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1. (US20140230660) SCALABLE AUTOMATED COOKING SYSTEM HAVING SMALL FOOTPRINT AND REDUCED LABOR COST
注意: このテキストは、OCR 処理によってテキスト化されたものです。法的な用途には PDF 版をご利用ください。

Claims

1. An automatic cooking system, comprising:
a computer system configured to store a list of recipes;
one or more cooking stations each comprising a cooking container configured to cook food ingredients therein to produce a first cooked food, wherein the computer system is configured to assign and schedule a plurality of dishes to be cooked at the one or more cooking stations;
one or more storage containers configured to hold food ingredients;
one or more mini vehicles each carrying one or more transport containers configured to hold the food ingredients, wherein the computer system is configured to control at least some of movements of the mini vehicles in accordance to the recipes;
a loading apparatus configured to load food ingredients from the one or more storage stations to the transport containers on the one or more mini vehicles, wherein the computer system is configured to control loading of food ingredients from the one or more storage stations to the transport containers on the one or more mini vehicles based on the recipes; and
an unloading apparatus configured to transfer food ingredients from the transport containers on the one or more mini vehicles to the cooking container at one of the one or more cooking stations, wherein the computer system is configured to control transfers of the food ingredients from the transport containers on the one or more mini vehicles to the one or more cooking apparatus in accordance to the recipes.
2. The automatic cooking system of claim 1, further comprising:
a cleaning apparatus configured to clean the one or more transport containers on the one or more mini vehicles, wherein the computer system controls timing when the cleaning apparatus to clean the one or more transport containers.
3. The automatic cooking system of claim 1, wherein the computer system is configured to control times for the food ingredients to be transferred to the one or more cooking apparatus in accordance to the recipes.
4. The automatic cooking system of claim 1, wherein the computer system is configured to control the one or more mini vehicles using wireless communications.
5. The automatic cooking system of claim 1, wherein at least one of the one or more mini vehicles carries a plurality of transport containers each configured to hold food ingredients, wherein the computer system is configured to control the one of the one or more mini vehicles to stop at two or more positions adjacent to the one or more storage containers to load food ingredients.
6. The automatic cooking system of claim 1, wherein the one or more cooking stations comprises a first cooking station configured to cook part or all of the food ingredients in a recipe to produce semi-cooked food, wherein the one or more cooking stations comprises a second cooking station configured to cook the semi-cooked food to produce a second cooked food, wherein the semi-cooked food is transferred from the first cooking station to the first cooking station under the control of the computer system.
7. The automatic cooking system of claim 1, further comprising:
sensors configured to detect positions of the one or more vehicles and send associated signals to the computer system, wherein the computer system is configured to determine positions of the one or more vehicles based on the signals.
8. The automatic cooking system of claim 7, wherein the sensors include RFID or vision sensors.
9. The automatic cooking system of claim 1, further comprising:
a food preparation apparatus configured to conduct one or more of operations to the food ingredient before transferred to the cooking containers for cooking: cleaning, cutting, grinding, blending, or mixing the food ingredient.
10. The automatic cooking system of claim 1, further comprising:
one or more rail tracks configured to connect the one or more cooking apparatus and the one or more storage stations, wherein the one or more mini vehicles configured to move along the one or more rail tracks, wherein the computer system is configured to control the movements of the one or more mini vehicles along the one or more rail tracks in accordance to the recipe.
11. The automatic cooking system of claim 10, wherein the one or more rail tracks comprise two rails or a mono rail.
12. The automatic cooking system of claim 10, wherein the one or more mini vehicles are positioned on the one or more rail tracks or hanging off the one or more rail tracks.
13. The automatic cooking system of claim 10, wherein the one or more mini vehicles are configured to be driven by gravity along at least a portion of the one or more rail tracks.
14. The automatic cooking system of claim 10, further comprising:
a track switch in association with two or more of the rail tracks, wherein the computer system is configured to control the track switch to direct the one or more mini vehicles to different route along the one or more rail tracks.
15. The automatic cooking system of claim 14, wherein the track switch comprises
a frame;
two or more connection tracks configured to be mounted on the said frame; and
a movement mechanism configured to slide or rotate the said frame among two or more positions.
16. The automatic cooking system of claim 1, wherein the computer system is configured to track type and quantities of food ingredients in the one or more storage containers, the one or more transport containers, and the cooking containers at the one or more cooking stations.
17. An automatic cooking system, comprising:
a computer system configured to store a recipe;
one or more cooking stations each comprising a cooking container configured to cook food ingredients therein to produce a first cooked food, wherein the computer system is configured to assign and schedule a plurality of dishes to be cooked at the one or more cooking stations;
one or more storage containers configured to hold food ingredients;
one or more transport containers configured to hold the food ingredients, wherein the computer system is configured to control at least some of movements of the one or more transport containers in accordance to the recipe;
a loading apparatus configured to load food ingredients from the one or more storage stations to the transport containers, wherein the computer system is configured to control loading of food ingredients from the one or more storage stations to the transport containers based on the recipe; and
an unloading apparatus configured to transfer food ingredients from the transport containers to the cooking container at one of the one or more cooking stations, wherein the computer system is configured to control transfers of the food ingredients from the transport containers to the one or more cooking apparatus in accordance to the recipe.
18. The automatic cooking system of claim 17, wherein the loading apparatus and the unloading apparatus comprise one or more of a tunnel, a funnel, a clipping device, a robotic arm, or a grabbing device.
19. The automatic cooking system of claim 17, wherein the loading apparatus comprises:
a first object mounted below a storage container configured to enclose a space configured to receive the food ingredients contained from the storage container; and
a second object configured to slide in the first object, under the control of the computer system, which adjusts volume of the space and transfers at least a portion of the food ingredients to the cooking container.
20. The automatic cooking system of claim 17, wherein the unloading apparatus comprises:
a support frame at the cooking station;
a first connector configured to connected to the support frame via a first hinge joint;
a first hook configured to be connected to the first connector, wherein the first hook is configured to hook the transport container at a certain position;
a second connector configured to be connected with the first connector via a second hinge joint;
a second hook configured to be connected to the second connector;
a wheel configured to be mounted on the second connector, wherein the wheel is configured to rotate relative to the second connector;
a curved track mounted on the support frame, wherein the free wheel is configured to slide along the curved track; and
a motor configured to drive the rotation of the first connector around the axis of the first hinge joint under the control of the computer system.
21. The automatic cooking system of claim 17, wherein the one or more cooking stations comprises a first cooking station configured to cook part or all of the food ingredients in a recipe to produce semi-cooked food, wherein the one or more cooking stations comprises a second cooking station configured to cook the semi-cooked food to produce a second cooked food, wherein the semi-cooked food is transferred from the first cooking station to the first cooking station under the control of the computer system.
22. The automatic cooking system of claim 17, wherein at least one of the food ingredients is a liquid, the automatic cooking system further comprising:
a liquid dispensing device, wherein the computer system is configured to control the a liquid dispensing device to transfer the liquid from the plurality of storage containers to the cooking container based on the recipe.
23. The automatic cooking system of claim 22, wherein the computer system is configured to control the liquid dispensing device to control start, stop, and duration of transfer of the liquid from the plurality of storage containers to the cooking container based on the recipe.
24. The automatic cooking system of claim 22, wherein the loading mechanism comprises a liquid metering device in communication with the computer system and configured to measure amount of a food ingredient transferred from the plurality of storage containers to the cooking container; wherein the computer system is configured to control the liquid dispensing device in response to a signal received from the liquid metering device.
25. The automatic cooking system of claim 22, wherein the liquid dispensing device comprises a syringe tube and a syringe plunger contained therein configured to pump the liquid to deliver the liquid to the cooking container under the control of the computer system.