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Title:
BATCH CARBONATOR AND METHOD FOR FORMING A CARBONATED BEVERAGE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2014/138667
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A batch carbonation apparatus includes a housing defining a vessel cavity. The housing includes an agitation mechanism. The pressure vessel includes a cap that has a C02 inlet and a C02 outlet is provided. The pressure vessel also includes a seal. The pressure vessel is moveable into an out of the vessel cavity. A locking mechanism is provided and is attached to the agitation mechanism to removably lock the cap and seal relative to the pressure vessel. A C02 source is connected to a plurality of valves where each valve has a differing pressure. A selection toggle is attached to the housing.

Inventors:
NJAASTAD DAVID K (US)
SEVCIK SCOTT (US)
TINUCCI PETER S (US)
Application Number:
US2014/022048
Publication Date:
September 12, 2014
Filing Date:
March 07, 2014
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
CORNELIUS INC (US)
International Classes:
B01F3/04
Domestic Patent References:
WO2012162762A12012-12-06
Foreign References:
US2556038A1951-06-05
US4869396A1989-09-26
US1561036A1925-11-10
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JAMES, Lawrence, E. et al. (Gerber & Eisenberg LLPTwo North Lasalle Street,Suite 170, Chicago IL, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A batch carbonation apparatus comprising:

a housing defining a vessel cavity, the housing including an agitation mechanism; a pressure vessel including a cap, the cap including a C02 inlet and a C02 outlet, the pressure vessel including a seal, the pressure vessel moveable into and out of the vessel cavity;

a locking mechanism, the locking mechanism connected to the agitation mechanism and removably locking the cap and seal relative to the pressure vessel;

a C02 source,

a plurality of valves connected to the C02 source, each valve having a differing pressure;

a selection toggle attached to the housing;

a control mechanism connected to the plurality of valves;

wherein a user selects a desired carbonation level using the selection toggle and C02 is introduced to the pressure vessel at a specified pressure wherein the agitation mechanism agitates liquid within the pressure vessel forming a carbonated beverage having a selected carbonation level.

2. The batch carbonation apparatus of claim 1 including a pressure vent valve connected to the C02 outlet venting C02 from the pressure vessel following carbonation of the liquid.

3. The batch carbonation apparatus of claim 1 including a door attached to the housing, the door including a latching mechanism that latches and unlatches in response to pressure within the pressure vessel.

4. The batch carbonation apparatus of claim 1 including timers coupled with the plurality of valves, the timers regulating the time that C02 is introduced into the pressure vessel.

5. The batch carbonation apparatus of claim 1 including a flow control valve connected with C02 outlet regulating a venting of C02 from the pressure vessel.

6. The batch carbonation apparatus of claim 1 wherein the agitation mechanism includes a platform attached to a motor moving the platform in a vertical motion and further including springs attached to the platform creating rapid acceleration and deceleration of a liquid in the pressure vessel.

7. The batch carbonation apparatus of claim 6 wherein the agitation mechanism includes an electric motor assembly including a cam attached to a shaft of the motor and a linkage attached to the cam.

8. The batch carbonation apparatus of claim 7, wherein the linkage is attached to a bearing, the bearing including reaction springs stabilizing movement of the platform.

9. The batch carbonation apparatus of claim 8 including an attachment rod connecting the bearing to the platform.

10. The batch carbonation apparatus of claim 1 including status display toggles positioned on the housing indicating a status of the pressure vessel.

11. The batch carbonation apparatus of claim 1 wherein the seal includes a vent slot formed therein.

12. A method of forming a carbonated beverage in a batch comprising the steps of: providing a housing and agitation mechanism;

providing a locking mechanism attached to the agitation mechanism;

providing a pressure vessel including a seal and cap, the cap including a C02 inlet and a C02 outlet,

introducing a liquid beverage into the pressure vessel;

locking the seal and cap relative to the pressure vessel using the locking mechanism and connecting the pressure vessel to the agitation mechanism;

selecting a level of carbonation;

introducing C02 at a specified pressure for a predetermined time and agitating the liquid beverage utilizing the agitation mechanism forming a carbonated beverage having a selected carbonation level.

13. The method of forming a carbonated beverage of claim 12 including the step of introducing ice into the pressure vessel lowering a temperature of the liquid beverage.

14. The method of forming a carbonated beverage of claim 12 including the step of moving a door attached to the housing, the door covering the pressure vessel when positioned within the housing wherein the door is locked relative to the housing when pressure is introduced into the pressure vessel.

15. The method of forming a carbonated beverage of claim 12 including the step of purging pressure from the pressure vessel through the C02 outlet following formation of the carbonated beverage.

16. The method of forming a carbonated beverage of claim 15 including the step of unlocking a door following the step of purging pressure.

17. The method of forming a carbonated beverage of claim 15 wherein the step of purging includes opening a pressure vent valve wherein C02 within the vessel passes through the seal and into the C02 outlet of the cap.

18. The method of forming a carbonated beverage of claim 17 wherein the C02 outlet is coupled to an adjustable flow valve regulating the rate of C02 exiting the pressure vessel.

19. The method of forming a carbonated beverage of claim 15 wherein the purging step includes actuating a pressure switch when the pressure within the pressure vessel has reached a predetermined value allowing a user to remove the pressure vessel from the housing wherein actuation of the pressure switch toggles a display on the housing indicating pressure within the vessel has been purged.

20. The method of forming a carbonated beverage of claim 12 wherein the step of locking the pressure vessel includes positioning the seal onto the pressure vessel wherein a lip of the seal contacts the pressure vessel, positioning the cap within the locking mechanism, positioning the pressure vessel and seal in the locking mechanism and actuating the locking mechanism connecting the pressure vessel, seal and cap in the locking mechanism and connecting the pressure vessel to the agitation mechanism.

21. The method of forming a carbonated beverage of claim 12 wherein the step of introducing C02 into the vessel includes actuating one of a plurality of valves having a differing pressure, closing a pressure vent valve, actuating a pressure valve wherein actuation of the pressure switch toggles a display on the housing indicating pressure is within the vessel.

22. The method of forming a carbonated beverage of claim 12 wherein the liquid beverage includes water and additional flavoring ingredients.

Description:
BATCH CARBONATOR AND METHOD OF FORMING

A CARBONATED BEVERAGE

[0001] This is an international patent application claiming priority to U.S. Application

Serial No. 13/790,687, filed March 8, 2013, entitled "BATCH CARBONATOR AND METHOD OF FORMING A CARBONATED BEVERAGE" which is incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE FNVENTION

[0002] The invention relates to carbonation apparatus and methods for forming a carbonated batch of a finished beverage.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Current carbonated beverages may be formed by using a carbonator to carbonate a water source and then introducing a flavored syrup concentrate to make a carbonated beverage. Additionally, prior art apparatus may include a small C02 cartridge that introduces carbonation under pressure into a vessel of water and then adding the syrup or other ingredients to create a finished beverage.

[0004] However, prior art carbonation apparatus are limited in an amount of carbonation that they introduce to the beverage because they do not agitate the beverage or have the ability to vary the pressure to influence a carbonation level. Additionally, typical prior art apparatus may be utilized to only carbonate a water source and do not carbonate a finished beverage.

[0005] There is therefore a need in the art for a method and apparatus for fast carbonation of a pre-mixed beverage or final finished beverage on an individual basis such that the carbonation level may be adjusted to various levels. SUMMARY OF INVENTION

[0006] In one aspect, there is disclosed a batch carbonation apparatus that includes a housing defining a vessel cavity. The housing includes an agitation mechanism. The pressure vessel includes a cap that has a C02 inlet and a C02 outlet is provided. The pressure vessel also includes a seal. The pressure vessel is moveable into an out of the vessel cavity. A locking mechanism is provided and is attached to the agitation mechanism to removably lock the cap and seal relative to the pressure vessel. A C02 source is connected to a plurality of valves where each valve has a differing pressure. A selection toggle is attached to the housing. A control mechanism is coupled to the plurality of valves. A user selects a desired carbonation level using the selection toggle and C02 is introduced to the pressure vessel at a specified pressure wherein the agitation mechanism agitates liquid within the pressure vessel forming a carbonated beverage having a selected carbonation level.

[0007] In another aspect, there is disclosed a method of forming a carbonated beverage in a batch that includes the steps of providing a housing and agitation mechanism, providing a locking mechanism attached to the agitation mechanism, providing a pressure vessel including a seal and a cap, the cap including a C02 inlet and C02 outlet, introducing a liquid beverage into the pressure vessel, locking the seal and cap relative to the pressure vessel using the locking mechanism, selecting a level of carbonation, and introducing C02 at a specified pressure for a predetermined time and agitating the liquid beverage utilizing the agitation mechanism forming a carbonated beverage having a selected carbonation level.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] Fig. 1 is a schematic and side view of a batch carbonator apparatus; [0009] Fig. 2 is a cutaway perspective view of a batch carbonator apparatus;

[0010] Fig. 3 is a perspective view with a portion of the housing removed for a batch carbonator apparatus;

[0011] Fig. 4 is a schematic representation of the plurality of pressure valves and control mechanism for a batch carbonator apparatus;

[0012] Fig. 5 is a partial view of a front of the housing including toggle switches for selecting a level of carbonation and display toggles indicating a status of the pressure vessel;

[0013] Fig. 6 is a sectional view of a pressure vessel including the seal and cap;

[0014] Fig. 7 is a perspective view of a pressure vessel including a seal and a locking mechanism including a cap prior to introduction of the pressure vessel within the housing;

[0015] Fig. 8 is a perspective view of the pressure vessel being introduced into the locking mechanism.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0016] In general, the carbonation process may be described utilizing Henry's Law which states that at a constant temperature the amount of a given gas that is dissolved in a given type and volume of liquid is proportional to the partial pressure of that gas in equilibrium with the liquid. By controlling the C02 pressure at varying levels the amount of dissolved gas being absorbed allows a user to create beverages having varying amounts of carbonation to create a different taste and feel to the human palette.

[0017] The apparatus and method of the present invention may be implemented by placing a finished beverage which may include water, flavoring, syrups and other additives in a pressure vessel and pressurizing it with C02 to allow the gas to saturate the liquid creating a carbonated beverage. By controlling the C02 pressure introduced into the pressure vessel, the level of carbonation in a drink can be changed from a highly carbonated liquid to a lower level carbonated liquid. Agitation of the liquid within the pressure vessel reduces the time needed to saturate the liquid and improves accuracy of the carbonation.

[0018] Referring to Fig. 1, there is shown a schematic and cross-section view of a batch carbonation apparatus 10. As can be seen, a housing 12 defining a vessel cavity 14 includes an agitation mechanism 16. A pressure vessel 18 including a cap 20 having a C02 inlet 22 and a C02 outlet 24 is provided. The pressure vessel 18 also includes a seal 26. The seal links the cap 20 and pressure vessel 18 and minimizes foam formed in the carbonation process of the finished beverage. The pressure vessel 18 is moveable into an out of the vessel cavity 14. The housing 12 also includes a locking mechanism 28. The locking mechanism 28 is attached to the agitation mechanism 16 and removably locks the cap 20 and seal 26 relative to the pressure vessel 18. A C02 source 30 is connected to a plurality of valves 32 with each valve 32 having a differing pressure. A selection toggle 34 is attached to the housing 12. A control mechanism 36 is connected to the plurality of valves 32. A user selects a desired carbonation level using the selection toggle 34 and C02 is introduced to the pressure vessel 18 to a specified pressure wherein the agitation C02 is introduced to the pressure vessel 18 to a specified pressure wherein the agitation beverage having a selected carbonation level.

[0019] Again referring to Fig. 1, a regulated C02 source 30 supplies carbon dioxide to the carbonation apparatus 10 and is used to carbonate a finished beverage or liquid positioned within the pressure vessel 18. A pressure relief valve 38 is provided and is set at a desired level above the working pressure of the C02 to protect the carbonation apparatus 10 if the regulated supply of C02 is set too high. A plurality of valves or regulators 32 are set to varying or differing pressures such as between 30 and 75 psi. The plurality of valves 32 are controlled through a series of shutoff valves 40 for each pressure regulator 32. A check valve 42 may be utilized in each line to eliminate pressure from backing up through the system which may result in malfunction of the pressure regulators or valves 32. The plurality of valves 32 are connected to a common manifold 44 that may include a pressure gauge 46 and pressure switch 48. The pressure gauge 46 may be utilized to validate pressures within the lines of each of the valves 32. When a pressure within the pressure vessel 18 is low enough, the pressure switch 48 will close and give feedback to a user utilizing a display on the housing 12, best seen in Figure 5 or a sound letting a user know that pressure within the pressure vessel 18 is low enough to remove the pressure vessel 18 from the housing 12. The output from the manifold may be coupled to the C02 inlet 22 formed in the cap 20. The C02 inlet 22 may include a flexible tube that is coupled to the cap 20. In one aspect, the cap 20 floats in a clamping or locking mechanism 28 that may be utilized to attach the pressure vessel 18 and seal 26 to the agitation mechanism 16.

[0020] In one aspect, the cap 20 may be attached to a platform 50 that moves in a vertical motion using a gear reduced electric motor 52 and springs 54 that create a rapid acceleration and deceleration of the liquid 36 within the pressure vessel 18.

[0021] Referring to Fig. 4, there is shown a schematic representation of the plurality of valves 32 and control system 36 of the carbonation apparatus 10. As can be seen in the figure, the plurality of valves 32 with three being shown, are controlled by timers 56 on each- of the plurality of valves 32. In one aspect, the timers 56 may be four pole timers. The first set of contacts may be used as a latching circuit that is activated by the depression of the toggles 34 attached to the housing 12 for selecting a desired carbonation level. Actuation of the toggle 34 latches the timer 56 and activates the agitation mechanism 16. One of the selected plurality of valves 32 is opened and the pressure vent valve 58 which is normally open is closed. In one aspect, the pressure vent valve 58 which is normally open is closed. In one aspect, the pressure vent valve 58 remains normally open when the system is off or if an emergency stop toggle is actuated so that pressure within the pressure vessel 18 may be automatically purged. When a carbonation cycle is started the pressure switch 48 is actuated and turns off the display or toggle on the housing 12 signifying that there is pressure within the pressure vessel 18 and the user should not open the system. When the cycle is complete or the cycle is aborted the vent valve 58 opens and pressure within the pressure vessel 18 is released followed by actuation of a display on the housing 12 indicating pressure within the pressure vessel 18 has been purged.

[0022] Additionally, a user may close and open a door 60 attached to the housing 12 when the pressure vessel 18 is positioned within the vessel cavity 14. In one aspect, when the door 60 is closed and the pressure switch 48 senses pressure a locking mechanism 62 may lock the door 60 preventing a user from accessing the pressure vessel 18 within the housing 12. The door 60 may be unlocked if the emergency stop button is depressed and pressure within the vessel 18 is lowered to a predetermined level or if the cycle is completed and pressure within the pressure vessel 18 has been purged to the predetermined level.

[0023] As stated above, the pressure vessel 18 is removable from the housing 12.

Pressure is contained within the pressure vessel 18 by positioning the seal 26 relative to the cap 20 such that the seal 26 traps a lip of the pressure vessel 18 to the cap 20. In one aspect, the seal 26 may include a vent slot 27 formed therein. Once the seal 26 is positioned relative to the pressure vessel 18 and cap 20 the locking clamp or mechanism 28 may be hinged to allow the clamp to be opened and slide the pressure vessel 18 in place. The locking mechanism 28 may include a handle or screw knob that clamps the pressure vessel 18 to the agitation platform 50. In one aspect, the cap 20 floats in a holder that is attached to the locking mechanism or clamp 28. In this manner, the clamp may be pulled forward for loading for keeping the pressure vessel 18, seal 26 and cap 20 aligned with the clamping mechanism 28.

[0024] Again referring to Figs. 1 and 4, the C02 outlet or gas vent tube 24 may be Again referring to Figs. 1 and 4, the C02 outlet or gas vent tube 24 may be the carbonation cycle or process is complete, the C02 source 30 is shut off through the timers 56 turning off the associated valve 32. The gas vent tube 24 is connected to a normally open pressure vent valve 58 such that the system closes the pressure vent valve 58 trapping pressure within the pressure vessel 18 once the cycle is started. The pressure vent valve 58 is opened when the carbonation cycle is complete to release pressure within the pressure vessel 18. In one aspect, the venting line may be attached to an adjustable flow control valve 64 that can be adjusted to control venting of pressure from the pressure vessel 18. In one aspect, the adjustable flow control valve 64 may be replaced with a fixed orifice to define a specific venting rate.

[0025] Referring to Fig. 2, there is shown the agitation mechanism 16. In one aspect, the agitation mechanism 16 includes a platform 50 that is moved using a gear reduced electric motor 54 and cam 66 attached to a shaft of the motor 54. In one aspect, the agitation mechanism 16 includes a platform 50 that is moved using a gear reduced electric motor 54 and cam 66 attached to a shaft of the motor 54. In one aspect, a linkage 68 is attached to the cam 66. The linkage 68 is further attached to a bearing 70 with the bearing 70 including reaction springs 72 stabilizing movement of the platform 50. An attachment rod 74 connects the bearing 70 to the platform 50. Further, springs 54 may be positioned below the platform 50 to accelerate and decelerate liquid 36 within the pressure vessel 18 as described above.

[0026] Referring to Fig. 6, there is shown a sectional view of the pressure vessel 18 including a seal 26 and cap 20. In one aspect, the pressure vessel 18 may be sized such that a volume of liquid 36 within the pressure vessel 18 is 2/3 of the volume of the vessel with the remaining 113 of the volume being an empty space 76. The empty space 76 of the liquid allows mixing of the gas and liquid under agitation.

[0027] In another aspect, there is disclosed a method of forming a carbonated beverage in a batch that includes the steps of: providing a housing 12 and agitation mechanism 16, providing a locking mechanism 28 attached to the agitation mechanism 16, providing a pressure vessel 18 including a seal 26 and cap 20, the cap 20 including a C02 inlet 22 and a C02 outlet 24, introducing a liquid beverage into the pressure vessel 18, locking the seal 26 and cap 20 relative to the pressure vessel 18 using the locking mechanism 28, selecting a level of carbonation, . and introducing C02 at a specified pressure for a predetermined time and agitating the liquid beverage utilizing the agitation mechanism 16 forming a carbonated beverage having a selected carbonation level. [00271 In one aspect, the process may include the step of introducing ice to the pressure vessel 18 lowering a temperature of the liquid beverage and for improving carbonation of the liquid beverage.

[0028] In one aspect, the process may also include the step of moving a door 60 that is attached to the housing 12 such that the door 60 covers the pressure vessel 18 when the pressure vessel 18 is positioned within the housing 12. In one aspect, the door 60 may be locked relative to housing 12 when pressure is introduced into the pressure vessel 18.

[0029] The method may also include the step of purging pressure from the pressure\ vessel 18 through the C02 outlet 24 following formation of the carbonated beverage. As stated above, the step of purging may include unlocking of the door 60 following purging of pressure within the pressure vessel 18. In one aspect, the step of purging also includes opening a pressure vent valve 58 wherein carbon dioxide within the pressure vessel 18 passes through seal 26 and into the C02 outlet 24 of the cap 20. The C02 outlet 24 may be coupled to an adjustable flow valve 64 regulating the rate of C02 exiting the pressure vessel 18. Additionally, the purging step may include actuating a pressure switch 48 when pressure within the pressure vessel has reached a predetermined value. Additionally, actuation of the pressure switch 48 may toggle a display 35 on the housing 12 indicating pressure within the vessel has been purged and it is safe for the user to remove the pressure vessel 18.

[0030] In one aspect, the step of locking the pressure vessel 18 within the housing 12 includes positioning the seal 26 onto the pressure vessel 18 where a lip of the seal 26 contacts the pressure vessel 18, positioning the cap 20 within the locking mechanism 28, positioning the pressure vessel 18 and seal 26 in the locking mechanism 28 and actuating he locking mechanism 28 connecting the pressure vessel 18, seal 26 and cap 20 within the locking mechanism 28 and lining the pressure vessel 18 to the agitation mechanism 16.

[0031] The step of introducing carbon dioxide into the pressure vessel 18 may include actuating one of the plurality of valves 32 having a differing pressure, closing a pressure vent valve 58, actuating a pressure valve 48 wherein actuation of the pressure valve toggles a display on the housing 12 indicating pressure is being introduced into the pressure vessel 18.

[0032] As stated above, the liquid beverage may include a finished or final beverage product that includes water and additional flavoring ingredients. The batch carbonation apparatus and method of forming a carbonated beverage in a batch allows a user to select a desired carbonation level and produce a carbonated beverage from a finished beverage that includes both water and flavoring ingredients. Various liquid beverages may be introduced and are limited only by the beverage having a high enough percentage of water and low enough viscosity to allow a carbonation process to occur.

[0033] The invention is not restricted to the illustrated examples described above. The embodiments described above are not intended to limit the scope of the invention. Changes therein, other combinations of elements and other uses will occur to those skilled in the art.