US 3277924 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 11, 1966 J. E. NEZWORSKI 3,
FLOW REGULATOR PARTICULARLY ADAPTED FOR SOFT DRINK MIXING AND DISPENSING APPARATUS Filed Dec. 18, 1964 dmdmwflw/ J mes .75. zwurskz United States Patent 3,277,924 FLOW REGULATOR PARTICULARLY ADAPTED FOR SOFT DRINK MIXING AND DISPENSING APPARATUS James E. Nezworski, New Berlin, Wis., assignor to The Per-lick Company, Inc., Milwaukee, Wis, a corporation of Wisconsin Filed Dec. 18, 1964, Ser. No. 419,478 2 Claims. (Cl. 137-170.1)
In certain types of soft drink mixers and dispensers, flavoring syrup is stored in a container that is under carbon dioxide gas pressure, and such syrup is released from the container through a manually or automatically actuated syrup valve each time a drink is to be mixed and dispensed. Usually the actuator for the syrup valve is also connected to a water valve so that either carbonated or uncarbonated water from a pressurized source thereof is discharged substantially simultaneously with the syrup. The water and syrup outlets are arranged to debouche substantially concentrically, to cause the syrup and water to be mixed as they issue into a glass, cup or other container.
In such equipment it is essential that the syrup always be dispensed at a predetermined rate, accurately proportioned to the rate at which water is discharged, so that a properly flavored drink will be produced which is neither too strong nor too weak. However, the volume of syrup dispensed per unit of time has heretofore been influenced by a number of factors, not all of which are controllable. For example, the pressure in the syrup container may vary, due to partial exhaustion of the carbon dioxide supply with which it is connected, or due to simultaneous withdrawal from the container at two or more points of use; or the viscosity of the syrup may vary with temperature or other conditions.
With the foregoing consideration in mind it is an object of the present invention to provide a flow regulator particularly adapted for soft drink mixing and dispensing equipment of the character described whereby the flow of syrup from a pressurized source thereof is caused to maintain a predetermined rate regardless of variations in pressure at the syrup source and irrespective of changes in viscosity of the syrup due to temperature variations.
Another object of this invention is to provide a flow regulator of the character described, particularly adapted for controlling the flow of flavoring syrup from a soft drink mixing and dispensing device, which flow regulator provides a discharge outlet for syrup that assures its thorough but non-foaming admixture with water discharged simultaneously with the syrup.
A more specific object of this invention is to provide a very simple, sturdy and reliable flow regulating device of the character described which is readily adjustable to compensate for different ranges of viscosity of the fluid which it regulates, which tends to keep itself clean and can be easily disassembled for cleaning when occasion requires, and which can be readily incorporated into a combined water and syrup faucet through which soft drink ingredients can be discharged and premixed.
With the above and other objects in view which will appear as the description proceeds, this invention resides in the novel construction, combination and arrangement of parts substantially as hereinafter described and more particularly defined by the appended claims, it being understood that such changes in the precise embodiment of the herein disclosed invention may be made as come within the scope of the claims.
The accompanying drawing illustrates one complete example of the physical embodiment of the invention constructed according to the best mode so far devised for the practical application of the principles thereof, and is a 3,277,924 Patented Get. 11, 1966 vertical sectional view through the outlet portion of a combined syrup and water faucet in a soft drink mixing and dispensing device that incorporates the flow regulator of this invention.
Referring now more particularly to the accompanying drawing, the numeral 5 designates the lower portion of a faucet body having a passage 6 therein through which flavoring syrup can flow from a pressurized source thereof, and having another passage 7 for water. It will be understood that the flow of syrup and water through the respective passages 6 and 7 is controlled by 'valve means (not shown) located in the faucet body above the illustrated portion thereof and which can be actuated by a single lever or the like (not shown), as in any conventional soft drink mixing and dispensing apparatus. It will also be understood that the apparatus of this invention can be used either with carbonated water or with hot or cold uncarbonated water.
At its lower end the water passage 7 has an outlet formed by a small bushing 8 which is threaded upwardly into the faucet body and which serves as a restrictor that limits the flow of water to a predetermined rate. Note that the bushing 8 is spaced to one side of the axis of the faucet body.
Threaded into the lower portion of the faucet body, substantially concentrically therewith, is a downwardly projecting syrup tube 9 which provides a downward extension of the syrup passage 6 and which also serves to support other elements of the assembly described hereinafter.
The flow regulator of this invention, which is designated generally by the numeral 10, is threaded onto the lower end portion of the syrup tube. Resting upon the flow regulator is an annular water spreader 11 which surrounds the syrup tube and which has a notched or serrated upper surface that defines a plurality of radially outwardly opening passages 12. Seated on top of the water spreader is an annular upper nozzle element '13 having an upwardly opening coaxial bore 14 and a downwardly opening counterbore 15. The downwardly facing shoulder defined by the junction of the bore 114 and counterbore 15 in the upper nozzle element cooperates with the notched upper surface of the water spreader 11 to define the radial passages 12. An axially short upwardly projecting flange or rim 16 on top of the upper nozzle element engages the flat undersurface of the faucet body and defines therewith a shallow chamber or passage 17 that leads radially inwardly from the flow restrictor bushing 8 to the bore 14 in the upper nozzle element, and the wall of said bore, in cooperation with the syrup tube 9, defines an annular passage which leads downwardly from the chamber 17 to the radial passages 12. The wall of the counterbore 15 in the upper nozzle element cooperates with the upper portion of the water spreader I11 to define an annular passage which extends downwardly from the radial passages 12.
The water spreader has a radially outwardly projecting circumferential flange 19 at its bottom which is spaced below the bottom of the upper nozzle element 13 and which deflects radially outwardly the water issuing from the lower annular passage portion conjointly defined by the upper nozzle element and the water spreader. A substantially tubular downwardly convergent lower nozzle element 21 is threaded onto the lower portion of the upper nozzle element, which has a reduced outside diameter; and the lower nozzle element projects coaxially downwardly a substantial distance below the bottom of the syrup tube, almost to the level of the bottom of the regulator 10.
It will be observed that water issuing from the restrictor bushing 8 is carried radially inwardly and then downwardly and radially outwardly in a series of steps, through the rather tortuous passage arrangement provided by the upper nozzle element and the water spreader. In the course of such flow the water is distributed uniformly around the syrup tube even though the restrictor bushing 8 through which the water enters the nozzle is located at a substantial distance to one side of the nozzle axis. Hence the water flows down the inside of the convergent lower nozzle element 21 in a smooth stream that is of substantially uniform thickness all around the lower nozzle element.
To prevent leakage of water between the bottom of the faucet body and the upper nozzle element 13, a resilient gasket 22 is confined between them, being nested inside the rim 16 on the upper nozzle element. A resilient O-ring 23 is confined between the top of the flow regulator and the bottom of the water spreader 11.
The flow regulator 10 of this invention comprises, in general, a substantially tubular body 31, a plunger 32 which is slideable up and down in the medial portion of the body, a coiled compression spring 33 which reacts between the plunger and a plug 34 thread-ed into the lower end portion of the body, and a tubular sleeve 35 which surrounds the body and coacts therewith to provide an annular discharge passage for the syrup and by which the syrup issuing from the regulator is formed into a smooth, non-foaming annular stream as will be hereinafter more fully described.
The upper end portion of the body 31, which is its inlet end, is internally thread-ed to be secured onto the externally threaded lower end portion of the syrup tube 9. The lower end portion of the regulator body is likewise internally threaded to receive the plug 34, the mating threaded portions on the plug and body being of substantial axial length to provide for a considerable range of axial adjustment of the plug.
The medial portion 36 of the bore in the regulator body 31, in which the plunger 32 is slideable, is of uniform diameter along its length. Opening radially through the body wall, spaced slightly above the internally threaded lower end portion of the body, are a plurality of outlet ports 37 with which the plunger cooperates to perform the flow regulating function of the unit.
An upwardly opening bore 38 in the plunger 32, communicating with a downwardly opening counterbore 39, provides a restricted orifice through which all syrup flows from the syrup tube 9 to the outlet ports 37. In thus flowing through the plunger the syrup of course urges the plunger downwardly in the body, against the bias of spring 33, with a force which varies with the flow rate and viscosity of the syrup. The lower portion of the plunger, which closely but slideably fits the bore in the body, functions as a valve element which covers the ports 37 to reduce their effective size as the plunger moves downwardly. Thus if there is an increase in pressure at the source of syrup flowing into the body 31 of the regulator, tending to produce a faster flow rate of such syrup, there will be an increased pressure drop across the plunger, causing the plunger to move down to reduce flow of syrup through the outlet ports. If viscosity of the syrup increases to some extent, due, for example, to a lowering of temperature, there will be a corresponding reduction in syrup pressure at the regulator, due to increased pressure drop along the line between the source and the regulator, with the result that there will be a decreased flow pressure on the plunger which permits it to move up in response to the bias of spring 33, increasing the effective area of the ports 37.
Although the bore or orifice 38 in the plunger is shown as coaxial, it will be appreciated that it could be eccentric, and could even comprise a plurality of small lengthwise extending grooves in the cylindrical surface of the plunger, so long as it provides for restricted axial flow of syrup past the plunger and in contact therewith.
While normal viscosity changes in a given syrup, such as are due to changes in its temperature, are automatically compensated for by the regulator of this invention, any substantial viscosity change, such as might result from changing from one kind of syrup to another, must be compensated for by adjustment of the plug 34 that regulates tension of the spring 33. To facilitate such adjustment the plug is preferably provided at its lower end with a screwdriver cross slot 40. The cross slot also facilitates removal of the plug from the body to permit complete disassembly of the unit for cleaning the same.
It will be noted that the spring 33 is held coaxial with the plunger by having its upper convolutions received in the downwardly opening counterbore 39 in the plunger and its lowermost convolutions received in a coaxial upwardly opening well 41 in the plug.
The sleeve 35 can be a straight piece of tubing having uniform inside and outside diameters along its length. The body 31 has its outside diameter stepwise reduced downwardly, being largest in outside diameter at its internally threaded upper end portion, having an intermediate diameter through a zone above the ports 37, where it is snugly embraced by the sleeve, and having its smallest outside diameter at and below the level of the outlet ports so as to cooperate with the sleeve in defining an annular passage 42 that extends downwardly from the ports and by which syrup is smoothly guided into water flowing over the inner surface of the lower nozzle element.
Because of the presence of the sleeve, syrup flowing laterally out of the outlet ports 37 is deflected d0wnwardly along the lower portion of the regulator body 31 and is caused to merge smoothly with the annular flow of water along the interior surface of the lower nozzle element 21 in a zone near the lower end of the body 31 of the regulator. Such tangential delivery of the syrup into the water, with the water and syrup in streams that merge with a small included angle between them, avoids foaming of the liquids being dispensed while nevertheless accomplishing a substantial amount of mixing of the syrup and the water as and after they leave the lower nozzle element.
Since the syrup is caused to flow down along the exterior of the regulator, a certain amount of it will naturally tend to cling to that unit. The amount of this residue is minimized by providing the plug 34 with a rounded or bullet-like nose portion 43 which projects beneath the regulator body.
From the foregoing description taken together with the accompanying drawing it will be apparent that this invention provides a very simple, compact, efficient and sanitary flow regulator, particularly well adapted for automatic soft drink mixing and dispensing apparatus, by which the rate of flow of syrup or other viscous fluid can be maintained at a predetermined volume per unit of time regardless of variations in viscosity of the fluid and variations in pressure difference between the source of the fluid and its point of use or delivery; and it will also be apparent that the flow control unit of this invention, when incorporated in such soft drink apparatus, can provide for smooth, non-foaming mixing of syrup and water.
What is claimed as my invention is.
1. In a soft drink dispensing device of the type having a dispenser body in which there are adjacent downwardly opening syrup and water outlets through which flavoring syrup and water from separate pressurized sources thereof can issue substantially simultaneously to be mixed while being dispensed:
(A) an upright syrup tube having its upper end portion detachably received in the dispenser body substantially coaxially with the syrup outlet, said syrup tube providing a syrup passage leading downwardly from the syrup outlet;
(B) an upright substantially tubular regulator body having (1) a bore therethrough, in the upper portion of which the lower portion of the syrup tube is detachably received, the lower end portion of which is internally threaded, and the medial portion of which has a uniform diameter along its length; and
(2) a port opening laterally through its wall from the lower end of said medial portion of the bore;
(C) a sleeve on the regulator body having a coaxial skirt portion radially spaced from the exterior of the regulator body and extending axially from above the port nearly to the level of the bottom of the regulator body to cooperate with the latter in providing an annular downwardly opening outlet nozzle into which said port opens;
(D) a plunger slideable in the medial portion of the bore in the regulator body,
(1) said plunger being axially apertured to permit fluid to flow therepast and in contact therewith in passing from the syrup tube to the port to thereby produce a pressure drop across the plunger by which the same is urged downwardly, and
(2) said plunger having its lower end portion adapted to cooperate with the port to cover the same and reduce the effective size thereof as the plunger moves downwardly;
(E) an axially adjustable plug received in the threaded lower end portion of the bore in the rgulator body;
(F) a coiled compression spring reacting between said plug and the plunger to bias the plunger upwardly with a force which depends upon the axial position of the plug;
(G) annular water spreader means carried by the syrup tube, concentrically surrounding the syrup tube above the regulator body and having circumferential surfaces that alternately along its length face upwardly and radially outwardly to provide a downward and radially outwardly stepped flow path for water;
(H) an annular upper nozzle element supported on said water spreader means and having (1) a rim at its top which engages the underside of the dispenser body and cooperates with the same and with the upper portion of the syrup tube to define an annular water inlet chamber into which the water outlet opens, and
(2) circumferential interior and downwardly facing surfaces which cooperate with and are spaced from the outer surfaces of the syrup tube and 53 water spreader means to define an annular downwardly and outwardly stepped water passage that leads coaxially downwardly from said water inlet chamber; and (I) an annular downwardly converging lower nozzle element detachably secured at its top to said upper nozzle element and having its lower end spaced slightly below the level of the bottom of the regulator body, said lower nozzle element being adapted to have water issuing from said water passage flow down along its converging inside surface to be mixed with syrup issuing from said downwardly opening outlet nozzle, and having an inside diameter at its bottom which is substantially equal to the outside diameter of the regulator body so that water and syrup being discharged can converge along flow paths which define a sharply acute included angle to mix smoothly and without foaming. 2. The soft drink dispensing device of claim 1, further characterized by:
(A) the upper portion of the regulator body having a threaded connection with the lower portion of the syrup tube;
(B) the water spreader being arranged to rest upon the top of the regulator body; and
(C) the upper nozzle element being arranged to rest upon the water spreader, so that unscrewing the regulator body from the syrup tube also provides for disassembly of the water spreader and nozzle elements.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,845,086 7/1958 Waterman et a1. 137504 2,984,261 5/1961 Kates 137504 X 3,163,177 12/1964 Welty et a1. 251127 X FOREIGN PATENTS 970,737 1/ 1951 France.
M. CARY NELSON, Primary Examiner.
MARTIN P. SCHWADRON, Examiner.
R. JAY MILLER, Assistant Examiner.