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Title:
A MILK FROTHER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2011/142661
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
This invention relates to a milk frothing device (100) adapted to froth milk or other milk- based liquids, the device (100) comprising a main body (101) forming a container (116) for the milk or other milk-based liquids, a cover (103) fitting onto the main body (101), an agitation element (106) and a drive mechanism for driving the agitation element (105) where the drive mechanism is at least partly received in the cover (103), and a base unit (102), wherein said cover (103) further comprises a cover contact (107) for supplying the drive mechanism with power and wherein said base unit (102) comprises a base contact (108) for connecting with the cover contact (107) thereby enabling transfer of power to the cover (103) from the base unit (102). In this way, a milk frothing device for frothing milk or other milk-based liquids is provided that enables improved handling.

Inventors:
ELISSEN, Petrus Adrianus Johannes Maria (Van Wulfenlaan 8, CW Laren, NL-1251, NL)
Application Number:
NL2011/050287
Publication Date:
November 17, 2011
Filing Date:
April 27, 2011
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
FOREMOST B.V. (Vlierberg 14, BS Eemnes, NL-3755, NL)
ELISSEN, Petrus Adrianus Johannes Maria (Van Wulfenlaan 8, CW Laren, NL-1251, NL)
International Classes:
A47J43/07
Domestic Patent References:
2010-11-11
2005-09-29
Foreign References:
KR20060010100A2006-02-02
EP1733664A12006-12-20
EP2053947B12010-02-24
DE102004043579A12006-05-24
GB384569A1932-12-08
EP1440648A12004-07-28
EP1483998A12004-12-08
US5912039A1999-06-15
US20010036124A12001-11-01
EP1656866A12006-05-17
US4480926A1984-11-06
DE19645564A11998-05-07
EP2053947A12009-05-06
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PLOUGMANN & VINGTOFT A/S (Sundkrogsgade 9, P.O. Box 831, Copenhagen, DK-2100, DK)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Patent Claims:

1. A milk frothing device (100) adapted to froth milk or other milk-based liquids, the device (100) comprising

- a main body (101 ) forming a container (1 16) for the milk or other milk-based liquids,

- a removable cover (103) fitting onto the main body (101 ),

- an agitation element (106) and a drive mechanism for driving the agitation element (106) where the drive mechanism is at least partly received in the cover (103), and

- an electrical power supplying base unit (102),

wherein said cover (103) further comprises an electrical cover contact (107) for supplying the drive mechanism with electrical power and wherein said base unit (102) comprises an electrical base contact (108) adapted to connect directly with the cover contact (107) thereby enabling transfer of electrical power to the drive mechanism in the cover (103) from the base unit (102).

2. A milk frothing device (100) according to claim 1 , wherein said device (100) is adapted to transfer power from the base contact (108) to the cover contact (107) when the cover (103) is placed on the main body (101 ) and the main body (101 ) is placed on or connected to the base unit (102).

3. A milk frothing device (100) according to any one of claims 1 - 2, wherein said device (100) is adapted to establish a physical contact between the base contact (108) and the cover contact (107) when the cover (103) is placed on the main body (101 ) and the main body (101 ) is placed on or connected to the base unit (102).

4. A milk frothing device (100) according to any one of claims 1 - 2, wherein said device

(100) is adapted to establish a contactless transfer of power between the base contact (108) and the cover contact (107) when the cover (103) is placed on the main body

(101 ) and the main body (101 ) is placed on or connected to the base unit (102).

5. A milk frothing device (100) according to any one of claims 1 - 4, wherein

- the cover (103) comprises a cover connection part (103') comprising the cover contact (107), and/or - the base unit (102) comprises a base connection part (102') comprising the base contact (108).

6. A milk frothing device (100) according to claim 5, wherein a shape of the base connection part (102') and a shape of the cover connection part (103') are such that one of the base connection part (102') and the cover connection part (103') is suitable for accepting or accommodating the other.

7. A milk frothing device (100) according to any one of claims 5 - 6, wherein shapes of the base connection part (102') and the cover connection part (103') and the locations of the cover and the base contacts (107; 108) on the cover and base connection parts (102'; 103'), respectively, are such that the cover and base contacts (107; 108) are brought into physical contact or within a range enabling contactless transfer of power between them when the cover (103) is placed on the main body (101 ) and the main body (101 ) is placed on or connected to the base unit (102).

8. A milk frothing device (100) according to any one of claims 1 - 7, wherein one or more of the main body (101 ), the base unit (102), and the cover (103) comprises one or more guiding elements enabling easy and correct placement of the cover (103) on the main body (101 ) and/or of the main body (101 ) on the base unit (102).

9. A milk frothing device (100) according to any one of claims 5 - 8, wherein

- the base connection part (102') has a generally upward extending shape with a cut-out or opening in the upper part generally giving a substantially U-shaped shape, and

- the cover connection part (103') has a shape generally extending away from the center of the cover (103) where the shape fits at least partly in between the two upper parts of the substantially U-shape of the base connection part (102'). 10. A milk frothing device (100) according to claim 9, wherein

- two contact poles of the base contact (108) are located facing each other on an upper inner side of the substantially U-shape of the base connection part (102') and two contact poles of the cover contact (107) are located on opposite sides of the cover connection part (103') in such a way that physical contact is established with the base contact (108) when the cover (103) is placed on the main body (101 ) and the main body (101 ) is placed on or connected to the base unit (102), or

- two contact poles of the base contact (108) are located on top of the substantially U-shape of the base connection part (102') and the cover connection part (103') has a substantially T-shape with two contact poles of the cover contact (107) being under an upper bar of the substantially T-shape, one contact pole on each side, engaging with the substantially U-shape of the base connection part (102'), or

- the base contact (108) is located on an inner lower part of the substantially U- shape of the base connection part (102') and the cover contact (107) is located underneath the cover connection part (103'), or

- the cover connection part (103') has a substantially l-shape with two contact poles each being placed on an opposing side of the substantially l-shape where the substantially l-shape generally fits within the substantially U-shape of the base connection part (102'), or

- the cover contact (107) is located at an end of the cover connection part (103') most distal from a central point of the cover (103) and where the base contact (108) are located on the base connection part (102') in such a way that physical contact is established with the cover contact (107) when the cover (103) is placed on the main body (101 ) and the main body (101 ) is placed on or connected to the base unit (102).

1 1 . A milk frothing device (100) according to any one of claims 1 - 8, wherein the connection between the base contact (108) and the cover contact (107) is made in- directly via a first main body contact (1 10) and a second main body contact (109) where

- said first and said second main body contacts (109; 1 10) are connected with each other,

- the first main body contact (1 10) is connectable to the base contact (108), and

- the second main body contact (109) is connectable to the cover contact (107).

12. A milk frothing device (100) according to claim 1 1 , wherein

- the main body (101 ) further comprises a handle (104) and where the first main body contact (1 10) is located on a lower or nether side of the handle (104). 13. A milk frothing device (100) according to any one of claims 1 - 12, wherein said base unit (102) comprises a first additional contact (1 17) and said main body (101 ) comprises a second additional contact (1 18) wherein the first and the second additional contacts (1 17; 1 18) are brought into physical contact or within a range enabling contactless transfer of power between them when the main body (101 ) is placed on the base unit (102).

14. A milk frothing device (100) according to claim 13, wherein said main body (101 ) comprises a heating element (1 1 1 ) and the second additional contact (1 18) is connected to the heating element (1 1 1 ). 15. A milk frothing device (100) according to any one of claims 1 - 14, wherein the drive mechanism is a magnetic drive (1 15) and where the agitation element (106) comprises a magnetic material or property enabling it to be driven magnetically by the magnetic drive (1 15) thereby frothing the milk or other milk-based liquids without direct contact between the agitation element (106) and the magnetic drive (1 15).

16. A milk frothing device (100) according to claim 15, wherein the magnetic drive (1 15) and the cover contact (107) are fully encapsulated in the cover (103) and where the cover contact (107) and the base contact (108) is adapted to transfer power in a contactless fashion.

17. A milk frothing device (100) according to any one of claims 15 - 16, wherein the cover (103) comprises a guide (1 14) adapted to keep the agitation element (106) in place during magnetic rotation and wherein the guide (1 14) and the agitation element (106) is adapted to be mechanically connectable to each other.

18. A milk frothing device (100) according to any one of claims 1 - 17, wherein the agitation element (106) comprises:

- a stirring element,

- a mixing element, or

- an annular spiral or coiled spring.

19. A milk frothing device (100) according to any one of claims 1 - 18, wherein the base unit (102) comprises at least two base connection parts (102') where at least one base connection part (102') comprises the base contact (108).

20. A milk frother device according to claim 19, wherein an inner part of each of the at least two base connection parts (102') are located substantially equidistantly around a circular circumference having a diameter being greater than an outer diameter of the main body (101 ).

21 . A milk frother device according to claim 20, wherein the diameter of the circular circumference is substantially the same size as the outer diameter of the main body (101 ). 22 A milk frother device according to any one of claims 19 - 21 , wherein the at least two base connection parts (102') have an inner curvature substantially matching an outer curvature of the main body (101 ).

23. Use of a milk frothing device (100) according to any one of claims 1 - 22, wherein said milk frothing device (100) is used to froth milk or another milk-based liquid.

Description:
A milk froth er.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a milk frothing device, i.e. a milk frother, for frothing milk or other milk-based liquids. More specifically, the present invention relates to a milk frothing device adapted to froth milk or other milk-based liquids, the device comprising a main body forming a container, a cover, an agitation element and a drive mechanism for driving the agitation element, and a base unit. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Agitation of milk in the form of frothing the milk is used e.g. for preparing beverages like cappuccinos, milky coffees, cafe lattes, macchiato, etc. that typically comprises a liquid portion like coffee topped with a layer of frothed milk. Various devices for frothing milk are known in various types and shapes including simpler domestic ones primarily using physical agitation to froth the milk and typically more professional or advanced ones e.g. using steam from a steam pipe to agitate and thereby froth the milk. It is generally known that heating or pre-heating the milk typically will enhance the frothing process.

Domestic milk frothers typically have one or more agitation elements to be immersed in the milk and driven by hand, electromechanically, or magnetically and thereby froth the milk. A general aim may be to ensure frothing as fast as possible and/or e.g. also as uniformly as possible. The durability of the froth, i.e. the general time until a certain amount of the bubbles have collapsed, may also be of importance.

Other types of milk frothers are also generally known.

Patent specification DE 10200404043579 discloses a rechargeable handheld milk frother with a rotating annular spiral spring. Patent specification GB 384569 discloses a mixer for liquids having a frame consisting of a base and a stand with a housing with an electric motor which drives a shaft on which a stirrer or mixer head is mounted. EP 1440648 and EP 1483998 disclose milk frothers built into coffee makers. WO 2005089572 describes a milk frother with a heating element. Specifications US 5912039, US 2001/0036124, EP 1656866, US 4480926, and DE19645564 disclose other milk frothers or mixers.

Granted European Patent EP 2053947, by the same applicant, discloses a milk frother that comprises electrical contacts in a power supplying base plate and in the lower part of the main body so that electrical power may be transferred via these contacts from the base plate to the main body when the main body is placed on the base plate. Furthermore, the milk frother comprises electrical contacts between the main body and the cover so that electrical power may be transferred via these contacts to the cover containing an agitation element to be driven by electrical power.

At least some of these known milk frothers do not provide an easy way of being handled e.g. when cleaning and/or using the frother.

OBJECT AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the invention to provide an improved milk frothing device for frothing milk or other milk-based liquids.

Another object is to provide an efficient milk frothing device for frothing milk or other milk-based liquids.

A further object is to provide a milk frothing device for frothing milk or other milk-based liquids that has good handling properties.

One or more of these objects are achieved at least to some extent by a milk frothing device adapted to froth milk or other milk-based liquids, the device comprising a main body forming a container for the milk or other milk-based liquids, a releasable cover fitting onto the main body, an agitation element and a drive mechanism for driving the agitation element where the drive mechanism is at least partly received in the cover, and an electrical power supplying base unit, wherein said cover further comprises an electrical cover contact for supplying the drive mechanism with electrical power and wherein said base unit comprises an electrical base contact adapted to connect directly with the electrical cover contact thereby enabling transfer of electrical power to the drive mechanism in the cover from the base unit. In this way, a milk frothing device for frothing milk or other milk-based liquids is provided that enables improved handling. Furthermore, electrical power is provided to a power requiring element in the cover from a separate base in a direct and expedient manner and in a manner that only requires two contacts.

In one embodiment, the milk frothing device is adapted to transfer power from the base contact to the cover contact when the cover is placed on the main body and the main body is placed on or connected to the base unit.

This establishes the electrical circuit for transferring power to the cover from the base unit in an easy way following by a natural use of the milk frothing device.

In one embodiment, the milk frothing device is adapted to establish a physical contact between the base contact and the cover contact when the cover is placed on the main body and the main body is placed on or connected to the base unit. In this way, the electrical circuit for transferring power is established using simple contacts (requiring physical contact). Such contacts are usually cheap to manufacture and implement in a milk frothing device.

In one embodiment, the milk frothing device is adapted to establish a contactless transfer of power between the base contact and the cover contact when the cover is placed on the main body and the main body is placed on or connected to the base unit.

In this way, the electrical circuit for transferring power is established using contacts not requiring actual physical contact. This e.g. enables the contacts to be embedded within or underneath a surface that e.g. may be water resistant or water proof e.g. enabling a given item or part with the contact to be fully dish-washable. The sealing off of the contacts also make milk, water, or the like a non-existent issue e.g. in relation to short- circuit risks. Such contacts may e.g. be inductive contacts using a magnetic field to transfer power. In one embodiment, the cover comprises a cover connection part comprising the cover contact, and/or the base unit comprises a base connection part comprising the base contact. In a further embodiment, a shape of the base connection part and a shape of the cover connection part are such that one of the base connection part and the cover connection part is suitable for accepting or accommodating the other.

In this way, the base connection part and the cover connection part (having the contacts) enable easy connection of the contacts by fitting together.

In one embodiment, shapes of the base connection part and the cover connection part and the locations of the cover and the base contacts on the cover and base connection parts, respectively, are such that the cover and base contacts are brought into physical contact or within a range enabling contactless transfer of power between them when the cover is placed on the main body and the main body is placed on or connected to the base unit.

This establishes the electrical circuit for transferring power to the cover from the base unit in an easy way.

In one embodiment, one or more of the main body, the base unit, and the cover comprises one or more guiding elements enabling easy and correct placement of the cover on the main body and/or of the main body on the base unit.

This enables even easier handling of the milk frothing device and thereby easier transfer of power.

In one embodiment, the base connection part has a generally upward extending shape with a cut-out or opening in the upper part giving a substantially U-shaped shape, and the cover connection part has a shape generally extending away from the center of the cover where the shape fits at least partly in between the two upper parts of the substantially U-shape of the base connection part. In one embodiment, the two contact poles of the base contact are located facing each other on an upper inner side of the substantially U-shape of the base connection part and two contact poles of the cover contact are located on opposite sides of the cover connection part in such a way that physical contact is established with the base contact when the cover is placed on the main body and the main body is placed on or connected to the base unit.

In an alternative embodiment, two contact poles of the base contact are located on top of the substantially U-shape of the base connection part and the cover connection part has a substantially T-shape with two contact poles of the cover contact being under an upper bar of the substantially T-shape, one contact pole on each side, engaging with the substantially U-shape of the base connection part.

In an alternative embodiment, the base contact is located on an inner lower part of the substantially U-shape of the base connection part and the cover contact is located underneath the cover connection part.

In an alternative embodiment, the cover connection part has a substantially l-shape with two contact poles each being placed on an opposing side of the substantially l-shape where the substantially l-shape generally fits within the substantially U-shape of the base connection part.

In an alternative embodiment, the cover contact is located at an end of the cover connection part most distal from a central point of the cover and where the base contact are located on the base connection part in such a way that physical contact is established with the cover contact when the cover is placed on the main body and the main body is placed on or connected to the base unit.

In one embodiment, the connection between the base contact and the cover contact is made in-directly via a first main body contact and a second main body contact where said first and said second main body contacts are connected with each other, the first main body contact is connectable to the base contact, and the second main body contact is connectable to the cover contact.

In one embodiment, the main body further comprises a handle and where the first main body contact is located on a lower or nether side of the handle. In one embodiment, the base unit comprises a first additional contact and said main body comprises a second additional contact wherein the first and the second additional contacts are brought into physical contact or within a range enabling contactless transfer of power between them when the main body is placed on the base unit.

In a further embodiment, the main body comprises a heating element and the second additional contact is connected to the heating element.

In one embodiment, the drive mechanism is a magnetic drive and where the agitation element comprises a magnetic material or property enabling it to be driven magnetically by the magnetic drive thereby frothing the milk or other milk-based liquids without direct contact between the agitation element and the magnetic drive.

In one embodiment, the magnetic drive and the cover contact are fully encapsulated in the cover and where the cover contact and the base contact is adapted to transfer power in a contactless fashion.

In this way, a fully embedded cover may be enabled making it suitable for being cleaned in a dishwasher.

In one embodiment, the cover comprises a guide adapted to keep the agitation element in place during magnetic rotation and wherein the guide and the agitation element is adapted to be mechanically connectable to each other. In this way, the agitation element may be kept in its place during rotation.

In one embodiment, the agitation element comprises: a stirring element, a mixing element, or an annular spiral or coiled spring.

In one embodiment, the base unit comprises at least two base connection parts where at least one base connection part comprises the base contact.

In one embodiment, an inner part of each of the at least two base connection parts are located substantially equidistantly around a circular circumference having a diameter being greater than an outer diameter of the main body. In one embodiment, the diameter of the circular circumference is substantially the same size (but greater) as the outer diameter of the main body.

In one embodiment, the at least two base connection parts have an inner curvature substantially matching an outer curvature of the main body.

According to another aspect, the present invention relates to a use of a milk frothing device for frothing milk or another milk-based liquid. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other aspects of the invention will be apparent from and elucidated with reference to the illustrative embodiments as shown in the drawings, in which:

Figure 1 schematically illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of a milk frothing device for frothing milk or other milk-based liquids;

Figures 2a to 2d schematically illustrate alternative embodiments of the contacts in a cover and a base unit; Figure 3 schematically illustrates a perspective view of another embodiment of a device for frothing milk or other milk-based liquids;

Figure 4 schematically illustrates a cross section at the center of a device for frothing milk or other milk-based liquids;

Figure 5 schematically illustrates a perspective view of another embodiment of a milk frothing device for frothing milk or other milk-based liquids; and

Figures 6a and 6b schematically illustrate another embodiment of a milk frothing device.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Figure 1 schematically illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of a device for frothing milk or other milk-based liquids. Shown is a device for frothing milk or other milk-based liquids (100) (forth only referred to as milk frother) comprising a main body ( 01 ), an electrical power supplying base unit (102), and a releasable lid or cover (103) (forth only referred to as cover). The main body (101 ) forms a container (1 16) for milk or another milk-based liquid (the milk or the milk-based liquid is not shown and forth only referred to as milk) to be frothed where the main body (101 ) may comprise a handle (104) or the like and/or a pouring spout (1 12).

The cover (103) comprises a drive mechanism (not specifically shown), e.g. an electrical motor or another suitable type of automated drive mechanism, and an agitation element (106) connected to the drive mechanism e.g. via a shaft or the like. The shaft may be any suitable length.

The cover (103) comprises a way of receiving power for use by the drive mechanism to operate the agitation element (106) appropriately e.g. upon use or activation by a given user by operating one or more buttons or the like (not shown) that may be located on the cover (103), the base unit (102) and/or the main body (101 ).

To receive electrical power, the cover (103) comprises an electrical cover contact (107) directly operable with another contact for transferring power to the cover (103) as will be explained in the following. The cover contact (107) is connected directly or in-directly to the drive mechanism for supplying the drive mechanism with power.

The cover contact (107) may e.g. comprise two contact poles or parts and be for transferring electrical power via physical contact. Alternatively, other transfer schemes may be used (e.g. with the cover contact comprising only a single contact pole or part and/or a contact not requiring physical connection) as will be explained in greater detail in the following.

In the shown exemplary embodiment of Figure 1 , the cover (103) comprises a cover connection part (103') comprising the cover contact (107). One of the contact poles or parts is drawn with a broken line indicating that it actually is not visible from the view point of the Figure. Broken lines are used for other hidden items in the other figures.

The base unit (102) may e.g. be in the form of a base plate, i.e. comprising a substantially circular part. Alternatively, the base unit (102) may be in another shape. The base unit (102) comprises, in this particular shown exemplary embodiment, a base connection part (102') and receives electrical power e.g. via a power cord (105) or the like e.g. in a traditional manner where the power cord (105) or the like e.g. may be connected to the base connection part (102').

The base connection part (102') comprises an electrical base contact (108) for directly connecting with the cover contact (107) and thereby enabling transfer of electric power to the drive mechanism in the cover (103) from the base unit (102). In one embodiment, the shape of the base connection part (102') and the shape of the cover connection part (103') are such that the respective contacts (107; 108) have physical contact - and thereby are able to transfer power - when the cover (103) is correctly placed on the main body (101 ) and the main body (101 ) correctly is placed on the base unit (102). The main body (101 ), the base unit (102), and/or the cover (103) may e.g. have guiding elements or the like to ensure easy and correct placement.

It should be noted, that in other embodiments, the main body (101 ) need not necessarily be placed on the base unit (102). The main body (101 ) and the base unit (102) may e.g. just be attached or placed next to one another.

In the particular exemplary embodiment shown in Figure 1 , the base connection part (102') has a generally upward extending rectangular shape with a cut-out or opening in the upper part generally giving a substantially U-shaped shape or profile at the distal end (from a surface the base is standing on).

The two contact poles or parts of the base contact (108) are in this particular embodiment located facing each other on the upper inner side of the U-shape. The base contact (108) is electrically connected, directly or in-directly (i.e. via intermediate electrical elements like a transformer, an operation switch, LEDs or other lights, etc.), to the power being supplied to the base unit (102).

The cover connection part (103'), in this particular embodiment, generally has a rectangular shape extending away from the center of the cover where the shape fits in between the two upper parts of the U-shape when the device for frothing (100) is assembled for operation, as described above. The two contact poles or parts of the cover contact (107) are located on opposite sides in such a way that electrical contact is established with the base contact (108) when the milk frother is assembled for operation.

The general U-shape is - in this particular example - also suitable for accepting or accommodating the handle (104) of the main body (101 ) when the main body (101 ) is placed on the base unit (102).

This is in this example enabled by letting the space of the opening in the U-shape be sufficient to accept both the relevant part of the cover connection part (103') and a part of the handle (104) so that the handle (104) can pass through the space of the U-shape out to the other side of the base connection part (102') when the main body (101 ) is placed on the base unit (102).

Alternative embodiments, may e.g. have the handle point in a different direction when the main body (101 ) is placed on the base unit (102), e.g. by having the general direction of the handle (104) being different than the general direction of the cover connection part (103') when the cover (103) is placed on the main body (101 ).

In this way the space of the general U-shape of the base connection part (102') may be smaller as it only needs to accommodate the relevant part of the cover connection part

(103').

As alternatives to the general U-shape are e.g. a general V-shape, a general O-shape or in principle any other suitable shape.

It is also to be understood that the shapes of the various elements (cover, main body, handle, cover connection part, base unit, base connection part, etc.) readily may be varied. Electrical power may therefore be supplied to the drive mechanism - driving the agitation element (106) and thereby frothing the milk - in the cover (103) from the base unit (102) in a very expedient manner when the device for frothing (100) is appropriately assembled for operation, i.e. when the cover (103) is placed on the main body (101 ) and the main body (101 ) is placed on the base unit (102). Furthermore, only two contacts are needed in order to route power from a base (receiving the power from an appropriate outlet) to the cover where the power is needed. Having an embodiment where the cover connection part (103') readily can be received by the base connection part (102') (or the other way around) enables correct alignment of the cover and base contacts (107; 108) in an expedient manner. According to one aspect, the milk frother (100) also comprises a heating element (1 1 1 ). The heating element (1 1 1 ) may be a part of the base unit (102) as indicated in the figure or alternatively it may be a part of the main body (101 ) in various ways, e.g. at the bottom or lower part of the main body near the liquid when contained (as e.g. shown in Figure 5). In other embodiments, there is no heating element.

The heating element (1 1 1 ) may e.g. be an induction heating element e.g. embedded in the base unit (102) (with a suitable main body), an electrical heating element or plate or in principle any other suitable heating element. As a specific further example, the heating element (1 1 1 ) (regardless of whether it is in the main body (101 ), the base unit (102), or elsewhere) may be so-called Peltier device or element (also sometimes referred to as Peltier diode, cooling diode, thermoelectric cooler, Peltier heat pump, solid state refrigerator, and other names) that can both cool and heat. Such a Peltier device or element is capable of switching between heating or cooling a certain surface. In this way, both heating and cooling of milk to be frothed could readily be provided without requiring separate elements, which reduces the minimum size of the milk frother.

The heating element may bring milk being frothed (or any other milk-based liquid) to a temperature about 40° in typically about 60 seconds or less, which is usually an acceptable time frame for frothing milk or milk-based liquids and also a period of time for when frothing of a good quality may be obtained. Other temperatures and/or other time periods may be aimed for as well. A heating element (1 1 1 ) in the base unit (102) may readily be supplied with power as already being provided to the base unit (102). In embodiments with no heating element (1 1 1 ) present in the base unit (102), the base can be kept very simple and/or relatively flat (as it does not have to have any active electrical components). In principal the base could even be mainly comprised by an upright connection part (102'). The agitation element (106) comprises an agitator secured or coupled to a shaft connected to the drive mechanism. The shaft may be detachable from the drive mechanism and/or the agitator may be detachable from the shaft, which may make cleaning easier. The agitator (106) may comprise one or more of a stirring element, a mixing element, an annular spiral or coiled spring, and/or the like. The agitation element (106) as shown in Figure 1 is an annular spiral or coiled spring.

The agitation element (106) may e.g. be located along a central axis in the main body (101 ) when the cover (103) is placed on the main body (101 ) or alternatively, the agitation element (106) may e.g. be located displaced from the central axis, i.e. off- center, which may enhance the frothing efficiency due to a turbulent and/or nonsymmetrical rotational flow caused by the agitation element (106) in such a case.

The main body (101 ) may e.g. be made primarily out of stainless steel. Alternatively, the main body (101 ) may be made primarily out of glass, e.g. like a simple jug or the like being heated (if a heating element is included) from the base.

If the main body (101 ) is without exposed electrical contacts and/or does not have any - e.g. for a simple main body (101 ) with contacts (107; 108) only in the lid (103) and in the base unit (102) - then the main body (101 ) may also be cleaned in a dish-washer enabling easy cleaning.

The main body (101 ) may e.g. be a so-called cool-touch container or body, i.e. one that can be touched or held on the outside by a user even though the container contains a heated liquid, e.g. up to 100 °C.

Instead of contacts (both for this embodiment and the other embodiments as described throughout the description in relation to the other figures) relying on physical contact, the contacts may be able to transfer power between them in a contactless fashion. This then only requires that the contacts come within a range of each other enabling contactless transfer of power between them instead of necessarily touching when the cover (103) is placed on the main body (101 ) and the main body (101 ) is placed on or connected to the base unit (102). Such contactless contacts for transferring power may e.g. be inductive contacts transferring power via a magnetic field. Inductive contacts may e.g. comprise a simple inductive coupling comprising one or more primary windings and one or more secondary windings where the primary winding(s) is\are connected to an AC (alternating current) source whereby the alternating current in the primary winding(s) will induce a magnetic field in the primary winding(s) resulting in a magnetic flux. The magnetic flux is transferred from the primary winding(s) to the secondary winding(s) resulting in an AC in the secondary winding(s). This alternating current can be used to supply power to further elements or devices, like a motor, a heating or other actuator, either directly or rectified. Figures 2a - 2d schematically illustrate alternative embodiments of the contacts in the cover and the base.

Shown in Figure 2a is an alternative base unit (102) comprising, in this particular shown exemplary embodiment, a base connection part (102'), a power cord (105) or the like for receiving electrical power, a heating element (1 1 1 ) (optional) and a base contact (108) for connecting with a cover contact (not shown; see e.g. 107 in Figure 1 ) of the cover thereby enabling transfer of power to the cover (103) from the base unit (102) as explained earlier. The shown base unit (102) corresponds to the base as explained in connection with Figure 1 except that the base contact (108) in this particular embodiment is alternatively located on the very top of the general U-shape or profile of the base connection part (102') instead as shown in Figure 1 . It is to be understood, that - although not specifically shown in Figure 2a - the location of the cover contact on the cover (103) generally or the cover connection part (103') needs to be arranged in an accommodating way (e.g. underneath the cover connection part) to enable transfer of power via the base contact when the cover is placed on the main body and the main body is placed on the base unit (102).

Modification of the shape and/or size of the cover connection part may also be applicable. The cover connection part may - as one example - have a general T-shape (with the contact poles or parts of the cover contact being under the upper bar of the T, one on each side) engaging with the general U-shape of the base connection part (102'). Shown in Figure 2b is yet an alternative base unit (102) comprising a base connection part (102'), a power cord (105) or the like for receiving electrical power, a heating element (1 1 1 ) (optional) and a base contact (108) for connecting with a cover contact (not shown; see e.g. 107 in Figure 1 ) of the cover and thereby enabling transfer of power to the cover (103) from the base unit (102) as explained earlier.

The shown base unit (102) corresponds to the base as explained in connection with Figure 1 except that the base contact (108) in this particular embodiment is located on the inner lower part of the general U-shape or profile of the base connection part (102') instead as shown in Figure 1 .

It is to be understood, that - although not specifically shown in Figure 2b - the location of the cover contact on the cover (103) or the cover connection part (103') needs to be arranged in an accommodating way (e.g. underneath the cover connection part) to enable transfer of power via the two contacts when the cover is placed on the main body and the main body is placed on the base unit (102).

Modification of the shape and/or size of the cover connection part may also be applicable. The cover connection part may - as one example - have a general T-shape (with the contact poles or parts of the cover contact being under the lower part of the T, one on each side) engaging with the general U-shape of the base connection part (102').

Shown in Figure 2c are an alternative base unit (102) and an alternative cover (103).

The shown base unit (102) comprises a base connection part (102'), a power cord (105) or the like for receiving electrical power, a heating element (1 1 1 ) (optional) and a base contact (108) for connecting with a cover contact (107) thereby enabling transfer of power to the cover (103) from the base unit (102) as explained earlier.

The shown cover (103) comprises a drive mechanism (not specifically shown), an agitation element (106) connected to the drive mechanism, and the cover contact (107) operable with the base contact for transferring power to the cover (103) as explained earlier. The base unit (102) and the cover (103) corresponds to the base and cover as explained in connection with Figure 1 except for the shapes and sizes of the cover connection part (103') and the base connection part (102') and locations of the cover and base contacts (107; 108) as explained in the following.

In this particular embodiment, the length of the base connection part (102') has been shortened compared to the embodiments of Figures 1 , 2a and 2b while the cover connection part (103') has been expanded and has a general l-shape with the two contact poles or parts of the cover contact each being placed on an opposing side of the l-shape.

It is to be understood that the actual lengths, shapes, etc. of the base and cover connection parts (102'; 103') can be varies as long as a contact can be established between the respective contacts. Also the actual placements of the contacts can be varied, e.g. according to as shown in Figures 2a and 2b or according to other variations.

Shown in Figure 2d is an alternative cover (103) comprising a drive mechanism (not specifically shown), an agitation element (106) connected to the drive mechanism, and a cover contact (107) operable with a base contact (not shown; see e.g. 108 in Figure 1 ) on the base for transferring power to the cover (103) as explained earlier.

The shown cover (103) corresponds to the cover as explained in connection with Figure 1 except that the cover contact (107) in this particular embodiment is located at the end of the cover connection part (103') most distal from a central point of the cover (103) instead as shown in Figure 1 .

It is to be understood, that - although not specifically shown in Figure 2d - the location of the base contact (not shown; see e.g. 108 in Figure 1 ) on the base unit (102) or the base connection part (102') needs to be arranged in an accommodating way.

Figure 3 schematically illustrates a perspective view of another embodiment of a device for frothing milk or other milk-based liquids.

Shown is a milk frother (100) comprising a main body (101 ), a base unit (102), and a cover (103). The main body (101 ) comprises a handle (104) or the like and/or a pouring spout (1 12).

The cover (103) comprises a drive mechanism (not specifically shown), an agitation element (106) connected to the drive mechanism, and a cover contact (107).

The base unit (102) comprises a base connection part (102'), a power cord (105) or the like for receiving electrical power, a heating element (1 1 1 ) (optional) and a base contact (108). These elements correspond to the ones as explained in connection with Figure 1 except as explained in the following.

In this particular embodiment, power is transferred from the base contact (108) to the cover contact (107) in-directly via two other contacts (109; 1 10). More specifically, the cover contact (108) makes contact with a first main body contact (1 10) and the cover contact (107) makes contact with a second main body contact (109) when the cover (103) is located on the main body (101 ) and the main body (101 ) is located on the base unit (102), respectively. The first main body contact (1 10) and the second main body contact (109) are electrically connected, directly or in-directly, e.g. via a wire or other connection within the main body.

According to the shown exemplary embodiment, the first main body contact (1 10) is located on a lower or nether side of the handle (104) (having another shape than the handle of earlier figures) while the base contact (108) is located at an upper part of the base connection part (102') where connection is made between them when the main body (101 ) is placed on the base unit (102). The second main body contact (109) is - in the shown exemplary embodiment - located on an upper part of the main body - e.g. near the rim or circumference of the opening for the milk or milk-based liquid to be frothed - while the cover contact (107) is located at a lower part of the cover (103) where connection is made between them when the cover (103) is placed on the main body (101 ). The second main body contact (109) could as one alternative be located on an upper side of the handle (104) with the cover contact (107) making contact there.

If the milk frother (100) comprises a heating element in the main body (e.g. instead of in the base or not at all) power can readily be diverted or routed to it via one of the main body contacts (109; 1 10).

This embodiment e.g. enables a more compact design of the base unit (102) and the base connection part (102').

Figure 4 schematically illustrates a cross section at the center of a device for frothing milk or other milk-based liquids.

Shown is a milk frother (100) comprising a base unit (102), a main body (101 ), and a cover (103).

The base unit (102) comprises a base connection part (102') and receives power e.g. via a power cord (not shown) or the like in a traditional manner. The base connection part (102') comprises a base contact (108) for connecting with a cover contact (107) on the cover (103) - when the cover (103) is located on the main body (101 ) and the main body is located on the base unit (102) - thereby enabling transfer of power to the cover (103) from the base unit (102).

In this particular exemplary embodiment, the base connection part (102') has a generally upward extending shape with the base contact (108) being located at the top.

The cover (103) has e.g. a generally circular top with an agitation part (1 13) extending away from the circular top in a direction that is towards the bottom of the main body (101 ) when the cover (103) is located on the main body (101 ). The cover (103) furthermore comprises the cover contact (107).

The shape of the base connection part (102') and the shape of the cover connection part (103') as well as the locations of the cover and base contacts (107; 108) are such that the respective contacts (107; 108) makes physical connection - and thereby are able to transfer power - when the cover (103) is correctly placed on the main body (101 ) and the main body (101 ) correctly is placed on the base unit (102). The main body (101 ), the base unit (102), and/or the cover (102) may e.g. have guiding elements or the like to ensure easy and correct placement.

The agitation part (1 13) of the cover (103) comprises a drive mechanism (not shown), e.g. an electrical motor or another suitable type of automated drive mechanism, and an agitation element (106) (shown separated from the agitation part (1 13)) connected to the drive mechanism e.g. via a shaft or the like.

In one embodiment, the drive mechanism is a magnetic drive mechanism, e.g. comprising a rotatable magnet (1 15) being rotated e.g. via a shaft by an electric motor or the like (not shown) being supplied with power from the cover contact (107). In this embodiment, the agitation element (106) is also magnetic whereby it will rotate when the magnet (1 15) is rotated thus frothing milk in the main body (101 ). In such an embodiment, the agitation part (1 13) may comprise a guide (1 14) for making sure that the agitation element (106) during rotation will be kept in its proper place (e.g. kept in place by magnetic pull from the rotatable magnet (1 15)). The guide (1 14) may further comprise an element or the like for mechanically securing or attaching the agitation element (106) to the guide (1 14).

The use of a magnetic drive mechanism has the advantage that the likewise magnetic agitation element (106) easily can be disconnected from the agitation, e.g. facilitating easy cleaning. Additionally, the use of the magnetic drive mechanism also enable an agitation part (1 13) that does not need to be broken, perforated, or have holes or openings in it (e.g. to accommodate a shaft) as the magnetic drive may work across a solid barrier, i.e. the agitation part (1 13) can be water proof.

If the magnetic drive mechanism is used together with cover and base contacts (107; 108) that do not require physical contact then the entire cover (103) including all its parts can be made water proof, whereby the cover becomes water proof and thereby cleanable in e.g. a dishwasher or the like.

Figure 5 schematically a perspective view of another embodiment of a milk frothing device for frothing milk or other milk-based liquids. Shown is a milk frothing device (100) comprising a main body (101 ) - forming a container (1 16) -, a base unit (102) with a base connection part (102') receiving power e.g. via a power cord (105) or the like, a cover (103) with a cover connection part (103') comprising an agitation element (106).

The milk frothing device (100) also comprises a cover and a base contact (107; 108).

The main body (101 ) also comprises a handle (104) or the like, a pouring spout (1 12), and a heating element (1 1 1 ).

These elements correspond to the similar elements described earlier, and contact layouts may e.g. be like described in the other figures like Figures 2a - 2d instead of as shown in Figure 1 . In addition for this particular embodiment, the base unit (102) comprises a first additional contact (1 17) and the main body (101 ) comprises a second additional contact (1 18) where the first and the second additional contacts (1 17; 1 18) are brought into physical contact or within a range enabling contactless transfer of power between them when the main body (101 ) is placed on the base unit (102). Additionally, the second additional contact (1 18) is connected to the heating element (1 1 1 ).

The first and second additional contacts (1 17; 1 18) could e.g. be a male/ female contact pair as e.g. available from the company Otter Group. They also supply water proof versions of their contacts.

In this way, power can simply be supplied to the lower part of the main body (101 ) e.g. to supply an integral heating element (1 1 1 ) via one set of contacts while power is supplied to the agitator element (106) in the cover (103) whereby there is no need to route power from the handle/upper part of the main body to the lower part of the main body where the heating element is, as e.g. would be required for the embodiment of

Figure 3 if having a heating element in the lower part of the main body.

Figures 6a - 6b schematically illustrate another embodiment of a milk frothing device. Figure 6a shows another embodiment of a milk frother (100) comprising a main body (101 ) (forming a container (1 16) for a liquid), a base unit (102), and a handle (104). The base unit (102) - in this particular embodiment - comprises two base connection parts (102') and receives power e.g. via a power cord (not shown).

The shown elements correspond - at least in function - to the like elements of the earlier drawings.

The two base connection parts (102 ' ) are - in this particular embodiment - located generally on opposite sides of the base unit (102). This facilitates easy insertion of the main body (100) in-between the two base connection parts (102 ' ) thereby ensuring a proper placement on/in the base unit (102).

In a further embodiment, the two base connection parts (102 ' ) have an inner curvature substantially matching an outer curvature of the main body (101 ) and/or the diameter of an outer part of the main body (101 ) substantially matches the distance between the two base connection parts (102 ' ). The main body may e.g. also comprise grooves, slits, etc. in the outer surface for accepting at least a part of the base connection parts (102 ' ).

This enables even easier placement of the main body (100) on/in the base unit (102).

It is to be understood that other embodiments could have three (or even four or more) base connection parts (102 ' ) - e.g. placed with equal distance between them - instead of the shown two. Generally, the two or more base connection parts (102 ' ) may be located with equal distance between them or alterative with non-equal distance between them.

At least one of the base connection parts (102') comprises a base contact (108) (or part thereof) for connecting with a cover contact (not shown; see e.g. (107) in Figure 6b or other figures) thereby enabling transfer of power to a cover (not shown; see e.g. 103 in

Figures 6b and 6c) from the base unit (102).

The shown base contact (108) (and e.g. other contacts) is/are a contactless contact. This enables the various parts (main body (100), cover (not shown see e.g. (103) in Figures 6b and 6c) and under certain circumstances even the base unit (102)) to be made water proof and thereby dish-washable while also avoiding or minimising short- circuit risks during use.

Alternatively, the base contact (108) (and e.g. other contacts) may be a contact requiring physical contact.

The base contact (108) may e.g. be in only one of the at least two base connection parts (102 ' ) or e.g. be in two (or more) e.g. having one contact pole or part of the base contact (108) in each base connection part (102 ' ).

The milk frother (100) also comprises a heating element (1 1 1 ), here shown embedded in the base unit (102). Alternatively the heating element (1 1 1 ) could be part of the main body (101 ) in various ways, e.g. at the bottom or lower part of the main body (e.g. as shown in Figure 5). In other embodiments, there is no heating element or it may be located elsewhere.

It is to be understood, that the milk frother (100) of Figures 6a - 6c also could comprise a first and a second additional contact (not shown; see e.g. 1 17 and 1 18 in Figure 5) e.g. as shown and explained in connection with Figure 5.

In Figure 6a, the milk frother (100) is shown with the main body (100) being removed from the base unit (102) or being placed on/in the base unit (102).

If the main body (100) is placed in/on the base unit (102), this situation could e.g. be a first step (after filing the container (1 16) with milk) of a use.

Figure 6b shows another situation of the milk frother (100) of Figure 6a. Shown is the main body (100) as placed in/on the base unit (102) in-between the two base connection parts (102') where a cover (103) is about to be placed on (or removed from) the main body (101 ). The cover (103) comprises an agitation element (106) connected to a drive mechanism e.g. via a shaft or the like as explained elsewhere.

To receive power, the cover (103) comprises a cover contact (as indicated by arrow 107) operable with the base contact (108) for transferring power to the cover (103) as explained earlier. The cover contact (107) is connected to the drive mechanism for supplying the drive mechanism with power. The cover (103) may e.g. at the location of the cover contact (107) comprise an indention, recess or the like for receiving the topmost part of the base connection part (102') that comprises the base contact (108). This facilitates easy placement of the cover (103) on the main body (101 ) at it proper place, i.e. aligning the cover and base contacts (107. 108) correctly.

The cover (103) may also comprise a further indention, recess or the like at the other base connection part (102') (and/or actually one for each base connection part (102') there is) giving two (or more) indentions, recesses or the like to engage with the topmost parts of the base connection parts (102') e.g. providing even easier proper placement of the cover (103) on the main body (101 ).

Figure 6c shows yet another situation of the milk frother (100) of Figures 6a and 6b. Shown is the main body (100) as placed in/on the base unit (102) in-between the two base connection parts (102') (as in Figure 6a) where the cover (103) has properly been placed on the main body (101 ) establishing physical or contactless connection between the cover and the base contact (107; 108) thereby enabling transfer of power to drive mechanism in the cover (103) in a very expedient manner. In the claims, any reference signs placed between parentheses shall not be constructed as limiting the claim. The word "comprising" does not exclude the presence of elements or steps other than those listed in a claim. The word "a" or "an" preceding an element does not exclude the presence of a plurality of such elements. The mere fact that certain measures are recited in mutually different dependent claims does not indicate that a combination of these measures cannot be used to advantage.

It will be apparent to a person skilled in the art that the various embodiments of the invention as disclosed can be combined without departing from the scope of the invention.