US20120312049A1 - Intelligent monitoring and control system for dispensed chilled food product devices - Google Patents

Intelligent monitoring and control system for dispensed chilled food product devices Download PDF

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Publication number
US20120312049A1
US20120312049A1 US13493767 US201213493767A US2012312049A1 US 20120312049 A1 US20120312049 A1 US 20120312049A1 US 13493767 US13493767 US 13493767 US 201213493767 A US201213493767 A US 201213493767A US 2012312049 A1 US2012312049 A1 US 2012312049A1
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Prior art keywords
system
composition
dispensing
control
chilling
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Abandoned
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US13493767
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Justin G. Downs, III
Carl Tex Rickard, JR.
Carl Tex Rickard, III
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SOFT SERVE PARTS LLC
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SOFT SERVE PARTS LLC
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A23FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS; THEIR TREATMENT, NOT COVERED BY OTHER CLASSES
    • A23GCOCOA; COCOA PRODUCTS, e.g. CHOCOLATE; SUBSTITUTES FOR COCOA OR COCOA PRODUCTS; CONFECTIONERY; CHEWING GUM; ICE-CREAM; PREPARATION THEREOF
    • A23G9/00Frozen sweets, e.g. ice confectionery, ice-cream; Mixtures therefor
    • A23G9/04Production of frozen sweets, e.g. ice-cream
    • A23G9/20Production of frozen sweets, e.g. ice-cream the products being mixed with gas, e.g. soft-ice
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A23FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS; THEIR TREATMENT, NOT COVERED BY OTHER CLASSES
    • A23GCOCOA; COCOA PRODUCTS, e.g. CHOCOLATE; SUBSTITUTES FOR COCOA OR COCOA PRODUCTS; CONFECTIONERY; CHEWING GUM; ICE-CREAM; PREPARATION THEREOF
    • A23G9/00Frozen sweets, e.g. ice confectionery, ice-cream; Mixtures therefor
    • A23G9/04Production of frozen sweets, e.g. ice-cream
    • A23G9/22Details, component parts or accessories of apparatus insofar as not peculiar to a single one of the preceding groups
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A23FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS; THEIR TREATMENT, NOT COVERED BY OTHER CLASSES
    • A23GCOCOA; COCOA PRODUCTS, e.g. CHOCOLATE; SUBSTITUTES FOR COCOA OR COCOA PRODUCTS; CONFECTIONERY; CHEWING GUM; ICE-CREAM; PREPARATION THEREOF
    • A23G9/00Frozen sweets, e.g. ice confectionery, ice-cream; Mixtures therefor
    • A23G9/04Production of frozen sweets, e.g. ice-cream
    • A23G9/22Details, component parts or accessories of apparatus insofar as not peculiar to a single one of the preceding groups
    • A23G9/28Details, component parts or accessories of apparatus insofar as not peculiar to a single one of the preceding groups for portioning or dispensing
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A23FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS; THEIR TREATMENT, NOT COVERED BY OTHER CLASSES
    • A23GCOCOA; COCOA PRODUCTS, e.g. CHOCOLATE; SUBSTITUTES FOR COCOA OR COCOA PRODUCTS; CONFECTIONERY; CHEWING GUM; ICE-CREAM; PREPARATION THEREOF
    • A23G9/00Frozen sweets, e.g. ice confectionery, ice-cream; Mixtures therefor
    • A23G9/04Production of frozen sweets, e.g. ice-cream
    • A23G9/22Details, component parts or accessories of apparatus insofar as not peculiar to a single one of the preceding groups
    • A23G9/28Details, component parts or accessories of apparatus insofar as not peculiar to a single one of the preceding groups for portioning or dispensing
    • A23G9/281Details, component parts or accessories of apparatus insofar as not peculiar to a single one of the preceding groups for portioning or dispensing at the discharge end of freezing chambers

Abstract

A dispenser system chills viscous edible compositions. The dispensing system may have: a storage system for viscous edible compositions; a composition moving system; a composition chilling system; a cooling system; an electromechanical system control component; an electrical system providing power to the dispensing system components; an electrical communication among the electrical system and dispensing system components; a sensor for detecting at least one performance attribute on the moving system, the chilling system, the cooling system and the control system; the sensor providing signals to electronic hardware; the electronic hardware registering sensor signals with a time stamp; and the electronic hardware configured to perform data analysis on the time-stamped signals to direct and record specified undesirable performance in the dispensing system.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATION DATA
  • This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. 120 as a Continuation-in-Part of co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/040,054, filed 7 Mar. 2011.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention relates to the field of blending and/or dispensing systems for chilled, viscous, food products such as soft ice cream, custard, gelatin, custard and the like. An intelligent monitoring system includes sensing devices capable of monitoring operational parameters of electro-mechanical components of the chilled food product device, including but not limited to motor current sensing, voltage sensing, volume sensing, flow sensing, temperature sensing, times of operation for components, state of switches, etc. Moreover, intelligent systems can identify, by using analysis algorithms on preferably time stamped data acquired from the sensors, either deficiencies or defects in the apparatus, altered states in the performance of the apparatus or components of the apparatus (short of catastrophic failure, or gross failure in performance that I visually observable) that indicates a need for repair or servicing. Intelligent systems can derive time dependent data using analysis algorithms relating to time of use, volume of product dispensed, etc. Intelligent systems can also actively control subsystems within the machine if needed. Finally, intelligent systems can present such data in a useful, easily understood fashion to an end user.
  • 2. Background of the Art
  • There are many different types of preparation and/or dispensing devices for chilled, viscous edible materials. These devices tend to move volumes of materials at relatively slow speeds so that variations in performance are difficult to detect by visual observation alone. Small variations in performance can be indicative of numerous undesirable deficiencies in components, efficiency or maintenance of the device. Often, the small variations may be indicative of the need for specific maintenance or parts replacement. These small variations are not necessarily easily observed by the user, so prediction of failure in the systems is difficult.
  • Current devices also offer little benefit to the end user in the form of direct feedback on operational parameters such as time in use, individual components time of use, material volume dispensed, or critical food service parameters such as time since it was last cleaned, filled, product was drawn, storage temperatures, etc. Current device technology offers none of these monitoring capabilities either locally or remotely. It is left to the device operator to devise a method for monitoring the aforesaid parameters and derive important time sensitive conclusions. Current devices also offer no time-history of operational parameters for the end user.
  • Among the various types of apparatus useful for the blending and/or dispensing of viscous materials include Published U.S. Application Document Nos. 20100116846; 20100122539; 20100075013; 20080140437; and 20090016150; and U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,907,743; 6,637,214; 6,145,701; 5,743,639; 4,732,013 (Freezer with helical scraper blade); 4,580,905 (Flavor mixing and dispensing device for frozen confection machines); 4,544,085 (Pump type dispenser for heat softenable food products); 4,479,423 (Continuous-flow type apparatus for pasteurizing batches of product); and 4,461,405 (Apparatus for dispensing dry powdered material). These cited references are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.
  • It would be desirable to be able to detect efficiencies in performance which are indicative of need for maintenance such as even cleaning so as to alert users of the system that repairs are desirable or needed. Additionally it would be desirable to enable monitoring of product disbursement parameters such as volumes, temperatures, flow rates, time in use, peak usage periods, alarm generation on errors, time to clean, refill, etc. Finally, it would be useful to present this data to an end user such as an owner and/or maintenance personnel in a utilitarian, easily understandable fashion.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • A sensing system reads one or more parameters of performance in a blending/dispensing system, transmits sensed information to a processor that executes code to determine sensed operating parameters, and transmits control signals to operating elements in the system to maintain or alter operating conditions or operating performance of the operating elements. The sensing system feeds sensed performance information to hardware (e.g., a processor or program specific hardware, e.g., field programmable gated array or ASIC) to identify variations in that specific performance characteristic that identifies a servicing need in the blending/dispensing system. Upon identification of a level r variation in that specific performance characteristic, early servicing can be effected.
  • The sensing system may be built into an original blending/dispensing system or retrofit into an existing blending/dispensing system. By selection of specific characteristics of performance unique to individual systems or generic to all blending/dispensing systems, the sensing system and the hardware indicate the need or even degree of need for servicing.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
  • FIG. 1 shows a schematic drawing of a blending/dispensing system to which a sensing system may be attached therein.
  • FIG. 2 shows a flow diagram of a processing system according to the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Description of Current Soft Ice Cream Machines:
  • The chilled food product (CFP) monitoring system described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. (the parent patent application has been enhanced by adding hardware and software elements allowing active and substantive control of the CFP machine (CFPM) by a processor executing code automatically or upon user command entry in response to sensed information during monitoring. The controller interfaces with the end user via the original or modified thin client interface or a new graphical touch screen display. The new control elements eliminate the need to retain legacy control elements of refurbished CFPMs acting as a direct, drop in replacement. Additionally, the new controller can be used in newly designed CFPMs.
  • Soft ice cream machines (and their derivatives such as “Slurpy”™ beverage and shake machines) come in a large number of different configurations. The operating principals for all are similar. First, define several terms and concepts:
  • cooling—in referring to the edible material, it means to reducing its temperature to a point for safe food handling such as your refrigerator (approx. 35 degrees)
  • cooling—in referring to the machine, it means eliminating the waste heat generated during operation of the device
      • Material cooling—in referring to the edible material, it means to reducing its temperature to a point for safe food handling such as your refrigerator (approx. 35° F.)
      • System cooling—in referring to the machine, it means eliminating the waste heat generated during operation of the device
  • chilling—in referring to the edible material, it means reducing its temperature well below freezing to produce a semi-solid (while beating the solid to prevent complete solidification).
  • The chilled food product (CFP) monitoring system described in the first patent application (U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/040,054, filed 7 Mar. 2011) has been enhanced by adding hardware and software elements allowing control of the CFP machine (CFPM). The controller interfaces with the end user via the original thin client interface or a new graphical touch screen display. The new control elements eliminate the need to retain legacy control elements of refurbished CFPMs acting as a direct, drop in replacement. Additionally, the new controller can be used in newly designed CFPMs.
    on)
  • Work—work performed in the physics or engineering sense as measured by Joules, etc.
  • electrical—refers to higher voltage, AC circuitry often performing Work such as motors or devices enabling the performance of work such as contactors
  • electronics—refers to lower voltage DC circuitry not performing Work but controlling the electrical Work via relays and/or solid state circuitry and sensing the current state of subsystems within the system
  • IC—Integrated Circuit
  • logic signal—low voltage DC signal found in IC electronics, usually 5-15V, depending on the IC technology
  • ADC—Analog to Digital Convertor
  • CT—current transformer—a type of transformer that induces a current in a secondary coil when a current flows in a primary coil
  • VT—voltage transformer—a type of transformer that changes a high voltage level on a primary coil to a lower voltage level on a secondary coil. Used to measure high voltages beyond the range of ADC electronic circuitry.
  • RMS—Root Mean Square—a measure of AC power carrying potential. 240VAC is over 360V peak-to-peak voltage making power calculations more difficult since power is related to the integral of voltage, not peak value.
      • IO—Input/Output—a standard term in microprocessor monitoring systems indicating direct connection with a processor. It can be a single line or a group of lines as a bus.
  • HTML—HyperText Markup Language—the standard language all web browser use
  • HTTP—HyperText Transfer Protocol—the method by which HTML is transferred
      • CGI—Common Gateway Inteface—a standard for communication between HTTP servers and other programs so a program running on a processor can generate the
      • HTML code necessary to interact with a remote browser rather than serving static web pages. This allows the user to interact with the device in a real time fashion such as reading operation parameters.
  • Thin Client Term refering to a computer that depends on another computer to run software rather than running the software itself. For an embedded web server, it serves web pages of information that other computers can access without any specialized software running on the remote computer other than a standard web browser. This differs from classic system monitoring approaches that often need specialized software installed on every computer that may interact with the embedded web server.
      • CTL board Control board typically incorporating digital logic, a CPU, signal conditioning circuitry and communication capability.
      • PWR board Power supply board with circuitry for generating DC voltages for use throughout the system and relays for driving higher voltage AC circuits.
      • Barrel The component of a chilled food product machine that freezes the product. It typically will have a beater for turning the product while freezing. Most commercial machines consist of 1 or 2 barrels.
  • Beater/scraper the rotating assembly within a barrel that churns the frozen concoction
  • CFP Chilled Food Product
      • Orthogonal implies independence in direction, as in mathematically, orthogonal vectors have no common component basis vectors, for systems design, to seperate independent actions of the system
  • polyphase indicates 3 phase power
  • CT—current transformer—a type of transformer that induces a current in a secondary coil when a current flows in a primary coil
  • VT—voltage transformer—a type of transformer that changes a high voltage level on a primary coil to a lower voltage level on a secondary coil. Used to measure high voltages beyond the range of ADC electronic circuitry.
  • RMS—Root Mean Square—a measure of AC power carrying potential. 240VAC is over 360V peak-to-peak voltage making power calculations more difficult since power is related to the integral of voltage, not peak value.
      • IO—Input/Output—a standard term in microprocessor monitoring systems indicating direct connection with a processor. It can be a single line or a group of lines as a bus.
  • HTML—HyperText Markup Language—the standard language all web browser use
  • HTTP—HyperText Transfer Protocol—the method by which HTML is transferred
      • CGI—Common Gateway Interface—a standard for communication between HTTP servers and other programs so a program running on a processor can generate the HTML code necessary to interact with a remote browser rather than serving static web pages. This allows the user to interact with the device in a real time fashion such as reading operation parameters.
    Theory of Operation
  • Some forms of edible, liquid material are chilled and held in a hopper for batch or continuous dispensing. The material to be chilled is cooled by some form of cooling means, while sitting in the hopper, to an intermediate temperature meeting safe food handling guidelines (it is not necessarily cooled to freezing temperatures at this time). There is a method for the material to be moved from the hopper into a chiller and mixer device (usually this is gravity, although it may be powered by screws, pumps, pressure differentials and the like). When the material moves to the mixing device, a second cooling means often chills the material to a lower or even freezing temperatures while a mixing device, called a beater, stirs the mix (in the most basic configuration, the same cooling means and some crossover valving are used to accomplish cooling at two different temperatures). All of this Work generates a lot of waste heat and so there is some form of systemic cooling for the machine itself. This can be as simple as convective flow but is usually done with airflow using fans and/or water flow over a heat exchanger.
  • The Work of cooling, chilling and mixing is performed by electric motors. The electric motors are typically controlled by simple processing electronics hardware using a series of interfaces that transform the low voltage logic signals of the processing electronics into control of higher AC voltages for the motors. This transfer is accomplished via DC relays and AC electrical contacts.
  • To determine when to operate the various components of the device, the system is outfitted with several sensors to determine temperature of the material in the hopper, temperature of the material in the mixer and usually the amount of Work being performed by the mixer (by partially measuring current flow to the motor performing beater Work). The output of these sensors is a voltage level that is a transformation (e.g., linear or scholastic) of the temperature in degrees into a voltage level or current draw in amps into a voltage level. The output of these sensors is inputted to the electronics processing hardware.
  • The electronics processing hardware in more modern systems is microprocessor based. The sensor output is converted in an ADC into a binary representation of the measured voltage. Desired temperature and amperage set-points are generated by a variable voltage circuit that is user adjustable. The set-point voltages are also converted by an ADC into a binary representation of the setpoint voltage. The microprocessor then ‘compares’ the two binary representations and decides when to turn the various Work components on.
  • In older systems the processing hardware is as simple as discreet electronic components (using a comparator IC) comparing the two voltages from the sensor and the set-point voltage generator and outputting a logic level signal for control of the Work components.
  • The Most Basic Configuration of the Underlying Technology to which Automated Control is Added
  • In a most basic configuration, the underlying machine will comprise:
      • 1. mechanical frame that holds the various components
      • 2. a container (hopper) for holding the edible material
      • 3. a way to cool the hopper
        • a. using a basic refrigeration device composed of:
          • i. motor to perform Work
          • ii. compressor
          • iii. condenser
          • iv. evaporator
          • v. expansion valve
      • 4. a beating device for the material
      • 5. a way to chill the beating device (NOTE: the chiller is usually a cooling device capable of cooling to lower temperatures than the hopper cooler)
        • a. using a basic refrigeration device composed of:
          • i. motor to perform Work
          • ii. compressor
          • iii. condenser
          • iv. evaporator
          • v. expansion valve
      • 6. a way to cool the motors used for cooling and chilling
        • a. may, by way of non-limiting examples, be fan powered by a motor to perform Work
      • 7. electrical circuitry for providing electricity to the motors as single phase 240VAC
      • 8. electronics circuitry to control the electrical circuitry
      • 9. electronics circuitry to provide a user interface for operation of the device
    Options to the Basic Configuration
  • The devices take many forms.
  • The first aspect to be described is as an alternate device that may or may not be available as an option to the basic form, but may be separately provided as a distinct system or as an add-on to more advanced systems. In that case, the cooling and chilling is performed by a single refrigeration apparatus and solenoid controlled valving is used to switch between the two refrigeration needs. In this case, the basic configuration is the same as above without the second refrigeration section but adding some solenoid controlled valving components.
  • Other Options:
  • 1. water flow to cool the components controlled by a solenoid valve
  • 2. operation on 3 phase VAC
  • 3. multiple hoppers
  • 4. multiple beaters
  • 5. multiple refrigeration circuits
  • 6. multiple controls
  • The presently disclosed technology and invention relates to a monitoring and control system tailored to the needs of personnel whose modes of interaction with frozen edible cooling and delivering system, such as an ice cream machine. The systems are to be owned, leased, operated, maintained and/or sold as part of an addition to the known background technology of the frozen edibles machines previously described. The needs for each mode of interaction with the device vary. For instance, an owner may want to know time in use, amount dispensed, material levels, power consumption, etc. A lessee/lessor on a time based contract would also want to know time in use. The machine operator may want to know if the machine requires cleaning, maintenance, addition of product, etc. Maintenance personal may wish to know operational parameters that may assist them in troubleshooting and maintaining the device (same for a lessor). Finally sales personnel may want to offer such a monitoring system as a significant advantage over competitors similar machines without monitoring capability.
  • One aspect of the present invention is to provide greater ease of use to all users by providing in-depth information concerning operational parameters and statistics using both current and historic data from at least individual dispensing systems. Additionally, derived information will be provided that uses current and historical data to reach some conclusion concerning the operation and state of the machine. Such derivation may be accomplished in a number of different ways as simple as table look-up or as complex as neural-net processing for separation of linearly independent operating parameters indicating state, error or other operational conditions of interest.
  • While in the practice of the present invention new machines may be constructed with this ability, current machines in use and/or machines being refurbished for reuse may have such a system installed as a retrofit kit. This enables even older machines to offer state-of-the-art monitoring and control for a fraction of the cost of purchasing a new machine.
  • The operational parameters and statistical information in both current and historical format will be provided to the end user in several ways. One way may be via direct interaction with the system using a device such as an LCD touch screen that the user may interact with, receiving information by direct readout and/or controlling the machine directly. More commonly, it is expected that user interaction will be using a web browser. For instance, if an end user connects to a machine via Ethernet (or Zigbee or USB, etc) and requests information that may be current, historic or derived, the system will provide CGI generated web pages providing that information. CGI generation also allows feedback control of the device from a remote location In this fashion, an end user can interact with the machine whether located locally or remotely.
  • The monitoring system, when appropriate communications such as Ethernet is enabled, will be capable of communication with a remote server to download current, historic and derived data to the remote server for archiving. In this instance, an end user may use the remote server to request the current, historic and/or derived data indirectly without need to connect directly to the machine. The remote server generates web pages in the same CGI fashion as the device itself for consumption by the end user. Standard commercially available hardware (PC or MAC system, as well as proprietary LINUX and private systems may also be used, along with commercial and/or proprietary software). Hardwired or WiFi transmission of information, or direct downloading of the information into storage devices (floppies, CDs, DVDs, USB memory sticks and newer technologies) may also be used.
  • Additionally, the monitoring system may be capable of operating peripheral components of the machine directly whether they are original components or additional components added during retrofit and/or refurbishment. For instance, in a lessee/lessor arrangement, the lessor may wish to inhibit operation of the machine in the event of non-payment. The control capability may extend to replacing the original controller of a refurbished machine completely.
  • FIG. 1 shows a cutaway view of an apparatus to which the sensing technology and systems of the present invention may be attached. The sensor and wired or non-wired communication system is appropriately and positionally affixed to sense the specific data, signal, parameter desired for that particular sensor.
  • In particular, as illustrated in FIG. 1, the main processing circuit 5 has a freezing chamber 4, and a refrigerating unit 7 schematically illustrated and consisting of a motor-driven compressor, a condenser and an evaporator (of the known type and therefore not described and illustrated in detail) connected to the freezing chamber 4.
  • The freezing chamber 4 and the mixing chamber 6 together form a processing chamber 37.
  • The freezing chamber 4 has a substantially cylindrical shape and forms a rear end 4 a connected to the tank 3 and a front end 4 b forming the above-mentioned outfeed end 5 b of the main processing circuit 5.
  • The product to be processed is fed by a gear pump 8, positioned at the tank 3 and in communication with the latter with an intake pipe 8 a for drawing the product from the tank 3 and sending it through a delivery pipe 8 b to the rear end 4 a of the freezing chamber 4.
  • Extending inside the freezing chamber 4 there may be a stirrer 9 designed to feed forward the product to be processed from the rear end 4 a to the front end 4 b. The stirrer 9 consists of a screw feeder 9 a driven to rotate about its own axis by respective movement means 10 such as a gear motor unit and able to push the product towards and into a dispenser tap 11 mounted on the front end 4 b of the freezing chamber 4.
  • In particular, the dispenser tap 11 projects outside the frame 2 from a front wall of the frame 2 and inside forms the mixing chamber 6. The tap 11 also comprises an outfeed pipe 12 through which the ice cream or ice cream shake fed into the mixing chamber 6 is made to come out by suitable dispensing means 13 of the known type and therefore not described and illustrated in detail.
  • The dispensing means 13 may comprise a mixing element 14 rotatably inserted in the mixing chamber 6 to mix the product to be processed inserted in the chamber 6 as described in more detail below. The dispensing means 13 also may comprise an actuator 15 able to move in the mixing chamber 6 to open and close holes for delivery of the ice cream or ice cream shake towards the outfeed pipe 12.
  • The actuator 15 is preferably a piston operated electronically or manually using suitable levers, which can be inserted in the mixing chamber 6.
  • The machine 1 in FIG. 1 also may comprise an auxiliary processing circuit 16 extending inside the box-shaped frame 2 and having an infeed end 16 a connected to a tank 17 for containing a diluting liquid, and an outfeed end 16 b connected to the mixing chamber 6. In particular, the auxiliary processing circuit 16 is designed to supply to the mixing chamber 6 a diluting liquid such as water or milk, for making the ice cream shake. The auxiliary processing circuit 16 may have a heating element 18 interposed between the tank 17 and the outfeed end 16 b which is designed to heat the liquid supplied to the mixing chamber 6.
  • Advantageously, the tank 17 may be equipped with respective heating or cooling means not illustrated in the accompanying drawings and set up to keep the diluting liquid at a predetermined temperature. The auxiliary processing circuit 16 also comprises a pump 19 interposed between the heating element 18 and the outfeed end 16 b, for feeding the liquid from the tank 17 to the mixing chamber 6. Advantageously, the machine 1 also comprises at least one circuit 20, also housed in the box-shaped frame 2, for feeding a flavoring syrup. It should be noticed that FIG. 1 illustrates by way of example and therefore without limiting the scope of the invention two feed circuits 20 for respective syrups intended to give the ice cream or ice cream shake made a specific flavor. However, there may be any number of syrup feed circuits 20, depending on the variety of flavors to be given to the products dispensed by the machine 1. Each syrup feed circuit 20 has a respective infeed end 20 a connected to a tank 21 for containing the syrup and an outfeed end 20 b connected to the mixing chamber 6. The circuit 20 also comprises a syrup feed pump 22 for supplying the syrup to the mixing chamber 6 after a respective command, as described in more detail below.] The machine 1 also comprises means 23 for selecting the type of product, which can be switched between an ice cream dispensing condition and an ice cream shake dispensing condition.
  • Underlying Theory of Operation
  • In operation, the monitoring system monitors the operational state of the machine and records that state, preferably with a corresponding time-stamp. In this fashion, current and historic data concerning the operational parameters of the machine can be displayed for the end user, with time stamps or merely in chronological order. Often, the greater utility is with the ability to derive new data from the time history of the machine state. For instance, the amount of material dispensed can be inferred by the number of times the ‘draw’ switch is opened and the length of time it remained open. Or from a maintenance perspective, the operational condition of components such as a motor may be inferred by knowing voltages, current draw and temperature of the motor. It is this type of utility that end users desire.
  • This section further describes how a system operating in conjunction with a cooling dispensing apparatus for chilled edible materials can be instrumented with sensors, how the sensors may be read, how the data can be stored, how a user might interact with the system, how the system is enabled to provide a report to a remote server for data archiving and how a user might interact with the remote server.
  • For complete information on the state of a machine, it may be instrumented by placing various sensors selected from groups described in the following listing:
      • Amperage draw on all legs of compressor and beater motors whether single phase or 3 phase.
      • Pressure readings on high and low side of 3 refrigeration systems
      • Temperatures on hopper(s), food material in the hopper(s), food material in the beater section(s), water in and out, motor temps
      • Ambient temperature insides and outside the machine
      • Voltages on the main power supply
      • Voltages on each leg of motor supplies
      • Water flow rates used for cooling
        • State of all switches, contactors, solenoids or other binary devices
          While this states the sensing needs of the system, many other components are required to enable the state-of-the-art monitoring system. These components will be broken down into greater detail in later sections, however the components are defined in general terms here:
          Sensors capable of monitoring aspects of the system may be defined as including one or more of:
          1. Continuous gradient measurements such as temperature, pressure, amperage draw, voltage levels, water flow.
          2. Binary (two-state) measurements of the state of any switches, solenoids, contactors or other similar binary devices.
          3. Transformation of sensor data into binary data accomplished by:
  • Current to voltage conversion using CTs
  • Voltage to logic level voltage conversion using VTs
  • Logic level voltage to binary representation conversion by ADC
  • State to binary conversion by conversion to appropriate voltage level and direct IO
  • 3. Processing capability that can:
      • Control sensor output conversion into binary data
      • Record the binary data with a time stamp
      • Provide external communication channel cabability
      • Provide CGI capability
      • Provide IO capability for control of peripherals
      • Provide local user interface capability
      • Can be directed by user interface via LCD touch screen, buttons, LED display, etc
      • Can be directed by user interface via communication channel (i.e. Serial, ethernet, Zigbee, etc)
      • Can take the form of a stand alone application communicating serially
      • Can take the form of web pages generated and served by the processing capability
        4, Data storage capability
  • local data storage of at least one month of data
  • remote data storage in a communication enabled system
  • 5. Remote data storage capability
  • connectivity via communication channels to remote server for data storage
  • 6. Remote data access capability
      • The remote capabilities can be enabled by using remote transmission capabilities known in the art, the invention using the locally provided sensors and transmission and logic devices to provide the originating information for the system and its practice.
    Sensing and Conversion to Binary Data Amperage:
  • Amperage sensing is primarily used to determine motor current draw. Amperage is sensed by placed a current transformer (CT) on each leg (line) of the electrical feed the motor. The current transformer generates a secondary AC current proportional to the current flowing through the line. That current is transformed to an AC voltage by placing a burden resistor across the output of the CT. The AC voltage is rectified, filtered and then the voltage is then inputted to an ADC for binary conversion. The resistance is selected so that the generated voltage falls within an accepted range for the logic level electronics of the ADC.
  • Voltage:
  • Voltage sensing is used to determine correct supply on main and internal circuitry. Voltage is sensed by using a potential transformer with approximately 24:1 turns ratio such that an input of 240VAC (RMS) is stepped down to 10VAC (RMS). The voltage is rectified and filtered with an expected output voltage in DC not exceeding 15VDC. The DC voltage is inputted to the ADC for binary conversion. Since the voltage when converted to DC is a reflection of peak-to-peak voltage, not RMS, the circuit may incorporate and RMS-DC convertor IC to better reflect RMS voltages (not peak-to-peak).
  • Pressure:
  • Pressure sensing is used to determine the efficiency of the refrigeration circuits. Several technologies are available with voltage or current outputs suitable for ADC conversion to binary data.
  • Temperature:
  • Temperature sensing is used to assist in maintaining FDA health guidelines for food storage, determine the consistency of the mix and to determine operational characteristics of the machine and refrigeration components. Temperature sensing is typically accomplished with thermo-resistive components that change resistance with temperature. The output of such a sensor is designed to be suitable for ADC conversion to binary data.
  • Water Flow:
  • Water flow (or any liquid flow) can be sensed using a device consisting of a rotor and Hall effect sensor. As the water flows, the rotor moves faster or slower. A magnet attached to the rotor is detected by the Hall effect sensor and speed of flow is determined by the number of times the sensor is pulsed in a set time increment. The output of the device is selected to work at a logic level compatible with the monitoring system and a quadrature counter used to decode speed.
  • Switch State:
  • Switch state may be determined by converting the switch output to a voltage level acceptable to the monitoring system logic level and used as direct IO to the system.
  • Processing Capability
  • The system with its supporting hardware may comprise a multifunction device in the system. The processor selected for prototype development may be incorporated on a stand-alone module that includes RAM memory for running a program, Flash memory for storing a program, real-time clock for time-stamping, 10/100Base-T Ethernet and serial ports for communications (alternatively Wi-Fi and USB support as well), IO capability with multiple channels for discrete measurements and/or external communications, ADC capability for continuous voltage measurement and supporting up to 2 GB microSD memory cards for data storage.
  • With onboard Ethernet, the module also can perform as a web server with appropriate software. This capability will enable easy operation as a Thin Client server.
  • The processor runs pre-compiled machine code that has been written, tested and developed prior to operation of the device. The machine code is loaded into Flash memory on the module and runs at power on. At run-time, a self check is performed, all IO systems for sensors and control are initialized, communications capability is established such as determining its TCP/IP address and initializing a TCP stack, any error conditions are examined and may generate an alarm, the processor enters into a Finite State Machine (FSM) and is ready to respond to changes in IO parameters and/or communication requests.
  • At predetermined intervals, continuously and/or by interrupt, the processor reads data from all the sensors, time-stamps the data and stores it in non-volatile memory. In the event the system is a complete control system as well as a monitoring system, the processor may make decisions about controlling various systems within the machine such as fans, motors, solenoids, etc. The processor implements those decisions via IO lines.
  • If the system is only monitoring, the processor continues recording data at the predetermined intervals. If a user connects to the processor module by one of the enable communications modules and requests a web page, the processor generates a web page and serves it. The processor module has the capability of serving a broad variety of web pages and can include graphics such as JPG, PNG and PDF files in a served web page.
  • If the monitoring system also operates as a client for a remote data storage capability, it also attempts to establish communications with the remote data storage device via TCP/IP. In this event, it transfers its store of current and historic data to the remote server for archiving.
  • A remote archiving server might work by storing and analyzing signal information on a remote site, reducing the need for local processing capability. Notice or signaling of deficiencies may be relayed back to the local system. The information concerning the operation of such a server is capable of being developed by routine experimentation once the concept and structure of the local sensing devices has been provided.
  • Local User Interface
  • The system may be provided along with standard commercial interface systems, such as laptops, iPads, Notebooks, and even iPhones, PADs and other commercially available user input systems in communication connection with the underlying systems of the present technology.
  • System Specifications
  • A. Sensing
      • A. Current sensing at 240VAC, 2-12 amps with 25 amp maximum accuracy to 0.1 amp.
        • 1. current transformer
        • 2. CR Magnetics CR8400 series or similar
        • 3. burden resistors
          • a. commercial grade, 2%, wattage and resistance to be determined
      • B. Voltage sensing up to 250VAC with accuracy of 1VAC.
        • 1. transformer
        • 2. RMS-DC
          • a. Analog Devices AD736 or equivalent
      • C. Pressure sensing
        • 1. Pressure sensitive plates and semiconductors can be provided with the electrical signals conveyed to the logic sensor analyzer.
      • D. Temperature sensing preferably within ±1 degree F. Thermocouples, or any other commercially available format or component to provide electrical signals relating to the temperature can be provided for at least the following elements of the system.
        • 1. hopper
        • 2. beater
        • 3. motor
        • 4. water temp
        • 5. cabinet ambient
        • 6. external ambient
      • E. Flow sensing
        • 1. SeeedStudio model G1/2 or equivalent
  • B. Data conversion 8 or 12 bit resolution
      • A. ADC
        • 1. ADC0838 IC or equivalent
  • C. Processing MIPS unknown at this time
      • A. Rabbit Semiconductor RCM-4300 module
  • D. User interface
      • A. LCD
      • B. Key pad
      • C. Touch Screen
      • D. Voice recognition input
      • E. Browser
        • 1. Firefox preferred
  • E. Local data storage up to 2 GB non-volatile storage.
  • F. Remote data storage
  • G. Remote user interface
  • Alternative Descriptions of Elements of Practice within the General Scope of Practice
  • The following information is a capsulated listing of concepts that may be further considered in the practice of the present technology, without further limiting the scope of the claims or disclosure.
  • The described system, apparatus and method is used for data-acquisition and analysis of time-variant operational parameters of mechatronic frozen food (frozen dessert, etc) machines. The apparatus with processing means may or may not run software, reconfigurable circuitry configurations (etc.) to enable data to be acquired and communications to be established via Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Serial, USB, etc., as well as by local capture and independent reporting. The apparatus may provide current sensing means (transformers) connected to the processing means to allow current measurement. The voltage sensing means may be connected to the processing means to allow voltage sensing measurement. The temperature sensing means may be connected to the processing means to allow voltage sensing measurement. Quantity measurement means may also be connected to the information collection, transmission and storage systems, as would flow rate measurement components, switch positions that may be measured.
  • One method enables retrofitting an existing frozen desert device with the preceding apparatus enabling the measurement of currents, voltages, temperatures, product quantity, flow rates, and switch positions. Time-keeping components that provide that measurements can be associated with a timestamp are preferred. There should be logic conversion components such that the measurements from sensors 2-9 can be converted to digital data. Data logging components such that the values sensed by sensors of 2-9, converted to digital data, can be recorded in volatile memory, preferably with an associated timestamp. Non-volatile memory storage systems may be provided such that the values sensed by sensors of 2-9, converted to digital data, can be recorded in non-volatile memory with an associated timestamp. There may be direct user interfaces for viewing current and/or historic data that may be but not limited to LCD panels, vacuum florescent display, other indicators. The system should include direct user interface means for interacting with the apparatus that may be but not limited to mechanical buttons, switches, capacitance sensors, membrane switches, with the system and method for presentation of data from above definition to an end user located locally or distally via Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Serial, USB communications.
  • Similar monitoring and control systems are extant from other manufactures such as Carpigiani (see Application #20110011887) and Stoelting's InteliTech (see www.stoeltingxom) but with limited data acquisition and display capability. SSP's system improves the monitoring capability thereby dramatically enhancing its ability to control the CFPM. Additionally, SSP's systems improves previous communications and display capability allowing an end user to access the machine controller directly either locally or remotely. Features not directly offered by competitors products where remote access offers limited data and only available by subscription. With this invention, the end user can monitor machine operating parameters locally at the touch-screen display or remotely via web browser interface.
    A combination of control algorithms such as PID, fuzzy logic, etc., coupled with the advanced monitoring capability of the first patent and state-of-the-art electrical circuit control equipment (such as soft-start contactors) allow improved control of the CFPM. The improved control is adaptive to the needs of diverse manufacturer's equipment and product output so that the control may be fitted to diverse machines and adapted to various products such as slushy, shake, ice cream, etc.
    End users can enhance their product offerings and ability to sell by downloading customizable graphics to the display.
    In its most typical configuration a CFP machine, regardless of manufacturer, consists of 2 barrels chilling the product. It typically operates with a dedicated motor for the scraper in each barrel and a dedicated compressor for chilling each barrel. Each barrel has its own CTL board, PWR board, relays, electrical contacts and power source. The invention of pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/040,054, filed 7 Mar. 2011 utilizes a single circuit board design to monitor a single, 2-barrel machine. During operation per #1, the machine utilizes its original CTL and PWR boards for control of the system components. The invention is not extensible to monitoring multi-barrel machines greater than 2. The invention of that copending U.S. patent application does not enable a primary controller of a CFP machine.
    The purpose of the present technology is to offer several improvements over the current state of the art in CFP machine control and monitoring technology. First and foremost, the CTL boards typically in use offer little more than buttons and LEDs as a user interface. For instance, the Taylor series machines offer only 5 buttons and 7 on/off LEDs as a user interface with little more than on/off setpoint control. There are few user adjustments available.
    Other features are also desirable as noted here and in the following paragraphs. Effective energy management is desirable for many purposes such as cost savings, error detection. Energy management requires sophisticated sensing. On/off setpoint control can be wasteful of energy as that type of control algorithm always overshoots the setpoint. Advanced control algorithms can promote energy efficiency.
    Next, there is a need to offer increased utility to the end user, such as a shop owner, in controlling his own machine(s). Other manufacturers such as Stoelting and Carpigiani have supplied some slight control and monitoring devices, but they are available only with their own machines directly from factory production. Owners of old machines or those manufactured by other manufacturers are unable to purchase an upgrade to their machines. A state-of-the-art controller and monitoring system capable of being retro-fit to older, classic machines or installed on new designs, regardless of manufacturer would be advantageous and a clear competitive advantage.
    Further, in the event that a machine may be desired with greater than two barrels, a new type of controller is required if the monitoring capability of as disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/040,054, filed 7 Mar. 2011 is to be included in the device. The advantages of a multi-barrel machine greater than 2 are many-fold. For instance, a single compressor could cool and chill product in 2 or more barrels by using appropriate valving. Obviously such a configuration would save on mechanical costs during construction and/or servicing. Additionally, energy savings would be possible by operating a single compressor with a coolant accumulator, recharged during compressor run time instead of when cooling is required. This enabling the compressor to always operate at 100% efficiency. It is obvious that sophisticated sensing may be required to implement this scheme.
    The ‘gang’ concept or centrally driven, multiple barrel system can be extended further by driving the beaters of 4 barrels with a single motor, drive mechanism and electro-mechanical clutching for on off, independent drive operation or multiple beater drive operation simultaneously. In this fashion, a single motor can replace 4 or more provided an appropriate controller is available.
    Another limitation of current CFP controller technology is the need for a service technician to be present for even minor adjustments to the machine. For instance, even adjustment of the product consistency in the event of varying external temperatures can require some machine dis-assembly, knowledgeable adjustment of the electronics and/or electromechanical hardware while performing a visual and tactile inspection of the product, and finally re-assembly. A controller according to the present technology should allow such an adjustment with a simple end-user interface without the need for a technician to be present. Such an adjustment might be made with a single ‘dial’ on a graphical interface. A more sophisticated controller might even allow a single ‘product consistency’ setting to be made for many operating conditions and the ‘intelligence’ of the controller uses the monitoring capability to automatically adjust the machine without user intervention.
    The beaters are driven by a motor, and there is a correlation between product viscosity and current draw of the motor. Preferably there is at least one motor for at least multiple beaters (e.g., two or more beaters) and preferably multiple beaters are driven by at least a single motor. It is also possible to have multiple motors present, with the individual motors ordinarily dedicated to specific ones or specific sets (e.g., 2, 3 or 4 in the sets of beaters, and available back-up gearing/interchange drives available so that upon failure of one motor, additional beaters can be connected (by shifting and engaging drives from the surviving motors) so that the CFP device can continue on a transitory basis until full repairs can be provided. Upon indication of a motor failure, where there are multiple motors available for exchange, the controller may signal gearing change to provide power to beaters to which a now defective motor had been attached. The gearing may also shift between beaters on a periodic basis during such an emergency automated or directed response to a motor breakdown. For example, if there are three motors driving eight beaters (initially dedicated motor 1 to beaters a, b and c; motor 2 initially dedicated to beaters e, f anf g; an motor 3 initially dedicated to beaters h and I), upon failure of motor 2, gearing could automatically be engaged from motor 3 to also drive beaters d, e and f, while motor 3 also drives beaters h and i. Alternatively, the processor/controller could direct motor 3 to sequentially and repeatedly engage series of beaters such as d, e and f; e, f and g; f, g and h; g, h and I; d, e, f and g; e, f, g and h, etc.) to reduce potential for overload on the motor and yet assure some regular amount of beating action on an interim emergency basis. For single phase motors, measuring current draw may be a good reflection of product consistency at the ambient temperature. However in 3 phase designs, as are the vast majority of CFP machines, current is drawn through all three legs of the supply and current draw through each leg can vary widely, depending on ambient conditions such as temperature, power supply and even mechanical factors. Typically a single leg is chosen to measure current draw using a current-to-voltage transformer and viscosity is adjusted by a comparison circuit that compares the current draw with an adjustable voltage sent through a potentiometer. The comparison can be made by either a typical analog comparator circuit or in a processor following analog-to-digital (A to D) conversions of the voltages involved. In fact this last technique seems most antiquated. That is: measuring an adjustable voltage by A-to-D conversion and then ‘comparing’ it to a real voltage from another A-to-D conversion. This could just as easily be accomplished by just using a digital number directly.
    Finally, in today's energy conscious world, energy consumption is often examined in an effort to reduce costs. Depending on the nature of supply billing, costs can be dependent on peak energy use, continuous energy use or summation. Classic on/off control techniques that simply turn a compressor on at one setpoint and off at another setpoint inherently produce overshoot in temperature fluctuation that contributes to inefficiency. So, setpoint control algorithms are required that minimize overshoot. Energy consumption can be a difficult sensing and calculation problem for an embedded system. In a single phase power, a correct calculation for a single motor requires continuous data acquisition of power and voltage at 120 times per second with associated calculation. Of course the problem is multiplied by 3 for polyphase power. In a PFC, there are 4-5 motors requiring the same sensing and calculation. An easier method for calculating energy consumption is required than directly reading data and calculating with a single processor already dedicated
    When thinking in terms of more sophisticated sensing, control and user interfaces; current offerings by CFP manufacturers offering these features do not exist. A sophisticated controller is necessary to implement any such machine schema as described here. Offering modern user interfaces such as a graphics, downloadable content and sophisticated control of operational parameters; further stimulates the need for a new CFP control mechanism.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Partex patent application (U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/040,054, filed 7 Mar. 2011) describes a method for monitoring the operating parameters of an ice cream machine and then providing a user interface serving CGI generated web pages. An end user could thereby monitor the condition of the ice cream machine at will via a web browser.
    The invention described herein is meant to utilize the invention of #1 and further extend its capabilities as a new CFP controller device offering sophisticated control and user interface capability. Specifically, modifications to electrical, mechanical, electronic and software components described in #1 enable a number of new features. First, direct control of the individual machine systems is enabled. Second, the user interface displaying information and providing user input is expanded by the addition of a graphical, touch-screen display in addition to the CGI interface described in #1. Third, advanced control techniques coupled with the monitoring capability of #1 allow greater and more sensitive control and diagnostic capability. Finally, the original components of the machine controlling structure may be partially or wholly eliminated.
  • Decomposition of the Problem:
  • In many imbedded systems it can be advantageous to decompose the system into its ‘orthogonal’ components. Thereby allowing one component to work independently of another and be designed/manufactured independently as well. The activity of individual components can be coordinated by a central controller. For instance, monitoring and control of barrel 1 is independent of barrel 2. The individual hardware components performing the monitoring and control can be independent as well. For instance, a one barrel machine may have one barrel-monitor board, two would have two and etc. This sort of decomposition of components lends itself well to retrofit of a variety of machines or when used in new designs. A complete new system does not need to be designed, only a single component board matching the component needs.
  • To better accommodate the monitoring of data on a per-barrel basis, formerly integrated components from #1 are to be split into sub-component modules that may then have individual processors. The individual processors perform their own functions but do not control the machine as a whole. The individual processors will be in communication with a central main CPU who is ‘in control’ of the whole machine. A graphics and sensing module is added as well allowing local user interface without using the web enabled CGI interface described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/040,054, filed 7 Mar. 2011.
  • This problem is then decomposed into five areas of hardware/firmware and method:
  •  7. Barrel monitoring hardware
     8. Graphical display and sensing hardware/firmware
     9. Central control hardware/firmware
    10. Software firmware
    11. Installation method
  • Barrel Monitoring:
  • A barrel monitor module is used that incorporates all components necessary to monitor one barrel. Its purpose is primarily in data input although some output capabilities can be include. This idea is easily extensible to multi-barrel platforms. It is also easily extensible to equipment produced by varied manufacturers.
  • Each barrel monitoring device uses power monitoring CPUs such as those used in energy metering equipment. An example is the Analog Devices ADE7878 chip. Since each barrel uses a compressor motor and a beater motor, each monitoring board incorporates two such power monitoring CPUs. The chips monitor current and voltage on each power leg and calculate a large variety of power related parameters including alarm and error detection.
  • Additional circuitry is incorporated to condition and measure temperature and pressure sensors associated with the individual barrel. Signal conditioning circuitry such as operational amplifiers similar to the Analog Devices' AD8608 are used. The conditioned signals are then inputted to analog-to-digital conversion devices such as the Texas Instruments TLV1578 for conversion to binary data.
  • State detection circuitry is included to detect binary state of voltages, switches etc. Detecting AC voltages can be performed using opto-couplers such as the Toshiba TLP126 that can output a logic level signal when an AC voltage is applied. The logic level is inputted to a simple latch such as a 74HCT573. Switch states can be detected by voltage divider and again inputted into the latch.
    Key to producing a good chilled food product is determining the viscosity of the product. As noted, the product uses a motor driven beater within the barrel to churn the product during chilling and delivery. There is a direct correlation between the viscosity and Work required to turn the beater. Work required to turn the beater is partially defined by the amperage drawn by the motor. More Work=more amperage. A measure of relative viscosity can then be determined by using a CT/resistance combination to convert the current draw of the motor into a voltage. Then as the viscosity increase, so does the voltage output of the CT. If that voltage is compared with a known voltage, perhaps generated by a resistor voltage divider, it can be thought of as a setpoint that the viscosity is correct. Circuitry can turn the beater off when the desired viscosity is reached.
  • Note that this is something of an indirect measurement of viscosity but workable. However, installation of torque sensor may provide much greater accuracy in reading torque. CFP machines typically have a gearbox between the motor and the beater to slow the motors high RPM rate to a slow rate useful for the chilled food product. An electro-mechanical torque sensor can be inserted at the juncture between gearbox and beater to directly measure torque instead of the estimated measurement previously described. Such a torque sensor can take many forms however a simple one can be made by mounting a fixed ring to the barrel and rotating ring to the gearbox. The two rings are connected by a spring that compresses as torque increases. A linear displacement sensor measures the amount of displacement and the applied torque is a simple calculation knowing the ring diameter, spring rate and displacement.
  • For the purposes of this invention, the higher accuracy given by the direct torque sensor reading will enable greater accuracy in controlling overshoot using intelligent control during operation of chilling compressor
    Output capabilities can be included by using hi-lo drivers such as the ON Semi NCV77088.
  • Display and Sensing:
  • While the barrel module monitors the individual barrels, there are still components of the machine that desire or require monitoring. In addition, a user interface is highly desired and so a Display and Sensing module may be used to accommodate both needs.
    A state-of-the-art LED, VGA graphical, touch-screen display may be used as a user interface. The display incorporates its own onboard CPU driving the display, sensing the touch-screen and communicating externally with other devices. An example of such a device is Reach Technologies—SLCD43.
    In this invention, the display controller is preferably in 2-way communication with the Central controller providing feedback from the touch screen to the Central controller and enabling the Central controller to set graphics displayed on the screen, and to define and use touch sensitive areas on the screen.
    An LED display screen is composed of single, visual elements called pixels arrayed in an orthogonal (Cartesian) X-Y coordinate system grid. Its resolution is a measure of how many pixels are arrayed in each dimension. The pixels can typically be programmed with a display value that can assign attributes such as color, brightness, etc. The entire array of pixels is commonly called a frame. If an identical X-Y grid is also imposed on a graphical image, the image may be displayed on the LED screen by programming the individual pixels to match the same color at the location on the graphical image. One image display constructed in this fashion as often called a frame. For the purposes of this patent, it is also to be called a page.
    In the display controller, a large amount of memory is available that is capable of storing many such frames. The frames can be selectively displayed or even portions of a frame selective altered and displayed. Multiple frames or portions of frames can be displayed successively at high speed approximating an animated display. The display controller can be programmed to display frames in a preset order or can display frames and/or the portions of frames according to commands from the Central CPU. For instance, a portion of a frame may be programmed to appear to be a toggle switch that is down when off and up when on. Or a portion of a frame may be programmed to appear to be on LED that is off or on.
    A touchscreen is a device that can also be thought of as constructed on an X-Y orthogonal grid. By various method such as resistive or capacitive responsiveness, the device is capable of detecting where on the X-Y grid it has been touched and a controller can interrogate the touch screen is such a way that the location of the touch is ‘read’ by the controller returning and X-Y value reflecting the location of touch. (The method of detect touch is not important to this patent)
    For this invention, a touchscreen matching the display screen dimensions is superimposed on the display screen. Using the example display controller, one or more touch sensitive areas can be defined on the touch screen (or other controllers as well). The touch sensitive areas can be associated with graphics displayed such that they serve as input or output. This means that a certain graphic, such as the off toggle switch graphic previously mentioned, may serve to notify the user where to touch the touchscreen to ‘turn a switch on’. It may then become a feedback device by changed from an off graphic toggle switch to an on graphic toggle switch.
    One aspect that can be very important is the idea of direct mapping of touch-graphic-controller-relay output. There are no hardwired mechanical control switches typical of previous CFPMs. A graphic is displayed on the screen. The graphic can be associated with a touch sensitive area of the screen. Touching the area can change the graphic and also generate a numeric code that can be transferred to the Central controller informing the controller there is to be a change in state. The controller changes state accordingly operating appropriate relay drivers turning machine systems on or off. So, there is only a touch sensitive area, associated with a graphic that in turn is associated with a coded signal such as a numerical value or values that is in turn associated with changing state within a controller that associates changing state with turning electro-mechanical components on or off.
    The touch sensitive areas can be used such that the communications output of the display controller in communications with the Central CPU operates as 0-D, 1-D or 2-D input devices. A 0-D input operates much like a hardware binary on/off switch, a 1-D input operates as a continuously variable device such as a potentiometer and a 2-D input can provide graphical input such as an ink pen writing on a page.
    During operation of the CFPM, the graphical touchscreen becomes the primary user interface for interfacing with and controlling the machine. The invention of our copending U.S. patent application serves informative web pages concerning the operation of the machine, but it does not directly allow control of the machine. The graphical touchscreen displays the same informative digest as the web page interface, but also allows the user to fully control all aspects of the machine's operation including adjustments.
    The benefits of this type of display control interface are many. For a configurable controller capable of controlling a variety of devices, a single hardware design will suffice to control many products with only software modifications required to change machines. In fact it may not even be necessary to change software, just change setup parameters within the software.
    Since the display controller is fully programmable and in communications with the Central CPU, downloadable graphics can be enabled such that an end user may download custom graphics, product advertising, etc.
    In addition to its graphics and interfacing capability, the D&S (display and sensing) module also has circuitry for sensing hopper temperatures, barrel temperatures (when needed), mix levels low and out, and the state of the draw switches on or off. These signals are transferred to the Central control module for processing.
  • Central Controller:
  • A central control module is used to coordinate and control the activity of individual data collection and display modules. The module incorporates a microprocessor such at the Rabbit 6000 from Digi, memory, ethernet and wifi capability, multiple serial IO channels for various communications, circuitry for signal conditioning and analog and digital data acquisition. Much of this functionality is described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/040,054, filed 7 Mar. 2011.
    For controlling the machine, additional circuitry must be added to the device of the copending application. In general, machine control will be accomplished by sourcing or sinking current (hi and lo side drive) traversing the coil of a relay thereby turning the relay on or off. Various machine types by different manufacturers may implement sourcing and/or sinking current relay drivers or even combinations of both.
    The use of a dual hi and lo side driver such as the ON Semi NCV77088 enables either sourcing or sinking to be selected. The advantages of this type of device are many. The device offers multiple channels with hi and lo drivers for each channel. This enables simple jumper switching on the board to accommodate sourcing and sinking relay drivers in diverse equipment from various manufacturers. In this fashion, the board may be customizable for fitting disparate machine types.
    Output of the relay driver is orchestrated by the CPU according to a schema derived per machine.
  • Software:
  • One technique used for building robust, real-time embedded controllers is the use of Finite State Machine (FSM). An FSM is a theoretical construct that allows operating conditions to be specified as attributes for a state and events to cause state changes. The advantage of defining as a state machine is that the condition of the machine should always be known and controllable and that even an out-of-bounds condition can be shunted into a known condition by default.
    So a CFPM may be capable of operation in five different states such as MixChill, Standby, Clean, Auto, and Pump. There may also be associated states such as Startup, Error and Default that are not usually traversed except in the event of startup or error. A chart can be developed that shows how the states interact and how events cause a change of state. Attributes associated with each state define whether individual components may be on or off in that state.
  • By defining the FSM, software can more easily be written that implements the attributes, events and state change mechanisms. For the purposes of the CFPM, the states can easily be defined as:
  • State Purpose
    Startup State where the machine has just been turned on. The
    processor performs initialization routines enabling
    sensor measurements, comm capability and self testing.
    Monitor State following Startup where the machine is ready for user
    input to change state. (the name could probably be changed
    to Monitor and the invention of #1 would operate here)
    Error The machine has detected an error condition requiring user
    intervention.
    MixChill State where only the mix reservoirs are chilled
    Standby State where mix reservoirs are chilled and barrels kept
    chilled but not frozen
    Clean Various cleaning methods may be implemented
    Auto Typical run state of the machine where functions are
    controlled automatically
    Test State where individual components of the system may
    be tested.
    Default Almost an error state where FSM is forced to transit if an
    unknown event occurs. Typically exits to Error.

    The FSM is an abstract concept that is a fully capable of being enabled by the disclosure herein solely by appropriate programming, but it is useful for understanding the various states the machine needs to be capable of operating in. It also can assist in decomposing the software into manageable sections. Each section can be written independently.
    Classically, simple set-point on/off control has been used for the compressors and beater motors. As noted, a more sophisticated control algorithm reduces energy consumption without overshooting a setpoint
  • Installation:
  • The device can be retrofitted to an existing machine or installing it on a new machine. Since there are differences in machines from the same manufacturer or different manufacturers, a model schema must be developed that defines any special settings and connections necessary for the machine. However in general all machines have the same components: compressor, beater motor, draw switch, etc. The differences in machines are more in quantities and values than architectural. So as long as there are extra relay drivers available, and extra discreet and continuous sensing IO points, the same invention can fit many machines.
    So the schema for a machine is more of a roadmap of where sensors are to be located and what polarity to set sourcing/sinking relay drivers up and discovering the state polarity of binary on/off reads. This information can then be incorporated into a machine configuration file for repeated use. A new schema can be developed for a machine by direct observation and measurement. For instance:
      • locate the compressor
      • locate the compressor inlet for installation of temperature and pressure transducers
      • locate the condenser
      • locate the condenser inlet and outlet for installation of temperature and pressure transducers
      • identify polarity of on off state by direct measurement with multi-meter
        • draw switch
        • relay driver inputs
        • relay output voltages
      • locate machine temperature probes for barrel and hopper
        • determine 32° F. and 85° F. voltage output
          Direct control of the machine is enabled by removal of much or all of the original controlling components and replacement with the mechanism of the invention. This can be accomplished by:
  • identify machine and associated schema for machine
      • develop new schema if unknown
  • removal of the original factory CTL boards in the machine
  • removing the associated wiring
  • may include removal of the factory PWR boards
  • install sensing and electromechanical hardware of this invention
      • hardware controller with peripheral modules as component
      • thermistors
      • pressure transducers
      • PWR board if necessary
      • wiring for relay drivers
  • update software configuration for machine model from schema
  • Additive and functional comparison between machine additions for patent #1 and new #2
  • Function #1 #2
    Monitoring monitor pressures, temperatures, addition of electro-mechanical torque sensor
    supply voltages, amp draws, for direct torque readings of beater
    internal state of relays/etc., and
    external input such as draw switch
    activity
    user interface via cgi generated
    web page
    connectivity to back-end database
    User interface Stock interface: high resolution graphical, touch-screen
    limited control interface via 5- ex: ReachTech- SLCD43
    position membrane switch near unlimited control interface screens with
    operational indicators use 7 myriad switches
    on/off LEDs to display near unlimited operational indicators by
    discreet data only multiple display screens
    diagnostic interface
    downloadable content
    error logging by service personnel
    Control none Controls the machine directly as a stand alone
    controller (replaces original controller in rebuilt
    machines)
    Intelligent, adaptive control with self
    calibration
    Electronics Circuitry added as previously Circuitry added as previously described in
    Circuitry described in patent #1 patent #1
    additional circuitry added to:
    energy monitoring capability
    ex: Analog ADE7878
    drive machine relays
    ex: ON Semi - NCV77088DW
    drive sensor interfaces
    ex: TI - OPA2365/ADCMP601
    detect switch operation & debounce
    ex: Maxim - MAX6817
    Software Software to implement software components added for control:
    functionality of patent #1 Finite State Machine controller
    use of attributes, events etc.
    set-point control algorithm
    implemented as needed by:
    PID
    Fuzzy Logic
    Kalman Filter
    adaptive control
    Electrical None advanced electrical contactors offer motor
    Hardware soft start
    ex: Omron G3J-S
    solid state relays for greater reliability
    ex: Omron G3NA
    custom “power board” with advanced features
    solid state relay
    onboard indicators
    LED readout
    onboard diagnostics
    Sensors Sensors as needed for Patent #1 sensors as needed for patent #1
    torque sensor on beater motor
    custom designed product
    eliminates CT on power board
    Controls None electronically configurable expansion valves
    solenoid valves
    refrigerant check valves

    Particular, non-limiting list of elements of novelty in the present invention.
      • 1. all of the utility of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/040,054, filed 7 Mar. 2011 is available, only this time the technology is provided in a machine controller (instead of a monitor)
      • 2. using direct torque sensor instead of derived torque value
      • 3. enable larger multi-barrel dispensors (>2) per machine
      • 4. mapping a touch on screen to graphic to hardware interface to control to a motor on.
      • 5. downloadable graphics
      • 6. using intelligent control algorithm such as PID for energy monitoring and better control of machine promoting improved product, reduced waste, energy efficiency, etc.
      • 7. using an electronically adjustable expansion valve to eliminate the need to beat the mixture during standby
      • 8. using configurable hardware such as the relay drivers so that device suitable for retrofit and varied machines by different manufacturers
      • 9. method of retrofitting existing equipment
      • 10. intelligent diagnostic not requiring service personnel.
  • Further technology and practices included within the scope of the present invention may be generally described as directly reading and time stamping binary state data on switches, contactors, solenoids, etc. The current ‘state’ of the machine and individual components is sensed, date stamped and derived. We can actually write a Finite State Machine algorithm for how the device should operate, and what individual components should be on and off at various times. This analysis and derived information enables derivation of useful operator/maintenance/owner/etc information, such as time in use, volumes dispensed, error conditions, etc The time dispensing (might also call The Draw because there is a draw switch than can be monitored) may be very important in a lessee/lessor relationship. It is different than the amount of product dispensed.
  • Therefore the system may be capable of
      • 1. directly read information
        • 1. state of binary sensors in the machine
      • 2. providing derived information:
        • 1. The amount of time the machine or individual components are in use
        • 2. The amount of time the system is actually dispensing material
        • 3. Volume dispensed
        • 4. MTBF (mean time between failures) on maintenance items
        • 5. the user interacting with the monitoring and control system to modify parameters as needed during variations in use/
      • 3. A thin client interface for a user interacts with the monitoring and control system directly via Ethernet, Wi-Fi, USB, etc.
      • 4. The processing presents a user interface that displays real time operational parameters of the machine.
      • 5. The processing presents a user interface displays historical data concerning the operational parameters of the machine.
      • 6. The user interface presents real-time derived data.
      • 7. The user interface presents historical derived data.
      • 8. Using the processing to generate a user interface by CGI or other types of user interfaces such as LCD screen, serial I/O, etc.
      • 9. Using the processing to generate real-time and/or historic data in a document format such as PDF, PNG, JPEG, etc.
      • 10. New peripherals may be attached to the machine.
      • 11. The monitoring and control system may control the new peripherals attached to the machine.
      • 12. The monitoring and control system may supersede current control systems on a retrofitted machine.
      • 13. The monitoring and control system may contact a remote server (via whatever comm channel).
      • 14. The monitoring and control system may contact a remote server to transmit historical data for archiving.
      • 15. The monitoring and control system may download new software from the remote server
      • 16. The users may contact and direct the remote server.
      • 17. The users may contact the remote server and request current and/or historic data, direct or derived about a specific machine and/or site.
      • 18. The users may contact the remote server and request current and/or historic data, direct or derived about a group of machines.
      • 19. The remote server would generate CGI web pages that show real-time and/or historic direct and derived data to send to a user.
      • 20. The data resident on the monitoring and control system might be used for billing purposes (for instance in a lessee/lessor relationship), with invoices directly and automatically sent by electronic messaging.
      • 21. The data resident on a remote server might be used for billing purposes.
        Specific Modifications that me be provided to the existing machine of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/040,054, filed 7 Mar. 2011
      • A. Hardware modifications may includes
        • 1. add additional circuitry:
          • a. circuitry for additional sub-processors for energy monitoring in communication with CPU from the first patent
            • 1. example: Analog ADE7878
          • b. circuitry for advanced relay drivers in communication with the CPU from first patent
            • 1. example: ON semiconductor NCV7708
          • c. circuitry for additional communications capability with CPU from first patent
            • 1. can be serial, SPI, USB etc
      • B. Graphical, touch screen display
        • a. example: Reach Technologies 4.3″ LCD display module
      • C. Retrofit original manufacturer's control system with that described by this patent
        • a. removal and elimination of original control system
        • b. replacement with SSP hardware
      • D. generic design such that control system may operate machines produced by different manufacturers
        • 1. implement use of advanced electrical contactors such as soft start contactors example: Omron G3J-S
        • 2. SSP power board with solid state relays
      • E. Software modifications
        • 1. Monitoring and control (both automated, and user enabled on-site entry)
          • a. software to add monitoring capability via touch screen interface in addition to thin described in first patent
          • b. software to control all or part of ICM directly via touch screen interface
          • c. software to control all or part of ICM directly via thin client interface
          • d. software to interface hardware controller with touch screen interface
          • e. generic design such that control system may operate machines produced by different manufacturers
        • 2. graphical display
          • a. software such that downloadable graphics may be sent to the CPU and touch screen display
          • b. software such that end user may download graphics to the display
          • c. software such that graphical animations are enabled in the display
          • d. software such that an end user may download graphical animations to the display for advertising and/or other purposes
          • e. software such that end user may customize graphical display
        • 3. machine intelligence
          • a. software such that intelligent algorithms are implemented by the CPU for various purposes
            • 1. advanced energy management
            •  1. example: sequencing high current startups to avoid large inrush currents
            • 2. implement advanced control using set point theory
            •  1. PID, fuzzy logic and/or other controller algorithms
            • 3. other adaptive control, display and interface techniques to be defined
      • F. System Functions
        • 1. allow the monitoring system of previous patent to directly control the ICM
        • 2. allow the system of the patent to operate as a controller only without monitoring the ICM
        • 3. allowing direct user IO control of ICM using a touch screen display without use of thin client interface described in previous patent
        • 4. allow additional use of thin client monitoring interface
        • 5. integrated controller for single and/or multiple barrels (more than 2 multiple)
        • 6. intelligent-adaptive control of ICM implemented in software and/or hardware
    Electronic Circuitry
  • To enable Additional sub-processors:
  • Circuitry added to allow communications between the CPU and accessory boards
  • Further description of the structure of each component modification or any process change made in the software:
  • 1. Hardware
      • A. the hardware of the copending U.S. patent application can be modified by splitting functions off the main circuit board such that a combination of pieces can combined for monitoring, control or both functionalities.
      • B. The hardware may now consist of three components:
        • 1. a motherboard with:
          • a. communication capability for serial, SPI, USB, Ethernet and WiFi communications
          • b. sensing components for temperature, pressure and on/off state conditions of ICM components
          • c. data storage means
        • 2. at least one motor-monitor daughterboard with:
          • a. SPI communications means
          • b. energy monitoring processors for one barrel to monitor beater and compressor motor operation
          • c. on/off state sensing components
        • 3. at least one display daughterboard with:
          • a. SPI communications means
          • b. power and comm capability with a color, graphical display controller
          • c. sensing components for temperature, level and on/off state conditions of ICM components
  • H. Software
      • A. process changes in the software primarily reflect conversion from solely monitoring capability in a poll/interrupt environment to a state driven architecture
        • 1. state-driven architecture:
          • a. machine can operate only in finite series of states
          • b. state change caused by events
          • c. architecture consists of event generators and event handlers
          • d. attributes associated with each state such as compressor ON, beater OFF, etc
          • e. machine fully characterized by finite number of states
        • 2. events generated by poll/interrupt environment
          Description of the function of each new component and interaction with existing (or other new) components and apparatus
  • 1. Motor-Monitor Board
  • The motor-monitor board uses two dedicated energy monitoring processors to monitor the motors driving the beater and compressor for each barrel. It also incorporates additional circuitry monitoring high voltage state for certain relay outputs. It communicates with the motherboard by SPI comm.
  • 2. Display-Interface Board
  • The display-interface board provides power and comm to a display for the remote motherboard. It also incorporates sensing circuitry for temperature probes, level probes and on/off state probes. It communicates with the motherboard by SPI comm.
  • I. Color Graphical Display Module
  • The color graphical display module with touch-screen provides a local user interface for the end user to interact with and control the machine. It communicates with the display-interface board by serial line.
  • The practice of the present technology can have wide-ranging effects on the performance of the dispensing devices within this field of technology. By coupling the monitoring capability of co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/040,054 with an advanced controller, the advanced controller may use a Finite State Machine to fully characterize the machine's operating condition and operate various electro-mechanical systems of the machine depending on the operating state of the dispenser. The advanced controller may offer energy savings by monitoring operating parameters carefully and turning electro-mechanical components on/off using set point control theories such as PID controller to eliminate overshoot in chilling. The advanced controller may allow the end user to adjust operational parameters of the machine without need for a technician to be present. The advanced controller may be provided with the monitoring capability of the co-pending patent application to improve machine performance in some areas, especially with regard to:
  • a. energy management and savings
  • b. diagnostic functionality
  • The advanced controller can be capable of operating machines from various manufacturers and use multi-barrel machines (e.g., greater that 2 barrels) when using the advanced controller. A graphical user interface can incorporate a touch screen allowing significant improvement in user interaction with the machine (instead of the standard 5 buttons and 7 component LEDs). The advanced controller and touch screen enables nearly unlimited information display capability and nearly unlimited control of operational parameters by an operator and/or the processor.
  • The advanced processor can relate a specific area on a touch sensitive surface→to a graphical ‘image’ related to the touch sensitive area→to the fact that the sensitive area has been touched→to the current logical state of the machine (as in FSM)→to controlling the machine operation appropriately by turning on/off electro-mechanical components. This effectively means that touching a pseudo button shown graphically on the touchscreen will directly exercise control the machine in some fashion. The graphical display allows machine operational parameters to be adjusted using ‘real-world’ terms. For example: this means that the hopper temp can be adjusted on a Fahrenheit degree scale such as 20-45 degrees using a graphical control ‘knob’ instead of adjusting an unknown quantity on a potentiometer with a screwdriver. Retro-fitting of legacy equipment with the advanced monitor and controller is capable by methodology such as retrofitting a first dispensing system for a chilled viscous edible composition, the first dispensing system including at least:
  • a storage container for the viscous edible composition;
  • a composition moving system;
  • a composition chilling system;
  • a cooling system;
  • an electromechanical system control component for assisting in composition moving;
  • an electrical input system for providing power to the composition moving system(s), chilling system(s), cooling system and system control component;
  • an electrical communication network among the electrical input system and the composition moving system(s) chilling system, cooling system and a first system control board;
  • the method comprising:
      • a) removing the first system control board;
      • b) adding at least one sensor to the first dispensing system, the at least one sensor selected from the group consisting of
        • i) a sensor for detecting at least one performance attribute that occurs during movement of the composition by the composition moving system;
        • ii) a sensor for detecting at least one performance attribute that occurs during chilling of the composition by the chilling system;
        • iii) a sensor for detecting at least one performance attribute that occurs during cooling of the system by the cooling system; and
        • iv) a sensor for detecting at least one performance attribute that occurs during control of the system by the control system;
  • the at least one sensor providing signals to electronic hardware;
      • c) installing a second system control board comprising electronic hardware to replace the first system control board,
        wherein the electronic hardware is configured to perform data analysis on the time-stamped signals derive to detecting and recording specified undesirable performance of the dispensing system; and a controller in operational control communication with at least the electromechanical system control component for assisting in composition moving and the electrical input system for providing power to the composition moving system(s), chilling system(s), cooling system and system control component, and wherein
  • the controller is configured to automatically receive the at least one performance attributes and send command signals to at least the electromechanical system control component for assisting in composition moving or the electrical input system for providing power to the composition moving system(s), chilling system(s), cooling system and system control component to alter performance of the electromechanical system control component for assisting in composition moving or the electrical input system for providing power to the composition moving system(s), chilling system(s), cooling system. The retrofitting process may have further additional components installed in the first dispensing system, the additional components selected from the group consisting of a display module with circuit board, barrel monitor circuit board, at least one temperature probe, a current transformer and a pressure transducer. This process may include removing all or part of original electronic control circuitry and substituting the advanced control technology described herein. Incorporating LED indicators on logic boards for fault detection may, for example, control power and relays on indicators on power/relay boards. Custom downloadable graphics may be provided to the graphical interface for marketing, product promotion, etc. The graphical display may be used as a diagnostic display instead of only as the web page interface, and it may provide service logging capability such that a service history of the machine is available. The use of the system may provide improved control and access through a beater torque sensor that measures torque directly instead of inferring it by current measurement, Other controllable elements may include:
  • A. electronically controllable expansion valves;
  • B. electronically controllable water valves
  • C. solid state relays
  • D. soft start contactors
  • The above described method of retrofitting an existing machine may be further characterized as:
  • The device can be retrofitted to an existing machine or installing it on a new machine. Since there are differences in machines from the same manufacturer or different manufacturers, a model schema must be developed that defines any special settings and connections necessary for the machine. However in general all machines have the same components: compressor, beater motor, draw switch, etc. The differences in machines are more in quantities and values than architectural. So as long as there are extra relay drivers available, and extra discreet and continuous sensing TO points, the same invention can fit many machines.
  • So the schema for a machine is more of a roadmap of where sensors are to be located and what polarity to set sourcing/sinking relay drivers up and discovering the state polarity of binary on/off reads. This information can then be incorporated into a machine configuration file for repeated use. A new schema can be developed for a machine by direct observation and measurement. For instance:
      • 1. locate the compressor
      • 2. locate the compressor inlet for installation of temperature and pressure transducers
      • 3. locate the condenser
      • 4. locate the condenser inlet and outlet for installation of temperature and pressure transducers
      • 5. identify polarity of on off state by direct measurement with multi-meter
        • 1. draw switch
        • 2. relay driver inputs
        • 3. relay output voltages
      • 6. locate machine temperature probes for barrel and hopper
        • 1. determine 32° F. and 85° F. voltage output
  • Although specific values, materials, components and subcomponents have been identified as useful in the practice of the present technology, those descriptions should not be interpreted as limiting the generic scope of the invention as claimed. Variations within the skill of the ordinary artisan may be used to enhance or optimize performance, yet remain within the scope of the technology disclosed and claimed herein.

Claims (19)

  1. 1. A dispensing system for a chilled viscous edible composition, the dispensing system comprising:
    a storage container for the viscous edible composition;
    a composition moving system;
    a composition chilling system;
    a cooling system;
    an electromechanical system control component for assisting in composition moving;
    an electrical input system for providing power to the composition moving system(s), chilling system(s), cooling system and system control component;
    an electrical communication network among the electrical input system and the composition moving system(s) chilling system, cooling system and system control component;
    at least one sensor selected from the group consisting of
    a) a sensor for detecting at least one performance attribute that occurs during movement of the composition by the composition moving system;
    b) a sensor for detecting at least one performance attribute that occurs during chilling of the composition by the chilling system;
    c) a sensor for detecting at least one performance attribute that occurs during cooling of the system by the cooling system; and
    d) a sensor for detecting at least one performance attribute that occurs during control of the system by the control system;
    the at least one sensor providing signals to electronic hardware;
    wherein the electronic hardware is configured to perform data analysis on the time-stamped signals derive to detecting and recording specified undesirable performance of the dispensing system; and a controller in operational control communication with at least the electromechanical system control component for assisting in composition moving and the electrical input system for providing power to the composition moving system(s), chilling system(s), cooling system and system control component, and wherein
    the controller is configured to automatically receive the at least one performance attributes and send command signals to at least the electromechanical system control component for assisting in composition moving or the electrical input system for providing power to the composition moving system(s), chilling system(s), cooling system and system control component to alter performance of the electromechanical system control component for assisting in composition moving or the electrical input system for providing power to the composition moving system(s), chilling system(s), cooling system.
  2. 2. The dispensing system of claim 1 wherein the electronic hardware configured to perform data analysis on a time-stamped signals derive to detecting and recording specified undesirable performance of a chilling system.
  3. 3. The dispensing system of claim 1 wherein the electronic hardware configured to perform data analysis on time-stamped signals derive to detecting and recording specified undesirable performance of a cooling system.
  4. 4. The dispensing system of claim 1 wherein the sensor provides a signal with respect to energy usage rate of the composition moving system and the energy usage rate is derived from the signal for evaluation of performance of that energy usage rate.
  5. 5. The dispensing system of claim 1 wherein the sensor detects vibrations in the composition moving system.
  6. 6. The dispensing system of claim 1 wherein voltage sensors and/or current sensors, or derived evaluations of signals communicate through wireless transmission to a logic system and/or memory storage have been retrofit into the dispensing system previously lacking voltage sensors and/or current sensors communicating through wireless transmission to a logic system and/or memory storage.
  7. 7. A method of identifying levels of performance in the edible chilled food dispensing system of claim 1 comprising:
    a) chilling and cooling edible dispensable compositions.
    b) moving the dispensable compositions within the system;
    c) sensing at least one performance attribute of the dispensing system;
    d) sending a signal of the at least one performance attribute to a logic analyzer;
    e) the logic analyzer determining a quality indication from the signal of the at least one performance attribute;
    f) providing an indication to a user of the edible food dispensing system of a predetermined level of insufficient performance in the at least one performance attribute and
    wherein the controller enables a touchscreen input of commands to the dispensing system to alter performance levels, and upon receipt of commands at the touchscreen, performance levels of the dispensing system are altered consistent with the commands.
  8. 8. The method of claim 7 wherein the electronic hardware performs data analysis on a time-stamped signal to detect and record specified undesirable performance of a chilling system.
  9. 9. The method of claim 7 wherein the electronic hardware performs data analysis on a time-stamped signal to detect and record specified undesirable performance of a cooling system.
  10. 10. The method of claim 7 wherein at least one sensor detects energy usage rate of the composition moving system.
  11. 11. The method of claim 7 wherein the sensor detects vibrations in the composition moving system.
  12. 12. The method of claim 7 wherein in a dispensing system previously lacking voltage sensors and/or current sensors or derived evaluations of sensed signals are communicate through wireless transmission to a logic system and/or memory storage, voltage sensors and/or current sensors communicating through wireless transmission to a logic system and/or memory storage are retrofit into the dispensing system so as to transmit electric hardware performance data to a logic system.
  13. 13. A process of chilling, thickening and dispensing chilled edible materials comprising:
    chilling, stifling and temporarily storing edible materials within a [closed] system;
    dispensing chilled edible materials;
    a sensor sensing power usage within the system at at least one power usage component within the system;
    sending signals from the sensor to a logic device;
    identifying a status or change in at least one parameter selected from the group consisting of power usage, parts speed, resistance, flow rate, binary switching state by the at least one power usage component;
    correlating identified status or change in the at least one parameter to operational or performance of the system; and
    identifying a deficiency in the operation and/or performance of the system by outputting a signal identifying the deficiency;
    wherein a controller automatically sends commands to components within the system to alter operation and/or performance of components to improve identified deficiencies.
  14. 14. The process of claim 13 wherein a sensor directly reads and time stamps binary state data on at least one components selected from the group consisting of switches, contactors and solenoids
  15. 15. The dispensing system of claim 1 wherein the sensor identifies a state of binary switching in at least one component of the system.
  16. 16. The dispensing system of claim 1 wherein the dispensing system has at least one component selected from the group consisting of:
    a) a processor or other hardware that directly reads information provided from at least one sensor;
    b) an electronic element that provides information derived from information read from at least one sensor to a second processor, the provided information selected from the group consisting of
    1. a total amount of time the system or individual components of the system have been in use;
    2. an amount of total time the system has been actually dispensing material;
    3. a total and/or individual volume of chilled edible material dispensed;
    4. mean time between failures on individual components or routine maintenance procedures;
    5. a user interface enabling user input to a monitoring system or control system for the dispensing system, the user interface allowing modification of operation parameters in response to information provided as information of b)1), b)2), b)3) and/or b)4);
    c) a thin client interface enabling distal user interaction to a monitoring system or control system for the dispensing system via at least one communication network comprising Ethernet, Wi-Fi, USB, or hardwire connection;
    d) the processor in communication with a user interface to present image data to present
    derived information enabling visual display of real time operational parameters of the machine or historical data of operational parameters of the dispensing system and/or components thereof.
    e) the processor configured to generate a user interface;
    f) the processor configured to generate real-time and/or historic data in a document format;
    g) an operation monitoring and operation control system configured to control peripherals directly attached to the dispensing system;
    h) an operation monitoring and operation control system retrofitted on a dispensing system having an overridable second control system original to the retrofitted dispensing system;
    i) an operation monitoring and operation control system configured to communicate with a remote server via an external communication channel;
    j) the monitoring and control system of i) configured to accept download of software from the remote server;
    k) a user interface associated at a site with the dispensing system configured to communicate with a remote server to request current and/or historic data, direct or derived about a specific machine and/or site;
    l) a remote server in information communication with a processor for a dispensing system at a site where the dispensing system is present, the remote server configured to generate CGI web pages that show real-time and/or historic direct and derived data to a user;
  17. 17. A dispensing system for a chilled viscous edible composition, the dispensing system comprising:
    a storage container for the viscous edible composition;
    a composition moving system;
    a composition chilling system;
    a cooling system;
    an electromechanical system control component for assisting in composition moving;
    an electrical input system for providing power to the composition moving system(s), chilling system(s), cooling system and system control component;
    an electrical communication network among the electrical input system and the composition moving system(s) chilling system, cooling system and system control component;
    a sensor for detecting at least one performance attribute that occurs during movement of the composition by the composition moving system;
    a sensor for detecting at least one performance attribute that occurs during chilling of the composition by the chilling system;
    a sensor for detecting at least one performance attribute that occurs during cooling of the system by the cooling system;
    a sensor for detecting at least one performance attribute that occurs during control of the system by the control system;
    the sensors providing signals to electronic hardware;
    the electronic hardware configured to perform data analysis on the time-stamped signals derive to detecting and recording specified undesirable performance of the dispensing system; and a controller in operational control communication with at least the electromechanical system control component for assisting in composition moving and the electrical input system for providing power to the composition moving system(s), chilling system(s), cooling system and system control component, wherein
    the controller is configured to automatically receive the at least one performance attributes and send command signals to at least the electromechanical system control component for assisting in composition moving or the electrical input system for providing power to the composition moving system(s), chilling system(s), cooling system and system control component to alter performance of the electromechanical system control component for assisting in composition moving or the electrical input system for providing power to the composition moving system(s), chilling system(s), cooling system.
  18. 18. A method of retrofitting a first dispensing system for a chilled viscous edible composition, the first dispensing system comprising:
    a storage container for the viscous edible composition;
    a composition moving system;
    a composition chilling system;
    a cooling system;
    an electromechanical system control component for assisting in composition moving;
    an electrical input system for providing power to the composition moving system(s), chilling system(s), cooling system and system control component;
    an electrical communication network among the electrical input system and the composition moving system(s) chilling system, cooling system and a first system control board;
    the method comprising:
    d) removing the first system control board;
    e) adding at least one sensor to the first dispensing system, the at least one sensor selected from the group consisting of
    i) a sensor for detecting at least one performance attribute that occurs during movement of the composition by the composition moving system;
    ii) a sensor for detecting at least one performance attribute that occurs during chilling of the composition by the chilling system;
    iii) a sensor for detecting at least one performance attribute that occurs during cooling of the system by the cooling system; and
    iv) a sensor for detecting at least one performance attribute that occurs during control of the system by the control system;
    the at least one sensor providing signals to electronic hardware;
    f) installing a second system control board comprising electronic hardware to replace the first system control board,
    wherein the electronic hardware is configured to perform data analysis on the time-stamped signals derive to detecting and recording specified undesirable performance of the dispensing system; and a controller in operational control communication with at least the electromechanical system control component for assisting in composition moving and the electrical input system for providing power to the composition moving system(s), chilling system(s), cooling system and system control component, and wherein
    the controller is configured to automatically receive the at least one performance attributes and send command signals to at least the electromechanical system control component for assisting in composition moving or the electrical input system for providing power to the composition moving system(s), chilling system(s), cooling system and system control component to alter performance of the electromechanical system control component for assisting in composition moving or the electrical input system for providing power to the composition moving system(s), chilling system(s), cooling system.
  19. 19. The process of claim 18 wherein further additional components are installed in the first dispensing system, the additional components selected from the group consisting of a display module with circuit board, barrel monitor circuit board, at least one temperature probe, a current transformer and a pressure transducer.
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US20160278401A1 (en) * 2013-10-30 2016-09-29 Nestec S.A. Machine and system for preparing a cooled food product with aerated or whipped texture in controlled manner
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US20160205966A1 (en) * 2015-01-16 2016-07-21 Ali S.P.A. - Carpigiani Group Machine and method for making liquid or semi-liquid products
US9738505B2 (en) 2016-01-05 2017-08-22 Cleland Sales Corporation Preferential distribution of cooling capacity
US9440839B1 (en) 2016-01-05 2016-09-13 Cleland Sales Corporation Preferential distribution of cooling capacity
WO2018009640A1 (en) * 2016-07-06 2018-01-11 Carrier Commercial Refrigeration, Inc. Product dispensing machine

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