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1. (WO2019028043) APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR TREATMENT AND INSPECTION OF PRODUCE
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Claims

1. A conveyor system configured to transport and to simultaneously rotate items, the conveyor system comprising:

a bed comprising a plurality of rollers each having an axis, the plurality of rollers including a first group of rollers, and

a rotation inducing device coupled to the first group of rollers; wherein

during operation of the conveyor system, the rotation inducing device causes each roller of the first group of rollers to rotate about its axis at a rate that is at least partially independent of the roller's translational speed.

2. The conveyor system of claim 1, wherein the plurality of rollers further includes a second group of rollers, and the conveyor system comprises a second rotation inducing device coupled to the second group of rollers.

3. The conveyor system of claim 1, wherein the rotation inducing device is coupled to all of the rollers of the bed.

4. A conveyor system configured to transport and to simultaneously rotate items, the conveyor system comprising:

a bed comprising a plurality of rollers each having an axis;

a rotation inducing device coupled to a group of rollers of the bed, the rotation inducing device configured to cause each roller of the group of rollers to rotate about its axis while the group of rollers moves in a first direction; and

a control unit coupled to the rotation inducing device that enables the rotation inducing device to control a rotational rate of each roller of the first group of rollers.

5. The conveyor system of claim 4, wherein the rotation inducing device comprises a belt that contacts the rollers of the group of rollers.

6. The conveyor system of claim 5, wherein the control unit comprises a motor configured to drive the belt at a user defined speed.

7. The conveyor system of any of the previous claims, further comprising one or more dispensing devices.

8. The conveyor system of claim 7, wherein the one or more dispensing devices are affixed over the bed.

9. A conveyor system, comprising:

a bed comprising a plurality of rollers each having an axis, each roller having a top side corresponding to a top side of the bed and a bottom side opposite the top side, wherein the conveyor system is configured to transport items placed on the top side of the bed and to rotate the items while they are transported; and

one or more dispensing devices affixed above the top side of the bed, the one or more dispensing devices configured to treat items placed on the top side of the bed as the items move past the one or more dispensing devices; wherein

the conveyor system is configured such that during transport of items placed on the top side of the bed, the axes of the rollers adjacent to the items move in a first direction at a first speed while the items move past the one or more dispensing devices, thereby causing the items to move past the one or more dispensing devices at the first speed; and

the conveyor system is further configured such that while items placed on the top side of the bed move past the one or more dispensing devices, a rotational rate of each of the rollers adjacent to the items causes a point on the bottom side of each of the rollers adjacent to the items to have an instantaneous velocity that is in a direction parallel to the first direction and to have a second speed that is greater than the first speed.

10. The conveyor system of claim 9, wherein the second speed is at least two times the first speed.

11. The conveyor system of claim 10, wherein the second speed is greater than two times the first speed.

12. The conveyor system of any of claims 9-11, further comprising a rotation inducing device coupled the bed.

13. The conveyor system of claim 12, wherein the rotation inducing device is configured to contact the rollers adjacent to items placed on the top side of the bed while the items move past the one or more dispensing devices, thereby causing each roller of the first group of rollers to rotate.

14. The conveyor system of claim 13, wherein during operation of the conveyor system, a portion of each roller in contact with the rotation inducing device has zero instantaneous velocity.

15. The conveyor system of claim 12, wherein during operation of the conveyor system, a portion of the rotation inducing device coupled to the rollers causes a portion of each roller to which the rotation inducing device is coupled to have an instantaneous velocity in a direction opposite the first direction.

16. The conveyor system of any of claims 9-11, wherein the conveyor system is configured such that the axes of the rollers adjacent to items placed on the top side of the bed are coplanar while the items move past the one or more dispensing devices.

17. The conveyor system of any of claims 9-11, wherein the conveyor system is configured such that the rotational motion of each of the rollers adjacent to items placed on top of the bed causes the items to rotate in a direction opposite the rotational motion of each of the underlying rollers while the items move past the one or more dispensing devices.

18. A conveyor system, comprising:

a bed comprising a plurality of rollers each having an axis, each roller having a top side corresponding to a top side of the bed and a bottom side opposite the top side, wherein the conveyor system is configured to transport items placed on the top side of the bed and to rotate the items while they are transported;

one or more dispensing devices affixed above the top side of the bed; and

a rotation inducing device coupled to a group of the rollers that are beneath the one or more dispensing devices, the rotation inducing device configured to cause each roller of the group of rollers to rotate as the roller moves past the one or more dispensing devices; wherein the conveyor system is configured such that during operation, the axis of each roller of the group of rollers moves in a first direction at a first speed while the roller moves past the one or more dispensing devices; and

the rotation inducing device causes a point on the bottom side of each of the rollers of the group of rollers to have an instantaneous velocity that is in a direction parallel to the first direction and to have a second speed that is greater than the first speed while the roller moves past the one or more dispensing devices.

19. The conveyor system of any of claims 9-11 and 18, wherein the one or more dispensing devices are configured to spray liquid droplets onto the items placed on the top side of the bed as the items move past the one or more dispensing devices.

20. The conveyor system of any of claims 9-11 and 18, wherein the one or more dispensing devices are configured to blow gas onto the items placed on the top side of the bed as the items move past the one or more dispensing devices, thereby drying the items.

21. A conveyor system, the conveyor system comprising:

a bed comprising a plurality of rollers each having an axis;

a first rotation inducing device coupled to a first group of rollers of the bed, the first rotation inducing device configured to cause each roller of the first group of rollers to rotate about its axis at a first rotation rate; and

a second rotation inducing device coupled to a second group of rollers of the bed, the second rotation inducing device configured to cause each roller of the second group of rollers to rotate about its axis at second rotation rate.

22. The conveyor system of claim 21, wherein the first and second rotation inducing devices are configured such that the first and second rotation rates are independently controlled.

23. The conveyor system of any of claims 21-22, further comprising a first dispensing device over the first group of rollers.

24. The conveyor system of claim 23, wherein the first dispensing device is selected from the group consisting of a blower and a sprayer.

25. The conveyor system of claim 23, further comprising a second dispensing device over the second group of rollers.

26. The conveyor system of claim 25, wherein the first dispensing device comprises a sprayer and the second dispensing device comprises a blower.

27. A method of treating a substrate, comprising:

placing the substrate on a bed of a conveyor system, causing the bed to transport and to simultaneously rotate the substrate; and

dispensing fluid on the substrate while the substrate is being transported and simultaneously rotated; wherein

while the fluid is being dispensed on the substrate, the substrate moves in a first direction at a first speed, and a point on a surface of the substrate that is opposite the bed has an instantaneous velocity in the first direction and a speed greater than the first speed.

28. The method of claim 27, wherein dispensing fluid on the substrate comprises spraying a liquid on the substrate.

29. The method of claim 27, wherein dispensing fluid on the substrate comprises blowing gas on the substrate.

30. A method of treating a substrate, comprising:

placing the substrate on a bed of a conveyor system, thereby causing the bed to transport and to simultaneously rotate the substrate;

dispensing fluid onto the substrate from a first dispensing device while the substrate is transported and simultaneously rotated; and

after dispensing the fluid onto the substrate from the first dispensing device, dispensing fluid onto the substrate from a second dispensing device while substrate is transported and simultaneously rotated.

31. The method of claim 30, wherein the first dispensing device comprises a sprayer and the second dispensing device comprises a blower.

32. The method of any of claims 30-31, wherein the substrate is rotated at a first rotation rate while fluid from the first dispensing device is dispensed over the substrate, and wherein the substrate is rotated at a second rotation rate different from the first rotation rate while fluid from the second dispensing device is dispensed over the substrate.

33. The method of any of claims 27-32, wherein the substrate comprises a piece of produce.

34. An application unit for solvent treatment and drying of perishable items, comprising: an enclosure;

a conveyor system comprising a bed, the bed extending from a first opening in a first side of the enclosure towards a second side of the enclosure, wherein the conveyor system is configured to transport and to simultaneously rotate the perishable items;

a dispensing device configured to dispense the solvent on the perishable items while the perishable items are transported and simultaneously rotated on the bed;

a blower configured to blow gas onto the perishable items while the perishable items are transported and simultaneously rotated on the bed and after the solvent has been dispensed on the perishable items; and

a second opening in a third side of the enclosure, the second opening being adjacent to an end of the bed, wherein the third side of the enclosure extends from the first side of the enclosure to the second side of the enclosure.

35. The application unit of claim 34, wherein a length of the third side of the enclosure is less than about 14 meters.

36. The application unit of claim 35, wherein a length of the bed is less than about 10 meters.

37. The application unit of any of claims 34-36, further comprising a collection bin adjacent to the second opening.

38. The application unit of any of claim 34-36, further including an electrical control unit comprising at least one of a fuse box, a breaker box, a power converter, and a power regulator.

39. The application unit of claim 38, further comprising a barrier separating a first area of the enclosure from the second area of the enclosure.

40. The application unit of claim 39, wherein the first area of the enclosure contains the conveyor system and the second area of the enclosure contains the electrical control unit.

41. The application unit of any of claims 34-36, wherein the bed comprises a plurality of rollers each having an axis, the plurality of rollers including a first group of rollers, and the conveyor system comprises a rotation inducing device coupled to the first group of rollers.

42. The application unit of claim 41, the plurality of rollers further including a second group of rollers, wherein the conveyor system comprises a second rotation inducing device coupled to the second group of rollers.