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Publication numberUS3900136 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 19, 1975
Filing dateSep 28, 1971
Priority dateSep 28, 1971
Publication numberUS 3900136 A, US 3900136A, US-A-3900136, US3900136 A, US3900136A
InventorsArchie V Paranto
Original AssigneeDraft Meter Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Liquid dispensing apparatus
US 3900136 A
Abstract
Liquid dispensing apparatus comprising a valve having a resilient walled passage arranged to be displaced to initiate and terminate flow of liquid through the passage. Timer controlled apparatus displaces the wall of the passage to control the volume of liquid delivered therethrough.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Paranto Aug. 19, 1975 [54] LIQUID DISPENSING APPARATUS 3,115,152 12/1963 Goldberg 251/9 a [75] n ento ch e Pa o, as Tex- 3,608,778 9/1971 Paranto & Mathews 22 /3O [73] Assignee: Draft Meter Corporation, Dallas, P i E i R b B Reeves TeX. Assistant ExaminerThomas E. Kocovsky [22] Filed Sept 28 1971 Attorney, Agent, or FirmHoward E. Moore; Gerald G. Crutsinger [21] Appl. No.: 184,603

[57] ABSTRACT [52] US. Cl 222/70; 251/9 Liquid dispensing apparatus Comprising a valve having [51] Int. Cl. B67d l/04 a resilient waned p g arranged to be displaced to [58] Fleld of Search 222/70. 400.7; 251/9. 10 initiate and terminate flow of liquid through the P sage. Timer controlled apparatus displaces the wall of [56] References cued the passage to control the volume of liquid delivered UNITED STATES PATENTS therethrough' 2,641,087 6/1953 Greiser 251/9 X 3,054,425 9/1962 Pribonic 251/9 )4 4 Clams, 13 Drawlng Flgures -Z/U lllll 1min 220 zaaa Q I '11 -a" 0 r228 2/3 2 g 2&9 I 256 254 25/ 282 T 1 253 am 290 2 as I 2402 260 23a 2855 2662 an 240 247 249 240.: 276 236 PATENTEB Au 1 9 I975 SHEET 1 BF 5 PATENTEUAUGYSIQYS 3,900,136

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1 LIQUID DISPENSING APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF INVENTION The liquid dispensing apparatus described herein relates to improvements in apparatus of the type disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,608,778 entitled AUTO- MATIC FLUID DISPENSING APPARATUS", issued Sept. 28, I971 to Archie V. Paranto and Thomas .I. Mathews.

The fluid dispensing apparatus described in the aforementioned patent is particularly adapted for dispensing liquid such as beer from a keg or other suitable container and offer numerous advantages over devices previously developed. However, beer, being a fermented liquor plus carbon dioxide in dilute solution, when allowed to dry becomes quite sticky or tacky. Furthermore, when beer is dispensed through a passage having varying diameters along the length thereof the carbon dioxide comes out of solution forming bubbles and causing the beer to foam excessively. As beer becomes warm the tendency of the carbon dioxide to come out of solution increases.

Because of the sticky nature of dried beer mechanical components of the dispensing apparatus such as switches and valve elements which move through closely fitting openings tend to stick in an open or closed position which is highly undesirable, particularly in apparatus operating in a timed sequence for measuring precise quantities of liquid.

The-dispensing apparatus disclosed in the aforementioned patent operated on a timed cycle for dispensing desired quantities of fluid such as beer. However, the apparatus required manual manipulation of switches and thus required two hands to intitiate a dispensing cycle. A further shortcoming discovered in the apparatus described in the aforementioned patent resulted from the tendency of the valve to stick in a closed position, the valve comprising a resilient tube constructed of synthetic rubber or rubber-like plastic of the type generally employed in surgical tubing. The walls of such tubing tends to stick together when pinched to terminate flow of liquid therethrough, resulting in relatively slow recovery of the tubular member to a fully opened configuration when the pinching force is removed. Since the time required to open the valve was not constant, the volume of flow through the valve in identical time intervals was not always the same. This resulted in less accurate metering and inventory control than was desirable.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION I have developed improved liquid dispensing apparatus comprising a valve having a flow passage extending therethrough of substantially uniform diameter, the diameter being substantially equal to the diameter of the outlet passage of a beer keg, or other suitable container, to assure smooth flow of beer or carbonated beverages therethrough to minimize separation of carbon dioxide from the liquid at a location between the outlet of the keg and the valve element in the dispensing apparatus.

An improved valve element is provided, constructed of organic latex, having a substantial wall thickness to minimize sticking of the valve in the closed position. The valve includes improved actuating means adapted to both pinch and twist the resilient tube through which beer is dispensed for sealing to temiinate flow of beer therethrough while deforming walls of the tube in such a manner that resilient forces in walls of the tube will exert sheer'force tending to move portions of the wall longitudinally relative to each other to facilitate rapid opening of the passageway therethrough.

I have developed an improved control circuit particularly adapted to allow selection of a plurality of accurately metered volumes of liquid offering precise control of the timed interval during which the valve is in an open position.

A primary object of the invention is to provide liquid dispensing apparatus comprising a valve having a substantially uniform flow passage which is capable of being moved from the fully opened position to a fully closed position in a very short time interval, substantially less than one second.

A further object of the invention is to provide liquid dispensing apparatus particularly adapted for dispensing beer and having a valve element constructed of material which will not stick in a closed position.

A further object of the invention is to provide liquid dispensing apparatus having a valve particularly adapted to prevent heating of a substantial volume of beer in the dispensing apparatus when the valve is maintained in a closed position for a substantial period of time.

A still further object of the invention is to provide liquid dispensing apparatus having improved actuating means particularly adapted to move a closure element into sealing relation with a resilient tube, in combination with means to limit movement of the actuating means so as to prevent bouncing of the closure element when a resilient tube is engaged.

A still further object of the invention is to provide liquid dispensing apparatus having switch elements disposed about a dispensing spout such that the rim of a container, such as a glass, mug or pitcher may be employed to actuate one of a plurality of switches such that the selected container can be filled automatically by positioning same adjacent the dispensing spout such that the apparatus can be operated by one hand.

A still further object of the invention is to provide improved apparatus for controlling the time interval during which a valve is open wherein switches adapted to initiate flow are disabled after one of the switches has been actuated to assure that counting apparatus maintains an accurate inventory of fluid dispensed.

Other and further objects of the invention will become apparent upon referring to the detailed description hereinafter following and the drawings annexed hereto.

DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS Drawings of preferred embodiments of the invention are annexed hereto so that the invention may be better and more fully understood, in which:

FIG. I is a perspective view of an automatic fluid dispensing head embodying the invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken substantially along line 2-2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an elevational view of the interior side of the door of the dispensing head cabinet;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a valve assembly embodying the invention;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken on line 55 of FIG.

FIG. 6 is a front perspective view of a basic power supply unit utilized in the invention;

FIG. 7 is a front perspective view of a modified power supply unit utilized in the invention;

FIG. 8 is a schematic view of an electrical circuit of the invention;

FIG. 9 is a schematic view of an electrical circuit of a modification of the invention;

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view through a modified form of the dispensing head illustrating details of construction of a modified form of the valve assembly;

FIG. 11 is an enlarged cross-sectional view illustrating details of construction of the valve seat;

FIG. 12 is a wiring diagram of a modified form of the control circuit adapted for filling containers of two different sizes; and

FIG. 13 is a wiring diagram of still another modified form of the electrical control circuit adapted for dispensing three different measured volumes selectively from each of two different containers.

Numeral references indicate like parts throughout the various FIGS. of the drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. 1 of the drawing, the numeral 10 generally designates a fluid dispensing head comprising an outer housing 12 having a door 14 hingedly secured to one open side thereof in any suitable manner such as the hinges 16. The door 14 is normally in a closed position during use or operation of the dispensing head 10, and a suitable overriding switch 18 may be provided for permitting cleaning of the dispensing apparatus 10 or manual operation thereof as will be hereinafter set forth. The switch 18 herein is of the type operable by a key (not shown) and is preferably mounted on one side wall of the cabinet 12 in such a manner that the key lock portion 19 thereof is accessible from the exterior of the cabinet 12, and the switch 18 is disposed inside the cabinet 12.

A suitable on-off switch 20 is mounted on the cabinet 12 and as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 is preferably of the toggle type with the toggle member 21 being disposed exteriorly of the cabinet 12, the switch 20 being disposed interiorly thereof. A signal lamp or light 23 is also mounted on the cabinet 12 and as shown herein the lamp 23 is secured to the upper side 22 in such a manner that the bulb portion 24 is disposed exteriorly of the cabinet whereby a visual indication is provided for determining the operating condition of the device 10. In addition, an upstanding threaded shank member 25 is suitably mounted on the cabinet 12 for receiving and supporting the usual advertising or insignia device (not shown) normally required by law on dispensers of this type for identification of the goods being dispensed thereby. The holder 25 may be secured to the cabinet 12 in any well known manner, and as shown herein extends upwardly from the upper side 22 for purposes of convenience and overall attractiveness for the unit 10.

A plurality of selector switches or buttons 26 and 27 are mounted on the cabinet for selection of a variety of fluid quantities to be dispensed by the device, and as shown herein are mounted on the door 14 for facilitating access to the switches 26 and 27. An actuating switch lever 28 extends through an aperture 30 provided in the door 14 for operation of a selector switch 32 which is preferably suitably mounted on the rear surface 32 of the door 14. The overriding switch 18, the

on-off switch 20, the pilot light 23, selector switches 26 and 27, and selector switch 32 are operably connected in the electrical circuit of the apparatus 10 in a manner and for a purpose as will be hereinafter set forth.

A valve assembly generally indicated at 36 is disposed within the cabinet or housing 12 and comprises a body or outer sleeve 38 having one end thereof externally threaded as shown at 40 in FIGS. 4 and 5 for direct connection with a shank (not shown) of a beer keg (not shown). A suitable lock nut 42 is threadedly secured on the threaded portion 40 for facilitating securing of the sleeve 38 on the shank. The sleeve 38 is further provided with a central bore 44 extending longitudinally therethrough for receiving an orifice member 46 therein. The orifice member 46 is of a substantially tubular configuration having a central passageway 48 extending therethrough to provide a channel for the flow of the beer. The cross-sectional dimension of the passageway 48 is preselected to provide the optimum dimension for the travel of the beer. One end of the orifice member 46 is provided with an outwardly extending circumferential flange 50 adapted for disposition adjacent an annular shoulder 52 provided in the bore 44. In addition, a sealing gasket 54 is disposed between the flange 50 and the beer shank (not shown) for precluding leakage of fluid therebetween.

The orifice member 46 is inserted within a flexible sleeve or tube 56 and is provided with a plurality of Iongitudinally spaced serrations 57, or the like, for resisting withdrawal of the device from the sleeve 56. An orifice insert sleeve 47 is slidably disposed within the passageway 48 of orifice member 46 and is provided with an outwardly extending circumferential flange 49 for limiting the length of insertion of the insert sleeve 47 into the bore 48. An O-ring 51, or the like, may be interposed between the head member or flange 49 and the flange 50, or a plurality of the rings 51 may be so provided for varying the insertable length of the member 47 in the bore 48. The outer end 53 of the insert member 47 is adapted for connection with or disposition within the explosion chamber (not shown) of the standard shank of a beer keg (not shown), and the adjustable feature of the sleeve 47 facilitates the installation of the valve 36 on shanks of different dimensions. The orifice insert sleeve 47 functions to effectively eliminate the normal explosion chamber of the beer shank, and direct the beer or fluid from the supply source directly to the passageway 48.

The orifice member 46 extends longitudinally within the passage 58 in resilient tube 56.

An outwardly extending nipple 60 extending into the passage 58 within the sleeve 56, is provided on the outer periphery of a dispensing spout generally indicated at 62. The spout 62 is preferably substantially cylindrical and is provided with an internal central bore 64 having one end 66 open for dispensing the fluid therethrough and the opposite end 68 closed as particularly shown in FIG. 5. The nipple 60 is provided with a central bore 70 providing communication between the shut-off valve 58 and the bore 64 of the spout 62. The cross-sectional dimension of the bore 70 is preferably at least as small as the cross-sectional dimension of the bore 48 through orifice member 46, and substantially smaller than the cross-sectional area of the bore 64 in spout 62. That portion of the bore 64 in the proximity of or communicating with the bore 70 provides an the outer end thereof. The opposite end of the rod 76 is threaded at 80 and extends through a threaded bore 82 provided in the closed end 68 of the spout 62 into connection with a cap nut 84. Removal of the cap nut 84 permits access to the threaded end 80 whereby manual rotation of the end 80 in one direction will move the head member 78 upwardly in the chamber 72, as viewed in FIG. 5, and rotation of the end 80 in an opposite direction will move the head member 78 downwardly in the chamber 72 to provide for variation of the volumetric size of the chamber 72 and stabilization of the flow of the fluid therethrough in accordance with the requirements for the optimum dispensing of the beer.

Referring to FIG. 5, is should be readily apparent that as the beer flows from the passageway 70 it passes into the explosion chamber 72 at a reduced rate. As the beer descends downwardly and passes the enlargment 78 on stabilizer 74 the cross-sectional area of the passageway is lessened thereby causing acceleration of the fluid and drop in pressure to cause the gases to come out of solution. The size of the passageway is carefully selected to produce the correct bubbles for customer satisfaction. The greater the distance between the head 78 and the discharged end 66 of the bore 64 the greater the size of the bubbles, and the smaller the distance between the head 78 and the discharge end of the bore 64, the smaller the size of the bubbles.

A slot 86 is provided in the wall of the body 38 as particularly shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, and is disposed in substantial alignment with the portion of passage 58 in tube 56 which extends between orifice member 46 and nipple 60. A spring member 88 is mounted within the housing 12 by a suitable mounting bracket 90 (FIG. 2). As shown herein the spring 88 comprises a central coil portion 92 would around a pin 94 suitably secured to the bracket 90, and a spring first arm 96 extends upwardly from the coil portion 92 as shown in the drawings, and a second spring arm 98 extends outwardly from the coil portion 92 and through the slot 86 as particularly shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. The spring arm 98 is disposed adjacent the upper surface of resilient tube 56 and force exerted by the spring 88 through leg 98 holds the tube 56 in a normally pinched condition, passage 58 being therefore normally closed.

The outer end 100 of the spring arm 98 is pivotally connected with the reciprocal element or core 102 of a suitable solenoid 104 by a suitable link member 106. When the solenoid 104 is in the normal inactive condition, the spring 98 rests against the surface of tube 56, closing passage 58 therethrough, valve 58 for maintaining the valve in the normal closed position. When the solenoid 104 is energized. as will be hereinafter set forth, the element 102 is moved upwardly, as viewed in FIG. 4, and lifts the spring arm 98 from engagement with the tube 56, thus opening the passage 58 for permitting the flow of fluid therethrough. Of course, the solenoid 104 may be mounted within the housing 12 in any suitable manner such as by the mounting bracket 107 and screws 108, or the like. In addition, a guide bracket 110 (FIG. 2) may be secured within the housing 12 for cooperation with the link 106 to guide the reciprocal movement of the link 106 upon alternate activation and deactivation of the solenoid 104.

Electrical power or current for operation of the dispensing head 10 is supplied by a control device gener ally indicated at 112 (FIG. 6). The control device 112 may be remotely disposed with respect to the dispensing head 10, and the basic unit 1 12 is of a modular type construction comprising a housing 114 having an offon switch 116 suitably mounted thereon, and provided with means for receiving a plurality of cells or modules 118. The basic unit 112 depicted in FIG. 6 includes a single module 118 for operation of one dispensing head 10, whereas the control unit 112A includes four mod ules, 118A, 118B, 118C, 118D. It will be apparent that substantially any desired number of the modules 118 may be provided, with each module 118 being electrically connected to its respective dispensing head 10 in any suitable manner, such as by an extension cord, or the like, (not shown).

Each of the modules 118 is substantially identical and comprises an outer housing 120 adapted to be readily inserted in and secured to the housing 1 12. The electrical components of each module 118 are mounted within the respective housing 120, with each electrical arrangement being substantially the same. The off-on switch 116 is preferably of the key operated type and is suitably electrically connected with each module 118 to supply electrical current thereto. Of course, the offcn switch 116 is suitably connected with a source of electrical current, such as the usual house power, as is well known, and suitable electrical connections 128 are interposed between the switch 116 and the modules 118 for converting the normal AC house power to DC power. Each module 118 is provided with an on-off switch 122, as best illustrated in FIG. 6, whereby selective operation of each module 118 may be provided and a suitable pilot light 123 for indicating the operating status thereof. In addition, each module 1 18 is provided with a suitable adjustable time-counter device 124 which is preferably of the type commonly known as a triac. Each module 118 is electrically connected with one selector switch of one dispensing device 10, such as either or any one of the switches 26, 27, or 28. A separate or independent module unit 118 is required for each selector switch 26, 27, or 28, or each dispenser head 10.

Referring now to FIG. 8, an electrical schematic is depicted therein particularly illustrating the electrical circuit for a control unit 112 as shown in FIG. 6, with the said control unit 112 being arranged for operation of the selector switch 32 by engaging lever 28 of a dispensing apparatus 10. The selector switch 32 is preferably a normally open switch of the spring urged or spring loaded type. The switch 20 is preferably of a gang or toggle actuated type, as hereinbefore set forth, and under the normal operating conditions for the apparatus 10, the switch 20 is in the closed position shown in FIG. 8. As long as the switch 20 is in the closed position, and the selector switch 32 is in the open position, current flows through the pilot light 24 for lighting thereof, thus providing a visual indication that the dispenser head 10 is in condition to be energized for delivering fluid, such as beer, through the nozzle or dispensing spout 62.

The off-on switch 122 of the module 118 may be of any suitable type and as shown herein is of the slide button type. When the switch 122 is in the closed position, electrical current is supplied from the switch 116 to the triac 124. As hereinbefore set forth, whereas the switch 116 is electrically connected with the usual alternating current of the house power, suitable electrical connectors 128 are interposed between the switch 116 and the triac 123 whereby the electric power supplied thereto will be direct current, and in addition, other suitable electrical connectors (not shown) are provided between the switch 116 and the triac 124 to operably connect the triac 124 with the required electrical power. Of course, the triac 124 is normally provided with a normally open switch 126, as is well known, and current does not flow through the triac until the switch 126 is closed.

Upon the closing the selector switch 32, such as by engaging the actuating lever 28 by a glass or other container (not shown), the triac is activated in the usual manner for the closing of the switch 126 whereby electrical current is supplied to the solenoid 104. It is preferable to provide a slight time delay between the closing of the switch 32 and the energizing of the solenoid 104 in order to permit sufficient time for placing of the contain-er or glass beneath the nozzle 62 for receiving the fluid to be dispensed. When the solenoid 104 is energized, the spring arm 98 is raised from the engagement with the tube 56 and fluid flows through the valve into the explosion chamber 72 and through the spout 62 for discharge into the pre-positioned glass. The triac 124 is preset for remaining activated during a preselected time interval to hold the passage 58 open for a preselected time interval as required for the dispensing of the proper quantity of the fluid as required for the most desirable filling level for the glass. As soon as the time interval has elapsed, the switch 126 is opened for deactivation of the triac, as is well known. This interrupts the flow of current to the solenoid 104, and the solenoid releases the spring arm 98 for closing of the shut-off valve.

During the time interval when fluid is being delivered through the nozzle 62, the pilot light 24 is shut off, but as soon as the delivery of the fluid is stopped, the pilot light is lighted whereby visual indication is provided showing that the dispensing head 10 is in condition being reset for delivering a quantity of the fluid. As shown herein, the light 24 is of a type having a built-in resistance whereby the resistance of the light 24 is sufficiently greater than the resistance. of the solenoid that the light will cease to glow, or at least emit only a very faint glow, when the solenoid is energized. Of course, it will be apparent that the light 24 may be shut off upon energization of the solenoid in substantially any suitable manner, as is well known, and is not limited to the particular electrical connection shown herein.

When the fluid being dispensed by the apparatus 10 is beer, cleaning of the flow passageway and nozzle is frequently required to reduce any accumulation of algae, or the like. In order to open the flow passageway for a continual flow of fluid therethrough, the overriding switch 18 may be closed by manual actuation of the operation key (not shown) as is well known. When the switch 18 is closed, electrical current is directed to the solenoid 104 for pulling the spring arm 98 out of engagement with the tube 56. Thus, the flow of fluid through the passageways 48, 58, and and through the nozzle 62 will remain constant until the switch 18 is opened. This permits cleaning out of the flow lines, as required.

In addition, it will be apparent that suitable mechanical linkage (not shown) may be provided for a manual operation of the spring arm 98 and shut-off valve 58 in order that the dispenser apparatus 10 may be utilized in the conventional manner in the event of electric power failure, or for any other reason.

Referring to FIG. 9, an electrical schematic is shown such as may be utilized in connection with a dispensing head 10 having three selector switches, such as the particular dispensing head shown in FIG. 1. In this instance, the control unit 112 will be provided with three modules 118, with a module 118 being provided for each of the selector switches 26, 27, and 32. The triac 124 of the first module 118 is electrically connected with the switch 26; the triac 124A of the second module 118 is electrically connected with the switch 27; and the triac 124B of the third module 118 is electrically connected with the switch 32. Each of the triacs is preset at a timing of actuation corresponding with the time interval required for delivery of fluid through the shut-off valve to achieve the desired quantity. For example, the switch 26 is selected in order to deliver a quantity of beer equal to a small glass; the switch 27 is selected in order to deliver a quantity of beer equal to a pitcher; and the switch 32 is selected in order to deliver a quantity of beer equal to a large glass.

Each triac also counts each delivery operation it makes. The counter portion of the triac is preferably of the non-resetting type and is activated each time the triac is energized, thus permitting a counting of the number of dispensing operations actuated thereby. In addition, the triac is particularly arranged to provide for one and only one action for the counting for each delivery operation regardless of any accidental closing of a selector switch during a delivery or dispensing operation. Thus, an accurate record may be maintained of the fluid being dispensed by the dispensing device or devices being controlled by the control apparatus 112.

In the event a selector switch has been closed by mistake, or an erroneous selector switch has been closed, the kill switch 20 may be opened by manual operation of the toggle member 21. This opens the electrical circuit, and de-energizes the solenoid 104 for immediately closing the valve 58. This prevents or greatly reduces accidental spilling or wastage of the fluid.

By way of summary, a plurality of the dispensing heads l0 may be installed in direct communication with the fluid to be dispensed thereby. the dispensing heads 10 may be provided with a single selector switch, or may each be provided with a plurality of selector switches, as desired. In any event, an independent module 118 must be provided in the control unit 112 for connection with each selector switch. When a selector switch is closed, the triac connected therewith is activated for energizing the respective solenoid. Energization of the solenoid opens the respective shut-off valve for permitting the flow of fluid therethrough, and for discharge of the fluid into the expansion chamber 72 and through the nozzle 62 into the container disposed therebelow. The shut-off valve is held open during the time period of activation of the triac for delivery of a predetermined quantity of the fluid as required for filling the particular container. The triac then is deactivated, thus de-energizing the solenoid, and releasing the spring arm 98 for immediate closing of the valve, 58.

When it is desirable to shut off any of the selector valves from operation, the respective module 118 may be shut-off by opening the respective switch 122 thereof. This may be desirable in the event one of the fluid supply sources is emptied, and the entire dispenser head 10 should be placed temporarily out of service to prevent activation of the triacs during a nondelivery operation. The triac will provide a counting upon each activation thereof, and any time the triac is activated without delivery of fluid will result in an over counting of delivered fluid, thus providing inaccurate inventory record.

In the event is is necessary to interrupt the flow of the fluid at any time during a dispensing operation, the kill switch 'may be actuated by the toggle 21 which stops the flow of the fluid. After a time interval of sufficient length to permit the particular triac to become deactivated, the toggle 21 may be utilized for closing the switch 20 and restoring the dispenser to the normal operating condition therefor. Of course, the pilot light 24 will be lighted at all times when the dispensing head 10 is' in condition for delivery of fluid through the nozzle 62. Similarly, the pilot light 123 of each module will be lighted when the module is in condition to activate the triac associated therewith.

When it is necessary to clean out the flow line and nozzle, the override switch 18 may be closed by operation of the key lock 19. This energizes the solenoid 104 for opening 'the valve 58 to permit an uninterrupted flow of fluid therethrough for as long a time period as the switch 18 remains closed. When the cleaning operation has been completed, the switch 18 may be opened, thus restoring the system to the normal operating condition therefor.

6 DESCRIPTION OF A SECOND EMBODIMENT head comprising a housing 212 having a door 214- hingedly secured thereto in the manner hereinbefore described in the description relating to the'preferredembodiment. The inner surface of door 214 has a concave portion 214a formed therein and has enlarged openings 227a and 228a formed therein through which actuating levers 227b and 22817 of micro-switches 227 and 228 extend. It should be noted that openings 227a and 228a are substantially larger than the dimension of the actuating levers of the respective micro-switches. Such construction is provided because beer is often spilled, coming into contact with door 214 of the dispensing apparatus.

The enlarged openings 227a and 228a through which levers 227b and 22812, employed for actuating the micr'o-switches 227 and 228, extend allows movement of said levers without engaging the sides of openings extending through the door. Thus, even though the respective parts becomes sticky such does not interfere with the operation of the switching apparatus. Anyliquid passing through openings 227a and 228a drains from the inside of housing 212 through passage 21211 in the bottom 212:: of the housing.

A switch corresponding to switch 26 of the first embodiment of the invention is employed in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 10 and is mounted in like manner as lever 227b.

An on-off switch 220, actuated by a toggle lever 221, is secured to the top wall 222 of housing 212. A sole noid 204, having a core 202 movably disposed therein,

is secured to the back wall of housing 212 by suitable means such as bolts 208. An angle bracket 209 has openings formed therein and is secured to the back wall of housing 212 by bolts 208 which are employed to secure solenoid body 204 to the housing. The lower end of bracket 209 extends inwardly from the back wall of housing 212 and has a resilient bumper 213 disposed on the upper surface thereof positioned to engage a lower surface of core 202 when the horizontally disposed leg 298 os spring element 288 is disposed in the position illustrated in FIG. 11 wherein the upper wall 256a engages lower wall 256b of resilient tube 256.

As best illustrated in FIG. 10 the modified form of valve 236 comprises an outer cylindrical body 238 having a bore 244 extending longitudinally therethrough. Like the first form of the invention hereinbefore described, the rear end of valve body 238 has a threaded portion 240 formed thereon. A shank 240a, of conventional design, is connectable to a beer keg (not shown) and has a passage 240b extending therethrough. The outer end of shank 240a has a coupling 240C rotatably secured thereto adapted to threadedly engage the threaded portion 240 on valve body 238.

Shank 240a has an explosion chamber 240d formed in the outer end thereof adjacent the outerend of pas-- .sage 240b. 7

Conventional beer taps generally have an enlarged chamber portion formed in the rear end thereof forming an explosion chamber and having a valve member movable for opening and closing a passageon the side of the explosion chamber opposite the passage 24Gb in shank 240a.

US. Pat. No. 3,408,036 to L. H. Smith dis-closes a typical explosion chamber construction having a valve element movably disposed therein.

Since the outer end of shank 240a, and consequently explosion chamber 240d, in a conventional installation, is disposed outside of the refrigerated cabinet in which the beer keg or other suitable container is maintained. a substantial quantity of beer trapped in the explosion chamber 240d would become heated thereby increasing the tendency of carbon dioxide gas to come out of solution. Valves of the type disclosed in the aforementioned patentto Smith move into the explosion chamber, and consequently agitate warm beer contained therein, when the valve element is moved to an open position.'

Referring to FIG. 10 of the drawing, it should be noted that orifice insert sleeve 247 has an outer end 253 adapted to be positioned in seating relation with the wall ofexplosion chamber 240d in the outer end of shank 240a. The passage 24012 in shank 240a generally has a diameter of 7/32 of an inch and passageway 248 extending longitudinally through insert sleeve 247a is of substantially equal diameter. Insert sleeve 247 has an outwardly extending circumferential flange 249 forming an enlarged head against which one or more sealing elements such as O-riug seals 251 are seated.

The resilient tube 256 is arranged to extend longitudinally through passage 244 in valve body 238 and extends throughout the entire length thereof.

Resilient tube 256 is preferably constructed of organic latex material which a good heat insulator material and has surface characteristics tending to minimize sticking of the walls 256a and 25612 when urged together to the position illustrated in FIG. 11. Tubular member 256 has a circumferentially extending flange 254 extending about one end thereof, said flange being integral with tubular member 256. Dispensing spout 262 having a flow stabilizer 274 disposed therein is identical to spout 62 hereinbefore described in the description of the preferred embodiment. Dispensing spout 262 has a nipple 260 extending outwardly from the upper end thereof, said nipple having a flow passage 270 extending therethrough, Nipple 260 extends into the outer end of passageway 258 formed in resilient tubular member 256 varying uniformly between opposite ends thereof, when the tubular member is in a relaxed condition. Providing such tapered wall thickness allows insertion of member 247 into the inner end of passage 258 by stretching the passage slightly such that the portion 258c of the tube adjacent the end of member 247 has a bore substantially equal to the diameter of passageway 248 in member 247 providing a smooth transition and offering minimum obstruction to flow of fluid therethrough. In like manner the outer end of tubular member 256 is stretched around the periphery of nipple 260 forming a substantially smooth transition at 258d between passageway 258 and passageway 270.

The tapered wall thickness of tubular member 256 provides an added advantage of providing increased wall thickness adjacent spring element 298 to provide substantial force biasing tube toward the relaxed position when spring element 298 is elevated to the position illustrated in FIG. 10.

Valve body 238 has a notch 286 formed therein and a plate 286a having a protuberance 286b formed therealong is secured to the valve body at the lower edge of said notch. As best illustrated in FIG. 1 1, protuberance 286b is positioned such that downward movement of leg 298 of spring 288 strikes the upper surface 256a of resilient tubular member 256 causing the lower wall 25612 thereof to be moved into engagement with the protuberance 286b and to be deformed thereabout. The protuberance thus positioned causes inner surfaces about passage 258 in tube 256 to be moved into sealing relation along a substantial length of the surface thereof rather than at a tangent point as is generally the case with pinch-type valves-Since the tube is twisted or slightly wrapped about protuberance 286b when leg 298 of spring element 288 is in the position illustrated in FIG. 11, upward movement of the leg 298 results in appplication of forces, as a result of portions of the tube being stretched unsymmetrically, to apply sheer stress to momentarily cause the upper surface of passageway 258 to slide longitudinally relative to the lower surface thereof reducing tendency of walls of the tubing to stick together.

In FIG. 12 of the drawing is illustrated a control circuit adapted to permit metering of two different quantities of liquid, such as beer, from a first container and being further adapted to allow switching of the circuit for drawing measured quantities from a second keg or other suitable container.

A first dispensing head 210 has a solenoid 204 mounted therein, as hereinbefore described, and has a kill switch 220 arranged to terminate a signal to the coil of solenoid 204 if desired. A light 223 is provided for indicating that conditions exist wherein the valve associated with head 210 is in a closed position and ready for a dispensing operation. Switches 226, 227 and 228 are provided for offering a selection of a plurality of measured quantities of liquid.

A first timing device T-l is arranged to be energized by a signal delivered through switch 228 to cause a signal to be generated for energizing solenoid 204 for a predetermined period of time determined by the setting of timing device T-l. The duration of the signal delivered by timing device T-l is adjustable by a potentiometer P-l illustrated as variable resisters R-l, R-2, and R-3 associated with timer T-l. A counter C-] is arranged to indicate the number of times that timing device T-] has been energized. Thus, since the quantity of beer dispensed during each dispensing cycle is known, an accurate control of inventory of beer dispensed is available.

The coil of a relay RY-l is energized while timing device T-l is conducting. When the coil of relay RY-l is energized switches associated with the relay move from the normally closed position illustrated in the drawing to close a circuit through the coil of solenoid 204 while breaking the circuit through indicator light 223 on head 210 and simultaneously breaking a circuit. through indicator light L-l indicating that timing de- At the termination of a dispensing cycle current I through the coil of relay RY-l ceases causing switches associated with the relay to move back to the nomally closed condition de-energizing the coil of solenoid 204, turning on lights 223 and L-l and connecting switches 226, 227, and 228 such that timing device T-1 can be reset, counter C-l indicating each reset cycle.

A second control circuit is similarly provided and connected to timer T-2 such that closing of switch 227 for drawing, for example, a pitcher of beer, sets timing device T-2 energizing the coil of relay RY-2 and stepping counter C-l. Relay RY-Z has switches arranged as indicated in the drawing to direct the current for energizing the coil of solenoid 204 while breaking circuits through indicator lights 223 and L-] and simultaneously disabling switches 227 and 228 to prevent resetting of timing devices T-l and T-2 and to prevent additional stepping of counting devices C-1 and C-2 which would result in an inaccurate record of the quantity of beer dispensed.

A duplex of cross-over switch SW-2 is a double throw switch having a plurality of contacts arranged to disconnect the electrical circuit from the first head 210 and toconnect same to a second head 210' such that closing of switches 226, 227, and 228 thereof, energizing the control circuit including timers T-] and T-2 in same manner hereinbefore described. The electrical circuit illustrated in FIG. 12 is readily adaptable for dispensing a single volume, for example, a glass of beer from each of the heads 210 and 210 simultaneously by connecting jumper lines as indicated in dashed outlines JL-l, J L-2, J L3, .lL-4 and disconnecting the plug as indicated at J L-5.

When jumper lines JL-l through J L-5 are connected as illustrated in dashed outlines, closing of switch 228 of head 210' will route a single through jumper line J L-] to timer T2 for energizing same which in turn initiates a timed cycle wherein solenoid 204 is energized causing beer to be dispensed from the spout of head 210'. When switch 228 of head 210 is energized timing device T-2 will deliver a signal for energizing the coil of solenoid 204 of head 210.

It should be readily apparent that the circuit illustrated in FIG. 12 allows dispensing of either a glass or a pitcher from head 210 and provides the capability of switching to head 210' when the keg connected to head 210 is emptied. The circuit is further adaptable by connecting jumper lines JL-l JL-S to allow dispensing of glasses of beer from each of the heads 210 and 210' from separate kegs if desired.

The electrical circuit illustrated in FIG. 13 is similar to that illustrated in FIG. 12 except that three timing devices T-l, T-2, and T-3 are employed with the associated relays RY-l, RY-2, RY-3, and counters C-l, C-2 and C-3 are arranged substantially as described in the description relating to FIG. 12. The circuit illustrated in FIG. 13 allows drawing of a glass, a mug and a pitcher of beer selectively from one keg through head 210 while allowing actuation of duplex switch SW-2 for disconnecting head 210 and connecting head 210 substantially as hereinbefore described.

It should further be appreciated that the circuitry illustrated in FIG. 13 provides the added advantage, by connecting jumper lines .IL-6 through JL-ll, as illustrated in dashed outline in FIG. 13 for dispensing one size, such as a glass of beer from each of three separate kegs having heads 210, 210' and 210" associated therewith. It should be appreciated that when the jumper lines J L-6 through J L-ll are connected as illustrated in dashed outlines, at least one switch of each of the dispensing heads will be arranged to initiate a timing cycle through one of the timing devices T-l, T-2 or T-3.

Preferably at least one of the potentiometer devices P-l or P-2 or P-3 has a switch SW-3 associated therewith to bypass resistors R-l, R-2 and R-3. When switch SW-3 is closed the associated timer is set for a predetermined time interval, for example, three tenths of a second to allow dispensing of a small measured quantity of beer for example, approximately one-half ounce. It should be noted that when this operation is accomplished the counter registers the dispensing cycle. Switch SW-3 is not readily accessible by an operator at head 210.

From the foregoing it should be readily apparent that l have developed an improved liquid metering and dispensing apparatus which accomplishes the objects of the invention hereinbefore discussed providing accurate control of the time interval, a valve element is held in open condition while providing a valve element which can be opened and closed rapidly to allow accurate metering of fluid therethrough. It should further be apparent that the valve hereinbefore described is adjustable to facilitate attaching same to the dispensing shank of a keg though the size and configuration of the shank and the explosion chamber therein may vary between manufacturers. The usual explosion chamber in the end of the shank 240:: has been eliminated providing improved dispensing by eliminating agitation of beer and preventing excessive heating thereof.

It should be readily apparent that the control circuit hereinbefore described and illustrated in FIGS. 12 and 13 offers great flexibility in the control of valve elements of a plurality of dispensing heads to allow dispensing of multiple quantities of beer from one head or dispensing of single quantities of beer from a plurality of heads simultaneously.

While preferred embodiments of the invention have been described herein, it should be appreciated that other and further forms of the invention may be de vised without departing from the basic concept of my invention.

Having thus described my invention, I claim:

1. A liquid dispensing apparatus adapted for connection to a tap on a beer keg having an explosion chamber therein and wherein an outlet opening from the keg extends through the wall of the explosion chamber, the improvements comprising, a valve body having a bore extending therethrough and having a notch formed intermediate opposite ends of said bore; an orifice sleeve adapted to be positioned in sealing relation with a wall of an explosion chamber adjacent the outlet opening therein, said sleeve having a passage therethrough having a diameter substantially equal to the diameter of the outlet opening; an elongated resilient tubular member positioned about an end of said sleeve, said tubular member having a passage having an inside diameter substantially equal to the inside diameter of the passage through the sleeve to provide a smooth transition through said passages; means to secure said valve body to a tap such that the tubular member extends through the bore in the valve body and the orifice sleeve is urged into sealing relation with the wall of the explosion chamber; a closure element having a leg; support means secured to said closure element arranged such that said leg extends through the notch in the valve body and engages a wall of said tubular member to close the passage through the tubular member; and actuating means arranged to move the leg from engagement with said tubular member.

2. The combination called for in claim 1 wherein the tubular member comprises organic latex material.

3. The combination called for in claim 1 wherein the actuating means comprises a solenoid having a movable core; and means to secure the core to the leg of the closure element.

4. The combination called for in claim 3 with the addition of stop means positioned to limit movement of said core.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4015749 *Apr 3, 1975Apr 5, 1977Jet Spray Cooler, Inc.Hot coffee dispenser
US4116246 *Oct 12, 1976Sep 26, 1978Medalie Manufacturing Co.Beverage dispenser
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US4655123 *Oct 28, 1985Apr 7, 1987Tru-BrewCoffee maker improvement for measured charges from bottled water
US5454406 *May 13, 1994Oct 3, 1995Eaton CorporationAutomatic beverage dispenser
US5979713 *Sep 9, 1997Nov 9, 1999Sturman Bg, LlcTap assembly adapted for a fluid dispenser
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US7753231Apr 11, 2007Jul 13, 2010Berg Company, LlcAutomatic controller for a beverage dispensing faucet
Classifications
U.S. Classification222/639, 251/9
International ClassificationG01F13/00, B67D1/12, B67D3/04, B67D1/14
Cooperative ClassificationB67D3/041, B67D2001/1483, B67D1/1234, G01F13/006
European ClassificationB67D1/12B6, B67D3/04B, G01F13/00C