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Publication numberUS3785492 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 15, 1974
Filing dateMar 9, 1971
Priority dateMar 9, 1970
Also published asDE2110687A1
Publication numberUS 3785492 A, US 3785492A, US-A-3785492, US3785492 A, US3785492A
InventorsMazza L
Original AssigneeZanussi A Spa Industrie
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and apparatus for the preparation of beverages
US 3785492 A
Abstract
An automatic machine, also for household use, which is adapted to the automatic preparation of imitation mineral waters. The machine essentially comprises a desalting device, a mineralizing unit which introduces in the desalted (also distilled) water a dosage unit of selected mineral salts, a carbonation device for saturating the remineralized water with carbon dioxide and a programming unit for selecting both the quantity and the quality of mineral (or demineralized) water. A programming timer defines the sequence of the several steps directed to prepare the mineral water according to desire. Fractional crystallization of ice is a preferred procedure.
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United States Patent [191 Mazza Jan. 15, 1974 [54] METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR THE 3,589,862 6/1971 Veluz 21/102 PREPARATION OF BEVERAGES 3,618,905 11/1971 Primus 261/153 3,215,626 11/1965 Console 210/59 X [75] Inventor: Lamb rto Mazza, d n Italy 3,441,176 4/1969 Reynolds et a1. 222/70 Assigneez Industrie A. Zanuissi I 3,454,491 7/1969 Colburn 210/149 X I Pordenone Italy Primary Examiner-Frank A. Spear, Jr. [22] Filed: Mar. 9, 1971 Att0rneyHolman & Stern [21] Appl. No.: 122,488 [57] ABSTRACT An automatic machine, also for household use, which Foreign Appllcatloll y Data is adapted to the automatic preparation of imitation Mar. 9, 1970 Italy 21657/70 mineral waters. The machine essentially comprises a Aug. 29, 1970 Italy 29155/70 desalting device, a mineralizing unit which introduces Oct. 14, 1970 ltaly 3099l/7O in the desalted (also distilled) water a dosage unit of selected mineral salts, a carbonation device for satu- [52] US. Cl 210/149, 210/152, 210/251 rating the remineralized water with carbon dioxide [51] Int. Cl B0ld 9/00, B0ld 3/42 and a programming unit for selecting both the quan- [58] Field of Search 99/79; 210/59, 64, tity and the quality of mineral (or demineralized) wa- 210/71, 152, 251, 149 ter. A programming timer defines the sequence of the several steps directed to prepare the mineral water ac- [56] References Cited cording to desire. Fractional crystallization of ice is a UNITED STATES PATENTS preferred procedure- 2,07l,990 2/1937 Tiger 99/28 21 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures 23 24 15j 28 ,H at i 21 27 is 16 @V 25 17 j 'PAIENIE JAN 1 51974 SHEET 1 BF 6 m 21 E W 22 1s 17 will PAH-1min JAN 1 51974 SHEU 2 BF 6 PAIENTEDJAN 1 51974 SHEET 3 [1F 6 PATENTEU-JAH 1 5mm sum 5 or e METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR THE PREPARATION OF BEVERAGES BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION duction of artificial mineral waters intended for direct consumption in families and communities.

The term artificial mineral waters is intended to connote in a broad acception, drinkable waters to which the principal mineral constituents of the waters known in nature are added so as substantially to reproduce the chemical and physical composition and the organoleptic properties thereof.

PRIOR ART On account of the demand and the ever growing im- 2 portance of mineral waters, endeavours have not been overlooked in order artificially to reproduce the naturally occurring mineral waters, but these attempts gained success, both from the technical and the commercial standpoints, only in connection with the manufacture of carbonated waters and the so-called table water powders. As far as carbonated waters are concemed, devices have been constructed, both for batchwise and continuous production, the former having been more particularly introduced in the household use. Inthis connection, the siphons for the so-called soda water can be recalled. As regards, then, the table water powders" they consist of mixtures of salts which are readily soluble in water and are generally closely related to the specifications of the starting water, these latter being different according to the place of origin and also time.

Considering now more particularly the patent literature:

l. The German Pat. No. 102 675 provides for adding 5 carbon dioxide to the water of the water main, which has been previously filteredfby also removing the carbon dioxide which naturally occurs in the water of the water main);

2. The German Pat. No. 67 924 relates to the preparation of artificial mineral water and provides for the steps of dissolving in the water the desired salts, boiling the salt solution to remove the air contained in the water and aerating by means of carbon dioxide; "m 3. The German Pat. No. 656 411 provides a device for the filtration of water and its saturation with carbon dioxide; 4. The German Pat. No. 666 503 relates to the prepa-;

ration of radioactive mineral water, either warm or cold, of a number of different compositions and with preselected mutual ratios for the components, to emulate the naturally occurring mineral waters. The disso lution is provided, in the usual tap water, of a tablet containing the desired salts, or any other concentrated form of salts, and the tap water can be previously heated, whereafter the solution is activated;

5. The German Pat. No. 840 373 provides for the purification (filtration) of the starting water to remove foreign matters and air, and the subsequent carbonation with carbon dioxide;

6. The French Pat. No. l 103 discloses the carbonation of tap water with carbon dioxide.

In summation, then, the principal object of all the suggestions of the prior art has been that of carrying out a carbonation of the water and, in a particular case, rendering it radioactive: in no case has it been attempted, or any success has been achieved, to prepare an artificial mineral water proper in the sense as defined above.

As to now, no apparatus exists for the instantaneous preparation of mineral water, and this is presumably due to two main reasons: the availability, at least in the country in which there is a wide consumption, of natural mineral waters marketed in bottles, and the difficulty of providing an apparatus for househole use, that is, a machine which is functionally simple, not bulky and reasonably cheap.

The failures experienced hitherto were probably due to the fact that the problem had been faced only from the point of view of the chemical composition of a mineral water, in an endeavour to reproduce it exactly with artificial means, without taking into the due account concurrent and collateral factors, such as, above all, the temperature of the water at the source and the contents of carbon dioxide, factors which have a bearing both on the organoleptic properties and the composimarketed in pouches to be opened at the instant of use. 35

tion of the mineral water.

OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The object of the present invention is, thus, to provide a method and an automatic machine, more particularly of the household type, but obviously capable of being dimensionally adapted also to the-community use, for the production of artificial mineral water.

Another object of the invention is to provide an auto- .matic apparatus, more particularly of the household type, which is adapted to be programmed for producing artificial mineral waters which substantially correspond to different kinds of natural mineral waters.

Another object of the invention is to provide an automatic apparatus, more particularly of the household type, which is adapted to be utilized for fulfilling both from the qualitative and quantitative standpoints, the ever growing demand of mineral waters, enabling the consumer directly and independently to prepare artificial mineral waters, at his own choice and will.

A particular object of the present invention is to provide an apparatus of the kind described above, in which the demineralization of the starting water is obtained in a simple functional manner which involves but a comparatively low power consumption.-

The method according to the present invention provides, starting from raw water, the steps of sterilizing said water, stripping the water from particles in suspension and foreign matters, demineralizing the water consistently with the composition one desires to obtain for the water, introducing the desired chemical components so as to obtain the ionic composition of the natural mineral water to be reproduced, introducing carbon dioxide and conditioning to the desired temperature, more particularly the temperature which obtains at the source.

Of course, the method disclosed above in the most general one, but it is also obvious that the importance of the steps enumerated above is closely bound not only to the characteristics of the mineral water to be reproduced, but also to those of the starting water. For example, if the starting water is, as it occurs in the majority of the cases, drinking water drawn from the usual water mains, it is clear that the sterilization step can be dispensed with. When, conversely, the mineral water to be reproduced has a composition which is particularly rich with salts, inasmuch as the solubility of the latter is a function both of the carbonic acid concentration and the temperature, and in a determining manner, it is clear that the steps ofintroducing carbon dioxide and thermal conditioning not only have an extermely great importance, but it can be necessary to carry them out prior to introducing the characteristic ions.

The present invention is also concerned with an apparatus more particularly of household type, for the production of artificial mineral waters, characterized by essentially comprising a demineralization device, more particularly distillation, of the fed in water, a mineralizing device for introducing in the distilled water the characteristic ions of the natural water to be reproduced, control means for the automation of the device, and programming and selecting means for imparting to the apparatus the capability of producing mineral waters having different formulations.

Obviously, other component parts can be added to the apparatus consistently with the kind of water used for feeding the apparatus and the quality of the mineralized water to be obtained.

Different approaches for the practical embodiment of the operations provided by the present invention will be now examined, by way of illustrative example only and without limitation.

The sterilization step can be carried out, consistently with the type of apparatus and the quantity of water to be sterilized, by heating the water at a temperature which is adequate for this type of operation. Another method, which can be applied, and in most cases, is preferably from the point of view of the reduction to practice, is'the sterilization by introduction of chemicals. It is obvious that, in such a case, one should duly consider the possible influence of the added substance(s) on the organoleptic properties of water. In the case of apparatus for the production of mineral waters in which a considerable rate of flow of water per hour is not required, it is possible to apply the sterilization technique by irradiation, more particularly UV irradiation.

For purifying the water from particles in suspension and/or foreign matter, conventional filtration can be resorted to (there are also sterilizing filters) or, according to the nature of the particles to be stripped, coagulation with flocculant chemicals or similar sedimentation systems.

Demineralization is obviously as essential operation among those provided by the method according to the invention.

As a matter of fact, the quality of the results achieved is a function of the degree of demineralization. The degree of demineralization to be obtained is a function,

in turn, of the composition of the mineral water to be obtained and of the starting water as well.

Thus, the demineralization systems which are well known as themselves and which are acceptable for the reduction of the present invention to practice, comprise the use of combined ion-exchange resins, both anionic and cationic, distillation, electro-dialysis, thermoosmosis, inverted osmosis or fractional crystallization. Obviously, to select the individual method for each case, not only the considerations developed above should be borne in mind, but also the type of apparatus to be constructed should be taken into account.

For introducing the ions which form the mineral water to be prepared, it is possible, in the simplest instances, to resort to tablets or capsules which contain the desired components as a dry mixture or also, especially with reference to the oligomineral waters, to concentrated solutions of salts.

For the introduction of carbon dioxide, a number of means known in the art are available: among these, bottles of CO under pressure can be cited, along with the introduction of CO -evolving chemicals, possibly included in the same tablets or capsules as used for the mineralization. For conditioning the water, several approaches are available, such as causing the water to pass through heat exchangers, the use of heating resistors, the use of refrigerating circuitries and so forth.

According to a preferred embodiment, the apparatus according to the invention is characterized in that it comprises means for the fractional crystallization of the fed in water and means for originating a continuous relative motion between said crystallization device and the fed in water so as to obtain the deposition, on said crystallization device, of crystals of virtually demineralized water.

In addition, the machine of household type according to the present invention, as will appear as the present description proceeds, provides for a mineralizing salt dispenser located at an appropriate site and adapted to permit a periodical supply of these salts, preferably fed in the form of tablets, capsules and the like. An object of the present invention is to provide a boxlike container of the replaceable type and containing a batch of dosage units of mineralizing salts, characterized in that it comprises a casing adapted to be seated in a correspondingly shaped chamber of the machine, an outlet port adapted to match a dispensing duct provided in the machine, rotatable means having seats adapted to contain individual dosage units, in the form of tablets or tabloid, of the mineralizing salts, said seatings being sequentially brought, one at a time, to match said discharge port and means adapted to establish a free communication between said outlet port and the seating which is in registry therewith.

The features of the invention will become clearly apparent, in any case, from the ensuing description, which is referred to the accompanying drawings: these show, by way of example without limitation, preferred embodiments of the device according to the instant invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings:

FIG. I is a perspective view from the outside of an automatic machine for the preparation of artificial mineral water according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatical overall view of the component parts of the apparatus according to FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an overall wiring diagram of the programming and selecting device of the machine of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a diagrammatical overall view of an alternative embodiment of the apparatus according to the invention.

FIG. 5 is a view similar to that of FIG. 1, relating to the embodiment of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a diagrammatical detail view of the seating chamber of the machine and the boxlike container to seated therein.

FIG. 7 is a plan view, taken along the direction of the arrow F of FIG. 6, of the container or box of the machine according to the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a closeup detailed view, seen also in side elevation, of the cartridge belt forming the seats for the unit dosages or tablets of mineralizing salts.

FIG. 9 is a plan view of the cartridge belt of FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 is a detailed view which explains the operation of the boxlike container according to the preceding Figures, and

FIGS. 11 and 12 are different views of the boxlike container for the machine according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION As shown in the drawings, the apparatus according to the present invention comprises an external container or cabinet of parallelepipedal shape, 10, having a chamber 11 intended for receiving a vessel (diagram matically shown, by way of example, as ajug 12 in FIG. 2) intended to receive the artificial mineral water as prepared in the machine concerned. On the dashboard 13 of the machine there are mounted the controls which, in the case in point, comprise a programming selector 14, for the qualitative and quantitative selection of the mineral water to be prepared. In the example shown, the possibility has been foreseen of preparing four types of mineral waters, as respectively indicated by the areas l5, l6, l7 and 18 of the programming device 14, each of these areas carrying appropriate dials relating to the quantity of water which can be prepared (for example 1 liter, 2 liters, 3 liters).

The selection of the area, and thus of the kind of water, and of the dial mark (i.e., the quantity) is carried out by rotating the knob 14 so as to have a pointer 20 to indicate the selected kind. To the knob 14 corresponds, within the machine, a mechanism, for example of the cam type such as used in the conventional programmers for household appliances, which is electrically controlled according to the diagram of FIG. 3. In addition, the dashboard 13, a knob 21 is inserted for selecting the temperature of the desired mineralized water. In addition, a main switch 22 is provided for starting and stopping the machine by the agency of the electric main. The operative condition of the machine is indicated by an appropriate pilot lamp 23. Another pilot lamp 24 will indicate the presence of a quantity of demineralized water which is at least equal to the maximum amount which can be dispensed for each type of water to be prepared. A switch 25 is provided for controlling the possible carbonation with CO, of the water to be dispensed. A pilot lamp 26 indicates that the water to he prepared is ready to be dispensed: the dispensing operation is controlled by a pushbutton 27.

Lastly, a pushbutton 28 is intended for dispensing the washing water through the mixer, to be described later. In the top portion of the machine 10, a door 29 closes a chamber intended to receive the tablets of the salts to be added to the water.

Considering now more particularly FIG. 2, a duct 30 is provided for the connexion to the usual water main. On the duct 30, a filter 31 is mounted, which is adapted to strip the water from possible particles in suspension and/or foreign matter. Downstream of the filter 3l, the water duct has a branching off 32, whosetask will be explained later, and a magnetic valve 33. The duct 30, downstream of the magnetic valve 33, enters and evaporation boiler 34 having a heating resistor 35 and a level measuring and governing device 36. The boiler 34 is so constructed as to be readily disassembled to have access to its interior for periodical cleaning operations. In the top portion of the boiler 34, the boiler is con nected to a condensation duct 37 which is terminated by a foraminous extension 38 in the interior of a collecting reservoir 39. The latter is externally provided with a cooling coil 40 which is a part of a refrigerating circuitry: the latter comprises, in addition, a compressor 41 and a condenser 42. The reservoir 39 is equipped, in addition, with a thermostat 43 and two level regulators 44 and 45, the former for indicating the minimum level, the latter for indicating the maximum level of the distilled water in the reservoir 39, respectively. The level regulator 44 gives the consent to the admixture for the required mineralization, whereas the levelregulator 45 controls the energization or the deenergization of the resistor 35 (in the boiler 34) by the electric main. The refrigerating circuitry, comprising 'the evaporator 40, the compressor 41 and the condenser 42, is intended to effect the condensation of steam as generated by the boiler 34, the result being that the condensate is sufficiently demineralized, in that it has been distilled. From the reservoir 39 the water is fed, through a pump 46 and a magnetic valve 47, to a mineralizing device 48, that is, a vessel in which the operation takes placeof introducing the characteristic ions of the artificial mineral water to be prepared. The mineralizing device 48 has a stirrer 49 actuated by a motor 50, whose shaft 51 passes in a sealtight manner through the bottom of the mineralizing vessel 48. Obviously, said stirrer could also be of the magnetic type, sealtightness problems being thus avoided. The mineralizing device 48 has also a heating resistor 52 which is energized as the temperature of the mineralized water to be dispensed is above the one at which the distilled water is sent to the mineralizing device 48. In addition, the latter has a cooling coil 53 which is branched off, with the insertion of a magnetic valve 54, from the refrigerating circuitry of the reservoir 39. The mineralizing vessel 48 is also equipped with a temperature regulator 55 connected to the knob 21 (FIG. I) and with a dispenser 56 of the differential level type for controlling the quantity of the mineralized water to be prepared. To the bottom portion of the mineralizing device 48 a duct 57 is connected, which is equipped with a magnetic valve 58 for controllably feeding carbon dioxide from a bottle 59, when the water to be dispensed is to be carbonated. In the top portion of the mineralizing device 48 a shower 60 is mounted, which is fed through a magnetic valve 61 by the duct 32. Through the shower 60 there is carried out, by controlling it manually with the aid of the pushbutton 28 (FIG. I) the feed of water for washing the mineralizing device 48, for example when one selects on the programming selector 14 a kind of mineral water which requires an accurate cleaning of the mineralizing device 48 from any residue of previously prepared waters. A further application is the possibility of dispensing, through the shower 60, drinking water to the mineralizing device 48 for the preparation of plain soda water. For the mineralization of the metered quantity of water in the vessel 48, a dispenser 62 is provided, which is adapted to dispense the mineralizing salts in the most appropriate form, such as in the form of tablets which are fed to the vessel 48 through a chute 63. It is obvious that the dispenser 62 will be partitioned into a number of chambers corresponding to the number of mineralized waters intended to be prepared, the feed of each salt dosage unit taking place under the control of an appropriate control 64, such as an electromechanical or electromagnetic control.

As is known, water, to be easily digestible, requires a certain amount of dissolved air so that, even if carbon dioxide is not used, it should be noticed that such an aeration is warranted by the stirrer 49 which provides to the admixture with the air contained in the mineralizing vessel 48, which is not airtight. The mineral water, as prepared artificially in the vessel 48, is drawn, by a pump 65, through a duct 66 in which a magnetic valve 67 is mounted. On the bottom of the chamber 11 a collecting tub 68 is formed, to collect possible overflows, the tub being connected by a duct 69 to a main sink. An overflow duct 70 for the reservoir 39 opens into the tub 68.

Having now reference to FIG. 3, the functional wiring diagram collects all the control and regulation members which have already been discussed and shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. In addition, the diagram is completed by the electric connexions which render the operation of the machine completely automatic. As can be noticed, the level regulator 36 energizes the relay 71 and shifts towards the left the contacts 72 and 73, cutting off the feed through the magnetic valve 33 and energizing the resistor 35 as the level regulator 45 is closed, that which indicates that the water level in the reservoir 39 is below the permissible maximum level. The level regulator 44 ensures that the feed to the subsequent portion of the circuitry may take place only if at least the minimum level of distilled water has been reached in the vessel 39. The presence of such a minimum amount of distilled water is visibly indicated by the pilot lamp 24. The programming selector 14 has a set of cam contacts 90 capable of setting the corresponding level indicators 56 and is obviously equipped also with a motor 74 to cause the cam pack 90 to advance. The programming selector is not described in detail inasmuch as has already been said, as it is of the conventional type for household appliances. The contacts 75 and 76 are intended to close the energizing circuit for the motor 74, simultaneously opening (through the relay 77 and the additional contact 78) the feeding circuit for the pump 46, and to close the feeding circuit for the subsequent mineralization and dispensing devices. The relay 64 is the actuating device for introducing the salts into the mineralization device 48 (see also FIG. 2) and is servoed to the programming selector 14. The contact 79, servoed to the thermostatic knob 21 (FIG. 1) is controlled to close as the resistor 52 has brought the temperature of the water in the vessel 48 to the desired value. This temperature is established by the thermostat 55 which is shown in FIG. 3 by a switch since it actuates, in alternative, either the refrigerating circuit or the heating element. Consequently, the relay 80 is energized, which shifts the contacts 81 and 82 towards the left and the contact 83 downwards as viewed in the drawing. The contact 81, as it opens, disconnects the motor 50 from the stirrer 49. The contact 82, conversely, keeps the relay 80 alive to ensure the feed to the subsequent circuitry also in the case when a temperature drop in the mineralizing device 48 causes the contact 79 to open. The contact 83 ensures the feed of the last portion of the circuit. The last portion of the circuit comprises an additional delay relay 84 having its contacts 85 and 86, which has the task of energizing the magnetic valve 58 (by closing the contact 85) and to cut off the feed to the subsequent delivery circuit (by opening the contact 86). The delivery circuit comprises, as already pointed out, the delivery pushbutton 27 which controls the pump 65 having the attendant magnetic valve 67. The washing circuit, in turn, comprises the pushbutton 28 to which the contacts 87 and 88 are servoed, to ensure the simultaneous electric energization of the pump 65 and the magnetic valves 61 and 67 so as to provide the feed of washing water to the vessel 48 and the discharge of said water through the duct 69 (FIG. 2). Let us consider now the alternative embodiment shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, in which equal parts have retained the corresponding reference numerals as in the preceding Figures.

The machine according to the invention comprises a usual refrigerating installation having a compressor 190 (FIG. 4), a condenser 91 and an evaporator 92 which is the crystallization device proper. A duct 93, as controlled by a magnetic valve 94 is in parallel with respect to the condenser 91. The evaporator 92 is connected to the cooling installation by two flexible and extensible hoses 95 an has a cross-tie 96 affixed to the ends of the evaporation circuit. To the cross-tie 96 is pivoted an arm 97 of a linkage formed by a rocket 98, an arm 99 pivotally mounted on the machine frame, and a third arm 100. The latter is pivoted, in turn, to the periphery of a gear 101 meshing with a pinion 102 keyed to the shaft of a motor 103.

As will be seen hereinafter, an anticlockwise rotation through 90 approximately of the gear 101 causes the linkage to lift the evaporator 92 and to displace it towards the left until reaching the position shown in dotted lines in the drawing.

The evaporator 92 is normally immersed in the feeding water as collected in a container 104. A level regulator 36 controls the closure of a magnetic valve 33 serially mounted in the drinkable water feed main 30 so as to cut off the water flow as the preselected level is attained in the container 104. The container 104 has a drain pipe 107 for emptying the container by opening a magnetic valve 108, which can be actuated by the user of the machine, for example by closing a conventional switch not shown in the drawing. In addition, a motor 110 is adapted to actuate a stirring impeller 110 which originates a continous renewal of the water in contact with the evaporator 92, in order to allow the deposit thereon of solid crystals of virtually demineralized water. The machine also comprises an ice collector 111 over which the evaporator 92 is positioned when the latter is shifted towards the right by the gear 101. To the collector 11 there is affixed a dispenser 112 of tablets intended, as will be seen hereinafter, to mineralized the water as obtained by thawing the ice. To the dispenser 112 a batch 113 of tablets is associated, and the opening of a magnetic valve 114 deposits, in a manner known per se, one tablet at a time on the bottom of the collector 111. The latter is connected through a magnetic valve 115 to an outlet 116 of demineralized water, which is actuated in the case of deenergization of the valve 114, that is, when no tablet is deposited in the collector 111. The latter is connected, through a second magnetic valve 117, to a carbonator 118 in which, by means of the opening of a magnetic valve 58, CO can be bubbled, as coming from a reservoir or bottle 59. The actuation of the valve 115 prevents, as will be seen hereinafter, the actuation of the magnetic valves 114, 117 and vice versa; whereas the valve 58, when the valve 117 is opened, is adapted to be opened, or to be kept closed, according to whether the user intends to get either carbonated or plain water.

The water as contained in the carbonator 118 can be conditioned by an evaporator 121 placed in parallel with the evaporator 92, after that a magnetic valve 122 has closed the feed to the evaporator 92 and has opened the feed to the evaporator 121. From the carbonator 118 the mineralized wate'r, either carbonated or non carbonated, can emerge from a spout 123 after that a magnetic valve 124 has been opened.

The machine is equipped with a timer 125 (FIG. from which branch off, in a manner known per se, the controls for the actuation of the several magnetic valves (valve 33 being excepted, which is controlled by the regulator 36 and the valve 108 being also excluded, which can be actuated by the user), of the compressor 190 and the motor 109. Furthermore, the machine has a button 126 which can be positioned by the user in any of three positions, A, B, C, respectively, in order to obtain, as will be seen hereinafter, carbonated mineral water, non carbonated mineral water, or merely demineralized water.

The machine according 16' ihihviitffiT E 5;

follows.

Assuming that the button 126 (FIG. 2) has been positioned at A, after that the water has attained in the container 104 (FIG. 1) the level as controlled by the regulator 36, the valve 33 is closed, the timer 125 actuates the compressor 190 and starts the motor 109. Thus the refrigerating installation enters action, and more particularly the evaporator 92, whereas the impeller 110 maintains in continuous motion the water in the vessel 104. Thus, layers of pure crystals of virtually demineralized water begin to build up in the evaporator 92. Upon the formation of a certain amount of ice, that is after a preselected length of time, the timer 125 drives the motor 103 to rotation and cuts off the feed to the motor 109. The gear 101 slowly lifts the arm 100 together with the evaporator 92, allowing the ice to drip into the container 104. The ice is thus stripped of the water film rich with mineral salts and which has not yet been affected by the acrystallization run. The subsequent rotation of the gear 101 shifts then the evaporator 92 and the ice thereon above the collector 111. At this stage, the timer 125 stops the motor 103 and opens the valve 94 so as to invert the refrigerating circuit. Thus, the ice begins to thaw from the crystallization device 92 and drips in the collector 111. The valve 94 is now closed and the ice completes its thawing in the collector 111. After that the timer 125 has opened the valve 117, the mineralized water passes into the carbonator 118. The opening of the valve 58 causes the carbonation of the water, whereas the actuation of the valve 122 actuates the evaporator 121 and thus conditions the water. The latter, upon opening the valve 124, can be collected at the outside of the machine to be utilized.

lf, conversely, the button 126 (FIG. 2) has been positioned by the user at B, the sequence of operations is as defined above, the only exception being that the water is passed from the collector 11 (FIG. 1) to the carbonator 118 which is inactive since the valve 58 is not opened in this case.

If, finally, the button 126 (FIG. 2) has been positioned at C, the demineralized water as obtained in the collector 111 (FIG. 1) is channeled towards the dispenser 116, inasmuch as now the valve 115 is opened, whereas the valves 114 and 117 remain closed, a virtually demineralized water being thus obtained. In summation, the machine is capable of supplying three types of water, at the users choice.

It is apparent that it is up to the timer 125 to bring all the devices of the machine back to the starting positions on completion of a crystallization cycle. More particularly, the evaporator 92 is immersed into the container 104 anew, whereas the refrigerating circuit is reinstated in the cooling installation by closing the valve 94. Also the valves 114, 122, 117 and 124 are brought back to their starting positions if the button 126 (FIG. 2) had positioned at B, in order to enable the machine to start a fresh cycle of preparation of mineral water. If the button 126 had been positioned at A, also the valve 58 is brought back to its starting position. If

the button 126 had conversely been positioned at C, the valves 118 and 122 are returned to their inactive positions.

Referring now to the FIGS. from 6 to 10, in the cabinet 10 of the machine there is formed an upper chamber 211 having a lid 29 and showing a dispensing duct 213 for the dosage of mineralizing salts. The chamber 211 is shaped so as snugly to receive the boxlike container 214 which will be described in more detail hereinafter. From the bottom wall 215 of the chamber 211 an arbor 216 protrudes, which is actuated by an electric motor 217, and having clutching dogs 218 intended to mate corresponding grooves 219 (FIG. 7) of a pin wheel 220, mounted for rotation in the interior of the boxlike container 214. Through the bottom wall 215 of the chamber 211 protrudes also a pin 221, which is adapted to actuate, by the agency of an actuator 225, a switch 222 whose function is to energize, in turn, means (not shown) which indicate that the charge of dosage units in the boxlike container 214 is coming to an end. On a side of the chamber 211, lastly, there is a pin 223, urged by a compression spring 224, having the function of resiliently latching in position the boxlike container 214 within the chamber 211.

Considering now more particularly the boxlike container 214, it comprises a shell 226, which as outlined above, is so shaped as to be snugly housed in the chamber 211 of the machine shown in FIGS. 1 to 5, said shell having an outlet port 227 which, as the container 214 is positioned in the chamber 211, is in registry with the discharge duct 213. In the interior of the container 226 there is mounted for rotation the already mentioned pin wheel 220, whose rotation is effected in the manner which has been described above, and whose pins 228 engage corresponding bores 229 (FIGS. 8 and 9) formed through a twin belt 230 formed by two strips 231 and 232 which, at regular intervals, provide hermetically sealed compartments 233, each of which contains a dosage unit 234 (in the example shown in the form of tablets) of the mineralizing salts. The top arc of each compartment 233 has a notch 235, which is, in practice, a weak point for opening the compartment 233, for the reasons which will be explained later. As clearly seen in FIG. 7, the belt 30, at a certain stage, leaves the periphery of the pin wheel 220 and is compelled to pass in the direction of the arrows 237 about a wedge member 236 forming an acute angle in correspondence with the pointed end of the wedge. As the base of a compartment 233 comes in exact registry with the pointed end of the wedge, the stress applied thereby as a consequence of the pull to which the belt 230 is subjected causes the splitting of the compartment formed by the upper strip 231 along the weak line 235, thus feeding the corresponding tablet 234 (as best seen in FIG. 10) which falls by gravity in the dispensing duct 213 through the outlet port 227.

Of course, the actuation of the pin wheel 220 by the motor 217 will be properly controlled by the main programming and controlling unit of the machine.

Considering now FIG. 11, this shows an alternative embodiment in which the pin wheel 220 of the previously described embodiment is replaced by a wheel 320, housed for rotation in the casing 214 and keyed to the arbor 216 of the actuation motor 217. Through the peripheral surfaces of the wheel 320 there are formed appropriate hollow spaces 321 which are intended to afford a seat to the tablets 234 of the mineralization salts. The tablets 234 are maintained in the seats 321 by the adjacent wall of the container 226 and are set free and dropped by gravity into the discharge port 227 as they come into registry therewith.

Lastly, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 12, the wheel 420 has peripheral hollow spaces 421 similar to the chambers 321 of the embodiment of FIG. 11, but these chambers are hermetically sealed by a strip 422, for example of a plastics material, sealed along the peripheral edges of the wheel. Before a chamber 421 comes, during the rotation of the wheel 420, into registry with the outlet port 227, the strip 422 is torn out by a toothed wheel 423, as actuated by an electric motor (not shown) thus exposing the chambers 421 and allowing the mineralizing salt tablet 234 to be dropped. In the case in point the toothed wheel serves also to drive the wheel 420 to rotation, by the effect to the drag as applied to the belt 422.

The invention has been described in connection with preferred embodiments thereof, it being obvious, however, that a number of modifications and changes which are ideally equivalent can be introduced therein without departing from the scope of the invention.

What is claimed is:

1. An automatic machine for household use for the preparation of artificial mineral waters, comprising means for demineralizing water introduced into the machine from a water main, further means introducing into the demineralized water the ion characteristic of the water to be prepared thereby mineralizing the water, control means for automation of the machine, programming and selecting means operative to prepare selectively artificial mineral waters of different compositions, said demineralizing means consisting of means for the fractional crystallization of the introduced water and means for originating a continuous relative motion between said crystallization means and the water, in order to obtain the deposition, on said crystallization means, of crystals of demineralized water.

2. The machine according to claim 1, characterized in that said means for originating a continuous relative motion consists of an impeller driven to rotation during the time in which said crystallization means are operative.

3. The machine according to claim 1, characterized in that said crystallization means consist of the evaporation circuit of a conventional refrigerating device, and means to invert the refrigerating circuit of said refrigerating device on completion of the fractional crystallization step.

4. The machine according to claim 1, characterized by automatic timing means for a plurality of stages of the cycle of the machine and a selection device to control the actuation of said stages.

5. The machine according to claim 4, characterized by a device for carbonating the mineralized water, said device and mineralizing means being controlled by the selection device during said cycle, in order to permit the dispensing of mineral waters of at least two different compositions.

6. The machine according to claim 5, characterized by a device for dispensing substantially demineralized water controlled by the selection-device.

7. The machine according to claim 6, characterized in that said selection device is adapted to be manually shifted to at least one of three positions, in a first position of said selection device the machine being adapted to dispense carbonated mineral water, in a second position the machine being adapted to dispense virtually demineralized water.

8. The machine according to claim 4, characterized by a conditioning device for the artificial mineral water, said conditioning device being in parallel with said evaporation circuit and being normally inactive, the automatic timing means being adapted to actuate said conditioning device.

9. The machine according to claim 1, characterized in that, for the feed of the mineralizing salts in dosage units or tablets, a boxlike container is provided, which contains a certain unit dosage batch or tablets of mineralizing salts, said container comprising a shell seated in a correspondingly shaped chamber of the machine, a discharge port adapted to come into registry with a dispensing duct provided in the machine, rotatable means equipped with seats to contain individual dosage units of mineralizing salts, said seats being positioned in sequence and one at a time in registry with said discharge port and means to bring said discharge port in free communication with the seat which is in registry therewith.

10. The machine according to claim 9, characterized in that said rotatable means is formed by a pin wheel and said dosage units are preset in hollow spaces formed between two strips sealably united together, each hollow space having a notch in correspondence with the meridian top circumference, said pins of said pin 'wheel being engaged by corresponding bores formed in the composite strip formed by said two strips, said container having in addition a wedge having its pointed end directed and axially aligned towards said discharge port, the composite strip formed by said two strips being caused to pass at an acute angle about said wedge, and said pin wheel being keyed to an actuating arbor which is actuated in turn by an electric motor controlled by the main timing programmer of the machine.

ll. The machine according to claim 10, characterized in that switching means are provided, actuated by said pin wheel for signalling that a complete revolution of said wheel is about to be made.

12. The machine according to claim 9, characterized in that said rotatable means is formed by a wheel whose peripheral surface has hollow spaces for individual unit dosages of mineralization salts, said hollow spaces being closed by an adjacent wall of the container casing, with the exception in correspondence with said discharge port, and said wheel being keyed to the shaft of an electric actuation motor which is intermittently energized by the main programming timer of the machine.

l3. The machine according to claim 9, characterized in that said rotatable means consists of a wheel, whose periphery has hollow spaces for providing a seat for individual dosage units of mineralizing salts, said hollow spaces being closed by a sealing tape, adapted to be stripped before the corresponding hollow spaces come into registry with said discharge port.

14. The machine according to claim 13, characterized in that, for the rotation of said wheel, an actuating motor is provided, which is adapted to drive a toothed wheel about which the sealing tape is wrapped.

15. The machine according to claim 1, characterized by means for obtaining the relative displacement of said crystallization means relatively to a container for the introducee water, and collecting means for collecting the material deposited on said crystallization means on completion of the crystallization stage.

16. An automatic machine for household use for the preparation of artificial mineral water s, comprising means for demineralizing water introduced into the machine from a water main, further means introducing into the demineralized water the ion characteristic of the water to be prepared thereby mineralizing the water, control means for automation of the machine, programming and selecting means operative to prepare selectively artificial mineral waters of different compositions, a boiler for evaporating the introduced water, said boiler having a top, a feed duct at the top for starting the condensation of steam, a refrigerating circuit including a collecting vessel provided with cooling means, the residual steam and condensates from the boiler being discharged into the collecting vessel, the collecting vessel having means controlling the level of the condensates and a thermostat-regulating the water temperature, a mineralizing vessel, a pump transferring the demineralized water from the collecting vessel to the mineralizing vessel, the mineralizing vessel being provided with means mechanically stirring the water therein, means introducing carbon dioxide therein, spray means for washing the vessel, a dispenser for mineralizing salts, heating means, cooling means, and outlet and dispensing means constituted by a discharge pump.

17. The machine according to claim 16, characterized in that said dispenser of mineralizing salts comprises a plurality of discrete and selectable feeds for different salts.

18. The machine as claimed in claim 16 including a feed to the boiler for the introduced water, a filter in the feed, and the feed having a branch duct directly feeding the spray means.

19. The machine as claimed in claim 16 in which said boiler includes a heating electric resistor and the cooling means is the evaporative section of the refrigerating circuit including a compressor and a condensor section.

20. The machine according to claim 19, characterized in that said means for controlling the level of the condensates in said collecting reservoir are connected so as to control the actuation and deenergization of said electric heating resistor of said boiler.

21. The machine according to claim 19, characterized in that said thermostat for regulating the temperature of the water in said vessel for collecting the condensates, controls the actuation and de-energization of said heating resistor in said mineralizing vessel and the degree of cooling of the condensates by means of said refrigerating circuit.

} UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 37 85492 Dated Januarv IL 1974 Inventor(s) Lamberto Mazza It is certified that error appears in the bove-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Assignment I "INDUSTRIE A. ZANUSSI S.p.A."

Pordenone, Italy Signed and sealed this 30th day of July 197A.

(SEAL) A Attest:

McCOY M. GIBSON: JR. Attesting Officer 0. MARSHALL DANN Commissioner of Patents USCOMM-DC 603764- 69- us. eovnmum' PRINTING 'orrlcz: lsu o-ue-au,

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3933639 *Feb 15, 1974Jan 20, 1976Industrie A. Zanussi S.P.A.Apparatus for preparing beverages
US5427682 *Sep 17, 1992Jun 27, 1995J. Vogel Premium Water Co.Water purification and dispensing system
US5443739 *Apr 12, 1993Aug 22, 1995J. Vogel Premium Water CompanyA single water apparatus comprising water inlet, purification system, mineral addition system, dispensing system can be transported; efficiency
US5597487 *Sep 2, 1994Jan 28, 1997J. Vogel Premium Water Co.Water purification and dispensing system
US5597488 *Oct 19, 1995Jan 28, 1997Yn; Kye-WhanMethod for preparing various thermal waters
US5720856 *Jun 16, 1993Feb 24, 1998Pirone; BrunoDemineralizing aqueous influent by distillation, sterilizing distillate, remineralizing by adding desired additive, condensing
US5910233 *Aug 8, 1997Jun 8, 1999Berg; GaryDistilled and then passed through layer of soil taken from an area adjoining the source of natural mineral water
US8478540Feb 9, 2010Jul 2, 2013Aqua Lohas Water-Tech Services Co., Ltd.Method and apparatus for producing mineral water
US8499978 *Sep 9, 2008Aug 6, 2013Whirlpool S.A.Water dispenser device at different temperatures
US20100294804 *Sep 9, 2008Nov 25, 2010Whirlpool S.A.Water dispenser device at different temperatures
EP2354094A1 *Feb 2, 2010Aug 10, 2011aqua LOHAS Water-tech Service Co., Ltd.Method and apparatus for producing mineral water
WO2009037610A2 *Sep 4, 2008Mar 26, 2009Bruno PironeDevice for producing drinking water
Classifications
U.S. Classification210/149, 210/251
International ClassificationB67D1/00, B67D1/04
Cooperative ClassificationB67D1/0406
European ClassificationB67D1/04A