Title:
Rotisserie with Directional Baffles
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A self-cleaning oven includes a cooking compartment and a self-cleaning system for cleaning the cooking compartment. A rotor is centrally located within the cooking compartment. A convection heating system includes an intake which separates the cooking compartment from a heating compartment while allowing air flow between the heating and cooking compartments. An exhaust facilitates air flow between the heating compartment and the cooking compartment. The exhaust includes a vent component through which air exits the heating compartment and enters the cooking compartment. A heating element is within the heating compartment. A convection fan within the heating compartment is configured to draw air from the cooking compartment through the intake into the heating compartment, direct air across the heating element, and expel air from the heating compartment through the vent component into the cooking compartment. A baffle is proximate to and extends outwardly beyond the vent component into the cooking compartment in a direction back toward the rotor to direct air entering the cooking compartment toward a center of the cooking chamber.



Inventors:
Weber, Matthew A. (Springboro, OH, US)
Valentine, Richard D. (Hillsboro, OH, US)
Heiser, James M. (Hillsboro, OH, US)
Application Number:
12/324255
Publication Date:
07/16/2009
Filing Date:
11/26/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24C15/32
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SAVANI, AVINASH A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Michael J. Nieberding, Esq. (Dayton, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A self-cleaning oven, comprising: a cooking compartment; a self-cleaning system for cleaning the cooking compartment; a rotor centrally located within the cooking compartment; a convection heating system, including: an intake which separates the cooking compartment from a heating compartment while allowing air flow between the heating and cooking compartments; an exhaust that facilitates air flow between the heating compartment and the cooking compartment, the exhaust including a vent component through which air exits the heating compartment and enters the cooking compartment; a heating element within the heating compartment; and a convection fan within the heating compartment, the fan configured to draw air from the cooking compartment through the intake into the heating compartment, direct air across the heating element, and expel air from the heating compartment through the vent component into the cooking compartment; and a baffle that is proximate to and extends outwardly beyond the vent component into the cooking compartment in a direction back toward the rotor to direct air entering the cooking compartment toward a center of the cooking chamber.

2. The oven of claim 1, wherein the baffle is configured to be adjustable to adjust a length of the baffle that extends beyond the vent component.

3. The oven of claim 1, wherein the baffle extends beyond the vent component between about one inch and 1.5 inches.

4. The oven of claim 3, wherein the baffle extends beyond the vent component by about 1.25 inches.

5. A rotisserie oven, comprising: a cooking compartment; a rotor centrally located within the cooking compartment; a convection heating system, including: an intake which separates the cooking compartment from a heating compartment while allowing air flow between compartments, an exhaust that facilitates air flow between the heating compartment and the cooking compartment, a heating element within the heating compartment, and a convection fan within the heating compartment, the fan configured to draw air from the cooking compartment through the intake into the heating compartment, blow air across the heating element, and expel air from the heating compartment through the exhaust into the cooking compartment; and a baffle proximate the exhaust, the baffle having a length that is adjustable relative to the exhaust to adjust a length that the baffle extends beyond the exhaust and into the cooking chamber to direct heated air toward a center of the cooking chamber.

6. The oven of claim 5, wherein the baffle is configured to be manually adjustable to provide a barrier of greater or lesser length below the exhaust.

7. The oven of claim 5, wherein the baffle extends beyond the exhaust by between about 1 and 1.5 inches.

8. The oven of claim 7, wherein the baffle extends beyond the exhaust by about 1.25 inches.

9. A method of directing heated air toward a center of a cooking chamber of a rotisserie oven including a rotor centrally located in the cooking chamber, the method comprising: providing a convection heating system including an intake which separates the cooking compartment from a heating compartment while allowing air flow between the heating and cooking compartments, an exhaust that facilitates air flow between the heating compartment and the cooking compartment, the exhaust including a vent component through which air exits the heating compartment and enters the cooking compartment, a heating element within the heating compartment, and a convection fan within the heating compartment, the fan configured to draw air from the cooking compartment through the intake into the heating compartment, direct air across the heating element, and expel air from the heating compartment through the vent component into the cooking compartment; and directing heated air from the vent component toward the rotor centrally located in the cooking compartment using a baffle that is proximate to and extends outwardly beyond the vent component into the cooking compartment in a direction back toward the rotor.

10. The method of claim 9 further comprising adjusting a length of the baffle that extends outwardly beyond the vent component.

11. The method of claim 10, wherein the step of adjusting includes manually adjusting the length of the baffle that extends outwardly beyond the vent component.

12. The method of claim 9, wherein the baffle extends beyond the exhaust by between about 1 and 1.5 inches.

13. A self-cleaning oven, comprising: a cooking compartment; a self-cleaning system for cleaning the cooking compartment; a rotor centrally located within the cooking compartment; a convection heating system, including: an intake which separates the cooking compartment from a heating compartment while allowing air flow between the heating and cooking compartments; an exhaust that facilitates air flow between the heating compartment and the cooking compartment, the exhaust including a first vent component and a second vent component through which air exits the heating compartment and enters the cooking compartment; a heating element within the heating compartment; a convection fan within the heating compartment, the fan configured to draw air from the cooking compartment through the intake into the heating compartment, direct air across the heating element, and expel air from the heating compartment through the first and second vent components into the cooking compartment; a first baffle located to one side of the rotor, the first baffle proximate to and extending outwardly beyond the first vent component into the cooking compartment in a direction back toward the rotor to direct air entering the cooking compartment toward a center of the cooking chamber; and a second baffle located to a side of the rotor opposite the one side where the first baffle is located, the second baffle proximate to and extending outwardly beyond the second vent component into the cooking compartment in a direction back toward the rotor to direct air entering the cooking compartment toward a center of the cooking chamber.

14. The oven of claim 13, wherein the first baffle and the second baffle are configured to be manually adjustable to provide a barrier of greater or lesser length below the exhaust.

15. The oven of claim 13, wherein the first baffle extends beyond the first vent component by between about 1 and 1.5 inches and the second baffle extends beyond the second vent component by between about 1 and 1.5 inches.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Application No. 61/021,117, filed Jan. 15, 2008, and herein incorporated by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This application relates generally to ovens used for cooking food product and, more specifically, to a rotisserie oven with a directional air flow baffle.

BACKGROUND

Various types of ovens are used for cooking food product. Rotisserie ovens are commonly used in the retail environment to cook chickens and other food products in a manner that permits store customers to view the food product during cooking. Rotisserie style cooking tends to result in grease, juices and food particles within the oven that require the oven to be cleaned regularly.

Many commercial ovens use fans to circulate heated air through the cooking cavity. Convection air flow inside an oven is a difficult process to perfect. The construction of the main cooking cavity is not typically conducive to efficient air flow. Ideally, air is directed away from a fan in a linear direction, scrubs an element (to increase and disperse temperature), then continues in a linear and unobstructed direction to the product. It would be desirable to provide a rotisserie oven with an improved air flow structure.

SUMMARY

In some aspects, a rotisserie oven includes directional baffles that provide an effective cooking air flow.

In one aspect, a self-cleaning oven includes a cooking compartment and a self-cleaning system for cleaning the cooking compartment. A rotor is centrally located within the cooking compartment. A convection heating system includes an intake which separates the cooking compartment from a heating compartment while allowing air flow between the heating and cooking compartments. An exhaust facilitates air flow between the heating compartment and the cooking compartment. The exhaust includes a vent component through which air exits the heating compartment and enters the cooking compartment. A heating element is within the heating compartment. A convection fan within the heating compartment is configured to draw air from the cooking compartment through the intake into the heating compartment, direct air across the heating element, and expel air from the heating compartment through the vent component into the cooking compartment. A baffle is proximate to and extends outwardly beyond the vent component into the cooking compartment in a direction back toward the rotor to direct air entering the cooking compartment toward a center of the cooking chamber.

In another aspect, a rotisserie oven includes a cooking compartment and a rotor centrally located within the cooking compartment. A convection heating system includes an intake which separates the cooking compartment from a heating compartment while allowing air flow between compartments, an exhaust that facilitates air flow between the heating compartment and the cooking compartment, a heating element within the heating compartment, and a convection fan within the heating compartment. The fan is configured to draw air from the cooking compartment through the intake into the heating compartment, blow air across the heating element, and expel air from the heating compartment through the exhaust into the cooking compartment. A baffle is proximate the exhaust and has a length that is adjustable relative to the exhaust to adjust a length that the baffle extends beyond the exhaust and into the cooking chamber to direct heated air toward a center of the cooking chamber.

In another aspect, a method of directing heated air toward a center of a cooking chamber of a rotisserie oven including a rotor centrally located in the cooking chamber is provided. The method includes providing a convection heating system including an intake which separates the cooking compartment from a heating compartment while allowing air flow between the heating and cooking compartments. An exhaust facilitates air flow between the heating compartment and the cooking compartment. The exhaust includes a vent component through which air exits the heating compartment and enters the cooking compartment. A heating element is within the heating compartment. A convection fan is within the heating compartment. The fan is configured to draw air from the cooking compartment through the intake into the heating compartment, direct air across the heating element, and expel air from the heating compartment through the vent component into the cooking compartment. Heated air from the vent component is directed toward the rotor centrally located in the cooking compartment using a baffle that is proximate to and extends outwardly beyond the vent component into the cooking compartment in a direction back toward the rotor.

In another aspect, a self-cleaning oven includes a cooking compartment, a self-cleaning system for cleaning the cooking compartment and a rotor centrally located within the cooking compartment. A convection heating system includes an intake which separates the cooking compartment from a heating compartment while allowing air flow between the heating and cooking compartments. An exhaust facilitates air flow between the heating compartment and the cooking compartment. The exhaust includes a first vent component and a second vent component through which air exits the heating compartment and enters the cooking compartment. A heating element is within the heating compartment. A convection fan is within the heating compartment. The fan is configured to draw air from the cooking compartment through the intake into the heating compartment, direct air across the heating element, and expel air from the heating compartment through the first and second vent components into the cooking compartment. A first baffle is located to one side of the rotor. The first baffle is proximate to and extends outwardly beyond the first vent component into the cooking compartment in a direction back toward the rotor to direct air entering the cooking compartment toward a center of the cooking chamber. A second baffle is located to a side of the rotor opposite the one side where the first baffle is located. The second baffle is proximate to and extends outwardly beyond the second vent component into the cooking compartment in a direction back toward the rotor to direct air entering the cooking compartment toward a center of the cooking chamber.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective of a rotisserie system;

FIG. 2 is a front perspective of another embodiment of a rotisserie system;

FIG. 3 is a schematic side view of one embodiment of a cooking chamber;

FIG. 4 shows a floor of a cooking chamber including a spray arm assembly and strainer;

FIG. 5 is a schematic side view of a heating and air flow arrangement of a rotisserie absent a baffle; and

FIG. 6 is a schematic side view of a heating and air flow arrangement of a rotisserie including a baffle.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIG. 1, a rotisserie system 10 is shown including a rotisserie oven 12A stacked atop another rotisserie oven 12B. Each oven includes a respective control interface 14A, 14B, which may include a variety of components, such as an information display area, a numeric keypad, ON/OFF buttons/keys, function specific buttons/keys, and/or various indicator lights. Each oven includes a vertically hinged access door 16A, 16B with a respective handle 18A, 18B and glass front 20A, 20B for viewing the rotisserie operation. The rear side of the oven may also include a viewing window, and in some cases may be formed by a rear door. A rotor 22A, 22B within each oven is also shown. The rotor 22A and 22B rotates a spit 23 that carries food products, such as chickens during cooking (see FIG. 2). The illustrated system is supported by wheels 24 for ease in repositioning the system, with one or more of the wheels 24 including a lock feature. Referring to FIG. 2, a rotisserie system 30 is shown with a single oven 32 stacked atop a lower cabinet 34. The rotor 42 within oven 32 includes birds 36 loaded thereon as per a typical rotisserie cooking operation.

FIG. 3 is a side view layout showing an exemplary oven chamber 40. During rotisserie cooking operations, the rotor 42 rotates as heat is generated by a heating system 44. In the illustrated embodiment, the heating system 44 is formed by heating elements 46 located above an upper plate or shield 48. The plate 48 includes one or more intake openings 50 with associated convection fans 52 arranged to draw air into the openings 50 from the chamber 40. The fans 52 push the air forward and rearward and across the heating elements 46 to pick up heat. The heated air is then directed back into the chamber 40 at forward and rearward slots 54 and 56. Baffles 55 and 57 guide the air inward toward the rotor 42 at the center of the chamber 40 as the heated air passes through the ventilation slots 54 and 56. The space above the plate 48 may include other directional plates or baffles to more effectively produce the forward and rearward air flow.

The rotisserie oven includes a self-cleaning feature that enables the oven to be cleaned during a self-cleaning mode of operation. For this purpose the oven may generally have hook-ups to a source of water and cleaning agent, and may also include a drain path and hook-up to enable the cleaning water to be purged during various points of the cleaning operation. The cleaning operation may include one or more stages, including pre-wash, wash and/or rinse stages. Different cleaning modes (e.g., which may provide different levels of cleaning) may be provided for user selection based upon the user's observation of how clean or dirty the oven is prior to cleaning.

In one implementation the self-cleaning feature includes the use of a spray arm assembly 60, shown in FIG. 3 at a bottom portion of the cooking chamber 40. As shown in FIG. 4, the spray arm assembly 60 includes a rotatable spray arm hub 66 upon which is mounted one or more spray arms 61. Each spray arm 61 includes a multiplicity of nozzle openings 62 for ejecting sprays of water during cleaning, and the force of the ejected water urges each arm 61 to rotate. Water is evacuated from the bottom of the chamber 40 through use of the strainers 67, which lead to a lower sump area where cleaning liquid collects for recirculation via a pump. Other stationary and/or rotating wash arms and/or nozzles could also be located elsewhere within the oven chamber 40 and/or above the plate 48.

FIG. 5 shows the air flow patterns associated with the ventilation system when baffles are not included. Air is drawn through the intake 50 by the convection fan 52, and is blown over the heating elements 46. The configuration causes a pressure zone 70 to form in the proximity of the heating elements 46 between the fan 52 and slot 54. Air enters the chamber through the slot 54, and in the absence of a directional baffle, is dispersed into the chamber. Much of the air is blown towards the chamber walls.

Shown in FIG. 6 by a directional baffle 57 added to the forward slot 54, the air flow changes when directional baffles are provided along the slots and direct the air flow toward the rotating rotor in the center of the oven chamber to provide more effective cooking. The length of the directional baffles 57 is selected to direct the air toward the center of the cooking chamber 40 after the air has exited a vent 72. Directing the air as shown allows for better browning because of the concentration and velocity. The direction of the air after the air exits the vent 72 allows for more penetration into the rotor (between the chickens).

In some embodiments, it is desirable to locate the directional baffles 57 as close to the food product being heated as possible. However, the food products being heated may be of different sizes. In some embodiments, this range of food product sizes is taken in consideration when selecting a length of the directional baffles 57. In one implementation, each directional baffle extends beyond the cover/plate 48 into the cavity by about 1 to 1.5 inches (e.g., 1.25 inches). The directional baffles may be in an adjustable manner so that this distance can be adjusted if desired.

It is to be clearly understood that the above description is intended by way of illustration and example only, is not intended to be taken by way of limitation. For example, the rotisserie oven can be stacked as shown in FIG. 1, located on a stand as shown by FIG. 2, located atop a counter, located atop a combination oven, located atop a convection oven, etc. In some embodiments, the rotor 42 may rotate baskets that hold the food product instead of spits. According, other changes and modifications are possible.