US 3083875 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
A ril 2, 1963 F. WELTY ETAL 3,083,875
APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING AND DISPENSING BEVERAGES OR THE LIKE Filed Jan. 12, 1959 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 43 as 28 2e I Y 5o -25 22 X40 ill? l8 I6 20 FRANK WELTY FIG, I BY RAYMOND warty April 2", 1963 F. WELTY ET'AL APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING AND DISPENSING BEVERAGES OR THE LIKE Filed. Jan. 12 1959 3' Sheets-Sheet 2 m mmv m 4 3 2 4 a a 0 a? 4 l O 6M 5 1 7 O a 5 5 5 5 5 FIG. 2
INVENTORS FRANK WELTY RAYMOND WELTY FIG. 7
875 APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING AND DISPENSING BEVERAGES OR THE LIKE Filed Jan. 12, 1959 April 2, 1963 F. WELTY ETAL 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 FIG. 3
IN VENTOR S FRANK WELTY RAYMOND WELTY BY 4? ATTO EY United? rates Patent 9 3,083,375 APPARATUS Fill? PAKAGKNG AND DISPENSHI G BEVERAGES OR THE LIKE Frank Weity, 4962 Lockwood Blvd, and Raymond B. Weity, 4367 Lake Road, both of Youngstown, Dino Filed Dian. 12, 195?, Ser. No. 786,422 13 Claims. (Cl. 222-95) The present invention relates generally to the packaging and dispensing arts and has its overall or ultimate object the provision of new and improved methods and apparatus for the packaging and dispensing of beverages or the like. The method and apparatus of the present invention are ideally suited for packaging and dispensing fountain beverages, both carbonated and non-carbonated, but it should be understood from the outset that the teachings of the invention are equally applicable in the packaging and dispensing of other fluids, such as paints, food products, insecticides or the like, for example, as will be apparent to those skilled in these particular arts upon consideration of the following detailed specification and accompanying drawing.
In the dispensing of fountain beverages it is common practice to package the beverages at a plant in suitable containers which are then shipped to the point of ultimate use. At the point of ultimate use a container is connected in a dispensing system which may comprise a source of pressurized expelling gas, cooling apparatus and a dispensing valve or faucet. Thus, upon proper manipulation of the dispensing valve, the beverage is forced from the container by the pressurized expelling gas up through a dip tube extending into the interior of the container and out through the dispensing valve into a glass for consumption. Lately, it has been suggested to employ Freon-type expellants whereby the beverage in the container can be pressurized at the plant by introducing such an expellant into the container during the filling operation. In this manner it is possible to eliminate the source of pressurized expelling gas from the dispensing system.
Although the above described systems and the component parts thereof are well known in the art they are characterized by many inherent defects which adversely affect the quality of the dispensed beverage. For example, in a dispensing system employing a source of pressurized expelling gas it is often very diflicult and, in some cases impossible, to clean the conduits and supply lines interconnecting the source of the pressurized expelling gas and the container. After a short period of time these lines become dirty and the growth of bacteria therein serves to contaminate the beverage. -A contaminated and highly unhealthful beverage is thus dispensed even though the utmost care has been taken in packaging the beverage at the plant and the dispensing lines and conduits leading from the container to the dispensing valve and the dispensing valve itself are cleaned regularly. Further, the expellant, if not properly chosen, will react with the beverage to contaminate and/or make the same unpalatable. This is particularly true in the case of a carbonated beverage where the beverage must be maintained under sufficient pressure at all times over a Wide temperature range without contaminating or afiecting the taste thereof.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide method and apparatus for packaging and dispensing fountain beverages and the like wherein the beverages may be dispensed at the point of ultimate use in a highly palatable and uncontaminated condition.
Another object of the present invention is to provide method and apparatus for the packaging and dispensing of beverages or the like which are characterized by their ice extreme simplicity, low cost of construction and utilization, inherent safety and which will provide an uncontaminated and highly palatable drink.
A further object of the invention is to provide method and apparatus for the packaging and dispensing of beverages and the like wherein the expellant is never in contact with the beverage or the like which is to be dispensed. In accordance with this object of the invention, there is provided within the beverage container a thin collapsible bag that holds the beverage and which forms, in essence, a pressure exchange membrane. The pressurized expelling gas is introduced in the space between the container and the thin collapsible bag and is never in contact with the beverage. In this manner, any expellant can be employed, including air.
Yet a further object of the invention is to provide a thin collapsible bag for holding the beverage which is of greater capacity than the size of the container. By employing a collapsible bag which is of larger capacity than the container it is impossible to entrap pockets of the beverage or the expelling gas during dispensing operations. The arrangement is such that the expellant is al ways in the upper portion of the container regardless of the amount of beverage remaining in the container. As the beverage is dispensed through the dip tube the pressure of the expellant causes the collapsible bag to progressively collapse around the dip tube whereby the pressure is always exerted on the mass of the beverage remaining in the container.
Still another object of the invention resides in the provision of a highly simplified and new and novel shut oif valve means for automatically blocking the end of the dip tube when the container is emptied or if the collapsible bag happens to break or rupture during dispensing operations. Such shut off valve means, as will hereinafter more fully be explained, comprises a short tubular section of easily deformable material carried on the end of the dip tube which is adapted to be collapsed by the pressure exerted by the .expellant if and when the open end thereof is blocked by the collapsible bag. In accordance with this object of the invention, the collapsible bag is fabricated from material which is of less density than the beverage whereby the same will float upwardly toward the level of the beverage if the collapsible bag happens to break or is ruptured. Such an arrangement automatically prevents the supply lines and conduits of the dispensing system from being filled with a contaminated beverage or the expelling gas if the collapsible bag breaks and prevents the collapsible bag from being sucked up into the dip tube when the beverage is entirely dispensed from the container.
Still another object of the invention is to provide method and apparatus for packaging and dispensing beverages wherein improved means are employed for holding the collapsible bag to the dip tube. The collapsible bag may be made from a single sheet of plastic in a pillow-like shape and has a properly shaped resilient washer welded or otherwise joined thereto to form the opening into the center thereof. This washer has an inwardly tapering and downwardly depending neck portion and the arrangement is such that it is only necessary to insert the washer over the end of the dip tube and slidably move the same therealong to place the collapsible bag in operative relation with respect to the dip tube. Due to the fact that the collapsible bags are very inexpensive it is contemplated that a collapsible bag will be removed and discarded after use whereby only the dip tube and closure cap need be cleaned prior to refilling. When the beverage is contained in the collapsible bag it is not necessary to clean the container prior to reuse since the beverage never comes in contact therewith. As will be hereinafter more fully apparent, the removal and replacement have an appreciably smaller thickness dimension. Thus, the ends of the leg portions are easily flexed into sealing contact with the cover disc 26 and the sealing surface 24 but yet the annular gasket 27 has sufiicient body to retain its original shape upon continued usage. For reasons to be later explained, the vertical off-set distance of the downwardly sloping portions 33 of the flanges 31 with respect to the horizontally extending portions 32 must be equal to the vertical distance required to move the sealing gasket 27 whereby its leg portion 35 clears the sealing surface 24. It is preferred that the sealing gasket be molded or otherwise formed from a resilient and easily deformable plastic material or the like.
The center portion 28 of the cover disc 26 is centrally apertured at 38 and received within the aperture is a generally cylindrical fitting 39. The cylindrical fitting 39 is provided with a mushroom-shaped head 40 and is machine-d to provide screw threads 41 about its outer periphery. A resilient washer 42 is disposed between the mushroom-shaped head 40 and the underside of the cover disc and the cylindrical fitting is held in assembled relation with respect to the cover disc by means of a threaded clamping nut 43 that is threadably received on the screw threads 41. The annular washer ll provides a fluid tight seal between the cylindrical fitting 39 and the cover disc 26 as is readily apparent.
The upper end of the cylindrical fitting 39 is tapped or counterbored to define an annular shoulder or ledge 44 that serves as a supporting surface for an annular and resilient -ring 4:5. Disposed in sealing relation over the O-ring 45 is the outwardly flaring upper end portion 46 of a dip tube 47 forming a portion of the dip tube assembly 15. The dip tube is an elongated tubular memher which extends downwardly through \the cylindrical fitting into the interior of the bevenage container to a point spaced at short distance above the bottom of the sump 263 provided in the bottom of the beverage container. The lower end portion 48 of the dip tube is of slightly reduced diameter and received over this lower end portion is a short length of tubing or sleeve 49 of highly resilient and easily deformable material that extends a substantial distance below the end of the dip tube to a point closely adiacent, but spaced from, the bottom of the sump 2h. The dip tube 47 is made from a relatively hard material, such as nylon, for example while the sleeve 49 is easily deformable and is adapted to be easily collapsed. The dip tube provides a means for filling or evacuating the beverage from the interior of the beverage container and the collapsible sleeve 49 provides automatic shut-off valve means in a manner that will be hereinafter more fully described.
Slidably received over the dip tube 47 is a Washer 59 which has welded or otherwise attached thereto the side edges of an opening in the collapsible bag 16. The washer Ed is shown in detail in FIGURE 6 of the drawing and has a generally annular body portion 52 and a downwardly extending neck portion 53. The washer Ed is preferably molded from relatively rigid resilient plastic material and it will be noted that the internal opening in the neck portion 53 is of greater diameter at the top thereof than at the bottom thereof. In accordance with the teachings of the present invention, the internal diameter of the washer 50 in the body portion thereof corresponds to the outer diameter of the dip tube 4-7 while the internal cylindrical surface of the neck portion tapers inwardly at a slight angle, eight degrees, for example, so that the opening at the bottom of the neck portion is of less diameter than the outer diameter of the dip tube. When the washer is slidably received over the lower end of the dip tube 47 however, the bottom portion of the side wall of the neck portion will be caused to expand. Thus, when the Washer is finally positioned on the dip tube at a point closely adjacent the cover disc as is shown in FIG- URES 1 and 2 of the drawing, the inherent resiliency of the expanded bottom portion of the side wall of the neck portion 53 will elfect a fluid tight seal between the dip tube 47 and the washer 5i In this manner of construction a Washer and the collapsible bag 16 carried thereby can be removed and replaced by another washer and collapsible bag in a minimum of time and with a minimum of effort while yet providing the requisite fluid tight seal between the washer and the dip tube. All that is necessary to remove and/ or replace the washer and the collapsible bag is to slidably move the washer along the length of the dip tube.
The collapsible bag 16 is of the utmost importancein accomplishing the objects of the present invention. This bag forms, in essence, a removable and replaceable container for the beverage whereby it is impossible for the same to be contaminated and a pressure exchange membrane whereby the beverage can be forced out through the dip tube 47. The collapsible bag must be completely flexible-that is it should not have any inherent property of resiliency itself and must be capable of being flexed or collapsed to follow the confines of the dip tube and the mass of the beverage remaining to be dispensed. Also, the flexible bag must be of a capacity which is larger than the capacity of the beverage container 10. In other Words, the expanded volume capacity of the collapsible bag must be greater than the volume capacity of the beverage container. This condition is necessary in order to insure the proper dispensing of the beverage and to prevent the formation of pockets of the beverage or the expellant as will be hereinafter more fully explained. In addition to the above, the material from which the collapsible bag is made must be light enough in Weight (density) that the same will float with respect to the beverage being dispensed. This allows the easily collapsible resilient sleeve or tube 49 to serve as automatic shut-0E valve means when the collapsible bag breaks or the beverage is completely dispensed from the beverage container. Further, the material from which the collapsible bag is fabricated must be relatively strong, must be impermeable and must be inert so as not to react in any manner with the beverage being dispensed or the expellant. Any of a wide variety of plastic materials which meet the above requirements can be employed for making the collapsible bag as will be apparent to those skilled in the art. In summation, the requirements of the collapsible bag are that the same is extremely flexible, is of greater volume capacity than the beverage container, is of lighter density than the beverage being dispensed, is relatively thin, is strong, is impermeable and is chemically inert. Also, the collapsible bag should be characterized by its low cost since the same is adapted to be replaced each time the beverage container is re-used as will be further explained.
Although the collapsible bag may be made according to any desired technique or method, one preferred method is to take a thin rectangular sheet of plastic material and fold the same over double. The meeting edges of the folded sheet can then be welded, heat sealed or joined in any other expedient manner to form a pillow-like collapsible bag. An opening is then cut in one end of the collapsible bag and the washer 5% is positioned therein with the edges of the opening being firmly attached to the annular body portion 52 of the washer 50. A relatively inexpensive and highly simplified collapsible bag is provided which is entirely capable of performing its desired functions, In making the pillow-like collapsible bag it may be desirable to seal diagonally across the four corners thereof and remove these corners by cutting. This provides, in essence, a pillow-like collapsible bag which is generally elliptical in plan outline. In this manner the collapsible bag is better adapted to conform to the shape of the interior of the beverage container. Also, it is Within the purview of the present invention to make the collapsible bag from more than one thickness of plastic material. In the interest of complete impermeability it may be desirable to make the collapsible bag of two or more thicknesses ofplastic material whichare sealed to each other adjacent the openings therein. Forexarnple, one layer of the collapsible bag might be of polyethylene wh e t e e l m e mrr se a sh e of t e P asti M ar.
When the washer 50 is inserted over the. dip tube 57 into the position shown in FIGURE lot the drawing there areprovided a pair of expandable and .contractable chaine fthe re defih s by t ee ep ihl has an t e W s e 59 into Whieh th .dir t e t nd an ch is adapted to retain the beverage to bedispensed and the second defined by the spacebetweentbc internal side wall e the he et set hteihe d th en r u fa e o the ollaps l ba wh ch is p ovide o th l ah n this manner the beverage is completely separated from h eh ellant by mean of e e eps h e h s h s s as a p ess x ha m mb ane- AS t eht eh P eviou y. m unt d on e su e trh h e i h he era al mea s b ase al m an is hewh i th d aw n to he of t e q ie y d e hhe h ari hme ea i yp an mprises a valvehousing 55 which ispropcrly machined to the shape shown in thedrawing and is threadablvreceived on the upper portion of the cylindricalfixture 3 9. The valve housing is provided with a central bore and ree e withi h s hpre a s ati em ly 57 omp sed of generally cylindrical carrier 58,31 resilient ring 59 and an p-ringofi which form fluid tight seals between the flared end ifi of the dip tube 47. Also received within the central bore of the valve housing 55 is an operator assembly 61 which comprises a three -pronged vertically extendingstand .62 whose feet portions rest on the upper surface of the seating assembly. The stand .62 also guides the lower end of a vertically movable valve operator 6 3 that is biased upwardly by means of a compressionpeoil spring v5.4 extending from the stand to the enlargedheadof the operator 63. The enlarged head of the operator is provided with an .O-ring 65 and the springod biases the operator 63 upwardly whereby the O-ring 65 is normally maintained in fluid sealing relation with respect to the outwardly and downwardly tapering internal surface of thebore in the valve housing adjacent the tlpper end thereof. However, when a conduit having ,a male type of quick detachable valve fitting thereon, not shown, is coupledin operative relation with the beverage valve means 151- the operator 63 is depressed to provide afluid passageway through the bore in the valve housing, the central bore in the seating assembly 57 andthe dip tube 47 to the interior of the chamber defined by the collapsible plastic bag. vWhenever the male valve fitting is removed the springedwill force the operator upwardly to automatically seal off the above defined fluid passageway.
Mounted on the annular shoulder of the beverage container .10 is an externally threaded cylindrical valve fitting 6,6 .wbich,.in combination with a quicklydisconnectable automatic sealing type of valve 67, forms the expellant valve means :13. The construction off'the valve 67 is the same as the beverage valve means and to avoid unnecessary repetition in the specification the structure of this valve will not be described in detail. However, like reference numerals have been applied to like component parts of thesetwo valves. Thus, the valve 67 comprises generally a valve housing 55, a seating assembly 57 and an operator assembly 61 The arrangement is such that the lexpellant valve means provides a passageway into the chamber-between the collapsible bag and the principal wall portion of the beverage container.
Considering how the operationand use of the above deeeh'hes p ratus it w h esshmed at i is d a l to fill the beverage container with a beverage. Initially, the over cap will be rernoved and the collapsible bag will be inserted on the dip tube by sliding the wash-er 5.4) over the length of the dip tube. The expansion of the neck portion -52 ,o f the washer 50 willprovide afiuid tight seal between the washer and the dip tube whereby a fluid tightchamber defined by the collapsible bag is provided with an entrance thereinto provided by means of the dip tube. It will be noted that the insertion of the dip tube into the interior ofthe collapsible bag can be accomplished in a minimum of time, with a minimum of efiort and requires no special skills'or tools. i
With the closure structure thus assembled it is desired to place the collapsible bag and dip tube Within the beverage container and seal the large mouth opening therein. This is accomplished by first placing the annular gasket 2? in the large mouth opening so that the same rests on the sealing surface 24 defined by the outwardly flaring internal annular surface of the fiange portion 23. The dip tube and collapsible-bag are inserted into the interior of the beverage container and the cover disc 26 is positioned so that the three discontinuous locking elements 30 are disposed above the spaces between the radially projecting 'circumferentially extending spaced segmental flanges 31. Thecover disc can'then be lowered so that the discontinuous locking elements are disposed in a plane below the plane of the horizontally extending portions 32 of the flanges 31. The cover disc is not attached to the beverage container at this time and, of course no seal is effected between the annular gasket and the cover disc and the sealing surface.
To attach the cover disc to the beverage container the operator turns the cover disc in a clockwise direction until the same is tight whereby the discontinuouslocking elements ride under the horizontally extending portions 32, down the downwardly and steeply inclined portion 33 and along the downwardly sloping portions 3.4. As the discontinuous locking elements move under the horizontally extending portions 32 the required fluid tight seals are not efiected but vertical removal of the cover disc is prohibited. Then as the locking elements move down the steeply and downwardly inclined portions 33 and along the downwardly sloping portions 34 the cover disc is drawn downwardly with respect to the large mouth opening in the beverage container into sealing engagement with the annular gasket 27. Thus, the cover disc is attached to the beverage container-vertical removal is prohibited-prior to the sealing .of the large mouth opening. As thecover disc moves downwardly, the outer ht em 9 h leg p ti n 26 Q h eh h k .2 will-be forced outwardly thereby effecting a seal between this leg portion and the cover disc and the leg portion 35 and the sealing surface 24. It will be appreciated that theabove described apparatus and operation for closing the large mouth opening in the beverage container are characterized by their extreme simplicity. One inherent advantage of the closure structure is that the annular gasket need not be accurately positioned prior to the placement of the cover disc. All that is necessary is to place the annular gasket on the sealing surface 24 in approximate position and the cover disc will properly seat the annular gasket when the same is attached to the beverage container.
With the collapsible bag 16 and the dip tube assembly inserted within the beverage container andthe largem outh opening sealed by the closure structure the apparatusis ready for filling. As set forth at the very beginning of the specification, the beverage container may be used for packaging almost any type of fluid but is specifically adapted for use in the packaging and dispensing of .fountain beverages, either carbonated or non-carbonated. Since a carbonated beverage presents additional problems when compared to a non-carbonated beverage, it will be assumed that the prepared beverage container is to be filled with a carbonated beverage. However, the teachings are equally applicable to a non-carbonated beverage and anyother type of fluid as will be apparentto those skilled in the art.
To fill the beverage container with a carbonated beverage a conduit having a male valve fitting, not shown,
is attached to the valve 67 forming a part of the expellant valve means 13. This conduit may lead to suitable valve means, also not shown, whereby the entrapped air in the beverage container may be exhausted during the filling operation while yet maintaining a predetermined back pressure. A conduit leading from a source of carbonated beverage, not shown, is attached to the valve of the beverage valve means 14 and the beverage is caused to flow from the source thereof, through the valve housing 55 and down through the dip tube 47 into the collapsible bag 16. As soon as the back pressure builds up the collapsible bag 16 will be completely collapsed about the dip tube 47 and any beverage Within this bag. As the carbonated beverage issues from the dip tube the same will be received within the collapsible bag and the collapsible bag will expand to receive this beverage. Since the collapsible bag is lighter than the beverage, or conversely the beverage is heavier than the collapsible bag, the beverage will always be at the bottom of the beverage container but separated therefrom by the collapsible bag. In this manner it is impossible to entrap pockets of air between the beverage and the collapsible bag and the walls of the beverage container. The filling operation is continued until the beverage container is completely full and at this time the collapsible bag will have expanded to the shape or" and within the confines of the beverage container. At this time the volume of chamber defined by the collapsible bag will be substantially equal to the volume of the beverage container and the volume of the chamber defined by the space between the collapsible bag and the beverage container will be reduced to substantially zero.
As mentioned above, it is necessary that the collapsible bag be of greater volumetric capacity than the beverage container. This allows the collapsible bag to be filled to the entire capacity of the beverage container without any chance of rupturing or bursting the collapsible bag. Even it several folds of the collapsible bag are flattened against the principal wall portion of the beverage container during filling the collapsible bag can expand to the entire capacity of the beverage container. Due to the shape of the collapsible bag, the flexibility thereof, and its larger vo1 umetric capacity with respect to the volumetric capacity of the beverage containers, the collapsible bag readily and easily conforms to the shape of the beverage container filling operations. Thus, the beverage container may be filled without putting the weight or force of the beverage on the collapsible bag. Because no stress whatever is placed on the collapsible bag by the beverage in the beverage container the problem of bag breakage due to the force of the beverage is completely and effectively precluded. In this respect the teachings of the present invention differentiate from the prior art methods and apparatus where a resilient (as opposed to flexible and collapsible) bag and/ or a bag of smaller volumeric capacity that the bev erage container is employed. In prior art methods and apparatus the bag is subjected to the weight of the beverage and stressed thereby.
As will be understood, a carbonated beverage will lose its carbonation when discharged directly through a large opening at atmospheric pressure and for this reason the back pressure is utilized during filling. However, this is not absolutely necessary since, it no back pressure is employed, even though the carbonated beverage loses some of its carbonation during initial filling operations the liberated carbon dioxide gas is retained in the collapsible bag and will be reabsorbed into the beverage as the collapsible bag is completely filled.
As will be understood, it is necessary to maintain a carbonated beverage under pressure at all times after filling and during dispensing. However, one of the inherent advantages of the apparatus of the present invention is that if the pressure in the second chamber is lost at any time after filling, due to carelessness, etc., the carbon dioxide gas escaping from the beverage will be entrapped above the remaining beverage in the collapsible bag since the dip tube extends to the bottom of the collapsible bag and is immersed in the beverage. Thus, when the beverage container is repressurized, the liberated carbon dioxide will be forced back into the beverage as the collapsible bag collapses. In this manner it is possible to have a properly carbonated beverage even though the pressure has been lost at one time or another from the dispensing container.
With the collapsible container thus filled to the capacity of the beverage container, the conduits are disconnected from the expellant and beverage valve means and the beverage container is ready for shipping to the point of ultimate use. It will be noted that the beverage is contained in the chamber defined by the collapsible bag and is out of contact with the Walls of the beverage container. Also, the size and strength of the collapsible bag is such that the same is adapted to withstand normal handling during transportation of the beverage container without rupturing or bursting.
At the point of ultimate use the beverage container is connected into the dispensing system by connecting a source of pressurized expelling gas to the expellant valve means and a conduit leading to a dispensing valve or the like to the beverage valve means. Upon proper actuation of the dispensing valve or the like, the beverage will be forced by the pressurized expelling gas up through the dip tube 47 and out through the valve mounted on the cover disc to the dispensing valve. As the beverage is dispensed the collapsible bag will be collapsed around the mass of the beverage remaining in the beverage container. This mass of undispensed beverage will always be at the bottom of the beverage container due to the relative weights of the collapsible bag and the beverage whereby it is impossible to have pockets of the beverage entrapped in the folds of the collapsible bag. It should be noted that the mass of the undispensed beverage will always conform to the shape of the beverage container whereby no voids exist between the walls of the beverage container, the collapsible bag and the fluid. Thus, the pressurized expelling gas always works on the top of the beverage remaining in the dispensing container through the collapsible bag which, in this respect, serves as a pressure exchange membrane.
One of the most important advantages. of the above arrangement is that the beverage is separated from the pressurized expelling gas at all times by the collapsible bag whereby the beverage cannot become contaminated and/ or unpalatable. The beverage is effectively isolated from the expelling gas and the supply system therefor whereby even if this supply system and/ or the expelling gas are unclean the same do not effect the beverage in any manner. Also, this allows any gas to be used as an expellant without edecting the quality of the beverage. As will be understood, if the expellant is in contact with a carbonated beverage the expellant must be able to retain the desired degree of carbonation over a Wide temperature range Without reacting with the beverage. Carbon dioxide and air are now widely employed but are recognized as completely inadequate for the purpose. Also, beer is usually dispensed from a keg with air and the beer becomes contaminated thereby if not dispensed in a short period of time. All of these considerations, however, are completely eliminated with the use of the apparatus and method of the present invention since the expellant is always out of contact with the beverage. Any pressurized expelling gas may be used, including air. This not only allows a highly palatable and uncontaminated drink to be dispensed at all times but also substantially reduces the cost of the dispensing installation since a specialized expelling system is not needed.
As the beverage is dispensed the level of the beverage will progressively lower until the same eventually reaches the sump 2t defined by the end plate 19. At this point the end of the dip tube assembly 15-defined by the resilient sleeve or tube 49, will be in the beverage. As the beverage continues to be removed from the sump 29in the beverage container thesleeve will not collapse due to the equal pressures exerted on both the internal and ,external' surfaces ofthe ,side wall thereof by the beverage inside of supporting the easily deformable sleeve; However, as thelast of the beverage is dispensed the end of the'sleeve will become uncovered and the pressure of the expelling gas will force the flexible bag into sealing contact with theend of the'sleevej This immediately causes a pressure difieren tial between the inside and outside of the sleeve and because the sleeve is made of an easily deformable material this pressure differential will cause the sleeve to collapse to block oif thelower end of the dip tube. The sleeve 49 serves, in essence, as an automatic shut off valve means for blocking the dip tube when the beverage is dispensed whereby the collapsible 'bag is not drawn up into the dispensing lines when the beverage is completely dispensed. The arrangement of the sump 20 and the sleeve 49 is such that substantially all of the beverage in the collapsible bag is dispensed. After the beverage container is emptied the operator disconnects the same from the dispensing system and replaces it with a full beverage container.
' If, for any reason, the collapsible bag happens tobreak either prior to or during a dispensing operation the sleeve 19, in cooperation with the collapsible -bag, is operative to automatically close the end of the dip tube whereby contaminated beverage 'cannotbe drawn into the supply lines. This is accomplished by making the collapsible bagof material which williloat with'respect tothe beverage being dispensed. Thus, when the collapsible bag is ruptured the beverage will filter between the collapsible bag and the Walls, of the dispensing container and the collapsible bag will rise into contact with the lower end of the sleeve. As the dispensing valve is actuated a pressure difierential will immediately occur and the sleeve will collapse to seal the lower end ofthe dip tube" as sembly 15 in the same manner as when the beverage container is emptied. This condition is depicted inyFIG- IJRE Sof thedrawingi It should be noted intliis co'nnection however, that when the collapsible bag is not broken and beverage remains in the'beverage container that the weight of the beverage willlgeep the collapsible assass n t e sa rlats and awa rom h a Iofih sle ve 49.
After the beverage is dispensed the emptied container is returned to the plant for refilling At the plant the expellant .valve .67 isopened to atmosphere to allow the exhausting of any of the pressurized expelling gas remaining in the beverage container. Of course, if desired, a sepa at vpursin va ve. no 9W. b in o po a d a id u h 'p rs ns va wo l b Po i n he annular shoulder 21 of the beverage container. When the remainingexpelling gas is purged from the beverage container the cover disc is ready to be removed. To accomy ish this the operator turns the cover disc in a counterclockwise direction whereby the discontinuous locking elements 31 ride up the sloping portions 34, the steeply inclined portions 33 and the horizontally extending portions 32 One of the inherent advantages of the closure ,cap structure is that the same completely fblOhVz-Qfi free as will be discussed below.
Afiteithe cover cap has beentightened and the beverage container has been pressurized, the pressure developed by the expelling gas against the leg portions 35and 36 of the annula asket 1 s l th e rtions ve y tightly against the sealing surface Zfi-and the cover disc 'zdrespectively. After use, when the. container is purged, this pressure isrelieved. However, due to carelessness of the operator, etc, in many instances the beverage container is not completely purged and the remaining pressure within the container .tends to force the cover disc from the large mouth opening of the beverage container. iIn many prior art type of closure structures this has resulted in the same bein-g'"blownofi when the cover disc is-lolosened from the beverage container and this has presented a' substa-ntial safety problem, especially since the operator is working directlyover the beverage container. "The closure structure of the present invention insures that the fluid tight seals are broken in order thatthe remaining expelling gas can be discharged prior to the "release of the cover disc from the beverage container. i
As the cover disc is turned the discontinuous locking elements will ride up the steeply inclined portions 33 onto the horizontally extending portion 32. The remaining unpurged pressure in the beverage container will force the cover disc and annular gasket upwardly but yet the cover disc is still retained in attached relation with respect Ito the beverage container due to the engagement of the discontinuous locking elements and the radially projecting flanges. When the lockingelements are on the horizontally extending portions 32 the annular gasket will be forced upwardly until the lower extremity of the vertically extending legportion 35 thereof clears the upper rim of the sealing surface 24 therebvbreaking the fluid seals and letting the remaining pressurized expelling gas exhaust .to atmosphere. In order to insure that the fluid seals are completely'broken it isnecessary that the horizontally extending portions 32 be offset vertically from the downwardly sloping portions 34 by a vertical distance equal to the distance that the annular gasket must moveto clear the upper edge ofthe sealing surface. At this time the fluid seals arebnokcn but the cover disc is still attached to the beverage container. To finish temovingthecover dis the same i rne fur her in the counterclockwise direction until the discontinuous locking el ments are disposed below the spaces between the cirournferentially spaced flanges and the cover disc can then be .r m ve ve i l y h r m va o t e sev d i c aracte z d y its ext em s mp a d safe yhe con t u tion o h clo u s u tu is u h se e d s an a n e -s 25 m h ma ast tedlin an e on mi a mann yr tnp ns h m from sheet metal in accordance with well hnown methods.
The above described closure structure ;is obviously not t e o l one his m b emu at t r S a in the b ve a con a ne in mad m w h h teachings thefpresent-invention although the same is ideally designed for use. As an example, the closure structure shown in Patent No. 2 ,77 9,5 15, or those shown in our co-pending patent applications Serial Nos. 653,16, filed April 1d, 1957; 765,590, filed October ,6, 1958, may be employed if desired. This patent and the'coqpen'di'ng applic tions are all assigned to the assignee of the present in sion it is now desirable to prepare the beverage container for refilling and this is accomplished by removing the .collapsiblebag from the dip tube by ,sliding'the Washer.
l5 tl'refla-tive thereto. The coverjdisc and dip tube can theni'be immersed in a cleaning solution to clean any iesidue of the beverage therefrom and to sterilize the same. Then a new collapsible bag is slipped over the dip tube and the closure structure is again inserted and tightened on the beverage container and the same is adapted for refilling and reuse in exactly the same manner described above. It will be noted that the oleaningoperais one ofutmost simplicity since it is only necessary to clean the closure structure. The insideof the beverage container need not be cleaned since, in fact, the beverage is never in contact therewith. Although we contemplate Ireplacing the collapsible bag after each use because of the cheapness thereof it is, of course, possible to clean and reuse the collapsible bag if this is desired.
The washer is providedtoallow the collapsible bag to be assembled on the dip tube in a minimum of time and with a minimum of eifort but other means may be employed. One example of such other means is shown FIGURE 7 of the drawing wherein the edge in the collapsible bag 16 is clamped directly against the ses me l3 center portion 28 of the cover disc 26 by means of the mushroom-shaped head 4% of the cylindrical fitting 39. This is an alternate way of attaching the collapsible bag to the dip tube and may be employed if the same is found more desirable.
The apparatus above described is also adapted to be pressurized with a gas that condenses substantially at the temperature and pressure at which the beverage is desired to be dispensed and in this manner the need of an external pressure source in the dispensing system is completely eliminated. In this method of dispensing the collapsible bag would be filled as above described and after filling a predetermined quantity of the condensed or liquified expellant having the properties outlined above would be injected through the expellant valve means 13. As the beverage in the collapsible bag is dispensed the liquified expellant returns to its original gaseous state thereby maintaining a relatively constant expelling pressure. Any number of Well known gases may be used according to the properties desired for any given beverage, such as propane gas, sulpher dioxide, methyl chloride, butane, dichloromonofiuorrnethane, octafluorocyclobutane and other Freon-type expellants, for example. Of particular importance with respect to the present invention is that upon return to the plant of the emptied containers it is possible to recover the expellant for reuse. In most prior art it has been impossible to reclaim the relatively expensive expellant. This is accomplished in the present instance by connecting compressing apparatus to the expellant valve means 13 and removing the gaseous expellant from the interior of the beverage container and condensing the same for subsequent reuse.
It should now be apparent that we have accomplished the objects initially set forth by providing improved method and apparatus for packaging and dispensing beverages or the like. Of course, many changes may be made in the illustrated embodiment of the present invention without departing from the true scope and intent of the invention. For example, the beverage might be contained in the chamber defined by the collapsible bag and the walls of the beverage container and the expelling gas might be introduced into the interior of the collapsible bag if this is found advantageous. Therefore, reference should be had to the following appended claims in determining the true scope of the invention.
1. A self-contained liquid distributing and dispensing device comprising a container of rigid material having a removable closure element adapted to be sealed in fluidtight relationship with said container, a clip tube having an upper end portion extending through said closure element in a gas-tight manner and having a lower end portion terminating adjacent the bottom of said container, a collapsible bag snugly surrounding and substantially totally enclosing said dip tube, said bag being of thin, extremely flexible and easily collapsible material, a yieldable ferrule, the mouth portion of the bag being sealed with respect to said ferrule and said ferrule adapted to have sliding movement over said tube into a sealing relation with respect said tube, valve means on said closure element for closing ed the outlet of said dip tube and for introducing liquid, to be dispensed, through said tube and into said bag, expellant valve means mounted on said container through which an expellant is selectively introduced into said container exteriorly of said bag, or withdrawn therefrom, whereby during dispensing the pressure of said expellant will progressively collapse the bag as liquid in said bag is dispensed outwardly through said tube and first mentioned valve means, or whereby the expellant may be exhausted from the container, said liquid being totally enclosed within said bag and tube and being out of contact with the inner walls of said container.
2. A liquid dispensing device as recited in claim 1 in which said lower end portion of said tube is of flexible material so as to collapse and shut-off communication t lt between said bag and tube when the bag becomes empty of liquid or when it breaks.
3. A liquid dispensing device as recited in claim 1 wherein said bag has a volume at least as great as that of said container so that when completely filled with liquid, the bag will not be stretched, thereby minimizing breakage thereof. i
4. Portable apparatus for distributing and dispensing beverages comprising a pressure container having an enlarged opening therein, a closure cap having sealing means and securing means associated with said opening whereby said opening may be closed by said cap in fluidatight relation and whereby said cap may be removed from said opening, a valved port providing controlled passage between the inside and outside of the closed and sealed container, a dip tube carried by said cap and extending down into said container to substantially the lowermost region thereof, a collapsible bag having only one opening therein sealed about the exterior surface of said dip tube in the region of the cap and being of sufficient. size to fill out against the whole of the interior surface of said container without stretching of the material of the bag, said bag being formed of thin flexible material and being made of material having less specific gravity than that of the beverage to be charged whereby the bag may be easily collapsed and portions thereof may fioat on the top surface of the body of beverage charged into the container, and a second valved port at the outlet end of said dip tube to provide a controlled passage into and out of said dip tube, the arrangement being such that during charging of the apparatus a fluid may be admitted into the space immediately inward of the inner surfaces of said container to collapse said bag closely about said dip tube to expel any air which may be within the bag outwardly through said second valved outlet after which beverage may be charged into said bag through said second valved outlet against the back pressure existent in the container.
5. Apparatus according to claim 4 further characterized in that the thin flexible material of said bag comprises a film-like layer of polyethylene plastic to which is adhered a film-dike layer of Mylar plastic.
6. Apparatus according to claim 4 further characterized in that the open end of said collapsible bag is adhered to and sealed to a non-metallic ferrule, said ferrule being received over the upper portion of said dip tube in fluid-tight relation.
7. Portable apparatus for distributing and dispensing beverages comprising a pressure container having an en larged opening therein, a closure having sealing means and quick-detachable securing means associated with said opening whereby said opening may be closed by said closure in fluid-tight relation and whereby said closure may be removed from said opening, a valved port providing controlled passage between the inside and outside of the closed and sealed container, a collapsible bag having only one opening therein positioned within said container and having its opening sealed to said closure to thereby provide two expansible and contractible chambers in said container, said bag being made of thin flexible fluid-impervious material and having a surface area at least equal to the surface area of the interior surface of said container, and a second valved outlet port in said closure providing communication between the interior of said bag and space outside said container, said first mentioned valved port providing communication between the space outside said container and the space .inside said container but outside said bag, the arrangement being such that during filling a beverage may be charged through one of said ports into one of said chambers while a back-pressuring gas may be conducted into the other of said chambers and during dispensing an expellant in said other of said chambers may be used to eject beverage from the said one of said chambers and out through said one of said valved ports.
8. Apparatus according to claim 7 further character- 15 ized in that the thin flexible material of said bag comprisesa film-like layer of'polyefh yl ene plastic to whi'ch'is adhered a film-like layer of Myl'ar pl'a' sti'c.
p 9 Apparatus according to c1'alir'n'"7 further char acteriz ed that the sealing means of said closure comprises 10." Apparatus "according to claim 7 further characterized in that-the material o'f said b'agis of lowerspecific gravity thanthe' specific gravity'of the'beverage to be charged into said container.
' 11. Port able apparat'us for distributing and dispensing beverages comprising arigid pressure container having an enlarged opening th'ereinfa closure having sealing means and qnick-detachable secnring means associated with said opening wherebysaid opening maybe closed by said closure in fluid-tight relation andwhereby said closure may be removed fro'insaid opening, a valved port giroviding a controlled passage between the inside and outside of the closed and: sealed container, a thin-Walled flexible collapsible bag havingonly one opening therein positioned within said container and being of a size to fill out comple'te'lyf against the inner silrfaces of said con tainer without'stretching to thereby provide tvvo expansibl'e' and contractiblech'ajmbers'insaid' container, said'b'ag being made of fluid-impervious" material and a second valved port sealed yvithiii said' openi g in said bag and providing a controlled passage between "the interior of said bag and the space outside said container, the arrangement being such that diir in'g filling a beverage may" be charged through one of'said ports into one of said chambers while 'a' back-pressuring fluid may be conducted into 'the other of saidchambers and during dispensing an expellant in said other chamber may-be used to'e'ject beve'rage-from'lthe said one of said'chambers and out through th'esaid one of saidva'lved ports."
' 12. Apparatus according to claim 11 further characterized in that thematerial of said bag has a lower specific gravity than thatbffthe beverage to be bandied.
"13."'Aparatus according to claim 11 further characterized inthat' the 'thin flexible material of "said bag cornprises a'film-like layer or polyethylene plastic to which is adhered'a film-like layer of Mylar plastic.
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