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Publication numberUS3653557 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 4, 1972
Filing dateApr 20, 1970
Priority dateApr 20, 1970
Publication numberUS 3653557 A, US 3653557A, US-A-3653557, US3653557 A, US3653557A
InventorsLamb Kay R
Original AssigneeLamb Kay R
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Keg sealing and tapping apparatus
US 3653557 A
Abstract
An apparatus for sealing and tapping containers for pressurized liquids such as beer kegs and the like including a resilient valve plug mounted in the tap hole of a keg and tap head removably mounted on the keg having an inner liquid delivery tube and an outer fluid supply tube extending downwardly through the valve plug into the keg to allow pressurized fluid to be supplied to the keg through the fluid supply tube and liquid to be withdrawn from the keg through the liquid delivery tube. The plug has integral valve means arranged to seal against the outer fluid supply tube when the head is mounted on the container, and which is adapted to close and seal the container when the head is removed.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Lamb [451 Apr. 4, 1972 [54] KEG SEALING AND TAPPING APPARATUS [72] Inventor: Kay R. Lamb, 1105 Ridge Avenue,

Rockford, 111. 61103 [22] Filed: Apr. 20, 1970 [21] App1.No.: 30,000

[52] U.S. Cl.... .....222/400.7, 222/542, 137/320 [51 Int. Cl. ..B65d 83/00, 867d 5/54 [58] Field of Search ..222/400.7, 400.8, 542, 400.5, 222/399; 137/317, 320

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,328,948 9/1943 Bourke ..l37/320 X 3,545,475 12/1970 Johnson et al. 222/400 7 X 1,043,683 11/1912 Fieser ...285/D1G 22 1,617,066 2/1927 Lush ..222/490 X 3,464,435 9/1969 Lamb et a1. ..l37/320 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 402,353 1 1/1933 Great Britain ..222/400.7

Primary Examiner-Robert B. Reeves Assistant Examiner-Frederick R. Handren Attorney-McCanna, Morsbach, Pillote & Muir [5 7] ABSTRACT An apparatus for sealing and tapping containers for pressurized liquids such as beer kegs and the like including a resilient valve plug mounted in the tap hole of a keg and tap head removably mounted on the keg having an inner liquid delivery tube and an outer fluid supply tube extending downwardly through the valve plug into the keg to allow pres- I surized fluid to be supplied to the keg through the fluid supply tube and liquid to be withdrawn from the keg through the liquid delivery tube. The plug has integral valve means arranged to seal against the outer fluid supply tube when the head is mounted on the container, and which is adapted to close and seal the container when the head is removed.

8 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures KEG SEALING AND TAPPING APPARATUS The present invention pertains to a sealing and tapping apparatus for pressurized containers including a tap head adapted to be removably mounted on a container and having coaxial liquid delivery and fluid supply tubes extending downwardly therefrom, and a valve plug mounted in the tap hole of the container and having valve means adapted to seal around the outer fluid supply tube when the tap head is mounted on the container, and also adapted to close and seal the container when the tap head is removed.

Various important objects of this invention are to provide a container sealing and tapping apparatus of the type described which is a simple and economical construction; which can be easily installed and removed from the container; and which operates to reliably seal the container when the tap head is installed as well as when it is removed.

Another object of this invention is to provide a keg tapping and sealing apparatus having an improved arrangement for sealing the tap head to the valve plug, when the tap head is installed on the container.

Another object of this invention is to provide a keg sealing and tapping apparatus having an improved arrangement for mounting the valve plug on the container to facilitate removal of the valve plug for cleaning of the container and replacement of the valve plug.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide a keg sealing and tapping apparatus in which the tap head can be installed and locked onto the container by merely pressing the same axially downwardly into position.

Still another object of this invention is to provide a keg sealing and tapping apparatus having an improved tap head construction.

These, together with other objects and advantages of this invention will be better understood by reference to the following detailed description, when taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary sectional view of a container having the sealing and tapping apparatus of the present invention mounted thereon and with the tapping head shown in section to illustrate details of construction;

FIG. 2 is a transverse sectional view taken on the plane 22 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary sectional view through the sealing and tapping apparatus taken on the plane 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the tap head;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view of the container illustrating the valve plug unit mounted therein;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary sectional view through the tap head; and

FIG. 7 is a sectional view of the shell for the tap head.

The container sealing and tapping apparatus of the present invention, while generally adapted for use in sealing and tapping containers for pressurized liquids, is intended principally for use on kegs 10 for charged beverages such as beer and the like and will, accordingly, be described in detail in connection with such an application. As is well known, it is desirable to transport and store charged beverages under pressure to maintain carbonation of the beverages and, when it is desired to dispense the liquid from the container, a tap head is installed on the container to allow withdrawing of liquid therefrom. In order to maintain the charged beverage under pressure as liquid is withdrawn and to also aid in positively forcing the liquid from the container, provision is made for introducing a pressurized fluid, commonly carbon dioxide or air, into the container above the liquid level therein in order to maintain a pressurized atmosphere above the liquid. The kegs are commonly provided with a tap hole or opening and, in the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1, 3 and 5, the tap hole 1 l is provided in the head 12 at one end of the keg 10. In order to facilitate mounting of a tap head on the keg, a boss 13 is provided around the tap hole and sealed thereto as by welding or otherwise, and the boss is formed with an outwardly extending flange 14 which is notched as at 14a to provide a bayonet type connector structure having circumferentially spaced lugs 14b. The sealing and tapping apparatus in general includes a valve plug 15 which extends into the tap hole, and a removable tap head 20.

The valve plug 15 comprises a unitary body of resilient elastomeric material such as rubber or the like having a generally cylindrical portion 16 extending into the tap hole; and valve portion 17 at the lower end of the cylindrical portion, and a mounting portion 18 at the upper end of the cylindrical portion. The cylindrical intermediate portion 16 is preferably formed with circumferential ribs shown at 16a in FIGS. 1 and 5, to form a labyrinth type seal with the tap hole 11. The generally cylindrical intermediate portion I6 has an axial passage 19 extending therethrough dimensioned to receive the liquid outlet and fluid inlet tubes described hereinafter, and the valve means 17 at the lower end of the body is arranged to normally close the passage 19. As best shown in FIGS. 1 and 5, the valve means 17 comprises lips 17a of relatively thin cross sections such that the fluid pressure in the vessel will normally hold the lips in contiguous relation as shown in FIG. 5 to seal the lower end of the passage, and the lips are joined to the intermediate portion by relatively diverging side walls 17b and connecting end walls 170. In order to minimize possible tampering with the contents of the container prior to dispensing, and also to assure a more positive seal, the lips 17a may be sealed together by a thin rupturable membrane or connecting web at the point indicated at 17d in FIG. 5.

In order to facilitate removal and replacement of the valve plug 15, when refilling the containers, provision is made for releasably locking the valve plug to the lugs 1412 on the container. As best shown in FIGS. 2 and 5, the mounting portion 18 of the valve plug includes members 18a which extend laterally from the upper end of the intermediate plug portion 16 and which terminate at their outer ends in depending fingers 18b having inwardly extending projections 180. As shown, the laterally extending members 18a overlie the upper face of the flange l4 and the fingers 18b extend downwardly around the periphery of the lugs 14b, with the projections 18c underlying the lugs to releasably hold the plug valve on the container. In order to remove the plug valve, it is only necessary to turn the same until the projections register with the notches 14a, and then pull the plug valve from the tap hole 11. The laterally extending portions provide a convenient area to grip the plug during withdrawal from the tap hole. With this arrangement removal of a valve plug can be readily accomplished. As will be appreciated, insertion of a new valve plug can be readily effected by pressing the new plug into the tap hole with the fingers aligned with notches 14a in the flange, and thereafter rotating the valve plug until the projections 18c underlie the lugs and lock the plug in position.

The tap head 20 comprises a tap body 25 having upper and lower ends 25a and 25b and a preferably cylindrical side wall 250. The body 25 has an axial passage extending therethrough which is stepped as best shown in FIGS. 1 and 6 and includes an upper reduced diameter portion 26a and a lower relatively larger diameter portion 26b. A lateral passage 27 communicates with the lower portion 26b of the axial passage. A liquid delivery or draw tube 28 is sealed to the body 25 adjacent the upper end of the latter and the draw tube extends downwardly through the passage 26a, 26b to a level sufficiently below the tap body to reach to a point adjacent the bottom of the container or keg l0. Lateral openings 28a (FIGS. 1 and 4) are preferably provided in the lower end of the liquid delivery tube to allow fluid to enter the tube even if the lower end of the draw tube contacts the bottom of the keg. As will be understood, different length draw tubes can be provided for different size kegs. Any suitable arrangement may be used to seal the upper end of the draw tube to the body and, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 6, the upper end of the tube is flared as indicated at 28a and sealed to the body as by an O-ring 29. Provision is made for connecting the upper end of the draw tube to a liquid delivery line and, for this purpose, a fitting 31 is provided on the upper end of the body, which fitting is conveniently internally and externally threaded as indicated at 31a and 31b to enable the use of either male or female type connectors for a liquid delivery line (not shown). If a male type line connector is utilized, it is threaded into the internal threads 31a and will additionally function to hold the flared end of the draw tube against the O-ring seal 29. If a male type fitting is not used, a retainer nut (not shown) may be threaded into the threads 31a for that purpose.

A fluid supply tube 33 is mounted on the body to communicate with the lower portion 26b of the passage therein and the fluid supply tube extends downwardly from the body around the inner liquid delivery tube 28, a distance sufficient to extend through the plug valve 15, when the tap head is mounted on the container. The fluid supply tube 33 is formed with an internal diameter slightly larger than the outer diameter of the fluid delivery tube 28 to provide a flow passage therebetween and the fluid supply tube terminates in the container at a level preferably adjacent the upper end of the container, as best shown in FIG. 1. The fluid supply tube may be sealed to the body 25 in any suitable manner and, as shown in FIG. 6, the upper end 33a is externally threaded and mounted in a tapped opening in the body 25. The body can be-formed of any suitable rigid material and is conveniently formed of plastic to provide an economical and lightweight structure.

The tap head 20 and valve plug are arranged so as to form a seal therebetween around the passage 19, when the tap head is mounted on the container. For this purpose, the upper end of the plug 15 is formed with a preferably smooth face at the upper end of the latter, which face extends around the opening 19 and is hereinafter sometimes referred to as an annular seal face. An annular rim 25d is formed on the underside of the body 25 and arranged to engage the annular seal face 18:1 to form a seal between the tap body 25 and the plug. The annular rim 25d is preferably shaped to provide a relatively sharp annular edge that is adapted to embed into the seal face 18d to assure a seal therebetween.

Lug engaging fingers are provided on the tap head to releasably lock the tap head on the lugs 14b of the container. The lug engaging fingers are advantageously formed on a shell 41 which is removably attached to the body. As shown, the shell 41 includes a generally cylindrical side wall 41a that extends around the body and an inwardly directed portion 41b at the upper end of the side wall, which portion overlies the upper end a of the body and defines a central opening 41c that surrounds the fitting 31. Lug engaging fingers 41d are provided on the shell and extend downwardly below the bottom 25b of the body, which fingers terminate in inwardly directed projections 4le adapted to underlie the lugs 14b on the container. The lug engaging fingers 41d on the tap head are preferably arranged so as to enable the tap head to be connected to the container by merely pressing the same downwardly, and without necessitating turning or rotating of the tap head to lock the same. For this purpose, the fingers 41d are formed of a resilient material and the underside of the projections 41e are formed with upwardly and inwardly inclined cam faces 41f arranged to engage the lugs 14b and laterally spread the fingers, when the tap head is pressed downwardly over the lugs. As will be understood, the shell can be formed of any suitable resilient material and is herein shown formed of plastic materialv It is understood that the particular material utilized and the radial thickness of the lug engaging fingers is selected so as to provide the desired radial resiliency in the fingers. Alternatively, the shell could of course be formed of metal with resilient fingers integral with the shell. As'will be appreciated, the annular seal rim 25d engages the seal face l8d as the tap head is pressed downwardly into position and the seal rim can depress the seal face sufficient to allow limited downward overtravel of the tap head until the projections 41s on the lug engaging fingers move into underlying relation to the lugs 14b. When the downward pressure on the tap head is thereafter released, the resiliency of the plug 15 urges the tap head upwardly until the projections 4le on the lug engaging fingers are in firm contact with the lugs 14b.

The shell is releasably secured to the body 25 to enable replacement of the shell in the event the fingers break or become worn. As will be appreciated, the inwardly directed top wall portion 41b overlies the upper end of the body 25 and accordingly holds the body firmly against the valve plug 15, when the tap head is installed on the container. in order to prevent accidental detachment of the shell from the body, when the tap head is removed, a lug 41h is advantageously provided on the innerside of the shell and arranged to underlie the bottom 25b of the body, as best shown in FIG. 6. A groove 41j is conveniently provided in the side of the body and terminates in a cam shoulder short of the lower end of the body, to facilitate movement of the projection 41h into position at the underside of the body. An opening 44 is provided in the side wall of the shell arranged to register with the lateral passage 27 and a fitting 45 extends through the opening 44 and is connected to the body, as by threaded engagement therewith to connect the lateral passage with a line 46 leading to a source of pressurized fluid such as carbondioxide or air. As will be seen, the fitting 45 also aids in holding the shell on the body.

From the foregoing it is thought that the construction and operation of the sealing and tapping apparatus will be readily understood. As previously described, the resilient valve plug can be readilyremoved by merely turning the valve plug to disengage the projections 18c from the lugs and thereafter pulling the plug to withdraw the same from the tap hole. A new valve plug can of course be readily inserted by merely reversing this procedure. The valve plug will seal the container during storage and transportation and, when it is desired to dispense the liquid contents from the container, the tap head is inserted by pressing the tap head including the draw tube 28 and fluid supply tube 33 downwardly through the passage 19. The draw tube ruptures the membrane seal 17d and the resilient lips 17a of the valve distend to allow the tubes to pass therethrough and to seal around the outer fluid supply tube 33 when the head is installed. The head can be pressed axially into position and the cam faces 41f on the fingers operate to laterally spread the fingers and allow the same to pass around the lugs, during downward movement of the head. The projections 41e on the fingers 41d lock the tap head on the lugs 14b and the seal rim 25d on the body engages the upper seal face 18d on the valve plug to seal the body to the plug around the passage 19 and air supply tube 33. Thus, both the valve plug and the tapping head are releasably locked to the lugs 14b. As shown in FIG. 2, the lugs 14b and fingers 41d are so arranged that at least one pair of opposed fingers engage the lugs in any angular position of the head. Since the lug engaging fingers on the tap head are formed on a shell separate from the body that carries the liquid delivery and air supply tubes, replacement of the lug engaging fingers on the tap head, in the event of breakage or wear, can be readily effected by merely replacing the outer shell.

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. In a container for pressurized liquids having a tap hole therein, a boss surrounding the tap hole and outwardly extending lug means on the boss,

a. a tap valve comprising a unitary plug of resilient elastomeric material extending into said tap hole, said plug having an axial passage opening at its outer end and an integral resilient valve means at its inner end normally closing said passage, said plug having integral mounting portions extending laterally from its outer end and engaging said lug means on said boss to removably retain the tap valve in the tap hole;

b. a tap head including a body, an inner liquid delivery tube on said body and extending from the underside thereof, an outer fluid supply tube on the body and extending from the underside thereof around the inner liquid delivery tube to define a flow passage therebetween, said tap head having a first fitting means thereon communicating with the liquid delivery tube and adapted for connection to a liquid delivery line and a second fitting means thereon communicating with said fluid supply tube and adapted for connection to a fluid supply line, said liquid delivery tube and fluid supply tube being axially insertable through said passage in said plug and said valve means on the plug being adapted to open to allow insertion of said tubes therethrough and to seal around the outer fluid supply tube, and lug engaging means on said tap head engageable with said lug means on the container for removably holding said tap head on said container against axial withdrawal therefrom;

. said mounting portions on said plug including angularly spaced fingers engaging the underside of said outwardly extending lug means on the container boss, said lug engaging portions on said tap head including angularly spaced fingers engaging the underside of the outwardly extending lug means at points angularly spaced from the fingers on the plug.

2. The combination of claim 1 wherein said plug has an integral annular seal face at its outer end around said passage, said body having an annular seal rim at the underside thereof radially outwardly of said outer fluid supply tube and engageable with said annular seal face on the plug to form a seal between the tap valve and the tap head.

3. The combination of claim 1 wherein said lug engaging means on said tap head comprise resilient fingers on said tap head having inwardly directed projections at the lower ends thereof adapted to engage the underside of said lug means and cam faces on the underside of said projections engageable with the lug means when the head is pressed axially into position to laterally spread said resilient fingers and allow said projections to pass downwardly over the lug means to the underside thereof.

4. In a container for pressurized liquids having a tap hole therein, a boss surrounding said tap hole and outwardly extending lug means on said boss;

a. a tap valve comprising a unitary plug of resilient elastomeric material extending into said tap hole, said plug having an axial passage opening at the outer end; an integral resilient valve means at the inner end of said plug normally closing the said passage and an integral annular seal face at the outer end of the plug around said passage;

b. a tap head including a body, an inner liquid delivery tube mounted on said body and extending from the underside thereof, an outer fluid supply tube mounted on the body and extending from the underside thereof around the inner liquid delivery tube to define a flow passage therebetween, said body having a first fitting means thereon communicating with the liquid delivery tube and adapted for connection to a liquid delivery line and a second fitting means communicating with said fluid supply tube and adapted for connection to a fluid supply line, said liquid delivery tube and fluid supply tube being axially insertable through said passage in the plug and said valve means on the plug being adapted to open to allow insertion of said tubes therethrough and to seal around said outer fluid supply tube, said body having an annular seal rim at the underside thereof around said outer fluid supply tube and engageable with said annular seal face on the plug to form a seal between the tap valve and tap head, and lug engaging means on said tap head engageable with said lug means on the container for removably holding said tap head on said container against axial withdrawal therefrom, said lug engaging means on said tap head including resilient fingers on said tap head having inwardly directed projections at the lower ends thereof adapted to engage the underside of said lug means and cam faces on the underside of said projections engageable with the lug means when the head is pressed axially into position to laterally spread said resilient fingers and allow said projections to pass downwardly over the lug means to the underside thereof. 5. A tap head for use with pressurized containers of the type having a tap hole surrounded by a boss and outwardly extending lug means on the boss, said tap head comprising a generally cylindrical body having upper and lower ends; an axial passage extending therethrough; and a lateral passage communicating with said axial passage intermediate the ends of the latter, a liquid delivery tube sealed to said body at a level above said lateral passage and extending downwardly through said axial passage to a level below the body, a fluid supply tube sealed to said body at a level below said lateral passage and extending downwardly from the body around the liquid delivery tube to define a fluid passage therebetween, a shell surrounding said body and having lug engaging fingers extending downwardly from the underside of the body at angularly spaced locations around the body for engagement with the lug means on the container, said shell having a first portion engaging the upper end of the body and an opening in the side thereof registering with said lateral passage, and a fitting extending into said opening and connected to said body.

6. The combination of claim 5 wherein lug engaging fingers have inwardly extending projections at the underside adapted to underlie the lug means on the container, said fingers being formed of a resilient material and having cam faces on the underside of said projections operable to engage the lug means and radially spread the fingers when the head is pressed axially downwardly.

7. In a container for pressurized liquids having a tap hole therein, a boss surrounding said tap hole and outwardly extending lug means on the boss;

a. a tap valve comprising a unitary plug of resilient elastomeric material extending into said tap hole, said plug having an axial passage opening at its outer end; an integral resilient valve means at the inner end of the plug; and an integral annular seal face at the outer end of the plug around the passage;

. a tap head comprising a generally cylindrical body having upper and lower ends; an axial passage extending therethrough and a lateral passage communicating with the axial passage intermediate the ends of the latter, a liquid delivery tube sealed to the body at a level above said lateral passage and extending downwardly through the axial passage to a level below the body, a fluid supply tube sealed to the body at a level below the lateral passage and extending downwardly from the body around the liquid delivery tube to define a fluid passage therebetween, a shell surrounding the body and having lug engaging fingers extending downwardly from the underside of the body at angularly spaced locations around the body for engagement with the lug means on the container, said shell having a portion engaging the upper end of the body, said body having an annular seal rim at the lower end thereof around said fluid supply tube and engageable with said annular seal face on the plug to form a seal between the plug and the body.

8. The combination of claim 7 wherein said fingers have lug engaging projections on the lower ends thereof adapted to underlie the lug means on the container, said fingers being formed of a resilient material and having cam faces on the underside of the projections operable to engage the lug means and radially spread the fingers when the head is pressed axially downwardly.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1043683 *Mar 28, 1912Nov 5, 1912Jacob A FieserHose-coupling.
US1617066 *Nov 3, 1925Feb 8, 1927Lush Studley WoolcottMeans for decanting liquids from metal containers
US2328948 *May 24, 1941Sep 7, 1943Bourke Thomas NSeal for kegs
US3464435 *May 19, 1967Sep 2, 1969Mandeville Charles RQuick keg tap with self-sealing connection
US3545475 *May 22, 1967Dec 8, 1970Johnson Enterprises IncTap assembly
GB402353A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3906989 *Dec 6, 1973Sep 23, 1975Lamb Kay RResilient material tap valve with magnetic closure assist
US4706847 *May 5, 1986Nov 17, 1987Senmar CorporationDispenser for wine
US6557369Nov 26, 2001May 6, 2003Vin Valet, Inc.Cooling system for wine or champagne preservation and dispensing apparatus
US6607100Nov 26, 2001Aug 19, 2003Vin Valet, Inc.Wine or champagne preservation and dispensing apparatus
US6607105 *Nov 26, 2001Aug 19, 2003Vin Valet, Inc.Stopper for wine or champagne preservation and dispensing apparatus
US6658859Mar 7, 2003Dec 9, 2003Vin Valet, Inc.Cooling system for wine or champagne preservation and dispensing apparatus
US6739124 *Dec 18, 2001May 25, 2004Purem Abgassystem Gmbh & Co. KgExhaust gas purification system
US6913167Jun 16, 2003Jul 5, 2005Vin Valet, Inc.Wine or champagne preservation and dispensing apparatus
US8622321 *Sep 11, 2008Jan 7, 2014Winefit S.R.L.Apparatus for preserving and serving by-the-glass wine, or other liquid that can be affected by oxygen
US20100163113 *Mar 19, 2007Jul 1, 2010Heineken Supply Chain B.V.Beverage container and assembly of such a container and a tapping device
US20110180631 *Sep 11, 2008Jul 28, 2011Winefit S.R.L.Apparatus for preserving and serving by-the-glass wine, or other liquid that can be affected by oxygen
Classifications
U.S. Classification222/400.7, 222/542, 137/320
International ClassificationB67D1/08, B67D1/00
Cooperative ClassificationB67D1/0832
European ClassificationB67D1/08B2A