(19)
(11)EP 3 667 215 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION
published in accordance with Art. 153(4) EPC

(43)Date of publication:
17.06.2020 Bulletin 2020/25

(21)Application number: 17909478.4

(22)Date of filing:  30.06.2017
(51)Int. Cl.: 
F25D 29/00  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/CN2017/091135
(87)International publication number:
WO 2018/205385 (15.11.2018 Gazette  2018/46)
(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
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
MA MD

(30)Priority: 09.05.2017 CN 201710323115

(71)Applicants:
  • Hefei Hualing Co., Ltd.
    Hefei, Anhui 230601 (CN)
  • Hefei Midea Refrigerator Co., Ltd.
    Hefei, Anhui 230601 (CN)
  • Midea Group Co., Ltd.
    Foshan, Guangdong 528311 (CN)

(72)Inventors:
  • GONG, Qinqin
    Hefei Anhui 230601 (CN)
  • SHI, Huixin
    Hefei Anhui 230601 (CN)
  • WU, Zhigang
    Hefei Anhui 230601 (CN)
  • NING, Zhifang
    Hefei Anhui 230601 (CN)

(74)Representative: Lam, Alvin et al
Maucher Jenkins 26 Caxton Street
London SW1H 0RJ
London SW1H 0RJ (GB)

  


(54)OVERCOOLED MEAT FRESH-PRESERVATION CONTROL METHOD, CONTROLLER, AND REFRIGERATOR


(57) A control method for meat supercooling preservation, a controller and a refrigerator are provided. The control method comprises: S1 (101), acquiring a current temperature of meat in a compartment of a refrigerator in real time; S2 (102), determining whether the current temperature of the meat is greater than or equal to a first temperature threshold t0, and if yes, performing step S3 (103); S3 (103), controlling the compartment to perform a cooling operation; S4 (104), determining whether the meat has been cooled down to a phase transformation point temperature t1 during the cooling operation, and if yes, performing step S5 (105), the phase transformation point temperature t1 being the temperature of a critical point at which the phase transformation of the meat occurs; S5 (105), starting timing once the temperature has been cooled down to the phase transformation point temperature t1, and performing step S6 (106) after the timing reaches a first preset time period; and S6 (106), controlling the compartment to perform a low-temperature stable operation according to a third target temperature T3, the third target temperature T3 being a freezing point temperature of the meat. The control method for meat supercooling preservation provided by the present disclosure may prolong the freshness-preservation period as much as possible while ensuring that the meat is not frozen.




Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION



[0001] The present application claims priority to Chinese patent application No. 2017103231158 filed on May 09, 2017, entitled "Control Method for Meat Supercooling Preservation, Controller and Refrigerator", which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

Background


Technical Field



[0002] This disclosure relates to the field of intelligent control, in particular to a control method for meat supercooling preservation, a controller and a refrigerator.

Description of the Related Art



[0003] With the popularity of refrigerators, people are getting more and more used to keeping food fresh and storing it using the refrigerators in order to prolong the freshness-preservation and storage period of food, especially for meat.

[0004] Currently, freshness-preservation control methods for meat mainly include the following:
  1. (1) directly placing meat into a freezer compartment and freezing at -18°C can allow the meat to be stored for several months in general, but one of the most serious problems is that it is inconvenient to thaw, and the quality and taste of the thawed meat is significantly worse;
  2. (2) storing by soft freezing, in which the temperature of the compartment is generally between -5°C to -9°C during storage. There is a problem that the meat is still frozen and it is difficult to thaw although the meat can be stored for a longer period under this condition; or
  3. (3) a zero-degree fresh-preservation technology is available in the market in which the temperature is controlled at about 1°C. Although the problem of meat freezing can be avoided, the freshness-preservation period is too short to ensure freshness for one-week.


[0005] Therefore, the existing freshness-preservation control methods for meat are not able to meet the actual needs of users.

Brief Summary



[0006] In view of the defects in the prior art, the present disclosure provides a control method for meat supercooling preservation, a controller and a refrigerator. The control method for meat supercooling preservation, the controller and the refrigerator provided by the present disclosure can prolong the freshness-preservation period as much as possible while ensuring that the meat is not frozen.

[0007] In order to solve the technical problems above, the present disclosure provides the following technical solutions:
according to a first aspect, the present disclosure provides a control method for meat supercooling preservation comprising:

S1, acquiring a current temperature of meat in a compartment of a refrigerator in real time;

S2, determining whether the current temperature of the meat is greater than or equal to a first temperature threshold t0, and if yes, performing step S3;

S3, controlling the compartment to perform a cooling operation;

S4, determining whether the meat food has been cooled down to a phase transformation point temperature t1 during the cooling operation, and if yes, performing step S5, wherein the phase transformation point temperature t1 is the temperature of a critical point at which a phase transformation of the meat occurs;

S5, starting timing once the temperature has been cooled down to the phase transformation point temperature t1, and performing step S6 after the timing reaches a first preset time period;

S6, controlling the compartment to perform a low-temperature stable operation according to a third target temperature T3, wherein the third target temperature T3 is a freezing point temperature of the meat.



[0008] Further, if it is determined that the current temperature of the meat is less than the first temperature threshold t0 in step S2, then step S7 is performed;
S7, controlling the compartment to perform a heating operation;
wherein, after the performance of step S7 is complete, step S1 is performed again.

[0009] Further, S4 is further used to determine whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation; correspondingly, if it is determined that the meat is frozen during the cooling operation in step S4, then step S7 is performed;
S7, controlling the compartment to perform a heating operation;
wherein, after the performance of step S7 is complete, step S1 is performed again.

[0010] Further, the judging whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation in step S4 may include:

judging whether the meat has a lowest temperature point during the cooling operation, and judging that the meat is frozen during the cooling operation if the lowest temperature point occurs and the temperature elevation amount in a preset continuous time period starting from the lowest temperature point is greater than or equal to a preset temperature change amount; wherein the length of the preset continuous time period starting from the lowest temperature point is less than or equal to a first time length threshold;
and/or,

judging whether the temperature of the meat remains unchanged during a preset continuous time period occurs during the cooling operation, and if yes, judging that the meat is frozen during the cooling operation, wherein the length of the preset continuous time period is greater than or equal to a second time length threshold.



[0011] Further, step S3 may include:
controlling the compartment to perform a cooling operation according to an initial target temperature T0, wherein the initial target temperature T0 ranges from -10°C to -1°C.

[0012] Further, step S3 may include:
controlling the compartment to perform a cooling operation according to a first target temperature T1, and continuously controlling the compartment to perform a cooling operation according to a second target temperature T2 after the current temperature of the meat has been cooled down to t0, wherein T1<T2.

[0013] Further, step S3 may include:
controlling a damper of the compartment to be fully opened and performing a cooling operation according to the initial target temperature T0, and controlling the damper of the compartment to be half-opened and continuously performing the cooling operation according to the initial target temperature T0 after the current temperature of the meat has been cooled down to t0.

[0014] Further, step S7 may include:
controlling the compartment to perform a heating operation according to a fourth target temperature T4, wherein the fourth target temperature T4 ranges from -1°C to 6°C.

[0015] Further, step S1 may include:

acquiring the current temperature of the meat in the compartment of the refrigerator using a plurality of temperature sensors;

correspondingly, judging whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation in step S4 may include:
simultaneously determining whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation using the plurality of temperature sensors, subject to a determination result of the temperature sensor that first determines that the meat has been frozen during the cooling operation.



[0016] Further, the first temperature threshold t0 can range from -2°C to 4°C.

[0017] Further, the compartment can be one or more of the following:
a variable temperature chamber of a refrigerator or a variable temperature region isolated by the variable temperature chamber, a variable temperature drawer in a refrigerating compartment of the refrigerator or a variable temperature region isolated by the variable temperature drawer, and a variable temperature drawer in a freezing compartment of the refrigerator or a variable temperature region isolated by the variable temperature drawer.

[0018] Further, the method may further include:
sending reminder information to a user if it is determined that the storage time of the meat in the compartment of the refrigerator exceeds the preset number of days.

[0019] According to a second aspect, the present disclosure also provides a controller, including:

a temperature acquisition module configured to acquire a current temperature of meat in a compartment of a refrigerator in real time;

a first determination module configured to determine whether the current temperature of the meat is greater than or equal to a first temperature threshold t0;

a first control module configured to control the compartment to perform a cooling operation when the first determination module determines that the current temperature of the meat is greater than or equal to the first temperature threshold t0;

a second determination module configured to determine whether the meat has been cooled down to a phase transformation point temperature t1 during the cooling operation, wherein the phase transformation point temperature t1 is the temperature of a critical point at which the phase transformation of the meat occurs;

a timing module configured to start timing once the temperature has been cooled down to the phase transformation point temperature t1; and

a second control module configured to control the compartment to perform a low-temperature stable operation according to a third target temperature T3 after the timing by the timing module reaches a first preset time period, wherein the third target temperature T3 is a freezing point temperature of the meat.



[0020] Further, the controller may further include:
a third control module configured to control the compartment to perform a heating operation when the first determination module determines that the current temperature of the meat is less than the first temperature threshold t0.

[0021] Further, the second determination module can be further configured to determine whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation.

[0022] Correspondingly, the controller may further include:
a third control module configured to control the compartment to perform a heating operation when the second determination module determines that the meat is frozen during the cooling operation.

[0023] Further, when the second determination module determines whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation, it may be configured to:

determine whether the meat has a lowest temperature point during the cooling operation, and determine that the meat is frozen during the cooling operation if the lowest temperature point occurs and the temperature elevation amount in a preset continuous time period starting from the lowest temperature point is greater than or equal to a preset temperature change amount; wherein the length of the preset continuous time period starting from the lowest temperature point is less than or equal to a first time length threshold;
and/or,

determine whether the temperature of the meat remains unchanged during a preset continuous time period occurs during the cooling operation, and if yes, determine that the meat is frozen during the cooling operation, wherein the length of the preset continuous time period is greater than or equal to a second time length threshold.



[0024] Further, when the first control module controls the compartment to perform the cooling operation, it may be configured to:
control the compartment to perform the cooling operation according to an initial target temperature T0, and the initial target temperature T0 ranges from -10°C to -1°C.

[0025] Further, when the first control module controls the compartment to perform the cooling operation, it may be configured to:
control the compartment to perform the cooling operation according to a first target temperature T1, and continuously control the compartment to perform the cooling operation according to a second target temperature T2 after the current temperature of the meat has been cooled down to t0, wherein T1<T2.

[0026] Further, when the first control module controls the compartment to perform the cooling operation, it may be configured to:
control a damper of the compartment to be fully opened and perform the cooling operation according to the initial target temperature T0, and control the damper of the compartment to be half-opened and continuously perform the cooling operation according to the initial target temperature T0 after the current temperature of the meat has been cooled down to t0.

[0027] Further, when the third control module controls the compartment to perform the heating operation, it may be configured to:
control the compartment to perform the heating operation according to a fourth target temperature T4, wherein the fourth target temperature T4 ranges from -1°C to 6°C.

[0028] Further, the temperature acquisition module may be configured to acquire the current temperature of the meat in the compartment of the refrigerator using a plurality of temperature sensors;
correspondingly, when the second determination module determines whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation, it may be configured to:
simultaneously determine whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation using the plurality of temperature sensors, subject to the determination result of the temperature sensor that first determines that the meat has been frozen during the cooling operation.

[0029] Further, the first temperature threshold t0 may range from -2°C to 4°C.

[0030] Further, the compartment may be one or more of the following:
a variable temperature chamber of a refrigerator or a variable temperature region isolated by the variable temperature chamber, a variable temperature drawer in a refrigerating compartment of the refrigerator or a variable temperature region isolated by the variable temperature drawer, and a variable temperature drawer in a freezing compartment of the refrigerator or a variable temperature region isolated by the variable temperature drawer.

[0031] Further, the controller may further include:
a reminding module configured to send reminder information to a user if it is determined that the storage time of the meat in the compartment of the refrigerator exceeds the preset number of days.

[0032] According to a third aspect, the present disclosure provides a refrigerator comprising the controller of any of the embodiments above.

[0033] According to the technical solutions above, the control method for meat supercooling preservation provided by the present disclosure allows detection of the temperature of the meat placed in the compartment in real time, and conducts control of the compartment to perform a low-temperature operation to cool the meat if the temperature of the meat is greater than or equal to the first temperature threshold t0 (for example, the meat is room temperature meat), meanwhile timing starts if the temperature of the meat has been cooled down to the phase transformation point temperature t1 during the process of cooling the meat, and the control method controls the compartment to perform a stable operation at a low-temperature critical freezing state with the freezing point temperature of the meat as the target temperature after timing reaches a preset time length, so as to ensure that the meat is at a relatively low temperature environment for a long time while ensuring that meat is not frozen. It can be seen that the control method of the present disclosure mainly allows the meat to be in an supercooled state for a long time and then maintains it near the freezing point, so as to ensure that the food is in a relatively low temperature environment for a long time and that the meat is kept fresh in an supercooled state in the refrigerator without being frozen, thereby prolonging the freshness-preservation period. That is, the present disclosure utilizes the characteristics of the supercooled and stable section of the meat and fully exerts the supercooled advantage, and retains the meat in an supercooled state for a long time without being frozen, thereby prolonging the freshness-preservation period of the meat. By adopting the control method of the present disclosure, the shelf life of the meat can be prolonged to more than 7 days, and the non-freezing and freshness-preservation effects can be achieved.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0034] In order to more clearly illustrate the technical solutions disclosed in the embodiments of the present disclosure or the prior art, the drawings used in the descriptions of the embodiments or the prior art will be briefly described below. The drawings in the following description are only certain embodiments of the present disclosure, and other embodiments can be obtained according to these drawings without any creative work for those skilled in the art.

Fig. 1 is a flow chart of a control method for meat supercooling preservation according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;

Fig. 2 is a flow chart of a first alternative implementation of a control method for meat supercooling preservation according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;

Fig. 3 is a flow chart of a second alternative implementation of a control method for meat supercooling preservation according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;

Fig. 4 is a flow chart of a third alternative implementation of a control method for meat supercooling preservation according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;

Fig. 5 is a flow chart of a fourth alternative implementation of a control method for meat supercooling preservation according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;

Fig. 6 is a flow chart of a fifth alternative implementation of a control method for meat supercooling preservation according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;

Fig. 7 is a flow chart of a sixth alternative implementation of a control method for meat supercooling preservation according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;

Fig. 8 is a flow chart of a seventh alternative implementation of a control method for meat supercooling preservation according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;

Fig. 9 is a flow chart of an eighth alternative implementation of a control method for meat supercooling preservation according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;

Fig. 10 is a schematic structural diagram of a controller according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;

Fig. 11 is another schematic structural diagram of a controller according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;

Fig. 12 is still another schematic structural diagram of a controller according to an embodiment of the present disclosure; and

Fig. 13 is a schematic structural diagram of a refrigerator according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.


Detailed Description



[0035] In order to make the object, technical solutions and advantages of the embodiments of the present disclosure more clear, the technical solutions in the embodiments of the present disclosure are clearly and completely described in the following in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in the embodiments of the present disclosure. It will be appreciated that the described embodiments are some of the embodiments of the present disclosure, and not all of the embodiments. The skilled person would understand that other embodiments based on the embodiments of the present disclosure belong to the scope of the present disclosure.

[0036] An embodiment of the present disclosure provides a flow chart of a control method for meat supercooling preservation. Referring to Fig. 1, the method includes the following steps.

[0037] Step 101: a current temperature of meat in a compartment of a refrigerator is acquired in real time.

[0038] In this step, the compartment may be a variable temperature chamber of a refrigerator, a variable temperature drawer in a refrigerating compartment of the refrigerator or a variable temperature drawer in a freezing compartment of the refrigerator. Of course, in order to make more reasonable use of the refrigerator space, the variable temperature chamber of the refrigerator, the variable temperature drawer in the refrigerating compartment of the refrigerator, or the variable temperature drawer in the freezing compartment of the refrigerator may be isolated into a plurality of variable temperature regions, so that each variable temperature region isolated can also be regarded as a compartment. That is, the compartment in this embodiment may be understood as multiple spaces as long as the temperature environment in the compartment is adjustable (for example, to achieve a temperature environment of-10 to 8°C).

[0039] It can be understood that when the variable temperature chamber of the refrigerator, the variable temperature drawer in the refrigerating compartment of the refrigerator, or the variable temperature drawer in the freezing compartment of the refrigerator are isolated into a plurality of variable temperature regions, an air supply and return structure can be separately provided for each region (multiple individual dampers or many-driven-by-one damper design can be used), or a baffle structure with fine-adjustable size that can slide towards the left or right can also be flexibly designed so that users can adjust the size of each region; in addition, the temperature detection and cooling control of each region can be performed completely independently.

[0040] In this step, the food in the compartment of the refrigerator may be meat such as chicken, pork, duck, beef, fish, and the like;
Step 102: whether the current temperature of the meat is greater than or equal to a first temperature threshold t0 is determined, and if yes, step 103 is then performed.

[0041] In this step, the first temperature threshold t0 may range from -2°C to 4°C.

[0042] Step 103: the compartment is controlled to perform a cooling operation.

[0043] In this step, the compartment is controlled to perform a cooling operation to cool the meat so as to preserve the freshness of the stored meat if it is determined that the current temperature of the meat is greater than or equal to a first temperature threshold t0 (for example, the meat is at room temperature).

[0044] It can be understood that the temperature of the compartment can be set as needed, for example, set to -6°C, that is, the compartment is controlled to perform the cooling operation with -6°C as the target temperature when the compartment is controlled to perform the cooling operation. Of course, in order to ensure that a phase transformation of the meat can occur during the cooling operation, the target temperature set during the cooling operation of the compartment cannot be excessively high, and should be at least a temperature below zero, preferably -10°C to -1°C.

[0045] Step 104: whether the meat has been cooled down to a phase transformation point temperature t1 during the cooling operation is determined, and if yes, step S5 is performed, wherein the phase transformation point temperature t1 is a temperature of a critical point at which the phase transformation of the meat occurs.

[0046] In this step, the phase transformation point temperature t1 is the temperature of a critical point at which the phase transformation of the meat occurs. The critical point at which the phase transformation of the meat occurs is the critical point at which the water in the meat just begins to crystallize. The phase transformation point temperature of general meats ranges from -3 to 0°C. It should be understood that the meat does not freeze immediately on undergoing a phase transformation, but instead takes a time period from the beginning of the phase transformation to the freezing. Different meats take different time lengths, for example, pork, beef, chicken, and fish may have different time lengths.

[0047] Step 105: timing is started once the temperature has been cooled down to the phase transformation point temperature t1, and whether the timing reaches a first preset time period is determined, and if yes, step S106 is then performed.

[0048] In this step, timing is started if it is detected that the meat has been cooled down to the phase transformation point temperature t1 during the cooling operation, and the timing is performed for the first preset time period so as to control the meat to be in a supercooled state for a long time. Here, the range of the first preset time period needs to be determined according to the actual supercooled time of the meat under the temperature condition and is generally between 2 and 100 hours.

[0049] Step 106: the compartment is controlled to perform a low-temperature stable operation according to a third target temperature T3, wherein the third target temperature T3 is a freezing point temperature of the meat.

[0050] In this step, the freezing point temperature of the meat generally ranges from -5 to 0°C.

[0051] According to the description of the step 105 above, the timing starts if it is detected that the meat has been cooled down to the phase transformation point temperature t1 during the cooling operation, and the compartment is controlled to perform a low-temperature stable operation with the freezing point temperature of the meat as the target temperature after the timing reaches the first preset time period, so as to ensure that the meat is kept near the freezing point to maintain a critical freezing, low-temperature stable state.

[0052] Therefore, in the present embodiment, the current temperature of the meat placed in the compartment is detected in real time, the temperature is controlled to be cooled if it is room temperature meat, and the temperature is elevated into a stable section of the critical freezing point when the temperature of the meat is cooled to the supercooled state, so as to ensure that the meat in the compartment is in a relatively low temperature environment for a long time and that the meat is supercooled and fresh in the refrigerator without being frozen, thereby prolonging the freshness-preservation period.

[0053] It can be understood that, in this embodiment, at least two temperature detection devices are needed in the compartment, and the temperature detection device may be an ordinary temperature sensor, an infrared sensor, or any other device capable of detecting temperature. One temperature detection device is used to monitor the temperature of the placed meat, and the other temperature detection device is used to control the temperature of the compartment.

[0054] In addition, the control method provided by embodiments of the present disclosure can also be applied to a liquid beverage, so that the liquid beverage can always maintain an supercooled state, that is, it is always in a cool and non-frozen state, thereby meeting the demand of some users for ice cold drinks.

[0055] According to the technical solution described above, the control method for meat supercooling preservation provided by the embodiments of the present disclosure detects the temperature of the meat placed in the compartment in real time, controls the compartment to perform a low-temperature operation to cool the meat if the temperature of the meat is greater than or equal to the first temperature threshold t0 (for example, the meat is room temperature meat), meanwhile timing starts if the temperature of the meat has been cooled down to the phase transformation point temperature t1 during the process of cooling the meat, and the control method controls the compartment to perform a stable operation at a critical freezing, low-temperature state with the freezing point temperature of the meat as the target temperature after the timing reaches a preset time length, so as to ensure that the meat is at a relatively low temperature environment for a long time while ensuring that meat is not frozen. It can be seen that the control method of the embodiments of the present disclosure allows the meat to be in an supercooled state for a long time and to be maintained near the freezing point, so as to ensure that the food is in a relatively low temperature environment for a long time and that the meat is kept fresh in an supercooled state in the refrigerator without being frozen, thereby prolonging the freshness-preservation period. That is, the present embodiments utilize the characteristics of the supercooled and stable section of the meat, fully exert the supercooled advantage, and keep the meat in an supercooled state for a long time without being frozen, thereby prolonging the freshness-preservation period of the meat. By adopting the control method of the embodiments of the present disclosure, the shelf life of the meat can be prolonged to more than 7 days, and the non-freezing and freshness-preservation effects can be achieved. Therefore, the control method provided by the embodiments of the present disclosure may prolong the freshness-preservation period as much as possible while ensuring that the meat is not frozen.

[0056] In an alternative embodiment, referring to Fig. 2, if it is determined that the current temperature of the meat is less than the first temperature threshold t0 in the step 102, then step 107 is performed;
Step 107: the compartment is controlled to perform a heating operation;
wherein, after the performance of step 107 is complete, the performance of step 101 is continued.

[0057] It can be seen that in the alternative embodiment, the temperature of the meat in the compartment is detected in real time, and the compartment may be controlled to perform a low-temperature operation to cool the meat if the temperature of the meat is greater than or equal to the first temperature threshold t0 (for example, the meat is room temperature meat); the compartment is controlled to perform high-temperature thawing so as to prevent the meat from continuing freezing if the temperature of the meat is lower than the first temperature threshold t0 (for example, the meat is frozen meat). When the meat is subjected to high-temperature thawing, it is necessary to detect the temperature of the meat in real time, and the compartment may be re-controlled to perform the low-temperature operation to cool the meat if the temperature of the meat is again greater than or equal to the first temperature threshold t0. Thus the embodiment continuously repeats the process of cooling and warming to ensure that the meat is in a lower temperature environment for a long time without being frozen, so that the freshness-preservation period of the meat is prolonged. When the compartment is controlled to perform the heating operation, the target temperature of the heating operation should not be excessively high, so as to prevent the warming temperature of the meat in the compartment from being too high, and it is preferable that the value range of the target temperature during the heating operation is -1 to 6°C, for example, 3°C.

[0058] In an alternative embodiment, referring to Fig. 3, the step 104 may be further used to determine whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation; correspondingly, if it is determined that the meat is frozen during the cooling operation in the step 104, then the step 107 may be performed;
Step 107: the compartment is controlled to perform a heating operation;
wherein, after the performance of the step 107 is complete, the performance of the step 101 is continued.

[0059] In the present embodiment, it is preferable to add a determination step here to prevent the circumstance where determination of the abnormal freezing point is missing and ensure the frozen meat is timely warmed and prevent freezing of the meat, since the meat may be frozen directly without passing through a phase transformation point during the cooling operation. That is, once the meat is detected to be frozen, the warming treatment should be performed immediately on the meat, and it is necessary to detect the temperature of the meat in real time after the warming treatment is performed, and the compartment is re-controlled to perform the low-temperature operation to cool the meat if the temperature of the meat is again greater than or equal to the first temperature threshold t0.

[0060] In an alternative embodiment, whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation can be determined in the step 104 by using any one or both of the following two determination modes:
mode 1: determining whether the meat has a lowest temperature point during the cooling operation, and determining that the meat is frozen during the cooling operation if the lowest temperature point occurs and the temperature elevation amount in a preset continuous time period starting from the lowest temperature point is greater than or equal to a preset temperature change amount (the preset temperature change amount ranging from 1 to 2°C); wherein the length of the preset continuous time period starting from the lowest temperature point is less than or equal to a first time length threshold. For example, the first time length threshold ranges from 5 to 10 minutes.

[0061] It should be understood that the lowest temperature point described herein refers to the lowest temperature point before the temperature of the meat is elevated during the freezing operation. Because the temperature of the meat suddenly has a slightly higher temperature during the freezing operation and then continues to drop, the temperature point ahead of the point of this slightly higher temperature is the lowest point described here, which can also be understood as a pole.

[0062] Mode 2: determining whether the temperature of the meat remains unchanged during a preset continuous time period occurs during the cooling operation, and if yes, determining that the meat is frozen during the cooling operation, wherein the length of the preset continuous time period is greater than or equal to a second time length threshold. For example, the second time length threshold ranges from 0.5 to 2 hours.

[0063] It can be understood that the two modes above are used to actually determine the freezing nodes in the two cases that the meat is in an supercooled state and in a non-supercooled state during the cooling operation.

[0064] It can be further understood that the cooling termination point in this embodiment is the phase transformation sudden-rise point of the temperature (the mode 1 above) or the phase transformation stable section (the mode 2 above), and the warming treatment should be performed immediately if it is determined that the freezing occurs.

[0065] In an alternative embodiment, referring to Fig. 4, the step 103 specifically includes:
step 103a: controlling the compartment to perform a cooling operation according to an initial target temperature T0, and the initial target temperature T0 ranging from -10°C to -1°C.

[0066] In the present embodiment, the compartment is controlled to perform a cooling operation according to the initial target temperature T0 to ensure that the meat in the compartment is quickly cooled to a frozen state to keeping the fresh component as much as possible.

[0067] In another alternative embodiment, different from the alternative embodiments above, referring to Fig. 5, the step 103 specifically includes:
step 103b: controlling the compartment to perform a cooling operation according to a first target temperature T1, and continuously controlling the compartment to perform a cooling operation according to the second target temperature T2 after the current temperature of the meat has been cooled down to t0, T1<T2.

[0068] Unlike the alternative embodiment above, in the present embodiment, the cooling operation is divided into two stages, and the target temperature setting value is controlled so that earlier stage of the cooling operation operates at a lower temperature and the cooling amount is larger, the meat is quickly brought to the t0 level, and then the set temperature is elevated, so that the meat slowly enters the supercooled or freezing process, thereby effectively prolonging the storage time at low temperatures.

[0069] In still another alternative embodiment, unlike two alternative embodiments above, referring to Fig. 6, the step 103 specifically includes:
step 103c: controlling a damper of the compartment to be fully opened and performing a cooling operation according to the initial target temperature T0, and controlling the damper of the compartment to be half-opened and continuously perform a cooling operation according to the initial target temperature T0 after the current temperature of the meat has been cooled down to t0.

[0070] Unlike the two alternative embodiment above, in the present embodiment, the cooling operation is divided into two stages, and the damper of the compartment is controlled to be fully opened and half-opened so that the cooling amount at the earlier stage of the cooling operation is larger, the meat is quickly brought to the t0 level, and then the damper is controlled to be half-opened, so that the cooling amount is decreased, the meat slowly enters the supercooled or freezing process, thereby effectively prolonging the storage time at low temperatures.

[0071] The two cooling modes shown in Figs. 5 and 6 include two cooling stages, of which one is a rapid cooling stage and the other is a slow cooling stage, and the final purpose is to achieve an supercooled state.

[0072] In an alternative embodiment, referring to Fig. 7, the step 107 specifically includes:
step 107a: controlling the compartment to perform a heating operation according to a fourth target temperature T4, and the fourth target temperature T4 ranging from -1°C to 6°C.

[0073] In the present embodiment, the compartment is controlled to perform a heating operation according to the third target temperature T3 to ensure that the meat in the compartment is not excessively warmed.

[0074] In an alternative embodiment, referring to Fig. 8, the step 101 specifically includes:

step 101a: acquiring a current temperature of meat in a compartment of the refrigerator using a plurality of temperature sensors in real time;

correspondingly, the determining whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation in the step 104 specifically includes:
step 104a: simultaneously determining whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation using the plurality of temperature sensors, subject to the determination result of the temperature sensor that first determines that the meat has been frozen during the cooling operation.



[0075] In the alternative embodiment, a plurality of temperature sensors are used to determine whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation to ensure that the freezing phenomenon of the meat can be accurately and timely discovered. When a certain temperature sensor first determines that the meat is frozen during the cooling operation, the subsequent warming process is performed immediately to ensure that the meat does not be frozen according to the determination result of this temperature sensor.

[0076] In addition, during the entire control process, the plurality of temperature sensors can always compare the temperatures. If temperatures detected by more than two temperature sensors are below a certain value (for example, -10°C), it means that there is a large amount of frozen meat placed into the compartment, and it is necessary to forcibly perform the step 107 to control the warming at this time.

[0077] In an alternative embodiment, referring to Fig. 9, the method also includes step 108 and step 109.

[0078] Step 108: whether the storage time of the meat in the compartment exceeds a preset number of days is determined, and if yes, then the step 109 is performed.

[0079] Step 109: a reminder information is sent to a user.

[0080] In this alternative embodiment, the user is reminded to take out the food in time for eating by sending the reminder information to the user after the storage time of the meat in the compartment is determined. For example, when the user opens the compartment, there is a reminder signal such as an indicator light or blinking, or corresponding reminder information is directly displayed on the display screen. In addition, the reminder function can also be implemented through the mobile phone software, for example, the reminder information is pushed to the mobile phone software, and the user is informed of the reminder information through the mobile phone software.

[0081] It can be understood that the foregoing various alternative embodiments may be combined in any manner and the present disclosure does not limit this.

[0082] Based on the same inventive concept, another embodiment of the present disclosure provides a controller. Referring to Fig. 10, the controller includes: a temperature acquisition module 21, a first determination module 22, a first control module 23, and a second determination module 24, a timing module 25 and a second control module 26, wherein:

the temperature acquisition module 21 is configured to acquire a current temperature of meat in a compartment of a refrigerator in real time;

the first determination module 22 is configured to determine whether the current temperature of the meat is greater than or equal to a first temperature threshold t0;

the first control module 23 is configured to control the compartment to perform a cooling operation when the first determination module determines that the current temperature of the meat is greater than or equal to the first temperature threshold t0;

the second determination module 24 is configured to determine whether the meat has been cooled down to a phase transformation point temperature t1 during the cooling operation, wherein the phase transformation point temperature t1 is the temperature of a critical point at which the phase transformation of the meat occurs;

the timing module 25 is configured to start timing once the temperature has been cooled down to the phase transformation point temperature t1; and

the second control module 26 is configured to control the compartment to perform a low-temperature stable operation according to a third target temperature T3 after the timing by the timing module reaches the first preset time period, wherein the third target temperature T3 is a freezing point temperature of the meat.



[0083] In an alternative embodiment, referring to Fig. 11, the controller further includes:
a third control module 27 configured to control the compartment to perform a heating operation when the first determination module 22 determines that the current temperature of the meat is less than the first temperature threshold t0.

[0084] In an alternative embodiment, the second determination module is further configured to determine whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation.

[0085] Correspondingly, the controller further includes:
a third control module configured to control the compartment to perform a heating operation when the second determination module determines that the meat is frozen during the cooling operation.

[0086] In an alternative embodiment, when the second determination module determines whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation, it is specifically configured to:

determine whether the meat has a lowest temperature point during the cooling operation, and determine that the meat is frozen during the cooling operation if the lowest temperature point occurs and the temperature elevation amount in a preset continuous time period starting from the lowest temperature point is greater than or equal to a preset temperature change amount; wherein the length of the preset continuous time period starting from the lowest temperature point is less than or equal to a first time length threshold;
and/or,

determine whether the temperature of the meat remains unchanged during a preset continuous time period occurs during the cooling operation, and if yes, determine that the meat is frozen during the cooling operation, wherein the length of the preset continuous time period is greater than or equal to a second time length threshold.



[0087] In an alternative embodiment, when the first control module controls the compartment to perform a cooling operation, it is specifically configured to:
control the compartment to perform a cooling operation according to an initial target temperature T0, and the initial target temperature T0 ranges from -10°C to -1°C.

[0088] In an alternative embodiment, when the first control module controls the compartment to perform a cooling operation, it is specifically configured to:
control the compartment to perform a cooling operation according to a first target temperature T1, and continuously control the compartment to perform a cooling operation according to a second target temperature T2 after the current temperature of the meat has been cooled down to t0, T1<T2.

[0089] In an alternative embodiment, when the first control module controls the compartment to perform a cooling operation, it is specifically configured to:
control a damper of the compartment to be fully opened and performing a cooling operation according to the initial target temperature T0, and control the damper of the compartment to be half-opened and continuously perform a cooling operation according to the initial target temperature T0 after the current temperature of the meat has been cooled down to t0.

[0090] In an alternative embodiment, when the third control module controls the compartment to perform a heating operation, it is specifically configured to:
control the compartment to perform a heating operation according to a fourth target temperature T4, and the fourth target temperature T4 ranges from -1°C to 6°C.

[0091] In an alternative embodiment, the temperature acquisition module is specifically configured to acquire the current temperature of the meat in the compartment of the refrigerator using a plurality of temperature sensors;
correspondingly, when the second determination module determines whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation, it is specifically configured to:
simultaneously determine whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation using the plurality of temperature sensors, subject to the determination result of the temperature sensor that first determines that the meat has been frozen during the cooling operation.

[0092] In an alternative embodiment, the first temperature threshold t0 ranges from -2°C to 4°C.

[0093] In an alternative embodiment, the compartment is one or more of the following:
a variable temperature chamber of a refrigerator or a variable temperature region isolated by the variable temperature chamber, a variable temperature drawer in a refrigerating compartment of the refrigerator or a variable temperature region isolated by the variable temperature drawer, and a variable temperature drawer in a freezing compartment of the refrigerator or a variable temperature region isolated by the variable temperature drawer.

[0094] In an alternative embodiment, referring to Fig. 12, the controller further includes:
a reminding module 28 configured to send a reminder information to a user if it is determined that the storage time of the meat in the compartment of the refrigerator exceeds the preset number of days.

[0095] The controller of the embodiments of the present disclosure can be used to perform the control method for meat supercooling preservation described in the above embodiments, and the principle and technical effects thereof are similar and will not be described in detail herein.

[0096] Based on the same inventive concept, still another embodiment of the present disclosure provides a refrigerator, referring to Fig. 13, which includes the controller as described in the embodiments above.

[0097] Since the refrigerator provided by the embodiments of the disclosure includes the controller of the embodiments above, the refrigerator provided by the embodiments of the disclosure can realize the supercooled freshness-preservation of the meat, and the freshness-preservation period is prolonged while ensuring that the meat is not frozen, thereby improving the user experience and meeting user needs.

[0098] The embodiments above are only used to explain the technical solutions of the present disclosure, and are not limited thereto; although the present disclosure is described in detail with reference to the foregoing embodiments, it should be understood by those skilled in the art that they can still modify the technical solutions described in the foregoing embodiments and make equivalent replacements to a part of the technical features; and these modifications and substitutions do not make the essence of the corresponding technical solutions depart from the spirit and scope of the technical solutions of the embodiments of the present disclosure.


Claims

1. A control method for meat supercooling preservation, characterized in that comprising:

S1, acquiring a current temperature of meat in a compartment of a refrigerator in real time;

S2, determining whether the current temperature of the meat is greater than or equal to a first temperature threshold t0, and if yes, performing S3;

S3, controlling the compartment to perform a cooling operation;

S4, determining whether the meat has been cooled down to a phase transformation point temperature t1 during the cooling operation, and if yes, performing S5, wherein the phase transformation point temperature t1 is the temperature of a critical point at which the phase transformation of the meat occurs;

S5, starting timing once the temperature has been cooled down to the phase transformation point temperature t1, and performing S6 after the timing reaches the first preset time period; and

S6, controlling the compartment to perform a low-temperature stable operation according to the third target temperature T3, wherein the third target temperature T3 is a freezing point temperature of the meat.


 
2. The control method of claim 1, characterized in that if it is determined that the current temperature of the meat is less than the first temperature threshold t0 in the S2, then S7 is performed;
S7, controlling the compartment to perform a heating operation;
wherein, after the performance of the S7 is complete, the performance of the S1 is continued.
 
3. The control method of claim 1, characterized in that the S4 is further used to determine whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation; correspondingly, if it is determined that the meat is frozen during the cooling operation in the S4, then the S7 is performed;
S7, controlling the compartment to perform a heating operation;
wherein, after the performance of the S7 is complete, the performance of the S1 is continued.
 
4. The control method of claim 3, characterized in that the determining whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation in the S4 specifically includes:

determining whether the meat has a lowest temperature point during the cooling operation, and determining that the meat is frozen during the cooling operation if the lowest temperature point occurs and the temperature elevation amount in a preset continuous time period starting from the lowest temperature point is greater than or equal to a preset temperature change amount; wherein the length of the preset continuous time period starting from the lowest temperature point is less than or equal to a first time length threshold;
and/or,

determining whether the temperature of the meat remains unchanged during the preset continuous time period occurs during the cooling operation, and if yes, determining that the meat is frozen during the cooling operation, wherein the length of the preset continuous time period is greater than or equal to a second time length threshold.


 
5. The control method of any of claims 1 to 4, characterized in that the S3 specifically includes:
controlling the compartment to perform a cooling operation according to an initial target temperature T0, and the initial target temperature T0 ranging from -10°C to -1°C.
 
6. The control method of any of claims 1 to 4, characterized in that the S3 specifically includes:
controlling the compartment to perform a cooling operation according to a first target temperature T1, and continuously controlling the compartment to perform a cooling operation according to a second target temperature T2 after the current temperature of the meat has been cooled down to t0, T1<T2.
 
7. The control method of any of claims 1 to 4, characterized in that the S3 specifically includes:
controlling a damper of the compartment to be fully opened and performing a cooling operation according to an initial target temperature T0, and controlling the damper of the compartment to be half-opened and continuously performing the cooling operation according to the initial target temperature T0 after the current temperature of the meat has been cooled down to t0.
 
8. The control method of any of claims 2 to 4, characterized in that the S7 specifically includes:
controlling the compartment to perform a heating operation according to a fourth target temperature T4, and the fourth target temperature T4 ranging from -1°C to 6°C.
 
9. The control method of claim 3 or 4, characterized in that the S1 specifically includes:

acquiring the current temperature of the meat in the compartment of the refrigerator using a plurality of temperature sensors;

correspondingly, the determining whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation in the step S4 specifically includes:
simultaneously determining whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation using the plurality of temperature sensors, subject to the determination result of the temperature sensor that first determines that the meat has been frozen during the cooling operation.


 
10. The control method of any one of claims 1 to 4, characterized in that the first temperature threshold t0 ranges from -2 to 4°C.
 
11. The control method of any one of claims 1 to 4, characterized in that the compartment is one or more of the following:
a variable temperature chamber of a refrigerator or a variable temperature region isolated by the variable temperature chamber, a variable temperature drawer in a refrigerating compartment of the refrigerator or a variable temperature region isolated by the variable temperature drawer, and a variable temperature drawer in a freezing compartment of the refrigerator or a variable temperature region isolated by the variable temperature drawer.
 
12. The control method of any of claims 1 to 4, characterized in that the control method further includes:
sending a reminder information to a user if it is determined that the storage time of the meat in the compartment of the refrigerator exceeds a preset number of days.
 
13. A controller, characterized in that comprising:

a temperature acquisition module configured to acquire a current temperature of meat in a compartment of a refrigerator in real time;

a first determination module configured to determine whether the current temperature of the meat is greater than or equal to a first temperature threshold t0;

a first control module configured to control the compartment to perform a cooling operation when the first determination module determines that the current temperature of the meat is greater than or equal to the first temperature threshold t0;

a second determination module configured to determine whether the meat has been cooled down to a phase transformation point temperature t1 during the cooling operation, wherein the phase transformation point temperature t1 is the temperature of a critical point at which the phase transformation of the meat occurs;

a timing module configured to start timing once the temperature has been cooled down to the phase transformation point temperature t1; and

a second control module configured to control the compartment to perform a low-temperature stable operation according to a third target temperature T3 after the timing by the timing module reaches the first preset time period, wherein the third target temperature T3 is a freezing point temperature of the meat.


 
14. The controller of claim 13, characterized in that further comprising:
a third control module configured to control the compartment to perform a heating operation when the first determination module determines that the current temperature of the meat is less than the first temperature threshold t0.
 
15. The controller of claim 13, characterized in that the second determination module is further configured to determine whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation;
correspondingly, the controller further includes:
a third control module configured to control the compartment to perform a heating operation when the second determination module determines that the meat is frozen during the cooling operation.
 
16. The controller of claim 15, characterized in that when the second determination module determines whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation, it is specifically configured to:

determine whether the meat has a lowest temperature point during the cooling operation, and determine that the meat is frozen during the cooling operation if the lowest temperature point occurs and the temperature elevation amount in a preset continuous time period starting from the lowest temperature point is greater than or equal to a preset temperature change amount; wherein the length of the preset continuous time period starting from the lowest temperature point is less than or equal to a first time length threshold;
and/or,

determine whether the temperature of the meat remains unchanged during the preset continuous time period occurs during the cooling operation, and if yes, determine that the meat is frozen during the cooling operation, wherein the length of the preset continuous time period is greater than or equal to a second time length threshold.


 
17. The controller of any one of claims 13 to 16, characterized in that when the first control module controls the compartment to perform the cooling operation, it is specifically configured to:
control the compartment to perform a cooling operation according to an initial target temperature T0, and the initial target temperature T0 ranges from -10°C to -1°C.
 
18. The controller of any one of claims 13 to 16, characterized in that when the first control module controls the compartment to perform the cooling operation, it is specifically configured to:
control the compartment to perform a cooling operation according to a first target temperature T1, and continuously control the compartment to perform a cooling operation according to the second target temperature T2 after the current temperature of the meat has been cooled down to t0, T1<T2.
 
19. The controller of any one of claims 13 to 16, characterized in that when the first control module controls the compartment to perform the cooling operation, it is specifically configured to:
control a damper of the compartment to be fully opened and perform a cooling operation according to an initial target temperature T0, and control the damper of the compartment to be half-opened and continuously perform the cooling operation according to the initial target temperature T0 after the current temperature of the meat has been cooled down to t0.
 
20. The controller of any one of claims 14 to 16, characterized in that when the third control module controls the compartment to perform the heating operation, it is specifically configured to:
control the compartment to perform a heating operation according to a fourth target temperature T4, and the fourth target temperature T4 ranges from -1°C to -6°C.
 
21. The controller of claim 15 or 16, characterized in that the temperature acquisition module is specifically configured to acquire the current temperature of the meat in the compartment of the refrigerator using a plurality of temperature sensors;
correspondingly, when the second determination module determines whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation, it is specifically configured to:
simultaneously determine whether the meat is frozen during the cooling operation using the plurality of temperature sensors, subject to the determination result of the temperature sensor that first determines that the meat has been frozen during the cooling operation.
 
22. The controller of any one of claims 13 to 16, characterized in that the first temperature threshold t0 ranges from -2 to 4°C.
 
23. The controller of any one of claims 13 to 16, characterized in that the compartment is one or more of the following:
a variable temperature chamber of a refrigerator or a variable temperature region isolated by the variable temperature chamber, a variable temperature drawer in a refrigerating compartment of the refrigerator or a variable temperature region isolated by the variable temperature drawer, and a variable temperature drawer in a freezing compartment of the refrigerator or a variable temperature region isolated by the variable temperature drawer.
 
24. The controller of any of claims 13 to 16, characterized in that further comprising:
a reminding module configured to send a reminder information to a user if it is determined that the storage time of the meat in the compartment of the refrigerator exceeds a preset number of days.
 
25. A refrigerator comprising the controller of any one of claims 13 to 24.
 




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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