Dishwashing member for a granule dishwasher
AREA OF INVENTION
The present invention relates to a dishwashing member, and more specifically to a dishwashing member for granule dishwasher machines .
BACKGROUND OF INVENTION Granule dishwasher units or granule potwasher units are known per se. These dishwasher units use specially designed plastic granules or the like that are thrown with high impact together with a clean liquid and/or water towards the dish to be cleanded in order to clean the dish. EP-Bl-O 169 847 discloses such an apparatus and method.
Before the first use, the granule dishwasher machine is filled with an amount of the plastic granules. While the dishwasher machine is used, the plastic granules are exposed to wear and small pieces of the plastic granules will wear off. As a result, the amount of granules decreases and the washing effect deteriorates .
With maintenance of the granule dishwasher machines, granules may be added continuously or at frequent intervals. This may take place when the granule dishwasher machine is located in institutional kitchens, such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes etc., where the staff handling the dishwasher machine is experienced and competent .
Another group of granule dishwasher machine users are restaurants. Granule dishwasher machines used in restaurants may in many instances be not very well maintained, due to both the lack of experience and competence of the staff, but also due to the usage pattern of the granule dishwasher machines. The granule dishwasher machines in restaurants are sometimes used throughout the
day, seven days a week, whereas the granule dishwasher machines in institutional kitchens may be used once or twice a day, five days a week. In restaurants, the staff often dishes the dish twice in the granule dishwasher machine when the dishwashing efficiency deteriorates.
The user may use the granule collector/collectors for checking the amount of plastic granules left, if the user has installed a granule collector. Not every user has, however, invested in a granule collector or uses it, and need for that reason a tool for the indication of the plastic granule wear.
SUMMARY OF INVENTION
Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to mitigate, alleviate or eliminate one or more of the above- identified deficiencies and disadvantages singly or in any combination.
According to an aspect, there is provided a dishwashing member for a granule dishwasher machine comprising plastic granules, wherein the dishwashing member comprises wear indicators providing wear information of the plastic granules .
The information of the indicators may provide information about when to refill plastic granules into the granule dishwasher. In an embodiment, the wear indicators are formed by first and a second set of plastic granules. The first and the second set of plastic granules may have different physical characteristics, such as color, weight, plastic parts, wear resistance. The first and the second sets of plastic granules may comprise a filling material, wherein the filling material of the second set of plastic granules may be different from the filling material of the first set of plastic granules. The filling material may be a material selected from the group comprising: plastic, glass, glass beads, dishwashing detergent or any other suitable filling
material. The first set of plastic granules may be provided with a different color than the second set of plastic granules. The first set of plastic granules may be made of a single plastic material. The second set of plastic granules may comprise a core and a coating surrounding the core, and where the core and the coating may have different colours. The material of the coating may be less wear resistant than the material of the core. The first set of plastic granules and the core of the second set of plastic granules are made of the same plastic material.
In another aspect, there is provided a method of indicating the wear of plastic granules in a granule dishwasher machine, using of a dishwashing member as described above.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Further objects, features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of embodiments of the invention with reference to the drawings, in which:
Fig. 1 is a block diagram of a first embodiment of the invention.
Fig. 2 is a diagram similar to Fig. 1 of a second embodiment of the invention. Fig. 3 is a diagram similar to Fig. 1 of a third embodiment of the invention.
Fig. 4 is a diagram similar to Fig. 1 of a fourth embodiment of the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS
The principles of granule dishwashing or pot washing are based on washing using specially developed plastic granules with water and detergent. Before use, plastic granules are provided into the dishwasher machine; detergent is provided as a detergent dispenser dispensing
detergent as the need arises; and water is supplied via water pipes connected to the dishwasher. A forceful flow of water and plastic granules is diverted at high pressure over the pots through specially designed nozzles. When the plastic granules impact burnt and dried up food remains at high speed, the pots are literally scoured clean. This scouring action guarantees truly clean pots and pans. Food remains vanish without soaking or scrubbing by hand. After the mechanical treatment with the plastic granules, a washing cycle with only water follows. During the water flushing any remaining granules are rinsed off the pots and the pans.
The washing cycle ends with a final rinse with clean water. The final rinse may take place at a high temperature. The time, flow and temperature of the rinse water are controlled to ensure a hygienic result.
Depending on the amount of remaining plastic granules and the supplied detergent, the quality or the efficiency of the dishwashing varies. The plastic granules are mechanically worn during the use, and after roughly 2000-
2500 dishes, the amount of granules may be reduced by up to 30%.
To provide the user of the granule dishwasher with information of the plastic granule wear and to inform the user about the need of refilling plastic granules into the granule dishwasher, the plastic granules are arranged with wear indicators, which will be explained below.
The granules or the granule components are made of an acetal polymer, POM, polyoxymethylenoxide . This material has been approved for use in connection with food and is not dangerous if ingested. Other plastic materials can also be used as the granule component as long as the material has been approved for use in connection with food and the material is not dangerous to man. The plastic granules have been developed to have the right shape and to be
sufficiently hard to remove all 'food remains effectively at the same time as being sufficiently soft so that they do not damage the dishes.
The granule wear indicator can be arranged in various forms, but the color of the plastic granules may be used as wear indicator. By having two sets of plastic granules filled into the granule dishwasher, the two sets of plastic granules can be colored differently and having different physical characteristics, plastic material, weight, plastic parts, wear resistance, etc. so that the two sets of plastic granules are worn differently, thus being an indicator of the plastic granule wear.
In a first embodiment shown in Fig. 1, the first set 12 of plastic granules, contained in a dishwasher machine 10, can e.g. be colored with a light blue color and the second set 11 of plastic granules can be colored with a dark blue color. Furthermore, the first set of plastic granules is made of a more wear-resistant plastic material than the second set of plastic granules. Thus, the dark blue colored plastic granules 11 will be worn faster and the user can easily use the relative amount of the two sets of colored plastic granules as the wear indicator of the plastic granules.
Accordingly, the relative amount of the two sets of colored plastic granules is an indication of the need to refill plastic granules. The refill of plastic granules is typically made of both the first and the second set of plastic granules, but adding relatively more of the dark blue colored plastic granules to restore the equal amount of the two sets of plastic granules. Only the second set of plastic granules, the dark blue colored granules, can also be refilled, but eventually the total amount of plastic granules will be lowered to a level where the efficiency of the plastic granules is too low.
The two sets of plastic granules can also be formed differently in such a way that the first set of plastic granules comprises a filling material, and the second set of plastic granules do not comprise a filling material or that the filling material of the two sets of plastic granules is not the same. The filling material can be any material from the group: plastic, glass, glass beads, dishwashing detergent or any other suitable filling material . The plastic granules can also be formed so that the filling material actually is a core of the plastic granule of a first color, which is surrounded by a coating, said coating having a second color different from the first color. The core and coating can either be made of the same plastic material or by different plastic materials. Any other combination of the above-mentioned embodiments is also possible.
The color of the plastic granules is not limited to the exemplified color, but can be any suitable color that easily provides an operator of the granule dishwasher with the best indication of the plastic granule wear.
The invention is not limited to the embodiments described above and shown on the drawings, but can be supplemented and modified in any manner within the scope of the invention as defined by the enclosed claims.