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Title:
A TAP HANDLE ASSEMBLY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/085883
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A tap handle assembly (100) comprising: a tap body (110) having an inlet (112) and an outlet (114); a tap handle (120) mounted to the tap body (110) and being moveable between a closed position and an open position; a valve mechanism (130) in the tap body (110) and operably associated with the tap handle (120), the valve mechanism (130) being adapted for movement between a closed position, corresponding to the closed position of the tap handle (120), preventing fluid flow between the inlet (112) and the outlet (114) of the tap body, and an open position, corresponding to the open position of the tap handle (120), permitting fluid flow between the inlet (112) and the outlet (114) of the tap body (110); and a latch (160) mounted on the tap handle (120) and coupled to the valve mechanism (130), the latch (160) being moveable between a locked position, engaging the valve mechanism (130) to retain the tap handle (120) in the closed position, and an unlocked position, disengaged from the valve mechanism (130) to allow movement of the tap handle (120) between the closed position and the open position, the latch (160) being biased towards the locked position and always free to move towards the unlocked position, wherein operation of the tap handle assembly (100) to cause fluid to flow from the inlet (112) to the outlet (114) of the tap body (110) is a two-step process in which the first movement of the latch (160) from the locked to the unlocked position then allows the second movement of the tap handle (120) from the closed position to the open position.

Inventors:
MOULT KEVIN (AU)
GARGANERA EDGAR (AU)
NOBLE GARY (AU)
Application Number:
AU2017/000238
Publication Date:
May 17, 2018
Filing Date:
November 14, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ZIP IND AUST PTY LTD (AU)
International Classes:
F16K35/02; B67D3/04; F16K31/52; F16K31/60
Domestic Patent References:
WO2005080844A12005-09-01
Foreign References:
CN203431290U2014-02-12
US6105930A2000-08-22
DE9114858U11992-02-20
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SPRUSON & FERGUSON (GPO Box 3898, Sydney, NSW 2001, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A tap handle assembly comprising:

a tap body having an inlet and an outlet;

a tap handle mounted to the tap body and being moveable between a closed position and an open position;

a valve mechanism in the tap body and operably associated with the tap handle, the valve mechanism being adapted for movement between a closed position, corresponding to the closed position of the tap handle, preventing fluid flow between the inlet and the outlet of the tap body, and an open positi on, corresponding to the open positi on of the tap handle, permitting fluid flow between the inlet and the outlet of the tap body; and

a latch mounted on the tap handle and coupled to the valve mechanism, the latch being moveable between a locked position, engaging the valve mechanism to retain the tap handle in the closed position, and an unlocked position, disengaged from the valve mechanism to allow movement of the tap handle between the closed position and the open position, the latch being biased towards the locked position and always free to move towards the unlocked position, wherein operation of the tap handle assembly to cause fluid to flow from t he inlet to the outlet of the tap body is a two-step process in which the first movement of the latch from the locked to the unlocked position then all ows the second movement of the tap handle from the closed position to the open position.

2. The tap handle assembly as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the tap handle is biased to automatically return from the open position to the closed position when the tap handle is released to allow for an instantaneous flow of fluid between the inlet and the outlet of the tap body.

3. The tap handle assembly as claimed in claim 1, wherein the tap handle includes a first side facing towards the user and a second side opposite to the first side and facing away from the user, wherein the latch is disposed on the second side of the tap handle, and the movement of the tap handle from the closed position to the open position is in a direction towards the first side.

4. The tap handle assembly as claimed in claim 3, wherein the tap body includes a longitudinal axis, wherein the movement of the latch from the locked position to the unlocked position is along the longitudinal axis in a direction away from the tap body, and the movement of the latch from the unlocked position to the locked position is along the longitudinal axis in a direction towards the tap body.

5. The tap handle assembly as claimed in claim 4, wherein the tap handle is pivotable about the longitudinal axis of the tap body such that the first side faces away from the user and the second side faces towards the user, the movement of the tap handle from the closed position to the open position is in a direction towards the second side, and the tap handle is lockable in the open position to allow for a continuous flow of fluid between the inlet and the outlet of the tap body.

6. A tap handle assembly comprising:

a tap body defining a longitudinal axis and having an inlet and an outlet;

a tap handle mounted to the tap body and being moveable between a closed position and an open position, the tap handle including a first side and a second side opposite to the first side, the tap handle being pivotable about the longitudinal axis between a first configuration in which the first side faces towards the user, and a second configuration in which the second side faces towards the user; and

a valve mechanism in the tap body and operably associated with the tap handle, the valve mechanism being adapted for movement between a closed position, corresponding to the closed position of the tap handle, preventing fluid flow between the inlet and the outlet of the tap body, and an open position, corresponding to the open position of the tap handle, permitting fluid flow between the inlet and the outlet of the tap body,

wherein in the first configuration, the tap handle is biased to automatically return from the open position to the closed position when the tap handle is released to allow for an instantaneous flow of fluid between the inlet and the outlet of the tap body, and in the second configuration, the tap handle is lockable in the open position to allow for a continuous flow of fluid between the inlet and the outlet of the tap body.

7. The tap handle assembly as claimed in claim 6, wherein the first side of the tap handle includes a first cam surface adapted to abut a substantially flat surface of the tap body and the second side of the tap handle includes a second cam surface adapted to abut the surface of the tap body.

8. The tap handle assembly as claimed in claim 7, wherein the first cam surface is substantially curved to facilitate the movement of the tap handle between the closed position and the open position in the first configuration.

9. The tap handle assembly as claimed in claim 7 or 8, wherein the second cam surface includes a first face adapted to abut the surface of the tap body in the closed position of the tap handle and a second face adapted to abut the surface of the tap body in the open position of the tap handle, wherein the first and second faces intersect at an angle of about 90° to facilitate the locking of the tap handle in the open position in the second configuration.

10. The tap handle assembly as claimed in claim 6, wherein the tap handle is biased to automatically return to the closed position when the tap handle is unlocked from the open position and released.

1 1. The tap handle assembly as claimed in claim 6, further comprising a latch mounted on the tap handle and coupled to the valve mechanism, the latch being moveable between a locked position, engaging the valve mechanism to retain the tap handle in the closed position, and an unlocked position, disengaged from the valve mechanism to allow movement of the tap handle between the closed position and the open position, the latch being biased towards the locked position and always free to move towards the unlocked position, wherein operation of the tap handle assembly to cause fluid to flow from the inlet to the outlet of the tap body is a two-step process in which the first movement of the latch from the locked to the unlocked position then allows the second movement of the tap handle from the closed position to the open position.

12. The tap handle assembly as claimed in claim 1 1 , wherein the movement of the latch from the locked position to the unlocked position is along the longitudinal axis in a first direction away from the tap body, and the movement of the latch from the unlocked position to the locked position is along the longitudinal axis in a second direction towards the tap body.

13. The tap handle assembly as claimed in claim 1 1 or 12, wherein the latch is disposed on the second side of the tap handle such that when the tap handle is in the first configuration, the latch faces away from the user, and in the second configuration, the latch faces towards the user.

14. The tap handle assembly as claimed in claim 1 , further comprising a locking pin having a first end portion attached to the latch and a second end portion engageable with the valve mechanism, wherein in the locked position, the second end portion of the locking pin is engaged with the valve mechanism and in the unlocked position, the second end portion of the locking pin is free from the valve mechanism.

15. The tap handle assembly as claimed in claim 14, wherein the valve mechanism includes a shaft member and a seal member disposed between the inlet and the outlet of the tap body, the shaft member including a recess adapted to engage the first end portion of the locking pin therein.

16. The tap handle assembly as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a first spring adapted to bias the latch towards the locked position.

17. The tap handle assembly as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a second spring adapted to bias the latch towards the locked position.

Description:
A TAP HANDLE ASSEMBLY

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001 ] The present invention relates to a tap handle assembly.

[0002] The invention has been primarily developed in relation to a tap handle assembly for an instant hot water dispenser, and will be described hereinafter with reference to this application. However, it will be appreciated that the invention is not limited to this particular field of use and is also, for example, suitable for use in other types of water dispensers such as mixed beverage dispensers.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Known instant hot water dispensers have a water storage tank and a tap assembly for dispensing water, at close to boiling temperature, from the storage tank. The tap assembly typically comprises a tap body with a tap handle connected thereto. Heated water from the storage tank is instantly dispensed via the tap body when a user moves the tap handle from a closed position to an open position.

[0004] An example of a known tap handle is disclosed in U.S. Patent Number 8,418,992, which has a safety mechanism including a primary latch that is manually moveable between a locked position and an unlocked position. The primary latch is located on a first side of the tap handle facing towards the user. The safety mechanism also includes a secondary latch that is manually moveable between an engaged position and a disengaged position, only after the primary latch has been moved to the unlocked position. The secondary latch is located on a second side of the tap handle facing away from the user. The tap handle is operated by first moving the primary latch to the unlocked position, then moving the secondary latch to the disengaged position, which in turn allows the tap handle to be moved to a water dispensing position. The tap handle, primary latch and secondary latch are each biased to revert to their respective closed, locked and engaged positions when the user releases the tap handle, thus stopping the flow of water.

[0005] A disadvantage of the known tap handle above is that the safety mechanism can be cumbersome and difficult to operate without training or instructions, typically requiring several steps to firstly unlock the primary latch, and then disengage the secondary latch, before the tap handle can be operated to dispense water. A further disadvantage of such a known tap handle is that it only provides for instantaneous dispensation of water (i.e. the flow of water automatically stops when the user releases the tap handle). This can be inconvenient and time-consuming, particularly when a large vol ume of water is required (for example, to fill a large stock pot), as the user must be in constant physical contact with the tap handle during the entire filling process.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

[0006] It is an object of the present invention to substantially overcome or at least ameliorate one or more of the above disadvantages, or to provide a useful alternative.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] Accordingly, in a first aspect, the present invention provides a tap handle assembly comprising:

a tap body having an inlet and an outlet;

a tap handle mounted to the tap body and being moveable between a closed position and an open position;

a valve mechanism in the tap body and operably associated with the tap handle, the valve mechanism being adapted for movement between a closed position, corresponding to the closed position of the tap handle, preventing fluid flow between the inlet and the outlet of the tap body, and an open position , corresponding to the open position of the tap handle, pennitting fluid flow between the inlet and the outlet of the tap body; and

a latch mounted on the tap handle and coupled to the valve mechanism, the latch being moveable between a locked position, engaging the valve mechanism to retain the tap handle in the closed position, and an unlocked position, disengaged from the valve mechanism to allow movement of the tap handle between the closed position and the open position, the latch being biased towards the locked position and always free to move towards the unlocked position,

wherein operation of the tap handle assembly to cause fluid to flow from the inlet to the outlet of the tap body is a two-step process in which the first movement of the latch from the locked to the unlocked position then allows the second movement of the tap handle from the closed position to the open position. [0008] The tap handle is preferably biased to automatically return from the open position to the closed position when the tap handle is released to allow for an instantaneous flow of fluid between the inlet and the outlet of the tap body.

[0009] The tap handle preferably includes a first side facing towards the user and a second side opposite to the first side and facing away from the user, wherein the latch is disposed on the second side of the tap handle, and the movement of the tap handle from the closed position to the open position is in a direction towards the first side.

[0010] The tap body preferably includes a longitudinal axis, wherein the movement of the latch from the locked position to the unlocked position is along the longitudinal axis in a direction away from the tap body, and the movement of the latch from the unlocked position to the locked position is along the longitudinal axis in a direction towards the tap body.

[001 1 ] The tap handle is preferably pivotable about the longitudinal axis of the tap body such that the first side faces away from the user and the second side faces towards the user, the movement of the tap handle from the closed position to the open position is in a direction towards the second side, and the tap handle is lockable in the open position to allow for a continuous flow of fluid between the inlet and the outlet of the tap body.

[0012] In a second aspect, the present invention provides a tap handle assembly comprising: a tap body defining a longitudinal axis and having an inlet and an outlet;

a tap handle mounted to the tap body and being moveable between a closed position and an open position, the tap handle including a first side and a second side opposite to the first side, the tap handle being pivotable about the longitudinal axis between a first configuration in which the first side faces towards the user, and a second configuration in which the second side faces towards the user; and

a valve mechanism in the tap body and operably associated with the tap handle, the valve mechanism being adapted for movement between a closed position, corresponding to the closed position of the tap handle, preventing fluid flow between the inlet and the outlet of the tap body, and an open position, corresponding to the open position of the tap handle, permitting fluid flow between the inlet and the outlet of the tap body,

wherein in the first configuration, the tap handle is biased to automatically return from the open position to the closed position when the tap handle is released to allow for an instantaneous flow of fluid between the inlet and the outlet of the tap body, and in the second configuration, the tap handle is lockable in the open position to allow for a continuous flow of fluid between the inlet and the outlet of the tap body.

[0013] The first side of the tap handle preferably includes a first cam surface adapted to abut a substantially flat surface of the tap body and the second side of the tap handle includes a second cam surface adapted to abut the surface of the tap body. The substantially flat surface is preferably located at the top of the tap body.

[0014] The first cam surface is preferably substantially curved to facilitate the movement of the tap handle between the closed position and the open position in the first configuration.

[0015] The second cam surface preferably includes a first face adapted to abut the surface of the tap body in the closed position of the tap handle and a second face adapted to abut the surface of the tap body in the open position of the tap handle, wherein the first and second faces intersect at an angle of about 90° to facilitate the locking of the tap handle in the open position in the second configuration.

[0016] The tap handle is preferably biased to automatically return to the closed position when the tap handle is unlocked from the open position and released.

[0017] The tap handle assembly preferably further comprises a latch mounted on the tap handle and coupled to the valve mechanism, the latch being moveable between a locked position, engaging the valve mechanism to retain the tap handle in the closed position, and an unlocked position, disengaged from the valve mechanism to allow movement of the tap handle between the closed position and the open position, the latch being biased towards the locked position and always free to move towards the unlocked position, wherein operation of the tap handle assembly to cause fluid to flow from the inlet to the outlet of the tap body is a two-step process in which the first movement of the latch from the locked to the unlocked position then allows the second movement of the tap handle from the closed position to the open position.

[0018] The movement of the latch from the locked positi on to the unlocked position is preferably along the longitudinal axis in a first direction away from the tap body, and the movement of the latch from the unlocked position to the locked position is along the longitudinal axis in a second direction towards the tap body.

[0019] The latch is preferably disposed on the second side of the tap handle such that when the tap handle is in the first configuration, the latch faces away from the user, and in the second configuration, the latch faces towards the user.

[0020] The tap handle assembly preferably further comprises a locking pin having a first end portion attached to the latch and a second end portion engageable with the valve mechanism, wherein in the locked position, the second end portion of the l ocking pin is engaged with the valve mechanism and in the unlocked position, the second end portion of the locking pin is free from the valve mechanism.

[0021] The valve mechanism preferably includes a shaft member and a seal member disposed between the inlet and the outlet of the tap body, the shaft member including a recess adapted to engage the second end portion of the locking pin therein.

[0022] The tap handle assembly preferably further comprises a first spring adapted to bias the latch towards the locked position.

[0023] The tap handle assembly preferably further comprises a second spring adapted to bias the latch towards the locked position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0024] A preferred embodiment of the invention will now be described, by way of an example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

[0025] Fig. 1 is a front perspective view of an embodiment of a tap handle assembly, with a tap handle in a closed position and a latch in a locked position;

[0026] Fig. 2 is a rear perspecti ve view of the tap handle assembly shown in Fig. 1 ; [0027] Fig. 3 is a perspective exploded view of components of the tap handle assembly shown in Fig. 1 ;

[0028] Fig. 4 is a cross-sectional side view of the tap handle assembly shown in Fig. 1;

[0029] Figs. 5 A to 5E are cross-sectional side views of the tap handle assembly shown in Fig. 1, showing the operation of the tap handle assembly in a first configuration; and

[0030] Figs. 6A to 6E are cross-sectional side views of the tap handle assembly shown in Fig. 1, showing the operation of the tap handle assembly in a second configuration.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

[0031 ] Figs. 1 to 4 of the accompanying drawings show an embodiment of a tap handle assembly 100. The assembly 100 includes a tap body 1 10 defining a longitudinal axis x-x (see Fig. 3), a tap handle 120 and a valve mechanism 130. The tap body 1 10 includes an inlet 1 12 for receiving fluid from a water storage tank, an outlet 1 14 in fluid communication with the inlet 1 12 and an opening 1 16 for access into the tap body 1 10. The tap body 1 10 further includes a threaded portion 1 17 on an external surface thereof, adjacent the opening 1 16. As best shown in Fig. 4, the tap body 1 10 has a chamber 1 18 therein with inner walls that extend between and connect the inlet 112, the outlet 1 14 and the opening 1 16.

[0032] The valve mechanism 130 is located substantially within the tap body 1 10 and includes a seal member 131 , a shaft member 132 and a valve spring 136. The seal member 131 rests inside the chamber 1 18 of the tap body 1 10 and is disposed between the inlet 1 12 and the outlet 1 14. The seal member 13 1 has outer wal ls which are shaped to conform to the inner walls of the chamber 1 18. The shaft member 132 includes a first end portion 132a and a second end portion 132b opposite to the first end portion 132a. The first end portion 132a includes a recess 134 and a pin opening 135. The second end portion 132b is fixed to the seal member 131. The valve spring 136 is disposed between the seal member 131 and the shaft member 132. The valve spring 136 is adapted to bias the seal member 131 towards the outlet 1 14 of the tap body 1 10 such that the seal member 131 is biased to seal against the outlet 1 14. [0033] Referring to Fig. 3, the assembly 100 further includes a cap 140 mounted to the tap body 110 at the opening 1 16. The cap 140 holds the valve mechanism 130 within the tap body 1 10, thereby assisting the valve spring 136 in biasing the seal member 131 towards the outlet 1 14. The cap 140 includes an opening 142 therein with a threaded internal surface (not shown) corresponding to the threaded portion 1 17 on the external surface of the tap body 1 10. The opening 142 of the cap 140 is axially aligned with the opening 1 16 of the tap body 1 10 along the longitudinal axis x-x of the tap body 110.

[0034] The assembly 100 also includes a guide insert 150 mounted to the cap 140. The guide insert 150 includes a flange 151 and a plurality of resiliently deformable legs 152 extending from a lower side of the flange 151. The legs 152 are adapted for snap-fitting engagement with the opening 142 of the cap 140. The guide insert 150 further includes a guide structure 154 extending from an upper side opposite to the lower side of the flange 151 and formed with a recess 156 therein. The recess 156 is axially aligned with the opening 142 of the cap 140 along the longitudinal axis x-x of the tap body 1 10.

[0035] The tap handle 120 is mounted to the guide insert 150 and rests on the upper side of the flange 151. The tap handle 120 also includes a first side 122 and a second side 124 opposite to the first side 122. The tap handle 120 further includes a latch guide 125 on the second side 124. The tap handle 120 further includes a first base portion 126a with a pin opening 127a and a second base portion 126b with a pin opening 127b. The pin openings 127a and 127b are axially aligned along a pin axis y-y. The first end portion 132a of the shaft member 132 extends between the base portions 126a and 126b, such that the pin openings 127a and 127b are each axially aligned with the pin opening 135 of the shaft member 132 along the pin axis y-y. Each of the pin openings 126a, 126b and 135 is adapted to receive a pivot pin 128 to allow pivotable movement of the tap handle 120 about the pin axis y-y between a closed position and an open position. The tap handle 120 is also pivotable about the longitudinal axis x-x of the tap body 110 between a first configuration in which the first side 122 faces the user, and a second

configuration in which the second side 124 faces the user.

[0036] The first side 122 of the tap handle 120 includes a first cam surface adapted to abut a substantially flat surface on the upper side of the flange 151. The first cam surface is

substantially curved to facilitate the movement of the tap handle 120 between the closed and open positions. The second si de 124 of the tap handle 120 includes a second cam surface adapted to abut the substantially flat surface on the upper side of the flange 151. The second cam surface includes a first face adapted to abut the substantially flat surface on the upper side of the flange 151 when the tap handle 120 is in the closed position, and a second face adapted to abut the substantially flat surface on the upper side of the flange 151 when the tap handle 120 is in the open position. The first and second faces of the second cam surface intersect at an angle of about 90° to facilitate locking of the tap handle 120 in the open position, when the tap handle 120 is in the second configuration.

[0037] The tap handle 120 further includes a first window 123a and a second window 123b, each extending between the first side 122 and the second side 124. The first window 123a is adapted to receive a fascia 129 therein for displaying a product logo or other branding, visible from the first side 122 of the tap handle 120. At least a portion of the first side 122 includes a textured surface to facilitate gripping and movement of the tap handle 120.

[0038] The assembly 100 further includes a locking mechanism comprising a latch 160, a locking pin 170 and a locking spring 180. The latch 160 is mounted on the tap handle 120 at the second side 124 and is moveable between a locked position and an unlocked position along the longitudinal axis x-x of the tap body 1 10. The latch 160 includes printed information which is visible from the first side 122 of the tap handle 120 through the second window 123b. The locking pin 170 is disposed within the latch guide 125 and has a first end portion 170a attached to the latch 160 and a second end portion 170b engageable with the recess 134 of the shaft member 132. The locking spring 180 is disposed between the locking pin 170 and the latch guide 125. The locking spring 180 is adapted to bias the latch 160 towards the locked position, and also bias the locking pin 170 towards the recess 134 of the shaft member 132, such that the second end portion 170b is substantially contained within the recess 134.

[0039] The operation of the tap assembly 100 will now be described.

[0040] Figs. 5 A to 5E show the operation of the tap assembly 100 when the tap handle 120 is in the first configuration, in which the first side 122 of the tap handle 120 is facing towards the user. As the latch 160 is mounted on the second side 124 of the tap handle, the latch 160 faces away from the user in this configuration. In Fig. 5A, the tap handle 120 is in the closed position and the latch 160 is in the locked position. Operation of the tap assembly 100 involves a two- step process, in which the latch 160 is firstly moved from the locked position to the unlocked position (as shown in Fig. 5B) along the longitudinal axis x-x in a first (i.e. upward) direction away from the tap body 1 10 to allow the second movement of the tap handle 120 from the closed position to the open position. Movement of the latch 160 from the locked position to the unlocked position causes a corresponding upward movement of the attach ed locking pin 170 along the longitudinal axis x-x. This in turn causes the second end portion 170b of the locking pin 170 to disengage from the recess 134 of the shaft member 132. The tap handle 120 is then free to be moved (i.e. pivoted) from the closed position (as shown in Figs. 5A and 5B) to the open position (as shown in Figs. 5C and 5D) about the pin axis y-y in a direction towards the first side 122 of the tap handle 120 (i.e. towards the user). The curved first cam surface of the tap handle 120 rolls against the substantially flat surface on the upper side of the flange 151 to facilitate the pivoting movement of the tap handle 120 about the pin axis y-y between the closed and open positions.

[0041 ] Movement of the tap handle 120 from the closed position to the open position causes an upward displacement of the shaft member 132 and the attached seal member 131 along the longitudinal axis x-x. The seal member 131 disengages from the outlet 1 14 of the tap body 1 10, thereby permitting fluid flow between the inlet 1 12 and the outlet 1 14. As best shown in Figs. 5D and 5E, the tap handle 120 automatically returns from the open position to the closed position when the tap handle 120 is released. The return movement of the tap handle 120 from the open position to the closed position causes a return downward displacement of the shaft member 132 and the attached seal member 131 along the longitudinal axis x-x, thereby re-engaging the seal member 131 against the outlet 1 14 to stop the flow of fluid between the inlet 1 12 and the outlet 114. This first configuration therefore allows for an instantaneous flow of fluid to be achieved. Upon return of the tap handle 120 to the closed position (see Fig. 5E), the latch 160 also automatically returns from the unlocked position to the locked position. This movement is facilitated by the associated locking spring 180, which is adapted to bias the locking pin 170 and the attached latch 160 towards the locked position.

[0042] Figs. 6 A to 6F show the operation of the tap assembly 100 when the tap handle 120 is in the second configuration, in which the second side 124 of the tap handle 120 is facing towards the user. The latch 160 also faces towards the user in this configuration. The operation of the latch 160 and the tap handle 120 in this second configuration is similar to the operation of the latch 160 and the tap handle 120 as described above with respect to the first configuration. [0043] In the second configuration, the tap handle 120 is lockable in the fully open position (as best shown in Fig. 6D). This functionality is facilitated by the shape of the second cam surface on the second side 124 of the tap handle. When the tap handle 120 is in the fully open position, the second face of the second cam surface is parallel to the substantially flat surface of the upper side of the flange 151. As such, the second cam surface is held against the upper side of the flange 151 , allowing the tap handle 120 to be maintained in the open position when the tap handle 120 is released. By locking the tap handle 120 in the open position, a continuous flow of fluid is maintained between the inlet 1 12 and the outlet 1 14 of the tap body 110. The flow of fluid stops when the tap handle 120 is manually unlocked from the open position and returned to the closed position.

[0044] The tap handle assembly described above has a number of advantages. For example, when the tap handle is in the first configuration, only a simple and intuitive two-step process is required to operate the tap assembly. The user simply has to position their fingers on the far side of the tap handle in the general region of the latch to unlock it in one motion , and then pivot the handle to dispense fluid in another motion. The tap handle assembly is therefore easy to operate and is more intuitive for the user, without compromising on safety.

[0045] Further, the tap handle assembly is settable in an alternate (i.e. second) configuration, in which the tap handle can be locked in the open position. As such, the user has the option of setting the tap assembly to dispense fluid in a continuous flow, for example to fill a large container (which can otherwise be a time-consuming activity). This provides an added level of practicality and convenience for the user.

[0046] Although the invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, it will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that the invention may be embodied in many other forms.