US 3410103 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
@CO1 C R. T. CORNELIUS CONTROL FOR A SLUSH-ICE BEVERAGE MACHINE Filed Nov. 9, 1967 l N VENTOR.
Nov. 12, 1968 /e/c//ARD Z-'d/eA/@Uag mba: ,@i :J ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,410,103 CONTROL FOR A SLUSH-ICE BEVERAGE MACHINE Richard T. Cornelius, Minneapolis, Minn., assigner to The Cornelius Company, Anoka, Minn., a corporation of Minnesota Filed Nov. 9, 1967. Ser. No. 681,718 11 Claims. (Cl. 62-136) ABSTRACT 0F THE DISCLOSURE The freezing chamber of a slush-ice beverage machine has a rotatably driven scraper assembly, at one axial end of which is an independently supported claw-like torque sensing element connected to refrigeration controls. Means on the scraper assembly rotate within such claw-shape, scraper blades rotate about such claw-shape, and a spinner rotates between the claw-shape and the end of the freezing chamber independently of the torque sensing element. The spinner rotates past -the inlet of a dispensing valve to keep it clean.
BACKGROUND (l) Field of the invention This invention pertains to the control of a refrigeration system connected to a beverage freezing chamber, such control being in response to the viscosity of the product being frozen.
(2) Prior art It has been known heretofore in the control of freezing chambers for producing a slush-type of beverage to sense the viscosity of the slush as a means for controlling the amount of water frozen out of the beverage. With prior devices, there has been a tendency for the slush to agglomerate in two manners. When fine crystals are produced, if they are agitated, they stick to each other to form a consistency much like sand. A Ifurther type of agglomeration takes place when a beverage containing such ice particles is agitated and mixed, such further agglomeration being in the nature of globs or snowballs. Where such agglomerating takes place in the vicinity of the viscosity sensing element, not only does the beverage tend to become nonhomogeneous, but the accuracy of control is destroyed.
SUMMARY A torque sensing element is spaced at all points from a scraper assembly, and while gentle stirring of product is provided, there is no agitation or mixing. A faceplate provides the sole support for the sensing element which extends adjacent to the scraper blades, a U-shaped rod being carried by the scraper assembly and rotatable within the sensing element, there being an elongated spinner disposed between the sensing element and the faceplate and extending past the inlet of a dispensing valve carried by the faceplate.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a control for a slush-ice beverage machine which will not cause the product to agglomerate.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a sanitary construction for a slush-ice beverage machine control.
Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a control kfor slush-ice beverage machine wherein any tendency for agglomeration to begin is positively overcome.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide means that form a part of the refrigeration con- B Patented Nov. 12, 1968 trol that also keep the inlet to a dispensing valve clear at all times.
Many other advantages, features and additional objects of the present invention will become manifest to those versed in the ar-t upon making reference to the detailed description and the accompanying drawing in which a preferred structural embodiment incorporating the principles of the present invention is shown by way of illustrative example.
ON THE DRAWING The single ligure is a side elevational View, partly broken away and cross-sectioned, of a vcontrol for a slush-ice beverage machine provided in accordance with the principles of the present invention.
AS SHOWN ON THE DRAWING The principles of this invention are particularly useful when embodied in a machine for producing Iand dispensing a slusheice beverage such as illustrated in the drawing, generally indicated by the numeral 10. The machine 10 includes a housing 11 which has a cyilndrical internal surface 12 which defines a cylindrical freezing chamber 13. The housing 11 is closed by its configuration at the left illustrated end, and at its other end 14, the housing 11 and its chamber 13 are closed by a faceplate 15 which is held in place by a set of four screws, one of which is illustrated at 16. Product to be treated enters the chamber 13 through an inlet 17, and leaves the chamber 13 through a dispensing valve 1S which has an inlet 19 at the inner side of the faceplate 15.
The housing 11 is provided with a refrigeration coil 20 which is connected to a Arefrigeration system 21 whereby the lhousing 11 is externally refrigerated to freeze out some of the water of beverage disposed therein to form fine crystals, the resulting product having a slushy consistency. As water particles freeze out on the internal surface 12, they are removed therefrom by the wiping action of a rotatably driven scraper assembly 22, a portion thereof constituting a pair of scraper blades 23, 23, The details of the scraper assembly 22 form another invention, and so far as is necessary for the understanding of the present invention, it `should be explained that the scraper assembly 22 moves gently through the product without agitating it, providing -a slight stirring action to break up any channeling in the product without actually mixing the product.
The faceplate 15 is spaced at all points from the scraper assembly 22, and in the axial space therebetween, there is provided a torque sensing element generally indicated at 24 which is also spaced :at all points from the scraper assembly 22. The torque sensing element 24 includes L-shaped finger means, the illustrated embodiment havin-g tive such ngers of the same size arranged in the manner of a claw with fa uniform angle between each of the L-shaped lingers, each such finger being indicated by the numeral 25. Considering one of the L- shaped lingers, its Lshape has a leg 26 which extends radially from a shaft 27, and a second leg 28 secured at one end to the outer end of the leg 26, the leg 2S extending in a direction which is parallel to the axis of the shaft 27 and terminating in `a lfree unsupported end 29. Each of the other four legs 25 is identical to the one described and they jointly `define a claw-like arrangement having a `central hub 30. Preferably, the iive linger means 25 and the hub 30 are molded as a single piece, -an-d a threaded insert or reducer 31 is provided in the hub and which is secured to the inner end of the shaft 27.
The shaft 27 is supported intermediate its ends by a bushing 32, and by a bearing 33 carried in such bushing 32. The -bushing has a pair of O-ring seals 34, 34 which prevent leakage along the outer surface thereof, while a further O-ring 35 surrounds the shaft 27 at the inner end of the bushing 32 and is held in place by a plastic washer 36 disposed between the hub 30 and the inner end of the bushing 32. The washer 36 is of a plastic that has good lubricity properties, such as nylon or tetraiiuoroethylene. Thus the faceplate provides the sole support for the sensing element 24.
An arm 37 is secured to the outer end of the shaft 27 and forms part of a refrigeration control means for regulating the refrigeration system 21. The upper end of the arm 37 extends into a bifurcated end 38 which forms part of one arm 39 of a bell crank 40 which is pivoted at 41 and which has a second arm 42 which controls an electric switch 43 operatively connected to the refrigeration system 21. The bell crank 4t) is biased by a spring 44, the degree of such `bias being selectable by a manual adjustment means 45. The spring 44 so biases the bell crank 40 that the switch 43 keeps the refrigeration system 21 energized. When the viscosity of the beverage increases, the torque sensing element 24 is pivoted slightly to move the arm 37 and the bell crank 4t) against the bias of the spring 44 to actuate the switch 43 to a position where the refrigeration system 21 is shut down.
The rotatably driven scraper assembly 22 moves through the product so smoothly that there is very little tendency to cause the product to rotate. Its typical rotational speed is 100 r.p.m. In order to keep the sensing element 24 clear of any agglomeration and also in order to transmit thrust thereto, there is provided means secured to the scraper assembly for rotation adjacent to the sensing element, such means in this embodiment comprising a U-shaped torque pulsing rod generally indicated yat 46 and secured to an arm 47 of the scraper assembly 22. The U-shaped torque pulsing rod 46 has a pair of leg portions 48, 48 which extend parallel to the leg portions 28 of the sensing element, and a leg portion 49 which extends in parallel relation to the leg portion 26 when aligned therewith. The U-shaped torque pulsing rod is therefore disposed within the various L-shapes of the fingers 25 and is disposed axially between the scraper assembly 22 and the faceplate 15.
Between the faceplate 15 and the claw portion of the sensing element 24 there is provided means which rotate, such means being in the nature of an elongated spinner 50 which is rotatably supported on the outer cylindrical surface 51 of a portion of the bushing 32 that projects axially into the chamber 13. The bushing 32 thus spaces the spinner 50 from the sensing element 24 while enabling it to rotate between the legs 26 and the faceplate 15. The elongated spinner 50 is of such length that its distal ends 52, 52 can be engaged by the scraper blade 23 and be thereby positively driven. This spinner thus further transmits torque to the legs 26, to aid the leg portion 49 of the torque pulsing rod 46.
The spinner 50 also rotates immediately past the inlet 19 of the dispensing valve 1S, and thus clears the zone just upstream of the inlet 19 from any agglomeration that may be present. If desired, a projection 53 may be provided thereon for this purpose, To balance its weight and to enable the spinner 50` to be installed with either side confronting the valve inlet 19, a similar projection is carried on the other end. The spacing between the projection 53 that is directed toward the faceplate 15 and the valve inlet 19 is relatively small, and is in any event a distance which is less than the diametral size of the inlet 19.
The scraper assembly 22 is secured by a bayonet connection 54 toa rotatably driven shaft 55 which rotates continually. In use, the chamber 13 is entirely filled with liquid beverage initially, any trapped air being vented by a manually controlled vent valve 56. When the product in the chamber 13 is all liquid, there is no significant torque transmitted by the various moving parts to the pivotable torque sensing element 24. As ice begins to form, it is removed from the inner Wall 12 of the housing 11 by the scraper blades 23 and floats about in the remaining liquid to provide a homogeneous drink. If the ice particles for a given percentage of ice were relatively large, this would not materially affect viscosity. However, the ice particles are kept as small as possible since they are not agitated, and therefore since the crystals are very, very small, the product progressively becomes viscous and serves to transmit force from the moving parts 46, 23, to the claw portion of the sensing element 24 until the selected force or level is reached. This terminates refrigeration, but as the driven shaft continues to rotate, when the viscosity decreases due to melting or to the addition of fresh product, the refrigeration system is promptly turned back on. With this invention, there is no tendency of the product to snowball or agglomerate, and thus the structure is one that needs no attention, enabling the mechanism to be utilized in unattended dispensing machines of the coin operated type wherein the dispensing valve 18 is electrically actuated.
Although various minor modifications might be suggested by those versed in the art, it should Ibe understood that I wish to embody within the scope of the patent warranted hereon, all such embodiments as reasonably and properly come within the scope of my contribution to the art.
I claim as my invention:
1. A machine for producing a slush-ice beverage, comprising:
(a) an externally refrigerated housing having an internal surface defining a cylindical freezing chamber;
(b) a rotatably driven scraper assembly supported therein for acting on said internal surface;
(c) a faceplate closing an end of said chamber and axially spaced at all points from said scraper assembly;
(d) a torque sensing element spaced at all points from said scraper assembly and having a shaft pivotally supported intermediate its ends by and extending through said faceplate, said faceplate providing the sole support for said sensing element, said element having L-shaped finger means, one leg of the L-shape being secured to said shaft and extending radially therefrom and the other leg of the L-shape extending from said one leg in parallel relation to said shaft and adjacent to a portion of said scraper assembly, and terminating in a free end; and
(e) refrigeration control means connected to said shaft.
2. A machine according to claim 1, wherein said portion of said scraper assembly is at least one scraper blade.
3. A machine according to claim 1, wherein a U-shaped rod is secured to said scraper assembly, said U-shaped rod having leg portions disposed within the L-shape of said finger means, and respectively parallel to the legs of said L-shape.
4. A machine according to claim 3, wherein said U- shaped rod is disposed in space axially between said scraper assembly and said faceplate.
5. A machine according to claim 3, wherein said portion of said scraper assembly is at least one scraper blade.
6. A machine according to claim 1, wherein an elongated spinner is rotatably supported for rotation about the axis of said shaft disposed axially between said L-shaped finger means and said faceplate.
7. A machine according to claim 2, wherein an elongated spinner is rotatably supported for rotation about the axis of said shaft axially between said L-shaped finger means and said faceplate, a distal end of said spinner being engageable by said scraper blade to impart a rotational force thereto.
8. A machine according to claim 6, wherein said faceplate supports a dispensing valve having an inlet, an end of said spinner during its rotation passing by said valve inlet at a distance less than the size of said inlet for removing any slush accumulation therefrom.
9. A machine according to claim 3, wherein said finger means includes ve L-shaped fingers of the same size angularly spaced from adjacent ones of said fingers by a uniform angle.
10. A machine according to claim 6, wherein said faceplate has a fixed bushing extending into said chamber, said bushing receiving said shaft and providing its pivotable support, and said bushing being received by said spinner and providing its rotatable support, said sensing element being spaced at all points from said spinner.
11. A machine according to claim 2, wherein said nger means includes several L-shaped lingers arranged in the manner of a claw, said scraper blade being rotatable about the outside of such claw, means fixed to said scraper assembly and extending into such claw for rotation inside of such claw, and rotatable means disposed between said faceplate and such claw and spaced from such claw.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,992,651 7/1961 Krofta 73-59 X 3,069,866 12/1962 Dunn 62-136 3,298,190 1/1967 Harker 62-342 X 3,319,436 5/1967 Wilch 62-342 X ROBERT A. OLEARY, Primary Examiner'.
W. E. WAYNER, Assistant Examiner.