US 3892335 A
A dispenser for dispensing cool beverages which insures that every drink is cool, yet still has a large maximum serving capacity. The beverage dispenser has a cooling unit mounted for quick connection and disconnection on a tank with cooling coils immersed in a cooling liquid such as water. The beverage conduits are located on the inside of the cooling coils with the entrance and the exit of the beverage conduits into the tank being under the cooling coils and up over the side of the tank. A baffle plate is located between the cooling coils and the entrance and exit of the beverage conduits to prevent freeze-up of the beverage lines upon an accumulation of ice around the cooling coils. A propeller is located in the center of the liquid to insure proper circulation for maximum cooling. The drink dispenser is located at the exit of the beverage line so that every drink is cooled.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Schroeder 1 BEVERAGE DISPENSER  Inventor: Alfred A. Schroeder, San Antonio,
 Assignees: William V. Braley; R. A. Harman,
Jr., both of San Antonio, Tex.
 Filed: Nov. 30, 1973  Appl. No.: 420,665
 US. Cl ZZZ/129.1; 222/146 C; 60/77; 60/390  Int. Cl 367d 5/56  Field of Search 222/146 C, 129.1; 62/389, 62/390, 394, 396, 298, 77. 395
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,140,816 12/1938 Seitz 62/390 X 2.563.935 8/1951 Huffman et al 62/390 X 3,422,634 1/1969 Brown 62/390 [451 July 1,1975
Primary Examiner-Robert B. Reeves Assistant Examiner-Hadd Lane Attorney, Agent, or FirmCox, Smith, Smith, Hale & Guenther lncorporated 5 7 ABSTRACT A dispenser for dispensing cool beverages which insures that every drink is cool, yet still has a large maximum serving capacity. The beverage dispenser has a cooling unit mounted for quick connection and disconnection on a tank with cooling coils immersed in a cooling liquid such as water. The beverage conduits are located on the inside of the cooling coils with the entrance and the exit of the beverage conduits into the tank being under the cooling coils and up over the side of the tank. A baffle plate is located between the cooling coils and the entrance and exit of the beverage conduits to prevent freeze-up of the beverage lines upon an accumulation of ice around the cooling coils. A propeller is located in the center of the liquid to insure proper circulation for maximum cooling. The drink dispenser is located at the exit of the beverage line so that every drink is cooled.
10 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures BEVERAGE DISPENSER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a device for dispensing beverages, and more particularly, to improvements of such device to increase the drink serving capacity and to insure that the occasional drink is properly cooled.
ln public restaurants, cafeterias, snack bars, etc., counter space is at a premium. Most beverage dispensing machines which are located on the counter should be small, compact and very easy to service. The normal method of servicing the drink dispensing machines when the cooling unit may have a malfunction is to simply replace the cooling unit with another unit and take the defective one back to the shop for repairs. There fore, the cooling unit should be very easily removed without disturbing the beverage conduits. Another feature that is very important is that the beverage dispenser serves the occasional drink below a predetermined temperature and has a large maximum drink serving capacity.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART Basically, there are two types of electric beverage dispensers manufactured. The first type being referred to is called dry refrigeration, where the output of the beverage dispenser is limited to the capability of the compressor. Normally this type of beverage dispenser is designed for the evaporator coils to be submerged in the product that is to be dispensed, and it does not store any cooling capacity. Since no cooling capacity is stored, only a limited number of drinks could be dispensed.
The second type of electric beverage dispenser is the one to which the present invention is directed. lce accumulation on the evaporator coils in a cooling liquid provides the stored cooling capacity. This type of beverage dispenser has a tank, normally filled with water, in which the evaporator coil is submerged. Additionally, the beverage lines are also submerged inside the tank and begin and terminate at some point exterior to the tank. Ice is formed on the evaporator coils, and the water is agitated by means ofa motor driven propeller or other suitable means so that the water circulates across the product lines and the ice thereby assuring even and rapid heat transfer. As the beverage is dispensed from the product line, it is cooled to the desired temperature. The amount of beverage that may be dispensed at a given temperature is proportional to the amount of ice formed on the evaporator coil.
Dispensers of this type are rated by the number of a given size drink, below a given temperature, during a given period of time they can dispense. Additionally, they are rated by the temperature of the occasional drink, i.e., the temperature of a drink drawn after the beverage dispensing unit has not been used for a period of several hours. In the beverage dispensing market, it is desirable that the beverages be dispensed at a temperature of 40 Fahrenheit or below. Therefore, the occasional drink, which may have some of the beverage in the conduit lines external to the cooling tank, should be below this maximum temperature. A test, generally used to determine the maximum capacity ofa beverage dispensing machine, is the number of 6 ounce beverages that a machine can dispense within l hour and not exceed the temperature of 40 Fahrenheit. Since commercial establishments that sell beverages depend upon their beverage dispenser, it is important that the unit be easily serviced and repaired in the field. Because the cooling unit is the part that normally needs repair, the best way for repair is to quickly remove the cooling unit and replace it with the working unit. The defective unit can then be taken to the shop for repairs. This is the method that is currently used by most personnel servicing beverage dispensing machines.
Of the ice-bank type beverage dispensers, there are basically two models in use today. The first of these models has the beverage conduits running around the inside periphery of the tank, starting and terminating at some point exterior to the tank, with the evaporator coil submerged in the liquid inside the beverage conduits. This type of design allows for easy withdrawal of the cooling unit for servicing; however, has the resultant disadvantage in that there is less cubic space in which ice can form around the evaporator coils. Also, the beverage lines are located near the exterior of the tank, which acts as a heater to the cooling liquid.
The other model of the ice-bank beverage dispenser is actually the reverse of the first, with the evaporator coils being placed adjacent to the periphery of the tank and the beverage conduits being placed in the interior space. By this type of arrangement the evaporator coils can form a much larger ice-bank than the previous design. However, the product lines, in order to terminate at a point exterior to the tank, must run over the evaporator coils, with the resultant disadvantage being that the product lines must be disconnected in order to remove the cooling unit. If the product line runs under the evaporator coil and up the side of the container, the beverage contained in the line would freeze if not in continual use, or the ice-bank size would have to be decreased, thereby lowering the capacity of the beverage dispensing unit. If the beverage conduits were terminated through the bottom of the bank, expensive seals would be required, plus the first drink dispensed would be of a high temperature and would probably have to be thrown away. The present invention relates to the ice bank type of dispenser by combining the advantages of both designs without the inherent disadvantages. Additionally, it dispenses the occasional drink at a lower temperature than has been possible heretofore.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Therefore, it is an object of this invention to provide an ice-bank type beverage dispenser that dispenses an occasional drink at a satisfactory temperature without suffering a loss in the maximum output capacity.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a beverage dispenser that is small and economic to manufacture, easy to service and having a large output capacity.
It is still another object of the present invention to locate the cooling coils around the beverage conduits in such a manner that the cooling unit can be easily removed for servicing.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide the entrance and the exit of the beverage line conduits under the evaporator coils with a baffle plate inserted therebetween.
It is a still further object of the present invention to maintain the exit lines of the beverage conduits near freezing so that the occasional drink will be dispensed at an unusually low temperature.
It is still another object of the present invention to have a baffle plate between the entrance and exit of the beverage conduits of the beverage dispenser and the evaporator coils with the baffle plate allowing free circulation of the cooling liquid.
It is even another object of the present invention to provide an agitator propeller that circulates the cooling liquid over the evaporator coils and the beverage conduits on both sides of the baffle plate.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a pictorial view of the cooling unit being at tached to the beverage dispenser.
FIG. 2 is an illustrative sectional view of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a top view of the beverage conduits visible in FIGS. 1 and 2.
FIG. 4 is a side view of the beverage conduits shown in FIG. 3.
FIG. 5 is a partial sectional view of FIG. 1 illustrating the baffle plate position in the beverage dispenser.
FIG. 6 is a side view of the baffle plate.
FIG. 7 is a left side view of FIG. 6.
FIG. 8 is a top view of the beverage dispenser with the cooling unit removed.
FIGS. 9-13 are alternative configurations of the beverage conduits.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to FIG. I, there is shown an exploded view of a beverage dispenser with the cooling unit separated from the tank portion 16. The cooling unit 15 will have a decorative cover 35 over the cooling unit so that it will be attractive when setting on a serving counter. The cooling unit 15 has a compressor 17 that pressurizes the refrigerant, normally freon, to a highly pressurized vapor. The refrigerant is then changed to the liquid state in condenser 18, thereby giving off a large amount of heat. The condenser 18 is cooled by means of a fan 19 (not visible in FIG. I). As compressor l7 sucks the liquid freon into the evaporator coils 20, the freon changes from the liquid to a low pressure gaseous state, thereby absorbing much of the heat from the surroundings. Thereafter, the low pressure vapor is repressurized by the compressor 17.
The entire cooling unit 15 is attached to the tank portion 16 by means of bolts 21. By simply taking nuts off of bolts 21 and picking up on the cooling unit 15 by handles 22, the cooling unit 15 can be removed and another one set in its place. Since the tank 16 is normally filled with a liquid, such as water, a propeller 23 driven by a motor 24 circulates the water inside the tank portion 16. A thermostat 25 that controls the compressor 17 is inserted in the insulated receptacle 26 to maintain the water above the freezing point.
The tank portion 16 consists of an insulated receptacle 26 that is generally rectangular in shape. Beverage conduits 27 are located around the center of the insulated receptacle 26 with the cooling coils being between the walls of the receptacle 26 and the beverage conduits 27. The beverage conduits 27 enter the tanks under the evaporator coils 20 and behind the baffle plate 28, as will be explained in more detail subsequently. The beverages or the beverage mixes are stored at a remote location with the connection being made in the front wall 29 of the tank portion 16. The beverage conduits 27, which exit behind baffle plate 28, are connected directly to dispenser heads 30. By pushing lever 31, a beverage will be dispensed out of nozzle 32. A number of dispenser heads 30 and beverage conduits 27 will allow for a variety of drinks. Drain pan 33 will take care of any spillage that may occur while dispensing the desired beverage. Also, line 34 (shown in the cutaway) empties any water overflow into drain pan 33.
Referring now to FIG. 2 of the drawings, there is shown an illustrated sectional view of FIG. I that is not cut along a given section line. In FIG. 2, the previously described parts of the cooling unit 15 can be seen plus the decorative cover 35. The evaporator coils 20 are immersed in the water 36 so that after running the compressor unit 15 a period of time an ice-bank 37 will form about the evaporator coils 20. The beverage conduits 27 are located inside the ice-bank 37, with propeller 23 being located very near the center of the insulated receptacle 26 for circulating the water 36 to obtain a uniform heat distribution. Because of the physical arrangement of the beverage conduits 27, it may be necessary to retain the beverage conduits 27 by means of a frame 38 attached by any suitable means, such as brackets 39, to the bottom of the insulated receptacle 26. Otherwise, the beverage conduit 27 would have a tendency to spring apart and the lines would freeze in the ice-bank 37. All of the beverage conduits 27 enter and exit the insulated receptacle 26 under baffle plate 28 and over wall 40. By making the baffle plate 28 so that is does not completely extend from one side to the other of the insulated receptacle 26 as the water 36 is circulated by propeller 23 water will continue to flow in a tempering space formed by the wall 29 and the front of baffle plate 28. This flow of water in front of baffle plate 28 will keep the beverage conduits 27, that are connected to dispenser heads 30, at a very low temperature.
The present beverage dispenser, shown in the drawings, is of the post mix type, where a syrup and carbonated water are mixed together inside the nozzle 32 of the dispenser head 30. Therefore, both the syrup and the carbonated water should be cooled within the isolated receptacle 26. FIGS. 3 and 4 show one possible configuration for a four head dispenser using a post mix type of syrup for four different types of drinks. For the purposes of illustration, we will assume that conduit 41, which enters at point A, is the carbonated water line. After flowing down behind the baffle plate 28, under the evaporator coils 20 and around the center of the isolated receptacle 26, the carbonated water conduit 41 is split by couplings 42 to connect to each one of the dispenser heads 30. If point B represents the entry point of the syrup for the first drink, a conduit 43 may carry the syrup behind the baffle plate 28 around the "center of the isolated receptacle 26 inside the frame 38 and back out for dispensing through the first of the dispenser heads 30. Likewise, a second flavored syrup may enter through point C, flow in a similar manner through conduit 44 and back out for dispensing through a second dispenser head 30. Again, a third flavored syrup may enter through point D, flow through conduit 45 in a similar manner and out through a third dispensing head 30 for a third flavored drink. Also, a fourth flavored syrup may enter through point E of conduit 46 and exit through a fourth dispensing head for a fourth flavor.
Using a post mix type of syrup with carbonated water, it is particularly desirable that the syrup be main tained as close to freezing point as possible to reduce the amount of bubbling caused by carbonation. Since the syrup and carbonated water normally mix with one part syrup to five parts carbonated water, a shorter length of beverage conduit 27 is required for the syrup than is required for the carbonated water. Because of the difference in density between the syrup and the carbonated water and to insure that the syrup is as close to the freezing point as possible without freezing, the length of the carbonated water line should be approximately four times as great as the length of the syrup contained within the isolated receptacle 26.
Still referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, the circulating propeller 23 fits within space 47 of the beverage conduits 27. Gap 49 is where the evaporator coils 20 and baffle plate 28 fit when the evaporator coils 20 are encircling the center portion of the beverage conduits 27 as would be their normal operating configuration.
Referring now to FIG. 5, there is a partial pictorial view of the baffle plate 28 and the beverage conduits 27 with the insulated receptacle 26 and the dispenser heads 30 shown in phantom lines, that illustrates the positioning of the baffle plate 28. Referring to FIG. 5 in conjunction with FIGS. 6 and 7, the beverage conduits 27 extend under the bottom 50 of the baffle plate 28. Thereafter. the beverage conduits 27 make an approximately 90 turn to extend up wall 40 of insulated receptacle 26 and behind the upper portion 51 of baffle plate 28.
By arranging the beverage conduits 27 and the evaporator coils 20 in the manner just described, a much better beverage dispensing machine can be manufactured for use in the commercial market. Once the evaporator coils 20 are inserted in the water and allowed to operate for a period of time, an ice-bank 37 will accumulate around the evaporator coils 20. The thermostat 25 will control the operation of the compressor 18 so that the ice-bank accumulation will not become too excessive. The propeller continually circulates the water 37 inside the insulated receptacle 26 to insure a uniform heat distribution. Beverage conduits 27 that are contained near the center of the isolated receptacle 26 are cooled to a near freezing point. By locating the evaporator coils on the outside of the beverage conduits 27, a larger ice-bank 37 can accumulate without the freezing of the beverage in the beverage conduits 27. This large ice-bank accumulation greatly increases the maximum capacity of the drink dispensing unit.
Another feature of the present invention is the use of the baffle plate 28. As the propeller 23 turns to continually circulate the water 36, water will flow under the bottom 50 of the baffle plate 28 and between the upper portion 51 and wall 40. If such a dispensing unit were allowed to set for a long period of time, a slurry solution would form between wall 40 and the upper portion 51. Since the length of the beverage conduit 27 between water 37 and the dispenser head 30 is a very short distance, any drink dispensed after a long period of non-use would be of an acceptable temperature, between freezing and 40 Fahrenheit. The baffle plate 28 can be manufactured from a substance such as aluminum or stainless steel or any other suitable alloy and still not have sufficient heat transfer characteristics to freeze-up the beverage lines as they enter or exit the insulated receptacle 26. It should be understood, how
ever, that the baffle plate 28 could be manufactured from any suitable substance, such as plastic, without deviating from the general idea of the present invention. 5 After extensive testing, it was found that a beverage dispenser incorporating the ideas of the present invention would dispense the occasional drink at a much lower temperature than was heretofore possible. Also, the maximum capacity of the present unit would be much greater than previously known units, even the design that located the evaporator coils around the outer edge of a container. Part of this is attributed to the baffle plate 28 that acts as a heat transfer element while still protecting the beverage conduits from freeze-up. Without question, a beverage dispenser embodying the present invention is easier serviced, has greater maximum output and dispensing the occasional drink at a much lower temperature. All of these features cannot be found in the previously designed models.
Since it is somewhat difficult getting all the beverage conduits 27 within the space allocated, different possible designs of the beverage conduits are shown in FIGS. 9-12. These FIGS. are only pictorial representations of other arrangements of the beverage conduits 27 and therefore only show one conduit. FIG. 9 uses a spiral type of arrangement around the propeller 23. The design shown in FIGS. 10 and 11 only show one or two laps around the propeller 23 to give the pictorial representation. FIG. 12 is using the horizontal accordion arrangement, whereas the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 8 is using the vertical accordion configuration.
The beverage dispenser embodying the present invention has been described as a four drink dispenser post mix type using four separate syrups and carbonated water. This type of beverage dispenser is more complicated than the pre-mixed type which only requires one line for each drink that is to be dispensed. Therefore, it should be obvious that the present invention can be used with the pre-mixed type as well as the post mix. Another obvious alternative is to have the concentrated drink, such as orange juice, where the concentrated portion is mixed with water. Again two conduits would be required as with a post mix beverage having a syrup and carbonated water, with both lines being cooled by the water 36 in insulated receptacle 26.
What is claimed is:
1. A beverage dispenser for dispensing cool beverages from a supply stored at ambient temperatures, said dispenser comprising:
a receptacle having a wall and containing a cooling liquid;
beverage conduits for conducting said beverages through said receptacle, said beverage conduits being immersed in said liquid and located around the center of said receptacle;
cooling unit for cooling said liquid having cooling conduits immersed in said liquid around said beverage conduits, said cooling unit being removable without disconnecting said beverage conduits;
a baffle plate in said receptacle adjacent to but spaced from said wall providing a tempering space, said beverage conduits passing through said tempering space for a substantial distance and then exiting from said receptacle said baffle also permitting a circulation of said cooling liquid between said tempering space and said cooling conduits, said baffle plate protecting said beverage conduits from freezing, yet helping to maintain every dispensed drink below a predetermined temperature for serving; and
means for dispensing said cool beverages from said beverage conduits.
2. The beverage dispenser as recited in claim 1 further comprises means for circulating said cooling liquid within said receptacle and means for measuring the temperature of said cooling liquid to regulate said cool ing unit.
3. The beverage dispenser as recited in claim 2 wherein said beverage conduits exit over the top of said receptacle and said cooling unit sits on the top of said receptacle.
4. The beverage dispenser as recited in claim 3 wherein all beverage conduits enter and exit over the same wall of said receptacle. said receptacle being of a rectangular type with said baffle plate forming a fifth wallv 5. The beverage dispenser as recited in claim 4 wherein the baffle plate has a top portion that extends substantially vertical between said beverage conduits and said cooling conduits and a bottom portion that extends substantially horizontal between said beverage conduits and said cooling conduits, said baffle plate having a means for removably attaching to a wall of said receptacle.
6. The beverage dispenser as recited in claim 4 wherein said beverage conduits are arranged in a rectangular accordion shape with the center thereof containing said circulating means.
7. The beverage dispenser as recited in claim 4 wherein said beverage conduits are arranged in a spiral around the circulating means which is located in the center of said receptacle.
8. The beverage dispenser as recited in claim 1 wherein said beverages are mixed from a syrup in said dispensing means, said beverage conduits having a plurality of conduits for each dispensing means to mix said beverages, all beverage conduits being cooled by said cooling liquid.
9. The beverage dispenser as recited in claim 8 wherein a single beverage conduit supplies carbonated water for mixing with the syrup for different type beverage drinks to be mixed from syrups.
10. The beverage dispenser as recited in claim 8 wherein a single beverage conduit supplies water for mixing with concentrated drinks for different type beverages.