US 3238963 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 8, 1966 w. H. WITZEL ETAL 3,238,953
DISPENSING VALVE FOR CARBONATED BEVERAGES Filed Sept. 27, 1962 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Fig .1-
I I d Isa an], I95
March 8, WEE
w. H. WITZEL ETAL 3,238,963
DISPENSING VALVE FOR CARBONATED BEVERAGES Filed Sept. 27, 1962 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 United States Tatent O f 3,238,963 DISPENSHNG VALVE FOR CARBONATED BEVERAGES Walter H. Witzel, Sudhury, Alfred Armstrong, Norwood,
and Edwin H. Nahiisian, Wayland, Mass, assignors to Product R & D, incorporated, Waltham, Mass, a corporation of Massachusetts Filed Sept. 27, 1962, Ser. No. 226,582 Claims. ((Il. 13717tl.1)
This invention relates to dispensing valves for beverage storage and dispensing apparatus, and more particularly to valves for dispensing carbonated beverages.
The valve here described is intended for dispensing individual portions of beverage from bulk containers of the type used, for example, in soda fountains and similar establishments. Such containers may be simple storage vessels initially filled with carbonated beverage, or may have a self-contained carbonating device. The containers are usually pressurized to produce or maintain the desired degree of carbonation and the beverage is refrigerated.
One of the problems in dispensing carbonated beverages is excessive foaming. As the beverage emerges suddenly from the pressurized container to atmospheric pressure, much of the entrained gas tends to escape at once. This results in a head of foam which tends to overflow the glass. Often the operator must fill the glass only part way, and wait for the head to subside before completing the filling operation. Valves heretofore in use for overcoming this problem in dispensing carbonated beverages have been of rather complicated construction and have been difficult to clean. They can be taken apart for cleaning only when the container is empty and decompressed. As many carbonated beverages contain syrups which tend to form a sticky film on any surface exposed to air, such valves, due to infrequent cleaning, are apt to become coated with a film of dried beverage which is unsightly and unsanitary and tends to spoil the flavor of the drink.
The principal object of this invention is to provide a valve which overcomes the foaming problem in dispensing carbonated beverages, and which is constructed in such a manner that the exposed parts may be easily taken apart for cleaning without decompressing and draining the tank.
The valve here described consists in general of a tubular valve body which extends through the wall of the container, a plug disposed in the body and defining therewith a restricted fluid passage, a sleeve mounted on the lower end of the body and carrying a discharge spout, a vertically slidable stem having a sealing member seating in the lower part of the body, and a handle connected to the stem and movable to raise it and thus open the valve. The sleeve and handle are held. together and secured to the body by a removable bail. When the bail is pulled off, the sleeve and handle may be removed for cleaning without disturbing the stem which remains in sealing position. The parts of the valve disposed outside the container may. thus be cleaned without decompressing the container and draining its contents. Other objects, advantages and novel features of the invention will be apparent from the detailed description which follows.
In the drawings illustrating the invention:
FIG. 1 is a front elevation of a dispensing valve constructed according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is a cross-section taken along line 22 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a cross-section taken along line 33 of FIG. 2;
A 3,238,063 Fatentedl Mar. 8, 1966 FIG. 4 is a cross-section taken along line 44 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary cross-section of a modified form of the valve;
FIG. 6 is a cross-section taken along line 66 of FIG. 5; and
FIG. 7 is a vertical fragmentary cross-section of a modified form of the valve.
The valve is shown mounted in the bottom wall 10 of a beverage storage tank or container which may be of any suitable construction for storing carbonated beverages. A generally tubular valve body 11 passes through a suitable opening in the tank wall and has a top flange 11a which overlies the tank wall around the opening. An O-ring 12 is disposed around the body below the flange. The body has a threaded portion 1112 which is engaged by a mounting nut 13, which secures the valve body to the tank and compresses the O-ring to form a seal around the opening. The inner surface of the upper portion of the body is generally conical, and a conical plug 14 is mounted in this portion. The plug has a number of shallow, longitudinal ribs 15 which engage surface 110. The portions of the plug surface 14a between the ribs are spaced from surface 110 by the depth of the ribs which is a relatively small dimension, for example, about .004 in. to .005 in.
Around the lower part of the valve body are flanges 11d and 11c and a sleeve 16 is slidably mounted on these flanges. The sleeve carries a discharge spout 17, having a sloping portion 17:: and a downwardly directed portion 17b. The sleeve also carries a pair of lugs 18. A U- shaped bail 19 has one leg 19a, which passes through the sleeve and engages a groove 20 in the valve body to hold the sleeve in place, and a lower leg 1% which passes through lugs 18 and also serves as a hinge pin for a handle 21 which is mounted between the lugs. The handle has a sloping portion 21a, and a widened lower end portion 21b.
A stem 22 has an enlarged head 22a slidably mounted in the lower part of valve body 11 and has guide tabs 2212 which engage the body. The body has a seating surface 11 surrounding its discharge opening 11g, and the stem carries a conical gasket 23, just below the head, which seats on surface 11 and forms a fluid seal. Near its lower end the stem has a reduced neck 22c, and the handle has a rearwardly projecting fork portion 210 which engages this neck.
When the valve is closed, liquid in the container fills the valve body down as far as the seal provided by gasket 23. The valve is opened by pushing back the lower part of handle 21b. The handle is arranged so as to be con veniently pushed back by placing a cup or glass under spout 17. The stem 22 is raised by movement of fork 210. When the stem is raised, liquid can flow down through spout 17. When the handle is released it drops to its original position under gravity drawing the stem back to sealing position, and pressure of the liquid on the stem also tends to close the valve.
It will be noted that wall portions 14a of the plug between ribs 15 define, with wall 110, restricted fluid passages 24. These narrow passages reduce the fluid pressure when fluid flows through the valve to approximately atmospheric pressure at the lower end of the ribs. When the fluid enters the larger area of the spout, a reduction in fluid velocity occurs. This orderly transition makes it possible to draw fluid from the high pressure vessel and discharge it into a receptacle at atmospheric pressure without excessive foaming. The change in direction of flow as the fluid passes through portions 17a and 1712 further slows down the flow, and reduces foaming.
The body, nut, stem and sleeve may be made of any suitable material which is non-reactive with the beverage, but are preferably made of a material, such as a molded plastic, which has heat insulating properties. The plug 14 is preferably made of a heat-conductive material, such as metal. The beverage which remains in the lower part of the valve body when the valve is closed is thus maintained at nearly the same temperature as the beverage in the tank, which is usually refrigerated. The handle and bail may be made of metal or rigid plastic. When the valve os opened, some liquid flows into the space between the valve body, below flange llle, and the sleeve. This liquid acts as a seal and prevents air from being drawn into the spout at its upper end, thus eliminating the need of an O-ring or other mechanical seal between the body and the sleeve. The base of the nut 13 overhangs sleeve 16 and keeps out dust.
To clean the exposed parts of the valve, the bail 19 is pulled out, releasing the sleeve 16 from the valve body and also releasing the handle. The sleeve, along with the spout and the handle, may be taken off and washed, and the lower part of the valve stem and outside of the housing may be washed by submerging them in a glass of water. This cleaning operation can be performed while the tank is under pressure, as the gasket 23 maintains a seal. The parts of the valve which come in contact with the beverage and are exposed to air, may thus be cleaned frequently to remove any sticky film which is likely to accumulate when certain syrup beverages are used. As the inside of the valve body is continually in contact with the beverage, film does not tend to accumulate on the inner surface.
When the tank is decompressed and drained, the entire valve may be readily taken apart by dismantling the handle and sleeve, as before, unscrewing nut 13, and lifting out the plug, stem, and valve body. The parts may then be cleaned and sterilized separately.
In the form of valve shown in FIGS. and 6, the plug 25 has a smooth surface, and the valve body 26, which is otherwise similar to body 11, has interior ribs 27 running down its inner wall in the region of the plug. The other parts of the valve are the same as in the form previously described, and the valve operates in the same manner. The ribs 27 create restricted passages between the plug and the inner wall of the body.
In FIG. 7 a modified form of valve body is shown, which permits the liquid filled portion of the valve to be disposed mostly within the tank for maintaining better refrigeration of the liquid in the valve. The valve body 30 has a flange 30a, disposed unnder the bottom wall of the tank 10, and is secured by threaded engagement with a nut 31 disposed inside the tank. The nut has grooves in which O-rings 32 and 33 are disposed to form a seal between the nut and the valve body, and
the nut and the tank wall, respectively. The valve body extends upward a considerable distance into the tank, and the plug 34 is mounted in the upper portion of the body. Plug 34 is similar to plug 14 and carries ribs 35 which bound the restricted fluid passages between the plug and the inner wall of the body, for the purpose previously described. The plug is attached to a cylindrical hood 36 which overlies the valve body and nut and extends down, outside the nut almost to the bottom Wall 10 of the tank. The hood provides a syphoning action so that the tanks can be entirely drained by holding the valve open. The sleeve 16, stem 22, and handle of the valve are constructed and assembled on to the valve body in the same manner as in the valve shown in FIG. 2. In this modified form of valve the plug need not be made of heat conductive material.
This valve, in all its forms, has many desirable features for dispensing carbonated beverages. The entire valve may be readily taken apart for cleaning and reassembled, without the use of tools, by unskilled personnel. The exposed portions may be dismantled for cleaning without decompressing and draining the tank. Frequent cleaning of these parts is thus encouraged, and prevents accumulation of unsightly and unsanitary film. The small quantity of beverage in the valve body is kept cool by the heat-conductive plug, so that the first drink drawn off after the dispenser has been standing unused for some time is at palatable temperature. The controlled transition from high to low pressure and the low velocity of the fluid when it emerges reduce foaming and prevent the build up of an excessive head in the glass. The glass may therefore be filled to normal capacity in one operation without causing overflow of foam. The valve is suitable for use on many types of containers as the retaining nut can be adjusted to accommodate different wall thicknesses. The valve may also be mounted in a pipe line connected to a remotely located source of carbonated beverage.
What is claimed is:
1. A dispensing valve, for carbonated beverages, comprising a hollow valve body having a discharge opening and a seating surface surrounding said opening, a stem slidably mounted in said body and carrying sealing means normally engaging said surface to form a fluid seal therewith, a sleeve surrounding said body in the region of said opening and carrying a discharge spout communicating with said opening, a handle engaged with and operable to move said stem to move said sealing means out of engagement with said surface, a removable securing member, and means on said handle, sleeve, and body receiving said securing member whereby said member retains said handle and sleeve in assembled position on said body, said handle being disengageable from said stern upon removal of said member.
2. A dispensing valve as described in claim 1, further characterized by the last-named means comprising an external groove on said body, said sleeve carrying downwardly extending lugs, said handle having a portion disposed between said lugs, and said securing member comprising a bail having a first leg passing through said sleeve and engaged in said groove and a second leg passing through said lugs and said handle portion, said handle being rotatable about said second leg.
3. A dispensing valve as described in claim 2, said stern having a downwardly extending portion with an external groove, and said handle having a fork portion engaging the groove in the stem.
4. A dispensing valve, for carbonated beverages, comprising a hollow valve body having a region with a generally conical inner surface, a top flange, an externally threaded portion below said flange, a discharge opening below said threaded portion and region, and a seating surface surrounding said opening, a nut engaging said threaded portion and adapted to cooperate with said flange to secure said body on a beverage container, a generally conical plug mounted in said region, spacing means disposed between said plug and said inner surface and creating therebetween a restricted fluid passage, a stem slidably mounted in said body and carrying a sealing member normally engaging said seating surface to form a fluid seal therewith, a sleeve surrounding said body in the region of said opening and carrying a discharge spout, said nut having a lower rim overhanging said sleeve, a handle operable to move said stem to move said sealing means out of engagement with said seating surface, and means removably securing said handle and sleeve to said body.
5. A dispensing valve as described in claim 1, said hollow body having a region with a generally conical inner surface having an upper and lower portion and an intermediate flange, said upper portion having an externally threaded portion, said lower portion containing said discharge opening, a nut engaging said threaded portion and adapted to cooperate with said flange to secure said body to a beverage container, a generally conical P g m unted in said region, spacing means disposed between said plug and said inner surface and creating therebetween a restricted fluid passage, a closed top hood attached to said plug and extending downward around said upper portion and said nut.
Mueller 251--156 Anagno 137-600 X Anagno 251-120 Anschicks 25 1155 Cornelius 25 l1 22 Crist 251122 M. CARY NELSON, Primary Examiner.