US 3472425 A
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Oct. 14, 1969 J. J. BOOTH E AL CARBONATOR FOR DRINK-DISPENSING MACHINQ Original Filed May 25, 1964 United States Patent 3,472,425 CARBONATOR FOR DRINK-DISPENSING MACHlNE Jack J. Booth, 5006 Tanbark 75229, and William C. Branch, 6730 Greenwich Lane 75230, both of Dallas, Tex.
Continuation of application Ser. No. 370,008, May 25,
1964. This application Aug. 12, 1968, Ser. No. 754,100
Int. Cl. B67d 5/56 US. Cl. ZZZ-129.1 1 Claim ABSTRACT OF THE DZSCLOSURE A carbonator for a mixed drink dispensing machine including a cylindrical carbonator tank with an ovalshaped access opening in the top thereof. An oval-shaped closure member seals with the access opening and supports a water spray valve operable by a float disposed within the tank. A snifter valve is also connected to the closure member for venting the top of the carbonator tank, the snifter valve operable by a float disposed within the tank. A gas-dispening member is disposed in the bottom of the carbonator tank for introducing carbon dioxide gas thereto. A continuously open conduit connects the top of the carbonator tank and the top of a syrup tank such that undesirable gases will pass from the carbonator tank to the syrup tank as the syrup is exhausted from the syrup tank.
This application is a continuation of copending application Ser. No. 370,008, filed May 25, 1964 and now abandoned.
This invention relates to a device for carbonating water and more particularly to an improved carbonator for a machine for vending a carbonated soft drink or the like.
In many installations it is desirable to vend a predetermined quantity of a carbonated drink in an open receptacle such as a paper cup. The drink is comprised of a predetermined quantity of properly carbonated cold Water and a predetermined quantity of cold syrup. Such a machine is described in US. Patent No. 2,747,782. The machine comprises a source of water under pressure, usually the municipal water supply, a container for carbon dioxide gas under pressure, a container for each of the syrups, a carbonator tank where the carbon dioxide is mixed with cold water, and a mixing and dispensing valve where the carbonated water and syrup are mixed in the proper proportions and dispensed into the paper cup.
The carbonator tank and cooling coils for the water and syrup are preferably encased in an aluminum casting with refrigerant coils so as to efiiciently cool the fresh water prior to carbonation, maintain the water cold after carbonation, and cool the syrup prior to mixing with the carbonated water. It is necessary to place a means in the bottom of the carbonator tank for controlling the rate at Which carbon dioxide is bubbled up through water in the carbonator, and the level of water within the carbonator must be controlled by a suitable float. The carbonator tank must be pressurized, yet suitable valving must be provided to initially fill the tank with water and carbon dioxide. As carbonated water is withdrawn, additional carbon dioxide and water must be automatically introduced to the tank. The float for operating the water valve should be as large as possible so as to securely close the water inlet valve against high water main pressures. Thus an access opening must be provided in the carbonator tank so that the relatively large components can be inserted therein. Yet the access opening must be closed and tightly sealed against the relatively high pressure of the carbon dioxide.
It is important that the water be carbonated to a high degree. Otherwise, the drink will be flat and insipid. The efiiciency of the carbonator is increased by both spraying precooled water through an atmosphere of carbon dioxide at the top of the tank, and by bubbling carbon dioxide up through the column of water standing in the tank. The rate and degree of absorption of the carbon dioxide in the water can be increased by bubbling the carbon dioxide through the water with increased gas-water contact.
A major portion of the carbon dioxide introduced to the carbonator over a period of time is absorbed in the water and dispensed with the water to make drinks. However, certain undesirable gases which are contained in relatively small quantities in the original carbon dioxide supply and in the water supply do not dissolve in the water to a corresponding degree and, being lighter than carbon dioxide, these undesirable gases tend to accumulate in the top of the carbonator in sufficiently large quantities to reduce the etliciency of carbonation as the water is sprayed through the gas, and also adversely affect the taste of the carbonated water. Therefore, it is desirable to automatically and etficiently purge the undesirable gases from the top of the carbonator chamber.
Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide a new and improved carbonator for a machine for dispensing a predetermined quantity of a mixed drink in an open cup.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a carbonator tank having a relatively large access opening which will accommodate relatively large components which must be placed in the carbonator chamber, and an improved closure means for the opening which will effectively seal the carbonator tank against high pressures.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved means for contacting carbon dioxide with water in the carbonator tank.
A further object of the present invention is to provide a simplified mechanism for automatically introducing fresh water to the carbonator.
Another object of this invention is to provide an improved system for automatically purging undesirable gases from the carbonator tank while maintaining the gas drive pressures in the carbonator tank and syrup supply tank at substantially the same value.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide a carbonator assembly wherein the water and syrup may be efficiently precooled in a Single cooling unit, yet which has the advantages heretofore described.
Many additional objects and advantages of the present invention will be evident to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description and drawings, wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view, partially broken away and partially schematic, of a carbonator constructed in accordance with the present invention;
FIGURE 2 is a sectional view of one component of the carbonator of FIGURE 1; and,
FIGURE 3 is a sectional view taken along the major axis of the generally elliptical closure means of the carbonator of FIGURE 1.
Referring now to the drawings, a carbonator assembly constructed in accordance with the present invention is indicated generally by the reference numeral 10. The carbonator assembly is comprised of a cylindrical carbonator tank 12 the longitudinal axis of which extends generally vertically. The carbonator tank 12 has a bottom wall 14 and a top wall 16. The top wall 16 has an interior surface 18, as can best be seen in FIGURE 3, and an oval-shaped access opening 20 as can best be seen in FIGURE 1.
A closure member 22 has a body portion 24 which conforms closely to the oval-shaped access opening 20. A peripheral flange portion 26 extends around the body portion 24 and forms an upwardly-facing, annular groove which receives a resilient O-ring seal 28. The closure means 22 is held in place so as to press the O-ring seal 28 against the interior surface 18 of the upper end wall 16 by a bolt 30 which passes through a bracket 32 and is threaded into a tap formed in the closure member 22. The bracket 32 is connected to the carbonator tank 12 on opposite sides of the access opening 20 and extends over the access opening as best seen in FIGURE 1. The O-ring seal 28 is thus pressed against the interior surface 18 of the top end wall 16 with suflicient force to effect an initial peripheral seal. Then as the pressure within the tank 12 increases, the pressure acting on the closure member 22 increases the sealing force and perfects the seal. The minimum diameter of the closure member 22, including the flange portion 26, is less than the maximum diameter of the access opening so that the closure member 22 may be inserted through the access opening into the carbonator tank 12.
The carbonator tank 12 is encased in a block of aluminum or other good heat-conductive material together with an outer set of coils 42 for precooling water introduced to the carbonator tank 12, a middle set of coils 44 for cooling syrup before it is mixed with carbonated water at a mixing and dispensing valve (not illustrated), and an inner set of coils 46 for a refrigerant such as Freon. The water from a pressurized source, such as a water main, is introduced to the coils 42 through a conduit (not shown) and is withdrawn through a fitting 50 leading to the flexible conduit 52 which is connected to a spray regulator fitting 54 which will presently be described in greater detail. Syrup from a supply tank 120 is introduced to the coils 44 through the fitting 56 and is withdrawn through the fitting 62 and directed to the mixing and dispensing valve by a suitable conduit (not illustrated). Syrups of different flavors are passed through the fittings 58 and 60, withdrawn through fittings 64 and 66, respectively, and directed to the mixing and dispensing valve by suitable conduits (not illustrated). No attempt is made to distinguish the individual coils 44 associated with the individual inlet and outlet fittings. The refrigerant is introduced to the coils 46 through the fitting 68 and is removed through a similar fitting (not illustrated) A float 70 is connected to a float arm 72 which in turn is pivotally suspended from the closure member 22 by a pin 74 and a trunnion type bracket 75, only one arm of which is illustrated in FIGURE 3. The float arm 72 has what might be termed a valve portion 76 on which a resilient sealing means 78 is secured for engaging and closing the spray nozzle 80 of the spray regulator fitting 54 which extends through a threaded tap formed in the closure member 22. The spray regulator fitting 54 includes a spring-biased, ball-type double check valve (not illustrated) which checks flow from the interior of the tank 12 back into the conduit 52.
A snifter valve 82 of the type described in U.S. Patent No. 2,498,524 is threaded into a passageway formed through the closure member 22. The snifter valve 82 has an actuating rod 84 which extends through a passageway formed in the closure member 22 and through an elongated slot 86 in the float arm 72 as can best be seen in FIGURE 1. A washer 88 is retained on the lower end of the actuating rod 84. When the washer 88 is engaged by the float arm '72 as a result of the float lowering, the snifter valve 82 is opened. Thus it will be noted that when the float 70 lowers, both the spray nozzle of the spray regulator fitting 54 and the snifter valve 82 are opened because the valve portion 76 is moved away from the spray nozzle 80 and the float arm 72 engages the washer 88. However, it will be noted that the float arm 72 must travel a considerable distance before the snifter valve 82 is opened, while the spray nozzle 80 will be opened sutficiently to spray a fine stream of water as a result of only slight movement of the float arm 72. If the gas pressure in the tank exceeds the water supply pressure, as may be intermittently encountered, the snifter valve will open after reduction in the water level to reduce the gas pressure, permitting resumed water flow.
Carbon dioxide is introduced to the carbonator tank through a conduit 90 which extends through a fitting 92 and the top wall 16 of the carbonator tank 12 to a point adjacent the bottom wall 14. The conduit 90 is connected by a section 94 of flexible hose to an inlet fitting 96 of a gas chamber indicated generally by the reference numeral 98. A resilient check valve 100' is provided on the interior of the fitting 96 to prevent reverse flow of fluid from the chamber 98 into the conduit 90. The gas chamber 98 is comprised of a circular pan portion 102 which is gas-impervious and has a bottom wall 104 and a cylindrical side wall 106. The side Wall 106 has a lip portion 108 of enlarged diameter so as to form an annular upwardly-facing shoulder of lip 110. A disc-shaped, gas-impervious stone 112 is disposed in the enlarged portion 108 and rests on the annular shoulder 110 to form the upper wall of the gas chamber 98. Suitable sealing means (not illustrated) may be provided between the pan 102 and the stone 112 if required. The stone 112 should be as large as possible and, if desired, may be oval in shape and have a minimum diameter less than the maximum diameter of the access opening and a maximum diameter less than the diameter of the tank. This will cause carbon dioxide to be spread over substantially the entire cross section of the tank 12 and thereby provide greater gasliquid contact and more efficient carbonation of the water in the tank.
Carbonated water is removed from the tank 12 through an outlet conduit 114 which extends through a fitting 116 to a point adjacent the bottom wall 14 of the tank. The lower end of the conduit 114 is preferably bifurcated as illustrated in FIGURE 1 so as to insure that the lower end will always be open even though the conduit 114 may contact the bottom wall 14. The outlet conduit 114 is connected to the mixing and dispensing valve by a suitable conduit (not illustrated).
A fitting 118 in the closure member 22 is connected to the conduit 122 and provides direct communication between the top of the carbonator tank and the top of the syrup tank 120. This is the only means for pressurizing the syrup tank 120. The conduit 122 is preferably connected to the tank from which syrup is most frequently drawn so as to purge the tank 12 of undesirable gases as will presently be described, but may also be connected to each of the syrup tanks if desired.
The carbonation device 10 is connected in a drinkdispensing machine by connecting the refrigerant fitting 68 and coil 46 in a refrigeration cycle. The water inlet conduit (not shown) is connected to a source of water under pressure, such as the public water supply. The water then passes through the coils 42, where it is cooled, to the conduit 52 and spray regulator fitting 54. The inlet conduit 90 is connected to a source of carbon dioxide gas under pressure. The syrup inlet fittings 56, 58 and 60 are connected to the outlets of separate syrup supply tanks. The outlet fittings 62, 64 and 66 are connected to the mixing and dispensing valve. The outlet conduit 114 for carbonated water is also connected to the mixing and dispensing valve. The fitting 118 is connected by the conduit 122 to the gas inlet of the syrup tank 120.
The gas-dispensing chamber 98 may be assembled outside the tank 12 then inserted through the access opening 20 and placed in the bottom of the tank 12 with the pan portion 102 resting on the bottom wall 14. The flexible hose 94 can then he slipped over the lower end of the rigid conduit 90. As mentioned, the chamber 98 may have a maximum diameter corresponding to that of the interior of the tank 12 so long as the minimum diameter is such as to pass through the access opening 20. In this connection, the bracket 32 may be removed so as to permit the various parts mounted on the lid to be inserted in the tank 12. The float 70 and float arm 72 are pivotally connected to the closure member 22 prior to insertion in the tank 12. Then the assembled closure structure as shown in FIGURE 3 is inserted through the Oblong access opening 20, raised into position and the threaded bolt 30 tightened to draw the O-ring seal 28 of the closure member 22 against the interior face 18 of the top wall 16 to effect an initial seal. As the pressure within the tank 12 subsequently rises, the O-ring seal 28 will be pressed more tightly between the peripheral flange 26 and perfect the seal between the closure member 22 and the top wall 16.
Initially the tank 12 will be empty and the float 70 will be lowered sufficiently to fully open both the spray nozzle 80 and the snifter valve 82. Water and carbon dioxide are then introduced at a rapid rate and the air in the tank 12 purged through the snifter valve 82. AS the tank is initially filled, cool fresh water is sprayed into the tank and carbon dioxide is bubbled up through the water at a relatively high rate. When the water has raised the float 70 sufficiently high, the snifter valve closes. The water continues to rise until the float 70 closes the spray nozzle 80. Carbon dioxide continues to bubble through the water until the pressures in the carbonator tank 12 and syrup tank 120 are at operating pressures substantially equal the carbon dioxide source. The water in the carbonator tank will then be highly carbonated. When the mixing and dispensing valve is opened to dispense a drink, the gas pressure in the tank 12 will drive carbonated water through the conduit 114 to the mixing and dispensing valve. The same pressure will drive syrup from the syrup tank 120, for example, through the cooling coils 44 to the mixing and dispensing valve. As the carbonated water and syrup are mixed and dispensed, both the level of the water in the tank 12 and the level of the syrup in the tank 120 will be lowered and additional carbon dioxide will pass through the stone 112 and bubble up through substantially the entire cross section of the water in the tank 12. Also as the water level is lowered, the float 70 will lower to open the spray nozzle 80, and additional cool fresh water will pass through the nozzle 80, impinge on the resilient sealing means 78 and valve portion 76, and be deflected in a fine spray into the carbon dioxide present at the top of the tank 12 to facilitate carbonation of the water. Gases deleterious to the carbonation process or to the taste of the water pass through the fitting 118 and conduit 122 to the syrup supply tank 120 each time that a drink is dispensed to purge the tank 12 of undesirable gases.
From the above detailed description of a preferred embodiment of the present invention, it will be evident that an improved carbonator assembly has been described. By reason of the novel closure means a more secure and reliable seal is provided to hold the relatively high pressures involved. Yet the improved closure means employs only a single float to actuate both the snifter and water inlet spray nozzle valves. The single float may be of greater size and thereby provide a greater force for closing the valve against greater water pressures. The improved gas-dispensing assembly 98 provides more ellicient contact between the carbon dioxide and water because the carbon dioxide is spread over substantially the entire cross section of the tank 12 and the contact volume is materially increased. Since the tank 12 is connected directly to a syrup supply tank, all carbon dioxide used to drive syrup from the supply tank must pass through the column of water standing in the tank 12. This increases the volume of carbon dioxide passed through the water to increase the degree of carbonation, equalizes the pressures between the carbonated water and syrup tanks to insure that the desired ratio of the two liquids will be dispensed, and also purges the tank 12 of any undesirable gases which may accumulate in the top of the tank which would otherwise reduce the carbonation of the fresh water sprayed into the gas zone or affect: the taste of the water.
What is claimed is:
1. An improved carbonator for a mixed drink dispensing machine or the like having a source of carbon dioxide under pressure, a source of water under pressure, a syrup tank having a syrup outlet near the bottom and a gas inlet near the top, and a mixing and dispensing valve, said carbonator comprising:
a cylindrical carbonator tank having a vertically-disposed longitudinal axis, a bottom -wall, and a top wall with an interior face,
an oval-shaped access opening in the top wall having one diametrical dimension greater than another,
closure means for the access opening comprised of an oval-shaped member conformed to but larger than the access opening, the closure means having a sealing lip portion extending into the carbonator tank and an annular resilient sealing means on the sealing lip portion for engaging the interior face of the top wall around the periphery of the access opening,
bracket means connected to the carbonator tank on opposite sides of the access opening and extending across the access opening,
tension means interconnecting the bracket means and the closure means for holding the resilient sealing means against the interior face of the top wall whereby the pressure in the carbonator tank will press the resilient sealing means against the interior face and perfect the seal between the carbonator tank and the closure means,
water spray valve means connected to the closure means for spraying water into the carbonator tank when opened, said spray valve means being adjusted to be operated by a float disposed within the carbonator tank and being adapted to be connected to the source of water under pressure,
a snifter valve means connected to the closure means for venting the top of the carbonator tank when open, said snifter valve means being adapted to be operated by a float disposed within the carbonator tank,
a float disposed in the carbonator tank and pivotally connected to the closure means by a float arm, said float arm, including means to operate both the spray valve means and the snifter valve means so as to operate the spray valve means when water in the carbonator tank is at one level and to operate the snifter valve means when the water is at a lower level,
gas-dispensing means disposed in the carbonator tank adjacent to and resting on the bottom wall and connected to the source of carbon dioxide by means of a conduit extending through the carbonator tank and said closure means to adjacent the bottom of the carbonator tank, said gas-dispensing means comprising a nonporous, cup-shaped bottom portion and a flat, gas-permeable stone having a minimum diameter less than the maximum diameter of the access opening and a maximum diameter less than the diameter of said carbonator tank and resting on a lip portion of said cup-shaped bottom portion to form the upper Wall of a gas chamber, a gas inlet in the side of the cup-shaped bottom portion connected to said conduit whereby carbon dioxide gas introduced to the chamber Will pass through the gas-permeable stone and bubble up through water in the carbonator tank,
conduit means adapted to be connected to the mixing and dispensing valve for Withdrawing water from adjacent the bottom of the carbonator tank, and
continuously open conduit means connecting only the top of the carbonator tank and the top of the syrup tank and forming the sole path for gas flow to said syrup tank whereby the carbonator tank and syrup tank will be at substantially the same pressure at all References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 7/ 1924 Bastian. 5/ 1956 Booth. 6/ 1958 Booth. 3/ 1966 Carver.
RONALD R. WEAVER, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.
times and undesirable gases will pass only from the 15 2 46, 195, 397; 261-122, 140
@ 2 3 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3,u72 D t d October 1 1969 Invent0r(s) Jack J. Booth and William C Branch It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
"di spening" should be --dispensing-- "of lip"; Examiner s amendment said he was inserting --or lip--; "gas-impervious" specification as filed says Col. 1, line 22, Col. 1, line 31,
SiGNED ANu SEALED JUL 2 1970 Attest:
Edward M. Fletcher. Ir. HUYLER, WILLIAM E r ratants Attesting Officer missioner 0