US 3596810 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Roy A. Taubenbeiln  Inventor Milwaukee, Wk. [21 I AppLNo. 862,603  Filed Sept. 2, 1969 I 45] Patented Aug. 3, 1971  Assignee The Periiek Company, inc.
 KEG-TAPPING SYSTEM 5 Claims, 7 Drawing Figs. v  US. Cl 222/400.7, 137/212 [51 Int. Cl. 865d 83/00  Field oISeaI-ch 137/322. 212; 222/400.7
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,638,914 5/1953 Flaith etal 137/212 2,749,930 6/1956 Whitnall 137/212 3,065,885 11/1962 Chatten ZZZ/400.7 3,353,724 11/1967 Johnston ZZZ/400.7 3,422,448 1/1969 Johnston 137/212 X Primary Examiner-Samuel F Coleman Assistant Examiner-T. E. Kocovsky Attorney-Ira Milton Jones ABSTRACT: A beerkeg-tapping device which consists of a keg unit that is pennanently attached to the keg and a coupler unit detachably connected to the keg unit. Both units have liquid and gas passages which communicate when the units are coupled; a single valve element automatically closes both passages of the keg unit when units are not coupled. During coupling the passages of the two units are connected before the valve element is unseated, so that coupling is accomplished without spraying of beer.
PATENTED Am; 3191:
SHEET 1 OF 4 PATENTED AUG 3191;
SHEET 2 0F 4 PATENTED AUG 3197: 3,596, 10
SHEET 3 0F 4 HagAJavbmlwzm PATENTED AUG 3 I911 SHEET 4 0F 4 This invention relates to keg-tapping devices and has as its purpose to provide an improved beer keg-tapping system of the type wherein the tapping device comprises two complementary sections or units, one of which is fixed to thekeg and in effect becomes a permanent part thereoflwhile the other remains at the dispensing site and is coupled to the keg unit when the keg is tapped. Examples of this type of tapping system will be foundin the US. Pat. No. 3,228,413, to Stevens the US. Pat. Nos. 3,23l,154 and 3,438,553 to Johnston and in the British Pat. No. 930,015 published July '3, l963L While the tapping device of this invention lends itself well to the attainment of reliably sanitary beer-dispensing conditions, elimination'of the possibility of beer being sprayed or splashed from the kegs. Hence every tapping device must have a liquid passage connectable with a dispensing faucet, as shown in from the keg during the tapping operation is one of its most significant attributes.
An important advantage of this invention is that the coupler unit of the system, i.e. the part thereof which is. kept by the dispensing facility, fits the keg ,units of both'the Peerless and Golden Gate cooperage.
Another very important feature. of this invention is the ease I with which the tapping operation can'be performed.
Still another-advantageous feature of the tapping device of this invention is that it permits series connection of a plurality of kegs without introducing turbulence-producing flow restrictions.
With these observations and objects in mind, the manner-in which the invention achieves'its purposes will beappreciated from the followingv description and the accompanying drawings. This disclosure is intended. merely to exemplify the invention. The inventionis not limited to the particularstructure disclosed, and changes can be'made therein which'lie' within the scope of the appended claims without departing for which the tapping system of this invention isadmirablyi adapted;
FIG. 3 is a view partly in elevation and the remainder in section, showing the tapping device of this invention in operative dispensing condition on a keg having the Peerless-type tapping hole;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view through the keg unit for the Peer less-type cooperage, showing the same installed in the tapping hole of the keg; v
FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4, but showing the -keg unit for the Golden Gate-type cooperag'e;
FIG. 2, and a gas passage that is connectable with a source of gas, also as shown in FIG. 2. Where beer is drawn from only one keg at a time, the relative sizes of the liquid and .gas passages is not too important as long as the liquid passage has adequate flow capacity, but when a number of kegs are connected in series between the dispensing faucet and the source of gas pressure, the flow capacity of the gas passage should be atleast as large as that of the liquid passage. The'tapping devic'e'of this invention has that very salutary feature.
As already noted, the tapping device of this invention comprises two connectable units, a-keg unit8 and acoupler unit 9. Both units have been and gas passages that are respectively communicated when the units are coupled together. Novel valve means which includes a movable valve element held seated by spring pressure andthe pressure within the keg, automatically closes the passages in the keg unit and keeps them closed until the keg is tapped by attaching the coupler unit to the keg-unit.
An important feature of the invention is that the passagesfin the two units are joined or communicated before the valve element which closes the passages in the keg unit is unseated This prevents beer from being sprayed or splashed from the keg during the tapping operation. Themanner in which this is accomplished willbe fully described hereinafter, but-before doing-.so'it should be understood that the keg unit is supplied FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the tapping hole portion of a THE TAPPING SYSTEM'GEN ERALLY Referring to the accompanying drawings;'the-kegs-6 shown I in FIGS. 1 and 2 are typical of the Peerless-type cooperage being used by many breweries in the United'States in-t'he of draft beer. Other breweries use the Golden 'Gate'coope'rage; i Except for the size of the tapping ho'le 'and the manner in' which tapping devices are secured therein, the two types of cooperage may be the same, and often are Depending 'upon the size of the dispensing facility, beeris dispensed from these kegs either singlyorconnectedin series-as-showninFl'G.
in two'difierent forms, one to fit the tapping hole of the Peerless-type cooperage (FIGS; 3, 4, 6 and 7) and member for the Golden Gate cooperage (FIG; 5); while the coupler unit fits both keg'units. v V
THE KEG UNIT S All keg units have a tubular body designated generally by the numeral 10, which is secured in 'the tapping hole of the keg and-has an-externally threaded upper end portion onto which a wingnut 11 is threaded to secure the coupler unit in place on the keg unit, as shown in FIG. 3. 3
For the GoldenGate cooperage; the'body 10 is one integral barrel 12 with'an externally'threaded'medial portion 13 larger in diameter than its threaded upper end portion, to screw into the internally threaded collar *l4'which surrounds the tapping hole in Golden Gatecooperage; Belowthis medial threaded portion 13 the'barrel is reduced in diameter to provide a shoulder to opposean upwardly facing'shoulder in the collar Mwitha gasket 15 clampedtherebetween.
For the Peerless-type cooperage, the body 10 is in two parts, an inner 'part 16'and an outer part 17. The inner part 16 is essentially a two-diameter barrel or sleeve, the larger diameter portion'of which is at the top and has an outwardly directed flange 18at its'upper end. The outer body part 17 is a ring into which the inner'part is threadedwith a gasket 19 between its flange l8 'and the top 'oftheringfilt'is this ring which provides the externally threaded upper end portion of the body and has the wingnut 1 l threaded thereon.
The smaller diameter bottom end portion of the inner body part is of a size to snugly fit into the tapping hole of Peerlesstype'cooperagewith an O ring therebetwe'en for sealing purposes; The junction between the top and bottom portions of the 'inner-body forms a downwardly facing shoulder 20 which seatsupon the top in the'neek 21 that surrounds the tapping hole 'and has- 'a flange; 22 'at' its 'upper end to provide 'cooperage is attached to theikeg'is also best shown in FIG. 6. For this'purpose, the outer 'ringlike body part 17 has two diametrically opposite 'hooklike lugs'25that pass through the gateways 23 and engage tinder the inclined ledges upon rotation of the unit. Such rotation, which'is limited by the engage- The manner in which the keg unit for the Peerless-type ment of the lugs with the abutrnents 24, draws the body of the unit tightly down onto the neck 21. v
' A novel retaining device holds the body against retrograde rotation from its tightened down position. This retaining device consists of a semicircular spring wire bail 26 with inturned ends 27 and an indented medial portion 28. The bail embraces the lower end portion of the ringlike outer body part and has its intumed ends protruding through diametrically op posite holes 29 that are so located with respect to the lugs 25 that the protruding ends of the bail engage the sides of the vertical abutrnents 24 opposite those engaged by the hooklike lugs 25. Downward displacement of the medial portion of the bail is prevented by engagement of its indentation 28 with the lowermost of the adjacent external threads. This secures the kegunit against accidental or unauthorized detachment from the keg. Only someone familiar with the unit and possessing an appropriate tool can remove the same from the keg.
It has now been shown how the keg unit of this invention is attached to kegs of both types of cooperage, and it should be borne in mind that, in both cases, the body has exactly the same size externally threaded upper end portion to fit the wingnut 11 by which the coupler unit is secured to the keg unit. But for the coupler unit to be interchangeably connectable with the keg units on both Peerless and Golden Gate cooperage, more is needed. The valve means by which the beer and gas passages in the keg unit are controlled must be alike in structure and operation whether the keg unit is for Golden Gate or Peerless cooperage, so that as the units are coupled, the beer and gas passages of the keg unit will be respectively joined to the beer and gas passages of the coupler unit. I
Accordingly, the body 10 has a straight bore 30 in its upper end portion of the same diameter for both the Peerless and the Golden Gate keg units, and a coaxial tube 31 that rises from a wall 32 at the bottom of the body. The tube is solidly secured to the wall 32, either by a threaded connection, as shown, or in any other suitable manner. The lower end portion of the tube 31 has a plastic extension 33 attached thereto to reach the bottom'ofthe keg.
The tube 31 forms the beer passage of the keg unit and the space between the tube and the encircling wall of the body fonns its gas passage, the upper end portion of which is defined by the'st raight uniform diameter bore 30.ln the Peerless'type unit, communication between the gas passage and the keg interior is provided by diametrically opposite openings 34 which result from slabbing oh the bottom end portion of the inner body part 16; and in the Golden Gate version, holes 35 in the wall 32 provide the needed communication between the gas passageand the keg interior.
A yalve element 36'cornprising a hub. 37 and a disc 38 on the upper end of the hub, is slidably mounted on the tube 31 for movement between a seat position defined by its collision with the bottom edge of a cap39 that is threaded onto and closes the upper end of the tube 31,-and an unseated position. A coil spring 40 encircling the tube 31 and confined between the wall 32 and the bottom of the'hub 37, yieldingly holds the valve elementin its seated" position. In this position .the valve element closes both the beer passage and the gas passage.
Closure of the beer passage results from the hub 37 covering ports 41 in the upper end portion of the tube 31,,and clo- M bf at m1. s im x e s m between th e valve disc 38 and the wall ofthe bore 30. An 0- ring 42seated in a groove in the periphery of the disc, pro-' O-rings and 45 respectively above and below the ports 41, engage the wall of the bore in the hub of the valve element to provide a liquid tight seal between the valve element and the tube 31. The top ring 44 prevents leakage of beer from the above the beer level and/or from the source of gas pressure,
leaking into the beer being dispensed-which, of course, necessitates the coupler unit being in place and the valve element being unseated".
In the unseated position of the valve element 36 at which its disc is in the counterbore 43, the ports 41 in thetube 31 must be uncovered. To meet this requirement and still keep the keg unit desirably short, the valve element has a counterbore 46 opening to its upper end, the bottom of which is slightly below the ports 41 in the unseated position of the valve element. The diameter of this counterbore is large enough to accept the cap with considerable clearance therebetween, when the valve element is in its raised seated position, and for a purpose to be presently described, the counterbore is stepped to form a socket 47 with a straight cylindrical sidewall.
THE COUPLER UNIT The coupler unit comprises a generally cylindrical tubular body 50 with a cylindrical sleeve 51 coaxially disposed therein. At their upper ends the body and sleeve are connected by having the upper end portion of the sleeve enlarged and threaded into the body, as at 52; but for the most part, the sleeve is spaced from the inner wall of the body to provide the gas passage of the unit. lts beer passage, which is formed by the sleeve, leads to a nipple 53 attached to the upper end thereof by confining an enlarged end portion of the nipple in a counter bore in the sleeve by means of a coupling nut 54 threaded onto the sleeve. An O-ring 55 provides a leak-proof connection between the nipple and the sleeve;
Medially of its ends, the sleeve has a constriction 56, the upper surface of which provides a conical seat for a check valve 57 by which back flow of beer is prevented when the coupler unit is detached from a keg unit. The valve 57 is biased to its seated position by a spring confined between the valve and the bottom of the nipple, and preferably the valve is of the type that has an O-ring positioned to engage the valve seat. When the valve is seated, a pin 58 projecting from the bottom thereof collides with the cap 39 at the top of the tube 31 of a keg unit and thereby unseats the valve as the units are connected.
Near its bottom end, the tubular body 50 has an encircling flange which seats upon the upper end of the body of the keg unit and is clamped thereto by the wingnut 11 which freely rotatably encircles the body 50 and is confined against any substantial upward displacement by a retaining ring 59. The lower end portion of the tubular body 50 is of a size to telescope into the bore 30 of any keg unit body and the bottom end of the sleeve 51 is of a size to snugly fit into the socket 47in the valve element 36 of any keg unit. Preferably, the bore of the sleeve has the same diameter as the counterbore 46in the valve element, so that when the units are coupled together, a smooth continuous passage conducts the beer from the keg unit into the coupler unit.
To seal the connection between the beer passage of the two units, an O-ring 60 encircles the bottom end portion of thesleeve which enters the socket 47 in the valve element, and to seal the connection between the gas passages of the two units, an O-ring 61 is seated in a groovein the lower end portion of the tubular body to engage the wall of the bore 30 of the keg unit.
Near the upper end ofthe'tubular body 50 there are two diametrically opposite, preferably aligned tapped holes 62.
One of holes has a hose coupliagf fi-screwed into? it to enahle'the'gas passage of the coupler u'nit'tobe connectedwith a source of pressurized gas, orfwith beer line from. another keg it two or more kegs are connected in sen'est The "coupling 63 is equipped with the customary check valve; not
Theothertapped'holeGZ has a conventional relief valve. screwedintoit. p
courtn c THE unrrs'ro TAliAltliG Tapping of the keg simply involves the bottom end that exists between the connectable parts of two units, during the tapping operation, the O-ring' 60 encircling-the bottom 7 end oi the sleeve-51 enters the socket 47 inthe valve element 36 to seal the junction of the beer passagesofthetwo units-be- ,l'ore-the valve element is depressed farenouglt to uncover theports 41 Hence it is impossible for beer to splash or. spray outof the keg as it is beingtapped. t
j Am, before the valve disc leaves the bore 30, the an, at
on the bottom end portion of the tubular body moves into sealing. engagement with the bore to. seal junction betweenthegaspassagesofthe'two units. f p Tapping a keg is thus a safe and very simple operation.
A s notedvhereinbefore, if two or more kegs to be con nect'ed'in series, the beer line leading from the beer dischargeare free ofturhulenc'e producing restrictions.
the tapping system of this invention has much to recommend i claimi l. A keg-tapping system wherehr each .keg has; tapping hole.- that;is automatically closedby'a'valved keg'unit mounted in the tapping hole, and 'each'such: keg unithas a I beer passage and a gas passage, both normally closed by a sin- 1 gle movable valve element biased-to its-closed position, and
wherein coupler units, each of which has a beer passage and a gaspassageJocated vat dispensing sites are connectable to any 7 of said keg units andby such connection move the valve element of the keg unit from its closed position to connectthe beer passage-1 in the keg unit with a dispensing faucet with which the beer pmage in the coupler unit is'connected, and thegas'passage in the keg unit with a source-of pressurized gas that is connected with the gas passage in the coupler unit, each keg unit having I v l a tubular body with a straight bore in which the valve elepassage, and
' i 2. a central ported tube with which the valve element coactse to'close theh eer passage, each'couplerfunit having 3. a tubular body upon connectionof the coupler unit to a keg unit stands erect and has upper and lower-ends,
and v 4. a centrally disposed sleeve in the tubular body to provide the beer passage throughthe coupler unit, I a said sleeve having upper and lower ends, the former beingjoined to the'upper endportion of the tubular and the latter being so located asto engage the valve ele ment in akeg unit and move the same from its closed position as the coupler unit is connected to the keg unit,saidsy'stembeingcharscterizedby:,
v 6' A; aconstrictioninthe sleeve between the ends thereof, surface. of said constriction forming a valvescat f I B. a check valve in the sleeve above the constriction;- C. 'a -beer line nipplesecured to theupper end of the sleeve; D'. a] spring confined between theibottom. of said nipple and the checkvalve to hold the same on said seat; and E. meansonthe check valve engageabl'e with a part on the keg'unit to unseat the check valve when the units are connected. f
LTh'e structure of claim l, wherein the meansto unseat-the valve when the units are connected comprises a=pin eittending down from the valve through the constriction inthe sleeve l5 and'a ea'p closing the upper end of the tube'of the keg unit 7 againstwhich said pin abuts. v SLTh'e structure of claim 1, wherein the body of thekeg unit I hm'afcylindrical' lower endportion of a size to snugly fit into the tappinghol'e of the keg for which the keg unit is designed,
saidcylindrical lower end portion projecting down from a 1 shoulder on the keg unit -body which setsupon the top of t a neckithat surrounds the tapping hole and has an annular fla'nge'at its top with gateway-forming interruptions at circumferentially spacedlocations leading to the underside 'oftheflange, hook-shaped lugs on the keg unit body projecting down tromsaid shoulder to pass through the gateway-formin g interruptions andupon' rotation of the body engage the underside of said flang and meana't'or preventing rotation of the keg unit body back to a position aligning its-hook-shaped lugs with said gatewayforminginterruptions',comprising-abutments on the neck that surrounds the tapping hole, one side of 'each of said h tme tsb'e b fth' k-h d1 nipple 530i one keg is connected with the'gflinlet nippleols 9, y 9'. 1 e s ape of another keg, so that beer from the'first keg into the second. In thisconnection itis significant-thatthe gas passages ot' the coupler and keg units have relatively large and a spring wire bail when inturned endsembracing the lower end portion'of the keg unit body with the inturned ends thereof'protruding into the interior of the lower end por- 40 of the keg unit body at the opposite sides of wool From the foregomg'descnptsom takenwrth the accompanying drawings, it will be apparent to those-skilled in this art that 1 the tapping hole passes through an upstanding neck having an annular flangecncircling its upper end, the flange having substantially diametrically opposite gateway-forming interruptionsand the neckhavingsubstantially diametrically opposite 'bOIBi, each-of which forms a pair of oppositelyfacing abutmerits, said keg unit having a hollowbody'withseparate beer and gas'pas'sages', and a'single movable valve element'in said body, biased to a position closing both passages but movable from said .pos ition by the attachment of a coupler unit to the keg unit,
v the hollow body having a small diameter lower end portion of aisize tosnugly fit into the tapping hole and a larger diameter upper end portion, the junction between'said large and small end portions providing a downward'facing shoulder which seats upon the top of I the neck surrounding the tapping hole,- ment is located to coact'therewith in closing the'gas-J I a skirt depending from theperiphery of said downward facing shoulder to telescope over the flange at the topofth'eneclnw substantially diametrically opposite hook-shaped lugs at the bottom of each of which is adapted to pass flange at the top of the neck and engage the underside of flange at oneside of one of said abutment-forming bosses upon rotation of the body, and
a retaining'member'assembled with the skirtto embrace the neck'a'nd having diametrically opposite projections to engage said abutment-forming portions to prevent rotation ofthc body to a position. at which its hook Y shaped lugs align with the gatewayforrning interrup- 7$f tionsin-saidflange; v
through one of the gateway-forming interruptions in the I skirt at points so related to the lugs that said int irned ends of the bail are at the opposite sides of the abutmentforming bosses.