(19)
(11)EP 3 493 723 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
13.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/20

(21)Application number: 17746131.6

(22)Date of filing:  02.08.2017
(51)Int. Cl.: 
A47J 37/06  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/EP2017/069556
(87)International publication number:
WO 2018/024783 (08.02.2018 Gazette  2018/06)

(54)

AUTONOMOUS APPARATUS FOR COOKING FOOD, AND CORRESPONDING METHOD

AUTONOME VORRICHTUNG ZUM KOCHEN VON LEBENSMITTELN UND ENTSPRECHENDES VERFAHREN

APPAREIL AUTONOME POUR CUISSON D'ALIMENTS ET PROCÉDÉ CORRESPONDANT


(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: 05.08.2016 IT 201600082900

(43)Date of publication of application:
12.06.2019 Bulletin 2019/24

(73)Proprietor: De' Longhi Appliances S.r.l. Con Unico Socio
31100 Treviso (IT)

(72)Inventors:
  • DE' LONGHI, Giuseppe
    31100 Treviso (IT)
  • TREVISAN, Gianpaolo
    37036 San Martino Buon Albergo (IT)

(74)Representative: Petraz, Gilberto Luigi et al
GLP S.r.l.
Viale Europa Unita, 171 33100 Udine
Viale Europa Unita, 171 33100 Udine (IT)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 3 009 054
US-A1- 2015 201 806
US-A1- 2008 163 764
  
      
    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

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION



    [0001] The present invention concerns an autonomous apparatus for cooking food, comprising a support body, a lid and a container for the food that can be removed/inserted with respect to the support body.

    [0002] The autonomous apparatus also comprises at least one heating device and at least one element able to generate a flow of air to the food.

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



    [0003] In the domestic environment, autonomous apparatuses for cooking food are known, comprising a support body and an internal container, selectively extractable and open at the top.

    [0004] The apparatus is also provided with a lid, possibly part of or associable with the support body, which can be closed on the internal container to create a cooking compartment having a controlled atmosphere suitable for the cooking to be carried out.

    [0005] Furthermore, at least one heat energy producing device is normally present, disposed at the bottom and/or top of the internal container, which usually cooperates with one or more elements suitable to generate a flow of heated air to the container, so as to provide the desired contribution of heat energy to the food.

    [0006] For the purposes of obtaining a proper and homogenous cooking of the food, it is important that the flow of hot air takes a certain path; from a sending aperture, the flow of air must be distributed uniformly inside the container and between the food and then be removed through a return exit.

    [0007] However, it often happens that, due to the conformation of the return exit and/or due to the position where it is installed, the flow of air is not taken to follow a path that passes correctly and uniformly through the food, and hence the heat inside the cooking compartment is not distributed homogeneously.

    [0008] Furthermore, the return of the flow of air to the heating device in certain cases is difficult, because it is hampered by barriers and/or screens present along the path, which cause losses in the flow rate, despite the presence of elements to generate the flow of air.

    [0009] Document US 2008/0163764 describes an autonomous apparatus for cooking food comprising a support body, a lid hinged to the support body and selectively openable, an internal container that can be removed from/inserted into the support body and is open at the top to accommodate the food, a heating element and an element to generate a flow of air toward the inside of the container. The autonomous apparatus is configured to channel the flow of air from the container to the heating device by means of a pipe made between an internal wall of the support body, conformed to accommodate the container, and the wall of the container. The document also describes a deflector screen to channel the air from the container toward the heating device. The screen is disposed between the wall of the container and the internal wall of the support body, or is defined by the external wall of the container. Consequently there are no annular pipes that are physically connected to the generator element, to direct the flow of air toward the heating device in an orderly and compartmentalized manner.

    [0010] Document EP 3 009 054 describes an autonomous cooking apparatus that, like the one described in document US 2008/0163764, includes an exit aperture, lateral and upper with respect to the container, of the flow of air entering a cooking chamber. The flow of air exits from the cooking chamber though an air channel defined between the lower support body and the internal wall of the support body.

    [0011] One purpose of the present invention is to obtain an autonomous apparatus for cooking food that allows to distribute the heat homogeneously inside the cooking compartment so as to make the heat contribution uniform to all the foods contained in the compartment itself.

    [0012] Another purpose of the present invention is to obtain an autonomous apparatus for cooking food that optimizes the heat exchange, determining energy savings and allowing the optimum cooking of the food.

    [0013] The Applicant has devised, tested and embodied the present invention to overcome the shortcomings of the state of the art and to obtain these and other purposes and advantages.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0014] The present invention is set forth and characterized in the independent claims, while the dependent claims describe other characteristics of the invention or variants to the main inventive idea.

    [0015] In accordance with the above purposes, the present invention concerns an autonomous apparatus for cooking food comprising a support body, a lid, an internal container open at the top and which can be extracted/inserted with respect to said support body, at least one heating device and at least one element to generate a flow of air toward the inside of said container.

    [0016] The air flow generator element is connected to a return exit cooperating, when the lid is in the closed position on the container, with a peripheral edge of the container to remove the flow of air from the container and to channel it toward the heating device by means of an annular pipe.

    [0017] According to one aspect of the present invention, the annular pipe has two ends, symmetrically connected to the at least one air flow generator element.

    [0018] The annular pipe that picks up the air is therefore disposed around and outside the mouth of the food container, so that the air taken is distributed uniformly around the upper edge of the container.

    [0019] In particular, the flow of air exiting from the container is sucked from the return exit, determining a closed circuit to recirculate the flow of air.

    [0020] The present invention also concerns a method to return a flow of heat conditioned air inside an autonomous apparatus for cooking food, which uses the return aperture made on an upper edge of the support body.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0021] These and other characteristics of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of some embodiments, given as a non-restrictive example with reference to the attached drawings wherein:
    • fig. 1 is a perspective view of an autonomous apparatus for cooking food;
    • fig. 2 is a section view of the autonomous apparatus in fig. 1;
    • fig. 3 is another section view of the autonomous apparatus in fig. 1;
    • fig. 4 is a detail of a section view of the autonomous apparatus in fig. 1;
    • fig. 5 is section view of the autonomous apparatus in one embodiment.


    [0022] To facilitate comprehension, the same reference numbers have been used, where possible, to identify identical common elements in the drawings. It is understood that elements and characteristics of one embodiment can conveniently be incorporated into other embodiments without further clarifications.

    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF SOME EMBODIMENTS



    [0023] Embodiments described here in figs. 1-5 refer to an autonomous apparatus 10 for cooking foods, able to perform various cooking modes, such as stewing, brazing, boiling, roasting, frying, simple heating, sauteing, browning, slow cooking, or quick cooking in general.

    [0024] The autonomous apparatus 10 comprises a support body 12, with which is associated an openable lid 14, an extractable/insertable internal container 16, open at the top and defining a cooking compartment 26 for food, at least one heating device 18 and at least one air flow generator element 20.

    [0025] The support body 12 has an external wall 12a and an internal wall 12b, adjacent during use to the container 16. Between the external wall 12a and the internal wall 12b there is an interspace 15 which can function as a technical compartment.

    [0026] The support body 12 has an upper edge 13 which cooperates at least partly with a lower edge of the lid 14 when the latter is closed to cover the container 16.

    [0027] The presence of the lid 14 is functional to create a controlled environment and conditions necessary for cooking the food.

    [0028] The lid 14 can be made of the same material as the support body 12, or of a different material.

    [0029] Advantageously, at least the lid 14 can be made of at least partly transparent material, to allow the user to view and thus control the cooking.

    [0030] For example, the lid 14 can be made of a polymer or glass material.

    [0031] The container 16 is defined by a base wall 22, which in this non-restrictive case is substantially circular, and by a lateral wall 24 connected to the base wall 22 and having a peripheral edge 24a.

    [0032] The container 16 is configured to allow the association of one or more grips to allow to handle the container 16.

    [0033] The base wall 22 can have a surface made with a plurality of configurations, for example conical, or hump-backed, more or less accentuated.

    [0034] In a preferred embodiment, to which reference will be made hereafter, the base wall 22 has a substantially flat configuration.

    [0035] The container 16 is open at the top to introduce food inside it and to allow the circulation of the flow of air from the heating device 18 to the food.

    [0036] According to one aspect of the present invention, the generator element 20 is connected to a return exit 28 which, when the lid is in the closed position on the container, cooperates with the peripheral edge 24a of the container 16.

    [0037] The return exit 28 is configured to extract the flow of air immediately exiting from the container 16 and to channel it to the heating device 18 by means of an annular pipe 30.

    [0038] According to one aspect of the present invention, the annular pipe 30 has ends that are symmetrically connected to the generator element 20.

    [0039] In this way, advantageously, the air flow is conveyed and divided symmetrically along the annular pipe 30 to converge toward the generator element 20.

    [0040] According to one embodiment, shown by way of example in figs. 2 and 3, the annular pipe 30 is installed between the support body 12 and the container 16.

    [0041] For example, the annular pipe 30 is installed in the interspace 15.

    [0042] Advantageously, the annular pipe 30 encloses a space and channels the flow of air in a univocal manner, determining its closed circuit path.

    [0043] In this particular embodiment, the annular pipe 30 has a plurality of slits 32 disposed along the development of the annular pipe 30 and disposed in correspondence with the upper edge 13 of the support body 12.

    [0044] The annular pipe 30 develops for the entire circumference of the cooking apparatus 10 and has at least one end connected to the generator element 20.

    [0045] The lid 14 advantageously has a hollow internal surface in correspondence with the plurality of slits 32.

    [0046] According to one formulation of the present invention, the generator element 20 cooperates with a sending aperture 34 to send the flow of air, provided on the lid 14.

    [0047] According to one embodiment of the present invention, which is shown by way of example in figs. 1-3 and 5, the sending aperture 34 can have a substantially hollow toroidal shape which cooperates, when the lid 14 is closed on the container 16, with the peripheral edge 24a of the container 16.

    [0048] The sending aperture 34 can have a circumferential slit 36 that allows the flow of air circulating in the toroidal cavity to escape from it, to be directed, when the lid 14 is at least partly closed, to the container 16.

    [0049] In the case where there is the sending aperture 34 with a toroidal or substantially circular development, it develops on a circumference with a smaller diameter than the peripheral edge 24a of the container 16, to allow to discharge the flow of air from the container 16 to the return exit 28.

    [0050] In this way, the sending aperture 34 does not abut against the circumferential edge 24a, thus creating a gap that allows to discharge the flow of air from the container 16 to the sending exit 28.

    [0051] According to another embodiment, the sending aperture 34 can have a limited development and in proximity to the heating device 18.

    [0052] The autonomous apparatus 10 comprises a recirculation pipe 44 which determines the connection between the generator element 20 and the heating device 18, in practice connecting the return exit 28 to the sending aperture 34.

    [0053] According to embodiments described here, the recirculating pipe 44 can be configured to determine the continuation of the annular pipe 30 (fig. 4).

    [0054] The generator element 20 can be installed at any point whatsoever inside the interspace 15 provided that it allows to recirculate the flow of air.

    [0055] The generator element 20 can be, for example, an axial, centrifugal or mixed axial/centrifugal fan, made to rotate by a drive member 46.

    [0056] According to one embodiment, shown by way of example in fig. 5, the autonomous apparatus 10 can comprise an additional auxiliary heating device 47, or alternative to the heating device 18, for example installed in proximity to the base wall 22.

    [0057] According to embodiments described here, the container 16 can be rotated around an axis of rotation, preferably in relation to the center of the base wall 22, by means of an additional drive member 46.

    [0058] According to other embodiments described here, the autonomous apparatus 10 can comprise a mixing device 48 which is provided with at least one mixing blade, rotating with respect to the container 16 (fig. 5).

    [0059] It is clear that modifications and/or additions of parts may be made to the autonomous apparatus 10 and corresponding method as described heretofore, without departing from the field and scope of the present invention.

    [0060] It is also clear that, although the present invention has been described with reference to some specific examples, a person of skill in the art shall certainly be able to achieve many other equivalent forms of autonomous apparatus 10 and corresponding method, having the characteristics as set forth in the claims and hence all coming within the field of protection defined thereby.


    Claims

    1. Autonomous apparatus for cooking food comprising a support body (12), an openable lid (14), an internal container (16) which can be extracted/inserted with respect to said support body (12) and open at the top, at least one heating device (18) and at least one element (20) to generate a flow of air toward the inside of said container (16), said at least one air flow generator element (20) being connected to a return exit (28) cooperating, when said lid (14) is in the closed position on said container (16), with a peripheral edge (24a) of said container (16) to remove said flow of air from said container (16) and to channel it toward said at least one heating device (18) by means of an annular pipe (30), characterized in that said annular pipe (30) has two ends symmetrically connected to said at least one air flow generator element (20).
     
    2. Autonomous apparatus as in claim 1, characterized in that said annular pipe (30) has a plurality of fissures (32) disposed along it and in correspondence with an upper edge (13) of said support body (12).
     
    3. Autonomous apparatus as in claim 1 or 2, characterized in that it comprises a sending aperture (34) with a substantially hollow toroidal shape cooperating with a peripheral edge (24a) of the container (16).
     
    4. Autonomous apparatus as in claim 3, characterized in that said sending aperture (34) has a circumferential slit (36) configured to allow said flow of air to exit from the cavity of said sending aperture (34) and to position itself with said lid (14) at least partly closed in said container (16).
     
    5. Autonomous apparatus as in claim 3 or 4, characterized in that said sending aperture (34) develops on a lower circumference with respect to said circumferential edge (24a) to determine the discharge of said flow of air from said container (16) toward said return exit (28).
     
    6. Autonomous apparatus as in any claim hereinbefore, characterized in that said container (16) is rotatable around an axis of rotation by means of a drive member (46).
     
    7. Autonomous apparatus as in any claim hereinbefore, characterized in that it comprises a mixing device (48) provided with at least one mixing blade rotating with respect to said container (16).
     
    8. Method to return a flow of air inside an autonomous apparatus (10) for cooking food comprising a support body (12), an openable lid (14), an internal container (16) which can be extracted/inserted with respect to said support body (12) and open at the top, at least one heating device (18) and at least one element (20) to generate a flow of air toward the inside of said container (16), characterized in that it provides to:

    - heat a flow of air by means of said at least one heating device (18);

    - remove said flow of used air from said container (16) through a return exit (28) cooperating, when said lid (14) is in the closed position on said container (16), with a peripheral edge (24a) of said container (16);

    - channel said flow of air toward said at least one heating device (18) by means of an annular pipe (30) in order to define a closed circuit travel of said flow of air, wherein said the annular pipe (30) has two ends, symmetrically connected to said at least one air flow generator element (20).


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Autonome Vorrichtung zum Kochen von Lebensmitteln, welche aufweist einen Haltekörper (12), einen öffenbaren Deckel (14), ein Innenbehältnis (16), welches mit Bezug auf den besagten Haltekörper (12) entnommen/eingeführt werden kann und oben offen ist, mindestens eine Heizvorrichtung (18) und mindestens ein Element (20), um einen Luftstrom zu dem Inneren des besagten Behältnisses (16) hin zu erzeugen, wobei das besagte mindestens eine Luftstromerzeugungselement (20) mit einem Rückführausgang (28) verbunden ist, welcher, wenn der besagte Deckel (14) in der Geschlossen-Position auf dem besagten Behältnis (16) ist, mit einem Umfangsrand (24a) des besagten Behältnisses (16) kooperiert, um den besagten Luftstrom aus dem besagten Behältnis (16) zu entfernen und ihn zu der besagten mindestens einen Heizvorrichtung (18) hin mittels eines ringförmigen Rohres (30) zu leiten, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das besagte ringförmige Rohr (30) zwei Enden hat, welche symmetrisch mit dem besagten mindestens einen Luftstromerzeugungselement (20) verbunden sind.
     
    2. Autonome Vorrichtung wie in Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das besagte ringförmige Rohr (30) eine Mehrzahl von Spalten (32) hat, welche entlang davon und in Übereinstimmung mit einem oberen Rand (13) des besagten Haltekörpers (12) angeordnet sind.
     
    3. Autonome Vorrichtung wie in Anspruch 1 oder 2, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass sie eine Sendeöffnung (34) mit einer im Wesentlichen hohlen Ringform aufweist, welche mit einem Umfangsrand (24a) des Behältnisses (16) kooperiert.
     
    4. Autonome Vorrichtung wie in Anspruch 3, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die besagte Sendeöffnung (34) einen Umfangsschlitz (36) hat, welcher eingerichtet ist, um es dem besagten Luftstrom zu erlauben, aus der Kavität der besagten Sendeöffnung (34) zu entweichen, und um sich, wenn der besagte Deckel (14) zumindest teilweise geschlossen ist, in dem besagten Behältnis (16) zu positionieren.
     
    5. Autonome Vorrichtung wie in Anspruch 3 oder 4, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass sich die besagte Sendeöffnung (34) an einem geringeren Umfang mit Bezug auf den besagten Umfangsrand (24a) bildet, um den Austritt des besagten Luftstroms aus dem besagten Behältnis (16) zu dem besagten Rückführausgang (28) zu bedingen.
     
    6. Autonome Vorrichtung wie in irgendeinem vorherigen Anspruch, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das besagte Behältnis (16) um eine Drehachse mittels eines Antriebselements (46) drehbar ist.
     
    7. Autonome Vorrichtung wie in irgendeinem vorherigen Anspruch, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass sie eine Mischvorrichtung (48) aufweist, welche mit mindestens einer Mischschaufel bereitgestellt ist, welche sich mit Bezug auf das besagte Behältnis (16) dreht.
     
    8. Verfahren zum Zurückführen eines Luftstroms innerhalb einer autonomen Vorrichtung (10) zum Kochen von Lebensmitteln, welche aufweist einen Haltekörper (12), einen öffenbaren Deckel (14), ein Innenbehältnis (16), welches mit Bezug auf den besagten Haltekörper (12) entnommen/eingeführt werden kann und oben offen ist, mindestens eine Heizvorrichtung (18) und mindestens ein Element (20), um einen Luftstrom zu dem Inneren des besagten Behältnisses (16) hin zu erzeugen, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass es vorsieht:

    - einen Luftstrom mittels der besagten mindestens einen Heizvorrichtung (18) zu erwärmen,

    - den besagten Strom an verbrauchter Luft aus dem besagten Behältnis (16) durch einen Rückführausgang (28) zu entfernen, welcher, wenn der besagte Deckel (14) in der Geschlossen-Position auf dem besagten Behältnis (16) ist, mit einem Umfangsrand (24a) des besagten Behältnisses (16) kooperiert,

    - den besagten Luftstrom mittels eines ringförmigen Rohrs (30) zu der besagten mindestens einen Heizvorrichtung (18) zu leiten, um einen geschlossenen Kreislaufweg des besagten Luftstroms zu definieren, wobei das ringförmige Rohr (30) zwei Enden hat, welche symmetrisch mit dem besagten mindestens einen Luftstromerzeugungselement (20) verbunden sind.


     


    Revendications

    1. Appareil autonome pour de d'aliments comprenant un corps de support (12), un couvercle pouvant être ouvert (14), un contenant interne (16) qui peut être extrait/inséré par rapport audit corps de support (12) et ouvert au niveau du haut, au moins un dispositif de chauffage (18) et au moins un élément (20) pour générer un flux d'air vers l'intérieur dudit contenant (16), ledit au moins un élément générateur de flux d'air (20) étant connecté à une sortie de retour (28) coopérant, lorsque ledit couvercle (14) est dans la position fermée sur ledit contenant (16), avec un bord périphérique (24a) dudit contenant (16) pour retirer ledit flux d'air à partir dudit contenant (16) et pour le canaliser vers ledit au moins un dispositif de chauffage (18) au moyen d'un tuyau annulaire (30), caractérisé en ce que ledit tuyau annulaire (30) a deux extrémités connectées symétriquement audit au moins un élément générateur de flux d'air (20).
     
    2. Appareil autonome selon la revendication 1, caractérisé en ce que ledit tuyau annulaire (30) a une pluralité de fissures (32) disposées le long de celui-ci et en correspondance avec un bord supérieur (13) dudit corps de support (12).
     
    3. Appareil autonome selon la revendication 1 ou 2, caractérisé en ce qu'il comprend une ouverture d'envoi (34) avec une forme toroïdale sensiblement creuse coopérant avec un bord périphérique (24a) du contenant (16).
     
    4. Appareil autonome selon la revendication 3, caractérisé en ce que ladite ouverture d'envoi (34) a une fente circonférentielle (36) configurée pour permettre audit flux d'air de sortir de la cavité de ladite ouverture d'envoi (34) et de se positionner avec ledit couvercle (14) au moins partiellement fermé dans ledit contenant (16).
     
    5. Appareil autonome selon la revendication 3 ou 4, caractérisé en ce que ladite ouverture d'envoi (34) se développe sur une circonférence inférieure par rapport audit bord circonférentiel (24a) pour déterminer la décharge dudit flux d'air depuis ledit contenant (16) vers ledit retour sortie (28).
     
    6. Appareil autonome selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, caractérisé en ce que ledit contenant (16) peut tourner autour d'un axe de rotation au moyen d'un élément d'entraînement (46).
     
    7. Appareil autonome selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, caractérisé en ce qu'il comprend un dispositif de mélange (48) pourvu d'au moins une pale de mélange tournant par rapport audit contenant (16).
     
    8. Méthode pour renvoyer un flux d'air à l'intérieur d'un appareil autonome (10) afin de cuire des aliments comprenant un corps de support (12), un couvercle pouvant être ouvert (14), un contenant interne (16) qui peut être extrait/inséré par rapport audit corps de support (12) et ouvert au niveau du haut, au moins un dispositif de chauffage (18) et au moins un élément (20) pour générer un flux d'air vers l'intérieur dudit contenant (16), caractérisée en ce qu'elle comporte les étapes consistant à :

    - chauffer un flux d'air au moyen dudit au moins un dispositif de chauffage (18) ;

    - retirer ledit flux d'air usé dudit contenant (16) via une sortie de retour (28) coopérante, lorsque ledit couvercle (14) est dans position fermée sur ledit contenant (16), avec un bord périphérique (24a) dudit contenant (16) ;

    - canaliser ledit flux d'air vers ledit au moins un dispositif de chauffage (18) au moyen d'un tuyau annulaire (30) afin de définir une course en circuit fermé dudit flux d'air, dans laquelle ledit tuyau annulaire (30) a deux extrémités, connectées symétriquement audit au moins un élément générateur de flux d'air (20).


     




    Drawing












    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