US Pat. No. 9,179,505

OPTIMIZED MOTION AND LOCATION OF INTENSE MICROWAVE FIELDS WITHIN A HEATING SYSTEM

Microwave Materials Techn...

1. A variable phase short circuit device for use in a microwave heating system, said device comprising:
a fixed section defining a first substantially rectangular opening; and
a rotatable section comprising a housing and a plurality of spaced-apart, substantially parallel plates received in said housing,
wherein said housing comprises opposite first and second ends, wherein said first end defines a second opening adjacent to
said first opening of said fixed section, wherein each of said plates is coupled to said second end of said housing and extends
generally toward said first and said second openings,

wherein said rotatable section is configured to be rotated relative to said fixed section on an axis of rotation that extends
through said first and said second openings.

US Pat. No. 9,357,589

COMMERCIAL SCALE MICROWAVE HEATING SYSTEM

Microwave Materials Techn...

1. A continuous process for heating a plurality of articles in a microwave heating system, said process comprising:
(a) securing said plurality of articles in a plurality of individual carriers;
(b) thermalizing said articles in said carriers in a thermalization zone to thereby provide a plurality of thermalized articles
having a substantially uniform temperature;

(c) before or after said thermalizing of step (b), passing said plurality of articles in said carriers through a pressure
adjustment zone in a discontinuous fashion to increase the pressure around said articles to an elevated pressure that is at
least 5 psig;

(d) heating said thermalized articles in said carriers in a microwave heating zone maintained at or above said elevated pressure
to thereby increase the average temperature of each article by at least 50° C., wherein at least a portion of said heating
is carried out at a heating rate of at least 25° C. per minute, wherein said articles are submerged in a liquid medium during
said heating of step (d); and

(e) cooling the heated articles in said carriers in a quench zone,
wherein said articles are passed through each of said thermalization zone, said microwave heating zone, and said quench zone
via one or more conveyance systems, wherein said microwave heating system has an overall production rate of at least 20 packages
per minute per convey line.

US Pat. No. 9,357,590

MICROWAVE HEATING SYSTEM WITH ENHANCED TEMPERATURE CONTROL

Microwave Materials Techn...

1. A process for heating a plurality of articles in a microwave heating system, said process comprising:
(a) passing said articles through a pressurized microwave chamber via a conveyance system, wherein said microwave chamber
is at least partly filled with a liquid medium and said articles are submerged in said liquid medium;

(b) generating microwave energy via one or more microwave generators;
(c) introducing at least a portion of said microwave energy into said microwave chamber via one or more microwave launchers;
(d) heating said articles in said microwave chamber using at least a portion of said microwave energy introduced therein;
and

(e) during at least a portion of said heating of step (d), agitating at least a portion of said liquid medium within said
microwave chamber, wherein said agitating includes discharging a plurality of jets of said liquid medium toward said articles
at multiple locations within said microwave chamber, wherein each of said lets of said liquid medium has a Reynolds number
of at least 4,500.

US Pat. No. 9,271,338

PRESSURIZED HEATING SYSTEM WITH ENHANCED PRESSURE LOCKS

Microwave Materials Techn...

1. A microwave heating system for heating a plurality of articles, said microwave heating system comprising:
a liquid-filled thermalization chamber;
a liquid-filled microwave chamber, wherein said microwave chamber is configured to operate at a higher pressure than said
thermalization chamber; and

a pressure lock system disposed between said thermalization chamber and said microwave chamber,
wherein said pressure lock system comprises a pressure adjustment chamber, a first locking gate valve, and a second locking
gate valve,

wherein said first locking gate valve is coupled between said thermalization chamber and said pressure adjustment chamber,
wherein said second locking gate valve is coupled between said pressure adjustment chamber and said microwave chamber.

US Pat. No. 9,370,052

OPTIMIZED ALLOCATION OF MICROWAVE POWER IN MULTI-LAUNCHER SYSTEMS

Microwave Materials Techn...

1. A microwave system for heating a plurality of articles, said system comprising:
at least one microwave generator for generating microwave energy;
a microwave chamber;
a conveyance system for conveying said articles through said microwave chamber; and
a microwave distribution system for directing at least a portion of said microwave energy from said microwave generator to
said microwave chamber,

wherein said microwave distribution system comprises
a microwave distribution manifold,
n microwave launchers serially connected to said microwave distribution manifold along the length of said microwave distribution
manifold and operable to discharge microwave energy into said microwave chamber, wherein n is at least three,

(n?1) microwave allocation devices connected to said distribution manifold along the length of said microwave distribution
manifold and each configured to divide microwave energy received from said distribution manifold into a launch fraction to
be discharged into said microwave chamber by an associated one of said microwave launchers and a distribution fraction that
continues to pass through said distribution manifold toward the next microwave launcher, wherein each microwave allocation
device comprises at least one inductive iris,

wherein at least one of said microwave allocation devices is configured to divide said microwave energy according to an unequal
predetermined power ratio,

wherein at least one of said microwave allocation devices is configured to divide said microwave energy according to a substantially
equal predetermined power ratio.

US Pat. No. 9,066,376

LOCKING GATE DEVICE

Microwave Materials Techn...

1. A locking gate device comprising:
a pair of spaced apart fixed members presenting opposing sealing surfaces and defining a gate-receiving space between said
sealing surfaces, wherein each of said fixed members defines a flow-through opening circumscribed by one of said sealing surfaces,
wherein said flow-through openings are substantially aligned with one another,

wherein a first of said fixed members defines a first of said flow-through openings, and wherein said first flow-through opening
separates a first pressurized zone from said gate receiving space,

wherein a second of said fixed members defines a second of said flow-through openings, and wherein said second flow-through
opening separates a second pressurized zone from said gate receiving space;

a gate assembly shiftable within said gate-receiving space between a closed position where said gate assembly substantially
blocks said flow-through openings and an open position where said gate assembly does not substantially block said flow-through
openings,

wherein said gate assembly comprises a pair of spaced apart sealing plates and a drive member disposed between said sealing
plates, wherein when said gate assembly is in said closed position said drive member is shiftable relative to said sealing
plates between a retracted position and an extended position,

wherein said gate assembly further comprises at least one pair of bearings disposed between said sealing plates, wherein shifting
of said drive member from said retracted position to said extended position causes said bearings to force said sealing plates
apart from one another and into a sealed position where said sealing plates engage said opposing sealing surfaces, wherein
shifting of said drive member from said extended position to said retracted position allows said sealing plates to retract
towards one another and into an unsealed position where said sealing plates are disengaged from said opposing sealing surfaces;

an equilibration valve configured to selectively connect, via a fluid connection, said first pressurized zone and said second
pressurized zone and operable to equalize pressures between said first and second pressurized zones while said gate assembly
is in said sealed position; and

a separate one-way valve located between said first pressurized zone and said gate receiving space or between said gate-receiving
space and said second pressurized zone, wherein said one-way valve is operable to prevent substantial transfer of incompressible
fluids between said first pressurized zone and said second pressurized zone when said gate assembly is in said open position.

US Pat. No. 9,642,195

ENHANCED MICROWAVE SYSTEM UTILIZING TILTED LAUNCHERS

Microwave Materials Techn...

1. A microwave system for heating a plurality of articles, said system comprising:
a microwave chamber configured to receive said articles, wherein said microwave chamber defines a central axis of elongation;
a conveyance system for transporting said articles through said microwave chamber along a convey axis;
a first microwave launcher defining at least one launch opening for discharging microwave energy into said microwave chamber;
and

a substantially microwave-transparent window presenting a first lower edge, a second lower edge, and a chamber-side surface
extending between said first lower edge and said second lower edge, wherein said window covers said launch opening in order
to create an interface between said microwave chamber and said microwave launcher,

wherein said microwave chamber includes a first chamber wall segment and a second chamber wall segment at least a portion
of which is spaced apart from said first chamber wall segment in the direction of extension of said convey axis thereby forming
an opening between said first chamber wall segment and said second chamber wall segment, wherein said window is at least partially
disposed in said opening,

wherein said first chamber wall segment presents a first internal chamber surface and said second chamber wall segment presents
a second internal chamber surface, wherein at least a portion of said chamber-side surface of said window is located at a
different vertical elevation than said first and second internal chamber surfaces and wherein at least 50 percent of the total
surface area of said chamber-side surface of said window is oriented at a tilt angle of at least 2° from the central axis
of elongation of said microwave chamber.

US Pat. No. 9,301,345

DETERMINATION OF A HEATING PROFILE FOR A LARGE-SCALE MICROWAVE HEATING SYSTEM

Microwave Materials Techn...

1. A method for heating a plurality of articles, said method comprising:
(a) heating a first test article in a small-scale microwave heating system while conveying said first test article through
a water-filled, small-scale microwave chamber having a total internal volume of less than 50 cubic feet, wherein at least
a portion of said heating of step (a) is accomplished using microwave energy;

(b) determining a first prescribed heating profile based on said heating of step (a), wherein said prescribed heating profile
comprises at least one value for one or more microwave system parameters selected from the group consisting of net power discharged
into said chamber, sequential microwave power distribution, average temperature of the water in said microwave chamber, flow
rate of the water in said microwave chamber, and residence time of said article in said microwave chamber; and

(c) heating a plurality of first commercial articles in a large-scale microwave heating system while conveying said first
commercial articles through a water-filled, large-scale microwave chamber having a total internal volume of at least 250 cubic
feet, wherein at least a portion of said heating of step (c) is accomplished using microwave energy, wherein each of said
first commercial articles is substantially similar in size and composition to said first test article, wherein said heating
of step (c) is controlled in accordance with said first prescribed heating profile determined in step (b).

US Pat. No. 9,622,298

MICROWAVE LAUNCHERS PROVIDING ENHANCED FIELD UNIFORMITY

Microwave Materials Techn...

1. A microwave system for heating a plurality of articles, said microwave system comprising:
a microwave generator for generating microwave energy having a predominant wavelength (?);
a pressurized microwave chamber including a chamber sidewall that defines an internal volume, wherein at least a portion of
said internal volume of said microwave chamber is configured to receive said articles when said internal volume of said microwave
chamber is at a pressure of at least 5 psig;

a conveyance system for conveying said articles through said internal volume of said microwave chamber along a convey axis;
a first microwave launcher for launching at least a portion of said microwave energy into said microwave chamber and toward
said articles along a first central launch axis; and

a microwave-transparent window disposed between said first microwave launcher and said internal volume of said microwave chamber
for substantially preventing fluid flow between said internal volume of said microwave chamber and said first microwave launcher
while permitting at least a portion of said microwave energy to pass therethrough, wherein said window defines a chamber-side
surface, and wherein said chamber-side surface of said window defines at least a portion of said sidewall of said microwave
chamber,

wherein a first launch tilt angle in the range 0° to 15° is defined between said first central launch axis and a plane normal
to said convey axis,

wherein said first microwave launcher comprises at least one dividing septum disposed within the interior region said microwave
launcher,

wherein said first microwave launcher defines at least one launch opening having a width (W1) and a depth (D1),

wherein W1 is greater than D1,

wherein D1 is not more than 0.625?,

wherein said launch opening is elongated in the direction of extension of said convey axis.

US Pat. No. 9,980,325

ENHANCED CONTROL OF A MICROWAVE HEATING SYSTEM

Microwave Materials Techn...

1. A method for controlling a microwave heating system, said method comprising:(a) generating microwave energy using one or more microwave generators;
(b) passing a plurality of articles through a microwave chamber via a conveyance system, wherein at least 50 percent of the volume of said microwave chamber is filled with an incompressible liquid comprising water, and wherein said articles are at least partially submerged in said incompressible liquid during said passing of said articles through said microwave chamber;
(c) directing at least a portion of said microwave energy into said microwave chamber via two or more microwave launchers to thereby heat at least a portion of said articles;
(d) during at least a portion of steps (a) through (c), operating said microwave heating system according to a prescribed heating profile suitable for heating said articles, wherein said operating includes determining a value for at least one microwave system parameter to thereby provide a measured parameter value, wherein said determining is performed by measuring said value for said microwave system parameter with an automatic control system, wherein said prescribed heating profile has been obtained prior to step (a) by performing the following steps in a small-scale microwave heating system—
(i) loading at least one of said articles into a small-scale heating chamber of said small-scale microwave heating system;
(ii) heating said articles in said small-scale heating chamber by introducing microwave energy into said small-scale heating chamber; and
(iii) determining said prescribed heating profile based on said heating of step (ii), wherein said prescribed heating profile includes a predetermined target value for said microwave system parameter;
(e) comparing said measured parameter value measured during said operating of step (d) with said predetermined target value for said microwave system parameter in said prescribed heating profile to determine a difference, wherein said comparing is performed by said automatic control system; and
(f) when said difference determined by said automatic control system in step (e) exceeds a predetermined maximum difference, taking an action with regard to said microwave heating system,
wherein said microwave system parameter is selected from the group consisting of net microwave power, temperature of said incompressible liquid in said microwave chamber, flow rate of said incompressible liquid through said microwave chamber, and conveyance system speed, and
wherein said action taken in step (f) is selected from the group consisting of stopping said conveyance system, turning off one or more of said generators, increasing or decreasing the output of one or more of said generators, and removing or isolating or re-running or disposing of at least a portion of said articles that were passing through said microwave chamber when said difference determined in step (e) exceeded said predetermined maximum difference.

US Pat. No. 10,798,790

ENHANCED MICROWAVE SYSTEM UTILIZING TILTED LAUNCHERS

Microwave Materials Techn...

1. A microwave system for heating a plurality of articles, said system comprising:a microwave chamber configured to receive said articles;
a conveyance system for transporting said articles through said microwave chamber along a convey axis;
an upper microwave launcher configured to propagate microwave energy into said microwave chamber along a first central launch axis, wherein said upper microwave launcher is positioned above said convey line and configured to direct microwave energy downwardly toward said articles on said convey line; and
a lower microwave launcher configured to propagate microwave energy into said microwave chamber along a second central launch axis, wherein said lower microwave launcher is positioned below said convey line and configured to direct microwave energy upwardly toward said articles on said convey line,
wherein said upper and said lower microwave launchers are positioned on the opposite sides of said microwave chamber, wherein said upper microwave launcher is tilted such that a first launch tilt angle of at least 2° and not more than 15° is defined between said first central launch axis and a plane normal to said convey axis and wherein said lower microwave launcher is tilted such that a second launch tilt angle of at least 2° and not more than 15° is defined between said second central launch axis and a plane normal to said convey axis.