Patent Number: 6,168,370

Title: Vacuum module for tortilla counter-stacker

Abstract: A counter-stacker (10) for tortillas includes a housing (12), a perforated belt (16) within the housing (12), the perforated belt (16) adapted and arranged to receive incoming tortillas (42) and form vacuum-lifted tortillas (42A). At least one stacker belt (26) is rotatably mounted within the housing (12). A vacuum housing (28) is sealably mounted to the housing (12), the vacuum housing (28) connected to a means of producing vacuum (30). At least one stacker canister (32) is positioned under a rear end of the perforated belt (16). A bottom perforated plate (36A) has a plurality of bottom perforated plate openings (36AA) therethrough positioned within the perforated belt (16). A top perforated plate (36B) is slidably positioned on top of the bottom perforated plate (36A), the top perforated plate (36B) comprising a plurality of complimentary positioned top perforated plate openings (36BA). At least one actuator (38C) is connected to the top perforated plate (36B), such that when the at least one actuator (38C) shifts position of the top perforated plate (36B) and concurrently the plurality of bottom perforated plate openings (36AA) and the plurality of top perforated plate openings (36BA) are misaligned causing no vacuum ingress in the vacuum housing (28), allowing the vacuum-lifted tortillas (42A) to fall into the at least one stacker canister (32).

Inventors: Longoria; Jose L. (Plainview, TX), Kenison; Steven M. (Plainview, TX)

Assignee: ITE, Inc.

International Classification: A21C 9/00 (20060101); A21C 9/08 (20060101); B65G 21/20 (20060101); B65G 57/03 (20060101); B65G 57/11 (20060101); B65G 57/02 (20060101); B65H 029/32 (); B65G 057/04 ()

Expiration Date: 01/02/2018