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Publication numberUS3825154 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 23, 1974
Filing dateJan 17, 1972
Priority dateJan 17, 1972
Publication numberUS 3825154 A, US 3825154A, US-A-3825154, US3825154 A, US3825154A
InventorsW Jaeger
Original AssigneeW Jaeger
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Fluid dispensing system
US 3825154 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

[ 1, July 23,1974

1 1 FLUID DISPENSIING SYSTEM [76] lnventor: Wilbert J. Jaeger, 1582 81m PL,

Anaheim, Calif. 92802 22 Filed: .llan.17,1972

21 Appl. No.: 218,333

[52] US. Cl 222/136, 417/63, 417/395,

222/4O0.8, 222/571 [51] llnt. Cl B6711 5/44 [58] Field of Search 222/136, 137, 571, 145,

Primary Examiner-Stanley H. Tollberg Assistant Examiner-John P. Shannon Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Raymond L. Madsen [57] ABSTRACT A multiplicity of fluid conducting stoppers are inserted into and seal the open mouths of a plurality of containers. Each fluid conducting stopper has a first and second conduit communicating with the interior of the container into which it is inserted. The multiplicity of fluid conducting stoppers and containers are connected in tandem by attaching the second conduit of one to the first conduit of another. A variable displacement diaphragm pump with check valves is attached to the first conduit of the first fluid conducting stopper in the series of tandem connected stoppers and containers for removing the fluid product from the containers. The output of the pump is connected to a dispensing outlet from which fluid is dispensed by force of gravity when the fluid level rises above the outlet in response to the pumping action of the diaphragm pump. A plurality of individual modular systems of tandem containers and pumps can be utilized to simultaneously dispense a variety of fluids.

7 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures L 27 c'AP/LLARY OUTLET PUMP COUNTER PATENTED JUL 2 31974 3 8:25 5

sum 1 0r 2 Y y Q W m R m 2 PL .1 a y W M w 3 0 rw w w P PUMP 407/ VA 7'01? 33;

01 ENO/D VA L V5 PATENTEDJULZBIQM sum 2 or g 1 FLUID DISPENSING SYSTEM The present invention relates to fluid dispensing apparatus and more particularly to beverage dispensing apparatus for dispensing the fluid content from tandem connected bottles by a variable displacement pump and check valve system into a gravity dispensing outlet.

In the field of fluid and liquid dispensing systems, it has been the general practice to employ manual methods to decant the liquid content from a bottle. This is particularlytrue in the business of dispensing liquor at bars, where a back bar carries a large number of bottles from which the customer can select. Upon selection, the bartender chooses the bottle, pours a measured quantity into a shot glass, and then pours the shot glass into the drinking glass to be delivered to the customer. This system is well suited to individualized operation where quantities of drinks need not be prepared. On the other hand, some bars have a substantial rush during particular time periods, while others serve to produce mixed drinks which are delivered to customers ar restaurant tables, where the customers cannot observe the drinks being prepared, in either of these cases, higher production is required so that the time consuming task of selecting a bottle andpouring a measured quantity therefrom becomes time consuming and costly.

Early methods utilized a plurality of bottles inverted on a rotating holder. Eachbottle is installed with a portion control and inventory accounting. These methods proved to be very slow and time consuming as well as cumbersome and awkward.

Another such system places a plurality of glassliquor bottles in a liquor cabinet and pressurizes them from a gaseous pressure source. The pressure drives the liquor to a dispenser head where it is dispensed from a nozzle. Here, the liquid is dispensed by opening a valve so that it is discharged into a shot glass and thence into the customers glass. The pressurized liquid which is dispensed from the nozzle tends to splash out of the shot glass into which it is dispensed because of such pressurized force. Loss of liquid results in lack of volume cotrol and a more costly operation.

The adaptation of controlled volume valves to this type of system has been unsatisfactory, with the result that pouring more or less than the desired quantity can be expected. Furthermore, the pressurizing of bottles presents a danger of the bottles exploding and injuring bartenders and customers. Despite the safety factor, the system continues in use, because federal alcoholic beverage control laws forbid the repouring of alcoholic beverages into another container which may be made more safe for pressurization.

' Because of the federal alcoholic beverage control laws, alcoholic beverages are available only in bottles of limited size. This requires constant attention to the liquor cabinet of dispensing systems so that bottles can be changed before their fluid content is entirely exhausted. Such individual attention is time consuming and costly.

Those concerned with the development of beverage dispensing systems have long recognized the need for changing bottles as they empty without shutting down the dispensing system. The present invention fulfills this need.

One of the most critical problems confronting designers of liquor dispenser systems has been the danger of 2 exploding bottles when pressurized. This problem is overcome by the present invention.

Some of the prior art dispensing systems require the fluid containing bottles to be inverted and placed in a holder where the neck is submerged in the fluid product and the glue therefrom contaminating the liquid. The present invention overcomes this problem.

Furthermore, the prior art dispensing systems require that the bottles be clamped and supported whereas the present invention does not require clamping and support of the fluid containers utilized therein. The present invention does not cover the neck of the bottle and therefore, complies with federal law by not covering the tax stamps located in the neck region in those bottles container alcoholic beverages.

The prior art methods do not provide identification of various brands of alcoholic beverages required by law in some states. The present invention not only fulfills this need but also provides what is known as a point of purchase method of display advertising without occupying useful working space.

A further problem of prior art methods has been the physical size of the dispensing equipment which limits the variety of fluids which can be dispensed. The present invention overcomes this problem by providing a modular system of dispensing which is small in size and accomodates any number of fluids for dispensing as required.

Another problem of prior art methods is the inability to provide what is known as a shorbpour. When a customer has overindulged in alcoholic beverage consumption, rather than refuse to further serve the customer, it has been customary to reduce the amount of beverage served. This reduction had to be realized by manual pouring since prior art systems dispensed a fixed volume of beverage. Therefore, the short pour could not go through the dispensing system with its automatic counting of the number of dispensing actions and consequently accurate accounting was lost. The present invention provides a short pour and counts the short pour" dispensing as well as the full volume dispensing action.

A still further problem of prior art dispensing systems was the use of a common dispensing head and orifice through which all beverages in the system were dispensed. Changing from one beverage to another resulted in contamination of each subsequent dispensed beverage with a residual amount of the prior dispensed beverage still contained in the common dispensing head. The present invention overcomes this problem by providing a modular arrangement of completely separate dispensing systems where there are no common parts by which contamination can occur.

The present invention also contemplates the use of flexible tubing which reaches into the remote interior of the bottles whereby all of the fluid content can be removed. Dispensing systems heretofore have not been able to dispense all of the fluid content.

The general purpose of this invention is to provide a beverage dispensing system which embraces all the advantages of a similarly employed liquid and beverage dispensing device and possesses none of the aforedescribed disadvantages. To attain this, the present invention contemplates a unique tandem connection of fluid containers in cooperation with a pump and check valve system and a dispensing outlet with product identification at the point of purchase whereby shut down for the replacement of bottles is eliminated, accurate and controllable dispensed fluid volumes are maintained, and fluid is identified and dispensed naturally under the force of gravity thereby eliminating splashing and loss of fluid.

An object of the present invention is the provision of dispensing the fluid content from a plurality of containers.

Another object is to provide fluid dispensing from a series of containers connected in tandem.

A further object of the invention is the provision of replacement of empty containers in a fluid dispensing system from fluid containers connected in tandem without shutting down the system.

Still another object is to provide controlled volume fluid dispensing from a multiplicity of tandem connected fluid containers.

Still a further object is to remove the fluid content of a plurality of containers and to dispense the fluid removed therefrom by gravity flow.

Yet another object of the present invention is the continuous dispensing of fluid from a multiplicity of containers until all the containers are emptied.

A still further object is to pump the fluid contents of a multiplicity of tandem connected containers into a reservior from which the fluid is dispensed by gravity flow.

Still yet another object of the present invention is the dispensing of a controlled volume of alcoholic beverage from a multiplicity of bottles connected in tandem, the controlled volume of alcoholic beverage being dispensed from an outlet by gravity flow.

Other objects and many of the intended advantages of this invention will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals designate like parts throughout the'figures thereof and wherein:

FIG. 1 illustrates a pictorial and block system diagram of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates a cross section diagram of bottles in tandem connected as taught by the present invention;

FIG. 3 shows a cross section view of a fluid conducting stopper as taught by the present invention inserted into the neck of a bottle;

FIG. 4 illustrates a cross sectional view and block schematic drawing pump and actuator embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 illustrates another pump and actuator embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 illustrates an alternate dispensing outlet utilizing a check valve to eliminate dripping of fluid;

and FIG. 7 illustrates a pictorial view of three output modules of the dispenser embodiment contemplated by the present invention.

Referring now to the drawings, there is shown in FIG. 1 a preferred embodiment of a fluid dispensing system. Bottles 9 and 11 contain the fluid content to be dispensed and have inserted in their open mouths fluid conducting stoppers 13 and 15 respectively. Fluid conducting stopper l3 has inserted therethrough a first conduit 19 and a second conduit 17 through which the fluid can be passed out of and into, respectively. The portion of conduit 19 within bottle 9 is flexible and reaches into the remote interior of bottle 9. Conduit 19 is connected to sensor 20 which senses the presence or absence of fluid. Empty alarm 25 is connected to sensor 20 and is operated by the absence of fluid and is not activated until the fluid pump is turned on. Conduit 21 is connected to the output of sensor 20 and forms the second conduit of fluid conducting stopper 15 by passing through stopper 15. Similar to conduit 19, conduit 23 forms the first conduit of stopper 15 by passing therethrough and flexibly reaching into the remote interior of bottle 11. Conduit 23 is connected to check valve 27 which in turn is connected by fluid conducting tubing to variable displacement pump 29. Pump 29 is connected to pump activator 31 which is actuated by depressing button 33. Counter 32 is connected to activator 31 and records each operation. The output of pump 29 is connected to check valve 35 through fluid conducting tubing. Check valve 35 is connected to reservior 37 having capillary outlet 39 and relief outlet 41.

FIG. 2 illustrates a cross sectional view of bottles 9 and 11 with the fluid conducting stoppers 13and 15 inserted therein, respectively. Fluid conducting stopper 13 has tubing 17 passing therethrough into the interior of bottle 9 near the neck region. Fluid conducting stopper 13 has another opening therethrough through which fluid conducting flexible tubing 19 passes into the remote interior of bottle 9 forming the first fluid conduit of fluid conducting stopper 13. A similar conduit 21 passes through fluid conducting stopper 15 inserted into the open mouth of bottle 11 forming the second fluid conduit of fluid conducting stopper 15 which penentrates into the neck region of bottle 11. Flexible tubing 23 passes through the second opening in fluid conducting stopper 15 to form the first fluid conduit of fluid conducting stopper l5, tubing 21 passing into the remote interior of bottle 11.

FIG. 3 illustrates a cross sectional view of a typical practical embodiment of a fluid conducting stopper for insertion into the neck of an open mouth container. Stopper 45 engages the open mouth at the neck of the container and has fitting 47 snugly inserted therethrough. Fitting 47 has a central opening into which a tubular insert 49 having a collar on one end is inserted. The collar engages fitting 47 to form a fluid tight seal. To enhance the tightness of the seal, fitting 47 is threaded, which threads are engaged by threaded flange 51 to tightly secure the collar of the tubular insert 49 against fitting 47. Just below the sealed engagement of fitting 47 and the collar portion of tubular insert 49, an opening 55 is adapted to receive fluid conducting tubing 53. In the region of opening 55, tubular insert 49 is in disengagement with the central opening of fitting 47 such that a fluid conducting space is provided between fitting 47 and tubular insert 49. This space is maintained the entire length of the tubular insert 49 through stopper 45 into the interior neck region of the fluid container. Flange 51 has tubing 57 attached thereto through which fluid can be conducted through tubular insert 49 from the remote interior of the fluid container.

FIG. 4 illustrates a cross sectional diagram and block schematic of a diaphragm pump embodiment of the present invention. Cup body member 59 and cover member 61 have diaphragm 63 firmly clamped between their circular mating edges forming volume 99 between diaphragm 63 and concave member 61 and volume 100 between diaphragm 63 and concave member 59. Body member 59 isthreaded to engage threaded coupling flange 62 whereby cover member 61 can be tightened against body member 59 thereby squeezing and securing the diaphragm between their mating edges. Diaphragm 63 has a central opening therein with cup washers 65 and 67 located on either side of the diaphragm and centrally positioned about the opening. The washers 65 and 67 are threadably engaged on check valve seat 69 which passes through the opening in diaphragm 63, diaphragm 63 being firmly secured between cup washers 65 and 67. Check valve 69 slideably engaged tube fitting 71 which in turn is threadably secured to body member 61 by flange nut 73 and sealed with an O-ring not illustrated. Flange nut 73 controls the return stroke of the pump and consequently adjusts the volume of fluid dispensed. Ball valve 75 is located-adjacent a central opening in valve seat 69 and is held in place against the valve seatby spring 77 which is biased against tube fitting 71.

Similarly, body member 59 has a centrally located ball valve seat 83 with a central opening therein. Ball valve 79 is located adjacent the central opening in valve seat 83 and ball valve 79 is held against valve seat 33 by spring 81 which is biased against valve seat 69. Body member 59 is threaded to receive tube fitting 85 whereby tubing 07 is clamped and sealed to body member 59 adjacent the opening in valve seat 83.

Diaphragm 63 is biased by spring 89which is located between cup washer 67 and body member 59 in volume 100. Ridges 91 on body member59 and the cup-like edges of cup washer 67 hold spring 89 in place.

Cover member 61 has an opening therein through which tube 97 passes which in turn is connected to solenoid valve 95. A source of pressurized gas 93 is connected to solenoid valve 95 whereby when the solenoid valve is actuated, gas under pressure can be inserted through tube 97 into volume 99. When the solenoid valve is not actuated, the pressurized gas is released from volume 99 through tube 97 to solenoid valve 95 and then out of tube 96.

FIG. 5 illustrates another embodiment of a diaphragm pump wherein diaphragm is clamped between cup body members 103 and 101 forming volume between diaphragm 105 and body member 101. Post 107 is centrally located on and rigidly fastened to diaphragm 105 by nut 109. Cup washer 111 is fastened to diaphragm 105 and tightened firmly against diaphragm 105 when nut 109 is tightened. Solenoid arm 113 of solenoid is threadably fastened to post 107 and passes through a central opening in body member 103. A nut 114 is threadably adjustably located on solenoid arm 113 between the solenoid 115 and body member 103. Solenoid 115 derives its source of actuating power from power source 117 which is applied by the solenoid by depressing button 119. Spring 121 biases diaphragm 105 and is located between cup washer 111 and body member 103. Spring 121 is held in place on body member 103 by circular ridge 123 and is held in place against diaphragm 105 by the edges of cup washer 111.

Body member 101 has a threaded opening therein into which valve seat 125 is threadably secured. Ball valve 127 is held against the opening in valve seat 125 by spring 129 the other end of spring 129 being biased against fitting 131 which is threaded into valve seat 125. Tubing 133 is secured to valve seat 125 by bushing 135 threaded into valve seat 125.

Another valve seat 137 is threaded into another opening in body member 101 and ball valve 139 is held in place over the opening in valve seat 137 by spring 141, the other end of spring 141 being biased against fitting 143 which is threaded into valve seat 137. Tubing 147 is secured to fitting 143 by threaded bushing 145.

FIG. 6 illustrates a cross section view of a dispensing outlet which is an alternate to capillary outlet 39 shown in FIG. 1. Conduit 153 has a central opening 155 sealed by ball valve 157 which in turn is biased by spring 159. The pressure of dispensed fluid overcomes the bias of spring 159 and displaces ball valve 157 to allow fluid to exit from the dispensing outlet. The ball check valve 157 prevents fluid dripping between dispensing operatlon.

FIG. 7 illustrates three modules of the dispenser output heads contemplated by the present invention. Each module has a dispensing outlet 153, an activating button 33, a counter 32 and alarm panel 25. Each module receives fluid from a pump through fluid conduits attached between the module and the pump and check valve system and delivers the fluid out of dispensing outlet 153 in response to the pressing of button 33 located under dispensing outlet 153. Each time button 33 is depressed, counter 32, located below button 33, tallies the operation and displays the total count of operations. As long as fluid is present in each dispensing system, empty alarm 25 comprising a lamp behind a translucent panel located above outlet 153, remains lighted. When fluid is not present, the light is extinguished, signalling the operator to replace the empty bottles. Point of Purchase advertising is provided by placing beverage identificationdecals on the empty alarm translucent panel. This advertising is illustrated in FIG. 7 by the designations of Brand A, Brand B" and Brand C. As illustrated, Brand A and Brand B lights are operating indicating each of the systems does not need replenishing of bottles whereas Brand C light is extinguished requiring replacement of empty bottles. 1

Operation of the present invention can best be described by reference to FIG. 1. Depressing button 33 causes pump activator 31 to actuate variable displacement pump 29 thereby reducing the pressure at check valve 27 causing atmospheric pressure at conduit 17 to force the liquid contents of bottle 9 through conduit 19, sensor 20 and conduit 21 into bottle 11 which in turn forces the contents of bottle 11 through conduit 23, check valve 27 and into pump 29. The liquid passing through conduits 19 and 21 is sensed by sensor 20 and prevents the empty alarm 25 from operating when the pump activator is activated by button 33. When there is no liquid present in conduits 19 and 21, sensor 20 indicates the absence of fluid and activates empty alarm 25 when pump activator 31 is operated by button 33. Sensor 20 can be of the conductivity type or a pressure sensor. In the absence of fluid in bottle 9 the pressure at sensor 20 will be atmospheric instead of a reduced pressure below atmospheric when fluid is present in the bottles. Since sensor 20 indicates when bottle 9 is empty while bottle 11 still contains fluid, bottle 9 can be replaced with a full bottle without interrupting the dispensing system.

When button 33 is released pump activtor-31 is deactivated and pump 29 is returned to its inactive state which causes the fluid accumulated therein when the pump was activated to be forced through check valve 35 and into reservior 37 and outlet 39. Outlet 39 may be a capillary as illustrated to permit flow from the outlet by force of gravity while preventing dripping between dispensing operations. Te capillary size is also sufficient to prevent the fluid from becoming pressurized and allow the fluid to flow freely by force of gravity to prevent splashing. Outlet 41 relieves any pressure build up.

It is important to note that the pump can be made to dispense fluid when button 33 is depressed and to accumulate fluid therein for the next dispensing operation when button 33 is released. This action is the reverse of that described above and is one of many pumping variations contemplated within the present invention and well known in the art of fluid pumping.

Since fluid enters the pump volume by the force of atmospheric pressure, it is desirable to keep the fluid head as short as possible between the pump and the bottle. Therefore, it is contemplated within the scope of the present invention to mount the pump directly on the first bottle in the tandem series. This requires the pump to work with a head" of fluid approximately equivalent to the height of a bottle which is of negligible magnitude.

It should be noted that although two bottles 9 and 11 are illustrated in FIG. 1 that any number of bottles connected in tandem in the manner illustrated by the connections between bottles 9 and 11 may be utilized and connected to conduit 17. Therefore, it can be seen from this tandem connection that a sufficient number of bottles can be added to provide a substantial source of fluid for dispensing by the system. Furthermore, it should be noted that all the bottles except the first adjacent the pump in the tandem string may be removed when empty and replaced with full bottles while the system is in operation without disturbing the dispensing of fluid according to the teachings of this invention.

Empty alarm 25 may be a lamp or buzzer or any other visual or audible display which is activated in the absence of fluid passing sensor 20. To prevent the empty alarm from operating unnecessarily at all times, it is connected to pump activator 31 and energized only when button 33 is depressed. Therefore, when a demind for fluid dispensing is commanded by depressing button 33 and all of the bottles except the first in the tandem series connection are empty, empty alarm 25 will be activated.

The operation of the tandem connected fluid containers can be best understood by turning to FIG. 2. If conduit 23 is connected to the check valve and pump system illustrated in FIG. 1, it is clear that the reduced pressure therein caused during the pump cycle results in the atmospheric pressure at conduit 17 forcing fluid from bottle 9 through conduits 19 and 21 into bottle 11. The increase fluid in bottle 11 produces an increase pressure therein forcing the fluid from bottle 11 outwardly through conduit 21 into the check valve and pump system as described in connection with FIG. 1.

A practical embodiment of the bottle stopper and conduit is illustrated in FIG. 3 showing opening 55 which allows fluid to enter from the next adjacent tandem connected bottle into the neck of the bottle illustrated. Fluid is then taken from the interior of the bottle through tubular insert 49 which reaches into the re mote interior of the bottle to conduct fluid therein through conduit 57 to the next tandem connected bottle.

The operation of the diaphragm pump can best be illustrated by reference to FIG. 4 wherein a source of pressure 93 is released into volume 99 by activating solenoid valve 95. This pressurized gas forces diaphragm 63 downward into the volume 100 thereby reducing -volume 100 and forcing any fluid therein through valve seat 69 and ball check valve and out of the conduit connected to fitting 71. When the solenoid valve is not activated, the pressure is released from volume 99 out through conduit 97 which is connected to conduit 96 by the solenoid valve. Spring 89 then activates diaphragm 63 back to its initial resting position, causing check valve ball 75 to be firmly seated against check valve seat 69 thereby reducing the pressure in the volume 100. This reduced pressure causes ball check valve 79 to be lifted from valve seat 83 and allows fluid to enter through tubing 87 into the volume 100. When the solenoid valve is activated again the same process is repeated whereby the fluid contained in the volume is forced past ball check valve 75 and out through the conduit connected to fitting 71.

Flange nut 73 is adjustable to permit the displacement of disphragm 63 to be changed for control of the dispensed volume of fluid. By screwing flange nut 73 down onto body member 61, the return stroke of the diaphragm is shortened to reduce the fluid volume dispensed.

It should be noted that is is possible that a variable displacement of the diaphragm pump can be obtained without adjustment of flange nut 73 by operating the solenoid valve for varying periods of time thereby allowing more or less pressure to be built up in volume 99. The greater the pressure, the greater diaphragm 63 is displaced downward into the volume 100. A maximum excursion is determined by the diaphragm assembly striking valve seat 83. If sufficient pressure is applied to offset the force of the spring 89, then a constant displacement is obtained regardless of time or pressure variations. Increased pressure will increase the speed of operation but will not alter the volume of fluid dispensed. By operating the solenoid valve in a manner which does not permit sufficient pressure to accumulate to offset the force of the spring, a short pour is obtained providing less than the normal dispensed volume of fluid.

The principle of operation of diaphragm pump of FIG. 5 is very similar to that described in connection with FIG. 4 except the diaphragm does not have a check valve mounted thereon. When button 119 is depressed, power from power source 117 is connected to solenoid 115 thereby causing magnetic armature 113 to be pulled upward into solenoid 115. This upward motion overcomes the bias of spring 121 and moves diaphragm upward to increase volume 110. This reduces the pressure in volume below atmospheric thereby firmly seating ball check valve 139 against valve seat 137 causing ball check valve 127 to be forced away from valve seat and allow fluid to enter therethrough from conduit tubing 133. Upon release of button 119, the solenoid is deactivated and the magnetic armature drops downward until adjustable nut 114 engages body member 103 and prevents further downward motion of the magnetic armature. This results in diaphragm 105 being returned downward under the bias of spring 121 causing the pressure in volume 110 to increase thereby forcing ball check valve 127 firmly against check valve seat 129 to prevent fluid escape and in turn forcing ball check valve 139 away from check valve seat 137 to allow fluid to flow therethrough outward into fluid conduit tubing 147. When button U9 is depressed again the process is repeated causing fluid againt to enter into volume 110 and again to be dispensed therefrom when the button 119 is re-' leased. A variable amount of fluid can be dispensed as before by depressing button 119 momentarily such that the magnetic armature H3 is not fully drawn into the solenoid. However, if button 119 is held depressed, a fixed volume of fluid will be dispensed each time, the volume being adjustable by means of adjustable nut 114.

The fluid from the diaphragm pumps illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5 may be directed into the dispensing outlet illustrated in FIG. 6. The fluid enters through fluid conduit 153. The fluid pressure overcomes the small force of spring 159 and allows fluid to flow past ball valve 157 and through the outlet. The force of spring 157 is a minimum to just keep ball valve slightly pressed against its seat to prevent fluid drippingbetween dispensing operations. The spring force is not sufficient to allow the fluid to become pressurized. Therefore under all conditions of operation, the fluid flows from the dispensing outlet at a constant rate under the force of gravity with just enough pressure to overcome the force of spring 159. As a result there is no splashing or squirting resulting in a uniform and controlled dispensing of fluid therefrom.

It now should be apparent that the present invention provides a fluid dispensing system and apparatus which may be employed in conjunction with beverage dispensing systems for dispensing fluids from a multiplicity of tandem connected fluid containers by a variable displacement diaphragm pump and valve arrangement which forces the fluidinto a dispensing container from which the unpressurized fluid flows under the force of gravity.

Although particular components, etc., have been dis cussed in connection with the specific embodiment of a fluid dispensing system and apparatus constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention, others may be utilized. Furthermore, it will be understood that although an exemplary embodiment of the present invention has been disclosed and discussed, other applications and connective arrangements are possible and that the embodiment disclosed may be subjected to various changes, modifications and substitutions without necessarily departing from the spirit of the invention.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for dispensing fluid from at least one open-mouthed container comprising:

a flexible diaphragm member having a central opening therein;

first and second concave body members between which said flexible diaphragm is clamped to form a first volume between said first concave body member and said diaphragm member and a second volume between the other side of said diaphragm and said second concave body member, said first concave body member having an opening therein oppositely disposed said central opening in said diaphragm member and said second concavebody member having an opening therethrough;

conduit means centrally connected to said diaphragm member to enclose said central opening therein, said conduit means passing through said first volume and being slideably engaged in said opening in said first body member to form a fluid path through said conduit means between said opening in said diaphragm member and said opening in said first body member which fluid path is independent from said first volume; I

a first check valve mounted in said opening in said diaphragm member to allow fluid to enter said conduit means from said second volume when said diaphragm is moved in a direction to decrease said second volume thereby dispensing fluid from said second volume through said conduit;

a second check valve mounted in said opening in said second convave body member and connected to at least one fluid container, said second check valve allowing fluid to enter into said second volume from said fluid container when said diaphragm is moved to increase said second volume;

means for moving said diaphragm; and

means for controlling the magnitude phragm motion.

2. The apparatus for dispensing fluid described in claim 1 wherein said means for controlling the magnitude of said diaphragm motion comprises an adjustable fitting means having an opening therein to which a fluid conduit can be attached, said adjustable fitting means being threadably connected to said first concave body member to enclose said opening therein, said adjustable fitting means further having a shoulder therein which is engaged by said conduit means when said diaphragm is moved to increase said second volume thereby limiting the magnitude of said diaphragm motion which motion is adjustable by turning said adjustable fitting means on its threaded connection to said firstconcave body member.

3. The apparatus for dispensing fluid described in claim 2 further comprising a dispensing outlet connected to said opening of said adjustable fitting means and having a capillary opening from which fluid is dis pensed by the force of gravity in response to the pumping motion of said diaphragm, said capillary opening preventing the dripping of fluid from said dispensing outlet between dispensing operations.

4. The apparatus for dispensing fluid described in claim 3 wherein said dispensing outlet is further included in a fluid dispensing outlet module comprising a push-button switch connected to activate said means for moving said diaphragm, a counter for recording and indicating the number of diaphragm pumping operations, an alarm lightfor connection to a liquid sensor of said diato indicate the presence of liquid in the container attached to said second check valve and a light transmitting advertising panel covering said alarm light to identify the liquid being dispensed.

5. The apparatus for dispensing fluid described in claim 3 wherein said first check valve and capillary opening are replaced by an outlet check valve having a spring with sufficiently low force to prevent the fluid in said dispensing outlet from becoming pressurized thereby substantially maintaining the dispensing of fluid from said container by the force of gravity, said outlet check valve preventing the dripping of fluid from said dispensing outlet between dispensing operations.

claim wherein said means for moving said diaphragm comprises;

a solenoid actuated valve connected to said first volume and having an inlet for connection to a source of pressurized gas and an outlet, said inlet being connected through said valve to said first volume to apply pressure to said diaphragm when said solenoid is activated and said outlet being connected through said valve to said first volume to release the pressure on said diaphragm when said solenoid is deactivated; and

means for biasing said diaphragm in a direction to increase said second volume when said solenoid is deactivated, said means for biasing being overcome by the pressurized gas connected to said first volume when said solenoid is activated to move said diaphragm in a direction to decrease said second volume. 7. The apparatus for dispensing fluid described in claim 5 wherein said means for moving said diaphragm comprises;

means for biasing said diaphragm; and

a solenoid having the armature thereof connected to said diaphragm, said solenoid overcoming said means for biasing when said solenoid is activated thereby displacing said diaphragm from a first position, said diaphragm being returned to said first position by said means for biasing when said solenoid is deactivated, the displacement and return of said diaphragm generating a pumping action by which fluid is forced into said second volume through said first check valve and out of said second volume through said second check valve.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4070133 *Feb 9, 1976Jan 24, 1978Mccormick HomerPump compressor unit for use with pumping draft beer
US4490133 *Apr 8, 1982Dec 25, 1984Westfalia Separator AgSelf-discharging centrifugal drum outlet valve regulating device
US4557399 *Jul 2, 1982Dec 10, 1985Redick Jr Richard WAdapter for bottled water dispenser
US4653989 *Nov 18, 1985Mar 31, 1987Poly Oil Pump, Inc.Oil well pumping mechanism
US4852621 *Aug 10, 1987Aug 1, 1989Bear Don EBottled water pressurization system
US5074438 *Apr 24, 1990Dec 24, 1991Fragra*Matics Mfg Co. Inc.Full service car wash fragrance dispensing machine
US5186615 *Jun 26, 1990Feb 16, 1993Karldom CorporationDiaphragm pump
US5529220 *Dec 21, 1994Jun 25, 1996The Coca-Cola CompanyBackpack beverage dispenser
US5622484 *Nov 10, 1994Apr 22, 1997Carr-Griff, Inc.Valve arrangement for a condiment dispensing system
US5785211 *Dec 23, 1996Jul 28, 1998Abd, L.C.Portable powered beer keg tapping device with air pressure regulator
US6435379 *Dec 11, 2000Aug 20, 2002Ebac LimitedBottled liquid dispensers
EP0515993A1 *May 22, 1992Dec 2, 1992Joseph FeldmanSyrup dosing valve in an installation for the preparation of carbonated flavored beverages
Classifications
U.S. Classification222/136, 417/63, 222/571, 222/400.8, 417/395
International ClassificationB67D1/12, F04B49/02, F04B43/04, B67D1/10, F04B43/073
Cooperative ClassificationF04B43/073, F04B43/04, F04B49/02, B67D1/10, B67D1/1243
European ClassificationB67D1/12B6H, F04B43/073, F04B43/04, B67D1/10, F04B49/02