US 3927802 A
A hot beverage dispenser for use in locations where it is not desirable or practical to connect the dispenser to a water supply. The hot water system in the dispenser includes an electrically heated tank, a reservoir remote from the tank, which may be manually filled, and means including an auxiliary chamber connecting the reservoir to the tank and controlling flow from the reservoir to the tank on demand.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Lavochkin et al.
[ MANUAL FILL HOT BEVERAGE DISPENSER inventors: Ronald B. Lavochkin, Burlington;
John Gardner, Tewksbury, both of Mass Assignee: Jet Spray Cooler, lnc., Waltham,
Filed: Mar. 5, 1974 Appl. No.: 448,352
US. Cl. 222/67; 222/ I46 HE Int. Cl. B67D 5/62 Field of Search'..... 222/146 R, 146 H, I46 HE,
222/146 HS, 67, l29.ll29.4
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 4/1958 Brown U 222/l29.l
[ Dec. 23, 1975 3,420,4l4 l/l969 Christine el al r. ZZZ/I46 R Primary Examiner-Robert B. Reeves Assistant Elraminer-John P. Shannon Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks 14 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures h as MANUAL FILL HOT BEVERAGE DISPENSER The present invention relates to hot liquid dispensers and more particularly comprises a new and improved hot water system for coffee, hot chocolate and soup dispensers designed to be manually filled. In the following description the system is described in terms of a hot chocolate dispenser but it has wider application.
Counter top hot chocolate dispensers ordinarily contain independent supplies of flavor concentrate and hot water, and the dispensers mix the two in proper ratio on demand and on a drink by drink basis. The hot water supply system for these units customarily includes a heating tank which is either connected to a pressurized water line or manually filled. Where it is impractical or too costly to connect the tank to a water line, or where portability is desired, it is commonplace to use manually filled heating tanks. Ordinarily the manually filled tanks have a gravity discharge for the hot water to a mixing chamber where the water is combined with the chocolate concentrate. The manually filled systems presently available have several disadvantages. For example, where gravity flow is relied upon, the tank must be elevated to assure an adequate discharge rate. It is not satisfactory merely to discharge the water from the bottom of the tank and mount the tank on the bottom wall of the dispenser housing, because the discharge spout must be elevated a sufficient height to enable the cup to be filled from the unit to be placed beneath the spout. As a result, the hot water tank is normally elevated in the housing which creates some instability for the dispenser. And if the tank is disposed on its side to reduce dispenser height, the counter space taken up by the unit is greater than what is deemed acceptable in many installations.
Because the discharge rate from a gravity flow open tank is dependent upon the head of liquid in the tank, a compensating device is generally required to control the efflux rate to some preset amount. These compensating devices involve floats and/or trapped volumes, head sensitive regulating valves, or various mechanical arrangements, and they add to the manufacturing costs of the dispenser.
Ordinarily in manually filled units a band heater is employed about the lower portion of the tank to heat the water. It is desirable to locate the heaters below the lowest operating liquid level to prevent excessive surface boiling and avoid overheating of the tank. This limits the usable tank volume to something less than total volume of the tank.
Another limitation of the prior art open tank, manually filled systems is the presence of large losses caused by evaporation when the water temperature is set by the tank thermostat at or above 175F. And as the water level drops in the tank, evaporation losses increase, and the covers on the tanks, whether plastic or metal, are often too hot to comfortably handle. And care must be taken to avoid contact with the vapor that escapes when the cover is removed.
Because of the hazards associated with low water levels in the heating tank, at least one prior art system incorporates a float switch in the tank that provides a warning light at low water level condition. This feature obviously adds to the cost of the dispenser, and the fitting through which the electrical connection is made between the float and the indicator is a potential source of leakage.
A principal object of this invention is to provide a hot beverage dispenser which avoids the limitations of the prior art devices described above.
Another important object of this invention is to provide a hot beverage dispenser that has a great number of components which are common to both the manually filled unit and the line connected units of the prior art. In this connection, the unit of this invention has a great number of components which are common both to it and the line connected hot beverage dispensers shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,737,076, 3,730,144 and 3,568,887 all owned by the assignee of this application.
To accomplish these and other objects, the hot beverage dispenser of this invention has a closed hot water tank above which is mounted a water reservoir preferably made of a transparent or translucent material, which allows the attendant to observe the water level in the reservoir. The reservoir is connected to the bottom of the hot water tank through an auxiliary chamber which contains a float valve that controls flow from the reservoir to the tank and is responsive to the level of water in the tank.
These and other objects and features of the invention will be better understood and appreciated from the following detailed description of one embodiment thereof, selected for purposes of illustration and shown in the accompanying drawing in which:
BRIEF FIGURE DESCRIPTION FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a beverage dispenser constructed in accordance with this invention; and
FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic side view of the beverage dispenser shown in FIG. 1 illustrating the hot water system.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The dispenser shown in the drawing has a housing 10 and is designed to be placed on a counter in a snack bar or other fast food establishment and dispense hot drinks one at a time. In use the cup or container to be filled is placed on or held above drip tray 12 on the front of the housing beneath the mixing assembly and discharge spout 14. An actuating button 16 on the housing is electrically connected to a control circuit (not shown) that includes some form of timer, which causes the dispenser to discharge a drink of a preset size. These components are of standard design found in hot chocolate dispensers shown in the earlier patents identified above.
Disposed in housing 10 is hot water tank 20, which preferably is constructed as the tank shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,730,144. Because the tank is described in great detail in that earlier patent, it is described only briefly here. It includes a plastic shell 22 and stainless steel section 26 in which is mounted an immersion heater 24 at the tank bottom. A thermostat 28 is mounted in the tank to control the electrical circuit (not shown) for the immersion heater. The tank is supported on the bottom wall 30 of the housing by stand 32.
The upper end of tank 20 is connected by duct 34 to the top funnel section 36 of the mixing assembly and discharge spout l4, and solenoid valve 38 interposed in duct 34 at the discharge port in the tank controls the flow of hot water from tank 20 to funnel 36. Conventionally when the dispenser is used to dispense hot chocolate drinks, a container (not shown) for flavor concentrate (either powder or liquid) is placed on shelf 3 forming part of housing 10 and discharges its contents into funnel 36, typically as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,568,887.
A water reservoir is mounted on the top wall 52 of housing 10 and serves as a source of water for tank 20. Reservoir 50 has a lid 54 which may readily be removed for filling, and preferably the reservoir is made of a transparent or translucent material so that the level of water in the reservoir may be observed without removing the cover. As reservoir 50 tits on top of housing 10 and is not confined within it, it is readily accessible to the operater when filling is required. The reservoir is connected to the tank 20 through an auxiliary chamber and transfer duct 62.
Auxiliary chamber 60 located beneath top wall 52 of housing 10 is supported on the top of tank 20, and the auxiliary chamber and tank are in continuous communication with one another. Passage 64 defined by neck 66 on the top wall of tank 20 opens into chamber 60, and neck 66 extends upwardly and registers with sleeve 68, and the two are sealed together by gasket 70. A number of ports 72 in sleeve 68 join the interior of auxiliary chamber 60 with passage 64.
The upper end of sleeve 68 serves as a guide for stem of float 82 forming part of the float valve assembly 84 which controls water flow from reservoir 50 to tank 20. A pin 86 carried by float 82 extends upwardly through collar formed as part of the bottom wall 92 of reservoir 50 and carries seal 88 which is positioned to engage the bottom edge of collar 90 to close the passage 91 formed by it when the float elevates the seal to the position shown in FIG. 2. Collar 90 is sealed within neck 94 formed in the cover 96 of auxiliary chamber 60 by O-ring 98.
Auxiliary chamber 60 is subdivided into two compartments by cylindrical partition 100. Outer annular compartment 102 is connected at its bottom to transfer duct 62 while inner compartment 104 is connected to the interior of tank 20 through passage 64 and ports 72 in the manner previously described.
Float 82 carries an outwardly extending flange that extends over the top of cylindrical partition 100 and serves as a baffle so as to direct water that flows from reservoir 50 through passage 91 in collar 90 into outer annular compartment 102. Thus, flow from the reservoir 50 to tank 20 normally occurs through port 91 (assuming seal 88 is unseated) over baffle or flange 110, down through annular compartment 102 and transfer duct 62, and up T-connection 1 12 and diverter 114. A drain plug 116 is shown in the bottom of T" 112 to drain the system as necessary.
A vent tube 120 open at its upper end in auxiliary chamber 60 above the normal operating water level in the chamber maintains the inside of the chamber at atmospheric pressure through line 122, which terminates at its lower end in the front panel of housing 10 above drip tray 12. Line 122 is also connected by means of a Y-connection 124 to discharge duct 34. This venting arrangement prevents any hot water from being trapped in discharge duct 34 and causes a malfunction of the hot water system to create water discharge into the drip tray 12 where it may readily be observed. The reservoir 50 is also maintained at atmospheric pressure through vent in cover 54.
Typically hot water tank 20 may have a one gallon capacity and reservoir 50 may have a capacity of l or 2 gallons, and annular compartment 102 of chamber 60 may have a capacity of approximately 0.1 gallon.
The system in use operates as follows: To place the system in operation, reservoir 50 is placed on top wall 52 of housing 10 with its collar 90 sealed in sleeve 94 of auxiliary chamber cover 96 by O-ring 98. Because the tank 20 and auxiliary chamber 60 are empty, float 82 is disposed in a down position so that seal 88 is spaced from the bottom of collar 90. The reservoir cover 54 is removed, and water is poured into the reservoir until the water level in the reservoir stops dropping. Water poured in the reservoir will flow over baffle 110 into annular compartment 102 and through transfer duct 62 and diverter 14 into tank 20. The water level in tank 20 rises, and when the tank is full, the water level will continue to rise and enter inner compartment 104 of chamber 60 through passage 64 and ports 72. Ultimately the float 82 will rise with the level of water in compartment 104 and cause the seal 88 to seat on the bottom of collar 90 so that additional water poured in the reservoir will cause the level in the reservoir to rise. It will be recognized that the level of water in compartment 104 will be the same as in compartment 102 because fluid equilibrium will be established. With the tank full, the power switch (not shown) may be turned on to energize heater 24 to heat the water in tank 20 to approximately I75F., a normal hot chocolate temperature. The water in compartment 104 will be heated to the same temperature, while the temperature of the water in outer compartment 102 will be somewhat less than that of the tank, typically about F.
If the water level in compartments 102 and 104 of chamber 60 is as shown in FIG. 2, only the water in the inner compartment 104 would be heated due to its direct fluid communication with the hot water tank. However, as the cold water from the initial fill expands upon being heated in tank 20, the water level in compartment 104 rises and will ordinarily overflow the annular partition 100. When this occurs the temperature of the water in annular compartment 102 will also rise. An observable pumping action takes place due to the difference in temperature between compartments 104 and 102 whereby the cooler water flows down transfer duct 62 into the bottom of tank 20 as the hot water in inner compartment 104 overflows partition 100.
When a drink is drawn from the dispenser, the level of water in compartment 104 drops below that of the top of partition 100. Consequently, all incoming water will be routed by means of baffle 110 to the outer compartment 102. The water exiting from the tank 20 through solenoid valve 38 will normally be the hottest water in the system because the cold water entering the tank normally displaces the hot water upwardly in the tank. It should be observed that the diverter 114 minimizes turbulence in the tank when the cold water is introduced so as to prevent mixing of the cooler water entering the tank with the hot water already heated in it. The hot water is merely displaced upwardly without being reduced in temperature.
It should also be recognized that the difference in height between the solenoid valve outlet 38 and the level of water in compartment 104 is maintained by the float valve assembly 84. So long as there is water in reservoir 50, the discharge rate from the tank as drinks are withdrawn is not effected by a drop in level in the reservoir 50.
Because the reservoir 50 is removed from the hot water in tank 20 and chamber 60, the temperature of water in the reservoir remains substantially ambient,
and there is minimum evaporation and no danger of being scalded by splashing water from the reservoir as water is added to it. Moreover, because the water in the tank and chamber 60 is open only by vent tube 120 to the atmosphere, evaporation losses are minimized.
It will be appreciated that the system described, including chamber 60 is readily accessible at the top of housing 10, and repairs may be made to the float valve assembly 84 by removing cover 96.
It will also be appreciated that the system is substantially burn out proof. The tank 20 can not be emptied below the level of valve 38 which is adjacent the tank top. Consequently the heater 24 is constantly immersed in water.
Having described this invention in detail those skilled in the art will appreciate that numerous modifications may be made thereof without departing from the spirit of this invention. Therefore it is not intended to limit the breadth of this invention to a single embodiment illustrated and described. Rather, it is intended that its scope be determined by the appended claims and their equivalents.
What is claimed is:
l. A hot liquid food dispenser comprising a housing and a discharge spout on the housing,
a hot water tank within the housing including a heating element for heating water in said tank,
a duct connected to the tank adjacent the top and to the spout for carrying water from the top of the tank to the discharge spout and a valve for controlling flow of water through the duct,
a water reservoir on the housing which may be manually filled and located above the tank,
means connected between the reservoir and the bottom of the tank for directing water from the reservoir to the bottom of the tank,
said means including an auxiliary chamber and a transfer duct connecting the reservoir to the chamber,
a passage connecting the chamber to the tank whereby water in the tank may flow into the chamher when the tank is full,
and a second valve in said means for controlling flow from the reservoir to the tank and including a float disposed in said chamber causing the second valve to close when the water in the chamber reaches a selected level.
2. A hot liquid food dispenser as described in claim 1 further characterized by said auxiliary chamber being disposed immediately above the tank and said reservoir being positioned above the chamber whereby flow from the reservoir to the chamber and from the chamber to the tank is by gravity.
3. A hot liquid foot dispenser as described in claim 1 further characterized by said auxiliary chamber having two compartments,
one of said compartments forming part of the means for carrying water from the reservoir to the tank and the other of said compartments being connected to the top of the tank by said passage and into which water may flow from the tank when the tank is full.
4. A hot liquid food dispenser as described in claim 1 further characterized by said reservoir having a removable cover and being vented to the atmosphere.
5. A hot liquid food dispenser as described in claim 4 further characterized by said reservoir being made of a material to enable an operator to observe the level of water therein with- 5 out removing the cover.
6. A hot liquid food dispenser as described in claim 3 further characterized by said two compartments being in communication with one another within the chamber allowing water in said other compartment to flow into the first compartment when it reaches a selected level in the other compartment.
7. A hot liquid food dispenser as described in claim 6 further characterized by a vent tube disposed in said chamber and having an inlet above the selected level of the water in said other compartment.
8. A hot liquid food dispenser as described in claim 3 further characterized by said partition being a vertical cylindrical wall and dividing the chamber into the first compartment outside the partition and the other compartment inside the partition,
and the communication between the compartments being over the top of the cylindrical wall.
9. A hot liquid food dispenser as described in claim 8 further characterized by said float being in the other compartment and closing the second valve when the water in said other compartment reaches a selected level.
10. A hot liquid food dispenser as described in claim 9 further characterized by said float carrying a baffle and directing water from the reservoir into the first compartment.
11. A hot liquid food dispenser comprising a housing and a discharge spout on the housing,
a hot water tank within the housing including a heating element for heating water in said tank,
a duct connected between the tank and spout for carrying hot water from the tank to the discharge spout,
a water reservoir mounted above the tank and duct means connecting the reservoir and tank, said reservoir having means enabling it to be manually fitted while connected to the tank and being vented to the atmosphere,
and a valve mounted in the duct means for controlling flow from the reservoir to the tank, said duct means including an auxiliary chamber and a transfer duct connecting the reservoir to the chamber,
a passage connecting the chamber to the tank whereby water in the tank may flow into the chamber when the tank is full,
and said valve mounted in said duct means including a float disposed in the chamber causing the valve to close when the water in the chamber reaches a selected level.
12. A hot liquid dispenser in accordance with claim 11 and further characterized by a second valve for controlling flow from said tank to said spout,
said duct connected between said tank and said spout being connected in said tank above said heating element.
13. A hot liquid dispenser in accordance with claim 12 further characterized by 1 further characterized by said valve being located in said duct means and being operable to automatically close the means when the water in the tank is at a selected level.
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION pa 3 ,927 ,802 Dated December 23 1 975 lnventofls) Rona] d B. Lavochkin and John Ga rdner It is certified that error a ppears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Column 5, cTaim 3,
first Tine, correct "foot" to read --food--.
Signed and Scaled this twenty-seventh D 3y 0 f A prt'l 1 9 76 [SEAL] Arrest.
RUTH C. MASON ('ummixsimwr of Parents and Trmlcmurkx