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Title:
A BEVERAGE COOLING MODULE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2012/042347
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A cooling module (1 ) for use with a beverage container (21), for example a bottle, is provided. The module (1) includes at least one hermetically sealed envelope (7) containing a potable liquid (5) such as water which may be frozen therein. The module (1) also has an engagement formation (3) adapted to engage the beverage container (21). The module (1) may be attached to the neck of the beverage container (21) by pushing a connection member (9) over the top opening (10) of the beverage container (21).

Inventors:
MALINOWSKI, Thomas, Rainer (Golf Park 3, Engen HouseRaapenberg Road, Mowbray 7925, ZA)
Application Number:
IB2011/002252
Publication Date:
April 05, 2012
Filing Date:
September 27, 2011
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MALINOWSKI, Thomas, Rainer (Golf Park 3, Engen HouseRaapenberg Road, Mowbray 7925, ZA)
International Classes:
F25D3/08; A47G19/22; B65D85/72; F25D31/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2009063251A2
Foreign References:
DE202004012993U1
DE202007012623U1
GB2355644A
US20090277211A1
US4843836A
US2016514A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VON SEIDELS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ATTORNEYS (PO Box 440, Century City 7446, ZA)
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Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A cooling module (1 ) for a beverage container comprising at least one hermetically sealed reservoir (7) containing a potable liquid (5), the reservoir (7) being suitable for containing the liquid in a frozen state, and an engagement formation (3) adapted to engage the beverage container, thereby enabling the beverage container and the cooling module (1 ) to be supplied as a unit to a consumer.

A cooling module (1 ) as claimed in claim 1 in which the engagement formation (3) is an attachment formation configured to releasably secure the cooling module (1 ) to the beverage container.

A cooling module (1 ) as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2 in which the reservoir (7) is an elongate envelope which enables the liquid (5) to be frozen in a corresponding elongate shape, the envelope being integrally formed with the attachment formation (3).

A cooling module (1 ) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims in which the attachment formation (3) is an annular member configured to fit over a neck portion of the beverage container (21 ), the annular member including resiliency flexible flaps (36) projecting from an inner edge thereof, the flaps being configured to give way under their resilience when pushed over a cap (34) or neck region of a container and to return to their original position once moved past a ridge (32) or edge portion of the cap (34) or neck, thereby securing the module to the container (21 ).

A cooling module (1 ) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims which comprises two or more hermetically sealed reservoirs (35).

6. A cooling module (1 ) as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2 in which the hermetically sealed reservoir is a generally annularly shaped envelope (47), thereby allowing the liquid (49) to be frozen into a ring-shaped ice piece which may be broken into separate ice pieces suitable for insertion into the beverage container separately.

7. A cooling module (1 ) as claimed in claim 6 in which the attachment formation is an opening defined by the annular shape of the envelope (47), thus allowing the module to be placed over the cap or top region of a beverage container (21 ) so as to collar it.

8. A cooling module (1 ) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims in which the reservoir is manufactured from a sufficiently frangible material so as to enable the frozen liquid to be freed from it by breaking it.

9. A cooling module (1 ) as claimed in claim 1 in which the engagement formation (75) includes an engagement surface (72) configured to allow the cooling module (1 ) to rest over and at least partially obscure an opening of the beverage container (73).

10. A cooling module (1 ) as claimed in claim 9 in which the engagement formation (75) includes a collar (77) projecting from an edge (83) of the engagement surface (72), substantially normally therefrom, the dimensions of the collar (77) being somewhat larger than those of the opening of the container (83) so as to allow it to fit over the opening.

1 1 . A cooling module (1 ) as claimed in claim 9 or claim 10 in which an operatively outer surface (85) of the at least one reservoir containing the potable liquid is formed by an impression (79) in the engagement surface (75). A cooling module (1 ) as claimed in claim 11 in which the impression (79) is shaped and dimensioned to resemble known artefacts selected from the group comprising sporting equipment, fruit, toys, motor vehicles, landmarks, logos, trademarks, branding, words, slogans, figurines and the like.

A cooling module (1 ) as claimed in any one of claims 9 to 12 in which the engagement surface (87) is covered with a film (89) obscuring an opening defined by the impression (79), the film (89) being removable to expose the opening and remove frozen liquid contained within the impression (79).

A cooling module (1 ) as claimed in claim 13 in which the film (89) is frangible, thus allowing the frozen liquid to be pushed therethrough and removed from the module (1 ).

15. A cooling module (1 ) as claimed in any one of the preceding claims in which the potable liquid is purified water, mineral water or distilled water.

Description:
A BEVERAGE COOLING MODULE

FIELD OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a cooling module for a beverage to be utilised when consuming the beverage.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION Soft drinks and other beverages are commonly supplied in bottles, tins, plastic, glass, laminated cardboard or similar containers, or poured into glasses from larger containers prior to serving. These containers and glasses will collectively be referred to in this specification as "beverage containers". When beverages are sold by retailers to their customers, they are often not at a cold enough temperature. A solution to this problem would be to add ice into the beverage container to cool the beverage. Ice is also frequently added to alcoholic, as well as non-alcoholic, beverages, simply to provide a more enjoyable or refreshing drinking experience.

Dispensing individual pieces of ice to large numbers of customers on a daily basis is a troublesome and time consuming task. While ice pieces may be prepared well in advance and stored in freezers until they are needed, transferring the pieces to the beverage containers prior to consumption is typically cumbersome and difficult to do hygienically. When ice pieces are dispensed from a packet or ice tray to individual consumers they may be exposed to harmful bacteria which can build up in the packet or tray if they are used continuously without being properly cleaned in between uses. In addition, ice pieces are frequently removed from the freezers and stored in temporary vessels that are positioned at or near beverage dispensing areas so as to make them more readily accessible at the time of dispensing. These vessels are often not sufficiently sanitised between uses and are therefore breading grounds for potentially harmful germs and bacteria that are transferred to the ice and then ingested by customers. In addition, the retailer would also need to continually ensure that any utensils used to serve the ice pieces are clean as well.

The source of the water used to prepare readily available ice is most often also unknown to the consumers. The consumer therefore has no guarantees that the water used to manufacture the ice is fresh, adheres to common hygienic standards, and is bacteria free, odourless and especially untouched by human hands.

The above problems are exacerbated in circumstances where beverages are opened and poured into glasses or other containers prior to being served to customer. In addition to not being sure of the cleanliness of the ice served in the drink, customers are also not sure whether the glasses or containers themselves may be unsanitary.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with this invention there is provided a cooling module for a beverage container comprising at least one hermetically sealed reservoir containing a potable liquid, the reservoir being suitable for containing the liquid in a frozen state, and an engagement formation adapted to engage a beverage container, thereby enabling the beverage container and the cooling module to be supplied as a unit to a consumer.

Further features of the invention provide for the reservoir to be an elongate envelope which enables the liquid to be frozen in a corresponding elongate shape; for the engagement formation to be an attachment formation for releasably securing the envelope to the beverage container; for the module to comprise two or more hermetically sealed envelopes secured to or integrally formed with the attachment formation; and for the attachment formation to be an annular member configured to fit over a neck, upper or other section of a body of the beverage container. In one embodiment of the invention the annular attachment formation includes resiliently flexible flaps projecting from an inner edge thereof, the flaps being configured to give way under their resilience when pushed over a cap or neck region of a container and to return to their original position once moved past a ridge or edge portion of the cap or neck, thereby securing the module to the container.

A further feature of the invention provides for the envelope to be annular, thereby allowing the liquid to be frozen into a ring-shaped ice piece which may be broken into separate ice pieces suitable for insertion into the beverage separately. In this embodiment the attachment formation may be provided by an opening defined by the annular shape of the envelope, which allows the module to be placed over the cap or top region of a beverage container so as to collar it.

Still further features of the invention provide for the envelope to be sufficiently frangible to enable the frozen liquid to be freed from it by breaking it, alternatively for the module to include means for accessing the liquid; for the means to be lines of weakness in the envelope at which the envelope may be severed, a seal which may be ruptured, or a tear-away strip that may be removed to extract the liquid, preferably in a frozen state, from the envelope.

An alternative embodiment of the invention provides for the engagement formation to include an engagement area which allows the cooling module to rest over an opening of the beverage container; for the engagement formation to include a collar projecting from an edge of the module, substantially normally therefrom, the dimensions of the collar being somewhat larger than those of the opening of the container so as to allow it to fit over the opening; for an operative outer surface of at least one reservoir containing the potable liquid to be formed by an indentation defined in a surface of the module, alternatively for it to be embossed in the surface; for the potable liquid to be frozen inside the indentation; for the indentation to be shaped and dimensioned to resemble known artefacts including, but not limited to, sporting equipment, fruit, toys, motor vehicles, landmarks, logos, trademarks, branding, words, slogans, figurines or the like; and for an operatively inner surface of the or each envelope to be formed by a removable cover, preferably in the shape of a film manufactured from a plastics material, covering an opening defined by the indentation, the film being removable to expose and remove the frozen liquid contained within the indentation; alternatively, for the operatively inner surface to be frangible, allowing the frozen liquid to be pushed therethrough, and so removed from the module; and for the operatively inner surface to define lines or areas of weakness therein.

A yet further feature of the invention provides for the liquid to be purified water, mineral water or distilled water; and for the water to be filled at its source or origin.

Still further features of the invention provide for the liquid to be flavoured; for the liquid to be a flavoured concentrate suitable for flavouring water when allowed to dissolve therein; for the liquid to be coloured; for the liquid to be enriched with beneficial nutrients which may have health benefits; and for the liquid to contain pharmaceutical and/or disinfectant additives.

Further features of the invention provide for the engagement formation to be a clip or an adhesive zone provided on the envelope.

These and various other features of the invention including various modifications and alternatives will be described in more detail below. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention will now be described, by way of example only with reference to the accompanying representations in which:

Figure 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a cooling module in accordance with the invention;

Figure 2 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of a cooling module;

Figure 3 shows a cooling module in use with a beverage bottle;

Figure 4 shows a cooling module in use with a beverage can;

Figure 5 is a perspective view of a third embodiment of a cooling module in accordance with the invention;

Figure 6 shows the cooling module of Figure 5 in use with a beverage bottle;

Figure 7 is a perspective view of a fourth embodiment of a cooling module in accordance with the invention;

Figure 8 shows the cooling module of Figure 7 in use with a beverage bottle;

Figure 9 is a perspective view of a fifth embodiment of a cooling module in accordance with the invention;

Figure 10 shows the cooling module of Figure 9 in use with a beverage bottle; Figure 1 1 is a perspective view of a sixth embodiment of a cooling module in accordance with the invention;

Figure 12 shows the cooling module of Figure 1 in use with a beverage bottle;

Figure 13 is a perspective view of a seventh embodiment of a cooling module in accordance with the invention;

Figure 14 shows the cooling module of Figure 13 in use with a beverage bottle;

Figure 15 is a perspective view of an eight embodiment of a cooling module in accordance with the invention, in use with a beverage bottle;

Figure 16 is a perspective view of a ninth embodiment of a cooling module in accordance with the invention, in use with a glass used for serving and drinking a beverage from; and

Figure 17 is a perspective bottom view of the cooling module of Figure

16.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION WITH REFERENCE TO THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of cooling modules according to the invention are shown in Figures 1 to 17. A cooling module, generally indicated by numeral (1 ) and shown in Figure 1 includes an hermetically sealed generally elongate reservoir, in the current example a plastic envelope (7) filled with a potable liquid such as purified or mineral water (5), and an engagement formation (3) for releasably securing the envelope (7) to a beverage container. In use, the liquid stored inside the envelope is typically frozen to form ice. The cooling module is meant to be filled with water from a trusted source overcoming any contamination issues associated with conventional methods of providing consumers with ice. The cooling module also includes a means to access the ice inside the envelope.

The engagement formation (3) is an annular member formed integrally with the envelope (7) at an end (8) thereof. The attachment formation (3) is joined to the envelope through a connection member (9) which extends from the attachment formation (3).

The cooling module (1 ) is made from a frangible, easily ruptured material such as plastic which allows the ice to be accessed and freed from the envelope (7) by severing or otherwise breaking the envelope (7). Lines of weakness may also be provided in the envelope to facilitate this process. The cooling module may also be made from a more rigid material such as polystyrene or hard plastic. An embodiment incorporating this will typically have lines of weakness within the envelope as a means to access the ice. Alternatively the stored ice may be accessed through a removable seal or tear-away strip covering an otherwise open area of the envelope which is appended to the envelope.

The cooling module (1 ) illustrated in Figure 3 is made from plastic and the sealed envelope (7) holds a single, generally elongate serving of ice (5). The ring forming the engagement formation (3) is connected to the envelope through a connection member (9). When a beverage is sold in a bottle (21 ), as illustrated, the module is attached to the bottle and supplied with it. The engagement formation (3) is slid over the neck of the bottle (21 ) collaring it while the connection member (9) allows the envelope (7) storing the serving of ice (5) to hang adjacent the bottle (21 ). The consumer may then remove the ice (5) from the envelope by forcing it out of the plastic envelope, rupturing it at one end or along lines of weakness that may be provided in the envelope, and insert it into the bottle (21 ) through the top opening (10) in the neck.

It will be understood that various embodiments of the invention may be manufactured. In one such embodiment the module may include a number of envelopes that are integrally formed with the attachment formation. Such an embodiment of the invention is shown in Figure 2, where two envelopes (7) to be filled with liquid (15) extend from the engagement formation (3). The module is then attached to the bottle as before. This provides two individual servings of ice that may be used with the beverage either simultaneously or separate.

Figure 4 shows a further embodiment of a cooling module (1 ) which includes a number of envelopes (31 ) containing a liquid (23). The envelopes are integrally formed with the annular engagement formation (25) which is shaped and dimensioned to be secured to an upper region of a beverage can (29). The envelope has a narrow elongate shape to allow similarly moulded servings of ice (23) frozen therein to be easily inserted into the can through its opening (27). The cooling module shown may be attached to the beverage can at the point of sale and the consumer may then remove the bars of ice from the envelopes and insert them into the can through the opening to cool the beverage as desired.

Figure 5 illustrates a similar embodiment of the cooling module (1 ) as shown in Figure 4. In this illustration, the cooling module (1 ) has three envelopes (35) extending from the engagement formation (33) and spaced equal distances apart. The engagement formation is an annular ring (3) and includes resiliently flexible flaps (36) projecting from an inner edge thereof. The flaps (36) are configured to give way under their resilience when pushed over a cap (34) or neck region of a container and to return to their original position once moved past a ridge (32) or edge portion of the cap or neck as shown in Figure 6, thereby securing the module to the container. Figure 6 shows the embodiment of the cooling module as shown in Figure 5 in use with a beverage bottle (21 ). The envelopes (35) have a generally ellipsoidal shape and are configured to allow for the individual pieces of ice (37) to be inserted into the narrow mouth portion of the bottle.

Figure 7 illustrates a fourth embodiment of the cooling module (1 ). The envelope (41 ) of the module is divided into four, generally spherical interconnected compartments (43), arranged in a row. This embodiment of the cooling module therefore provides four spherical servings of ice which may be broken from the envelope (41 ) as and when desired by rupturing the plastic forming the compartments. Figure 8 illustrates the cooling module (1 ) of Figure 7 secured to the neck of a beverage bottle (21 ) by means of the annular engagement formation (40) explained above with reference to Figures 4 and 5.

Figure 9 illustrates a fifth embodiment of the invention. In this embodiment the cooling module (1 ) comprises an annular envelope (47) which inherently forms the engagement formation by means of the aperture therethrough and which produces a ring-shaped piece of ice (49). In use, as shown in Figure 10, the annular cooling module may be placed over the neck of a beverage bottle (21 ). When required, the envelope (47) may then be removed and broken and, after removing the ring-shaped piece of ice from the envelope, the two or more resulting pieces may be inserted into the bottle separately. Figure 1 1 illustrates a sixth embodiment of the invention, similar to that shown in Figure 9, where the cooling module (1 ) is annular and fits around the neck of a beverage bottle (21 ), as shown in Figure 12. The envelope (53) in this embodiment consists of two semi-annular sections (55) each configured to hold an ice piece (57) of corresponding shape. The sections (55) are interconnected by means of bridging sections (59) ensuring that the insides of the sections are in flow communication with each other. The cooling module (1 ) may be conveniently severed at the thinner bridging sections (59) and the ice pieces removed for use. Similar to what was explained above with reference to Figures 5 and 7, the attachment formation (60) in this embodiment comprises and annular collar projecting from an inner edge of the module (1 ). The edge (60) is formed by a series resiliently flexible flaps (62) configured to give way under their resilience when pushed over a cap (34) or neck region of a container and to return to their original position once moved past a ridge (32) or edge portion of the cap or neck.

Figure 13 illustrates a seventh embodiment of the invention. In this embodiment, the cooling module (1 ) is manufactured from a sufficiently hard plastic material to allow the liquid in the envelope (59) to be frozen in a helical shape. The attachment formation (63) in this embodiment is provided by the inner edges of the helix. When the cooling module is attached to a beverage bottle (21 ) by means of the engagement formation (63), as shown in Figure 14, it spirals around the upper region of the bottle (21 ). The cooling module may have lines of weakness at an edge region of the helical envelope (59) which allows the contained ice (61 ) to be accessed. It should be appreciated that the ice contained within the helix may be broken into smaller pieces while still inside the envelope, whereafter it may be removed from the envelope and introduced into the bottle through the top one piece at a time.

Figure 15 shows an eighth embodiment of the invention. In this embodiment the cooling module (1 ) is once again in an annular shape. The envelope (67) is, however, divided into seven segments arranged side-by-side and making up the annulus. The segments are interconnected with bridging sections (71 ) allowing the envelope to be filled from a single point. Once frozen, the segments may be broken from the envelope separately, each segment providing an individual serving of ice (69). As before, the cooling module engages a beverage bottle (21 ) or other container by fitting over a neck region thereof. Figures 16 and 17 illustrate a ninth embodiment of the invention. In this embodiment the cooling module (1 ) has an engagement formation (75) configured to fit over and rest on the rim of a glass (73), or other beverage container such as a can, so as to obscure the opening. The module (1 ) has a planar body (72) of substantially the same size as the glass for which it is meant. It should, however, be apparent that the size and shape of the body (72) is dictated entirely by the shape of the container for which it is intended. The engagement formation comprises a collar (77) projecting from an edge (83) of the body, substantially normally therefrom, the periphery of the collar (77) being somewhat larger than those of the rim of the container (73) it is intended for, so as to allow it to fit snugly over it. An operative outer surface (85) of the body (72) defines a number of outwardly projecting impressions (79) in the shape of dices moulded into its surface. The impressions are configured to contain the potable liquid, allowing it to be frozen therein and take on the shape of the impressions. The impressions serve the same purpose as the envelopes described above with reference to the other embodiments of the invention.

It should immediately be appreciated that the impressions can take on numerous shapes and dimension. For example, it can be shaped and dimensioned to resemble a large variety of known artefacts including sporting equipment (particularly balls), fruit, toys, motor vehicles, landmarks, logos, trademarks, branding, words, slogans, and figurines to name but a few. The impressions can also be formed by any suitable means, including by moulding, punching or embossing.

The impressions are accessible from an operatively bottom surface (87) of the module as shown in Figure 17. A removable cover (89) in the form of a film manufactured from a plastics material is secured over the bottom surface (87) of the module and retains the liquid within the impressions so as to be frozen therein. It should be appreciated that the film will be secured over the openings into the impressions after filling them with the liquid. The film may, however, be secured before or after freezing the liquid.

It should be appreciated that the module (1 ) shown in Figures 16 and 17 may be placed over a glass (or other container) containing a beverage shortly before serving it to a customer. The module therefore prevents impurities from entering the beverage prior to serving it to the customer and also serves as a vessel for carrying the ice to be put in the beverage. On receiving the beverage the consumer simply has to lift the module from the container, remove the cover (89) from the bottom surface and then press the ice from the impressions into the beverage by pressing on the top of the impressions.

The module of Figures 16 and 17 may also be used to carry other substances such as, for example, milk, creamer, cream, sugar and/or sweetener for use with warm beverages. The lid may therefore not only prevent impurities from entering the beverage, but may also be used to prevent heat from a warm beverage escaping from the container in which it is served, as well as provide a convenient vehicle to carry condiments for use with the beverage.

It is also foreseeable that the module may not have the removable cover but that a bottom surface covering the opening to the depression may simple be frangible. In such an embodiment the consumer simple has to push the ice or other substance from the top of the depression causing it to break through the frangible bottom surface and fall therefrom. To facilitate this, the bottom surface of the mould may include lines or areas of weakness allowing it to be more frangible.

It is foreseeable that the engagement formation may simply be a seat formed by an indentation on an operatively bottom surface of the body and corresponding to the shape of the rim of the glass (or other container), thus allowing the ice module to simply rest on top of the glass. It will be appreciated that the above description is by way of example only and that numerous modifications may be made to the embodiments described without departing from the overall scope of the invention. For example, the cooling module may be attached to the beverage container in any convenient manner. It is also envisaged that the envelopes will be provided in various shapes and sizes depending on the size and shape of the beverage container and the size of the access opening through which the ice has to be inserted.

The ice may even be coloured or flavoured for a more appealing design and drinking experience. In particular, it is foreseen that the envelope may be filled with a flavoured concentrate which could be dispensed into a glass of water and flavour the water as it dissolves.

The liquid placed inside the envelope may also be enriched with essential minerals or vitamins, thus facilitating a user's intake of same by simply allowing the ice to melt inside a normal glass of water or other beverage of its choice.

The ice modules of the invention may also be filled with alcoholic beverages or spirits and sold for consumption straight from the envelopes or to be mixed with other, non-alcoholic, beverages. This provides an alternative means of selling and dispensing so-called "shooters", which typically includes alcoholic drinks that contain between 25 ml and 100 ml of two or more spirits which are meant to be drunk quickly, rather than being sipped. The modules may be attached to and given to consumers with other beverage containers,, thus providing the consumer with added assurance that, firstly, the drink he or she is consuming is what it purports to be and secondly, that it is not contaminated. It is foreseen that spirits sold in this fashion will also increase the speed at which drinks may be prepared and served as it will alleviate the need for the barman or waiter to measure and pour the drink him or herself. The invention therefore provides a way of providing ice to a consumer, with his or her ordered beverage, which will ensure that the ice is untouched by human hands and uncontaminated by bacteria, other pollutants and impurities. It therefore provides a safe and hygienic delivery vehicle for ice.