US 3295723 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
F. WELTY 3,295,723;
GRAVITY FLOW CONTROL FOR MIXED BEVERAGE DTSPENSER Janv 3, 1967 Filed. June 24, 1965 R R W E ON T L0 m A C W W m 2 6M2 W 1 I'XWPIJUAS 2. 2 I 2 B m V G W 0 X 2 m l a m N TY R WT m. L W M 1 K N m F Y B 4 6 2 2 W M7 0???- 5 2 w 3 3 8 2 United States Patent 3,295,723 GRAVITY FLUW CGNTRQL FUR MlXED BEVERAGE DISPENSER Frank Welty, 4962 Lockwood Blvd, Youngstown, Uhio 44511 Filed June 24, 1965, Ser. No. 466,758 8 Claims. (Cl. 222-54) This invention relates to simplified yet improved apparatus for mixing and dispensing beverages, whether carbonated or non-carbonated, and more particularly to an improved arrangement in such apparatus for controlling the rate of gravity flow of the flavoring syrup from an elevated storage tank or vessel for the syrup. The invention is particularly, but not exclusively, adapted for use in the so-called countertop type of mixed beverage dispenser wherein two compartments are provided-one to receive the flavoring syrup and the other to receive cooling coils for the mixing water and also loose ice to refrigerate the same.
One of the requirements in apparatus which mixes the beverage at the locale of consumption is that an accurately predetermined ratio of flavoring syrup to water he maintained at each serving to thereby consistently maintain the desired quality in the drink while yet avoiding over-flavoring and the consequent increase in cost of the.
servings. In the more complicated and expensive installations it is common practice to pressurize the syrup source as well as the water and to employ flow control valves in each line to thereby achieve an equal ratio in the mix. invention is more specifically concerned, it is common practice to use an open-topped vessel or container into which additional syrup may be deposited from time to time from a gallon jug or other suitable transporting container. In such apparatus the syrup is allowed to flow by gravity out of a bottom aperture of the container and thence into a mixing and dispensing valve which dis charges the mixed drink into the consumers glass. With this arrangement the proportion of syrup dispensed at each serving is overlydependent on the height of the liquid syrup in the, container since when the container is full there exists maximum pressure at the discharge aperture the rate of flow may be too great while as the container nears an empty condition the rate of flow will be too low. This problem has been recognized in the art and some suggestions for overcoming the same have been offered but none have found full acceptance due primarily to mechanical complication and increased difficulty of maintaining the equipment clean and sanitary.
Another factor which governs the rate of gravity flow of such liquids as flavoring syrups from a container is the temperature of the liquid since the viscosity of the same changes rapidly with temperature changes and varies the flow pattern at the outlet passage or pasages.
It is accordingly the primary object of the invention to provide simplified and improved arrangements for controlling the gravity outflow of flavoring syrup from an open-topped container for the same in compensation of variations in the pressure head of the syrup as the container empties. An ancillary object of the invention is to provide such apparatus which is exceedingly simple and inexpensive to construct and which is readily insertable and removable from the container for changing characteristics or for cleaning purposes.
A further object of the invention is to provide apparatus having the above characteristics which may also be made to compensate for changes in the temperature and consequently in the viscosity of the liquid being handled. While normally the syrup in the container will be quite cool due to the juxtaposition of the container of the ice In simpler apparatus with which the present.
Patented Jan. 3, i967 "ice chamber the temperature may change (rise) quickly as when a fresh supply of syrup is emptied into the container.
The above and other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent upon consideration of the following specification and the accompanying drawing wherein there is disclosed certain preferred embodiments of the invention.
In the drawing:
FIGURE 1 is a vertical section of a mixed drink dispenser constructed in accordance with the principles of this invention; and
FIGURE 2 is a fragmentary sectional view showing a modification of the apparatus of FIGURE 1.
Referring to the drawing, reference numeral 10 desig nates the supporting body member of dispensing apparatus which is suitable for countertop use. This body member may be integrally molded as shown or assembled from component parts to provide a base 11, a standard 12, a syrup container 13, and a chamber 14 to receive a water cooling coil 15 and cracked ice or other refrigerant, not shown. The supply conduit 16 for the coil 15 may include a flow control valve 17 which delivers water at a uniform rate regardless of variations in the pressure of the source. Depending on the nature of the drink to be dispensed the source may be a city water line or a device for furnishing carbonated water under pressure as in United States Patent Number 2,588,677.
The outlet of the coil 15 is suitably connected to a mixing and dispensing valve 18 housed within a faucet 19. The valve 13 is arranged for full on and off operation by a hand lever 21 and may be of any suitable construction (not a part of the present invention) so long as it has a syrup inlet 21, a water inlet 22 and a discharge port 23.
To control the rate of flow of syrup to the inlet 21 I provide a slide valve in the form of a tubular member 24 having an inlet aperture 25 in its side wall. During manufacture of the container 13, which is preferably round, attention is paid to the accuracy of dimension of the side wall of the container, and also a stainless steel ring 26 is molded in the bottom wall of the container to provide a smooth and accurately dimensioned aperture through which the tube 24 slides. This aperture through ring 26 cooperates with the aperture 25 in tube 24 to provide the metering valve.
In the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGURE 1 the tube 24 is molded integrally with a hollow float 27, the outer periphery of which is precisely related, dimensionally, to the diameter of the container 13 so that there is provided a thin annular orifice between the float 27 and the side wall of the container 13. When the valve 18 is closed and no syrup is flowing out of the container 13 the buoyancy of the float 27 is such as to retain it in raised position and the valve port 25 is fully open. When now the valve 18 is opened and the pressure in the space 28 below the float is relieved the weight of the liquid above the float will cause the same to move downwardly to throttle off the port 25. However, the annular orifice above referred to, and now designated by reference numeral 29, is suificient in cross-sectional area to permit an adequate downflow of syrup to satisfy the mixing valve 18 regardless of the height of the syrup in the container 13. If there is substantial pressure as when the container 13 is full or almost full the downward thrust on the float 27 is also substantial to have the effect of further throttling the port 25. This throttling compensates for the substantial pressure head of the syrup since otherwise the increased pressure would cause too great an outflow of the syrup. As the syrup flows downwardly through the annular orifice 29 a pressure drop is developed across this orifice in proportion to the rate of flow of the syrup. If the flow rate becomes greater than wanted, the decreased pressure in space 28 will allow the float 27 to move downwardly and further throttle the port 25. In this manner a constant flow rate is maintained so long as the valve 18 remains open regardless of the variation in the head of syrup above the float 27.
To prevent the float 27 from rising to the top of the syrup in container 13 the lower end portion of tube 24 is bifurcated to provide tines on which knobs 30 are integrally molded. These knobs normally engage the bottom end of the ring 26 but the yieldability of the tines permit their inward deflection for the ready removal of the float 27, when desired, by grasping the handle 31.
It should be particularly noted that the inner shape of the container 13 is immaterial-At may be square or rectangular, for exampleso long as a fairly good fit is established and maintained between the outer periphery of the float and the inner surface of the container. Also, it should be further understood that the annular orifice may be replaced with one or more localized orifices as may be provided, for example, by simply forming vertical grooves in the outer periphery of the float.
In the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG- URE 2 the float 27 which is attached to the tube 24 is simply a flat slab 32 of material integral with the tube. Substituting for the buoyancy of the float is a light stainless steel coil spring 33 and, again the controlling orifice may, if desired, be made annular as in FIGURE 1. In the illustrated embodiment of FIGURE 2, however, the orifice is shown in the shape of a vertical groove 34 in the outer periphery of the disc or slab 32. The action of the embodiment of FIGURE 2 is precisely like that of the embodiment of FIGURE 1, the coil spring 33 keeping the valve port 25 fully open when the dispensing valve is closed and the knobs 3! on the yieldable tines at the bottom of the tube 24 restricting upward movement of the disc or slab 32. Again, when the dispensing valve is open the downward flow of liquid past the disc or slab 32 and principally through the orifice 34 creates a pressure drop which causes the aperture or port 25 to throttle in accordance with the rate of flow of the liquid whereby a uniform rate of flow is maintained at each opening of the dispensing valve. It should be noted particularly in both embodiments of the invention illustrated that the overriding control of the throttling of the port 25 is the pressure drop across the float or disc which is a function of the rate of flow so that the rate of flow may be uniformly controlled.
It should be apparent from a consideration of the principles of the invention that the regulating orifice need not necessarily be at the periphery of the vertically movable disc or float. It may consist, for example, of a vertically disposed aperture or apertures spaced inwardly of the outer peripheries of these parts.
For temperature compensation the piston-like float or disc may be made of Teflon or other suitable material having a desired coelficient of thermal expansion so that as the syrup warms up and the regulating orifice becomes more restricted the inherent greater fluidity of the syrup which otherwise results in the greater rate of flow through the orifice will be compensated for by such restriction. The over-all result is that a greater pressure drop is developed across the piston-like float or disc to further throttle the port 25 andkeep the volume output of the container constant.
The containers 13 and 14 are commonly provided with a readily removable cover 35 to permit their ready filling. Also, upon removal of this cover, and assuming that the supply of syrup in container 13 is about exhausted, the control float or disc is readily removed for inspection, cleaning, and/or replacement if a change in flow valves is desired or required by a change in the type of syrup lbeing dispensed. In actual practice, the valve 18 and faucet 19 are also made quickly detachable to permit of a thorough washing of all of these parts,
It should now be apparent that I have provided an improved arrangement for controlling the gravity flow of flavoring syrup from an elevated container thereof which accomplishes the objects initially set out. The apparatus compensates for variations in the headi.e. pressure of the syrup so that a constant and uniform rate of flow is achieved at each full opening of the mixing and dispensing valve. This result is achieved by-the use of components of utmost simplicity and economy both in their manufacture and in their day-to-day use. Further, the invention also lends itself to incorporation, without additional expense, of the feature of providing for compensation for variations in the temperature of the syrup being dispensed. Since the principles of the invention can be utilized in various specific embodiments reference should i be had to the appended claims in determining the scope of the invention.
1. In beverage mixing and dispensing apparatus of the kind having a mixing and dispensing valve and a cooling coil for incoming water connected to said valve as well as an elevated container for syrup from which syrup is allowed to flow by gravity to said valve the improvement of means to regulate the outflow of syrup from said container comprising a vertical port in the bottom wall of said container, a tubular member slideable vertically in said port and having an inlet aperture in its side Wall, communicating with the space in said container whereby syrup may flow from said container through said aperture and thence downwardly through said tubular member to said valve and upon downward movement of said tubular member said aperture may be'throttled off by the upper edge of said port, loose fittingpiston means connected with the upper end of said tubular member and slideable vertically in said container so that upon opening of said valve and the release of pressure below said piston means and tubular member may move downwardly to effect said throttling, and means to yieldably bias said piston means to upper position.
2. Apparatus according to claim 1 further characterized in that said piston means comprises a float, and in that said means to bias inherently results from the buoyancy of said float. V
3. Apparatus according to claim 1 further characterized in that said piston means comprises a disc-like slab of material, and in that said means to bias comprises a light spring to retain said slab and tubular member in upper position with said aperture fully exposed above said port when said valve is closed.
4. Apparatus according to claim ll 'further including yieldable tines at the bottom end of said tubular member, and the lower ends of said tines having radially outward projecting protrusions to yieldably engage the bottom end of said port to thereby normally restrict the upward movement of said piston means and connected tubular member While yet allowing said piston means and connected tubular member to be forcibly withdrawn vertically upward from said container.
5. Apparatus according to claim 1 further characterized in that said piston means is made of a material having an appreciable coeflicient of thermal expansion whereby upon the syrup of said container attaining a higher temperature said piston means will expand and restrict the flow of syrup vertically downward past it upon opening of said valve.
6. Apparatus according to claim 1 further including an open-topped chamber adjacent said container in which said cooling coil is mounted, said chamber being adapted liquid stream intermediate said source and valve, said flow control device being of the kind which passes a predetermined quantity of water per unit of time regardless of variations in the pressure of said source.
7. Apparatus according to claim 1 further including a flow control device for regulating the flow of mixing water to said valve, said device being of the kind which passes a predetermined quantity of water per unit of time regardless of variations in pressure of the source of water feeding said coil.
8. Apparatus for regulating the rate of gravity outflow of liquid from a container for the liquid comprising a port in the bottom Wall of the container, a tubular member vertically slideable in said port and having an aperture in the upper portion of its side wall through which liquid may flow from said container downwardly through said member and thence outwardly through the open bottom end of said member, piston means loosely received within the side walls of said container and connected to said tubular member, means to yielda bly bias said piston means and member upwardly whereby said aperture is opened above said port, the arrangement being such that upon the release of pressure in said tubular member and below said piston means the pressure drop vertically downward across said piston means will move said piston means and tubular member downwardly to throttle Off said aperture.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,435,883 11/1922 Spohn 222-54 X 2,383,771 8/1945 Chace 222-54 X 2,813,541 11/1957 Beller 137-504 X 2,813,662 11/1957 Albert 222-145 3,131,721 5/1964 Allen 137 568 3,179,294 4/1965 Grimm 222145 X RAPHAEL M. LUPO, Primary Examiner.