US 3389716 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 25, 1968 s. WILBURN DRAFT BEER CLEANING AND FLUSHING APPARATUS 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed July 19. 1965 FIG. I.
INVENTOR. SAM PSON WILBURN June 25, 1968 s, w U 3,389,716
DRAFT BEER CLEANING AND FLUSHING APPARATUS Filed July 19, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR. SAM PSON WlLBU RN ATTORNEYS United States Patent ffice 3,389,716 Patented June 25, 1968 3,389,716 DRAFT BEER CLEANING AND FLUSHING APPARATUS Sampson Wilburn, 2421 Poze Blvd, Thornton, Colo. 80229 Filed July 19, 1965, Ser. No. 472,922 3 Claims. (Cl. 137240) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A semi-automatic cleaning and flushing apparatus for a draft beer system having valve means at the end of the wash line to completely isolate the wash line from the flowing beer, which valve means is adapted to seat before the tap is removed from the keg.
Draught or keg beer is perishable and must be kept cold, usually between +36 and +40 Fahrenheit. The dispensing apparatus through which the beer flows requires special attention at various times to prevent any organic action which will spoil the taste of the beer. Usually between each keg change the lines must be washed out and flushed to prevent any such action from taking place. A similar problem is also created if the beer is allowed to set in the lines for an extended period.
Draught beer is currently being sold in stainless steel barrels in which the beer is kept refrigerated and under pressure. There are two basic types of tapping apparatus, one being the top draw tap rod and the other the more recent bottom draw Golden Gate valve tap, both of which are illustrated in the drawings and will be discussed in the material following.
The earliest method used for cleaning the lines was merely to disconnect both ends and run water through the system. This method entailed special washing lines and couplings to connect onto the system. Another method was to remove the tap rods from several kegs and interconnect them in pairs to obtain circulation from one faucet to another. To make up and remove the necessary connections in the above method was very time-consuming and cumbersome. The methods were also very inflexible in that the lines could not be cleaned until the kegs were empty.
A more recent method has been developed to alleviate the problems, which method is the subject matter of my US. Patent No. 3,044,483. Briefly, it includes a built-in wash line which passes down through the center of the tap rod with a check valve at the end of the rod to pre vent the wash water from entering the keg. Water is introduced into the wash line, passing back up the tap rod and out through the tubing to the draw box. There are no special connecting or disconnecting operations. It is not necessary to remove the tap rod from the keg. The only disadvantage of the system is that as the beer is being used it has a tendency to slowly move up the open end of the wash line. After it sets in the line for a certain length of time it begins to stagnate. If the beer then passes back out the end of the wash line it will taint the taste of beer drawn from subsequent kegs.
In the bottom draw type kegs there is also a problem check valve at the end of the wash line to completely isolate the wash line from the flowing beer. The present invention has also eliminated the problem of spillage by constructing the check valve so that it seats before the tap is removed from the keg.
It is therefore the principal objective of the present invention to provide a novel and improved cleaning and flushing apparatus for the lines and rods of a draught beer installation.
Another object of the invention is to provide a cleaning and flushing apparatus which is integral with the beer dispensing installation so as to permit the cleaning without setting up and connecting separate flushing lines to the system.
Still another object of the invention is to provide a cleaning and flushing apparatus which is adapted to clean the entire conduct system from the base of the tap rod to the dispensing faucet without disconnecting the keg or any of the component parts thereof.
Another object of the invention is to provide an integral cleaning and flushing apparatus in a tap beer installation which is completely isolated from the flowing beer when it is not in use.
Still a further object of the invention is to provide in a draught beer installation a tapping coupling which prevents any spillage of beer from the disconnected lines.
Other objects of the invention are to provide a novel and improved cleaning and flushing apparatus for a draught beer installation which is semi-automatic, easy to install, simple to operate, reliable, low cost and durably constructed.
Other objects which will be in part apparent and in part pointed out specifically hereafter in connection with the description of the drawings that follows and in which;
FIGURE 1 is a perspective partially diagrammatic view of a bottom draw draft beer installtion illustrating the relative locations of the tap coupling, the tap lines and faucets, the gas line, and the wash line with its related components.
FIGURE 2 is an end view of the tap coupling shown in solid line in locking engagement with its corresponding valve and in dotted line in the release position.
FIGURE 3 is a sectional view of the coupling and valve in locking engagement taken along lines 3-3 of FIGURE 2.
FIGURE 4 is a partial sectional view of the coupling and valve taken along lines 44 of FIGURE 3.
FIGURE 5 is an end view of the Golden Gate type valve with the tap coupling removed.
FIGURE 6 is a fragmentary side view of the engaging end of the tap coupling.
FIGURE 7 is a fragmentary end view of the engaging end of the tap coupling.
FIGURE 8 is a fragmenetary sectional view of applicants invention in a modified form.
Referring now to the drawings and more specifically to FIGURE 1, a draft beer system is shown in simplified form and is generally identified by reference numeral 10. Various details of the system such as the coil box, refrigeration means, and gas source have not been shown in the interest of simplicity since they have no bearing on the present invention. In most commercial beer installations, more than one keg is used and these are connected in parallel with one another. These kegs are generally housed in a large refrigeration unit which is located remotely of the dispensing taps. In some installations the kegs are kept in the basement or in a separate rather than in the top center as does the older type tap rod fitting which is shown in FIGURE 8. The coupling 14 attaches to and opens a valve 16 which is mounted in the keg. The valve 16 is commonly known in the trade today as a Golden Gate type valve. Rcleasably attached to the coupling 14 are two flexible lines. The first line 18 carries the beer from the keg to the dispensing faucet 20. In the drawing, line 18 is simply illustrated but in actual use sometimes its length is well over a few hundred feet. Usually the beer is run through a set of cooling coils immediately preceding the faucet which are not shown in the present drawings. Positioned below the faucet 20 is a common waste drain 22. Also connected to the coupling 14 is a wash line 24 which carries the cleaning chemicals and flushing water through the lines of the system. The opposite end 26 of the wash line is connected to a common water line. The valves 28 and 30 are kept closed while the flushing operation is not in use. Receptacle 32 contains the cleaning chemicals which are Washed through the system by opening valves 28 and 30. The ends 34 of the recetpacle are removable so that a new charge of chemicals can be inserted after each cleaning operation. To begin the cleaning operation, faucet 20 and valves 28 and 30 are opened. This releases water pressure through end 26 of the wash line. The water passes through the receptacle 32 carrying the chemicals and down the wash line 24. The dissolved chemicals pass through the tap coupling 14, up the beer line and out the faucet 20. Valve 30 is left open until the beer lines 18 are completely flushed of any trace of the cleaning chemicals. Valves 28 and 30 are then closed and the system is ready for use. Line 36 which attaches to the top of the keg by means of fitting 38, is an air line which supplies compressed air or gas to the keg 12.
The novel and improved tap coupling 14 attaches to the keg 12 by means of a Golden Gate valve 16 as seen in detail in FIGURES 2 through 6. The valve 16 is mounted flush with the wall 40 of the keg, as can be seen in FIGURE 3. An end view of the valve 16 with the tap removed is shown in FIGURE 5. The valve body 42 has a centrally disposed recessed opening 44 in its outer end which is adapted to accept the end or" the tap coupling 14.
Peripherally spaced in the opening are a pair of oppositely positioned notches 46 which permit the tabs 43 on the tap coupling 14 to enter the opening 44.
The valve entails a sliding plate 52 which covers a valve opening 50. The oblong plate 52 is piovtally mounted at its center and held tightly against the valve body surface 56 by means of a pin or valve stem 54. Formed at the outward end of the valve stem is a diamond-shaped operating lug 58. When the stem and plate are rotated 90 the valve is fully open. The valve is operated by a lug 5S engaging opening 60 in the end of the tap coupling 14.
The improved tap coupling is substantially L shaped with the wash line connection branching off from the main passage. The end portion 62 of the cou ling which engages the keg is the standard fitting used with a Golden Gate type valve. oppositely spaced around the periphery of the end portion 62 are a pair of wedge-shaped locking tabs 48. As the tap coupling 14 is inserted in the valve opening 44 the tabs 48 must be aligned with the corresponding notches 46 in the opening. Once the tabs 48 are inside the flange 64 of the valve body, the tap coupling 14 is free to rotate into sealed engagement with the valve.
Because of the wedge shape of the flanges 64, as the coupling is rotated it is forced inward toward the valve. A rubber washer 68 carried on the coupling is pressed into sealing engagement with the shoulder 66 of the valve body, as can be seen in FIGURE 3. As the tap coupling 14 is introduced into the valve opening 44 it is in the dotted line position shown in FIGURE 2. The coupling is rotated through a 90 are to its fully locked position as seen in full line in the same figure. As the coupling is inserted in the valve opening 44 the lug engaging opening 60 engages the operating lug S8 of the valve stem. As the tap coupling 14 is rotated into sealing engagement the valve 16 is opened at the same time. Conversely as the tap coupling is rotated for removal the valve is closed, which permits the tap to be engaged or disengaged when the keg is not empty. in the old tap rod type fittings once the keg was tapped the rod could not be removed until the keg was empty.
The wash line 76 which intersects with the tap line 7t) has a enlarged intersection portion 72 which contains a two-way ball type check valve 74. In the prior art type wash lines, such as shown in Patent No. 3,044,483, there is only a one-way check valve to prevent the water from the wash line from entering the keg. The pres nt invention incorporates a second check valve in the wash line to prevent any beer from flowing into the wash line and creating the stagnation problem previously mentioned. Attention is again directed to the solid line position of the tap coupling 14 in FIGURE 2. The wash line 76 is tilted downwardly at approximately a 20 angle from a horizontal plane. This angle is sufiicient to cause the hall in the check valve 74 to roll down and seat against the passage opening 75 in the wash line. As the beer flows out of the keg and through the tap line 70 the wash line 76 is closed. When it comes time to disconnect the tap the coupling 14 is rotated to the disconnect position, as indicated in dotted line in FIGURE 2. In this position the wash line 76 is tilted upward causing the ball in the check valve 74 to roll downward and seat in the tap line 70. This prevents any spillage of beer which is standing in the tap line as the tap coupling 14 is removed from the keg. The wash lines of the prior art in bottom draw type fittings are positioned axially down the center of the tap line. The check valve is also horizontally disposed and is therefore not seated when the fitting is disconnected. In these types of check valves a certain amount of beer will get around ball check valves before the flow causes it to seat. This undesirable feature is one of the problems the present invention corrects.
The cleaning and flushing operation is normally accomplished after the tap coupling is disconnected from the keg. As the dissolved chemicals enter the wash line 76 the ball check 74 has already seated in the tap line 70 preventing any of the Wash water from passing out the disconnected end of the coupling 14. As the tap coupling 14 is connected to a new keg the ball check 74 again seats in the end of the wash line and the cycle is repeated.
FIGURE 8 sets forth a modified form of the persent invention for use in a conventional tap rod type draft beer installation. The tap rod apparatus generally designated by reference numeral 78, is centrally disposed in the top of a beer keg 80. The removable tap rod 82 extends downwardly to the bottom of keg at a point where the beer is drawn. The tap rod 82 is held in the keg by means of a releasable sleeve coupling 84. The coupling includes an expander ring 86 of rubber-like material which fits into the opening 88 in the keg. The coupling 84 is locked into sealed engagement with the keg by means of a threaded sleeve 90 which is tightened against the expander ring 21. Passing through the coupling 82 to the interior of the keg is an air passage 92 which connects with an air pressure line 94. The coupling 82 includes a second expander ring 96 which holds the tap rod 82 in sealing engagement when the threaded sleeve 98 is tightened against the expander ring 96. At the upper end of the tap rod 82 is a right angle connecting head to which the flexible tap line 18a is connected. Also included in the connecting head 109 is a common plug type valve 102 which is used to shut off the flow of the beer. All of the previously mentioned elements of the tap rod apparatus are conventional and well known in the trade.
The wash line 104 passes down through the center of the tap rod 82 to approximately the bottom of the rod.
Positioned in the opening 106 at the bottom of the rod is a ball check valve 108 which allows beer to enter the tap rod but prevents any of the wash water from entering the keg. Tabs 110 attached to the inside of the rod 82 act as limit stops for the ball 103. Positioned at the bottom end of the wash line 104 is a second ball check valve 112 which prevents the beer from entering the wash line. Surrounding the ball 112 is a Wire guard 114 which keeps the ball in alignment with the opening 116 in the wash line. The ball 112 is constructed of a plastic or similar material which has a lighter density than beer. When the beer enters the tap rod the ball 112 will float upward and seat in the opening 116 thus preventing the beer from entering the wash line.
It is understood that variations from the form of this invention disclosed herein may be made without departure from the spirit and scope of the invention and that drawings and specification are to be considered as merely illustrative rather than limiting.
What is claimed is:
1. A tap coupling for use in connecting both a wash line and a beer dispensing line to a key having a shut-off valve, in a draft beer installation comprising: a body portion having means for releasably and rotatably connecting the coupling to the shut-ofi valve of the beer keg in a fluid-tight relation, 21 pair of intersecting first and second passages in said body both of which connect and form a common passage to the interior of the keg via the shut-off valve, a first valve seat located at the intersection of said passages, a second valve seat located in the second passage remote from the first valve seat, ball check means positioned within said second passage for movement therein between the first and second valve seats and being adapted to selectively close either said common passage to tlow into the keg via the shut-oil valve while permitting tluid to flow from said second passage into said first passage or close said second passage to flow out of the keg while permitting fluid flow from said keg through said first passage wherein the ball of said ball check means is adapted to be selectively gravity actuated into seating relation with either one of said first and second seats upon selected rotational positioning of said coupling with respect to the shut-off valve.
2. A tap coupling as set forth in claim 1 including means on said body portion adapted to releasably connect with the beer keg shut ofi valve and move same between its open and closed positions by rotational movement of the fitting from a first position adapted to close the shut-off valve wherein the second passage is downwardly inclined toward said first valve seat causing the ball to seat in said first valve seat to a second position adapted to open the shut-off valve wherein the second passage is downwardly inclined toward the second valve seat causing the ball to seat therein.
3. A tap coupling as set forth in claim 1 wherein said releasable connecting means is engaged by rotating said coupling from a first position wherein the second passage is downwardly inclined toward said first seat to a second position wherein the second passage is downwardly inclined toward the second seat.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,120,865 6/1938 Kleman 137---238 2,237,014 4/ 1941 Stoehrer 137--238 X 2,314,100 3/1943 Panogopoulos 137-238 3,044,483 7/1962 Wilburn 137239 3,115,149 12/1963 Tonna 137--240 3,115,150 12/1963 Sariotti 13724O CLARENCE R. GORDON, Primary Examiner.