(19)
(11)EP 3 732 973 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
04.11.2020 Bulletin 2020/45

(21)Application number: 19172559.7

(22)Date of filing:  03.05.2019
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
A21C 9/08(2006.01)
(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:
KH MA MD TN

(71)Applicant: Radie B.V.
4104 BC Culemborg (NL)

(72)Inventor:
  • VAN BLOKLAND, Johannes Josephus Antonius
    4104 BC Culemborg (NL)

(74)Representative: Patentwerk B.V. 
P.O. Box 1514
5200 BN 's-Hertogenbosch
5200 BN 's-Hertogenbosch (NL)

 
Remarks:
Amended claims in accordance with Rule 137(2) EPC.
 


(54)DEVICE FOR BENDING DOUGH PIECES


(57) Device for bending dough pieces, in particular croissants, comprising a first conveyor, for transporting dough pieces in a direction of conveyance, at least a first gate, defining a passage with a first width, smaller than the width of the conveyor, for the dough pieces, at least two engaging means, for engaging a dough piece entering the passage and exerting a force on the dough piece with a directional component toward the first conveyor, wherein both engaging means are spaced apart from each other, thus leaving a gap in between them.


Description


[0001] The present invention relates to a device for bending dough pieces, more in particular a device for bending croissants. Devices for this purpose are well known in the art, and several solutions have been proposed and manufactured throughout the years.

[0002] In a classic way, croissants are made by rolling up an essentially triangular dough piece, starting at the basis and ending at a tip. However, nowadays, croissants that are bent in half-moon or C shape have become common too, as well as croissants with the tips of their legs bent against or on top of each other.

[0003] These latter two versions need to be bent further than the C-shaped ones, and an essentially annular shape is required. However, the equipment according to the state of the art has appeared not to be suitable to fulfil this need.

[0004] Another disadvantage of the state of the art equipment is that they are less suitable for bending filled croissants, that is croissants filled with a (semi)fluid fill, at least before baking, for instance chocolate or marmalade. The devices tend to exert too much force on the croissant at those places where the filling is placed, which leads to displacement of the filling to undesired places or even tear of the croissant.

[0005] It is therefore a goal of the present invention to provide a device for bending dough pieces that takes away at least some of the disadvantages of the prior art, or at least to provide a useful alternative thereto.

[0006] The invention thereto proposes a device for bending dough pieces, in particular croissants, comprising a first conveyor, for transporting dough pieces in a direction of conveyance, at least a first gate, defining a passage with a first width, smaller than the width of the conveyor, for the dough pieces, at least two engaging means, for engaging a dough piece entering the passage and exerting a force on the dough piece with a directional component toward the first conveyor, wherein both engaging means are spaced apart from each other, thus leaving a gap in between them.

[0007] The first conveyor may be an endless conveyor, on which dough pieces are transported in a transport direction. The dough pieces may be arranged in one or more parallel lanes. The plane of conveyance may normally be a horizontal plane. The gate may define only the width of the passage, that is: it does not necessarily form a bridge over the conveyor, and the height over which it defines said width may be limited to a height level of the dough products the device is intended for. In practice, the height may for instance be between one fourth and once the width of the gate. The engaging means serve for keeping the dough piece in position with respect to the first conveyor, at least at the position where it is engaged by the engaging means, but at a result also in the position in between the engaging means. The first and second engaging means may be separate pieces of the device, or a single piece, dimensioned such that it engages the dough piece at the two locations, but not in between them. As a result, or in other words, the first and second engaging means serve to precisely define the bending locations of the dough piece, and to avoid a V-shaped dough piece.

[0008] A first advantage over the prior art, characterised by a single engaging means formed by a central wheel, is that the dough pieces are bent following the shape and size of the gate. When bent with prior art devices, a central fold tends to occur, leading to an undesired V-shaped dough product. The device according to the present invention allows to create a C shaped form with two clear bends.

[0009] This effect is even stronger when the engaging means are placed adjacent to the edges of the passage formed by the gate. Additionally, the dough piece has shown to better remain in its bent position with such placement of the engaging means.

[0010] A second advantage is obtained because the dough piece is not touched in between the engaging means. This avoids any impact on a filling of the dough pieces, which is normally applied in the centre of the dough piece.

[0011] In an embodiment, the engaging means are formed by at least one wheel, in particular at least one driven wheel, positioned at a distance above the first conveyor. This may be one wheel with an H- or diabolo-shape, or two separate wheels, which may or may not be on the same shaft, and also may or may not be driven by said same shaft. The use of wheels has the advantage that in addition to a directional component toward the first conveyor, a directional component along with the direction of conveyance can be applied on the dough pieces, which avoids damage to the dough pieces due to tear.

[0012] The gate may comprise a third and a second conveyor, each having a surface of conveyance, both surfaces facing each other and arranged with a directional component perpendicular to the first conveyor. In particular, third and a second conveyor are perpendicular to the first conveyor, and preferably also close to or adjacent to the surface of the first conveyor. With respect to a centre line through the gate, in the direction of conveyance of the first conveyor, the second and third conveyor may have a mutually mirrored configuration.

[0013] In a preferred embodiment, the front of the gate comprises at least one pillar, rotatable about its length axis, extending with a directional component perpendicular to the first conveyor. The pillar preferably has a cylindrical shape, and serves to smoothly guide the bent ends of the dough piece into the gate.

[0014] In a further embodiment of according to the present invention, the device comprises a second gate, arranged downstream of the first gate, as an extension of the first gate. Such second gate may be applied for various reasons. A first reason may be to further bend a dough piece, in particular for croissants of which the legs are to be pinched against or on top of each other. In that case the second gate may be dimensioned with a with a smaller width than the first gate.

[0015] It may also be beneficial to use a second gate to anchor the bent form better in the dough piece. It appears that dough pieces have less tendency to bend back in their original shape when they leave a first bending stage. By repeating the step, this disadvantage can be solved.

[0016] This second gate may comprise a fourth and fifth conveyor, and at least one engaging means, for engaging a dough piece entering the passage and exerting a force on the dough piece with a directional component toward the first conveyor. The engaging means may be at least one wheel, but a similar arrangement as the first gate may be applied too.

[0017] It is even possible to provide the device with a third gate, with a smaller width than the second gate, arranged downstream of the second gate, as an extension of the second gate. Such third gate may then comprise a sixth and seventh conveyor, and at least one engaging means, for engaging a dough piece entering the passage and exerting a force on the dough piece with a directional component toward the first conveyor.

[0018] At least one of the pairs of conveyors formed by the second and the third conveyor or the fourth and the fifth conveyor or the sixth and seventh conveyor may be positioned in a converging way, that is, with a smaller opening at its downstream end than at its upstream end. Such pair of conveyors may gradually shape a dough piece and have a more stable formed product as a result.

[0019] The first gate may be preceded by a stage for rolling up dough pieces, in particular croissants, and the last gate may be succeeded by a pinch unit, for pinching the free ends of the bent dough product against or on top of each other.

[0020] Furthermore, the height between the surface of the conveyor and the engaging means may be adjustable, and the width between the engaging means as well. The device may be equipped with multiple gates next to each other, perpendicular to the direction of conveyance. Also the width between a pair of conveyors formed by the second and the third conveyor or the fourth and the fifth conveyor or the sixth and seventh conveyor may be adjustable.

[0021] The invention will now be elucidated into more detail with reference to the following figures. Herein:
  • Figure 1 shows a first embodiment of a device according to the present invention;
  • Figure 2 shows a second embodiment of a device according to the present invention;
  • Figure 3 shows a third embodiment of a device according to the present invention; and
  • Figure 4 shows a first embodiment of a device according to the present invention.


[0022] Figure 1 shows a schematic top view on a device for bending dough pieces, in particular croissants, comprising a first conveyor 2 for transporting dough pieces 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 in a direction of conveyance 4. The device 1 comprises a first gate 9, defining a passage with a first width 10, smaller than the width 11 of the conveyor 2, for the dough pieces 3, 5, 6, 7, 8. The first gate 9 is provided with two engaging means 12, 13, formed by wheels that are rotatable around axis 14 for engaging a dough piece 5 entering the passage and exerting a force on the dough piece 5 with a directional component toward the first conveyor 2, wherein both engaging means 12, 13 are spaced apart from each other in order to leave a gap 15 in between them. The wheels 12, 13 are positioned at a distance above the first conveyor 2.

[0023] The gate 9 comprises a third conveyor 16 and a second conveyor 17, each having a surface of conveyance 18, 19, both surfaces facing each other and arranged with a directional component perpendicular to the (surface of conveyance of the) first conveyor 2. Evidently, the second conveyor may be formed by multiple subsequent conveyors, in particular there may be one more transitions in between.

[0024] The front of the gate 9 comprises two pillars 20, 21, rotatable about their length axis, extending with a directional component perpendicular to the first conveyor 2. The device furthermore comprises a second gate 22, with a smaller width 23 than the first gate 9, arranged downstream of the first gate 9, as an extension of the first gate 9.

[0025] The second gate 23 comprises a fourth and fifth conveyor 24, 25, and at least one engaging means 26, for engaging a dough piece entering the passage and exerting a force on the dough piece 6 with a directional component toward the first conveyor 2. Also the front of the gate 9 comprises two pillars 27, 28, rotatable about their length axis, extending with a directional component perpendicular to the first conveyor 2.

[0026] It is visible that the croissant 8, that has passed both the first gate 9 and the second gate 22 has obtained a C-shape with essentially four bends A, B, C, D.

[0027] Figure 2 shows a second embodiment of a device according to the present invention, comprising a cascade of three bending stages 30, 31, 32, having subsequently descending widths 33, 34, 35. The first stage 30 has two engagement means 36, 37, each formed by a wheel, the second stage 31 also has two engagement means, 38, 39, also formed by two wheels and a third stage 32 having only one engagement means formed by one wheel 46. The embodiment from figure two works essentially the same as the one shown in figure 1, be it that the three stages lead to a dough product 40 having six bends A, B, C, D, E, F. It should be noted that the configuration and components of the first and second stages 30 and 31 may for instance correspond to that of the first gate 9 from figure 1. The configuration and components of the third stage 32 may correspond to that of the second gate 22 from figure 1.

[0028] Figure 3 shows a third embodiment 41 of a device according to the present invention wherein a pair of conveyors 42, 43 are positioned in a converging way, that is, with a smaller opening at its downstream end than at its upstream end. This configuration allows to gradually bend dough pieces while they are conveyed, which may be an optimal configuration for specific dough types. In this configuration the gate comprises two engaging means 44, 45 formed by wheels, for engaging a dough piece entering the passage and exerting a force on the dough piece 49 with a directional component toward the first conveyor, wherein both engaging means are spaced apart from each other in order to leave a gap 48 in between them. The device comprises a third engagement means 46, formed by a wheel as well, for stabilising the position of the dough piece 50.

[0029] Figure 4 shows a fourth embodiment 57 of a device according to the present invention, wherein the gates comprise only pillars 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, besides engaging means 58, 59, 60, 61, 62. This configuration may be used to obtain a very compact device, which is suitable for dough pieces that have the property of keeping their shape without support.


Claims

1. Device for bending dough pieces, in particular croissants, comprising:

- A first conveyor, for transporting dough pieces in a direction of conveyance;

- At least a first gate, defining a passage with a first width, smaller than the width of the conveyor, for the dough pieces;

characterised by

- at least two engaging means, for engaging a dough piece entering the passage and exerting a force on the dough piece with a directional component toward the first conveyor, wherein both engaging means are spaced apart from each other, thus leaving a gap in between them.


 
2. Device according to claim 1, wherein the engaging means are formed by at least one wheel, in particular at least one driven wheel, positioned at a distance above the first conveyor.
 
3. Device according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the gate comprises a third and a second conveyor, each having a surface of conveyance, both surfaces facing each other and arranged with a directional component perpendicular to the first conveyor.
 
4. Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the front of the gate comprises at least one pillar, rotatable about its length axis, extending with a directional component perpendicular to the first conveyor.
 
5. Device according to any of the preceding claims, comprising a second gate, with a smaller width than the first gate, arranged downstream of the first gate, as an extension of the first gate.
 
6. Device according to claim 5, wherein the second gate comprises a fourth and fifth conveyor, and at least one engaging means, for engaging a dough piece entering the passage and excerting a force on the dough piece with a directional component toward the first conveyor.
 
7. Device according to claim 5 or 6, comprising a third gate, with a smaller width than the second gate, arranged downstream of the second gate, as an extension of the second gate.
 
8. Device according to claim 7, wherein the third gate comprises a sixth and seventh conveyor, and at least one engaging means, for engaging a dough piece entering the passage and exerting a force on the dough piece with a directional component toward the first conveyor.
 
9. Device according to any of claims 5-8, wherein at least one of the pairs of conveyors formed by the second and the third conveyor or the fourth and the fifth conveyor or the sixth and seventh conveyor are positioned in a converging way, that is, with a smaller opening at its downstream end than at its upstream end.
 
10. Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the first gate is preceded by a stage for rolling up dough pieces, in particular croissants.
 
11. Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the last gate is succeeded by a pinch unit, for pinching the free ends of the bent dough product against or on top of each other.
 
12. Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the height between the surface of the conveyor and the engaging means is adjustable.
 
13. Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the width between the engaging means is adjustable.
 
14. Device according to any of the preceding claims, comprising multiple gates next to each other, perpendicular to the direction of conveyance.
 
15. Device according to any of claims 3, 6, 8 or 9, wherein the width between a pair of conveyors formed by the second and the third conveyor or the fourth and the fifth conveyor or the sixth and seventh conveyor is adjustable.
 


Amended claims in accordance with Rule 137(2) EPC.


1. Device (1) for bending dough pieces (3), in particular croissants, comprising:

- A first conveyor (2), for transporting dough pieces (3,5,6,7,8) in a direction of conveyance (4);

- At least a first gate (9), defining a passage with a first width (10), smaller than the width (11) of the conveyor (2), for the dough pieces (3,5,6,7,8);

characterised by

- at least two engaging means (12,13), for engaging a dough piece (5) entering the passage (10) and exerting a force on the dough piece (5) with a directional component toward the first conveyor (2), wherein both engaging means (12,13) are spaced apart from each other, dimensioned such that it engages the dough piece (5) at the two locations, but not in between them, thus leaving a gap (15) in between them.


 
2. Device according to claim 1, wherein the engaging means (12,13) are formed by at least one wheel, in particular at least one driven wheel, positioned at a distance above the first conveyor (2).
 
3. Device according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the gate comprises a third and a second conveyor (16,17), each having a surface of conveyance (18,19), both surfaces facing each other and arranged with a directional component perpendicular to the first conveyor (2).
 
4. Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the front of the gate comprises at least one pillar (20,21), rotatable about its length axis, extending with a directional component perpendicular to the first conveyor (2).
 
5. Device according to any of the preceding claims, comprising a second gate (22), with a smaller width (23) than the first gate (10), arranged downstream of the first gate (9), as an extension of the first gate (9).
 
6. Device according to claim 5, wherein the second gate (22) comprises a fourth and fifth conveyor (24,25), and at least one engaging means, for engaging a dough piece (6) entering the passage (23) and excerting a force on the dough piece (6) with a directional component toward the first conveyor (2).
 
7. Device according to claim 5 or 6, comprising a third gate, with a smaller width (35) than the second gate (34), arranged downstream of the second gate, as an extension of the second gate.
 
8. Device according to claim 7, wherein the third gate comprises a sixth and seventh conveyor, and at least one engaging means (46), for engaging a dough piece entering the passage and exerting a force on the dough piece with a directional component toward the first conveyor (2).
 
9. Device according to any of claims 5-8, wherein at least one of the pairs of conveyors (42,43) formed by the second and the third conveyor or the fourth and the fifth conveyor or the sixth and seventh conveyor are positioned in a converging way, that is, with a smaller opening at its downstream end than at its upstream end.
 
10. Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the first gate is preceded by a stage for rolling up dough pieces, in particular croissants.
 
11. Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the last gate is succeeded by a pinch unit, for pinching the free ends of the bent dough product against or on top of each other.
 
12. Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the height between the surface of the conveyor and the engaging means is adjustable.
 
13. Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the width (15) between the engaging means is adjustable.
 
14. Device according to any of the preceding claims, comprising multiple gates next to each other, perpendicular to the direction of conveyance.
 
15. Device according to any of claims 3, 6, 8 or 9, wherein the width between a pair of conveyors formed by the second and the third conveyor (33) or the fourth and the fifth conveyor (34) or the sixth and seventh conveyor (35) is adjustable.
 




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