US20070144202A1 - Open holding cabinet, trays and controls - Google Patents

Open holding cabinet, trays and controls Download PDF

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Publication number
US20070144202A1
US20070144202A1 US11634433 US63443306A US2007144202A1 US 20070144202 A1 US20070144202 A1 US 20070144202A1 US 11634433 US11634433 US 11634433 US 63443306 A US63443306 A US 63443306A US 2007144202 A1 US2007144202 A1 US 2007144202A1
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Prior art keywords
cabinet
slots
plurality
food
tray
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US11634433
Inventor
Michael Theodos
Charles Hutchinson
Keith Stanger
Evan McCommon
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Frymaster Corp
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Frymaster Corp
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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24COTHER DOMESTIC STOVES OR RANGES; DETAILS OF DOMESTIC STOVES OR RANGES, OF GENERAL APPLICATION
    • F24C15/00Details
    • F24C15/18Arrangement of compartments additional to cooking compartments, e.g. for warming, for storing utensils or fuel containers; Arrangements of additional heating or cooking apparatus, e.g. grills additional cooking arrangements on stoves
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47JKITCHEN EQUIPMENT; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; APPARATUS FOR MAKING BEVERAGES
    • A47J39/00Heat-insulated warming chambers; Cupboards with heating arrangements for warming kitchen utensils
    • A47J39/006Heat-insulated warming chambers; Cupboards with heating arrangements for warming kitchen utensils for either storing and preparing or for preparing food on serving trays, e.g. heating, thawing, preserving

Abstract

A cabinet for holding food having a housing and a plurality of slots is provided. A tray is receivable in each of the plurality of slots for receiving food. A controller is operatively associated with each of the plurality of slots to independently control cooking instructions for each of the plurality of slots. A cabinet for holding food having a housing with a plurality of slots is provided. A tray is receivable in each of the plurality of slots for receiving food. The cabinet has an inputting device and a controller, wherein the controller receives instructions from the inputting device to control cooking instructions in each of the plurality of slots.

Description

  • This application claims benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/742,848 filed on Dec. 6, 2005, the contents of which are incorporated by reference herein.
  • 1. FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • This invention relates to a holding cabinet for food, trays that are inserted into the cabinet and the electronic controls for the preprogramming the cabinet to optimize food preparation and holding.
  • 2. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • In the commercial food industry and in particular, in the fast food industry, proper food preparation and readiness are a necessity. Maintaining the food for immediate consumption or near immediate consumption a challenging and evolving area. The challenge is to maintain the food at a proper serving temperature and maintaining optimal flavor.
  • Typically, holding cabinets are slotted metal cabinets that have heaters to prevent the contents from becoming cool. However, such cabinets risk drying the food so that it is no longer palatable or heating the food such that it is either too hot or too cool. Additionally, such cabinets must hold food that must be assembled or partially cooked. In this instance, the different components of the final food product must each be at the proper temperature. Finally, the food must also be visible during the holding time to be readily accessible by the food service professionals and for restocking purposes.
  • Accordingly, there is a need for an automated pre-programmed open holding cabinet that incorporates heated regions, electronic controls and trays that maintain the food product at a desired temperature for immediate/near immediate consumption and for rapid preparation .
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • A cabinet for holding food having a housing and a plurality of slots is provided. A tray is receivable in each of the plurality of slots for receiving food. A controller is operatively associated with each of the plurality of slots to independently control cooking instructions for each of the plurality of slots.
  • A cabinet for holding food having a housing with a plurality of slots is provided. A tray receivable in each of the plurality of slots for receiving food is provided. The cabinet has an inputting device and a controller, wherein the controller receives instructions from the inputting device to control cooking instructions in each of the plurality of slots.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Other and further object, advantages and features of the present invention will be understood by reference to the following specification in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference characters denote like elements of structure and:
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a front perspective view of the cabinet according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a front view of the cabinet of FIG. 1 of the present invention;
  • FIG. 3 illustrates a cross-section side view of the cabinet of FIG. 1, according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a tray of the present invention;
  • FIG. 5 illustrates a perspective top view of the cabinet of FIG. 1, according to the present invention with the top covers removed; and
  • FIG. 6 illustrates a schematic view of the main controller and the RFID controller of he cabinet according to the present invention.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • Referring to FIG. 1, a holding cabinet of the present invention is shown and is generally represented by reference numeral 10. Holding cabinet 10 of the present invention is a pass through cabinet that allows food trays to be inserted and removed from cabinet front 15 or cabinet back 20. Another manifestation wold featuere access to the heated slots 25 from on side of cabinet 10 only. Cabinet 10 has slots 25 to receive holding trays 50 of the present invention. Cabinet 10 has a touch screen 30 that is capable of receiving commands from an operator to program cabinet 10 with cooking instructions. Cabinet 10 also has cooling air inlets at its bottom to prevent air in cabinet 10 from becoming excessively hot. Cooling air enters slots on side and exits across entire face on the font and rear above the power switch and touch screen 30.
  • Referring to FIG. 2, cabinet 10 allows the food in a tray 50 to be held and kept warm without having to keep tray 50 close to upper heater 40. The distance between the food in tray 50 and upper heater 40 prevents the food from becoming dehydrated. While FIG. 1 shows three slots 25, other configurations of slots could also be used. Cabinet 10 holds food temperature between 135° F. to 200° F. for long periods of time. For safety reasons, the outside temperature of holding cabinet 10 should not exceed 140° F.
  • Referring to FIG. 3, slots 25 are heated independently from a slot top surface by upper heaters 40 and a slot lower surface by lower heater 45. Independent heating of slots 25 permits an upper surface, a lower surface or both an upper surface and a lower surface to be heated for each slot.
  • Slots 25 each have an upper surface mounting bracket 60 and a flexible sheet 65 that extends downward from mounting bracket 60. Slot openings 70 at either end of slots 25 are partially covered by flexible sheets 65 prevent air movement through slots 25. Flexible sheet 65 prevents the hot, humid air in the cabinet 10 from escaping to the outside environment. Slot openings 70 are partially covered with sheets 65, but the remainder of the opening 70 permits tray 50 to be inserted or removed. The sheets 65 are flexible so that the food can be accessed without removal of the tray 50. The sheet material, preferably TEFLON, is durable and transparent.
  • The are further benefits associated with the flexible sheets 65. Sheets 65 allow food to be more accessible and prevent the operator from having to having to remove tray 50 from cabinet 10 to observe the contents. The operator is able to assemble sandwiches more efficiently and reduce the length of time that a customer waits for food. Additionally, the operator sees when a tray is getting close to being empty without pulling the tray, thereby minimizing interruptions in assembly and customer service. Further, the sheets 65 cover the opening 70 and the aluminum tray. The sheet provides a movable barrier that keeps the holding environment hot, but still allows access to the food for serving.
  • Referring to FIG. 4, tray 50 is a metal tray that is designed to fit cabinet 10. Tray 50 allows superior holding and versatility over trays that are currently being used because it can be used with multiple products. Present holding cabinets require four different trays along with extra wire-formed accessories to hold food product successfully. Further, trays 50 are made from aluminum and allow quick transfer of heat to the food product being held. Cabinets are equipped with plastic trays that cool the product down when initially used. The ridges in the bottom of the tray provide minimal contact to the food product while maximizing contact area to the heaters to allow the food to maintain its original heat from cooking.
  • Trays 50 are configured to accept a variety of food types for warming and heating. Trays 50 are sized to easily fit in slots 25 to ensure quick ingress and egress from either side of cabinet 10 during food service. Trays 50 also have embedded chips 52 to activate timers in respective slots 25 when the trays 50 are inserted. Chips 52 have radio frequency (RF) tags that are associated with a particular food item that is placed therein. A controller recognizes tag from being pre-programmed by operator using touch screen. When a tray for a particular food item is placed in cabinet 10, timer and heater automatically commence at preprogrammed time and temperature, respectively.
  • A touch screen 30 is located at the front of cabinet 10. Touch screen 30 permits an operator to enter into memory the individual foods that will be kept in the cabinet and their respective parameters, such as heating times and temperatures. In a first mode, touch screen 30 permits entire cabinet 10 and individual slots 25 to be preprogrammed to ensure that heaters are activated at specified temperatures and for specified lengths of time. This touch screen display allows a user to also program tray and cabinet contents. Slot 25 is programmed to accept certain food. When tray 50 is placed in slot 25, upper and/or lower heaters commence proper operation based on the particular food, a timer commences according to the food properties.
  • Slot 25 is equipped with RF sensors to detect the signal from chip in tray 50 and to activate the timers. In a second mode, tray 50 has an RF identifier that is recognized by controller. Controller recognizes the RF tag that is associated with a particular food to be heated at a pre-programmed temperature for a preprogrammed time. In this mode when tray 50 is placed in slot 25, timer automatically starts and food is warmed to preprogrammed temperature. In an alternative move, the slot is already at a particular temperature, and the controller sends a warning to the user if a tray is inserted that requires a different set point other than that for which the slot is set. The user wold then have to insert the tray into a different slot. Touch screen 30 permits cabinet 10 to be changed from one mode to another. Additionally, touch screen permits changing between “Breakfast” and “Lunch” modes, for example. There could also be other menus that are available based upon, for example, seasonal food items.
  • Touch screen 30 displays particular foods in slots of cabinet 10 to permit operator to read the status and location of the food in the respective trays. Touch screen 30 shows the amount of time that each tray 50 has been held along with all other pertinent information about the food product in tray. Touch screen 30 provides a physical representation of cabinet 10 to readily inform user of contents of each tray and tray status and shows the status of the cabinet without having a separate/unique display for each tray position. Presently, “first in” tray identification is used, which is not always functional. On occasion, the contents of a later inserted tray may expire prior to the contents of a previously inserted tray and inhibit the operator from properly planning replacement product. The programming capability does not require a Personal Data Assistant (PDA) or other external devices. In other embodiments, indicators using different colors, brightness, or duplicity identify trays that contain food that are approaching the end of their useful shelf life.
  • In FIGS. 5 and 6, main controller 80 controls all aspects of the cabinet operation including storing all user inputted information regarding food type, food temperature and heating times. Main controller 80 controls the upper heaters 40 and the lower heaters 45 of each slot independently. Upper heaters 40 in a given slot will be rated at 750 W to 1000 W. Lower heaters 45 in a given slot will be rated at 300 W to 600 W. While these ratings are provided, other parameters could be used depending on cooking specifications without limiting functionality. Controller 80 regulates the heaters with 1000 ohm RTDs, although other sensors could be used using specifically designed relays called triacs, for example.
  • Main controller 80 also interfaces with RFID controller 85 to control timing in each slot 25. For example, RFID will supply the information through a 9-pin RS-232 port on the status of the tray in each of the sixteen positions. In operation, on each side of cabinet 10, trays are being inserted from the front and from the back by user. If a user partially pulls tray 50 out of slot 25, the timers would, in the absence of sensors, turn off and the food would not continue to be warmed. However, the RF sensors allow the timing and heating to continue when tray 50 is placed back in slot 25. Even if tray 50 is partially removed the timers will not inadvertently shut off. Tray position can be detected up to 1″ away. Main controller 80 is able to monitor the time elapsed on each individual tray 50 that has been inserted. The automatic starting and stopping of timers, and programming of all features through touch screen technology.
  • The time expired on each tray 50 is denoted with light emitting diodes 90 (LEDs) that are also shown on the touch screen monitor. Other than the simple LEDs 90, there are no displays on each individual slot 25. The LEDs 90 operate to inform user of tray status. For example, when tray 50 is inserted, the timer is to start for that position a green LED illuminates. Green LED is bright if it is signalling the only tray 50 of that product. When tray 50 is partially out (partially inserted or removed), timer is to continue running like in for that particular slot 25. Screen 30 shows an error message for that position and a buzzer will have steady tone to differentiate from pulsing sound of product expiration. When tray 50 is completely removed, the timer for that slot is stopped. Controller 80 to switch the bright LED to the next first-in-first-out tray for that product. The product in the left most column determines the hold temperatures for that slot.
  • In each mode, the LED colors indicate the remaining length of time of a food product before it expires. For example, the LED color Green, may indicate approximately, from 100% usable product life to 26% usable life remaining, and LED color Yellow would indicate approximately 25% usable life remaining to expiration. These percentages are approximate ranges. The LEDs are located at each tray position. The green LED is on top and the yellow LED is on bottom for each position. Both green and yellow LEDs blink and the buzzer will sound (0.5 sec on/0.5 sec off) when food product expires, or if the temperature falls 10° F. below setpoint, or if temperature is 10° F. above setpoint for each location. Each position of slot is identified with a file, such as a .jpd file, that shows a picture of the food product, the RFID tag of the tray and the time remaining. The screen will also have a background color that is the same as the LED identifier at the actual tray position. Audible alarm to indicate expiration has a sound pressure level of approximately 95 dB at 12″.
  • The RF sensing capability in cabinet 10, controlled by RFID controller 85, allows the automatic detection of tray position and insertion time. By eliminating the human interaction during tray insertion and removal, food product quality is assured. The controller 80 senses the tray location and automatically starts the timing operation when the tray is inserted, and stops timing when the tray is removed. The automatic detection capability eliminates the need for an operator to manually start a timer and a timer switch that could malfunction. Additionally, identifyers/display in the tray signal to the cabinet what food product is in the tray.
  • While the instant disclosure has been described with reference to one or more exemplary embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope thereof. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the disclosure without departing from the scope thereof. Therefore, it is intended that the disclosure not be limited to the particular embodiment(s) disclosed as the best mode contemplated for carrying out this invention, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.

Claims (29)

  1. 1-28. (canceled)
  2. 29. A cabinet for holding food comprising:
    a housing;
    said housing having a plurality of slots;
    a tray receivable in each of said plurality of slots for receiving food; and
    a controller operatively associated with each of said plurality of slots to independently control cooking instructions for each of said plurality of slots.
  3. 30. The cabinet of claim 29, wherein said cabinet further comprises a touch screen, said touch screen operatively associated with said controller to receive pre-programmed cooking instructions for said plurality of slots.
  4. 31. The cabinet of claim 29, wherein said touch screen is operatively connected to said controller to change between a plurality cooking modes of cooking instructions for said plurality of slots.
  5. 32. The cabinet of claim 30, wherein said tray has an identifier identifying a food type, said identifier recognizable by said slot.
  6. 33. The cabinet of claim 32, wherein identifier is an RF tag, said RF tag recognizable by an RF sensor associated with said slot.
  7. 34. The cabinet of claim 33, wherein said controller responds to said RF sensor to activate preprogrammed cooking instructions for said food type.
  8. 35. The cabinet of claim 33, wherein said each of said plurality of slots is pre-programmed to recognize a single RF tag associated with a food type.
  9. 36. The cabinet of claim 30, wherein said cooking instructions are directed to food type, cooking temperature of said food type, cooking time of said food type.
  10. 37. The cabinet of claim 29, wherein said each said plurality of slots has at least one opening, said at least one opening partially covered by a flexible sheet.
  11. 38. The cabinet of claim 29, wherein said flexible sheet is a transparent Teflon sheet.
  12. 39. The cabinet of claim 29, further wherein each of said plurality of slots has an upper heater and a lower heater, said upper heater and said lower heater capable of being controlled independently.
  13. 40. The cabinet of claim 30, wherein said touch screen comprises a series of LEDs, said LEDs indicative of food expiration status
  14. 41. The cabinet of claim 30, wherein said touch screen comprises a series of LEDs indicative of tray position.
  15. 42. The cabinet of claim 39, wherein said heaters are deactivated upon total removal of said tray from each said slot.
  16. 43. A cabinet for holding food comprising:
    a housing;
    said housing having a plurality of slots;
    a tray receivable in each of said plurality of slots for receiving food;
    a inputting device; and
    a controller,
    wherein said controller receives instructions from said inputting device to control cooking instructions in each of said plurality of slots.
  17. 44. The cabinet of claim 43, wherein said inputting device is a touch screen display.
  18. 45. The cabinet of claim 43, wherein said touch screen display is operatively connected to said controller to change between a plurality cooking modes of cooking instructions for said plurality of slots.
  19. 46. The cabinet of claim 43, wherein each of said plurality of slots is configured to respond to an identifier associated with each said tray to activate cooking instructions.
  20. 47. The cabinet of claim 46, wherein each said plurality of slots is configured to accept a tray of a single food type.
  21. 48. The cabinet of claim 46, wherein each of said plurality of slots is configured to accept a tray of a variety of food types.
  22. 49. The cabinet of claim 46, wherein identifier is an RF tag, said RF tag recognizable by an RF sensor associated with said slot.
  23. 50. The cabinet of claim 43, wherein said cooking instructions are directed to food type, cooking temperature of said food type, cooking time of said food type.
  24. 51. The cabinet of claim 43, wherein said each said plurality of slots has at least one opening, said at least one opening partially covered by a flexible sheet.
  25. 52. The cabinet of claim 43, wherein said flexible sheet is a transparent Teflon sheet.
  26. 53. The cabinet of claim 43, further wherein each of said plurality of slots has an upper heater and a lower heater, said upper heater and said lower heater capable of being controlled independently.
  27. 54. The cabinet of claim 44, wherein said touch screen comprises a series of LEDs, said LEDs indicative of food expiration status
  28. 55. The cabinet of claim 44, wherein said touch screen comprises a series of LEDs indicative of tray position.
  29. 56. The cabinet of claim 53, wherein said heaters are deactivated upon total removal of said tray from each said slot.
US11634433 2005-12-06 2006-12-05 Open holding cabinet, trays and controls Abandoned US20070144202A1 (en)

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Cited By (20)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20090029014A1 (en) * 2005-04-07 2009-01-29 Hubert Eric Walter System and Method For Monitoring Manufactured Pre-Prepared Meals
US20100213187A1 (en) * 2009-02-26 2010-08-26 International Business Machines Corporation Operating an appliance based on cooking instructions embedded in an rfid product tag
US20110114624A1 (en) * 2009-11-16 2011-05-19 Prince Castle, Inc Food holding cabinet power supplies with downloadable software
US20110114618A1 (en) * 2009-11-16 2011-05-19 Prince Castle, Inc Universal food holding cabinet with snap-in escutcheons
US20110114625A1 (en) * 2009-11-16 2011-05-19 Prince Castle, Inc Food holding cabinet with self-aligning and addressable power supplies
US8450659B2 (en) 2010-04-16 2013-05-28 Restaurant Technology, Inc. Control system and method for high density universal holding cabinet
US8522675B2 (en) 2010-05-21 2013-09-03 Prince Castle, LLC Holding cabinet for separately heating food trays
US8558142B2 (en) 2010-04-16 2013-10-15 Restaurant Technology, Inc. High density universal holding cabinet
US8607587B2 (en) 2010-05-19 2013-12-17 Prince Castle LLC Refrigerated point-of-use holding cabinet
US9003820B2 (en) 2010-04-20 2015-04-14 Prince Castle LLC Point-of-use holding cabinet
US9068768B2 (en) 2010-05-19 2015-06-30 Prince Castle LLC Refrigerated point-of-use holding cabinet with downloadable software
US20170071410A1 (en) * 2015-09-10 2017-03-16 Prince Castle LLC Modular food holding system
US20170071408A1 (en) * 2015-09-10 2017-03-16 Prince Castle LLC Modular food holding system
US20170071409A1 (en) * 2015-09-10 2017-03-16 Prince Castle LLC Modular food holding system
WO2017180642A1 (en) * 2016-04-11 2017-10-19 Cleveland Range, Llc Touchless timer and product management for food holding devices
USD809326S1 (en) 2016-04-19 2018-02-06 Prince Castle LLC Food holding bin
US9901212B2 (en) 2012-06-26 2018-02-27 The Delfield Company, Llc Moist and crispy product holding cabinet with heated airflow
US9962038B2 (en) 2015-09-10 2018-05-08 Prince Castle LLC Modular food holding system
US9976750B1 (en) 2016-04-20 2018-05-22 Prince Castle LLC Multi-zone food holding bin
US9980322B1 (en) 2016-04-19 2018-05-22 Prince Castle LLC Multi-zone food holding bin

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US9277601B2 (en) 2009-02-26 2016-03-01 International Business Machines Corporation Operating an appliance based on cooking instructions embedded in an RFID product tag
US20100213187A1 (en) * 2009-02-26 2010-08-26 International Business Machines Corporation Operating an appliance based on cooking instructions embedded in an rfid product tag
US20110114618A1 (en) * 2009-11-16 2011-05-19 Prince Castle, Inc Universal food holding cabinet with snap-in escutcheons
US20110114625A1 (en) * 2009-11-16 2011-05-19 Prince Castle, Inc Food holding cabinet with self-aligning and addressable power supplies
US20110114624A1 (en) * 2009-11-16 2011-05-19 Prince Castle, Inc Food holding cabinet power supplies with downloadable software
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US9003820B2 (en) 2010-04-20 2015-04-14 Prince Castle LLC Point-of-use holding cabinet
US10034575B2 (en) 2010-04-20 2018-07-31 Prince Castle LLC Point-of-use holding cabinet
US8667807B2 (en) 2010-05-19 2014-03-11 Prince Castle LLC Refrigerated point-of-use holding cabinet
US9068768B2 (en) 2010-05-19 2015-06-30 Prince Castle LLC Refrigerated point-of-use holding cabinet with downloadable software
US8607587B2 (en) 2010-05-19 2013-12-17 Prince Castle LLC Refrigerated point-of-use holding cabinet
US9140484B2 (en) 2010-05-19 2015-09-22 Prince Castle LLC Refrigerated point-of-use holding cabinet using chilled liquid
US9140485B2 (en) 2010-05-19 2015-09-22 Prince Castle LLC Refrigerated point-of-use holding cabinet using peltier devices
US8522675B2 (en) 2010-05-21 2013-09-03 Prince Castle, LLC Holding cabinet for separately heating food trays
US9901212B2 (en) 2012-06-26 2018-02-27 The Delfield Company, Llc Moist and crispy product holding cabinet with heated airflow
US20170071410A1 (en) * 2015-09-10 2017-03-16 Prince Castle LLC Modular food holding system
US20170071408A1 (en) * 2015-09-10 2017-03-16 Prince Castle LLC Modular food holding system
US20170071409A1 (en) * 2015-09-10 2017-03-16 Prince Castle LLC Modular food holding system
US9962038B2 (en) 2015-09-10 2018-05-08 Prince Castle LLC Modular food holding system
WO2017180642A1 (en) * 2016-04-11 2017-10-19 Cleveland Range, Llc Touchless timer and product management for food holding devices
USD809326S1 (en) 2016-04-19 2018-02-06 Prince Castle LLC Food holding bin
US9980322B1 (en) 2016-04-19 2018-05-22 Prince Castle LLC Multi-zone food holding bin
US9976750B1 (en) 2016-04-20 2018-05-22 Prince Castle LLC Multi-zone food holding bin

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WO2007067639A3 (en) 2007-11-29 application
WO2007067639A2 (en) 2007-06-14 application

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