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Publication numberUS3908861 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 30, 1975
Filing dateSep 10, 1973
Priority dateOct 14, 1971
Publication numberUS 3908861 A, US 3908861A, US-A-3908861, US3908861 A, US3908861A
InventorsJohnston Mack S
Original AssigneeJohnston Mack S
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Series tapper assembly and method
US 3908861 A
Abstract
First and second kegs, each having a keg adapter mounted in an opening in a wall of the keg. A tapper in operative engagement with each keg adapter. Each tapper and associated keg adapter providing an inlet passageway for the transfer of fluid from outside to inside the keg, and an outlet passageway for the transfer of fluid from inside to outside the keg. Each inlet passageway containing a valve yieldably biased toward the closed position to prevent flow from inside to outside the keg. Each outlet passageway containing a normally closed valve which is manually movable to the open position. A fluid pressure source is connected to the outer end of the inlet passageway of the first keg to cause the fluid in the first keg to flow through the outlet passageway. The outlet passageway of the first keg is connected with the inlet passageway of the second keg to transfer fluid from the first keg to the second keg. And, the outlet of the second keg is connected to a fluid dispensing faucet.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Unite States Johnston 1 Sept. 30, 1975 1 SERIES TAPPER ASSEMBLY AND METHOD [22] Filed: Sept. 10, 1973 [211 Appl. No.: 395,898

Related US. Application Data [63] Continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 385,358, July 3, 1973, Pat. No. 3,836,053, which is a continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 189281, Oct. 14. 1971, Pat. No. 3.758 008.

[76] Inventor:

Johnston.. 222/4007 Johnston 222/4007 Prinmry E.\uminerRobert B. Reeves Assistant E.\'aminerDavid A. Scherbel Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Wills, Green & Mueth ABSTRACT I First and second kegs, each having a keg adapter mounted in an opening in a wall of the keg. A tapper in operative engagement with each keg adapter. Each tapper and associated keg adapter providing an inlet passageway for the transfer of fluid from outside to inside the keg, and an outlet passageway for the transfer of fluid from inside to outside the keg. Each inlet passageway containing a valve yieldably biased toward the closed position to prevent flow from inside to outside the keg. Each outlet passageway containing a normally closed valve which is manually movable to the open position. A fluid pressure source is connected to the outer end of the inlet passageway of the first keg to cause the fluid in the first keg to flow through the outlet passageway. The outlet passageway of the first keg is connected with the inlet passageway of the sec ond keg to transfer fluid from the first keg to the second keg. And, the outlet of the second keg is connected to a fluid dispensing faucet.

13 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures US. Patent Sept. 30,1975 Sheet 3 Of?) 3,908,861

A980: 040550 565R, F G 8 L SERIES TAPPER ASSEMBLY AND METHOD CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 385,358, filed Aug. 3, 1973, now Pat. No. 3,836,053, which is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 189,281, filed Oct. 14, 1971, now Pat. No. 3,758,008. and discloses constructions which have a subject-matter relationship with constructions disclosed in my copending applications Ser. No. 222,910, filed Feb. 2, 1972, Ser. No. 378,856, filed July 13, 1973, Ser. No. 389,836, filed Aug. 20, 1973, and Ser. No. 390,153, filed August 20, 1973.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates generally to the siphoning art and more particularly to a novel series tapper assembly and method for interconnecting a plurality of beer kegs or the like in series for a large volume outlet, whereby all of said kegs can be tapped in sequence at the same time and will be emptied of their contents in sequence during operation.

Although the series tapper assembly of the present invention can be used with containers which store and dispense various liquids, it is particularly useful for the dispensing of draft beer from kegs, and will be so described.

Although a series arrangement for beer kegs is in use at the present time, it has several major disadvantages, including the problems of requiring separate connections to the tops and bottoms of adjacent kegs during installation and disassembly, and manually operable valves between kegs which must be closed and opened each time two or more kegs are interconnected or disconnected. Another disadvantage of the system in use at the present time, is that there is a tendency to discharge only a portion of the beer from each keg instead of emptying one keg at a time in sequence.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a novel series tapper assembly and method in which the inlet and outlet for each keg is contained in a single unit which can be operatively engaged with the dispensing opening of various types of kegs such as the Golden Gate" and the Peerless. More particularly, it is an object to provide such an assembly in which the various components for the several kegs remain interconnected with the gas source and with the faucet while both installing and removing kegs relative to the series hook-up.

Another object is to provide such a series tapper assembly and method which does not require manually operable valves between kegs. More particularly, it is an object to provide such a system and method in which check valves are contained in the tapper units themselves and are automaticallyl operated to prevent reverse flow of the beer between kegs.

A further object is to provide a novel series tapper assembly and method in which the kegs are emptied in sequence, starting with the keg which is adjacent to the source of gas pressure.

1 have discovered that the foregoing objects and advantages are achieved with a plurality of kegs, including at least a first and second keg, each having an opening in one wall thereof. A keg adapter is positioned in each opening for sealing said keg and to provide means for selectively removing fluid from the keg. The tapper is removably engaged with each keg adapter and includes an actuating member movable between an open position and a closed position. The keg adapter and tapper for each keg provides therethrough an inlet passageway for transferring fluid from outside the keg to inside the keg, and an outlet passageway for transferring fluid from inside to outside the keg, each of said passageways having an outer end and an inner end. Valve means are provided in each inlet passageway yieldably biased toward the closed position to prevent fluid flow from inside to outside the keg and to provide for fluid flow from outside to inside the keg. Normally closed valve means are provided in each outlet passageway and movable to the open position responsive to the movement of the actuating member from the closed to the open position. Each keg contains a siphon tube which is in communication with the inner end of the inlet passageway. The inner end of the outlet passageway for each keg is adjacent the opening in the keg wall. Conduit means interconnect the outer end of the outlet passageway of the first keg with the outer end of the inlet passageway of the second keg. Conduit means also interconnect the outer end of the inlet passageway of the first keg with a fluid pressure source, and other conduit means interconnect the outer end of the outlet passageway of the second keg with fluid dispensing means. Thus, when the fluid dispensing means is opened, the fluid pressure source forces fluid from the first keg into the second keg, and the fluid in the second keg is thereby forced through the conduit means to the fluid dispensing means.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is an elevational view of three kegs, with one keg being shown in cross-section, connected in series with series tapper assemblies and utilizing the method embodying the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged, vertical sectional view through one of the series tappers as it appears in the closed position;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged, vertical sectional view of a series tapper similar to FIG. 2, but with the components in the open position as when beer and/or gas is flowing into and out of the keg;

FIG. 4 is a horizontal sectional view taken on the line 4-4 in FIG. 2 above the ends of the stationary magnets;

FIG. 5 is a horizontal sectional view taken on the line 55 in FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged horizontal sectional view taken on the line 6-6 in FIG. 3;

FIG. 7 is an elevational view of the upper housing of the series tapper, illustrating the construction of the spiral slot used in connecting and disconnecting the series tapper from the keg adapter, and opening and closing the internal valves;

FIG. 8 is a vertical sectional view through the primary tapper with the components in the open position, similar to the positions shown in FIG. 3 for the series tapper;

FIG. 9 is a top plan view of the primary tapper;

FIG. 10 is a horizontal sectional view taken on the lines 10-10 in FIG. 9, illustrating the location of the stationary magnets; and

FIG. 11 is a vertical sectional view taken on the lines 1111 in FIG. 10.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT As mentioned above, although the series tapper assembly and method of the present invention can be used with containers for storing and dispensing various types of liquids, it is especially useful for the interconnection of a plurality of beer kegs in a large volume outlet, and will be so described. It is also to be understood that various types of gas pressure sources and discharge faucets and spigots can be employed.

Referring to the drawings more particularly by reference numerals, and specifically FIG. 1, the number indicates generally a series hook-up of three kegs 12, marked A, B and C, employing the method of the present invention and using two series tappers 14 constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention, the third tapper 16 (used with keg A), which is referred to for convenience as the primary tapper, being of the type shown and described in my copending application Ser. No. 385,358.

The assembly is used with a conventional source 18 of compressed air or carbon dioxide gas and a conventional faucet or spigot 20.

Each tapper l4 and 16 is constructed and arranged to operatively engage a keg adapter 22 (FIG. 2) which is received in the dispensing opening 24 in a wall 26 of each keg 12. There are two main types of beer kegs in use at the present time, the Golden Gate keg which has a dispensing opening which is one and one half inches in diameter and a Peerless keg in which the dispensing opening is three-fourths of an inch in diameter. The keg shown in the drawings is a Golden Gate keg and the keg adapter used therewith is similar in construction and operation to the keg adapters shown and described in my copending application Ser. No. 385,358 filed Aug. 3, 1973.

I have also invented a keg adapter for use with the Peerless keg and which also accommodates the same tapper 14, which keg adapter is shown and described in my copending application Ser. No. 390,153 filed Aug. 20, 1973. I also invented keg adapters for mounting in the bunghole of a keg, and for washing, filling and dispensing through the same keg opening, whether it be in the end wall of a keg or the side wall thereof, which constructions are shown and described in Pat. No. 3,753,445, and my copending applications Ser. No. 378,856 filed July I3, 1973, and Ser. No. 389,836, filed Aug. 20, 1973.

Thus, it is to be understood that one of the advantages of the series tapper 14 of the present invention is that it can be used with various types of kegs having keg adapters of my simplified construction and which are mounted in the end wall or side wall of a keg.

Returning to the keg opening 24 and the keg adapter 22 received therein (FIGS. 2 and 8), the opening contains an inwardly extending bottom flange portion 30 which provides a ledge 32, and is surrounded by an upwardly extending flange portion 34 which contains internal threads 36.

The keg adapter 22 includes a generally cylindrical housing 38 with an outwardly extending upper flange portion 40 which bears upon an 0-ring 42 to support it on the aforementioned ledge 32.

The adapter is held in position by a retaining ring 44 which engages the upper face of the flange portion 40 and which contains an internal annular groove 46 with opposed slots (not shown).

The upper end of the adapter housing contains an annular groove having a bottom wall 48 and an outer side wall provided with a shoulder 49. Extending downwardly from the bottom wall 48 and through the housing are two, diametrically opposed outer passageways 50, each having a valve seat 52 in the upper portion thereof. Positioned is each of the outer passageways in a valve assembly which includes a valve member 54 for engagement with the valve seat 52, and a valve actuator 56 which yieldably biases the valve member toward the closed position. The actuator can be a coiled spring, but in my preferred construction it comprises a movable magnet in association with stationary magnets, as described in my copending application Ser. No. 385,358, filed Aug. 3, 1973.

Thus, the valve actuator 56 comprises an elongated permanent magnet 57 which may be enclosed within a smooth casing 59 which is in sliding engagement with the wall of the passageway 50. I have achieved excellent results with both magnesium and plastic cases. The upper end of the casing may be closed with a Teflon insert which holds the magnet firmly in place.

Embedded in the housing on opposite sides of each gas passageway and spaced an equal distance therefrom are two elongated permanent magnets 61 and 63 (FIGS. 10 and 11). The magnets 61 and 63 are generally parallel with the gas passageways 50, and the upper ends thereof (FIG.1 1) are of the same polarity and are a short distance above the upper end of the movable magnet 57 when the gas valve is in the closed position. The polarity of the upper end of the movable magnet 57 is opposite from the polarity of the upper ends of the stationary magnets 61 and 63, whereby the upper ends of the movable magnets 57 are attracted to the upper ends of the stationary magnets 61 and 63.

I have discovered that with the aforementioned arrangement, there is sufficient magnetic attraction between each movable magnet 57 and its associated stationary magnets 61 and 63 that the gas valves 54 are securely maintained in the closed position while the keg is being shipped, but they are readily moved to the open position by gas pressure during the dispensing operation.

Diametrically opposed ports 58 are provided in the upper portion of the adapter housing in communication with the outer passageways 50, whereby liquid and/or gas can flow past the valve members 54 when they are in the open position, and into the interior of the keg 12.

Projecting upwardly from the center of the adapter housing is a tubular bayonet portion 60 which includes an outer wall provided with an external groove containing an O-ring 62.

The center of the tubular bayonet portion 60 provides an inner passageway 64 which contains a valve seat 66 adjacent the upper end thereof, the lower end of the passageway being in communication with a siphon tube 68 of conventional construction. As shown in FIG. 1, each siphon tube extends to adjacent the bottom wall of the keg 12 in which it is mounted.

Slidably mounted within the inner passageway is a valve assembly which includes a valve member 70 and a valve actuator 72. The valve member 70 is adapted to engage the valve seat 66 and the actuator yieldably biases the valve member toward the closed position. Here again, the actuator can be a coiled spring, but in my preferred construction it is a movable magnet as described more fully in my copendingapplication Ser. No. 385,358, filed Aug. 3, 1973.

Thus, the valve actuator 72 preferably includes a permanent magnet 73 which is enclosed within a casing 75, the latter being provided with short, radiallyextending flanges 77 (FIG. 9) adjacent the top and bottom ends thereof, also for sliding engagement with the wall of the beer passageway. A small Teflon plug may be inserted in the upper end of the casing 75, primarily to maintain the magnet 73 in position within the casing. As mentioned above, it is preferable to have the casing made from a light weight material.

Because the valve member 70 should be yieldably biased upwardly toward the closed position, and the upper end of the valve actuator magnet 73 is above the upper ends of the stationary magnets 61 and 63, the upper end of the movable magnet 73 is of the same polarity as the polarity of the upper ends of the stationary magnets 61 and 63, whereby the movable magnet is repelled in the upward direction.

As will be discussed more fully hereinafter, the openings through the outer passageways and the other passageways associated therewith are larger in size when considered together, than is the size of the opening in the inner passageway and the passageways associated therewith, whereby the volume of fluid flow into the keg can be greater than the volume of fluid flow out of the keg.

Returning to a consideration of the series tapper 14 (FIGS. 2 and 3), it includes an upper tapper housing 74 and a lower tapper housing 76 interconnected for limited vertical relative movement therebetween.

The upper housing includes a longitudinally extending tap rod assembly passageway 78 and an upper wall portion 80 which contains a spiral camming slot 82 for a purpose to appear. The bottom portion of the upper housing contains diametrically opposed recesses 84 which receive the upper ends of support bars 86 which are fastened in position with cap screws 88.

The support bars extend downwardly through vertically extending grooves 90 (FIG. 4) contained in the lower housing and terminate at the bottom in hook portions 92 which are received in the annular groove 46 in the retainer ring 44. The center portion of each support bar adjacent to the lower tapper housing contains a slot 94 which slidably receives the outer end of the screw 96 which is fastened to the lower housing, whereby the lower housing has limited movement relative to the support bars and the upper housing.

The bottom end of the lower tapper housing contains an external annular groove which receives an 0-ring 98 which is adapted to seat on the shoulder 49 of the keg adapter.

The lower tapper housing has an upper end wall 99 and also contains a longitudinally extending tap rod assembly passageway with an upper inner wall surface 100 which has an annular recess 102 above it and an enlarged chamber 104 below it, said chamber having an inner wall surface 106 which terminates in a shoulder 108 adjacent to an enlarged lower passageway 110 which has an inner wall 111.

As shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, a laterally extending passageway l 12 is provided in the lower tapper housing in communication with the chamber 104, and a tubular fitting 114 is fastened in the outer end of said passageway 112. As mentioned above the size of the passageway 112 for the incoming fluid is greater than the size of the passageways for the fluid leaving the tapper.

Positioned in the passageway 78 in the upper tapper housing is a cap member 116 of the tap rod assembly which also includes a tubular tap rod 118 which extends into the lower tapper housing.

The cap member includes an upper inverted cup-like part 120 which includes a chamber 122 and which is threaded onto the upper end of a tubular fitting 124. A threaded opening 126 extends through the wall of the cup-like part in communication with the chamber 122, and received in said opening is the inner end of a rigid tubular connector member 128 which also extends through the spiral groove 82 so as to function as a handle for actuating the tap rod assembly.

The tubular fitting 124 contains a longitudinally extending passageway 130, the upper end of which is in communication with the chamber 122 and the lower end is in communication with a plurality of laterally extending ports 132. A bottom wall 134 at the lower end of the fitting contains an opening 136.

Also threaded onto the tubular fitting 124 and depending therefrom is a tubular member 138 which contains an upper chamber 140 and a lower passageway 142 of reduced diameter with a shoulder 144 therebetween, said passageway containing an inner wall surface 146. The lower end of the tubular member contains a bottom wall 148 and a tubular projection 150.

Received in the lower passageway 142 in sliding engagement with the wall surface 146 is the upper end of the tubular tap rod 118. The tap rod 118 contains an upper stud portion 152 which extends through the opening 136 and which has a machine screw 154 threaded h the top thereof, whereby the tap rod 118 can be pulled upwardly by the tubular fitting.

At the base of the stud portion is a wall 156 which is adapted to be contacted by the bottom wall 134 of the tubular fitting when the latter moves downwardly, for moving the tap rod in the downward direction.

An O-ring 158 is supported in an external groove adjacent the upper end of the tap rod and cooperates with the shoulder 144 adjacent thereto to provide outlet valve means.

The tap rod 118 contains a longitudinally extending passageway 160 which is in communication with a plurality of laterally extending passageways 162 at the upper end, and which is in communication at the lower end with an open chamber which has an end wall 164 and an inner sidewall 166.

As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the lower end of the tap rod is constructed to slip over the bayonet portion of the keg adapter, with the 0-ring 62 in sliding sealing engagement with the side wall 166, and a coil-supported prong 168 abuts the end wall 164 and is adapted to engage and open the valve member 70, as will be described more fully hereinafter.

Returning to a consideration of the upper end of the tap rod 118, and 0-ring 170 is received in an external annular groove below the laterally extending passageways 162, and is in sliding sealing engagement with the inner wall surface 146.

Spaced downwardly from the 0-ring 170 is another externally mounted 0-ring 172 which is in sliding sealing engagement with the wall 100 of the lower tapper housing 76. i

Adjacent the bottom of the tap rod is yet another externally mounted O-ring 174 which cooperates with the shoulder 108 adjacent thereto to provide inlet valve means.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 8, the tapper 16 as shown in my copending application Ser. No. 385,358, is used with keg A and has the gas inlet fitting 170 thereof connected to the source 18 of gas pressure by a hose 176, and the fluid outlet 172 thereof is connected by a hose 178 to the fitting 114 of the series tapper 14 installed in keg B.

The tapper 16 is somewhat similar in construction to the tappers 14 in that it includes an upper tapper housing 74a and a lower tapper housing 76a interconnected for limited relative vertical movement. The upper and lower tapper housings contain an interconnected tap rod assembly passageway which slidably receives a tap rod assembly 118a which supports a coiled spring 168a at the lower end thereof for engagement with the valve member 70.

The upper tapper housing 74a contains a like spiral camming slot 82a which receives a handle 128a for moving the tap rod assembly 1 18a between an open position and a closed position, as with the tappers 14.

The tubular connector 128 of the series adapter 14 of keg B is connected by a hose 180 to the fitting 114 of the series tapper 14 installed in keg C, and the tubular connector 128 of the series tapper of keg C is connected by a hose 182 with the spigot 20.

It will be understood that one of the advantages of my series tapper assembly and method is that the aforementioned tappers, hoses, gas pressure source and faucet can remain interconnected at all times, i.e. prior to installation and tapping, during the dispensing operation, and after the tappers have been disengaged from the spent kegs and prior to their reuse with full kegs. Obviously, the units are usually disconnected for cleaning purposes.

In order to install two of the series tappers 14 and a regular tapper 16 in three kegs, A, B and C as illustrated in FIG. 1, the preferred method is to interconnect the aforementioned tappers with the gas pressure source and spigot as previously described, and then engage the tappers with their respective keg adapter units and actuate the tappers to tap the kegs in the sequence of kegs C, B and A. Although it is necessary to partially rotate the tapper unit relative to the keg adapter when engaging the tapper with the keg adapter, and to also move the rigid tubular connector member 128 approximately 180 during the tapping operation, the hoses 178, 180 and 182 are of sufficient length to permit such maneuvering of the tappers and the connector members.

Thus, to engage the series tapper 14 with the keg adapter of keg C, the hook portions 92 of the support bars 86 are inserted through the slots in the retaining ring 44 and the assembly partially rotated to lock the hook portions in the annular groove 46. At the same time, the bottom portion of the tubular tapper rod 1 18 is fitted over the bayonet portion 60 of the keg adapter, with the O-ring 62 in sealing engagement with the inner wall surface 166. This relationship is shown in FIG. 2.

The tubular connector member 128 of the series tapper 4 associated with keg C is then moved approximately 180 to the position shown in FIG. 3, causing the connector member to slide in the spiral groove 82, thereby causing the cap member 116 to move downwardly in the upper housing 74 to the position shown in FIG. 3. As the cap member 116 moves downwardly, the shoulder 144 moves below the O-ring 158, thereby opening the outlet valve means and placing the passageway in the tapper rod in communication with the chamber 140, the chamber 122 and the tubular connector member 128.

Continued downward movement of the cap member 116 causes the stud portion 152 to move upwardly through the opening 136 until the bottom wall 134 of the fitting 124 engages the top wall 156 of the tap rod. Continued downward movement of the cap member 116 causes the O-ring 174 to move below the shoulder 108, thereby opening the inlet valve means to cause the passageway 1 12 and the chamber 104 to be in communication with the chamber and the outer passageways 50 in the keg adapter. This further downward movement of the tap rod 118 causes the prong 168 to engage the valve member 70 and open the inner passageway, thereby placing the interior of the keg in communication with the interior passageway in the tap rod.

Also, as the cap member 116 is moved downwardly, the bottom wall 148 of the upper housing engages the top wall 99 of the lower housing, thereby forcing the lower housing 76 downwardly relative to the support bars 86 and the retaining ring 44, thereby forcing the O-ring 98 into sealing engagement with the shoulder 49.

Thus, the interior of the keg is in communication with the faucet 20 (which is closed) through the siphon tube 68, the passageway 64, past the open valve member 70, through the passageway in the tap rod, through the laterally extending passageways 162, into the chamber 156, through the passageways 132, into the chamber 122, and through the connector member 128 and the hose 182 to the faucet 20. The residual pressure in the keg C will normally cause the beer to flow through the aforementioned passageways and chambers to the faucet 20, but the faucet would normally be closed.

The passageways between the tubular fitting 114 and the valve members 54 will also be opened through the chamber 104, past the opened inlet valve means 108/174, into the chamber 110, and through the outer passageways 50. However, because the valve members 54 are yieldably biased towards the closed position by the actuators 56, there is no reverse flow of the beer through the hose 180.

The series tapper 14 of keg B would then be engaged and the connector member 128 thereof moved approximately in the same manner as previously described, thereby connecting the interior of the keg B through its siphon tube 68 with its connector member 128, whereby beer can flow from keg B through its siphon tube 68, tapper passageways, connector member 128, and hose 180 to the tubular fitting 114 of the tapper for keg C. If the fluid pressure in hose 180 is greater than the internal pressure in keg C, such excess pressure in the outer passageways 50 in the keg adapter in keg C, causes the valve members 54 to move away from their valve seats 52 to the open position, whereby fluid can flow from keg B into keg C.

The next step in the tapping sequence is to engage the tapper 16 with the keg adapter in keg A, and actuate it in the manner described above and in my copending application Ser. No. 385,358, whereby the interior of the keg A is placed in communication with the hose 178 and the gas passageways in the keg adapter are placed in communication with the hose 176.

Thus, if the source gas pressure 18 is opened and the gas pressure is greater than the internal residual pressure in keg A, gas will flow into keg A and cause the beer from keg A to flow through the hose 178 and into keg B. However, if the faucet 20 is closed and all of the kegs are filled with beer, the initial tapping operations will merely cause a small amount of beer to flow in the connecting hoses 178, 180 and 182.

However, when the faucet 20 is turned to the open position, the gas pressure in keg A will cause beer to flow from keg A through the siphon tube 68 therein, through the keg adapter and tapper associated with keg A, through the hose 178, through the tubular fitting 114 at keg B and through the interconnected passageways in the tapper and into the outer passageways 50 in the keg adapter in keg B, thereby unseating the valve members 54 and causing additional beer to flow into keg B. The increased pressure in keg B caused by the additional beer, causes beer to be forced out of keg B, through the hose 180 and into keg C in the same manner as previously described, with the beer in keg C then being forced through its siphon tube and into the hose 182 and to the faucet 20.

As previously described, it is important to have the passageways into the keg through the fitting 114 and the tapper and the outer passageways 50 of the keg adapter, larger in size than the outlet passageways from the keg, which include the inner passageway in the keg adapter and the various passageways between it and the.

connector member 128, whereby there will always be an excess flow capability into the keg, as compared with the flow capability out of the keg. This will always assure that the kegs are emptied in sequence, starting with the keg closest to the gas pressure source 18. Thus, in th present illustration, keg A would empty first, followed by keg B and then keg C. Obviously, when all of the beer is discharged from keg A, the gas from the gas pressure source 18 merely flows through keg A and into keg B in the conventional manner. Also, as keg B is emptied, the gas flows through kegs A and B and into keg C.

When it is desired to disconnect the kegs from the system, the gas pressure source 18 is turned off, and the tappers 14 are disengaged from their respective kegs by moving the tubular connector 128 in the reverse direction, thereby moving the cap member 116 and the tap rod 118 in the upward direction, to close the outlet valve means 144/158 and the inlet valve means 108/174. Upward movement of the tap rod 118 also permits the valve members 70 to move to the closed position due to the force of the actuator 72. Obviously, when the valve member 70 and valve members 54 are in the closed position, the keg is sealed and the tapper can be disengaged from the retaining ring 44 and removed from its associated keg adapter.

Thus, it is apparent that there has been provided a novel series tapper assembly and method which fulfills all of the objects and advantages sought therefor.

I claim:

1. A series tapper assembly, comprising in combination:

first and second kegs, each having an opening in one wall thereof;

a keg adapter in each opening for sealing said keg during nonuse and for providing means for selectively removing fluid from the keg;

a tapper removably engaged with each keg adapter;

said tapper and keg adapter for each keg providing therethrough an inlet passageway for transferring fluid from outside the keg to inside the keg, and an outlet passageway for transferring fluid from inside to outside the keg, each of said passageways having an inner end and an outer end; valve means in each inlet passageway yieldably biased toward the closed position to prevent fluid flow from inside to outside each keg;

normally closed valve means in each outlet passageway movable to an open position; means for moving the valve means in each outlet passageway to the open position;

a siphon tube in each keg in communication with the inner end of the outlet passageway;

the inner end of the inlet passageway being adjacent the opening in the keg wall;

conduit means interconnecting the outer end of the outlet passageway of the first keg with the outer end of the inlet passageway of the second keg;

conduit means for interconnecting the outer end of the inlet passageway of the first keg with a fluid pressure source; and

, conduit means for interconnecting the outer end of the outlet passageway of the second keg with fluid dispensing means.

2. A series tapper assembly according to claim 1, in which the inlet passageway for each keg is larger in size than the outlet passageway for said keg, whereby the fluid flow capacity into the keg is greater than the fluid flow capacity out of the keg.

3. A series tapper assembly according to claim 1, in which the valve means in each inlet passageway is movable to theopen position when the fluid pressure at the outer end of the passageway exceeds by a predetermined amount the fluid pressure in the keg with which it is in communication.

4. A series tapper assembly according to claim 1, in which an actuating member is mounted on each tapper and movable between an open position and a closed position, and the valve means in the outlet passageway is movable to the open position responsive to the movement of the actuating member from the closed position to the open position.

5. A series tapper assembly according to claim 4, in which each tapper is forced into sealing relationship with its associated keg adapter responsive to the movement of the actuating member for said tapper from the closed to the open position.

6. The method of tapping a plurality of beer kegs interconnected in series between a gas pressure source and fluid dispensing means, each keg having an opening in one wall thereof; a keg adapter in each opening and a tapper in operative engagement with each keg adapter; said tapper and keg adapter for each keg providing therethrough an inlet passageway for transferring fluid from outside the keg to inside the keg, and an outlet passageway for transferring fluid from inside to outside the keg, each of said passageways having an inner end and an outer end; valve means in each inlet passageway yieldably biased toward the closed position to prevent fluid flow from inside to outside the keg; normally closed valve means in each outlet passageway movable to an open position; and actuating member carried by each tapper and movable between an open position and a closed position; means associated with each tapper and responsive to the movement of the actuating means from the closed to the open position to move the valve in the outlet passageway to the open position; conduit means interconnecting the gas pressure source with the outer end of the inlet passageway of the keg adjacent said source; conduit means interconnect ing the fluid dispensing means with the outer end of the outlet passage of the keg adjacent said dispensing means; and conduit means interconnecting the outer end of the outlet passage of one keg with the outer end of the inlet passage of the keg adjacent thereto; including the steps of:

closing the fluid dispensing means;

with the actuating member for each tapper in the closed position, moving each actuating member from the closed position to the open position, in sequence, starting with the keg adjacent to the fluid dispensing means.

7. The method of tapping a plurality of beer kegs interconnected in series according to claim 6, in which the gas pressure source remains closed until the actuating member of the keg adjacent thereto is moved from the closed to the open position after which, the gas pressure source is opened to cause gas under pressure to enter the inlet passageway of said adjacent keg.

8. The method of tapping a plurality of beer kegs interconnected in series according to claim 6, in which the gas pressure source is opened prior to moving any of the actuating members from the closed to the open position.

9. The method of tapping a plurality of beer kegs interconnected in series according to claim 6, in which the tappers are interconnected with the gas pressure source and the fluid dispensing means prior to engaging the tappers with the keg adapters.

10. A series tapper for interconnection with an adapter which is mounted in an opening contained in the wall of a keg, comprising:

a housing containing a longitudinally extending passageway providing an inner wall;

a tap rod assembly mounted in said passageway for limited longitudinal movement and including a cap member and a tap rod;

an outlet chamber in the cap member;

a spiral slot in the upper end of the housing;

a tubular actuating member extending through said slot and into engagement with said cap member, the interior of said actuating member being in communication with the outlet chamber, said actuating member being movable in said slot between an open position and a closed position;

a longitudinally extending passageway in the tap rod;

outlet valve means between the upper end of the tap rod passageway and the outlet chamber, movable between an open position and a closed position responsive to the movement of the actuating member;

an inlet chamber between the inner wall of the housing and the tap rod;

an inlet passageway adjacent the lower end of the tap rod between said tap rod and the inner wall of the housing; and

inlet valve means between the inlet passageway and the inlet chamber, movable between an open position and a closed position responsive to the movement of the actuating member.

11. A series tapper according to claim 10, in which the upper end of the tap rod is received in the cap member and has limited movement relative thereto.

12. A series tapper according to claim 10, in which the outlet valve means comprises a shoulder on one of the cap member and the tap rod and an O-ring on the other of the cap member and the tap rod.

13. A series tapper according to claim 10, in which the inlet valve means comprises a shoulder on one of the tap rod and the housing and an O-ring on the other of the tap rod and the housing.

Patent Citations
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US3610478 *Apr 28, 1969Oct 5, 1971Johnston Mack STapping device for beer kegs and the like
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4180189 *Jan 11, 1978Dec 25, 1979Vending Components, Inc.Single valve dispensing tube
US4350273 *Jun 27, 1980Sep 21, 1982The Perlick Company, Inc.Portable keg tapping coupler
US5713496 *Feb 7, 1995Feb 3, 1998Micro Matic A/SFor use in distributing a liquid
US6681813 *Jan 19, 2001Jan 27, 2004Hydac Technology GmbhDevice for removing fluid from a container
US8561856May 12, 2005Oct 22, 2013Koninklijke Philips N.V.Valve assembly with positioning means for a keg with an inner bag
CN1953931BMay 12, 2005Oct 10, 2012皇家飞利浦电子股份有限公司Valve assembly with positioning means for a keg with an inner bag
DE2716394A1 *Apr 13, 1977Nov 10, 1977Ver Edelstahlwerke AgZapfhahn
WO2005113412A1 *May 19, 2005Dec 1, 2005Anderson IanValve assembly for a container with an inner bag for receiving beverage
WO2005113414A1 *May 12, 2005Dec 1, 2005Koninkl Philips Electronics NvValve assembly with positioning means for a keg with an inner bag
WO2005113415A1 *May 12, 2005Dec 1, 2005Koninkl Philips Electronics NvValve assembly for a container with an inner bag
Classifications
U.S. Classification222/1, 137/212, 222/400.7
International ClassificationB67D1/08, B67D1/00
Cooperative ClassificationB67D1/0831, B67D1/0802
European ClassificationB67D1/08A2, B67D1/08B2