Title:
Device For Holding And Transporting At Least One Container Containing A Food Product, Such As Ice Cream, And Freezer Designed To Hold This Device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for housing and transporting at least one carton (3), containing a food product, such as ice cream, includes a thermally-insulated chamber (1) and an insulated lid (9). The device includes an element for retaining the carton within a housing (2) provided in the insulated chamber when a user removes product from the carton and essentially flat element for contact with a hand or fingers of the user, arranged on the upper part of the device.



Inventors:
Coppin, Jean-marc (Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, FR)
Application Number:
11/795120
Publication Date:
04/24/2008
Filing Date:
01/11/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/592.2
International Classes:
B65D81/38; A47G23/06; F25D11/00; F25D25/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LOFFREDO, JUSTIN E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NIXON & VANDERHYE, PC (ARLINGTON, VA, US)
Claims:
1. Device for holding and transporting at least one container (3) containing a food product, such as ice cream, comprising: a thermally insulated chamber (1, 1′), an insulating lid (9), means of retaining (7) said container within a housing (2) provided in said insulated chamber when a user removes product from said container, and essentially flat means of receiving the pressure of a hand or fingers of said user, arranged on the upper part of said device. characterized in that it also comprises means for holding and retaining on the insulating lid (9, 26) at least one lid (8, 25) of a container stored in said device.

2. Device according to claim 1, characterized in that the means of retaining the container (3) comprise means (7) of gripping and compressing walls of said container.

3. Device according to claim 1, characterized in that the housing (2) is arranged to favour a flaring of flat parts of the container (3) outwards rather than inwards.

4. Device according to claim 1, characterized in that the retaining means comprise means of locking by elastic deformation.

5. Device according to claim 1, characterized in that each housing (2) is shaped in accordance with the impression of a container.

6. Device according to claim 1, characterized in that it also comprises means (30) of retaining the insulating lid (9) in a partially open position.

7. Device according to claim 6, characterized in that it also comprises means (261) of creating a layer of air between the container and the insulating chamber and means (19, 23, 25) of allowing said layer of air to communicate with the outside air when the insulating lid (9, 26) is in the partially open position.

8. Device according to claim 6, characterized in that it comprises cold accumulation means (20), and in that the means of retaining the insulating lid (9, 26) in the partially open position are moreover arranged to hold the container (3) in an position in which a layer of air is created between the bottom of the container and the cold accumulation means.

9. Device according to claim 1, characterized in that the insulated chamber comprises a recess (6, 18) opening upwards and onto the housing, arranged to allow a container to be extracted from said housing and/or a lid of said container to be removed.

10. Device according to claim 1, characterized in that it comprises several container housings and several insulating lids (26).

11. Device according to claim 10, characterized in that the insulating lid (9) also comprises at least one recess (10) arranged to allow said container lid (8) to be removed from the means of holding and retaining the lid.

12. Device according to claim 1, characterized in that the insulated chamber (1) and the insulating lid (9) are separately watertight.

13. Device according to claim 1, characterized in that it also comprises optionally detachable cold accumulator means (20, 33), arranged inside the insulated chamber and in thermal contact with the container(s) (3) arranged in said insulated chamber (1).

14. Device according to claim 13, characterized in that the cold accumulator means (20, 33) include at least one housing (2) shaped to hold a container.

15. Device according to claim 14, characterized in that the accumulator housing is shaped in accordance with a total or partial impression of the shape of a container intended to be held in this device.

16. Device according to claim 13, characterized in that it also comprises means (125, 126) of providing a layer of air between the cold accumulator means and the internal walls of the insulated chamber.

17. Device according to claim 13, characterized in that it also comprises means (13) of positioning a container within the insulated chamber, either in a first position in which said container is in thermal contact with the cold accumulator means (20), or in a second position in which said container is no longer in thermal contact with said cold accumulator means.

18. Device according to claim 1, characterized in that it is arranged to be placed in a freezer.

19. Device according to claim 18, implemented in a freezer (104) provided with a horizontal opening door (103), characterized in that it is designed to be placed in a retractable and optionally detachable tray (1′) moving with said door when it is opened.

20. Freezer (104) provided with a horizontal opening door (103), designed to hold a device (1′) according to claim 1, comprising means (100, 108) of retaining the door and the tray, both in the retracted position, indeformably.

Description:

This invention relates to a device for holding and transporting at least one container containing a food product, in particular one required to be kept at a temperature below ambient temperature, such as ice cream. It also relates to a freezer designed to hold such a device.

The purpose of this device is to present, serve, temporarily insulate from the ambient heat, and optionally re-cool the contents of commercial ice cream containers and to stiffen the containers. Ice cream is given to mean any sweet or even savoury finished frozen food product principally based on water or milk. These containers can be taken out of a domestic freezer but can also be kept inside the freezer.

Conventionally, containers are taken out of the freezer one by one and it is not very easy to remove scoops of ice cream using a spoon as it is difficult to immobilize the containers. Moreover, the containers are thin and sharp for the fingers. This is aggravated in particular by the fact that the container manufacturers generally do not wish to produce them in a plastic that is too thick, since these containers are used only once. Moreover, it is not very practical to have to put them back into a freezer as rapidly as possible, only to bring them out again a short time later for further consumption. Moreover, it is not hygienic to leave these containers standing on a table as their contents must not be refrozen after defrosting. During the summer when it is very hot, it is sometimes difficult, even using an insulated bag, to bring back ice creams from the freezer cabinet of a supermarket without them melting slightly.

Moreover, it is often quite difficult to remove ice cream from a container without causing it to deform or move. One aim of this invention is thus to propose a device designed to prevent a container from lifting when the user scoops the ice cream in a movement from bottom to top.

The object of this invention is to remedy these drawbacks and to attain this objective by proposing a device for holding and transporting one or more containers containing a food product which must be kept at a temperature below ambient temperature, such as ice cream. The device comprises a thermally insulated chamber and an insulating lid.

According to the invention, the device also comprises:

means of retaining said container within a housing provided in said insulated chamber when a user removes product from said container, and

essentially flat means of receiving the pressure of a hand or the fingers of said user, arranged on the upper part of said device.

These retaining means can be made by using a means of gripping and compressing the container under a collar which is often provided on the containers. Each container can be restrained below its collar to immobilize it in all directions, in such a way that the removal of ice cream using a spoon does not lift the container. The collar then acts as a stop. In particular, a collar can be used to hold the container during the filling process.

A device can also be envisaged comprising a housing which favours the flaring of the flat parts of the container outwards rather than inwards. A slight outward flare can be produced by realizing a impression which is slightly oval.

The immobilization of a container can be reinforced by compressing and gripping it in a part of the housing which is the impression of the specific shape of the container. This gripping can be carried out at the level of a collar that is often provided on the containers and which abuts against the upper face of the chamber when a user inserts a container into a housing.

In order to achieve this gripping and compressing effect, provision can be made for the edge of the housing in the upper part of the chamber to be flexible and for its dimensions to be slightly smaller than the part of a container situated just below the collar.

With this compression, an additional aim is to compensate for the dimensional variations resulting from manufacturing and the effects of expansion, and to prevent the container from coming out of its housing when the user performs a scooping action with the spoon in the ice cream from bottom to top.

A device for two containers, with two insulating lids, can be envisaged.

In this configuration, firm pressure can be exerted on an insulating lid with the whole hand to press the device down onto its support, while scoops of ice cream are removed with the other hand.

A device can also be envisaged with a single, larger, insulating lid. In this configuration, the device, without its insulating lid, is pressed down by applying pressure between the two containers, which produces a comfortable position for the hand.

Two container lids are arranged on the insulating lid. A third lid can be placed on one of the two containers for exerting firm pressure (with the whole hand) and pressing the device down onto its support. The ice cream can then be removed from the other container. Then it is simply a matter of placing the lid on the other container, performing a 180° half-turn and removing the ice cream from the other container. This achieves a particularly comfortable position for the hand exerting pressure.

It is possible for the third lid to have no label, to avoid any risk of confusion about the types of ice cream stored. This lid can optionally be insulated.

The device can be pressed down on its support using the hand in a comfortable position, in particular by pressing with the whole hand (hand flat) on a container lid mounted on a container, to remove the ice cream from the other container.

In a particular version, a container is extended by an ergonomic part providing a space for resting the palm of the hand in an ergonomic manner. This ergonomic part is preferably provided with a reinforcing rib.

It is possible to envisage a cold accumulator that is optionally detachable, comprising an impression of the bottom part of the container, which contributes to reinforcing the immobilization of the container and requires the use of containers compatible with the impression of the accumulator.

The cold accumulator is preferably a low-temperature accumulator that recharges at −18° C. The liquid contained in this cold accumulator can advantageously be a mixture of ethyl alcohol and water in the proportion of approximately 18%.

The device according to the invention is advantageously designed to be placed as a whole in a freezer.

It can be envisaged that several devices according to the invention can be stacked, in particular to minimise the space occupied on a table and for transportation.

The upper part of the insulated chamber can be provided with a recess opening upwards and onto the housing, to allow a user to lift and remove manually either the container or its lid, or both at once.

The lid of a container can be fastened on the insulating lid according to a fastening method similar to that of a lid on a container, and a recess can be provided in the insulating lid to allow a user to remove the container lid manually from the insulating lid.

The insulated chamber and the insulating lid can be separately watertight against splashing and immersion, thus allowing each element of the device according to the invention to be washed in hot water or in the dishwasher, including the cold accumulator in its detachable version.

In a particular embodiment, the insulating lid can have a partially open position on the insulated chamber, thus allowing thermal equilibrium between the inside and outside of the insulated chamber, which has the effect of cooling the ice cream when the user places the device according to the invention in a freezer with its insulating lid in the partially open position.

The thermally insulated chamber can advantageously comprise at least one housing in which a container is immobilized when a user inserts it into this housing, allowing easy removal of the ice cream contained in that container.

It can be envisaged that the device according to the invention comprises projections arranged on the bottom of the insulated chamber, in such a way as to distance the bottom of the container from the bottom of the chamber, thus providing a layer of air which communicates by vertical ducts with the cold air of a freezer in which the device according to the invention has been placed, or with the warm ambient air to soften the ice cream for easy insertion of a spoon.

In another embodiment envisaging greater freedom of use, the device according to the invention can also comprise means of cold accumulation to allow the contents of the ice cream containers transported in this device to be re-cooled. These cold accumulation means can comprise a watertight casing containing a freezing liquid.

The cold accumulation means can advantageously comprise one or more housings shaped for holding containers and having for this purpose a full or partial impression of the specific shape of these containers.

These cold accumulation means are re-cooled each time the device according to the invention is placed in a freezer, with its insulating lid partially open. Outside the freezer, the cold accumulation means transfer their frigories to the ice cream contained in the containers stored in the device according to the invention and in thermal contact with the cold accumulation means in the insulated chamber.

The cold accumulation means can be of the low-temperature type, with latent energy transfer at approximately −18° C. The freezing liquid can be a mixture of water and ethyl alcohol proportioned so that the latent cold produced by the liquefaction of the frozen mixture is returned principally at a temperature just above the temperature of ice creams on removal from a freezer, i.e. −18° C.

In this other embodiment including cold accumulation means, provision can advantageously be made for the device according to the invention to be provided with projections, either on the bottom of the accumulation means, or inside the bottom of the insulated chamber, which have the function of distancing the bottom of the accumulation means from the inside of the bottom of the chamber, thus creating a layer of air in communication via vertical ducts with the cold air of the freezer. Thus the cold accumulation means can be cooled by a greater surface area for thermal exchange.

Still in this other embodiment, means can also be provided within the device for positioning a container, either in a lower position or an upper position, a container being in thermal contact with the cold accumulation means in the lower position, while in the upper position, a layer of air is created between the bottom of the container and the cold accumulation means and is in communication with the cold air of the freezer via vertical ducts. This layer of air also allows more rapid warming in the ambient environment, for example of the ice cream, in particular if there is an accumulator.

The device can be integrated into the upper part of a horizontal opening freezer, just under the door when it is closed. In this case, the device according to the invention is retractable from its horizontal position of use which obstructs the freezer when the door is open, in order to allow access to the underlying internal space of this same freezer.

According to another feature of the invention, a freezer is proposed comprising an insulated chest equipped with a horizontal opening, an insulated hinged door and a system for freezing the contents of the chest, which can be equipped with retractable means forming a tray for holding and immobilizing containers of food product, in particular ice creams on sale in a shop. This freezer is insulated by the tray when its door is open for the consumption of ice creams.

The tray can be articulated to the freezer by means of a hinge, in the same way as the door on this same freezer. This tray can be retracted by pivoting it manually around the hinge from its horizontal position of use to a vertical or oblique position, and can comprise a projecting lip.

In a freezer according to the invention, a recess in the form of a channel with a U-shaped cross-section in which the projection of the tray rests in a vertical or oblique retracted position can constitute the hinge, making the tray detachable.

The door of the freezer according to the invention can comprise internally a stop or a fastener. Thus in its vertical or oblique retracted position, the tray containing the containers and the door of the freezer each form with their hinge and the stop or the fastener, an indeformable assembly which is in stable equilibrium, in such a way that the user has their hands free for accessing the freezer.

The fastener can be a clip or a spring pin in which a part of the tray in the form of a bulge is lodged, when the user retracts the tray. The tray is released from this retracted position when the user presses on the edge of the pin to open it. The user supports the tray in its tilting movement. The part of the tray in the form of a bulge can also be used as a carrying handle for the detachable device.

The freezer according to the invention can comprise specifically for the incorporation of the tray;

a heat seal situated in the opening of the chest between the tray and the freezer;

a recess in the form of a channel with a U-shaped cross-section constituting the hinge of the tray,

a clip or spring pin fixed to the inside of the door,

a recess beneath a tab of the tray for a hand-hold before the tray is retracted.

Other advantages and characteristics of the invention will become apparent when examining the detailed description of an embodiment which is in no way limitative, and the attached drawings, in which:

FIG. 1A shows a first embodiment of a device according to the invention, designed to hold three containers of ice cream;

FIG. 1B is a cross-sectional view of the device shown in FIG. 1A;

FIG. 1C is a top view of the device shown in FIG. 1B;

FIG. 2A shows a container which has just been placed in a housing of a device according to the invention;

FIG. 2B shows the placing of an insulating lid on the container shown in FIG. 2A and the fastening of the lid of this container on this insulating lid;

FIG. 2C is a top view of the device according to the invention, shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B;

FIG. 3A is a cross-sectional view of a device according to the invention inserted into a suitable freezer;

FIG. 3B is a top view of the device shown in FIG. 3A;

FIG. 4 shows a kinetic diagram of the movement of a device according to the invention with the door of a suitable freezer;

FIG. 5A is a top view of a device according to the invention, in a particular embodiment;

FIG. 5B is a cross-sectional view of the insulated chamber of the device shown in FIG. 5A;

FIG. 5C is a cross-sectional view of the device in FIGS. 5A and 5B, containing a container and provided with its insulating lid in the closed position;

FIG. 5D is a cross-sectional view of the device shown in FIG. 5A-5C, with its insulating lid in the partially open position;

FIG. 5E is a cross-sectional view of the insulated chamber of the device shown in FIGS. 5A-5D and of the container, with the insulating lid removed;

FIG. 5F is a cross-sectional view of the device shown in FIGS. 5A-5E, with the lid of the container fastened on the insulating lid;

FIG. 6A is a cross-sectional view of a device according to the invention designed to hold two containers, with a single insulating lid placed in the partially open position;

FIG. 6B is a cross-sectional view of the insulated chamber of the device in FIG. 6A;

FIG. 6C is a top view of the device in FIG. 6A;

FIG. 7A is a top view of a device according to the invention equipped with a cold accumulator and designed to hold a container;

FIG. 7B is a cross-sectional view of the device in FIG. 7A, without its insulating lid;

FIG. 7C is a cross-sectional view of the device in FIGS. 7A and 7B, with its insulating lid placed in the closed position;

FIG. 7D is a cross-sectional view of the device in FIGS. 7A-7C, with its insulating lid in the partially open position and the lid of the container fastened to the insulating lid;

FIG. 7E is a cross-sectional view of the chamber of the device in FIGS. 7A-7D, with its housing empty;

FIG. 7F is a cross-sectional view of the chamber of the device in FIGS. 7A-7E, with its housing filled with a container;

FIG. 8A is a first cross-sectional view of a device according to the invention, designed to hold two containers and provided with a cold accumulator and a single insulating lid, shown here in the partially open position;

FIG. 8B is a second cross-sectional view of the device in FIG. 8A, with the insulating lid removed;

FIG. 8C is a top view of the device in FIGS. 8A and 8B;

FIG. 9A is a cross-sectional view of a particular embodiment of a device according to the invention of a cold accumulator, making it possible to both place the insulating lid in the partially open position and distance a container from the cold accumulator;

FIG. 9B is a cross-sectional view of the device in FIG. 9A, without its insulating lid and with its housing empty;

FIG. 9C is a cross-sectional view of the device in FIG. 9A, with the insulating lid in the partially open position, with the container in the upper position and the lid of the container fastened to the insulating lid;

FIG. 9D is a top view of the device in FIGS. 9A-9C;

FIGS. 10A to 10D show three successive steps of placing a container in a device according to the invention equipped with a cold accumulator;

FIG. 11A is a cross-sectional view of a particular embodiment of a device according to the invention equipped with a cold accumulator comprising two housings each containing a container placed in the upper position, and a single insulating lid placed in the partially open position;

FIG. 11B is another cross-sectional view of the insulated chamber of the device in FIG. 11A;

FIG. 11C is a top view of the device in FIGS. 11A and 11B;

FIG. 12A is a cross-sectional view of a second version of a device according to the invention equipped with a cold accumulator that is not provided with external side walls;

FIG. 12B is another cross-sectional view of the device in FIG. 12A, without its insulating lid and containers;

FIG. 12C is a top view of the device in FIGS. 12A and 12B;

FIG. 13A is a cross-sectional view of yet a third version of a device according to the invention, equipped with a cold accumulator not provided with external side walls, and a stop mechanism allowing the containers to be placed in the upper position when the insulating lid is in the partially open position;

FIG. 13B is another cross-sectional view of the device in FIG. 13A, without its insulating lid and containers;

FIG. 13C is a top view of the device in FIGS. 13A and 13B;

FIG. 14 is a cross-sectional view of a device according to the invention, equipped with a cold accumulator, showing on the left, an assembly of the watertight elements by heat sealing and on the right, a simple interlocking of the watertight elements;

FIGS. 15A to 15E show the steps of assembly of an insulated chamber for a device according to the invention;

FIGS. 16A to 16C show the steps of assembly of an insulating lid for a device according to the invention;

FIGS. 17A to 17E, 18A and 18B show the steps of construction of a cold accumulator for a device according to the invention;

FIGS. 19A and 19B show an operating procedure for removing ice cream from each of the containers contained in a device according to the invention;

FIG. 20A shows an operating procedure for fastening a container equipped with its lid into an insulated chamber; and

FIG. 20B shows an operating procedure for removing a container from a housing of an insulated chamber of a device according to the invention.

With reference to FIGS. 1A to 2C, a first embodiment of a device according to the invention will now be described, comprising a tray 1 forming an insulated chamber that thermally insulates the containers of ice cream. A cold energy accumulator 33 constituted by a plastic casing containing a fluid with high specific heat is mounted captive between two thermally moulded insulating components 14 and 17.

The assembly thus formed is itself captive between two plastic half-shells 15 and 16, formed in a single operation by injection moulding. The lower component 16 constitutes the bottom of the tray, and the upper component 15 is moulded according to the external shape of the containers as regards their thickness.

Between a container 3 and the accumulator 33, an air gap is left, the depth of which is fixed in relation to the desired thermal conduction between these two elements. This space can optionally be nil and the two components 15 and 16 are mounted fixed or clipped onto each-other, with reference to detail M in FIG. 1B. With reference to detail K in FIG. 1B, the component 15 comprises a narrowing 39 at the level of the collars of the containers, for fastening the containers by compressing and gripping. Also in this component 15, cavities 18 are provided that communicate with the container housings for manual extraction of these containers 3 from the tray 1.

The insulating caps or lids 26 can be constructed on the following principle: a moulded insulating component 29 (FIG. 2B) is made captive between two plastic components 128 and 127 formed by injection moulding in a single operation. The upper component 128 comprises an upper part holding a container lid 25 mounted clipped or fastened thereon. This upper component 128 also comprises cavities 40 on its edge for holding the fingers during the extraction of the lids 26 from the tray 1.

The lower component 127 comprises conical braces 130 to prevent the crushing of the captive moulded insulating component. The lower component 127 has a shape that allows the lid 26 to be clipped or fastened onto the container like a cover on a container, with reference to FIG. 2A.

As a non-limitative example, the tray 1 can comprise two containers and have dimensions of approximately 30 cm in length, 20 cm in width and 10 cm in height.

With reference to FIGS. 3A, 3B and 4, a device according to the invention designed to be incorporated into a freezer 104 comprises a retractable tray 1′, optionally detachable, incorporated into a freezer with a horizontal opening and comprising:

    • a projection 35 from a moulded component 15, allowing it to be articulated on the freezer 104 by means of a hinge with a U-shaped cross-section 107 of a moulded component 36 of the freezer,
    • a part 100 of the component 15 moulded in the form of a bulge,
    • a chamfer 122 of the moulded component 16 on its lower edge allowing it to be guided into the opening 32 when it passes from the retracted position to the horizontal position for use.

The component 125 of the tray 1 comprises, in the housings 2, watertight bases 121. Thus it is possible to wipe the tray clean without the water running into the freezer beneath. Moreover, this tray has internal reinforcing partitions 120 and a tab 112 by which it can be held. It comprises cavities 18 for extraction of the containers 2 and cavities 18 for extraction of the lids 25 only, with reference to details E and F in FIG. 3A.

The freezer 104 that incorporates this tray variant comprises specifically:

    • A specific moulded plastic component 36 comprising the recess 113 and a U-shaped channel 107 forming the hinge of the tray 1′.
    • A rubber seal 123 with a trapezoidal cross-section and supported by a horizontal part 37 of the moulded component 36, and
    • A stainless steel clip or spring pin 108 riveted to the inside of the door 103.

In this embodiment and in its horizontal position for use, the tray 1′, by means of its chamfer 122, rests on the trapezoidal seal 123, leaving a functional clearance J1 between the projection 35 and the component 36 of the freezer.

A description will now be given of a method of use of a device according to the invention, with reference to FIGS. 7A to 7F. At the time of purchase of a container of ice cream and its removal from the freezer cabinet of a supermarket, this container is inserted into the device and its insulating lid 9 is closed (FIG. 7C).

On arriving at home, the consumer opens the device, removes the lid 8 of the container and transfers it on the insulating lid 9 which is then placed in the partially open position (FIG. 7D), and places the device in his freezer. The cold air of the freezer cools the ice cream from above and the cold accumulator from below.

After taking the device out of the freezer, the consumer removes the container from it (FIG. 7E) in order to allow the ice cream it contains to soften. He then replaces (FIG. 7F) the container in the device according to the invention to enable him to remove ice cream using a spoon.

The insulating lid 9 is then replaced on the device as shown in FIG. 7C, until further consumption, during which the consumer will have no need to remove the container from the device. In fact, it has been demonstrated experimentally that the temperature of the ice cream does not drop again, but remains approximately constant for several hours.

The device according to the invention is finally replaced in the freezer in the configuration shown in FIG. 7D.

With reference to FIGS. 9A to 10C, it is possible to envisage another method of use of a device according to the invention, equipped to allow a container to be placed in the upper position when the insulating lid is partially open or removed.

Instead of removing the container from the device, the latter is lifted into an upper position (FIG. 10A) for it to be warmed in the ambient environment, then lowered (FIG. 10B) for consumption. In between two separate occasions of consumption, the insulating lid 9 is replaced on the insulated chamber of the device (FIG. 10C). On each new occasion of consumption, for the same reasons as previously stated, the consumer will have no need to carry out the operation of lifting the container into an upper position and the temperature will remain approximately constant for several hours.

With reference to FIG. 9C, an arrangement of the device according to the invention is envisaged for it to be placed in the freezer on return from a supermarket or a garden: the container is in the upper position and, like the accumulator, it is cooled from above and below. Although it is in fact possible to dispense with placing the container in the upper position for it to cool, the upper position is nevertheless indispensable for it to warm up (FIG. 10A) as it has been demonstrated experimentally that it is essential to separate the ice cream from the accumulator. Otherwise, the time taken for softening is really too long.

With reference to FIGS. 11A to 11C, a particular example of an embodiment of a device according to the invention will now be described, designed to hold two containers and provided with a single insulating lid and a cold accumulator. This device is provided with a mechanism allowing for the container to be placed in the cold accumulator either in the upper position, or in the lower position. It should be noted that other versions of this device can be envisaged, designed to hold a greater number of containers.

Several methods of assembly can be envisaged for producing the insulating lid and the insulated chamber. Thus, with reference to FIG. 14, the left-hand part of the cross-sectional view of the device shows an assembly made watertight by heat sealing of the components that will constitute the insulating lid 9 and the insulated chamber 1.

With reference to FIGS. 15A to 15E, this chamber comprises a moulded polyurethane component 15, captive between two plastic components 11, 12 produced by injection moulding in a single operation. For assembly, these components are pre-positioned abutting one another, due to their shape. The ducts 19, the housing of the accumulator 20 as well as the recesses 6 are produced by moulding in the component 11. The little protrusions 21 (FIG. 11B) designed to immobilize the accumulator 20 are produced by deformation moulding.

The insulating lid 9 is made according to the same principle, with reference to FIGS. 16A to 16C. The recesses 10 are produced by moulding in the component 16, and the part designed to hold the container lid 8 is the reproduced shape of the upper part of a container. The projecting profile 28 (FIG. 16B) for interlocking with the profile 13, 30 of the accumulator 20 is also produced by deformation moulding and interlocks with the profile 13 also by deformation.

The accumulator 20, which is a hollow plastic casing, is blown into a mould in two parts in the same way as a plastic bottle, with reference to 17B and 17C. The profiled part 13 in the form of a flange, the part with the pointed profile 30, as well as the profile 7 serving to grip the container in its housing, which would be difficult to achieve in the blowing operation, are added on by overmoulding, with reference to FIGS. 17C and 18A. The flange 13 serves to hold a container in the upper position, with reference to FIGS. 11A and 13A.

The user exerts leverage with both hands in the recesses 6 by holding the container between the thumb and the index finger, producing rotary movements around the index fingers (FIG. 20B) and thus passes the collar 4 over the flange 13. For reasons of clarity the flanges 13 are not shown in FIGS. 19A, 19B, 20A, 20B. When the ice cream is softened, the user presses the container down to return it to the lower position. On the flange profile 13, the pointed part of the profile 30 (FIG. 9A to 9D) has two functions:

    • it supports the insulating lid 9 in the upper position, as shown in FIG. 9C,
    • it presses the insulating lid 9 down onto the insulated chamber 1, as shown in FIG. 10C.

It should be noted that the passage of air between the insulating lid 9 and the insulated chamber 1 takes place above a duct 23, at the point where the profiles 7, 13 are interrupted, with reference to FIG. 11C.

The cold accumulator 20 comprises projections 27 produced by moulding, which are appropriately arranged and in sufficient quantity so that the chamfers 22 allow for the accumulator to be guided on insertion into its housing. The housing 2 as well as the ducts 23 are produced by moulding. An opening is provided for filling the accumulator with a mixture of water and ethyl alcohol at 18% approximately, then plugged in a watertight manner.

A sufficient flat surface is provided on the upper part of the insulated chamber to allow the fingers of a user to be positioned when he presses the device down on a stable support (FIG. 21A).

In one configuration of a device designed to hold two containers, shown in FIGS. 19A, 19B and 20A, 20B, when a user proceeds to remove ice cream from one of the two containers, he holds the device on a work surface by pressing the palm of his hand against the lid of the adjacent container. This pressing by the hand allows the forces of removal to be effectively countered and prevents the device from being driven upwards unexpectedly. The user can then pivot the whole device through 180° to remove ice cream from the other container now, the lid of the original container then being used as a rest for the user's hand (FIG. 19B).

To fasten a container in the device when the insulating lid has been removed from the chamber, the user simply exerts with is fingers a downward force on approximately the four corners of the lid of the container, as shown in FIG. 20A. When the user wishes to remove a container from its housing, he can then initiate an extraction movement by using the recesses provided on the edge of the housing, then grip an upper edge of the container between the thumb and the index finger, performing a twisting movement in order to exert leverage and facilitate the extraction of the container, with reference to FIG. 20B.

Of course, the invention is not limited to the embodiment described and variations can be made thereto without exceeding the scope of the invention. In particular, although the invention has been described more particularly with a stop for the container on the device below the collar, the stop can also be made on the bottom of the container or at any level in the thickness of same, even if the container has no collar.

Although it is described for holding containers of ice cream, the device can also contain an ice cream Yule log. In this case, only the insulation function is retained. A device according to the invention can also be used for holding containers of doughy substances at ambient temperature.

Moreover, the insulating lid can be designed to be hinged on and detachable from the insulated chamber by means of at least one hinge, and can adopt a partially open position from the closed position by a rotation of several degrees. This provision has the advantage of avoiding loss of the lid inside the freezer and minimising the space occupied by the device on a table when the lid is opened at 90°. If systematically adopted, the device according to the invention could have ecological advantages. In fact, since the containers used in this device no longer require great rigidity, they could therefore be made from biodegradable material, for example rice starch.