containment units (2) on which each fruit and vegetable product (A) is conveyed.
     
    2. The assembly according to claim 1, characterized in that it comprises a plurality of said weighing devices (5a, 5b, 5c), each one of said devices (5a, 5b, 5c) being intended to weigh a respective said predefined number (n1, n2, n3) of said consecutive containment units (2), which is different from said predefined number (n1, n2, n3) weighed by the other said devices (5a, 5b, 5c).
     
    3. The assembly according to claim 1 or 2, characterized in that each one of said weighing devices (5a, 5b, 5c) comprises a load cell, arranged below the transit trajectory of said containment units (2), downstream of said at least one vision element (4), each one of said load cells being intended to weigh the respective said predefined number (n1, n2, n3) of said consecutive containment units (2), which is different from said predefined number (n1, n2, n3) weighed by the other said load cells.
     
    4. The assembly according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said at least one vision element (4) comprises a video camera (6), directed toward a first portion (3a) of said line (3), said devices (5a, 5b, 5c) being arranged downstream of said first portion (3a).
     
    5. The assembly according to claim 4, characterized in that said first portion (3a) of said line (3) is contained in a tunnel (7) which is open at the respective ends, said video camera (6) being hung from the ceiling of said tunnel (7).
     
    6. The assembly according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that each one of said containment units (2) is constituted substantially by a tray (8) which is shaped substantially like an open inverted pyramid and is entrained along said line (3) by a respective movement apparatus.
     
    7. A method for processing fruit and vegetable products, which consists in:

    a. arranging each fruit and vegetable product (A) to be processed on at least one from a plurality of units (2) for containing fruit and vegetable products (A), which can move in sequence along a conveyance line (3);

    b. checking, during transport, by way of at least one respective vision element (4) arranged along said line (3), at least the actual number (N) of said containment units (2) on which each product (A) lies and is conveyed along said line (3), said actual number (N) being able to depend randomly or otherwise on the size, shape, arrangement and/or manner of loading on said line (3) of the respective product (A);

    c. activating selectively, by way of an electronic control and management unit, one of at least one first device (5a) for weighing a first predefined number (n1) of said consecutive containment units (2), and at least one second device (5b) for weighing a second predefined number (n2) of said consecutive containment units (2) which is different from said first number (n1), as a function of the respective actual number (N) detected by said at least one vision element (4), for weighing said predefined number (n1, n2, n3) of said consecutive containment units (2) that corresponds to the actual number (N) of said containment units (2) on which each fruit and vegetable product (A) is conveyed.


     
    8. The method according to claim 7, characterized in that at least one from said step a., said step b., and said step c. is performed by means of an assembly (1) according to one or more of claims 1 to 6.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Eine Anordnung zur Verarbeitung von Obst- und Gemüseprodukten, die eine Vielzahl von Einheiten (2) zur Aufnahme von Obst- und Gemüseprodukten (A) umfasst, welche sich hintereinander entlang einer Förderlinie (3) bewegen können, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass sie mindestens ein Sichtfeld (4) umfasst, angeordnet entlang der Linie (3) und dazu bestimmt die tatsächliche Anzahl (N) der Aufnahmeeinheiten (2) zu überprüfen auf denen jedes Produkt (A) liegt und entlang der Linie (3) befördert wird, wobei die tatsächliche Anzahl (N) zufällig oder nicht von der Größe, Form, Anordnung und/oder dem Verfahren des Beladens der Linie (3) mit dem entsprechenden Produkt (A) abhängen kann, wobei sich stromabwärts von dem mindestens einem Element (4) mindestens eine erste Vorrichtung (5a) zum Wiegen einer ersten vordefinierten Anzahl (n1) der aufeinanderfolgenden Aufnahmeeinheiten (2) und mindestens eine zweite Vorrichtung (5b) zum Wiegen einer zweiten vordefinierten Anzahl (n2) der aufeinanderfolgenden Aufnahmeeinheiten (2) befinden, die sich von der ersten Anzahl (n1) unterscheidet, wobei für jedes Obst- und Gemüseprodukt (A) das entlang der Linie (3) befördert wird, die erste Wiegevorrichtung (5a) und die zweite Wiegevorrichtung (5b) wahlweise durch eine elektronische Steuerung- und Verwaltungseinheit aktivierbar sind, abhängig von der jeweiligen tatsächlichen Anzahl (N) die von dem mindestens einen Sichtelement (4) erfasst wird zum Wiegen der vordefinierten Anzahl (n1, n2, n3) der aufeinanderfolgenden Aufnahmeeinheiten (2), die der tatsächlichen Anzahl (N) der Aufnahmeeinheiten (2) entspricht, auf denen jedes Obst- und Gemüseprodukt (A) befördert wird.
     
    2. Die Anordnung gemäß Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass sie eine Vielzahl der Wiegevorrichtungen (5a, 5b, 5c) umfasst, wobei jede der Vorrichtungen (5a, 5b, 5c) dazu bestimmt ist, die entsprechende vordefinierte Anzahl (n1, n2, n3) der aufeinanderfolgenden Aufnahmeeinheiten (2) zu wiegen, die sich von der vordefinierten Anzahl (n1, n2, n3) unterscheidet, die von der anderen der Vorrichtungen (5a, 5b, 5c) gewogen wird.
     
    3. Die Anordnung gemäß Anspruch 1 oder 2, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass jede der Wiegevorrichtungen (5a, 5b, 5c) eine Wiegezelle umfasst, angeordnet unterhalb des Transitpfades der Aufnahmeeinheiten (2) stromabwärts von dem mindestens einen Sichtelement (4), wobei jede der Wiegezellen dazu dient, die entsprechende vordefinierte Anzahl (n1, n2, n3) der aufeinanderfolgenden Aufnahmeeinheiten (2) zu wiegen, die sich von der vordefinierten Anzahl (n1, n2, n3) unterscheidet, die von den anderen Wiegezellen gewogen wird.
     
    4. Die Anordnung gemäß einem oder mehreren der obigen Ansprüche, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das mindestens eine Sichtfeld (4) eine Videokamera (6) umfasst, die auf einen ersten Abschnitt (3a) der Linie (3) gerichtet ist, wobei die Vorrichtungen (5a, 5b, 5c) stromabwärts von dem ersten Abschnitt (3a) angeordnet sind.
     
    5. Die Anordnung gemäß Anspruch 4, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der erste Abschnitt (3a) der Linie (3) in einem Tunnel (7) enthalten ist, der an den jeweiligen Enden offen ist, wobei die Videokamera (6) an der Decke des Tunnels (7) aufgehängt ist.
     
    6. Die Anordnung gemäß einem oder mehreren der obigen Ansprüche, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass jede der Aufnahmeeinheiten (2) im Wesentlichen aus einem Behälter (8) besteht, der im Wesentlichen wie eine offene umgekehrte Pyramide geformt ist und von einer entsprechenden Bewegungsvorrichtung entlang der Linie (3) mitgeführt wird.
     
    7. Ein Verfahren zur Verarbeitung von Obst- und Gemüseprodukten, das im Folgenden besteht:

    a. dem Anordnen jedes zu verarbeitenden Obst- und Gemüseprodukts (A) auf mindestens einer Vielzahl von Einheiten (2) zur Aufnahme von Obst- und Gemüseprodukten (A) die sich hintereinander entlang einer Förderlinie (3) bewegen können;

    b. dem Überprüfen, während des Transports, durch mindestens ein entsprechendes Sichtelement (4) das entlang der Linie (3) angeordnet ist, mindestens der tatsächlichen Anzahl (N) der Aufnahmeeinheiten (2) auf denen jedes Produkt (A) liegt und entlang der Linie (3) befördert wird, wobei die tatsächliche Anzahl (N) zufällig oder nicht von der Größe, Form, Anordnung und/oder der Art der Beladung der Linie (3) mit dem entsprechenden Produkt (A) abhängen kann;

    c. dem selektiven Aktivieren, durch eine elektronische Steuerungs- und Verwaltungseinheit, entweder mindestens einer ersten Vorrichtung (5a) zum Wiegen einer ersten vordefinierten Anzahl (n1) der aufeinanderfolgenden Aufnahmeeinheiten (2) und mindestens einer zweiten Vorrichtung (5b) zum Wiegen einer zweiten vordefinierten Anzahl (n2) der aufeinanderfolgenden Aufnahmeeinheiten (2) die sich von der ersten Anzahl (n1) unterscheidet, abhängig von der jeweiligen tatsächlichen Anzahl (N), die von dem mindestens einen Sichtelement (4) erfasst wird, um die vordefinierte Anzahl (n1, n2, n3) der aufeinanderfolgenden Aufnahmeeinheiten (2) zu wiegen, die der tatsächlichen Anzahl (N) der Aufnahmeeinheiten (2) entspricht, auf denen jedes Obst- und Gemüseprodukt (A) befördert wird.


     
    8. Das Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 7, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass mindestens einer der Schritte des Schritts a., des Schritts b. und des Schritts c. mit Hilfe einer Anordnung (1) gemäß einem oder mehreren der Ansprüche 1 bis 6 durchgeführt wird.
     


    Revendications

    1. Ensemble pour traiter des produits fruitiers et végétaux, comprenant une pluralité d'unités (2) destinées à contenir des produits fruitiers et végétaux (A), qui peuvent se déplacer en séquence le long d'une ligne de transport (3), caractérisé en ce qu'il comprend au moins un élément de vision (4) placé le long de ladite ligne (3) et destiné au moins à vérifier le nombre réel (N) desdites unités réceptrices (2) sur lesquelles chaque produit (A) repose et est transporté le long de ladite ligne (3), ledit nombre réel (N) étant susceptible de dépendre au hasard ou autrement de la taille, de la forme, de l'agencement et/ou du procédé de chargement sur ladite ligne (3) du produit (A) respectif, en aval dudit au moins un élément (4) se trouvant au moins un premier dispositif (5a) pour peser un premier nombre prédéfini (n1) desdites unités réceptrices consécutives (2) et au moins un deuxième dispositif (5b) pour peser un deuxième nombre prédéfini (n2) desdites unités réceptrices consécutives (2), qui est différent dudit premier nombre (n1), pour chaque produit fruitier et végétal (A) transporté le long de ladite ligne (3) ledit premier dispositif de pesage (5a) et ledit deuxième dispositif de pesage (5b) étant activables sélectivement par une unité électronique de commande et de gestion, en fonction du nombre réel respectif (N) détecté par ledit au moins un élément de vision (4), pour peser ledit nombre prédéfini (n1, n2, n3) desdites unités réceptrices consécutives (2) qui correspond au nombre réel (N) desdites unités réceptrices (2) sur lesquelles chaque produit fruitier et végétal (A) est transporté.
     
    2. Ensemble selon la revendication 1, caractérisé en ce qu'il comprend une pluralité de dispositifs de pesage (5a, 5b, 5c), chacun desdits dispositifs (5a, 5b, 5c) étant destiné à peser un dit nombre prédéfini respectif (n1, n2, n3) desdites unités réceptrices consécutives (2), qui est différent dudit nombre prédéfini (n1, n2, n3) pesé par les autres desdits dispositifs (5a, 5b, 5c).
     
    3. Ensemble selon la revendication 1 ou 2, caractérisé en ce que chacun desdits dispositifs de pesage (5a, 5b, 5c) comprend une cellule dynamométrique, placée sous la trajectoire de transit desdites unités réceptrices (2), en aval dudit au moins un élément de vision (4), chacune desdites cellules dynamométriques étant destinée à peser ledit nombre prédéfini respectif (n1, n2, n3) desdites unités réceptrices consécutives (2), qui est différent dudit nombre prédéfini (n1, n2, n3) pesé par les autres desdites cellules dynamométriques.
     
    4. Ensemble selon l'une ou plusieurs des revendications précédentes, caractérisé en ce que ledit au moins un élément de vision (4) comprend une caméra vidéo (6), orientée vers une première partie (3a) de ladite ligne (3), lesdits dispositifs (5a, 5b, 5c) étant placés en aval de ladite première partie (3a).
     
    5. Ensemble selon la revendication 4, caractérisé en ce que ladite première partie (3a) de ladite ligne (3) est contenue dans un tunnel (7) qui est ouvert à ses extrémités respectives, ladite caméra vidéo (6) étant suspendue au plafond dudit tunnel (7).
     
    6. Ensemble selon l'une ou plusieurs des revendications précédentes, caractérisé en ce que chacune desdites unités réceptrices (2) est constituée substantiellement d'un plateau (8) qui est substantiellement en forme de pyramide inversée ouverte et est entraînée le long de ladite ligne (3) par un appareil de mouvement respectif.
     
    7. Procédé de traitement de produits fruitiers et végétaux, consistant à :

    a. placer chaque produit fruitier et végétal (A) à traiter sur au moins une unité d'une pluralité d'unités (2) destinées à contenir des produits fruitiers et végétaux (A), qui peuvent se déplacer en séquence le long d'une ligne de transport (3) ;

    b. vérifier, pendant le transport, à l'aide d'au moins un élément de vision respectif (4) placé le long de ladite ligne (3), au moins le nombre réel (N) desdites unités réceptrices (2) sur lesquelles chaque produit (A) repose et est transporté le long de ladite ligne (3), ledit nombre réel (N) étant susceptible de dépendre au hasard ou autrement de la taille, de la forme, de l'agencement et/ou de la méthode de chargement sur ladite ligne (3) du produit (A) respectif ;

    c. activer sélectivement, au moyen d'une unité électronique de commande et de gestion, un élément parmi au moins un premier dispositif (5a) pour peser un premier nombre prédéfini (n1) desdites unités réceptrices consécutives (2) et au moins un deuxième dispositif (5b) pour peser un deuxième nombre prédéfini (n2) desdites unités réceptrices consécutives (2), qui est différent dudit premier nombre (n1), en fonction du nombre réel respectif (N) détecté par ledit au moins un élément de vision (4), pour peser ledit nombre prédéfini (n1, n2, n3) desdites unités réceptrices consécutives (2) qui correspond au nombre réel (N) desdites unités réceptrices (2) sur lesquelles chaque produit fruitier et végétal (A) est transporté.


     
    8. Procédé selon la revendication 7, caractérisé en ce qu'au moins une étape parmi ladite étape a, ladite étape b et ladite étape c est exécutée au moyen d'un ensemble (1) selon l'une ou plusieurs des revendications 1 à 6.
     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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    Patent documents cited in the description