US 3618905 A
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United States Patent  Inventor Sergio Prlmus Pordenone, Italy [2!] Appl. No. 11,165  Filed Feb. 13, 1970  Patented Nov. 9, 1971  Assignee I.M.D. Italians Macchlne Dlstrlbullone S.p.A Bergamo, Italy  Priority Feb. 21, I969  Italy [3 I] I3l95/A/69  MACHINE FOR THE PRODUCTION OF AERA'IED BEVERAGES 7 Claims, 3 Drawing Figs.
 U.S.Cl 261/153, 261/157, 26l/l2l R, 261/50 R, 26l/DIG. 7  Int.Cl 801! 3/04  Field 0! Search ..26l/DIG. 7, 121 R, I53, 157, 50 R, 51
 References Clted UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,39l,003 12/1945 Bowman 26I/DIG. 7 2,514,156] 7/I950 Baker 26l/DIG. 7 3,256,802 6/l966 Karr 26l/DIG. 7
Primary Examiner-Tim R. Miles Attorney-Holman & Stern ABSTRACT: A machine for the instantaneous automatic preparation of carbonated beverages is disclosed in which the sensing member responsive to the variations of level in the tank containing the carbon-dioxide saturated water forming the base of the drink to be prepared is a pressure-stat responsive to the pressure obtaining in the carbonated water tank. The advantage is that the only variable magnitude sensed by the pressure-stat is the level of water in the tank, the pressure being a direct function of said level by virtue of a well known physical law. Switching and timing means are also provided in order to warrant for an appropriate and orderly sequence of I the operations, as automatically performed by the machine, inherent in the preparation of an instant" carbonated beverage. Thus, for example, means are provided to dispense a flavoring substance (such as lemon essence in the case ofa lemonade and so forth) at the proper instant oftime and in the appropriate amount. The amount of carbonated beverage dispensed for each drink dosage is constant, and the constancy of the carbonation (i.e. amount ofcarbon dioxide contained in a volume unit ofwater) is also ensured.
III'IIP'PI MACHINE FOR THE PRODUCTION OF AERATED BEVERAGES This invention relates to a machine for the preparation of aerated beverages, of the kind which provides for the dispensing of a certain amount of aerated water (soda water) and the admixture therewith of a determined amount of a flavoringsubstance ejected from a prefonned container (or capsule). More particularly, the kind of machine to which the present invention is directed comprisesa soda water tank maintained at a constant temperature and equipped with a duct for feeding a collecting vessel, with a duct for gas filling (carbon dioxide) and with a duct for water filling. The dispensing ductcomprises a'first cutoff member, more particularly a magnetic valve which can be opened by actuating a control member, such opening stage being usually for a preselected time so as to ensure constancy to the dispensed dosages of soda water, the filling conduit for the gas being made of a feeding capillarytubing with the gas held at a constant pressure and is such as to permit the fiow of gas only in the direction of the soda water tank and not vice versa; the filling conduit for water, lastly, comprises a second cutoff member (more particularly a magnetic valve) whose opening is servoed to the closure of the first cutofi member aforesaid in the same way as the opening of the latter is servoed to the closure of the other one. This mutual dependency between the two cutoff members is intended to prevent that dispensing may be started when a filling has not yet been completed and, conversely, to prevent that a water filling may be initiated when dispensing is not yet over, these facts being such as to prevent the sequentially dispensed dosages may be constant in time, whereas its closure is controlled, preferably, by means responsive to the water level in the tank. Said means, entering action as the level goes above a preselected level, attempt to keep the level of soda water as constant as practicable at the beginning of each dispensing so as tokeep substantially unaltered, between consecutive dispensing operations, the rate of flow of soda water through the dispensing duct and thus also keeping the dosage of soda water as dispensed each time, constant. The machine finally comprises a housing compartment for a container of a flavoring substance, from'which the substance is ejected to be admixed to the soda water.
From the foregoing, it is clear that the principal object to which the machines of the kind referred to for aerated beverages are directed is the constancy of the dosages dispensed in consecutive runs. This general requirement stems from the fact that the characteristics of a given drink are considerably varied as a function of carbonation, and the quality is considerably worsened if carbonation is either exceedingly high or too poor. It s thus advisable that the amounts of carbonated water sequentially dispensed and admixed to the flavor (whose amount is, conversely, fixed) be equalized as far as practicable.
In order that the dosage of carbonated water may be rendered constant, it is conventional practice to set the opening time of the cutoff member comprised in the dispensing duct, the problem being thus reduced to the attainment of the constancy of the rate of flow, that which is possible by making the thrust, imparted to the carbonated water to draw it from the tank, constant. This thrust is a function of the level in the tank, so that, in summation, the problem becomes that of making constant, as far as practicable, the level of the carbonated water at the start of each dispensing operation. it is abandoned nearly everywhere due to its inaccuracy, the second method is still in use but does not afford, anyhow, the desirable constancy of dosage, with absolute accuracy, both due to the tendency of the probes to oxidizing and the frequent variationsof the water hardness. in addition, the requirement for a low-voltage circuitry with an incorporated amplifier makes this latter solution somewhat expensive.
This invention, instead, achieves the purpose of making constant the amounts sequentially dispensed by causing the stoppage of water filling to be caused by a pressure-stat responsive to the pressure obtaining in the soda water tank. By so doing, inasmuch as the pressure obtaining in the tank is a direct function of the level, an absolute constancy of level is obtained, in practice, without any possibility of alterations caused by hardness variations, or by a possible contact between the water and the sensitive members. As a matter of fact, the pressure-stat merely feels the pressure of the cushion of gas compressed between the water and the top of the tank, without ever contacting the water as itself. Thus, if the quality of the adopted pressure-stat is satisfactory, the most absolute constancy is ensured for the thrust imparted to the soda water during dispensing, and consequently the most absolute constancy of the rate of fiow through the dispensing duct, and, moreover, since the dispensing time has been preset, the most absolute constancy of the individually dispensed unit dosages is ensured. To pass from a kind of drink to another, it sufi'rces that the dispensing time be modified.
This invention, furthermore, introduces another novelty in connection with the means which permit the water filling in the tank. As a matter of fact, the filling water was impelled heretofore into the tank by a pump, whereas, according to the invention, the thrust is exploited, which the water held in a tank receives from a gas having a pressure higher than that obtaining the soda water tank. This procedure is much simpler and permits, more particularly, that considerable cos reduction may be achieved.
An embodiment of the machine according to, the invention will now be described in detail, by way of example only and without limitation, reference being had to the accompanying drawings, wherein:
P10. 1 is a diagrammatical showing of the subject machine.
FIG. 2 shows an embodiment of the electric circuitry of the machine.
FIG. 3 is a timing diagram which helps in understanding the operability of the circuitry of FIG. 2, and thus of the machine shown in XFlG. 1. g I
The machine shown inFlG. 1 comprises a tank 1 of carbonated water immersed in a refrigerated tub 2 which contains water kept ept at a constant temperature (eg zero centigrade). The tank 1 has a dispensing duct 3, through which the carbonated water is impelled into a collecting vessel 4 by now clear which is the reason which has led to the above mentioned connection between the cutoff member contained in the water-filling duct and level-responsive members which cause the closure of the cutoff member as the level of the carbonated water in the tank reaches a preselected value or tends to go beyond it.
Such level-responsive members have been variously embodied, for example by leverages which feel the weight variations of the carbonated water tank, or by two probes connected to a low-voltage circuitry so as deliver, as they are both contacted by the water, a signal which is amplified and applied to a water filling control relay. Whilethe first method has been the pressure differential obtaining between the interior of the tank 1 and the surrounding atmosphere, of course whenever the normally closed magnetic valve 5, is opened. The filling with gas and water is regulated, instead, by a magnetic valve 6 having two inputs and a common output and which establishes, in alternation, the communication, with the interior of the tank 1, of a duct 7 for CO filling, or a conduit 19 for water filling, the first communication being established when the valve is deenergized, the second when it is energized. The CO, filling conduit is a capillary tube to which a bottle 8 supplies CO: under a constant pressure P, through a reducing valve 9. The water fillingconduit, conversely, comprises a coil 10 immersed in the refrigerated tub 2 and fed with the water contained in a vessel 11 due to the thrust imparted by the gas fed under a constant pressure P by the bottle 8 through a reducing valve 12 adapted to bring about a pressure drop lower than that caused by the reducing valve 9 (the reason for this latter detail will become apparent hereinafter). Another reducing valve 13, conversely, effects the feeding with C0 under a constant pressure P, (more particularly, lower than that at the outlet of the reducing valves 9 and 12) of a duct 14 passing through a normally closed magnetic valve 15 and terminated in a housing 16 for a capsule 17 of a flavoring substance, the outlet of the space 16 being arranged immediately above the collecting vessel 4.
Lastly, the machine is equipped with a pressure-stat 18 adapted to sense the pressure obtaining between the level of the carbonated water and the top wall of the tank 1. The function of the pressure-stat which is calibrated so as to be tripped at a minimum pressure P lower than the pressure at the outlet of the reducing valve, and at a maximum pressure P higher than the pressure at the outlet of the reducing valve 9, but lower than the pressure at the outlet of the reducing valve 12, will become apparent on studying the control circuit for the magnetic valves 5, 6 and 15, said control circuit being shown diagrammatically in FIG. 2.
The control circuit of FIG. 2 is essentially based on a timer 20 equipped with a motor 21, whose rotation causes, through an appropriate cam-pack not shown in the drawing, the occurrence of a preselected sequence of actions by the five switches 22, 23, 24, 25, and 26, whose different possible positions determine the feeding (or not) of motor 21 and magnetic valves 6, and 5, by two feeding lines 27 and 28. More exactly, the switch 22 governs the feeding of motor 21, just as the switch 24 governs the feeding of the magnetic valve 15 and the switches 25 and 26 (either of them, according to the position of a switch 29) govern the feeding of the magnetic valve 5. The feeding of the magnetic valve 6 is governed, instead, not only by the switch 23, but also by a switch 30 controlled by the pressure-stat 18 of FIG. 1 so as to pass from the position of FIG. 2 to the other position it can take as the pressure in the tank 1 drops below the minimum value l for which the pressure-stat has been calibrated, and from that other possible position to that of FIG. 2 when the pressure in the tank 1 rises beyond the maximum value P for which the pressure-stat had been calibrated. The circuit of FIG. 2 eventually comprises another switch 31, which can be manually actuated, for example by means of a pushbutton.
It has been said that the succession of actions by the switches 22, 23, 24, 25, and 26 is controlled by the timer via a cam-pack not shown in the drawings. However, to afford a better understanding of the control circuit of FIG. 2, and thus of the machine of FIG. 1, FIG. 3 shows a diagram which reports, as a function of time, the above-mentioned sequence of actions by the switches 22 to 26 (the hatched segments being indicative of the closure stages of the several switches).
Let it now be assumed that the machine is in its start position with the control circuit in the conditions of FIG. 2 (i.e. the switch 29 selects, in practice, the kind of drink one desires to obtain, in that its position decides a greater or lesser amount of carbonated water to be dispensed) and the assembly of FIG. 1 in a stationary condition, the interior of the tank 1 being at a certain pressure p,. By manually closing (at the instant of time the switch 31, the motor 21 is started and causes, almost immediately, the closure of the switch 22, the current feeding to the motor thus becoming independent. Subsequently (at the instant 1:, FIG. 3) the switch 23 is opened while the switches and 26 are closed, so that the magnetic valve 5 is energized and, becoming open, starts to dispense carbonated water for a period of time which is a function of the outline of the cam acting upon the one of the switches 25 and 26 which has been preselected by means of the selector switch 29. The position of the selector switch 29 and the outline of the cams acting upon the switches 25 and 26 thus determine the dosage of carbonated water to be dispensed for each drink. Since the switch 26 has been preselected, the dispensing is continued, in the case in point, till the instant of time I otherwise till the instant of time During progress of dispensing, the pressure in the interior of the tank 1 has been gradually decreased until reaching and overtaking the minimum value p,,,, so that the pressure-stat 18 has controlled the displacement of the switch 30. The open condition of the switch 23, however, has concurrently prevented the magnetic valve 6 from being energized.
When, at the instant I, the dispensing of carbonated water is over, the volume of carbonated water in the interior of the tank 1 has been decreased and, therewith, the water level and, as a result, the pressure which, as outlined above, is less than p,,,. Since, on the other hand, p,,, is less than P, there is thus a pressure differential between the outlet of the reducing valve 9 and the interior of the tank 1, so that, inasmuch as the passageway between the duct 7 and the tank 1 is open (magnetic valve 6 deenergized,) there is a gas flow at a pressure p, towards the tank. The gas flow, which actually began before the completion of the dispensing of carbonated water but, by virtue of the capillary nature of the duct 7 is so slow, with respect to the dispensing flow as itself, as to be wholly unable to allow for the pressure drop caused thereby, is such that, on completion of the dispensing step, the pressure in the tank is increased by an amount which corresponds, as the dispensing operation is completed, to a value equal to the value, p,,, at the outlet of the reducing valve 9.
At the instant I then, the closure of the switch 24 takes place, the result being the energization and opening of the magnetic valve 15. A flow of pressurized gas thus penetrates the capsule 17 and ejects the flavoring substance held therein, impelling it towards the vessel 4 wherein it becomes admixed with the previously dispensed carbonated water so as to produce the desired carbonated beverage. The gas flow through the duct 14 is discontinued at the instant of time I7.
Meanwhile, at the instant I the switch 23 has been closed, so that the magnetic valve 6 has been energized, the result being the cutting oh the communication between the duct 7 and the tank 1. The thrust exerted by the gas at a pressure p,, on the water held in the tank 11 impels then said water into the coil 10 and, therefrom, via the magnetic valve 6, into the tank 1, wherein, becoming partially admixed with the carbon dioxide previously fed through the duct 7, originates the formation of carbonated water which causes the level of said water to be raised, the consequence being a pressure increase, as sensed by the pressure-stat 18.
The water filling is discontinued as soon as the pressure in the tank reaches that maximum value p which causes the pressure-stat 18 to snap. As a matter of fact, at that point the switch 30 is restored to the position of FIG. 2, the result being the deenergization of the magnetic valve 6. Thus, the communication between the duct 19 and the tank 1 is cut off, whereas the communication between the duct 7 and the tank 1 is correspondingly restored. The capillary structure of the duct 7 prevents, in any case, any undesirable feedback thereinto of the carbon dioxide at a pressure higher than p,, as contained in the tank. At the instant at last, the switch 22 is reopened, the motor 21 is stopped and to restart it, it is necessary to act upon the pushbutton 31 again.
From the foregoing, it is apparent that the machine according to the invention has achieved the object of ensuring the maximum constancy of the individually dispensed unit dosages of carbonated water. As a matter of fact, the pressure at which the water filling is completed and the dispensing is started is uniquely fixed by the pressure-stat 18, so that each individual dispensing operation takes place at a constant rate of flow and, since the dispensing time (preset, as aforesaid, by the outline of the actuating cam for the selected one of the switches 25 and 26) is constant for each kind of drink, the dosage of carbonated water dispensed for each kind of drink is also constant. On the other hand, the capillary nature of the duct 7, the impossibility of starting a new dispensing step if the water filling has not been completed and, conversely, the impossibility starting a filling-up if the dispensing operation has not been finished (these two latter conditions being preset by the timer 20), act is such a way that no disturbance can be experienced as to the unique nature of the pressure drops as the level in the tank 1 diminishes. It can thus be concluded that for each kind of drink, the dispensing of a predetermined and constant dosage of carbonated water takes place. To pass from one kind of drink to any other, it suffices to act on the switch 29, which, if so desired, could also be adapted to effect a selection among switches in a number higher that the two ones (i.e. 25 and 26) shown in FIG. 2.
It should be noticed, however, that the expedients enumerated above would beof no use, if the most absolute constancy of the temperature of the water in which the tank 1 is immersed, that is of the water contained in the tub 2, were not ensured. As a matter of fact, the temperature of the water in the tub 2 has a considerable influence on the carbonation of soda water and thus on the pressure in the tank, so that any variation of this temperature unavoidably affects the carbonation of the drink so produced. In order that such temperature variations may be prevented, there is provided, to supplement other appropriate therrnostating means not shown in the drawings since they are entirely conventional, a stirrer 32 immersed in the water of the tub, which has the function of inducing a motion tending to do away with all the possible temperature differentials between the space where the coil is immersed (at an obviously higher temperature by virtue of the heat exchange) and the space the tank 1 is immersed.
Another essential condition is that the magnetic valve 6 be located very close to the tank 1: by so doing, in fact, possible drippings of the water left in the duct 19, between the magnetic valve 6 and the tank, into the tank I are prevented: these drippings, if their amount is not negligible, could originate considerable variations of the level, and thus of the pressure, in the tank 1.
it should be noticed, lastly, that the actuation times as shown in the diagram of FIG. 3 are mere examples of the operation of the circuitry of FIG. 2, but can be well be varied within a somewhat wide range, provided, however, that the sequence of the actions of the several switches be left substantially unaltered.
What is claimed is:
l. A machine for the production of carbonated beverages, of the kind comprising a tank for carbonated water maintained at a preselected temperature and equipped with a dispensing duct towards a collecting vessel, a gas filling duct and a water filling duct, said gas filling duct being fonned by a capillary tube fed by a gas under a constant pressure and being such as to permit the flow of the gas towards said tank and not vice versa, said dispensing duct and said water filling duct being equipped with a first and a second cutoff member, respectively, the opening of each of which is subjected to the closure of the other one, the machine comprising moreover a housing for a flavoring substance ejectable therefrom towards said collecting vessel to be admixed therein with the carbonated water dispensed by the tank and being characterized in that it comprises a pressure-stat adapted to cause the do sure of said second cutoff member when a predetermined value of the pressure in the carbonated water tank is exceeded.
2. A machine according to claim 1, characterized in that the feeding pressure of the gas filling duct is lower than the one, in the interior of the carbonated water tank, at which the pressure-stat causes the closure of said second cutoff member.
3. A machine according to claim 1, characterized in that it comprises means for impelling the filling water towards the carbonated water tank, said means comprising a water vessel which communicates, at one end with said water filling duct comprising said second cutting-ofi member and, at the other end, with a gas feeding duct at a pressure at least equal to the one at which the pressure-stat causes the closure of said second cutofi member.
4. A machine according to claim 3, characterized in that said second cutoff member is located in the neighborhood of the outlet of said water filling duct for the carbonated water tank.
5. A machine according to claim 1, characterized in that said second cutoff member is coupled to a third cutofi member for the filling gas flow within a single three-way valve adapted to establish an alternating communication between the carbonated water tank and either gas filling or water filling duct.
6. A machine according to claim 5, characterized in that the housing for the flavoring substance to be admixed with the carbonated water has, mounted therethrough, a duct for feeding a gas under pressure adapted to eject the flavoring substance from said housing, said feeding duct being fitted with a fourth cutoff member.
7. A machine according to claim 6, characterized in that it comprises a timer manually actuated for a predetermined time, said timer being adapted to control in succession the opening, when the second and the third cutoff member are closed and opened, respectively, and the subsequent closure of said first cutofi' member provided in the carbonated water feeding conduit, the opening and the subsequent closure of said fourth cutoff member provided in the gas duct for the ejection of the flavoring substance, the opening, subsequent to the closure of said first cutoff member but not necessarily subsequent also to the opening of said fourth cutoff member, of said second cutoff member and the consequent closure of said third cutoff member, and, finally, the controlled closure of the pressure-stat, of said second cutofi member and the consequent opening of said fourth cutoff member.