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Publication numberUS3888466 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 10, 1975
Filing dateMay 7, 1973
Priority dateFeb 2, 1971
Publication numberUS 3888466 A, US 3888466A, US-A-3888466, US3888466 A, US3888466A
InventorsJason K Sedam
Original AssigneeCoca Cola Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Agitating apparatus
US 3888466 A
Abstract
An agitating apparatus is described wherein an improved agitator system is employed in cooperation with a container so as to thoroughly mix a dispensable fluid which is positioned within the container and wherein the container has a removable top or cover portion. The agitator system includes a magnetic coupling arrangement associated therewith which is driven by a fluid motor impeller. The impeller is driven by a fluid which is customarily available at little or no cost and which is further utilized in the system or subsequently dispensed with the concentrate so as to eliminate the requirement of discarding the same. A removable stirring element is suspended from the container top or cover portion in order to prevent the same from being lost or being interferred with during the cleaning or replacement of the container.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Sedam AGlTATlNG APPARATUS [75] Inventor: Jason K. Sedam Dunwootly. Ga.

l73| Assignec; The Coca-Cola Company. Atlanta.

Cur

{22] Filed: May 7, 1973 [21] App]. No: 357,306

Related US. Application Data [62] Division of Scr. No ll l,959 Feb. 2. i971. Pat No.

[52] US. Cl. 259/44; ZZZ/22612221335; 2S9/DIG. 46 [5|] Int. Cl 30" 13/08 |58| Field of Search v. ZSQ/DIG, 46. 7, 8, 10, 259/42. 44. 46, 108, Ill]; 222/1291. 226, 335

[56} References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 721.973 3/l903 Smith 259/8 2466.468 4/l949 Neal .4 ZSJ/DIG. 46

2.979232 4/l96l Wood 4 4 i y w H ZZZ/129.] 3,348,737 lU/l967 Yingst et al 222N291 X June 10, 1975 Primary lixwninerHarvey C. Hornsby Assisrun! Examiner-Phillip R. C'oe Azmrney. Agent. or FirmW. Dexter Brooks [57] ABSTRACT An agitating apparatus is described wherein an improved agitator system is employed in cooperation with a container so as to thoroughly mix a dispensable fluid which is positioned within the container and wherein the container has a removable top or cover portion. The agitator system includes a magnetic coupling arrangement associated therewith which is driven by a fluid motor impeller. The impeller is driven by a fluid which is customarily available at little or no cost and which is further utilized in the system or subsequently dispensed with the concentrate so as to eliminate the requirement of discarding the same. A removable stirring element is suspended from the container top or cover portion in order to prevent the same from being lost or being interferred with during the cleaning or replacement of the container 5 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJUH 10 ms SHEET I l lll ldl h-fi l filll IIIII M m 1 ////////4r/////// l :illiiiihillllll III III,"

PATENTEDJUH I 0 ms SHEET AG ITATING APPARATUS This is a division of application Scr. No. lllfli filed Feb. 2. IJ7l. and now ILS, Pat. No. 3.744.764.

FIELD OF THIZ INYI'IN'I'ION This invention relates to an imprm ed agitator system that is employed in cooperation with a container so as to thoroughly mix a dispensable fluid held in the container. More specifically. this invention relates to an improved agitator system including a magnetic coupling associated therewith which is driven by a fluid motor impeller. The dispensable fluid is used to drive the impeller prior to being subsequently conditioned and discharged from the container with a concentrate or extract.

DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR ART There are presently available a wide variety of dispensing devices that include an agitator assembly for mixing a dispensable liquid; however. many ofthese agitator assemblies have not been found totally accept able because of various reasons.

For example. one problem in conventionaldispensers which employ a beverage or frozen concentrates to be dispensed. such as fresh fruit juices. coffee. tea. or syrup. is the necessity of keeping the concentrate cold to a certain extent to be palatable. This normally has been done by the use of a refrigerating element which is placed in close proximity to the dispenser in order to maintain or provide a cold environment for the concentrate. Further. in order to prevent the constituents of the concentrate from settling on the bottom of the dispenser container. or stratifying therein. revolving paddles or circulating pumps have been employed in the container for agitating the concentrate. This form of agitation has been used in the beverage industry but frequently not found acceptable since dead spots" will occur in the region of the dispensing tap and on the bottom of the container. The liquid trapped in these dead spots not only becomes unpalatable. but tends to spoil more quickly than the cooler mixed liquid and causes deposits of scum or sediment to form within the container. Also. the circulation is inadequate next to the wall of the container. giving rise to a ring of scum thereon which is unsightly, hard to remove and difficult to sterilize. Because of and to try to overcome these problems. the agitator assemblies normally have been operated continuously.

Another problem encountered in paddle-type stirring mechanisms and conventional circulation pumps is the leakage of oil through the packing of the drive shafts. As is obviously known. the leakage of a very minute quantity of such oil in the beverage itself makes it unfit for consumption.

A further disadvantage in conventional dispensers is that they normally employ an electric motor for driving the agitator assembly. This arrangement has not been found acceptable and should not be used because of the hazards attendant the generation of sparks which may occur upon deterioration of clastomers and insulating material used in the sealing ofthe electrical com ponents. Aside from the sparking aspect. a further disadvantage is their large si7e and bulkiness which greatly restricts their use. For example. the use ofthe electrical motor for driving the agitator assembly greatly hinders the production of portable beverage dispensers due to its space requirements. Additionally. it is well recognized that electrical motors by their very nature develop and produce heat which may be deleterious to the dispensable liquids or constituents.

Accordingly. there has arisen a need in the industry for the production ofa suitable agitator dispenser apparatus. preferably of simple construction, whereby the rate of agitation may be controlled and the concentrate will be subjected to a uniform. complete and thorough agitation regardless of the containers configuration or the particular constituents of the liquid contained therein.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION The agitator apparatus of the present invention satisfies these needs by providing an improved magnetic coupling between the agitator element and the fluid motor impeller. In addition, the fluid motor impeller itself is an improved impeller arrangement which utilizes the hydraulic pressure of the dispensable fluid itself as the driving force or source of power therefor. After the dispensable fluid leaves the impeller. the same may be subsequently conditioned by either being heated or cooled prior to being dispensed with or as a liquid such as frozen orange juice. coffee. tea. syrup. hot cocoa. pre-mixed beverage. carbonated beverage or preparations for making the same. Thus. a more compact. efficient. simply constructed and unique dispenser apparatus is provided incorporating an improved agitator assembly whereby the product components are utilized in the system and nothing must be discarded.

OBJECTS OF INVENTION It is. accordingly. an object of this invention to provide an improved agitator apparatus.

Another object of the invention is to provide an improved agitator apparatus incorporating a magnetic coupling generally of the type described which is low in cost and of simple. reliable construction.

Another object of the invention is to provide an agitator dispenser which may be easily disassembled and cleaned in order to meet sanitation requirements or purposes.

Another object of the invention is to provide an agitator within a liquid or beverage container which may be driven by magnetic means that do not require pas sage of a shaft through a wall of the container. thus eliminating the need to seal the shaft against leakage.

Another object of the invention is to provide an improved fluid motor impeller arrangement for driving the magnetic coupling and wherein the driving force therefor is customarily available for use at little or no cost.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a more compact agitated dispensing system by employing the dispensable liquid as the driving fluid for the fluid motor impeller and related magnetic coupling arrangement of the agitator apparatus to ensure that all product components are utilized in the system and nothing is required to be discarded. This alleviates the requirement for a separate driving force for actuating the agitator which normally has to be discarded after the impeller driving operation.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an agitator dispenser which mixes the liquid uniformly. which maintains circulation in desired parts of the storage and dispensing system during intermittant operation thereof. and which eliminates the formation of scum or sediment on the walls of the container.

These and other objects and features of this invention along with its incident advantages will be better understood and appreciated from the following detailed description of an embodiment thereof. selected for purposes of illustration only and shown in the accompanying drawings. in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWING FIG. 1 is a schematic view. partly in section and partly broken away. showing a beverage dispenser system including an improved agitator assembly for the beverage dispenser in accordance with this invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged side view in section showing details of a concentrate tank housing an agitator assembly embodied in this invention;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged top section view. partly broken away. showing details of a concentrate tank housing. with the tank cover removed. embodied in this invention;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged side view in section showing details of a concentrate tank housing an alternative em bodiment of the agitator assembly embodied in this invention;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged top section view taken along Line 5-5 of FIG. 4, partly broken away. showing dc tails of the alternative embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION Referring to the drawings in detail. a beverage dis- FIGS. 1-3. It will be understood that a housing. not

shown. may be provided for supporting and enclosing various operating components (schematically illustrated in FIG. 1) in operative assembled relation. While the dispenser is capable of quickly and positively discharging fluids of various types in different applications. it is particularly suited for dispensing both hot and cold liquid beverages at the same time. The term beverage will be understood to include a variety of con sumable liquids such as coffee. soup. beer. fruit juices such as orange juice. vegetable juices. milk. tea. premixed beverages. carbonated beverages, and similar liquid foods and drinks. Separate metered quantities of either hot or cold liquids may be dispensed from each metering compartment of the dispenser. but for the purposes of illustration. the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-3 will be described in connection with the metering and dispensing of separate slugs of hot water and cold concentrate. or syrup. to provide a blended hot beverage,

To effect precision metering and simultaneous discharge of water and beverage concentrate in precisely proportioned quantities for a single serving. a two stroke cycle metering pump is provided in accor dance with this invention as best seen in FIG. 1. The pump 10 has a tubular body 12 and an attached coaxial housing portion 14 jointly defining a longitudinal extending chamber 16 wherein a piston subassembly is received for reciprocating movement.

The piston subassembly includes a water piston 18 of V shaped half section opening toward the housing portion 14 and a concentrate piston 20 which is of reduced size and is reciprocnblc with a cylindrical liner 22 preferably formed of stainless steel for increased abrasion resistance while minimizing any resistance to piston movement. The liner 22 projects beyond housing portion l4 and into concentrate chamber housing 24 suitably fixed to the housing portion 14 by a nut 26.

S Concentrate inlet and outlet fittings 30. 32 are provided in the concentrate chamber bc 'si and the inlet fitting is shown having a check valve 34 exclusively providing one-way flow of concentrate into the housing 24 through a supply line 35 connected to an insulated concentrate tank 36 (FIGS. L3) that maintains the concentrate in a refrigerated condition until discharged in a drink. If desired. tank 36 could also be adapted to serve as a source of concentrate to be dispensed at room temperature or even at elevated tem- 5 peraturcs depending on the uses to which the dispenser is to be applied.

A throw adjustment screw 28 is threadly secured within an end of the housing 24. The screw 38 may be set to project a preselected distance beyond an inner end of the plug 24 and then locked in position by a hex nut 42 to provide a left hand stop for the concentrate piston 20 defining a discharged position for the piston subassembly.

The piston 22 is secured to an axially extending connecting rod 46 integrally fixed to a circular end plate 48 of the water piston l8 that is reciprocable within chamber I6 to an extent limited by a throw adjustment screw and a spacer plug (not shown) coaxially mounted within the water piston 18 to provide a right hand stop defining a loaded position for the piston subasscmbly.

To assist selfcentering reciprocating movement of the pump 10. a perforated guide tube is coaxially received within the chamber 16 and has a flared end 7| abutting housing portion 14 for seating one end of a return compression spring 72 coiled about the guide tube 70 and the water piston 18. It is to be noted that the guide tube 70 additionally serves to maintain the return spring 72 in proper position.

The concentrate piston 20 and water piston 18 thus divide chamber 16 into separate concentrate and water measuring chamber portions and a rear operating chamber portion 84. the pistons 18, 2t) and their respective chamber portions or compartments being of predetermined sizes for precisely metering measured quantities of concentrate and water in a fixed preselected ratio which may be controlled in volume by setting the throw adjustment screw 38. The forward concentrate compartment is provided with separate inlet and outlet fittings 30 and 32 as described above. and the back water compartment is also provided with separate inlet and outlet fittings 86 and 88 secured to the body 12 and the housing portion 14 respectively.

While not described in detail. suitable fluidtight seals and packing rings are provided in the system where needed to ensure against undesired fluid leakage between component body parts as well as between the different compartments of the chamber 16 and their respective fittings in accordance with well known conventional techniques. Each of the seals is preferably formed of a suitable. commercially available. dry bearing plastic material exhibiting low abrasive characteristics and minimal deformation under load while possessing high wear resistance and high compression strength over a wide range of temperature to provide a suitable low friction piston seal.

For illustrative purposes. the tank 90 is described as having a suitable heated liquid therein. although it is to be understood that the dispenser could be easily modifled to permit tank 90 to serve in a different capacity. e g, wherein another cold liquid is desired to be mixed with the refrigerated concentrate to pro\ ide a blended, cold beverage.

To operate the pump it] at high speed dispensing cycles with minimal energy requirements. as well as to provide for minimum water consumption. a common supply and tank return conduit 92 is connected in per manently open communication with the operating compartment 84 for supplying tap water under pressure to drive the piston subassembly from its loaded position to its discharged position. Thereafter, the spent tap water returns from the operating compartment 84 via conduit 92 to the water tank 90 to be heated such that it is conditioned to be dispensed in a subsequent cycle. Moreover. the fluid circuit is particularly suited for operation wherein ordinary city water is supplied at approximately 35 psi to psi gage pressure.

More specifically, the supply and tank return conduit 92 is connected to an open service port 94 in a solenoid operated main flow control valve 96. The main control valve 96 has a normally closed inlet port 98 communicating with an ordinarily water supply line 101. and a normally open outlet port 104 of the main control valve 96 is connected with the water tank 90. A branch inlet line 105 is provided for supplying water to the tank 90. excessive flow being accomodatcd by an overflow line 103 connected to a suitable drain, not shown. The inlet water is controlled by a float operated valve 106 in the line 105 to assist in maintaining a substantially constant volume within the tank 90.

The main control valve 96 is provided with suitable electrical connections to be energized in response to a demand signal in a well known manner. Upon energization of the main valve 96, the pistons 18 and 20 are immediately thrust forward against the spring force into discharge position to simultaneously dispense cold concentrate and hot water from the pump 10 through their respective outlets 32 and 88.

During this power stroke, the fluid circuit inlets to the concentrate and water Compartments of the pump H) are closed. While the check valve 34 effectively prevents reverse flow of concentrate into tank 36. the inlet 86 to the water compartment is closed off to the water tank by a valve member I08 of a solenoid operated auxiliary control valve 110 seating against a normally open working port 112 between a pump inlet line 114 and a hot water conduit ll6 extending upwardl in the tank 90 for conducting hot water from the to of the tank 90 into the water compartment of the pump [0. Although the auxiliary control valve [I0 is normally open, it is energized in phase with the main control valve 96 to close off the inlet 86 between the pump 10 and the tank 90 during the power stroke of the pump.

The water supply line I0] and branch inlet line 105 are connected to a fluid motor impeller 60 that is fed by a water supply 100. The fluid motor impeller 60 provides an intermittent agitation ofthe concentrate in the tank 36 immediately preceding withdrawal of the concentrate through supply line 35. The agitator assembly 80 for stirring the concentrate is driven through a magnetic drive provided by the fluid motor impeller 60.

The agitator assembly designated generally 80 has a plurality of vanes 81 which are equally spaced and which extend radially from adjacent to the center of the impeller to the outer periphery thereof. A stirrer rod 85 is suspended within the container 36 from a removable lid portion 91. A pivot ball 89 is secured to the upper end of the stirrer rod and positioned within a cavity of the removable lid 9i so as to rotate therein during the stirring of the concentrate. A bar magnet 82 is completely embedded within a plastic material 83 and attached to the lower end of the stirrer rod 85 by the vane portions 81.

The impeller 60 has a magnetic core 61 which may be of any suitable manufacture. In the present instance the core 6] is a bipolar circular magnet which is suitable sealed or embedded in a plastic ring portion 64 so as to prevent the contamination of the product by the magnet or vice versa. This ring portion 64 is mounted for free rotation on a stud 63 which is fixed centrally on the bottom wall portion 62 of the impeller 60. A non-magnetic top plate 65 is secured to the bottom portion 62 by bolts 93. The impeller 60 is provided with an inlet 66 and outlet 67 (as shown in FIG. 3) for passage of water thcrethrough.

It will be apparent that as water enters the inlet 66 of the impeller 60 from water supply 100. the impeller will rotate and when opposite poles of the magnets 61 and 83 come into registry there will be a magnetic coupling between the two so that they will revolve together a unit causing the agitator to stir the contents ofthe tank 36 to mix the contents of the concentrate and prevent sediment from settling. It will also be apparent that as the agitator rotates. liquid will flow through the grooves and the impeller 60 and provide a lubricant between the ring portion 64 and stud 63 so as to reduce wear of the parts of the impeller in contact therewith. Addition ally, because of the large ratio of water to concentrate. it will be apparent that there is sufficient volume of water available to drive the impeller and more compact operation is present.

it should be manifest that while a preferred embodiment of the present invention has been shown and described for illustrative purposes, the present invention is nevertheless capable of wide variation within the pur view of the invention. For example, the present invcn tion could be incorporated in a conventional premix carbonated beverage system Such conventional pre mix carbonated beverage systems generally employ a tank for holding the premix beverage, a carbon dioxide inlet connection for the tank, and a dip tube suspended within the tank and connected to an outlet connection on the top cover portion of tank. In normal operation, carbon dioxide is supplied to the tank through the inlet connection of the tank for driving the pre-mix beverage up the dip tube and out ofthe tank, The pre-mix bevcr age is then supplied through a serving nozzle to the consumer. The present invention can be incorporated in such a system, as more aptly illustrated in FIGS, 4 and 5. in H6. 4 it will be seen that the present inven tion can be incorporated in such a system so that a stirring element suspended by a stirrer rod from a pivot ball 189 secured to the upper end of the stirrer rod 185 and positioned within a cavity of a removable lid 19! may be driven by a fluid motor impellor 160 which embodies the same construction as described above in relation to FIG. 2. in such a system, the premixed beverage is withdrawn through the dip tube 135 within the tank 136 and supplied as the required drive for the fluid motor impellor 160. After passing through the impellor I60, the premixed beverage is supplied from outlet 167. see FIG. 5, to a serving nozzle (not shown] to the consumer.

in view of the above-described embodiments it will be seen that a dispenser with an agitator assembly in ac cordance with this invention can be readily constructed for dispensing metered quantities of a plurality of different fluids each of which can be either hot or cold. depending on the requirements of the beverage desired to be dispensed. As aforesaid. the term beverage is meant to include a variety of consumable liquids such as coffee. soup, beer. fruit juices. vegetable juices. milk. tea. pre mix beverages. carbonated beverages and similar liquid foods and drinks. The agitator dis penscr of this invention will be seen to be of rugged. compact construction which is quick and easy to assemble in addition to being capable of providing dc pendable operation over extended periods of time with minimal maintenance and service requirements.

It is believed that the present invention, its mode of construction. assembly. and operation. and many of its advantages attendant thereto should be readily understood from the foregoing without further description and it should also be manifest that while a preferred embodiment of the invention has been shown and de' scribed for illustrative purposes, the structural details are nevertheless of wide variation within the purview of the invention as defined in the appended claims.

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

An agitator dispenser having a container for bolding a fluid to be dispensed as a consumable beverage wherein:

Agitating means are provided for agitating a dispensable fluid in the container and wherein driving Ill means are provided for driving the agitating means. torque being applied to the driving means by the same dispensable fluid after it has been withdrawn from the container. and further wherein said agitat ing means comprises a magnetic element immersed within the container holding the fluid so as to form a magnetic coupling with said driving means when said torque is applied to the driving means.

2. An agitator dispenser as defined in claim 1. wherein the dispensable fluid in the container com prises a first liquid of citrus juice which is dispensed with a second liquid through a serving nozzle means after the first liquid has been withdrawn from the container and applied torque to the driving means.

3. An agitator dispenser as defined in claim 1. wherein the container is pressurized and includes a dip tube within the container for withdrawal of the dispensable fluid and said dispensable fluid comprising a premix fluid.

4. An agitator dispenser as defined in claim I. wherein the dispensable fluid in the container eomprises a first fluid of beverage syrup and wherein the syrup after it has been withdrawn from the container and applied torque to the driving means. is discharged through a serving nozzle with a second fluid of carbonated water.

5. An agitator dispenser as defined in claim 1, wherein the dispensable fluid in the container com prises a first fluid of beverage syrup and wherein the syrup after it has been withdrawn from the container is combined and discharged through a serving nozzle with a second fluid of carbonated water after the second fluid has applied torque to the driving means

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US721973 *May 18, 1901Mar 3, 1903Scott A SmithAutomatic mixer for fluids.
US2466468 *Dec 23, 1946Apr 5, 1949Herbert Neal HarryMagnetic mixer
US2979232 *Jan 23, 1957Apr 11, 1961Leonard J WoodBeverage dispensing system
US3348737 *May 18, 1966Oct 24, 1967Universal Match CorpDispensers
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4266950 *Jun 29, 1979May 12, 1981Mitsubishi Denki Kabushiki KaishaBubbling type dissolved gas separator
US4512666 *Feb 24, 1984Apr 23, 1985Corning Glass WorksAdjustable height magnetic stirrer
US4784297 *Mar 10, 1987Nov 15, 1988Solly KatzBeverage dispenser with agitator
US5227138 *Sep 9, 1992Jul 13, 1993Virginia Mason ClinicBlood transport apparatus
US5906105 *Mar 21, 1997May 25, 1999Ugonli S.P.A.Machine for producing frozen beverages
US6109780 *Jan 22, 1998Aug 29, 2000S. P. Industries Inc.Dynamic vortex impeller
US6416215Dec 14, 1999Jul 9, 2002University Of Kentucky Research FoundationPumping or mixing system using a levitating magnetic element
US6758593Nov 28, 2000Jul 6, 2004Levtech, Inc.Pumping or mixing system using a levitating magnetic element, related system components, and related methods
US6899454 *Jun 9, 2004May 31, 2005Levtech, Inc.Set-up kit for a pumping or mixing system using a levitating magnetic element
US7357567Jan 4, 2005Apr 15, 2008Levtech, Inc.Sterile fluid pumping or mixing system and related method
US7481572Oct 2, 2002Jan 27, 2009Levtech, Inc.Mixing bag or vessel having a receiver for a fluid-agitating element
US7762716Dec 9, 2005Jul 27, 2010Levtech, Inc.Mixing vessel with a fluid-agitating element supported by a roller bearing
US8057092 *Nov 27, 2007Nov 15, 2011Corning IncorporatedVessel comprising impeller assembly for culturing cells; bioreactor
DE2830548A1 *Jul 12, 1978Feb 1, 1979Para Serenella FoglioVorrichtung zum mischen und dosieren des inhaltes von behaeltern, insbesondere fuer lack, farben u.dgl. und fach- oder wandgestell zur aufnahme dieser vorrichtung
WO1994005416A1 *Sep 9, 1993Mar 17, 1994Virginia Mason ClinicBlood transport apparatus
Classifications
U.S. Classification222/394, 222/335, 366/279, 366/274, 222/226
International ClassificationB01F13/08
Cooperative ClassificationB01F13/089, B01F13/0827
European ClassificationB01F13/08D14, B01F13/08D