US 3129730 A
Abstract available in
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Apr-1l 21, 1964 ,1. F. slMoN 3,129,730
TAPPING sYsTEM FOR LIQUID CONTAINER 0E THE LIKE Filed Juiy 14, 1961 :10H/V E :SIMON United rates Patent Of 3,129,730 TAPPING SYSTEM FOR LIQUID CN'IAINER @R THE LUG?. John F. Simon, Shaier Township, Allegheny County, Pa. (356 Marzoif Road, Pittsburgh 9, Pa.) Filed .luly 14, 1961, Ser. No. 124,220 Claims. (Cl. 141-286) This invention relates to a tapping system for liquid containers or the like such as, for example, casks having a gas-charged beverage or other liquid therein. In particular, this invention relates to a quick coupling and uncoupling tapping system for new beer kegs or the like or for the conversion of conventional beer kegs `or the like to provide prompt placement of liquid containers in service, the removal thereof from service when substantially empty and the maintenance of prompt and sound delivery of the liquid during service in optimal condition.
Pursuant to this invention, new casks may be constructed, or conventional casks or kegs converted to provide a tapping system in which such liquid containers can be quickly put into service and removed from service. Further, in new constructions in accordance with this invention, means are provided for safeguarding the coupling elements against damage, for insuring removal of substantially all of the contents of the liquid container and the discharge thereof in sound condition which, in the case of beer, for example, may mean the delivery of beer, at a bar spigot, which is neither wild nor flat. And still further, such new construction provides means for keeping the liquid discharged free of sediment and allows the cask or keg, or other liquid container, to be readily cleaned between fillings and uses and to have the contents thereof replenished in a normal way preparatory to reuse and reconnection of the refilled container in a tapping system operation of this invention.
Other objects, features and advantages of this invention will be apparent from the following description and the accompanying drawings, which are illustrative of one ernbodiment only, in which FIGURE l is a view in vertical cross section of a beer keg embodiment of a tapping system operation of this invention with the keg in service;
FIGURE 2 is a view in elevation, with parts broken away, showing the liquid discharge coupling and discharge pipe in the dispenser conduit for the keg shown in FIG- URE 1;
FIGURE 3 is a View in elevation, particularly in section, of the air inlet coupling and a portion of the air inlet conduit used in the system operation for the containers shown in FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 4 is a view taken along line IV--IV of FIG- URE 3; and
FIGURE 5 is a View in elevation of a lower fitting of a coupling having a plastic cap snapped thereon such as may be used when the embodiment is not in service.
Referring to the drawings, a metallic cask in the form of a beer keg has a continuous wall 11 inclusive of a top head 12, a bottom head 13 and circumferential bilge lands 14. A bung hole 15 is provided between the lands and normally closed by a threaded bung 16. Although the illustrated embodiment is applied to a metal keg, the invention is equally applicable to wooden casks and kegs and to other liquid containers of carbonated beverages, gas-charged liquids, or non-charged liquids. A cupshaped chamber 17, which may be a one-piece casting or stamping, is provided with an upper peripheral portion 18 which in the case of a converted container, may be welded to the edge of a hole of corresponding size cut in head 12 around the joint 19 where the periphery 18 and head 12 meet. Such chamber defines an inwardly extending recess 20 which in the embodiment shown is provided with 3,129,730 Patented Apr. 2l, 1964 ICC drilled and tapped openings 21 and 22 through well bottom 23 of chamber 17. In this way, a lower liquid discharge fitting 24 and a lower air inlet fitting 25 are countersunk in effect when liquid discharge coupling 26 and air inlet coupling 27 respectively are uncoupled.
Couplings 26 and 27 preferably are of the Snap-tite quick connection and quick disconnection type. In addition to speeding the tapping operation, the couplings 26 and 27 provide protection against spillage of the liquid which normally occurs during tapping by other systems. Thus, as shown in FIGURE 3, coupling 27 comprises lower fitting 25 and upper fitting 28 respectively of male and female character. Male fitting 25 is provided with a threaded adapter 29, the lower end of which engages in pressure-tight relation with threads of hole 21. The upper end of adapter 29 threadably engages nipple 3f) of fitting 25 which has a cylindrical male portion 31 with a circumferential groove 32 therein. A valve disc 33 is provided within nipple Sil and guided by a spider guide 34 operative in the bore of ange 31. A lower valve stem 35 extends above guide 34 and below valve disc 33 through a perforated plate 36 which guides the lower end of lower stern 35, such plate 36 having central guide perforation and flow perforations positioned annularly around it. A spring 37 normally under compression automatically seats valve 33 on an annular internal seat 38 whenever upper fitting 28 is uncoupled and separated from lower fitting 25.
The internal parts of the upper fitting 2S corresponding in construction and function to the internal parts of lower fitting 25 are provided with the same reference numerals with the addition of the letter u thereto. An upper adapter 39 is internally drilled and tapped to threadably engage the lower end of a clear plastic sight tube 40, while the external threaded portion of adapter 39 engages the internal thread on nipple 41 of upper fitting 28. The upper end of tube 40 is tapped to receive a flexible hose connector 42 having a sawtooth shank 43 over which a fiexible pressure air inlet -hose 44 is placed and clamped thereto in fiuid-tight relation by a clamp 45.r Flexible tube 44 is a part of a pressure air-conduit system connected to an air pressure source (not shown) to maintain the interior of liquid container 10 under, preferably, a predetermined pressure when the container 10 is in service for the discharge of liquid.
The lower end of upper fitting nipple 41 is provided with a downwardly extending cylindrical flange 46 which fits over cylindrical male portion 31 when the balls 47, loosely engaged in holes circumferentially around flange 46, are able to move outwardly as they may when a ferrule 4S which has an annular finger projection 49 is retracted against the pressure of spring Sil. After movement of the fittings 25 and 28 into coupling position as shown in FIGURE 3, release of ferrule 48 forces the balls 47 into the groove 32 to lock the fittings together and safeguard the coupling 27 against disconnection unless and until ferrule 48 is again retracted. When ferrule 4S of coupling 27 is retracted when the fittings are in coupled relation, fitting 28 can be quickly uncoupled from fitting 25 and the joint broken. When such is performed in the case of coupling 26, which is of the same construction as coupling 27 in the illustrated embodiment, it and coupling 27 may thereby be quickly disconnected so that a liquid container like keg 10 can be quickly taken out of service when it is substantially empty and returned to the brewery or elsewhere for cleaning and refilling.
In order to insure against any blowback when fitting 28 is connected to fitting 25, the lower end of the tubular connector 42 is preferably provided with an elastic Thomas valve 51 which acts as a check valve by virtue of a slit 52 therein which will admit air moving toward lower fitting 25 to pass thereto but will prevent any gas 3 or liquid trying to ow in the opposite direction up through valve 5l. FIGURE 4 illustrates this by showing the slit 5?. in a section taken along the plane of that opening. As shown in FIGURE 5, each lower tting 25 and 24 when the container to which they are attached is out of service may be sealed against the induction of dirt and other matter into the interior thereof from the outside of the container by the use of a plastic cap 53 having an internal bead Slt which will snap into groove 32 when cap 53 is applied, such cap being made of a material such as polyethylene.
Coupling 26 has an adapter 55 in its lower fitting 24 like adapter 29 with the addition that a screen 56 preferably is press iitted across the bore of the upper end of adapter 55. A discharge pipe 57 for liquids such as beer tapped from time to time from container itl is in press fit relation at its upper end 58 with the axial portion of adapter 55 below screen 55. A sleeve 59 is provided for the lower end of pipe 57 to which it is secured by separable dimples, the sleeve having an internal flange to coact with the bottom edge of pipe 57 to lit a second screen 60 across the inlet end of pipe 57. That inlet end is in a depression 6l on the inside of head 13 to enable beer in internal recess 62 above the level of screen 6i) to iiow into and be discharged through pipe 57 whenever the liquid discharge conduit is opened. Discharge pipe S7 preferably is located generally adjacent the axis of container lt) and is provided with a bend 63 normal to the axis of bung hole l5 so that after being emptied, container 1t) may be cleaned and refilled without obstruction occurring due to pipe 57. As screen from FIGURE 1, pipe 57 can be easily removed from the apparatus for cleaning or replacement.
The liquid discharge conduit is continued when coupling 26 is in completed locked condition by the internal passageway through upper fitting 64 similar to upper fitting 28 and through the interior of an adapter 65 similar to adapter 39 and through a clear sight tube 66 of plastic or glass. The upper end of tube 66 is threaded to engage an internal thread on a nut 67 which holes a hose connector 68 thereto; and connector 63 has a sawtooth shank 69 over which a flexible conduit 7d is placed and held in fluid tight relation thereto by a clamp 7l. The upper end of flexible conduit 70 may terminate in a spigot (not shown) for a bar in a tavern or other place where the liquid within container It? is to be dispensed. With the tapping system shown in the illustrated embodiment connected and the couplings made, opening of such spigot will allow air, where that is the gas used to pressurize the interior of container lit, to flow into the container and maintain the selected pressure condition therein for the flow of liquid out through discharge pipe 57 and the remainder of the liquid discharge conduit to the spigot that has been opened, such flow of liquid in question continuing until the spigot is closed. Moreover, such liquid flow in the case of beer, for example, will be subjected to predetermined conditions selected by the user so that such beer will arrive at the spigot with the proper amount of foam, being neither too wild nor too ilat. Additionally the tapping system of this invention may be utilized and elements pertaining thereto installed in new liquid containers as they are constructed in the factory or conventional containers may be converted to an embodiment and utilization of the tapping system of this invention. Furthermore, this invention is applicable to other liquids than beer or gas-charged liquids, and, to containers of various shapes. When the liquid container is empty or has been emptied to the plane of screen 60, it may virtually instantly be taken out of service upon shutting down the pressure source connected to conduit hose 44, by retracting the ferrule 4S and corresponding ferrule 72 and separating the respective upper fittings from the lower fittings of each of the couplings. Then container 10 can be removed and the lower fittings capped by caps 53, or a cover may be used across the top of well recess 20, to remain in place while the container is returned to the plant where it is to be cleaned and relled before being returned for reconnection to the fittings 2S and 6dor to other fittings of corresponding character since tapping system elements of this invention and installations thereof are interchangeable at the various places Where such are installed.
Various changes may be made in the illustrated embodiment and in elements thereof and other embodiments without departing from the spirit of this invention or the scope of the appended claims.
l. A tapping system for liquid containers, comprising in combination, a liquid container having an opening through which said container may be lilled, a well chamber in the surface of said container, said chamber being generally cup-shaped having an outer peripheral portion joined to the adjoining portion of the surface of said container, a pair of quick-connected axial movement couplings each having parts respectively comprising a male fitting and a female fitting, each of said fittings of a coupling having a self-closing valve therein automatically operative upon separation of said parts, one of said fittings in each coupling being mounted in said chamber and extending respectively through the bottom thereof into communication with the interior -of said container, the outer ends of said respective last-named fittings being wholly Within said chamber, a discharge pipe within said container connected to one of said last-named fittings and extending substantially to the opposite inside surface of said container, said discharge pipe having screen means therein and a bend in a plane normal to the axis of said opening, each of the other of said iittings in each coupling being adapted to be connected to exible hose conduits respectively connected to a dispenser for said liquid and to a gas pressure source exteriorly of said liquid container, a sight tube connected at least to the coupling adapted to lead to said dispenser at one end and said discharge pipe at the other, and a check valve positioned in operative association with said coupling leading to said gas pressure source to prevent uid dow toward said source.
2. A tapping system for liquid containers comprising in combination, a liquid container having ends and a normally closed opening on the side through which said container may be lled, said container when empty of fluid having substantially its ent-ire interior empty, a depression chamber in the surface of one end of said container facing outwardly, at least a pair of quick-connection axial movement couplings each having interlitting parts, each of said parts being self-closing automatically upon separation of said parts, one of said parts of each coupling being removably connected to said chamber to extend into communication with the interior of said container, the outer ends of said last-named parts being within said chamber, a liquid discharge pipe within said container connected to one of said last-named parts and extending inside said container to the opposite end thereof, said discharge pipe being shaped to pass around the projection of said opening toward the opposite side of said container, the other of said parts of each coupling being adapted to be for conduits respectively connected to a dispenser for said liquid to be connected to said discharge pipe and to a gas pressure source outside of said container.
3. A tapping system for beer kegs and the like, comprising in combination, a keg having a bung hole in nhe side thereof through which said container may be iilled and upper and lower heads, said keg when empty of liquid having substantially its entire interior empty, a countersunk portion in said upper head, a beer discharge quickconnection coupling part adapted to be xed within said portion in communication with the interior of said keg, a beer discharge pipe connected to said part and extending substantially to the lower head of said keg and to one side of said bung hole, a pressure air inlet quick-connection coupling part adapted to be fixed within said chamber in communication with the interior of said keg above the liquid level in a lled keg resting on its lower head, each of said coupling parts having a valve therein to close automatically upon axial movement separation therefrom of another part of an axial movement quick-connection coupling adapted to coact therewith, and a diametrically sloping depression in said lower head for association with the lower end of said discharge pipe to promote emptying of said keg.
4. A tapping system as set forth in clairn 3, in which said beer discharge coupling part and pipe are provided with screen straining means for said beer and adapted to be connected to a conduit for the dispensing of said beer in said keg and said air inlet coupling part yis adapted to be connected to a conduit having a check valve therein openable in the direction of the interior of said keg.
5. A tapping system as set forth in claim 3, having substantially transparent tubular means in communication at least with said beer discharge coupling part to enable the character of the beer being 'discharged to be observed during operation of said tapping system and means for holding the respective parts of said coacting coupling parts respectively in locked engagement with said first-named 'coupling parts and controlled by quick releaseable means, said other coacting parts also having a valve therein to close automatically upon separation of the parts in each coupling, and means to cover said parts xed within said portion to protect them against entry of foreign material.
References Cited in the le of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,272,888 Baluta July 16, 1918 1,441,171 Rice Jan. 2, 1923 2,165,684 Stmck July 11, 1939 2,467,684 Meyer et al Apr. 19, 1949 2,989,091 Lowenthal June 20, 1961 3,032,055 Heydon et al May 1, 1962 3,035,603 Jamieson et al May 22, 1962 FOREIGN PATENTS 151,635 Switzerland Mar. 16, 1932 UNITED STATES PATENTOFFICE CERTIFICATE 0F CORRECTION Patent No, 3,129,730 Apr-11 21, 1964 John F. Simon It s hereby certified that error appears in the above numbered patent requiring correction and that the said Letters Patent should read as corrected below.
Column 3, line 57, for "subjected" read subject column 4, line I9, for "quckeconnected" read quickmconnec= tion Signed and sealed this 4th day of August 1964.
(SEAL) Attest: ERNEST W. SWIDER EDWARD J. BRENNER Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents