The international patent application, filed by Tetra Pak owner Tetra Laval Holdings and Finance in April 2014, details technology with an electromagnetic drive system for inserting sticks into frozen ice cream.
Pneumatic linear actuators, a component that converts energy into mechanical motion, are typically employed to drive ice cream sticks into partially frozen ice cream.
"Some known problems are related to the use of such stick inserters," said the Tetra Laval patent application, which was published online earlier this month.
Machines that use pneumatic linear actuators, according to Tetra Laval, are noisy, consume "relatively large amounts" of energy, and have a limited lifespan - typically lasting between two weeks and six months.
The speed of stick insertion - around 150 sticks per minute - is also "limited," said the application.
The patent-pending Tetra Laval's stick inserter with electromagnetic drive system, the brainchild of Danish inventors Flemming Kirkeby and Lars Greve Brix Christiansen, "overcomes, or at least mitigates, one or more of the above identified problem," it claims.
“Driving the linear actuator by means of an alternating electromagnetic field allows for a fast and less noisy operation of the linear actuator than for similar pneumatic systems known in the art."
"The speed of the stick can be increased by at least a factor of two or three compared to pneumatic actuators and the noise level is expected to be reduced by approximately 1dB.”
In addition, the expected lifetime of the Tetra Laval electromagnetic field-driven linear actuator is "significantly longer" than a pneumatic actuator.
Energy consumption is also "up to 90%" lower, it claims.
The Tetra Laval stick inserter with electromagnetic drive system is comprised of a pusher guide (3, above), which is deigned to hold a pile of ice cream sticks (8) and guide them into the frozen ice cream (17).
When the pusher plate move in one direction, it pushes an ice cream stick out of the pile out of the pusher guide. When it moves the opposite way the next ice cream stick moves into position.
A linear actuator (12), driven by an alternating electromagnetic field, produces these motions.
Source: WPO Publication No: WO/2014/161894
Published: 9/10/2014 Filed: 2/2/2014
Title: Stick inserter with electromagnetic drive system
Authors: Tetra Laval Holdings and Finance - Flemming Kirkeby, Lars Greve Brix Christiansen