Martini, Silla (Via Bassanese 25, Bessica di Loria, I-31037, IT)
|1.||A whipped cream production and dispensing device, characterised by comprising: a refrigerated vessel (6) for the liquid cream, a pressure generator (8) connected to said vessel (6) , at least one refrigerated gun (2) provided with at least one homogenizer (66) , a reservoir (10) of refrigerant liquid provided with means for its circulation through said gun, tubes (24,30,26,28) for connecting the liquid cream to the gun, for connecting the compressed air to the gun, and for connecting the refrigerant liquid to and from the gun, the liquid cream tube and compressed air tube meeting within the gun upstream of the homogenizer, a valved control (44) within the gun to enable the compressed air to enter the region upstream of the homogenizer and the whipped cream to leave from the region downstream of the homogenizer, members for adjusting and controlling the operating parameters.|
|2.||A device as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that the refrigerated vessel (6) is housed within the refrigerant liquid reservoir.|
|3.||A device as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that the refrigerated gun is provided with several homogenizers (66) connected in series.|
|4.||A device as claimed in claim 3, characterised in that the homogenizer (66) consists of a plate comprising on its surface a raised labyrinth for the passage of the cream to be whipped.|
|5.||A device as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that the pressure generator (8) is connected to the gun via a tube in which a nonreturn valve is provided upstream of the region in which it meets the liquid cream tube.|
|6.||A device as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that the liquid cream container is provided with a nonreturn valve to maintain the liquid cream tube under pressure, the compressed air nonreturn valve mounted on the gun having a resistance not exceeding that of the valve mounted in the liquid cream vessel.|
|7.||A device as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that the connection tubes between the liquid cream vessel and the gun comprise a first tube (24) for the liquid cream, a second • tube (22) for the compressed air, a third tube (26) for refrigerant liquid delivery, and a fourth tube (28) which encloses the three preceding tubes and represents the refrigerant liquid return tube.|
|8.||A device claimed in claim 7, characterised in that the fourtube assembly is flexible.|
|9.||A device as claimed in claim 7, characterised in that the fourtube assembly is provided with quickconnection couplings for its connection to the gun and to the liquid cream vessel.|
|10.||A device as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that the gun is provided with rectilinear cream passages which can e inspected from the outside.|
|11.||A device as claimed in cliam 1, characterised in that the tube for liquid cream passage from the vessel to the gun is formed of elastically yeldable material.|
|12.||A device as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that the compressed air generator is a dry compressor.|
|13.||A device as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that the compressed air generator is a silenced compressor.|
|14.||A device as claimed in claim 12, characterised in that a filter is provided at the compressor exit.|
|15.||A device as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that the compressed air generator is a air cylinder.|
|16.||A device as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that the gun body is constructed of plastics material.|
|17.||A device as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that the homogenizer is constructed of moulded plastics.|
|18.||A device as claimed in claim l, characterised in that the liquid cream vessel comprises an interspace fed with refrigerant liquid from the unit (10) in series with the gun.|
|19.||A device as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that the liquid cream vessel is formed with several compartments, each provided with connectors for connection to an independent gun. °.|
|20.||A device as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that the gun is provided with a trigger which operates, at different times, firstly the compressed air inlet valve and then the whipped cream outlet valve.|
|21.||A device as claimed in claim 1, characterised in that $ the pressure generator (8) consists of a selfpriming pump connected into the tube (24) , and to which an atmospheric air intake tube is also connected.|
This invention relates to a device for producing and dispensing whipped cream.
Whipped cream production and dispensing devices are known. One of these comprises a refrigerated vessel for the liquid cream, to which the intake pipe of a sealf-priming positive displacement pump is connected. Air expands along this pipe in an adjustable quantity, so that the pump receives a mixture of air and liquid cream to be whipped. This mixture is pumped by the pump through a non-return valve to a homogenizer member, consisting essentially of a cylindrical body with labyrinth grooves on its lateral surface. This assembly is enclosed by a constant-diameter or diverging tube, from the end of which the whipped cream emerges. At this end of the homogenizer there is an exit valve which ensures a certain pressure within the homogenizer to prevent the compressed air contained in the cream from causing further expansion after delivery, with consequent dripping which can create voids within the homogenizer and a discontinuity in delivery, plus a tendency to cause spitting. The exit valve can be operated either manually (with the palm of the hand) , in which case its operation also controls the operation of the pump, or electrically by the same control which operates the pump.
A drawback of this known device consists in that if the valve controlling the air intake into the cream feed pipe to the pump is opened to a greater extent than is effectively necessary, an excessive increase in the cream volume occurs within the homogenizer, which rapidly becomes blocked. This means that the homogenizer has to be dismantled for cleaning, which is laborious and makes the device temporarily unusable.
A further drawback is that the structural complexity of the pump makes it difficult to construct, and means that it is not always able to satisfy current hygiene requirements imposed by law.
A further drawback is that if the pump is constructed of plastics materials suitable for food use, very hot wash water can cause its rotating parts to expand excessively and undergo damage to the extent that when the pump again operates at low temperature under normal working conditions, it can suffer from pressure leakages and efficiency losses.
A further drawback of this known device is that it is very bulky, is difficult to handle and does not allow the dispensing member to be located very far from the cream whipping equipment.
A further drawback is that as the homogenizer is external to the coil of the refrigeration circuit for the
liquid cream vessel, the cream inevitably undergoes temperature increase in its passage from the vessel to the dispenser, with possible bacterial deterioration and possible dripping. On the other hand, if the temperature of the liquid cream in the vessel is kept lower to prevent this drawback, the cream could solidify by freezing on the vessel walls.
A further drawback of this known device is that it operates with only one type of cream, and if different types of cream with different tasters are to be produced simultaneously, several separate devices are required, each operating totally independently of the others.
According to the invention, all these drawbacks are obviated by a whipped cream production and dispensing device as defined in claim 1. One embodiment of the present invention is described hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
Figure l is a general schematic view of a whipped cream production and dispensing device according to the invention;
Figure 2 is a longitudinal section through the gun of the device of Figure 1 taken on the line II-II of Figure 3;
Figure 3 is a cross-section therethrough on the line III-III of Figure 2; and Figure 4 is an exploded perspective view showing the support for the central body of the gun. As can be seen from the figures, the whipped cream production and dispensing device according to the invention comprises a gun 2 connected by a multiple tube 4 to a refrigerated vessel 6 for the liquid cream, this vessel being connected to a compressed air generator 8 and a refrigeration unit 10.
The gun 2 comprises a support formed from a base 14, to which a hollow handgrip 16 is applied, together with two side walls 18 laterally bounding a central body 20, which is described in detail hereinafter. The base 14 receives the multiple tube 4, which is connected to it by a quick-connection coupling and which comprises three tubes 22,24,26 enclosed by a fourth tube 28. The tube 22 connects the gun 2 to the refrigerated vessel and opens into the top of this latter. Its purpose is to feed to the gun the compressed air received from the compressor 8 via a pipe 30 provided with a discharge valve 86. The tube 24 connects the gun 2 to the refrigerated vessel 6 and dips onto the base thereof. Its purpose is to transfer the liquid cream
from said vessel 6 to the gun 2.
The third tube 26 connects the gun 2 to the refrigeration unit 10 after passing through an interspace 32 surrounding the vessel 6. Its purpose is to transfer a refrigerant liquid from said refrigeration unit 10 to the interspace 32 and from there to the gun 2.
The fourth tube 28, which as stated embraces the other three, connects the gun 2 to the interspace 32 to act as the return tube for the refrigerant liquid, after which it extends as a further portion 28' to connect said interspace 32 to the refrigeration unit, by embracing the corresponding tube portion 26.
The refrigerated vessel 6 comprises a removable liquid cream container 34 inserted into a double wallet container and closed by a lid 36 using a hooked lever 38 which ensures a perfect seal. The pipe 30 which connects the compressor 8 to the vessel 6 opens at said lid 36.
The refrigeration unit 10 consists essentially of an insulated container to which a refrigeration unit 40 is applied. A pump 42 housed in the insulated container circulates the refrigeration fluid through the circuit described hereinafter.
As stated, the four tubes 22,24,26 and 28 lead to the
gun 2. Specifically, the tube 22 opens into the base 14 of the gun 2, within the seat of a valve 44, the stem 46 of which is operate by a trigger 48 pivoted to the central body 20. The seat of the valve 44 is connected via a flow regulator 50 and a tube 52 to a check valve 54 applied to the rear of the central body 20.
The liquid cream tube 24 is connected to the base 14 of the gun 2 and extends into a duct 56 which passes along said base, to then rise into the central member 20 as far as the seat of the check valve 54.
The refrigerant liquid tube 26 opens, as do the others, into the base 14 and extends into a duct 58 which rises vertically along a side wall 18, and then extends horizontally, after which it descends towards the base 14, crosses it, rises along the other side wall 18, extends horizontally and finally descends to open into the return tube 28.
The central body 20 consists substantially of three parts, namely a front part 60 to which the trigger 48 is pivoted and which comprises a seat for a whipped cream dispensing valve 66, an intermediate part 64 containing three homogenizers 66, and a rear part 68 to which the check valve 54 is applied.
The front part 60 also comprises a duct 70 which connetcs the seat of the valve 62 to a whipped cream dispensing nozzle 72. This nozzle ends in a dispenser 94 formed by a plurality of of plastics yielding material tongues and hence adapts to the exit speed of the cream, this being particularly advantageous when making fillings to give cream a spiral shape changeable in its sizes.
The front part comprises three seats for three plugs 74, which partly .project from said seats to engage the ends of the cylindrical seats housing the three homogenizers 66. Each of these consists of a cylindrical element, preferably constructed of plastic material for food use and having labyrinth grooves in its outer surface.
The rear part of the central body 20 also comprises three seats for three plugs 74', which partly project from these three seats to engage the ends of the cylindrical seats for the three homogenizers 66.
The three seats for the three homogenizers 66 are connected in series, in the sense that the entry end of the first seat, ie the right end of the upper seat with reference to Figure 2, faces the plug 74' which is traversed by a tubular needle 90 connected to the check valve 54. The left end of the upper seat is connected to the left end of the
underlying intermediate seat, the right end of which is connected, to the right end of the underlying lower seat which has its left end connected via a passageway provided in its facing plug 74 to the seat of the valve 62. The stem 76 of the valve 62 faces the trigger 48 but is slightly spaced from it, as can be seen in Figure 2, to allow said trigger to operate the valve 62 with a slight delay relative to the valve 44.
In assembling the constituent parts of the gun, the front and rear parts of the central body are kept joined to the intermediate part 64 by pegs inserted through holes 80 in said front and rear parts, and corresponding coaxial holes 88 provided in the side walls 18 of the gun 2.
The operation of the whipped cream production and dispensing device according to the invention is as follows: to fill with liquid cream, the hooked lever 38 of the vessel 6 is released and the lid 36 raised, after which the container 34 is filled with liquid cream to a height such that the opening of the compressed air tube 22 is always free.
The lid is then closed, the compressor 8 is brought to the correct pressure as seat on a pressure switch 82, and the refrigerant liquid of the unit 10 is brought to the correct
temperature as set on a thermostat 84, after which the device is ready for operation. When the trigger 48 is operated, the valve 44 is firstly opened to connect the pipe 22 to the check valve 54 via the flow regulator 50 and tube 52. The compressed air hence reaches the downstream side of said valve where it encounters liquid cream which, forced by the pressure in the vessel 6, has filled the tube 24 and the duct 56 by passing through the seal jack 88. The cream which enters the tube 24 is maintained under pressure by the non¬ return valve 92.
. The immediately subsequent opening of the valve 62 enables the mixture of compressed air and liquid cream to pass successively through the labyrinths of the three homogenizers, the seat of the valve 62 and the duct 70, to emerge through the nozzle 72.
The degree of whipping of the cream, ie the required air/cream ratio, is set on a flow regulator 50.
On releasing the trigger 48, the valve 62 firstly closes to halt delivery of the trigger cream, immediately after which the valve 44 closes to halt the introduction of compressed air and hence the formation of whipped cream. At the same time the check valve 54 prevents the liquid cream returning to the circuit 52 and maintains said liquid cream
and the air in the labyrinths of the homogenizers 66 under pressure.
On again operating the trigger air enters the seat of the first homogenizer before the liquid cream, because of the presence of the tubular needle 90 downstream of the check valve 54, with the result that even for very short operating times whipped cream is dispensed rather than liquid.
Both during operation and during pauses the gun 2, the liquid cream vessel 6 and the multiple tube 4 are kept refrigerated by the liquid from the refrigeration unit 10 which circulates through a closed circuit, also allowig the central body 20 to be removed for washing and/or replacement.
To clean the device, the compressor 8 is firstly switched off and the pressure in the vessel 6 is discharged through the cock 86 provided for this purpose. The vessel 6 is then opened, the container 34 is removed and washed with hot water and detergent suitable for cream. The container 34 containing hot water is then returned to the vessel 6, the compressor 8 is again operated and the hot water with detergent is circulated through the gun 2 as though it were cream. The vessel can also be connected by a quick connector to a stream generator of the type used in expresso coffee machines, to sterilize the gun at fixed periods.
The gun 2 can also be washed in a dishwasher. For this purpose the two pegs which join the central body 20 to the two side walls 18 of the gun are withdrawn. The two outer parts 60 and 68 are then separated from the intermediate part 64 and the three homogenizers 66 are then withdrawn from these.
The three homogenizers 66 can also be replaced by. a single parallelepiped homogenizer of smaller overall surface area and hence with a shorter labyrinth length, but which would be easier to construct by conventional moulding methods.
Finally, the vessel 6 can be provided with a plurality of containers and a corresponding number of connections for a like number of guns 2, each able to dispense cream of a different taste.
The pressure generator 8 can also be replaced by a self- priming pump connected into the tube 24, and to which an atmospheric or pressurized air tube would also be connected.