US 3643688 A
A device for the continuous combination and mixing of a plurality of liquid beverage components in an accurately maintained adjustable quantity ratio, where a jet mixer has a central pressure nozzle as part of an axially adjustable hollow plunger through which the pressurized liquid, water in the case of soft drinks, passes into a receiving nozzle past the infinitely variable annular opening of a suction chamber through which one or more admixed components are drawn into the receiving nozzle. The adjustment of the annular opening for the suction chamber determines the overall mixing ratio to water, while the flow volume of the various admixed components is controlled by separate throttle valves in their supply conduits. Distortions of the mixing ratio during startup and shutdown of the installation are minimized by accurately synchronizing all shutoff valves and by keeping the liquid volumes within the mixer cavities within predetermined ratios.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Meinert [151 3,643,688 [451 Feb. 22, 1972  Inventor: Hartmut Meinert, Haddenhausen, Germany  Assignee: Noll Maschinenfabrlk GmbH, Minden,
rheli fi reei  Filed: Dec. 12, 1969  Appl.No.: 884,681
 Field of Search ..l37/604; 222/4, 129.1, 129.2, 222/136, 145, 395; 417/183  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,794,447 6/1957 Spitz ,.137/604 3,209,797 10/1965 Marchetti ..222/l29.2X
3,348,737 10/1967 Yingst et al ..222/1 36 X 3,357,598 12/1967 Kraft ..l37/604 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATlONS 4,204 2/1903 Great Britain ..417/ 183 Primary Examiner-Robert G. Nilson Attorney-Otto John Munz  ABSTRACT A device for the continuous combination and mixing of a plurality of liquid beverage components in an accurately maintained adjustable quantity ratio, where a jet mixer has a central pressure nozzle as part of an axially adjustable hollow plunger through which the pressurized liquid, water in the case of soft drinks, passes into a receiving nozzle past the infinitely variable annular opening of a suction chamber through which one or more admixed components are drawn into the receiving noule. The adjustment of the annular opening for the suction chamber determines the overall mixing ratio to water, while the flow volume of the various admixed components is controlled by separate throttle valves in their supply conduits. Distortions of the mixing ratio during startup and shutdown of the installation are minimized by accurately synchronizing all shutoff valves and by keeping the liquid volumes within the mixer cavities within predetermined ratios.
15 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PAIENTEDFEB22 I972 SHEET 1 UF 2 [U1 l llllll IIIHHHH T INVENTOR HARTMUT MEI NERT ATTORNEY DEVICE FOR THE CONTINUOUS MIXING OF BEVERAGE COMPONENTS IN A PREDETERMINED QUANTITY RATIO BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The invention relates to a device for the continuous combination and mixing of beverage components in a predetermined quantity ratio, and more particularly to a device where a plurality of liquid beverage components is mixed together in an adjustable jet mixer.
2. Description of the prior art It is known to use devices for admixing of liquid additives to a-liquid stream in a fixed mixing ratio or quantity ratio for purposes of fire fighting, for example. In this case, the two liquid components are mixed together in a jet mixer which consists of a pressure nozzle, a suction chamber, and a receiving nozzle. The stream of pressurized liquid passes through the pressure nozzle and the center of the receiving nozzle, while the suction chamber and the remainder of the receiving nozzle accommodate the proportionately admixed liquid. The volume of admixed liquid is in this case adjusted by a control valve which is arranged ahead of the jet mixer in such a way that the mixing ratio remains constant, even under fluctuating pressure conditions. However, in this instance the control valve is affected by the flow volume, which is measured separately, and the apparatus used for adjusting the volume of the main liquid stream is not only complicated, but it is also incapable of satisfying the requirement of accuracy and consistency which exist, for example, in the production of liquid foodstuffs and beverages, such as soft drinks and the like. Especially, where the finished mixture is to be checked on the basis of its density, and where the components to be added are to be controlled accordingly, the above-mentioned device cannot be used, because the control element which is arranged in the supply line of the admixed liquid component, when it is adjusted, not only changes the amount of the admixed liquid component, but at the same time also causes a change in the characteristics of the jet mixer itself.
Adjustable jet mixers have also been employed in conjunction with self-priming pumps and the like; however, they are not adapted for infinite adjustments and control of an admixed liquid component; and furthermore, they do not offer the operating accuracy which is required in the production of beverages.
It has already been suggested to perform the mixing of two beverage components in an adjustable quantity ratio by using a jet mixer which has an axially displaceable pressure nozzle, thereby providing an infinitely variable annular passage between the pressure nozzle and the receiving nozzle. In addition, it has already been suggested to use an automatic control device whose setting represents the desired quantity ratio of the two components, or the concentration of the end product, or its specific gravity, and where the result is continuously measured and the quantity ratio is adjusted by the control device toward the control setting, over a motor which displaces the control nozzle in axial direction.
With such an automatic control device, it is possible, for example, to continuously measure the Brix reading of the beverage and to adjust the amount of admixed beverage syrup in such a way that a beverage with a substantially consistent Brix degree is obtained, even without the use of the known metering pumps or of other complicated measuring and dosing devices. As with these conventional metering pumps, such an apparatus is designed for the requirement that two components, namely water on the one hand, and a finished beverage syrup on the other hand, are to be mixed in a given quantity ratio.
However, it has been found that the continuous measurement of the Brix degree during the production of beverages presents considerable difficulties with regard to the measuring technique, and that the actual control of the beverage for a consistent Brix reading is not accurate enough because of these measuring difficulties.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The objective of the invention is to eliminate the inaccuracies in the combination of the components by means of an adjustable jet mixer, and furthermore, to save a major part of the cost of syrup processing, of the juice kitchen, and of the equip ment needed in this connection.
The invention proposed to attain this objective by suggesting the use of a known jet mixer with a pressure nozzle, a receiving nozzle, and a suction chamber, which mixer has an infinitely variable annular passage connecting the suction chamber with the receiving nozzle, the passage being determined by the axial position of the pressure nozzle, and where the pressure noule communicates in each of its positions with the supply conduit for pressurized liquid, and where one or several liquid conduits lead to the suction chamber via separate, infinitely variable throttle valves.
It is also suggested by the invention that the free cross-sectional areas of the pressure nozzle orifice, of the maximum receiving nozzle orifice and of the mixing tube have a ratio between 1 to 1.4 and 1.7 to 2.5-2.8, and that the length of the cylindrical mixing tube is 14 to 20 times its diameter, the effective pressures being such that the pressurized liquid exits with a velocity of approximately 30 meters per second from the pressure nozzle, and the ratio of the pressure differentials between the diffuser exit and the suction chamber is not greater than 0.2, and that the quantity ratio between the liquid flowing through the pressure chamber of the pressure nozzle and the liquid flowing through the suction chamber is not greater than 0.8. Suprisingly, it was found that for a given adjustment setting of the annular passage between the pressure nozzle and the receiving nozzle the mixing ratio remains constant over a wide range, and even under normal operational interference problems. An automatic control device is therefore no longer necessary and would only constitute a source of problems, especially because with it the unavoidable operational interferences tend to disturb the Brix readings to a much larger extent than is indicated by their effect on the actual mixing ratio in the Jet mixer. In addition, the device of the invention makes it possible in many cases to eliminate the preparation of a beverage syrup in the juice kitchen, because the separate components can be controlled and maintained in the proper mixing ratio between them and also in the proper overall mixing ratio to the pressure medium water. The mixing jet produces a partial vacuum to which corresponds a given mixing ratio and which admits the separate beverage components separately, i.e., without prior mixing, and in the correct preset quantity ratio, admixing them to the pressure medium water. The overall mixing ratio between the water and the sum of all admixed components themselves are adjusted by means of separate infinitely variable throttle valves which are positioned immediately ahead of the discharge of the liquid conduits into the suction chamber of the jet mixer.
In order to make all mixing ratios reproducibly adjustable so that each beverage can be characterized by a predetermined pattern of adjustment settings, the invention further suggests that the pressure nozzle be provided with a plunger which is sealingly guided for axial motion inside a housing and which has radial bores facing an annular chamber which is connected to the supply conduit, the plunger including a spindle which reaches to the outside and which is adjustable by means of a micrometer screw.
.with the startup and shutdown of the installation,
It is further suggested that each of the throttle members of the throttle valves which communicate with the suction chamber is adjustable and controllable by means of a micrometer screw. The provision of micrometer screws for the adjustment of both the overall quantity ratio and the components individually assures very precise settings of the valves, so that mixing ratios and settings, after they have once been established, can be reproduced reliably and accurately. The jet mixer, including its piping and pumps, is designed for a given upper flow-volume which determines and maintains constant the quantitative flow of pressurized liquid. Fluctuations and interference effects during operation are limited to those resulting from the liquid level control. However, it has been found that nonnegligible interferences can occur during startupand shutdown of the installation. 7
The invention suggests to eliminate these shortcomings by providing shutoff valves, preferably of the pneumatically remote-controlled type, at the housing connection of the supply conduit for pressurized liquid and just ahead of the throttle valves which lead to the suction chamber, and that these shutoff valves have identical switching time values, operating simultaneously and in the same sense and that they are controlled by a pulse giver which operates synchronously switching the valves into open or closed position respectively. The blocking of the supply conduits, and especially the exactly simultaneous blocking of all supply conduits, eliminates the possibility that varying amounts of liquid enter the jet mixer during the process of shutdown or startup of the installation, thereby causing undesirable changes in the concentration of the beverage, or inits Brix degree. Whenever the pressurized liquid flows, the mixer also admits the components, so that no differences occur in the mixing ratio. For this purpose, it is necessary that all shutoff valves have identical switching times values and that they are actuated at the same instant, regardless of the size of the liquid conduit, so that all conduits are opened simultaneously in a sudden movement and closed similarly, when the installation is shut down. Most shutoff valves have different switching time values for different diameters, so that it becomes necessary to manufacture especially designed opening and closing mechanisms independently of the size of the valve connections. The valves are preferably operated by air pistons which are supplied with compressed air from a common source and controlled by a single air valve which is electrically remote-controlled from the installation main controls.
According to the invention it is further suggested that the volume of liquid contained between the shutoff valve for the pressurized liquid and the orifice of the pressure nozzle on the one hand, and the total volume in the liquid paths from the component shutoff valves through the suction chamber to the receiving nozzle on the other hand, have an approximate ratio between 4 to l and 7 to 1. The invention thereby assures that, even in the event of last runnings from the portion of the liquid conduits behind the shutoff valves, these runnings are approximately in the correct quantity ratio for the mixing ratio of the beverage, so as to avoid fluctuations in the composition of the beverage which could result from differences in the composition of the last runnings during startup and shutdown of the installation.
According to the invention it is further suggested that a pressure supply pump is provided in the supply conduit which leads to the pressure nozzle and that the drive motor for this pump and the pulse giver for the various shutoff valves are operatively connected, so that the shutoff valves are only opened when the pressure supply pump is in operation. The invention thereby assures that, as soon as the installation is shut down and the pressurized liquid stops flowing, all supply conduits-those for the pressurized liquid itself, as well as those for the admixed beverage componentsare closed.
It is further suggested, according to the invention, to arrange flow gauges in the liquid conduits ahead of the various shutoff valves to indicate the flow volumes in the conduits any moment. By means of these gauges, which are preferably calibrated flow gauges of the float chamber type, the settings of the whole apparatus can at any time be verified visually and readjusted in response to the measurements. Normally, the How volume of the pressurized liquid is invariable, but the gauge monitoring it provides a check which is important, should the installation or the pump or the drive become defective. The overall mixing ratio between the water and the sum of the components taken together is normally determined by the manufacturer of the apparatus in accordance with the recipies of the beverage industry, and the corresponding micrometer setting parameters are determined and prescribed accordingly. The same applies for the mixing ration of the components to one another. However, these ratios and the setting of the micrometer adjustments on the throttle valves can be easily corrected in accordance with the readings obtained from the flow gauges. Of course, the overall mixing ratio can likewise be adjusted or corrected at any time by resetting the micrometer screw on the pressure nozzle assembly. As the major portion of the admixed components consists normally of a sugar solution, the Brix degree (the density of the mixed liquid) can be influenced and adjusted by only a minor change in the mixing ratio. It has been found that, after the adjustment settingshave been properly made, neither the mixing ratio, nor the Brix degree, nor the ratios of the various components toone another needed readjustment, and that they remained consistent over extended periods of time, and no reason existed for any readjustment or change in the settings. An automatic control device is therefore completely unnecessary. interferences occurring during operation are minimized by the precision design of the jet mixer itself; problems which could occur during the startup and shutdown of the installation are eliminated by themeasures proposed by the invention.
According to the invention, it is further suggested to arrange in each of the conduits for the liquids flowing to the suction chamber an accumulator, which is open to the atmosphere, and which has an automatic level control, so that the liquid level inside these accumulators is established at approximately 50 millimeters below the level of the suction chamber. This arrangement assures consistent flow and pres sure conditions for the intake of the admixed components. Any self-propelled inflow is thereby reliably eliminated.
According to the invention, it is furthermore suggested to use water for the pressurized liquid which may have been degasified prior to use, and that the separate components serving for the production of the beverage are stored in their liquid state under atmospheric pressure inside the accumulators of the conduits leading to the suction chamber. This allows the production of the conventional soft drinks, either by admixing a single syrup which has been prepared in the usual way in the juice kitchen, or by admixing the separate syrup components in the proper quantity ratio directly to the water, which may have been degasified in a known way. The impregnation of the water with carbon dioxide is performed in the usual way after the addition of the syrup. But it may also be performed prior thereto in a known way. However, when already impregnated water is used, it becomes necessary to accommodate the higher pressures in the jet mixer and especially in the accumulator. Appropriate back-pressure valves are then required to allow the maintenance of the pressure which is required in all places for the carbon-dioxide-containing liquid.
According to the invention, it is further suggested that a sugar solution, which may have been previously degasified, is stored inside the accumulator for the pressurized liquid, and that the separate components for the production of syrup or other extracts are stored in liquid form in the accumulators of the conduits leading to the suction chamber. This permits a great simplification of the difficult work in the juice kitchen, in the case where the syrup components cannot be admixed directly to the water. The predominant component in the total amount of syrup, viz the sugar solution, is in this case emat ployed as the pressurized medium and to it are admixed in the jet mixer the appropriate amounts of raw materials, acids and essences which, for example, may be drawn directly from their shipping containers. The result is a considerable simplification in the work procedures and equipment of the juice kitchen.
Consequently, the object of the invention is not only the application of the apparatus of the invention in the continuous mixing of beverage components in a predetermined quantity ratio for the production of beverages, but also its use for the continuous combination and mixing of the syrup components themselves in a predetermined quantity ratio, for the production of beverage syrups or beverage essences and the like.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The drawings illustrate the invention by way of an example and in a schematic representation, and the use and arrangement of the invention is explained by way of an example for the production of a beverage.
FIG. 1 shows in a longitudinal cross section the jet mixer of the invention;
FIG. 2 shows in a schematically drawn arrangement a complete embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged cross section along the line III-III of FIG. 2, showing the connections to the suction chamber of the jet mixer; and
FIG. 4 shows in an enlarged longitudinal cross section one of the throttle valves arranged in the supply conduits for the beverage components.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT As can be seen from FIG. 1, the jet mixer consists of a housing 1, inside which is arranged a pressure nozzle 2 which constitutes one end of a hollow plunger 2a. The gaskets 3 and 4 provide a seal between the plunger 20 and the housing 1. The plunger 2a has a plurality of radial bores 2b near its other end which is closed. These radial bores face an annular chamber la arranged inside the housing 1. The annular chamber 1a and the inside of the plunger 2a serve as a pressure chamber for the pressurized liquid which is supplied through the conduit 5 as indicated by the arrow 5a and which flows through the annular chamber la and the radial bores 2b to the inside of the plunger 2a, leaving the latter through the pressure nozzle in the direction of the arrow 2c, and entering the mixing tube M through the receiving nozzle 6. Below the mixing tube M is arranged a diffuser 7 where the flow velocity of the liquid is reduced and its static pressure again increased. The mixing tube M with the receiving nozzle 6 is sealed against the housing 1 by means of a rubber gasket 8. The liquids which are to be admixed to the pressurized liquid are supplied through the conduits 9 and 90, as indicated by the arrows 9a and 9d, from where they enter the suction chamber 11 which has the form of an annular chamber in the housing 1, from wherein the liquids pass through the annular space 12 formed between the pressure nozzle 2 and the receiving nozzle 6, thereby entering the inside of the mixing tube M together with the pressurized liquid. The distance of the outer edge of the pressure nozzle 2 from the inner wall of the receiving nozzle 6 determines the size of the annular space 12 through which the admixed liquids and 10a are admitted. The position of the plunger 2a and the pressure nozzle 2 with respect to the receiving nozzle being variable, this annular space can be infinitely varied according to the invention from a value zero, when it is closed off, to a maximum passage opening, the flow of the admixed liquid thereby being likewise infinitely variable. The jet of pressurized liquid emerging from the pressure nozzle 2 and entering the receiving nozzle 6 causes a partial vacuum in this annular space 12 and this partial vacuum is transmitted to the suction chamber 11 with the result that the liquid, or liquids, in this chamber are drawn into the receiving nozzle around the central stream of pressurized liquid. The overall mixing ratio is thus determined by the flow volume of pressurized liquid through the pressure nozzle 2 and receiving nozzle 6 and the flow of admixed liquid through the annular passage 12, as
determined in part by the size of this passage and the partial vacuum effective therein. The cross sections of the conduits 9 and 9c determine the flow in these conduits and thus the quantity ratio between the liquid 10 and the liquid 10a (the ratio of admixed components). The amount of liquid flow from the conduits 9 and 9c is determined exclusively by the smallest cross section provided in these conduits, when the partial vacuum in the annular passage 12 and suction chamber 11 is made no greater than required for the intake of the amount of liquid as determined by the overall mixing ration over a suction lift of approximately 50 millimeters.
To the upper end of the plunger 2a is connected a spindle 13 which has on its free end a spindle head 32 with a key face 33 for a rotating key and/or a micrometer knob 34 with a radial pointer 34a and a radial dial 34b (not visible in the drawing), as well as a longitudinal dial (rotation indicator) 35. The micrometer knob 34 is rotationally linked to the spindle 13 by a key 32a, but axially retained against the housing 1 by a groove. The axial position of the spindle l3 and plunger 2a is indicated as a rotation count by the position of the face 34c of the micrometer knob 34 with respect to the longitudinal dial 35 and the fraction of a rotation is indicated by the pointer 34a on the radial dial 34b. The reading is similar to that of a micrometer. The diameter of the radial dial 341) is enlarged to facilitate precise adjustment settings.
In FIG. 2, the housing of the jet mixer is again designated with 1, and it includes the pressure nozzle 2, the receiving nozzle 6, and the diffuser 7. The pressurized liquid is pumped through the conduit 5 and the shutoff valve 36 into the annular chamber la of the jet mixer. From there it passes through the pressure nozzle 2 and the center portion of the receiving nozzle 6, then into the mixing tube, and from the diffuser 7 into the liquid conduit 5b. In this conduit is arranged a blending apparatus 17 from where the liquid flows to a storage container (not shown) which may at the same time serve as the impregnation container.
The position of the pressure nozzle can be adjusted by means of the spindle 13, thereby allowing infinite variation of the passage between the receiving nozzle 6 and the pressure nozzle 2. For this longitudinal adjustment of the pressure nozzle 2, the spindle 13 carries a key face 33 and micrometer knob 34. The adjustment and reading of the setting is performed similar to that of conventional micrometer screws, as indicated in FIG. 1. The setting is always exactly reproducible. The housing 1 is provided with a suction chamber 11 into which discharge the conduits 9 and for the admixed liquids. Before reaching the suction chamber 11, each liquid passes through a flow gauge 37, 37a, a shutoff valve 36a, 36b, and a throttle valve 38, 38a. The throttle valves 38, 38a and the remotely controllable shutofi' valves 36a, 36b are arranged as closely as possible to the jet mixer housing I. The jet mixer may have only one such conduit 9, or it may be connected to several of them, as indicated in FIG. 3 by 9, 9b, 90, 9e, each of them being provided with a flow gauge 37, 37a, 37b, etc., a shutoft" valve 36a, 36b, 360, etc., and a throttle valve 38, 38a, 3812, etc., near their discharge into the suction chamber 11. The conduits 9, 9b, 9c, etc., are also connected to accumulators for the storage of syrup, sugar solution, essences, flavors, and raw materials. The accumulators are open to atmospheric pressure andare fed in a known manner, the liquid supply being controlled by an automatic level control. The liquid level 14a in each of the accumulations 14 is held at about 5 centimeters below the level at which the throttle valves 38, 38a, 38b, etc., discharge into the jet mixer, so that the pressurized liquid arriving through the conduit 5 and discharging from the pressure nozzle 2 takes in the admixed liquid by suction resulting from the partial vacuum created in the suction chamber 11.
FIG. 4 shows one of the throttle valves 38, 38a at an enlarged scale. The. valve includes a spindle 39 and a screw knob 39a comparable to known micrometer screws. The position of the valve cock 3% is thereby made adjustable in small increments, and the dial allows exact reproduction of any given setting.
All the shutoff valves 36, 36a, 36b have identical actuating mechanisms, to eliminate the possibility that through differing switching time values a changed mixing ratio obtains during startup and shutdown of the installation. Of course, the nominal diameters and passages of the shutoff valves 36, 36a, 36b, etc., must correspond to the various liquid supply conduits 9, 9a, 9b, etc., and are therefore different in size. In order to obtain these identical switching time constants for all the shutoff valves 36, 36a, 36b, etc., the air lines 46 which supply the compressed air to them are also arranged to have equal lengths or else they are provided with corresponding throttle valves, and the air lines 46 are controlled by a common remote-controlled solenoid valve 40. This solenoid valve 40 is operatively connected with 'the drive of the pressure supply pump which supplies pressurized liquid through the conduit 5, the pump and the valve operating in unison. When the drive is switched off, all the shutoff valves 36, 36a,,36b, etc., are also suddenly and simultaneously actuated, and when the drive of pump 41 is switched on, all of them are suddenly opened again. At .42 is indicated the common supply line for compressed air, and at 43 is schematically indicated the pulse line connecting the solenoid valve 40 to the pressure supply pump 41. The pressure liquid is drawn by the pump 41 from an accumulator 47 to which it is supplied through the pipe 48. Preferably, the pressure liquid is also degasified inside the accumulator 47. For this purpose, the accumulator 47 is connected to a vacuum pump 45 over the conduit 44.
The conduit for the pressurized liquid also includes a flow gauge 37f between the pump 41 and the shutoff valve 36. This as well as the other flow gauges 37, 37a, 37b, etc., are calibrated gauges, the gauge 37f being calibrated for the nominal flow volume of pressurized liquid. FIG. 2 does not show the accumulator for the conduit 9, and likewise, no conduits and control elements are shown for additional supply lines such as indicated, for example, in FIG. 3, where additional connections 9b and 9e for a five-component mixer are shown. The three-component measuring and mixing jet of FIG. 2 could thus be expanded to a five-component measuring and mixing jet.
When it is desired to mix a prepared beverage syrup to water in a predetermined quantity ratio, only a two-component mixer is needed, which includes, in addition to the pump 41, the flow gauge 37f, and the shutoff valve 36, only a single syrup conduit 90 connecting the syrup accumulator 14 with the jet mixer, via a flow gauge 37a, a shutoff valve 36b, and a throttle valve 38a. Such an apparatus assures in a simple way the maintenance of a given mixing ratio between water and syrup without the need of additional control devices, and the proper mixing ratio is'even maintained during the startup and shutdown of the installation. In addition, the conduits and cavities are so dimensioned that the ratio of the totalvolume of all admixed liquids contained in the flow paths between the valve seats 36a, 36b, etc., and the receiving nozzle 6 to the volume of pressurized liquid contained between the valve seat of the shutoff valve 36 and the exit orifice of the pressure nozzle 2 approximately I to 5, which ratio corresponds to the average mixing ratio for water and a prepared beverage syrup. Similarly, the conduits for the admixed components leading to the suction chamber 11 are arranged to contain each a liquid volume corresponding to its share in syrup. Thus, even in the case where last runnings occur after the closing of all shutoif valves 36, 36a, 36b, etc., these last runnings, too, are in approximately the correct mixing ratio and the overall mixing ratio is not disturbed. For mixing instal lations which are designed only for beverage production under a predetermined unchanging quantity ratio, these cavities and volumes may be determined to correspond precisely to the desired mixing ratio.
The device of the invention thus permits the admixing of the,
prepared beverage syrup in the correct, predetermined quantity ratio, without the need of metering pumps or similar complex and costly devices. By means of the flow gauges 37a and 37f (in the case of the two-component mixer), the operation can be monitored visually, and corrections can be made, when the total amount of necessary, by readjusting the position of the pressure nozzle 2. For such a two-component mixer, the throttle valve 38a is preferably completely open, thus allowing the passage 12 between the pressure nozzle 2 and the receiving nozzle 6 to be the sole determining factor for the mixing ratio.
The device of the invention also makes it possible to directly admix the ingredients of the syrup as separate components to the water. This requires separate supply conduits for these components with the corresponding elements 37, 36a and 38. Such connections and elements, as would be necessary for a three-component mixer, are shown in FIG. 2, while FIG. 3 indicates the connections for a five-component mixer. When a plurality of syrup components is supplied through the conduits 9, 9b, 9c and 9e, the corresponding throttle valves 38 must be adjusted by'means of their micrometer knobs 39, 39a (FIG. 4), so that the size of their throttle passages corresponds to the desired quantity ratio of the admixed syrup components. Thus, the quantity ratios of the syrup components relative to one another are determined by the settings of the throttle valves shown in FIGS. 2 an 4. In addition, it is possible to adjust the mixing ratio between the water and the total amount of admixed syrup by axially displacing the pressure nozzle 2.
The above arrangement permits direct admixing of the separate components of the beverage without the need of prior measuring and mixing in the juice kitchen. Most of the operations in the juice kitchen can thereby be eliminated, and the juice kitchen itself becomes to a great extent unnecessary. The proper settings of the micrometer knobs for each beverage are established and recorded, and any such setting can be reproduced in a very short time. Normally, the pressure of the pump 41 and thus the flow volume of pressurized liquid through the conduit 5 remain unchanged, and for the adaptation to the various customer production runs it is only necessary to shut down the pump 41 and the shutoff valves 36, 36a, 36b, etc.
However, it is also possible to use the device of the invention in the juice kitchen itself for the preparation of thebeverage syrup, when it is impossible or undesirable to directly mix the separate components of the syrup to the water. In this case it is the sugar solution which is used as the pressurized liquid which passes through the pump 41, the conduit 5, the shutoff valve 36, and through the pressure nozzle 2. To this sugar solution are admixed the other syrup components, such as raw materials, acids, and essences, which are supplied in liquid form or as a solution, through the conduits 9, 9b, 9c, 92, etc., so that the finished mixture leaving the jet mixer is not a beverage, but a prepared syrup. Here, too, the quantity ratio, once set, is consistently maintained and interferences are eliminated. It is then no longer necessary to use measuring and other metering devices in the juice kitchen, and it is possible, for example, to feed the syrup components directly from the shipping containers into the jet mixer, and to discharge the finished syrup into an accumulator or into a storage container. The sugar solution which is employed as the pressure liquid can also be degasifred inside the accumulator 47, as in the case when water is used in the beverage production. This largely eliminates any negative effects of the air on the basic substances of the beverage or of the syrup. The use of the sugar solution as the pressure liquid takes advantage of the fact that the quantity ratio between the sugar solution and the other basic components of the syrup is comparable to the ratio between the water and the syrup in the beverage production. The invention thus offers a substantial simplification of i the production of soft drinks and of syrups. Obviously, the device can also be used for the mixing of alcoholic distillates with water, which latter may also be carbonated. Such carbonation may be performed prior to, or after the mixing. The finished beverage, which is normally impregnated with carbon dioxide, can be drawn from a storage container and supplied to a bottle filler or can filler, or it may be filled into larger containers, such as shipping barrels and the like.
Of course, the device illustrated and described herein represents but a preferred embodiment of the invention, and it lclaim: l. A device for continuously combining a plurality of liquid beverage components into a single stream of liquid, at an adjustable quantitative ratio between the liquid components, comprising in combination:
a. a housing;
b. pressure nozzle means arranged inside said housing having pressure inlet openings of constant conduit area, said pressure nozzle means including a tubular pressure nozzle body and at one end thereof a nozzle orifice of a predetermined diameter to define the velocity of a stream of pressurized liquid discharging therefrom:
c. receiving nozzle means also arranged inside said housing, said receiving nozzle means including a tubular receiving nozzle body arranged in coaxial alignment with said pressure nozzle body, said receiving nozzle body having a nozzle mouth with a diameter flaring out toward the body end, said nozzle mouth facing said noule orifice at a predetermined axial infinitely variable distance to receive the stream of pressurized liquid discharging therefrom, whereby a partial vacuum is created in the annular space represented by said axial distance;
d. a suction chamber forming a part of said housing and sealingly surrounding at least the adjacent end portions of said pressure nozzle body and receiving nozzle body;
e. pressurized source of liquid supply means to supply one of the liquid components as a continuous stream of pressurized liquid to said pressure nozzle means;
. admixed source of liquid supply means to supply at least one other liquid component to said suction chamber, so as to be drawn into said nozzle mouth by said stream of pressurized liquid, whereby the several liquid streams are combined inside the receiving nozzle means;
fa. a liquid supply pressurizing means; and
, g. means to adjust, measure, read and infinitely vary the axial distance between said nozzle orifice and said nozzle mouth, so as to define and control the quantitative ratio between the stream of pressurized beverage liquid passing through said separate nozzle means and the amount of liquid drawn from said suction chamber into said receiving nozzle means.
2. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein said admixed beverage liquid supply means include, for each admixed component, a supply conduit leading to said suction chamber, and in said supply conduit a throttle valve for each of said conduits, for the individual control, by infinitely variable and readable adjustments of a flow passage, of the volumetric flow of each admixed beverage liquid component.
3. The device as defined in claim 2, wherein said pressurized beverage liquid supply means include a pressure supply pump and a pump device, a pressurized liquid conduit connecting said pump with said pressure nozzle means, and a shutoff valve in said conduit; and wherein said admixed liquid supply means further include, in each admixed component supply conduit, ahead of said throttle valve, a shutoff valve,
said device further comprising valve control means to simultaneously actuate all of said shutoff valves.
4. The device as defined in claim 3, wherein said shutofi' valve in the pressurized beverage liquid conduit is located in the vicinity of said pressure nozzle means, and said shutoff valve in each of the admixed beverage liquid supply conduits is located in the vicinity of said suction chamber, and wherein the volume of pressurized beverage liquid present between said pressurized liquid shutoff valve and said pressurized nozzle orifice and the total volume of admixed liquid present between the respective shutoff valve, or valves, and the point at which the stream of admixed beverage liquid joins the stream of pressurized liquid represents a volumetric ratio comparable to the average quantitative ratio to which the device is adjustable during normal operation.
5. The device as defined in claim 4, wherein said volumetric ratio is chosen between 4 to l and 7 to l.
6. The device as defined in claim 4, wherein all of said shutoff valves are of the pneumatically actuated type, their actuating mechanisms being arranged to have identical response times, independent of their flow capacities; and wherein said valve control means include a common air valve for the simultaneous actuation of all shutoff valves, said air valve being operatively linked to the drive of said pressure supply pump, so that all the supply conduits are immediately blocked, when the drive for said pressure supply pump is shut down.
7. The device as defined in claim 3, wherein said admixed liquid supply means include, in each admixed component supply conduit, ahead of said throttle valve and shutoff valve, an accumulator which is open to atmospheric pressure and which has an automatic level control, so as to maintain a predetermined liquid level inside said accumulator.
8. The device as defined in claim 7, wherein said predetermined liquid level is chosen at approximately 50 mm. below the level at which said admixed component supply conduit, or conduits, discharge into said suction chamber.
9. The device as defined in claim 3, wherein said pressurized liquid supply means include, ahead of said pressure supply pump, a closed accumulator with a vacuum pump capable of removing any air or gas from the pressurized liquid.
10. The device as defined in claim 3, wherein pressurized liquid supply means and said admixed liquid supply means include, in their respective conduits, flow gauges for the visual indication of the momentary flow volume passing through said conduits.
11. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein said receiving nozzle means further include a mixing tube section and a diffuser section, the two sections being arranged in such a way that the combined liquid stream passes from said nozzle mouth into said mixing tube section and from there into the diffuser section.
12. The device as defined in claim 11, wherein the free cross-sectional areas of said pressure nozzle orifice of said receiving nozzle mouth at its biggest diameter (f and of said mixing tube section (fm) have a ratio of between 1 to 1.4 and 1.7 to 2.5-2.8, and the length (L) of said mixing tube section is 14 to 20 times its diameter (D,,), and wherein said pressurized liquid supply means in conjunction with the various liquid passages are chosen such that the pressurized liquid leaves said nozzle orifice with a velocity of approximately 30 meters per second, and the ratio indicating the pressure differential between the exit end of said diffuser section (P and said suction chamber is no greater than 0.2, whereby the quantity ratio of the liquid flowing through said pressure nozzle means and the liquid flowing through said suction chamber is no greater than 0.8.
13. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein said tubular pressure nozzle body is arranged as a movable plunger sealingly guided in said housing, and
said adjusting means include means to longitudinally displace said plunger inside said housing.
14. The device as defined in claim 13, wherein said pressure nozzle body is closed at the other end and is provided with a radial passages intermediate both ends, and
said housing has a matching thread through which said spindle reaches to the outside of said housing, whereby rotation of said spindle causes said pressure nozzle body to move longitudinally for adjustment of the axial distance between said pressure nozzle orifice and said receiving nozzle mouth, said spindle and housing including means to visually indicate said axial distance. I