|Title of Invention||
“METHOD AND CONTAINER FOR TRANSPORTING OR STORING GOODS, IN PARTICULAR FOOD PRODUCTS IN A FROZEN AND/OR CHILLED STATE”
|Abstract||Method for storing or transporting products, in particular food products, in a frozen and/or chilled state by use of a container and panels, herein the products are placed in the lower part of the room (19), and where the lower part room (19) is conditioned by means of a regrigerating medium (16, 17), for instance solid carbon dioxide (CO2), arranged in the upper part of the room (18), the refrigerating medium and the room being divide by one or more insulating panel(s) (13,14,15) adapted to maintain a required amount of cold transfer between the refrigerant and the lower part of the room, characterized in mat the lower part of the room (19) is conditioned in accordance with the prescribed state of refrigeration designed for the actual products by selecting at least one insulating panel out of the plurality of insulating panels (13,14,15) having different insulating properties, introducing said at least one selected insulating panel in the container by means of a slide system, and where the lower part of the room (19) can be conditioned in accordance with a second prescribed state of refrigeration by replacing said at least one insulating panel by at least one second insulating panel having insulating properties that differs from said at least first panel.|
THE PATENTS ACT 1970
[39 OF 1970]
[See Section 10]
"METHOD AND CONTAINER FOR TRANSPORTING OR STORING GOODS, IN PARTICULAR FOOD PRODUCTS IN A FROZEN AND/OR CHILLED STATE"
NORSK HYDRO ASA, of N-0240 Oslo, Norway and H&R INDUSTRIES, INCORPORATED, of P O Box 1191, 30553 South Dixie Highway, Beecher, Illinois 60401, United States of America,
The following specification particularly describes the nature of the invention and the manner in which it is to be performed:-
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Method and container for transporting or storing goods, in particular food
products in a frozen and/or chilled state
The present invention relates to a method for refrigerating insulated containers by ne jse of a refrigerating medium and to containers refrigerated in accordance with the method
In particular, the invention relates to containers for the transportation and storage of frozen and/or chilled products, where the temperature inside the container is maintai led al a desired level and for a specified period of time Further, the invention makes possible that one type of container may be used for handling both chilled and/or frozen prouu:ts. with minor modifications.
EP J 591 047 B1 discloses an insulated container equipped with a refrigerant box in the 15 upper region of the container and a stack of products in a lower region of the cortai-ier. Below the refrigerant box there is arranged an insulated panel having a honzoital extension that allows the formation of a slit between the panel and the inner walls of the container. The slit ailows an even distribution of the cooling medium that passes tow; rds the products ind further downwards between the outer wails of the stack and the >rnpr 20 walls of the container
EP 0 631 096 81 discloses a system for filling a receptacle or cell with CO^-sncw, the receptacle being arranged in an insulated chamber. The quantity of COz injected in the receptacle is determined according to predetermined injection periods modified according 25 to climatic parameters
EP 0 337 860 B1 discloses an isothermal container with an interior space divi led horizontally by a screen into an upper area receiving an open reservoir ol a sublima'.mg refrigerant, and a lower area receiving at least one compartment of products to te i.ept 30 cold The screen is produced from a thermally insulating material and :s slightly smaller than the internal section of the container The reservoir is produced in the form of a drawer.
WO 95/25253 discloses a double-sided releasable partition element for an isotiermal 35 chamber, containing two adjacent compartments, i.e. a lirst unsealed compartment w hich
can be filled with a solid sublimable coolant element and a second sealed compartment or housing filled with a eutectic or air. The two-compartment partition element maintains significally different temperatures on opposite sides of said element. The element is further arranged to fit into grooves in the lateral sides of the chamber. 5 US 1,997,936 discloses a refrigerator container where solid carbon dioxide is arranged in a bunker arranged in the top of the containers interior space. Beneath the bunker there is arranged a box-shaped partition which is disposed horizontally and spaced from the bottom of the base of the bunker to afford a narrow passage for the circulation of air.
10 The box-shaped partition is suspended from the roof of the container and has further therein a series of perforations, and is at its outside edge provided with a solid upturned flange substantially surrounding the base of the bunker. The bunker may be charged with solid carbon dioxide blocks through an opening arranged in the top-side of the container.
One disadvantage that relates to the container described above is that the storage capacity of the carbon dioxide bunker can not be altered without major mechanical work as the bunker is an integrated part of the container construction. The same problem relates to the partition, that can not be replaced by an other partition having different
20 insulation properties without performance by skilled mechanical workers.
US 3,800,554 discloses a food storage and cooling apparatus including a housing defining a cavity. The housing is provided with a door at one side. Inside the hosing there is arranged partition means for subdividing the cavity into first and second
25 chambers. In the first chamber there is arranged a receptacle for receiving a predetermined quantity of solidified carbon dioxide. The receptacle is thermally associated with the first chamber more intimately than with the second chamber. Further the cavity have provision to receive a removable shelf arranged at ledge projections in opposing side wall surfaces.
One disadvantage relating to the solution disclosed is that the partition means is of a predefined size, which involves that the storage space of the cavity is predefined as well. Further the apparatus is defined as a combined refrigerator and freezer, and will not be
suitable for use in relation with transport and storage of frozen goods or chilled goods as a whole.
In accordance with the present invention there is provided a container that may serve 5 plural requirements, namely the storage or transport of chilled and/or alternatively frozen products for a specified period of time. The container is of a thermally insulated type and comprises one or more top mounted refrigerating cells of different capacities co-operating with one or more insulated panels of different cold transfer characteristics which allows that the desired temperature and the duration of the conditioned climate 10 inside the container can be adapted to meet a variety of demands.
In accordance with the present invention the same container can be used for different purposes by simple insertion of different cell/panel combinations. Cost reduction stems from considerations about level of investment, inventory/storage, etc. This may be
15 advantageous both for the users and/or for the supplier, especially if the supplier will rent out containers for various purposes. Another topic is the flexibility with respect to today's changing requirements on temperature ranges accepted for different product categories, with new products emerging in the market, and with varying relative volumes of chilled/frozen goods. The present modular system allows fast reaction and high
20 adaptability and flexibility. Further, the proposed cell/panel modular system is expected to be user-friendly by the warehouse operators. Its simplicity will help minimise incorrect use of transport conditions, which should give a reliable protection of the cold-chain.
The invention is further described in the following by examples and figures where:
Fig. 1 shows in perspective an exploded view of a container in accordance with the
Fig. 2(a-c) shows in a side view a cross section of a container in accordance with the present invention with its door arrangement open in three different positions.
As will be apparent from Fig. 1, the container 1 may be provided with wheels 2 for easy
handling. The container has a rigid top and bottom, sidewalls and backwall. The
container may preferably be of an insulated shell type, i.e. the shell forming the inner-
and outer surfaces of the walls envelope a layer of insulating material such as
polyurethane AMENDED SHEET
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foam. The shell may be produced for instance out of polyethylene or fibreglass. or ou of any suitable material having good insulating properties. The front wall is provided ty a flexible door, that may be of a two-part type with an upper door 4 and a lower door 3 The doors may be made out of a vinyl coated polyester and may further be sectioned tr pi jral 5 hinged elements. The doors may be provided with fasteners, for instance of the VELCRO - type at its peripheral edges (not shown) that co-operates with similar fasteners at the front end sides of the container (not shown). In addition, the door may be provided with strip fasteners 5, 6, 7, 8, preferably of the VELCRO - type, that co-operates with pins 5', 6\7\ 8' in the front end sides of the container. The upper 4 and lower doors 3 may be 10 interconnected by a fastener system 9. preferably of the VELCRO - type
The inner side wal's of the container is provided with a slide system si.ch as opposite grooves or recesses 10,11, 12 at different vertical levels, to sustain one or more insulc ted panels 13, 14, 15, and one or nore ceils 16, 17. In the described embodiment, U e
insulating panel has a transversa; extension which allows that the panel co-operates w th opposite recesses in the side walls of the container. However, it should be understood that other sliding systems known by those skilled in the art may be applied within the scope of the invention. When inserted in the container, the panel divides the intone c of the container in an poper room 18 and a lower room 19. In the upper room (he refrge ant
or sublimating agent ii, placed, while the ,ower room represents a space for i:,a gcod; to be stored or transported. The refrigerant is contained in a cell which has a siae ada,:>te J to the required cooling capacity. In some specific cases, the insulating panel may be incorporated into the cell construction for the purpose of practicality (not shown). In such an embodiment, the insulating panel is ~ fact a part of the cell where it serves the c additional purpose of being the bottom of the cell. The cell then furhter comprises ;ide walls integrated upon the upper surface ol ihe panel, and a top lid
In the Figure, there is shown three insulating panels 13, 14, 15. Pane! 13 is of a cicsed type, i.e. it is not provided with any perforations In use however, gas failing downwards from the sublimating agent is allowed in small amounts lo enter the lower room 19 tircugh small slits between the panel and the recesses in the side walls of the container, between the panel and the door and/or between the panel and the backwall of the container In this situation, there is little direct cooling of the goods by the sublimating agent. Alternatively, the gas may be vented directly to the ambient space from (he rcorr 18 through venting openings that penetrate one or more walls of the container (not shovn). The amount of indirect cooling, i.e. the cold transfer through the insulating panel, is /ery
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much dependent on the insulating characteristics of the panel. When the good:; ir the lower room are to be chilled, i.e. the set temperature is about 0-5°C, the insulating panel should be of the closed type as described, to avoid direct contact cooling of the goods, to avoid damages of the goods. Further, when handling chilled goods, the insulating 5 characteristics of the panel should be sufficiently large to avoid too much cold ransfer between the upper and the lower room. On the other hand, the insulating characeri;tics of the panel should be sufficiently low to allow the temperature to be maintained a the required level together with the cold transferred by direct cooling.
10 The insulating panels of the type 14 and 15 are provided with openings, 14' unc 15' respectively. In the Figure, the opening of panel 15 is cf a larger size than that o: the panel 14. In one embodiment these panels are adapted to carry or sustain one cell containing the refrigerant, in such a manner that the closed bottom (not shown) of the cell abuts the upper surface of the panel. In the ccmbination with an open panel of tie type
15 14 or 15, the cell then covers the opening and thus the area of the openings foi the passage of sublimating gas between the upper and the lower room is of the same c rder as of that with the closed panel. In this situation, the amount of direct cooling shoul j be similar to that of the situation with a closed panel. However, the effect of indirect co iling becomes higher as the opening in the panel results in that the insulating characterise :s of
20 the panel becomes very low. The pane! 15 then will represent a higher effect of incirect cooling than that of the panel 14 which has a smaller opening, and is very well suite J for refrigerating frozen goods, i.e. the temperature in the lower room 19 should be in the ('rder -18to-30°C.
25 Alternatively, the cell may rest upon the panel in such a manner that there is main'aired a little space between the bottom surface of the cell and the top surface of the panH to obtain a slit for the passage of sublimating gas, and thus augmenting the effect of c reel cooling of the goods in the lower room. Such a space may be obtained by providing t.ne bottom surface of the cell or the top surface of the panel with protrusions or ine like.
30 Alternatively the cells may be self-sustained by a sliding system co-operating with the inner side walls of the container similar to that of the panels (not shown). In this menner the cell and the panel may be sustained in such a manner that a space is mamt; ined between them, similar to the situation as described above
WO 00/00776 PCT/N099/00205
The cells containing the refrigerant may be of different sizes, in the Figure there is shown two sizes 16 and 17. This embodiment is designed for one-day and three day storage/transport respectively. The cell is preferably of a shell-type construction, insuUted by a polyurethane foam. The foam is maintained within the shell, where the shell fcrms 5 the inner- and outer surfaces of the cell walls. The shell may be made out of fibreoias;;.
However, it should be understood that other suitable materials may be applied in the cell construction. Preferably the top side of the cell is designed as a removable lid made out of a non-insulated material, e.g. a mono-layer fibreglass material. The lid may be
10 designed in such a manner that a slit or opening (not shown) is provided between tho lid anc the top end of at least one abutting side wall of the cell for the escape of suolimsting gas. Further, the cell may be prevented from sliding out of the sliding system by the provision of swinjable latches arranged at the front end sides of the container in such a manner hat they will restrict outwardly movement of the eel) n a locked position. This
15 task can easily be handled by a man skilled in the art and is consequently not fur.her described.
The cell is preferably adapted to be filled by a lance thai delivers liquid C02 In the ;ell, the liquid is transferred to solid COj under the filling operation as the pressure orops.
20 Preferably the ce!! may have provisions that augments the density of the solid CO, wnen filling. Such provisions may be constituted by a bottomless, downward protruding chamber attached to the inside of the lid. In this embodiment, when performing th 25 of the cell, there is a little space which allows the solid CO, to be forced into the res! of the space in the cell as the eel! becomes filled up Thus, the restriction formed between the walls of the chamber and the bottom of the cell generates a compression of solid X>? which is supplied succeeding the filling up of the chamber Preferably, the injection hole 20, 21 in the cell is in the front thereof The hole is then effectively sealed by th ir ner
30 surface of the upper door 4 when the door is in its closed position. By increasing the compaction and thus the density of the solid CO, (snow or dry-ice), it is possible lo both utilise the cell volume at best, optimising the container volume available for loading products inside. By this, it may also be possible to slow down the sublimation rate of solid CO, because the surtace area of the solid C02 is reduced by compaction. Following 1 his.
35 it is achieved a more gradual/efficient/reliable heat exchange
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It should be understood however, that the cell may be adapted to receive solid C02 in the shape of slices, pellets or the similar. CO? snow produced elsewhere may also be introduced into the cell. In such an arrangement, the cell may have provisions ID fi: the interior sliding system of the container similar to that explained above, but the cell may be 5 contructed more like a drawer having insulated bottom and sides and further provided with a non-fixed lid.
The container may be further provided with compartment panels 30. 31 for dividi ig a stack of stored goods. The panels are open and are preferably of a two piece wire ;helf
10 type that secures good gas circulation properties. In addition, the container ma/ be provided with a false floor 32. that provides a slit between the bottom surface of thi; y >ods and the surface of the container bottom. Still further, it should be understood ha the stack of goods (not shown) may be restricted from contacting the inner wall surfaces of the container by an arrangement of spacers or the like arranged between ,ne star-.A of
15 goods and the inner wa.ls of the container (not shown).
Alternatively, the compartment panels 30. 31 can be substituted by insulating panels dividing the room 19 into one upper and one lower compartment (not shown) Ths uoper compartment will then receive more cold from the upper room 18 containing the tell than
20 the lower compartment. By adapting the insulating characteristics of the insulating p anel between the upper and the lower compartment in a proper manner analogus to (hat described above, there can be obtained a lower temperature in the upper compartment than that of the lower compartment. Followingly, both frozen and chilled goods can be handled at the same time in the container. As a funher additional feature, the insul iting
25 panel dividing the room 19 into one upper and one lower compartment may itselt com vise an internal cavity for the introduction of solid sublimable coolant (CO?) (not shown;, /.nere the loading principle may be similar to that of the cell, as described above. The insul uing panel then may have different insulating characteristics towards its upper side than towards its downward side. In this situation, the insulating panel will serve a ; an
30 additional source of cold towards the compartments facing its upper- and downward s des These features are expected to be handled by a man skilled in the art, and are fol owingly not further described here.
Figure 2 a-c shows in side view a cross section of the container with its door arrarge nent 35 in three Dosilions. In Fig. 2a the lower door 3 is semi-opened, i.e. the upper pal cf the
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door 3 is folded downwards to give access to the upper part of the storage room 19. 'he upper door 4 is in its closed position, and thus the upper room 18 is closed. In Fig. ;?b, the lower door is completely open, and rests upon the top side of the container. In his position, the whole room 19 is accessible while the door 4 and the upper room Hi is 5 closed. In the embodiments shown in Figure 1 and 2, there is applied a one-day eel;
In Figure 2c, the door 4 is in its closed position, and one upper part of door 3 is closed, while the other pari of the door is open and rests upon the top of the container In his situation the panel 13 is arranged in its lowest position, and the size of the room 18 then 10 allows the use of a three-day cell, while the room is sealed by the door arrangement 4 and partly by the door 3.
By the door arrangement as described above, the cell remains closed and protected during door opening for partial unloadir g of products, which makes this container uniquely 15 suited to very frequent door opening situations like in the case of catering distributors.
Within the scope of the claimed invention it is possible to alter the number of insulating panels and the number of cells used in the container. It should be understood that the container may be provided with more grooves or recesses for the support of panels and 20 cells. Thus, one or more cells can be applied in combination with one or more insulating panels, to achieve the optimum refrigeration capacity, duration and temperature, arte for the purpose of handling chiiled and frozen goods at the same time in the container.
1. Method for storing or transporting products, in particular food
products, in a frozen and/or chilled state by use of a container and
panels, herein the products are placed in the lower part of the room
(19), and where the lower part room (19) is conditioned by means of a
regrigerating medium (16, 17), for instance solid carbon dioxide (CO2),
arranged in the upper part of the room (18), the refrigerating medium
and the room being divide by one or more insulating panel(s)
(13,14,15) adapted to maintain a required amount of cold transfer
between the refrigerant and the lower part of the room, characterized
the lower part of the room (19) is conditioned in accordance with the prescribed state of refrigeration designed for the actual products by selecting at least one insulating panel out of the plurality of insulating panels (13,14,15) having different insulating properties, introducing said at least one selected insulating panel in the container by means of a slide system, and where the lower part of the room (19) can be conditioned in accordance with a second prescribed state of refrigeration by replacing said at least one insulating panel by at least one second insulating panel having insulating properties that differs from said at least first panel.
2. Container (1) and insulating panels (13,14,15) for the storage or
transport of goods, in particular food products in a frozen and/or
chilled state, comprising at least one conditioned room (18+19) where
the goods are placed and wherein the room is conditioned by means of
a refrigerating medium such as solid carbondioxide (CO2) arranged in
the upper part of the room (18) in one or more cells (16, 17), the
upper (18) and the lower part of the room (19) being separated by one
or more insulating panel(s) (13,14,15) adapted to maintain a required
amount of cold transfer between the refrigerant and the lower part of
the room (19), characterized in that
the insulating panel(s) (13,14,15) have different insulating properties, where at least one removably mounted insulating panel provides for a predetermined amount of cold transfer between the refrigerant and the lower part of the room (19) and is replaceable by a second insulating panel which provides for a different predetermined amount of cold transfer between said refrigerant and said lower part of the room, wherein said second insulating panel is removably mounted within the container, the insulating panels being removably mounted by means of a slide system.
3. Container and insulating panels as claimed in claim 2, wherein the said insulating panels (13,14,15) are provided with openings of different size.
4. Container and insulating panels as claimed in claim 2, wherein the said room (19) is divided into at least two compartments by one or more insulating panels.
5. Container and insulating panels as claimed in claim 2-4, wherein the said container has rigid top-,bottom-, back-and sidewalls, and an opening at front sealed by a door arrangement, wherein the door arrangement comprises an upper (4) and a lower door (3) of a flexible material, where the upper door (4) seals the upper room 18, and the lower door (3) seals the lower room (19), and where at least one of the doors may be sectioned in plural hinged elements.
6. Container and insulating panels as claimed in claim 2-5, wherein the amount of said refrigerant medium loaded in the container (1) can be adapted by the use of cells (16, 17) of different size, that are integrated with respect to the container by a slide system
Dated 22nd day of December , 2000
(RANJNA MEHTA DUTT)
OF REMFRY & SAGAR ATTORNEY FOR THE APPLICANTS
|Indian Patent Application Number||IN/PCT/2000/767/MUM|
|PG Journal Number||51/2008|
|Date of Filing||22-Dec-2000|
|Name of Patentee||NORSK HYDRO ASA|
|Applicant Address||N-0240 OSLO, NORWAY|
|PCT International Classification Number||N/A|
|PCT International Application Number||N/A|
|PCT International Filing date|