Title:
Viscous Fluid Transferring Device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A transfer apparatus with which it is possible to transfer a mash in a storage tank to a mash tub without leaving any mash in the tank and with the addition of only a small-scale mechanism. In a viscous fluid transfer apparatus of related art made up of a storage tank (20) for storing a viscous fluid; a transfer pipe (31) for taking out the viscous fluid, extending from the bottom of the storage tank; and a pump mechanism (32) disposed in the transfer pipe (31), on the intake port (41) side of the pump mechanism the invention additionally provides a branch pipe (42) branching upward from the transfer pipe (31), an extension pipe (43), an evacuating mechanism (44) and an evacuation control part (46). For a while after the start of a transfer, the transfer is carried out with the pump mechanism (32) only. Then, in a last period of the transfer, the evacuating mechanism (44) is started and the viscous fluid remaining at the bottom of the storage tank (20) is forcibly transferred to the intake port (41) of the pump mechanism by the sucking action of this evacuating mechanism (44). As a result, the pump mechanism (32) can transfer the viscous fluid without leaving any behind. The branch pipe branching upward from the transfer pipe and the extension pipe are simple pipes, the evacuating mechanism can be made a cheap vacuum pump, and the evacuation control part can be a general-purpose controller. Therefore, it is possible to transfer a viscous fluid in a storage tank to a mash tub or the like without leaving any in the tank, with the addition of only a small-scale mechanism.



Inventors:
Matsumoto, Kiyoshi (Noda-shi, JP)
Someya, Hideyuki (Noda-shi, JP)
Oura, Masami (Noda-shi, JP)
Application Number:
11/576016
Publication Date:
11/22/2007
Filing Date:
09/27/2004
Assignee:
KIKKOMAN CORPORATION (Noda-shi, Chiba, JP)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A23L27/50; B65B57/06
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
JACYNA, J CASIMER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RANKIN, HILL & CLARK LLP (WILLOUGHBY, OH, US)
Claims:
1. A viscous fluid transfer apparatus, comprising: a storage tank for storing a viscous fluid; a transfer pipe, extending from a bottom of the storage tank, for taking out the viscous fluid; a pump mechanism disposed in the transfer pipe; a pump control part for start/stop-controlling the pump mechanism; a branch pipe branching upward from the transfer pipe on an intake side of the pump mechanism; an extension pipe extending from an end of the branch pipe; an evacuating mechanism disposed in the extension pipe; and an evacuation control part for starting the evacuating mechanism when transfer capacity of the pump mechanism has fallen.

2. The transfer apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the evacuation control part starts the evacuating mechanism when a flow rate of the viscous fluid, as measured with a flowmeter provided in the transfer pipe, has fallen sharply.

3. The transfer apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the evacuation control part starts the evacuating mechanism following a preset time after starting of the pump mechanism.

4. The transfer apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the storage tank is a flat-bottomed tank having a bottom part given a gradient.

5. The transfer apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the viscous fluid is a soy sauce mash.

6. The transfer apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the viscous fluid is a soy sauce mash.

7. The transfer apparatus according to claim 3, wherein the viscous fluid is a soy sauce mash.

8. The transfer apparatus according to claim 4, wherein the viscous fluid is a soy sauce mash.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention relates to a transfer apparatus for transferring a viscous fluid such as a soy sauce moromi or mash.

BACKGROUND ART

As an example of a viscous fluid, a soy sauce mash will be used in the following description.

FIG. 8 hereof illustrates the principle of a conventional soy sauce mash transfer apparatus. A storage tank 101 for preparing, fermenting and maturing a soy sauce moromi or mash (hereinafter called “mash”) 100 is a large vessel made up of a bottom part 102 given a gradient; a cylindrical part 103 rising from the rim of this bottom part 102; a cone part 104 connected to the top of this cylindrical part 103; a feed opening 105 connected to a small-diameter top part of the cone part 104; and a cover 106, and has an outlet 107 in a corner of the bottom part 102.

If the bottom part of the storage tank 101 is also made a cone part, it is possible to take out mash without any stagnating. However, when the bottom part is made a cone part, its capacity decreases. In this example, to provide capacity, the bottom part is not made a cone part, and is a flat bottom.

A mash transfer apparatus 110 is made up of a transfer pipe 111 extending from the outlet 107 and a pump mechanism 112 disposed in this transfer pipe 111, and can transfer the mash 100 to a mash tub 113 by means of the suction/delivery action of the pump mechanism 112.

FIG. 9 illustrates a shortcoming of the apparatus of FIG. 8. Because mash is a viscous fluid lacking fluidity, in a last period of the transfer process, it often happens that air passes through the mash 100A and enters the transfer pipe 111 directly. This is also a result of the bottom part of the storage tank 101 having being made a flat bottom instead of a cone part.

When this happens, in the transfer pipe 111, an air layer 115 forms above the mash 100B. This air layer 115 causes defective operation of the pump mechanism 112 (see FIG. 8).

As a countermeasure to this, a suction shifting apparatus has been proposed (see, e.g., Japanese Patent Post-Exam Publication 6-104235, FIG. 1).

The 6-104235 publication will now be explained with reference to FIG. 10 hereof.

FIG. 10 illustrates the basic principle of the technology of this related art: the technology of the patent has it as a basis that a transfer pipe 121 extends from the bottom of a slurry tank 120 and is sucked upon by a vacuum pump 122, and has it as a characteristic feature that a first air delivery pipe 123, a compressed air pipe 124 and a second air delivery pipe 125 are added at the intake end of this transfer pipe 121.

When a slurry 126 is moved to the right in the figure by the action of the vacuum pump 122, air is blown into the center of the pipe with the first air delivery pipe 123 to make breaks in the slurry 126, the slurry 126 is moved along by the compressed air pipe 124, and air is blown into the center of the pipe with the second air delivery pipe 125 to break up the slurry 126 completely, into slurry slugs 127.

By changing the continuous slurry 126 into slurry slugs 127, it is possible to lighten the load on the vacuum pump 122.

However, as well as adding the first air delivery pipe 123, the air pipe 124 and the second air delivery pipe 125, an air compressor is necessary, and the plant cost mounts up. And, when a mash is considered in place of the slurry 126, because large quantities of air mix in with the mash, from the need to suppress changes in the quality of the mash it is necessary for the air to be removed as quickly as possible, and the cost of air removal also mounts up.

Accordingly, technology has been awaited with which it is possible to shift mash efficiently with the addition of only a small-scale mechanism, without adding a large-scale apparatus like that of Patent Document 1.

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION

Problems that the Invention Seeks to Solve

It is an object of the invention to provide a transfer apparatus with which it is possible to transfer a mash in a storage tank to a mash tub without any mash remaining in the storage tank, with the addition of only a small-scale mechanism.

Means for Solving the Problems

In the invention defined in claim 1, a viscous fluid transfer apparatus is comprises a storage tank for storing a viscous fluid; a transfer pipe, extending from the bottom of the storage tank, for taking out the viscous fluid; a pump mechanism disposed in this transfer pipe; a pump control part for start/stop-controlling the pump mechanism; a branch pipe branching upward from the transfer pipe on the intake side of the pump mechanism; an extension pipe extending from the end of this branch pipe; an evacuating mechanism disposed in this extension pipe; and an evacuation control part for starting the evacuating mechanism when the transfer capacity of the pump mechanism has fallen.

For a while after the start of the transfer, transfer is carried out with the pump mechanism only. Then, in a last period of the transfer, the evacuating mechanism is started, and the viscous fluid remaining in the bottom of the storage tank is forcibly transferred to the intake port of the pump mechanism by the sucking action of this evacuating mechanism. When the storage tank has become empty, the viscous fluid remaining in the transfer pipe is forcibly transferred to the intake port of the pump mechanism. As a result, the pump mechanism can transfer the viscous fluid without leaving any behind.

In the invention defined in claim 2, the evacuation control part starts the evacuating mechanism when the flow rate of the viscous fluid measured with a flowmeter provided in the transfer pipe has fallen sharply.

In the invention defined in claim 3, the evacuation control part starts the evacuating mechanism when the time from the start of operation of the pump has reached a preset time.

In the invention defined in claim 4, the storage tank is a flat-bottomed tank having a bottom part given a gradient.

In the invention defined in claim 5, the viscous fluid is a soy sauce mash.

Advantages of the Invention

In the invention defined in claim 1, by the pump mechanism being operated alone for a while from the start of the transfer and both the evacuating mechanism and the pump mechanism being operated in a last period of the transfer, it is possible to transfer viscous fluid in the flow passages of the transfer apparatus without leaving any behind. This is realized just by providing a branch pipe, an extension pipe, an evacuating mechanism and an evacuation control part in addition to a storage tank, a transfer pipe and a pump mechanism of related art.

The branch pipe and the extension pipe are simple pipes, the evacuating mechanism can be a cheap vacuum pump, and the evacuation control part can be a general-purpose controller; consequently, it is possible to transfer a viscous fluid in a storage tank to a mash tub or the like without leaving any behind with the addition of only a small-scale mechanism.

In the invention defined in claim 2, the evacuation control part starts the evacuating mechanism when the flow rate of the viscous fluid measured with a flowmeter provided in the transfer pipe has fallen sharply.

If the evacuating mechanism is started by a timer, it starts before the time at which it becomes necessary, the operating time of the evacuating mechanism becomes long, the cost of the electricity for operating the evacuating mechanism increases, and the cost of the transfer increases.

On this point, in the claim 2 invention, because the evacuating mechanism is started at the time at which it becomes necessary, the operating time of the evacuating mechanism becomes short, the cost of the electricity for operating the evacuating mechanism can be reduced, and the cost of the transfer can be compressed.

In the invention defined in claim 3, the evacuation control part starts the evacuating mechanism when the time from the start of operation of the pump has reached a preset time.

Because timers are extremely cheap, it is possible to minimize the cost of the evacuation control part, and it is possible to reduce the plant cost of the viscous fluid transfer apparatus.

In the invention defined in claim 4, because the storage tank is a flat-bottomed tank having a bottom part given a gradient, the flow of the viscous fluid in the storage tank into the transfer pipe is conducted smoothly.

The invention defined in claim 5 is characterized in that the viscous fluid is a mash.

Because a mash, and particularly a soy sauce mash, has high viscosity and poor fluidity, air passing through mash remaining in the storage tank in the last period of the transfer enters the transfer pipe. With this invention, even if air enters the transfer pipe, because the evacuating mechanism forcibly draws the mash to the intake port of the pump mechanism, there is no fear of the operation of the pump mechanism becoming defective, and smooth transfer can be maintained.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT INVENTION

A best mode for carrying out the invention will now be described on the basis of the accompanying drawings. The drawings are to be viewed in the orientation of the reference numbers.

FIG. 1 is a basic construction view of a transfer apparatus for a viscous fluid, according to the invention.

A transfer apparatus 10 for a mash constituting a viscous fluid is made up of a storage tank 20 for storing mash; a first transfer pipe 31, extending from the bottom of the storage tank 20, for taking mash out; a pump mechanism 32 connected to this first transfer pipe 31; a motor 33 for driving this pump mechanism; a pump control part 34 for controlling the pump mechanism 32 by operating/stopping the motor 33; a pump Start button 35 and a pump Stop button 36 connected to the pump control part 34; a second transfer pipe 37 extending from the pump mechanism 32; a flowmeter 38 connected to this second transfer pipe 37; a third transfer pipe 40 extending from this flowmeter 38 to a mash tub 39; a branch pipe 42 branching upward from the first transfer pipe 31 on the intake 41 side of the pump mechanism 32; an extension pipe 43 extending from the end of this branch pipe 42; an evacuating mechanism 44 in this extension pipe 43; a motor 45 for driving this evacuating mechanism 44; and an evacuation control part 46 for starting the evacuating mechanism 44 when the transfer capacity of the pump mechanism 32 has fallen.

The first transfer pipe 31, the second transfer pipe 37 and the third transfer pipe 40 are different sections, individually numbered for convenience, of a single transfer pipe 47. The reference number 48 denotes a vacuum breaker, whose operation will be discussed later.

The storage tank 20 is a flat-bottomed tank and is a large vessel made up of a bottom part 21 given a gradient of for example 8°; a cylinder part 22 rising from the rim of this bottom part 21; a cone part 23 connected to the top of this cylinder part 22; a feed opening 24 connected to a small-diameter top part of the cone part 23; and a cover 25, and has an outlet 26 in a corner (the lowest position) of the bottom part 21.

The gradient varies depending on the viscosity of the fluid, but 25 to 3° is preferable and 22 to 4° is more preferable. 10 to 6° is most preferable. And in the case of soy sauce mash, 10 to 6° is most preferable.

From the point of view of discharging soy sauce mash smoothly, it is desirable for the bottom part of the storage tank 20 to be made a cone part. However, when the bottom part is made a cone part, its capacity decreases. In this embodiment, to provide capacity, the bottom part is not made a cone part.

Although the pump mechanism 32 may be a general-purpose pump called a volute pump or a centrifugal pump, it is better still if it is a special pump capable of separating gas and liquid.

Next, the operation of the pump control part 34 and the evacuation control part 46 will be explained.

FIG. 2 is a view illustrating the operation of a pump mechanism and an evacuating mechanism according to the invention.

(a) shows the pump mechanism 32 switching from a stopped state to an operating state as a result of the pump Start button 35 of FIG. 1 being pressed and returning to the stopped state as a result of the pump Stop button 36 being pressed. The operating time is for example 60 minutes.

(b) shows the transfer rate of mash measured with the flowmeter 38 of FIG. 1, and shows the flow rate falling sharply in a last period of the transfer and then recovering. The sharp fall in the flow rate occurs at for example 50 minutes.

(c) shows the operation of the evacuating mechanism, which remains stopped for a while from the start of the transfer. And it shows that on the basis of information that the flow rate has fallen sharply in (b), the evacuating mechanism starts and continues operating until the pump mechanism of (a) stops.

The foregoing operation explanation will now be explained with reference to the storage tank.

FIG. 3 is a view showing change of the mash in the storage tank.

(a) is a sectional view of the storage tank 20 from a first period of the transfer to a middle period of the transfer: under the sucking action of the pump, mash 50 flows smoothly into the first transfer pipe 31 as shown by the white arrow.

(b) shows a sectional view of the storage tank 20 in the last period of the transfer: a through hole 51 opens in the mash 50B remaining in the storage tank 20, and because air enters the first transfer pipe 31 through this through hole 51, in the first transfer pipe 31 an air layer 52 is formed above the mash 50C.

When this state is reached, the operation of the pump mechanism becomes deficient, and the flow rate measured with the flowmeter 38 of FIG. 1 sharply falls. At this point, the evacuating mechanism 44 is started. Under the sucking action of the evacuating mechanism 44, the mash 50B remaining in the storage tank 20 is drawn into the first transfer pipe 31.

As a result, as shown in (c), the first transfer pipe 31 is filled with the mash 50B, the pump mechanism returns to normal, and the flow rate becomes what it was before. When the storage tank 20 has become empty, the mash 50B in the first transfer pipe 31 is drawn into the intake 41 of the pump mechanism 32 under the sucking action of the evacuating mechanism 44 (see FIG. 1). Therefore, all of the mash 50 can be transferred, without any of it remaining in the first transfer pipe 31.

Next, the operation of the branch pipe rising from the transfer pipe and the vacuum breaker discussed in FIG. 1 will be explained.

FIG. 4 is a view illustrating the operation of the branch pipe and the vacuum breaker in the invention.

(a) shows a state corresponding to the period of FIG. 3(a): mash 50 is transferred in turn through the first transfer pipe 31, the pump mechanism 32 and the second transfer pipe 37. Because the evacuating mechanism is stopped, the branch pipe 42 is still empty.

(b) shows a state corresponding to after the evacuating mechanism has started (the period of FIG. 3(c)): mash 50 enters the branch pipe 42 under the sucking action of the evacuating mechanism. The height to which the mash 50 enters at this time will be called the head H.

This head H can be explained in terms of fluid dynamics in the following way.

When the density of the mash 50 is written γ, the suction pressure of the pump mechanism 32 is written Pp (a negative pressure, expressed with a minus pressure), and the suction pressure of the evacuating mechanism is written Pv (a negative pressure, expressed with a minus pressure), the head H can be expressed as (Pp−Pv)/γ. The larger is the suction pressure Pv (the higher is the degree of vacuum), the larger is H. And the larger is the density γ, the smaller is H.

The height of the branch pipe 42 is set amply higher than the head H. This is because when this is done, there is no risk of mash entering the extension pipe 43.

It is desirable for a part or the whole of the branch pipe 42 to be made transparent so that the mash 50 inside can be observed from outside.

(c) is an enlarged detail view of the part C in (b): numerous bubbles 53 mixed with the mash 50 separate because they are light, and ascend. That is, the branch pipe 42 of this invention has the action of a gas-liquid separator for separating air and mash.

Because the bubbles 53 pass through the mash 50, the sucking action of the evacuating mechanism acts on the first transfer pipe 31 continuously.

(d) is a view illustrating the action of the vacuum breaker 48: for example if the pump mechanism 32 stops, in the above-mentioned (Pp−Pv)/γ the Pp becomes zero, and (Pp−Pv)/γ becomes a maximum. When this happens, the head H rises, and if nothing was done about it the mash 50 would enter the extension pipe 43 and damage the evacuating mechanism. The vacuum breaker 48 has been provided to prevent this. The vacuum breaker 48 is a type of safety valve, and includes a spring; when the inside of the extension pipe 43 reaches a negative pressure above a fixed value, it opens and introduces air from outside into the pipe, thereby fulfilling a role of eliminating any excessive sucking action.

Next, an operating flow of the transfer apparatus of the invention will be described.

FIG. 5 is an operating flow chart of a transfer apparatus according to the invention; STXX denotes a step number.

ST01: The pump Start button 35 of FIG. 1 is pressed.

ST02: The pump control part 34 of FIG. 1 drives the motor 33 and thereby brings the pump mechanism 32 to an operating state.

ST03: A flow rate measured by the flowmeter 38 of FIG. 1 is read into the evacuation control part 46. This flow rate will be called F1.

ST04: In the evacuation control part 46 of FIG. 1, it is checked whether or not the F1 read in is below 80% of a preset value, for example the pump rated flow rate Fp. In the initial period and the middle period of the transfer, the determination is no and transfer using the pump mechanism only is continued. When the F1 read in sharply decreases and falls below 0.8×Fp, processing proceeds to the next step.

ST05: On determining that the flow rate has sharply fallen, the evacuation control part 46 of FIG. 1 drives the motor 45 and brings the evacuating mechanism 44 to an operating state. Thereafter, the transfer is carried out using both the pump mechanism 32 and the evacuating mechanism 44.

ST06: The transfer operation is continued until the pump Stop button 36 of FIG. 1 is pressed.

ST07: When in ST06 the pump Stop button 36 is pressed, the evacuating mechanism 44 is stopped.

ST08: The pump mechanism 32 is stopped.

Although the 0.8×Fp given as an example in ST04 described above is not problematic when the flow rate F1 measured with the flowmeter 38 is stable, when the flow rate F1 fluctuates (pulsates), it could be misapprehended in the initial period or the middle period of the transfer that the flow rate has sharply fallen. In this case, it is necessary to change the 0.8×Fp to 0.6×Fp or 0.5×Fp, to provide a safety allowance. When a safety allowance is provided, the start timing of the evacuating mechanism 44 lags, and there is a risk of a load acting on the pump mechanism.

In this sort of case, instead of flow rate monitoring, time management is effective. A specific example of this will now be described.

FIG. 6 is a view of a different embodiment of FIG. 5. Although a number of steps are duplicated with FIG. 5, to ensure exactitude all of the steps will be set forth.

ST11: The pump Start button 35 of FIG. 1 is pressed.

ST12: The pump control part 34 of FIG. 1 drives the motor 33 and thereby brings the pump mechanism 32 to an operating state.

ST13: A timer is built into the pump control part 34 of FIG. 1, and starts counting when the pump mechanism 32 starts.

ST14: From experience, the type of the mash, and the season and so on an air suck-in time is estimated, and a scheduled time Tstd before this time is set and inputted to the evacuation control part 46. It is checked whether or not the count time Tact has reached the scheduled time Tstd. In the initial period and the middle period of the transfer, the determination is no and transfer using the pump mechanism only is continued. When the scheduled time is reached, processing proceeds to the next step.

ST15: When the scheduled time has been reached, the evacuation control part 46 of FIG. 1 drives the motor 45 and thereby brings the evacuating mechanism 44 to an operating state. Thereafter, the transfer is carried out using both the pump mechanism 32 and the evacuating mechanism 44.

ST16: The transfer operation is continued until the pump Stop button 36 of FIG. 1 is pressed.

ST17: When in ST16 the pump Stop button 36 is pressed, the evacuating mechanism 44 is stopped.

ST18: Then, the pump mechanism 32 is stopped.

The timer-based control described above has the merit that it is simpler than flow rate monitoring and does not suffer influences of flow rate fluctuations. However, there is the disadvantage that when the evacuating mechanism is started on the basis of a timer it is started before the time at which it becomes necessary, and the operating time of the evacuating mechanism is longer, the cost of the electricity for operating the evacuating mechanism increases, and the cost of the transfer increases.

Accordingly, whether the evacuating mechanism 44 is started on the basis of flow rate monitoring, timer monitoring or a third type of monitoring replacing these can be chosen as appropriate.

A specific example of a more preferable pump mechanism 32 will now be described.

FIG. 7 is a view illustrating the principle of a special pump capable of gas-liquid separation employed in the invention: a gas-liquid separating pump mechanism 60 is made up of a common base 61; a bearing unit 62 mounted on this common base 61; a pump shaft 63 rotatably supported in the bearing unit 62; a motor 33 connected one end of this pump shaft 63 by way of a coupling 64; a main gas-liquid separating vane 65, a main impeller 66, and an auxiliary gas-liquid separating vane 67 attached in order from the rear to the front to the other end of the pump shaft 63; a main pump housing 68 enclosing the main impeller 66 and the auxiliary gas-liquid separating vane 67; a delivery port 69, which is an exit of this main pump housing 68, and an intake port 41, which is an entrance; an auxiliary housing 72 enclosing the main gas-liquid separating vane 65 and extending as far as the intake port 41; a front through hole 73 and a rear through hole 74 provided at the front and the rear of this auxiliary housing 72 an air reservoir chamber 75 for receiving air through this rear through hole 74 and accumulating it; and a separately located extraction pump 80.

Also, the pump shaft 63 has in its front end a central hole 76 opening forward, and has a radial hole 77 extending from this central hole 76 to the auxiliary housing 72.

The extraction pump 80 has a pump housing 81 having two chambers, an impeller 82 is housed in one of the chambers, a driven pulley 84 is attached to the shaft 83 of this impeller 82, and this driven pulley 84 is connected by a belt 86 to a driving pulley 85 provided on the pump shaft 63, whereby the extraction pump 80 can also be driven by the motor 33.

Also, the extraction pump 80 has a water chamber 87 connected to it by pipes 88, 89.

An operation of the pump mechanism 32 constructed as above will now be described.

By the main gas-liquid separating vane 65, the main impeller 66 and the auxiliary gas-liquid separating vane 67 being rotated at a high speed with the motor 33, mash is sucked through the first transfer pipe 31. It will be assumed that this mash contains air bubbles.

First, the auxiliary gas-liquid separating vane 67 at the front end has a centrifugal separating action, and brings the heavy mash to the main impeller 66. The main impeller 66 pressurizes the mash and discharges it through the delivery port 69.

On the other hand, air remaining at the center as a result of the centrifugal separating effect of the auxiliary gas-liquid separating vane 67 reaches the auxiliary housing 72 through the central hole 76 and the radial hole 77 under the sucking action of the main gas-liquid separating vane 65. Because mash is inevitably included in the air remaining at the center, centrifugal separation is carried out again with the main gas-liquid separating vane 65, and separated mash is returned to the intake port 41 through the front through hole 73. Air having had the mash removed from it reaches the water chamber 87 through the air reservoir chamber 75, the pipe 78, the extraction pump 80 and the pipe 88.

In the water chamber 87, working water 91 and air are separated by specific gravity separation, and the air is released to outside.

Whereas when a general-purpose pump takes in mash containing air bubbles its operation becomes unstable, with the pump mechanism 32 described above there is no such concern.

This pump mechanism 32 also has the following other advantage.

As mentioned above, the branch pipe 42 not only performs degassing but also performs the role of guiding mash to the intake port 41. This being the case, it is necessary for the branch pipe 42 to be brought as close as possible to the intake port 41, as shown with the broken lines a. However, for various reasons, it may be unavoidable for it to be disposed in a position slightly further away.

The branch pipe rising from the first transfer pipe 31 preferably rises at an elevation angle of 60° to 90° and particularly 90° (vertically).

Even if the pump mechanism 32 is weak, because some sucking action of the extraction pump 80 can be expected, mash can be shifted smoothly even if the branch pipe 42 is away from the intake port 41. Therefore, the construction of the apparatus, such as the piping layout design and so on, becomes easy.

Although the transfer apparatus according to the invention is ideal as transferring means for soy sauce mash, it can also be applied as a transfer apparatus for other viscous fluids such as other food materials and chemical materials.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

The transfer apparatus according to the present invention is best used as a soy source mash transferring means.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a basic construction diagram of a viscous fluid transfer apparatus according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a view illustrating the operation of a pump mechanism and an evacuating mechanism according to the invention;

FIG. 3 is a view showing changes in a mash in a storage tank;

FIG. 4 is a view illustrating the operation of a branch pipe and a vacuum breaker according to the invention;

FIG. 5 is an operation flow chart of a transfer apparatus according to the invention;

FIG. 6 is a view of another embodiment of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a view illustrating the principle of a special pump capable of gas-liquid separation employed in the invention;

FIG. 8 is a view illustrating the principle of a soy sauce mash transfer apparatus of related art;

FIG. 9 is a view illustrating a shortcoming of FIG. 8; and

FIG. 10 is a view illustrating a basic principle of technology of related art.

DESCRIPTION OF THE REFERENCE NUMERALS AND SIGNS

10 . . . viscous fluid transfer apparatus, 20 . . . storage tank, 21 . . . bottom part, 31, 37, 40, 47 . . . transfer pipe, 32,60 . . . pump mechanism, 38 . . . flowmeter, 41 . . . intake of pump, 42 . . . branch pipe, 43 . . . extension pipe, 44 . . . evacuating mechanism, 46 . . . evacuation control part, 50, 50B, 50C . . . soy sauce mash as viscous fluid.