Title:
APPARATUS FOR PRODUCING A BEVERAGE BY MIXING A POWDERED BASE INCLUDING SUGAR AND A COLD LIQUID
United States Patent 3671020


Abstract:
An apparatus for mixing and vending beverages made from a mixture of a water soluble powder admixed with granulated sugar or other non-readily dissolvable sweetener agent and cold water. The apparatus includes a powder dispensing assembly and water dispensing assembly each discharging predetermined quantities of powder and water into a pre-mixing chamber and thence to a final mixing chamber which includes an agitating blade. Disposed in the chamber is a helically wound wire member which serves to shift the undissolved powder and sugar back to the inlet end of the chamber to be mixed by the agitator blade for blending with the water.



Inventors:
KRUP DONALD E
Application Number:
05/079391
Publication Date:
06/20/1972
Filing Date:
10/09/1970
Assignee:
BRANDT AUTOMATIC CASHIER CO.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
222/129.4, 366/329.1
International Classes:
A47J31/40; G07F13/06; (IPC1-7): B01F7/04
Field of Search:
259/9,10,19,25,26,37,45,46,64,68,69,97,DIG
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3536300APPARATUS FOR CONTINUOUSLY MIXING POWDERS AND OILS TO MAKE PUTTY1970-10-27Ainsworth et al.
2798701Blender jar1957-07-09Collura



Primary Examiner:
Scheel, Walter A.
Assistant Examiner:
Cantor, Alan I.
Claims:
I claim

1. In a powdered base beverage dispensing apparatus, a mixing assembly for admixing a powdered base containing sugar and a liquid, said mixing assembly comprising a premixing chamber and a horizontally disposed final mixing chamber housing having a pair of end walls and defining a chamber, the premixing chamber having communication with the upstream end of the final mixing chamber, input ports in said premixing chamber for introducing the powdered base and the liquid into said premixing chamber, a power-driven agitator whipper paddle coaxially disposed in said final mixing chamber, helically wound means in said final mixing chamber disposed about said agitator for moving undissolved particles of sugar upstream to be rewhipped by the whipper paddle, the coils of said helically wound means extending from the downstream end to the upstream end of the final mixing chamber, and an outlet port in the downstream end of said final mixing chamber.

2. The invention as defined in claim 1 wherein said helically wound member is a wire.

3. The invention as defined in claim 2 wherein said helically wound wire is made from stainless steel and is positioned in said final mixing chamber adjacent the inner walls thereof.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to apparatus for mixing and vending beverages and more particularly to an improved apparatus for mixing a powdered drink base and a liquid in predetermined quantities to produce individual portions of the beverage.

The powdered base used to mix the beverage includes granulated sugar which is characterized by being not readily soluble in cold water. When such a powdered base, and especially the sugar therein, is used, difficulties are encountered in effectively mixing the sugar with the cold water in a relatively short, about six second, cycle interval. The final mixing is generally performed in a chamber having a motor driven paddle wheel or agitator disposed therein which is rotated at high speed.

Heretofore, upon rotation of the paddle wheel, the cold water and the powdered base contained therein are swirled and whipped and discharged simultaneously through a tube having a diameter about one-third the size of the diameter of the mixing chamber so that the powdered base, including the sugar content therein, is supposed to go into solution. Because the granulated sugar does not thoroughly dissolve in the chamber in the short time required in the dispensing step, the sugar is passed out of the mixing chamber and settles in the bottom of the receiving vessel. The lack of dissolution of the sugar results in an improperly mixed beverage having a lesser amount of dissolved sugar therein than required, and takes on an unsightly appearance.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

By the present invention, it is proposed to provide an improved final mixing chamber structure which overcomes the difficulties encountered heretofore.

This is accomplished generally by a helically disposed means in the final mixing chamber which interrupts the normal mixing flow of the powdered base with the liquid so that the undissolved concentrate flowing to the wall of the mixing chamber, by the centrifugal force generated in the fluid by the high speed rotation of the paddle wheel, is returned to the area of the whirling paddle to be thoroughly admixed by the presence of the helical means. This results in a wholly dissolved solution producing a uniform drink for each charge of powdered base and liquid introduced into the final mixing chamber.

These and other features and advantages of the invention will more fully appear from the following description, made in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference characters refer to the same parts throughout the several views.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional side elevational view of the dispensing apparatus embodying the structure of the present invention with some of the components shown in full to clarify the illustration.

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken generally along lines 2--2 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken generally along lines 3--3 of FIG. 1 .

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring now to the drawings, there is shown a beverage vending apparatus comprising generally a powder dispensing assembly 11 for dispensing a predetermined quantity of finely divided powder containing the beverage forming constituents, and a liquid dispensing assembly 12 for dispensing a predetermined quantity of liquid for mixing with the powder. The predetermined quantities of powder and liquid are dispensed into a pre-mixing chamber and thence to a final chamber 13, from which the admixed beverage is discharged.

The powder dispensing assembly 11 includes a hopper 14 which may be of generally circular cross-section having a lower wall 16. A detachable cover 17 is seated on the upper end of the hopper 14. The lower end of the hopper is provided with a discharge tube 19, the downstream end of which is suspended over the pre-mixing chamber 18. The hopper 11 is suitably supported by framing 21.

Disposed above a wall 16 in the lower end of the hopper 14 and offset from the vertical axis of the hopper 14 is an auger 23 which is journaled at the driving end in the wall of the hopper 14 for rotation in a clockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 1. A motor 24 is connected to one end of the auger 23 for driving the former. The free end of the auger 23 is disposed in the discharge tube 19.

As shown particularly in FIG. 3, rotatably mounted on the base 16, is a sprocket 26 having a plurality of teeth 27. The teeth 27 mesh with the auger 23 so that upon rotation of the latter, the sprocket 26 is simultaneously rotated. Fixed to the upper face of the sprocket 26 as by means of a screw 25 is a pair of diverging arms 28--28 which serve to agitate and break up the powdered material in the hopper and prevent any accumulation therein as the arms are rotated.

The auger 23 may be made from a wire or the like and is formed so as to insure the feed of powder from the hopper 11 to the discharge tube 19 and into the pre-mix chamber 18.

The liquid dispensing apparatus 12 includes a large cylindrical receptacle 29 having a cover 31 seated over the upper open end. Disposed about the lower end of the receptacle 29 are cooling coils 32 for refrigerating the liquid contained thereon. The liquid is usually water which is introduced into the receptacle through an inlet means (not shown) and connected to a suitable source of water. Water from the receptacle 29 is delivered to the pre-mixing chamber 18 in metered quantities by means of a metering valve 33 located at one end of a hose 34. The other end of the hose 34 is connected to an intake tube 36 of the pre-mix chamber 18. For maintaining a constant level of water in the receptacle 29, there is provided a float valve 37 which is associated with the water supply in a more or less standard manner to open and close the water supply source. It is noted that the water from the receptacle 29 is introduced into the pre-mix chamber 18 in a manner whereby the water swirls around the inner wall thereof and premixes with the powdered admix before flowing downwardly, or downstream, through the outlet 40 in the lower wall of chamber 18 to the right hand end, as seen in FIG. 1, of the final mixing chamber 13.

The final mixing apparatus comprises a horizontally disposed cylindrical housing 38 closed at both ends by end walls 39 and 41.

Axially disposed in the chamber 13 is an agitator or paddle 44 fixed to a shaft 46 extending through a bearing on the end wall 41. The shaft 46 extends from a drive motor 47 attached to the frame 21 by band 46a. The shaft rotates approximately 1,800 rpm when the motor is energized.

Located within the chamber 42 and encompassing the agitator 44 is a helically wound wire member 48 which loosely abuts, at one end, against the end wall 39 and, at the other end, against wall 41. The outer diameter of the coils are slightly less than the diameter of the inner surface of the housing wall 38. The member 48 is preferably made from stainless steel.

As the particles of sugar take longer to dissolve in cold water and are heavier than water, they will tend to fly toward the inner surface of the housing 38 under centrifugal action when the agitator 44 is rotated and will flow outwardly through the discharge tube 49. However, by introducing the helical wire member 48 in the housing, the sugar particle movement tends to follow the contour of member 48 and returns toward the right hand end of the chamber 13 (as seen in FIG. 1) or upstream to be whipped again by the agitator blade and into dissolution in the liquid. Thus the sugar particles tend to be thoroughly admixed in solution by adding the helical member in the housing 38 to cause the undissolved sugar to be returned downstream and be rewhipped.

The mixed powder and liquid forming the beverage are discharged through a discharge port 49. Disposed below the discharge port 49 is a support tray 51 on which a glass C or other receptacle is supported for receiving the discharged beverage.

Although not shown, as is obvious in the art, a drink dispenser of this character operates in the range of about 6 second cycles or less to dispense a single drink. The motors 24 and 47, as well as the metering valve 33, are arranged in a well known electrical circuit whereby, when energized, a predetermined amount of powder mix will be delivered to the pre-mixing chamber 18 simultaneously as a predetermined amount of the cold water is also delivered, and the paddle or agitator is vigorously rotated in the final mixing chamber 13. Thus the powder admix is required to be thoroughly dissolved in 6 seconds or less. The problem applicant has solved is that within the 6 second period, or less, thoroughly dissolving the sugar content in the powder in cold water, and this was accomplished by the helical wound member 48. Without the helix, the sugar settled in the bottom of the glass receptacle, as aforesaid.

Although but one embodiment of this invention is shown and described, it is to be understood that numerous details may be altered or omitted without departing from the spirit of this invention as defined by the following claims.