US 3144177 A
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1, 1964 M. c. s. COOKSON DISPENSERS FOR SYRUPS AND LIKE COMMODITIES Filed June 1, 1962 \NVENTOR MAYNARD C. S. COOKSON Y Wwol ATTQRN YS United States Patent 3,144,177 DISPENSERS FOR SYRUPS AND LIKE COMMODITIES Maynard Charles Scott Cookson, 3 Vautier St., Elwood, Victoria, Australia Filed June 1, 1962, Ser. No. 199,492 Claims priority, application Australia June 7, 1961 7 Claims. (Cl. 222-309) This invention relates to syrup and other liquid dispensers of the kind adapted to deliver from a container a predetermined quantity of liquid under pressure. The pressure may be applied manually, for example by means of an operating knob or the like, or mechanically, and permits the delivery of liquid by pressure and thus distinguishes dispensers of the kind indicated from those of the gravity-feed variety.
' For convenience, the present invention will be hereinafter described with reference to a dispenser wherein the liquid is delivered from a point higher than its maximum free surface in the container. However, it is to be realized that the invention is not so limited since the provision of suitable outlet means will also permit pressurized delivery of the liquid from points below its free surface in the container.
In the past, syrups, cordials, essences and like substances used for example in milk bars and similar establishments have generally been stored in vessels arranged on or near the counter and dispensed as and when required by using a spoon, ladle or the like. With a view to overcoming the inconvenience of such an operation, mechanical devices using a piston-cylinder arrangement in conjunction with rigid valves have been proposed. However unless the piston and cylinder be of high quality, it has usually been found that the quantity of syrup dispensed at each operation is far from constant and in any event, the mechanism is liable to offer substantial resistance due to friction and to show rapid wear due to the existence of abrasive or other solid matter in many kinds of syrups for which these devices are required.
Furthermore, the operation of the valves in many mechanical forms of dispenser known and used hitherto has generally been impaired as a result of the presence of pulp, seeds and like solid matter in the liquid. Thus the consistency of the amount dispensed has often been materially affected.
The primary object of this invention is to provide an improved dispenser of the kind indicated which may be conveniently used for syrups of a wide variety of viscosities, and is capable of correct functioning notwithstanding the presence of solid matter such as small pips, seeds and the like.
i A further object is to provide a dispenser of the kind indicated incorporating substantial simplifications and improvements in design in regard to manufacturing costs compared with dispensers of this nature known and used hitherto.
The above and other objects and advantages will become apparent hereinafter.
According to the present invention, a liquid dispenser of the kind indicated comprises a liquid container or reservoir susceptible to atmospheric pressure, a dispensing head incorporating non-return valve means, a discharge chamber capable of receiving liquid from the container, and control means adapted upon actuation by application of pressure to forceably eject a predetermined quantity of liquid from the discharge chamber through the dispensing head, said non-return valve means permitting efilux of the ejected liquid but minimizing back-flow of liquid to the discharge chamber, the arrangement being such that a substantially consistent quantity of liquid is ejected each time the control means is actuated.
In order that the invention may be better understood, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings which are to be considered as part of this specification and read herewith. In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a sectional elevation of a preferred form of liquid dispenser in accordance with the invention;
FIGURE 2 is a sectional elevation of part of the dispenser illustrated in FIGURE 1, on a somewhat larger scale and showing the position and shape of the diaphragm at the completion of the discharge stroke;
FIGURE 3 is a perspective view of a preferred form of diaphragm unit capable of forming a component of the dispenser illustrated in FIGURES l and 2, and
FIGURE 4 is a perspective view of a preferred form of non-return valve means capable of forming a component of the dispersing head of the dispenser illustrated in FIG- URE 1.
The dispenser illustrated includes a liquid container 5 adapted to hold a quantity of the liquid in which the free surface 5a is susceptible to atmospheric pressure. Fixed within and adjacent the bottom 13 of the container, preferably by means of screws 6, is a substantially circular housing 7 adapted to accommodate a diaphragm unit 8, the diaphragm forming with a base portion 7a of housing 7 a discharge chamber (indicated generally by 9). Housing 7 is preferably of rigid plastic or like material and has a head portion 7b which may be detachably connected to the base portion 7a by means of screw threads 10 or in any other suitable manner.
Base portion 7a of the housing 7 is provided with one or more inlet ports 11 and an outlet port 12, the former being preferably as close as practicable to the bottom 13 of container 5 whereby substantially the whole of the contents of the container may be discharged therefrom as hereinafter described.
The top 14 of the container is open to atmospheric pressure and may comprise a top wall in the form of a lid having a fixed portion 15 and a portion 16 which is hinged or otherwise movable to allow for replenishing the container when necessary.
Diaphragm 8 is preferably substantially hemispherical or cup-shaped and is suitably mounted on a reciprocatory rod 17 as at 42 (see FIG. 1). The rod 17 is spring influenced as hereinafter described so as to maintain the diaphragm 8 normally in an upper position (see FIG- URE l) with respect to the base portion 7a of its housing 7, this normal upper position providing a maximum volume for the discharge chamber 9. The head portion 7b of the housing is advantageously shaped so as substantially to conform to the shape assumed by the diaphragm 8 when in the normal position and provides the upper limit to the stroke (FIGURE 1) which is maintained under the action of the springinfluenced rod 17. The head portion 7b of the housing may have an aperture 18 of any desired shape or size through which rod 17 may pass. It may be found desirable to provide a comparatively small aperture whereby upon movement of the diaphragm 8, a maximum amount of turbulence is imparted to liquid 19 in the container, the agitation thus produced serving more completely to mix the syrup and suspended pulp or any other insoluble matter substantially uniformly throughout the body of liquid in the container. The same effect may be obtained, for example, by providing an appropriately shaped agitator or paddle on the rod itself. Diaphragm 8 may form part of an integral diaphragm unit as shown in FIGURE 3 and may be of rubber, plastic or any other flexible material having a radially outwardly extending, continuous locating flange 20 which extends laterally so that it may be secured between the head 71; of its housing 7 and an upwardly facing shoulder 21 adjacent the upper periphery of the base portion 7a. Formed integrally with diaphragm arse-n77 8 is a flap valve 22 which is relatively thin, flexible and depends from the locating flange 20 at or adjacent its junction with the diaphragm. The valve 22 is thus of arcuate formation in plan and of appropriate length and breadth effectively to overlie and close the inlet port 11. Furthermore, the flap valve 22 is advantageously tapered on its inner surface to a fine feather edge 22a around its perimeter.
An outlet pipe or passage 23 leads from outlet port 12 to a dispensing head (denoted generally by 24) preferably detachably mounted on the container and including a cup member 25, preferably of rigid plastic or like transparent material, adapted to accommodate a non-return valve unit (see FIGURE 4). Cup member 25 has an intake port 26 in its side wall, the port being connected by means of a tube 26a to the outlet pipe or passage 23, and an open discharge orifice 27 in its base. When the dispenser is to be used for essences, wines or other liquids of relatively low viscosity, it is preferred that the discharge orifice 27 be substantially smaller in area than would be desirable for less mobile liquids. j
The non-return valve in the dispensing head 24 may be formed as part of an integral unit composed of rubber, flexible plastic or like flexible material (see FIG. 4). Such a unit comprises a body portion (indicated generally by 29) substantially circular in plan and of suitable dimensions to locate firmly in cup member 25 (see FIG. 1), a continuous flange 30, and a membraneous displaceable portion constituting a flap valve 31, arcuate in plan, which valve depends from the body 29 and is provided on its inner surface with a centrally disposed, longitudinal stiffening rib 33, substantially parallel to the axis of the whole unit. The flap valve is of suflicient length and breadth effectively to overlie and close the inside of the intake port 26 and may be secured in position, for example, by the clamping of flange 30 between a continuous head portion 28 of the cup member 25 and a screw cap 34 co-operable therewith.
The reciprocatory rod 17 is screw threaded adjacent its upper end and is co-operable with an internallythreaded adjusting bush 37 which is provided with a head portion having a lateral projection 27a located outside the container. The container has a top wall formed with an inwardly extending sleeve 35 defining an aperture in the top wall and having a radially inwardly extending flange 36 at its inermost end. A compression spring 41 is located Within the sleeve 35 between the inner end of bush 37 and flange 36, the sleeve being adapted to receive the body of bush 37 in slidable relationship so that rod 17 and bush 37 are longitudinally slidable relative to sleeve 35 in order to actuate the diaphragm 8. The length of stroke of the reciprocating movement of rod 17, and hence the predetermined volume of liquid discharged (which is substantially equal to the volume of liquid displaced by the diaphragm), is determined by the position in which the bush 37 is located on the rod 17. The upper limit of the stroke, corresponding to the normal position, is reached when an upper surface of the diaphragm mounting 42 contacts the inner surface of the head portion 71) of the diaphragm housing 7, while the lower limit, corresponding to the contracted position, is reached when projection 37a on the adjusting bush 37 contacts the external surface of top wall 15.
The threaded upper end of rod 17 may be fitted with a lock nut 39 co-operable with the head of the bush 37 to retain the bush in any desired position on the rod. The upper end 38 of rod 17 is preferably fitted with an appropriately shaped push knob 40.
In use, the container is charged to a suitable extent with liquid and the air within the discharge chamber expelled, for example, by vigorously operating the push knob for a number of strokes. This has the effect of leaving the discharge chamber and dispensing head full 4 of liquid. It will be evident that when released, the spring 41 functions to raise the diaphragm 8 and permit its associated flap valve to be pushed clear of the inlet port 11 by liquid in the container, which liquid is under the influence of atmospheric pressure. When the discharge chamber is thus charged a quantity of liquid therein may be discharged when required simply by depressing the push knob 40 which functions to depress the diaphragm 8 and expel a quantity of liquid (predetermined by the setting of bush 37 relatively to rod 17) through the outlet pipe 23, past the non-return valve in the dispensing head 24, and out through the discharge orifice 27. During this discharge process, the flap valve 22 is held closed over the port 11 by virtue of the greater than atmospheric pressure existing within the discharge chamber 9.
The construction of the non-return valves in the dispensing head and discharge chamber permits eflicient functioning of the dispenser even when syrups containing pips, seeds and like solid matter are used. More particularly in the case of the non-return valve in the dispensing head, the thin membraneous structure of the flap allows it closely to blanket any small seed which may be caught between it and its mating surface and hence the functioning of the valve is virtually unaffected.
Furthermore, the rib 33 provided on the flap valve 31 serves to stiffen the valve and thus tends to return it immediately to its unflexed position when the deflecting pressure is removed, and also prevents its total collapse into the intake port 26 during the upward movement of the diaphragm 8.
It will be readily apparent from the foregoing that a dispenser in accordance with this invention is compartively simple in construction and contains few working parts which are liable to require frequent attention, adjustment or replacement, and the particular construc tion allows for rapid cleaning of the dispenser in the event of it being required for a different liquid. In addition it will be evident that the present invention overcomes the stated disadvantages encountered in prior types of piston-cylinder dispenser, more particularly in that it does not incorporate rigid valves and is less costly to produce.
Furthermore, it will be evident that the invention is readily applicable to the dispensing of cordials or syrups simultaneously with diluting fluids such as milk, water or soda water by mechanical means associated with the push knob 40 of the dispenser.
When the dispenser is not in use, i.e. when there is no pressure applied to the reciprocatory rod 17, liquid will tend to flow back to the container via the discharge chamber 9, thus tending to reduce the pressure in the dispensing head 24 to a value slightly below that of the atmosphere. Consequently, due to the relatively small area of the discharge orifice 27 in the dispensing head 24, the flap valve 31 will tend to remain seated against the intake port 26 so that liquid is retained in the dispensing head by virtue of atmospheric pressure acting upwardly through the orifice 27.
In a preferred form, the discharge orifice 27 has a continuous upward projection around its top edge which extends into the cup member 25 to provide a retaining wall 43. The wall 43 serves to retain the last of the cup member contents and thus minimises dripping through the discharge orifice 27 in the event of the flap valve 31 failing to operate in which case most of the cup member contents flow back to the container via the discharge chamber 9 and the retaining influence of the atmospheric pressure is removed.
As the consistency of the quantity dispensed depends inter alia, on the liquid being retained in the dispensing head 24 when the dispenser is not in use, it will be noted that both valves 22 and 31 cooperate to prevent the liquid raining back into the container via the discharge chamber 9. Any failure in this regard will be immediately apparent by virtue of the transparency of the cup member 25 and is indicated by presence of air therein. The liquid is held at the discharge orifice 27 by atmospheric ressure and is thus prevented from accumulating upon any exposed surface and eventually dropping from the dispensing head under its own weight.
The actual area exposed to contamination by dust and flies is relatively small and the transparent dispenser head also serves as an indicator of the contents of the disenser. It is therefore desirable to have the cup memher as large as possible, the only limitation being due to the necessity for the complete removal of air from the cup member by the liquid as it flows through the dispensing head during the initial filling and charging operation hereinbefore described.
By the use of suitable outlet means, the dispenser is suited to the injection of liquids such as cream or sauce into pies or the like, and is not necessarily confined to the dispensing of liquids from a point higher than the liquid surface level in the container.
It will also be apparent that diluting liquids may be introduced into the outlet valve housing, which housing can thus serve as a mixing chamber for the two liquids an can therefore be larger than normally allowable since the removal of air would be performed by the flow of the diluting liquid.
Having now described my invention, what I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is.
l. A liquid dispenser of the kind indicated comprising a container adapted to hold a quantity of liquid, the surface of the liquid being susceptible to atmospheric pressure, a dispensing head located above the maximum level of said surface and including a transparent housing of generally circular-cross-section having an intake port in one side thereof and a discharge orifice in its base, said housing containing an integral non-return valve unit of flexible material which consists of a body portion substantially circular in plan, a continuous flange, and a membraneous flap valve, said flap valve being arcuate in plan and depends from said body so as to overlie and close the inside of the intake port and having on its inner surface a centrally disposed longitudinal stiffening rib, said continuous flange being secured to said housing so retaining the valve unit therein, a diaphragm housing fixed within and adjacent the bottom of the reservoir, said diaphragm housing consisting of a head portion and engageable base portion, the base portion being provided with at least one inlet port and an outlet port, said diaphragm housing accommodating an integral diaphragm unit of flexible material having a radially outwardly extending continuous locating flange adapted to be secured between the head and base portions of the housing, the diaphragm unit defining with the base portion a variable volume-discharge chamber communicating with the main reservoir by means of said inlet port and with the dispensing head by means of an outlet pipe connected to the outlet port, the diaphragm unit having a cup-shaped diaphragm and a flexible flap valve depending therefrom so as to overlie and close the inlet port, the valve being tapered on its inner surface to a feathered edge around its perimeter, a reciprocatory control rod attached adjacent a lower end thereof to the diaphragm and arranged to pass through an aperture in the head portion of the housing, said control rod being screw-threaded adjacent its upper end to co-operate with an internally-threaded adjusting bush provided with a head having a lateral projection located outside the container, said container having a top wall formed with an inwardly extending sleeve adapted to receive the bush in sliding relationship, a compression spring located within the sleeve between an inwardly extending flange integral therewith and the inner end of the bush, said lateral projection being adapted to abut against the top wall and thus limit the movement of the rod through the sleeve, and adjustment of the bush relative to the rod 6 therefore permits the diaphragm movement, and consequently the effective volume of liquid ejected from the discharge chamber, to be varied, the arrangement being such that the non-return valve unit permits liquid to be ejected under downward pressure exerted on the control rod but minimizes back-flow of liquid to the discharge chamber when said pressure is removed.
2. A liquid dispenser of the kind indicated comprising a container for liquid the interior of which is subject to atmospheric pressure, a diaphragm housing including a base portion and a head portion, an inlet port in said base portion communicating with the interior of said container for reception of liquid therefrom, an outlet port in said base portion, a dispensing head, conduit means connecting said outlet port of said dispensing head, a restricted outlet orifice located in said dispensing head above the maximum liquid level in the container, a flexible diaphragm unit including a substantially hemispherical diaphragm with a radially outwardly extending continuous locating flange clamped between said head and base portions, the diaphragm defining with said base portion a discharge chamber the volume of which increases and decreases upon expansion and contraction respectively of the diaphragm, said diaphragm unit further including a flexible flap valve depending from said diaphragm locating flange to overlie said inlet port, said flap valve yielding under pressure of liquid in said container when said diaphragm is expanded to permit passage of liquid into said diaphragm housing through the inlet port, but closing said inlet port under pressure of liquid in the diaphragm housing upon contraction of said diaphragm to prevent backflow of liquid from the discharge chamber to the container, pressure controlled means to move said diaphragm between expanded and contracted positions, means for limiting movement of said diaphragm to provide a selected constant, predetermined change of volume of the discharge chamber between said expanded and contracted positions of the diaphragm, spring means urging said control means to retain said diaphragm in its expanded position corresponding to the maximum volume of the discharge chamber, said dispensing head including an inlet opening having an associated valve seating and communicating with said conduit means, nonreturn valve means in the form of a valve unit of flexible material having a body portion secured within the dispensing head and a displaceable portion integral with the body portion and cooperating with said valve seating, whereby upon operation of said pressure control means to contract the diaphragm, the displaceable portion of the valve unit in the dispensing head is unseated to permit ejection of said predetermined volume of liquid through said restricted opening and upon removal of pressure from said control means, the displaceable portion of the valve unit is caused, by virtue of the pressure difference set up on opposite sides thereof, to seat on said valve seating to minimize back flow to liquid to the discharge chamber.
3. A liquid dispenser as claimed in claim 2 wherein the means for limiting diaphragm movement is adjustable whereby the quantity of liquid ejected from the discharge chamber is variable between a maximum volume and proportions thereof.
4. A liquid dispenser as claimed in claim 2 wherein said body portion of the non-return valve unit is substantially circular in plan and has a continuous flange integral therewith, and the displaceable portion includes a flexible membrane depending from the body portion of sufficient area to effectively overlie and close said inlet opening in the dispensing head, said membrane having on its inner surface a centrally disposed, longitudinal stiffening rib extending substantially parallel to the axis of the body portion.
5. A liquid dispenser as claimed in claim 4 wherein said membrane is tapered on its inside surface to form a feathered edge around its perimeter.
6. A liquid dispenser according to claim 5, wherein said rib of the non-return valve unit is thicker at its root where it joins the body, and is tapered toward the free end of the membrane.
7. A liquid dispenser as claimed in claim 2 wherein said control means includes a reciprocatory rod attached adjacent its lower end to the diaphragm and screw threaded adjacent its upper end to co-operate with an internally threaded adjusting bush, said bush being provided with a head portion having a lateral projection located outside the container, said container having a top Wall formed with an inwardly-extending sleeve slidably receiving said bush, and said spring means including a compression spring located within the sleeve between an inwardly eX- tending flange integral therewith and the inner end of the bush, said lateral projection being movable to abut against the top wall of the container and thus limit the movement of the rod through the sleeve, whereby adjustment of the bush relative to the rod therefore permits the elfective volume of liquid ejected from the discharge chamber to be varied.
t References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,951,910 Heffner et al Mar. 20, 1934 2,449,573 White Sept. 21, 1948 2,702,147 Brown Feb. 15, 1955 2,777,397 Atkinson Jan. 15, 1957 2,856,101 Vermette Oct. 14, 1958 2,881,795 Waldenrnaier et al Apr. 14, 1959 2,985,111 Henderson May 23, 1961 3,045,605 Nutten et al. July 24, 1962 FOREIGN PATENTS 212,708 Austria Jan. 10, 1961 343,327 France Oct. 1, 1904