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US 20020152895A1
(19) United States
(12) Patent Application Publication (10) Pub. No.: US 2002/0152895 A1
Dulfy et al.
(54)
(43) Pub. Date:
SYSTEM FOR MONITORING AND
(52)
Oct. 24, 2002
US. Cl. .............................................................. .. 99/279
CONTROLLING THE OPERATION OF A
SINGLE sERvE BEVERAGE BREWER
(57)
(76) Inventors: Brendan J. Du?'y, Georgetown, MA
(Us); Kat‘! T‘ Winkler’ Bedford> MA
An automated beverage brewing system includes a liquid
(Us); Davld G‘ H0nan> Concord> MA
(Us); Jon Taylor’ Grown’ MA (Us);
Peter L‘ St0kes> Bostom MA (Us)
storage tank and a metering chamber. The metering chamber
is at least partially submerged beneath a standing level of
liquid in the storage tank. The chamber includes a sealable
liquid inlet port communicating With the interior of the
storage tank beneath the standing level of liquid. The
Correspondence Address:
Samuels, Gauthier & Stevens LLP
chamber also includes a liquid outlet port and an aperture
Suite 3300
225 Franklin Street
that receives compressed air, Wherein the compressed air
forces liquid from the liquid output port of the chamber for
Boston, MA 02110 (US)
(21) Appl' NO':
(
22
-
)
(60)
Fld:
16
use in preparing a breWed beverage. A pump provides the
compressed air and a controller monitors a pressure signal
10/125’058
value indicative of the air pressure in the metering chamber.
The controller commands the um on to commence How of
P P
liquid from the metering chamber. The controller then
commands the pump off several seconds after detecting a
drop in air pressure Within the chamber. Abaf?e is af?xed to
the distal end of a shaft, Which is moved betWeen a ?rst and
second position. In the second position the baffle seals a
section of the storage tank to form the metering chamber.
The system may also include a second breW pump that
alloWs a user to customize the quantity of liquid delivered
from the breWing system for a stronger breWed beverage.
A .18 2002
pr
’
Related US Application Data
provisional application NO_ 60/284,454, ?led on Apr'
18, 2001_
Publication Classi?cation
(51)
ABSTRACT
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US 2002/0152895 A1
SYSTEM FOR MONITORING AND
CONTROLLING THE OPERATION OFA SINGLE
SERVE BEVERAGE BREWER
PRIORITY INFORMATION
[0001] This application claims priority from a provisional
application ?led Apr. 18, 2001 designated serial No. 60/284,
454 entitled “System for Monitoring and Controlling the
Operation of a Single Serve Beverage BreWer”. This appli
cation is incorporated herein by reference.
the metering chamber outlet port and upstream of the
cartridge inlet in response to a breW interrupt signal received
by the controller to drive the liquid doWnstream of the
metering chamber outlet port to the cartridge. Advanta
geously, this alloWs a user to control the strength of their
breWed beverage by using less Water than the nominal
amount dispensed by the breWer When the breW interrupt
bottom is not depressed during a breW cycle.
[0008] These and other objects, features and advantages of
the present invention Will become apparent in light of the
folloWing detailed description of preferred embodiments
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
[0002] This invention relates generally to beverage dis
pensing and breWing systems, and in particular With a
system for monitoring and controlling a beverage breWer.
[0003] Many different coffee breWing systems have been
designed. Most utiliZe a pump, such as a peristaltic pump, to
transfer Water from a reservoir through a conduit to a
breWing chamber. The pump is turned on at the beginning of
a breWing cycle and at the end of a speci?c time period the
pump is turned off. Other breWing systems use an electri
cally controlled device to open a valve at the bottom of a
reservoir. Through gravity the Water travels through a con
duit to a breWing chamber. Again at the end of a speci?c time
period, the valve is closed. These prior breWing systems lack
the capability of consistently dispensing equal volumes of
liquid. The systems are dependent on the accuracy of the
timers, the pressure of the liquid, etc.
[0004]
Therefore, there is a need for an automated bever
age breWing system for dispensing a predetermined volume
of liquid from a storage tank.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
[0005] Brie?y, according to an aspect of the present inven
tion, a beverage breWing system uses compressed air to
drive liquid from a metering chamber for use in preparing a
breWed beverage.
[0006] An automated beverage breWing system receives a
thereof, as illustrated in the accompanying draWings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
[0009]
FIG. 1 is a vertical sectional vieW taken through a
single serve beverage breWer;
[0010]
FIGS. 2A-2C are enlarged vieWs shoWing the illu
minated liquid level indicator;
[0011]
FIG. 3 is a control schematic;
[0012] FIG. 4 is a How chart generally depicting the
sequential steps in a breW cycle;
[0013]
FIG. 5 is a vertical sectional vieW taken through an
alternative embodiment single serve beverage breWer;
[0014] FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustration of the control
system associated With the breWer illustrated in FIG. 5;
[0015]
FIGS. 7A and 7B are How charts that together
illustrate steps performed by the controller of FIG. 6;
[0016] FIG. 8 is a How chart illustration of steps per
formed by the controller of FIG. 6 to control a interrupt
breW pump illustrated in FIG. 5; and
[0017]
FIG. 9 is a How chart illustration of a built-in-test
(BIT) routine performed by the controller of FIG. 6 to detect
faults in the breWer illustrated in FIG. 5;
[0018]
FIG. 10 is a How chart illustration of a routine for
controlling the liquid heater; and
cartridge containing a beverage eXtract and establishes a
[0019]
liquid ?oW path through the cartridge to provide a breWed
monitoring the liquid level Within the storage tank of the
beverage. The system includes a holder that holds and
pierces the cartridge to provide a cartridge inlet and a
breWer illustrated in FIG. 5.
cartridge outlet that together establish a How path through
the beverage eXtract to provide the breWed beverage. A
storage tank comprising a supply of liquid and having a
reduced diameter cup-shaped bottom is in ?uid communi
cation With the cartridge via a chamber outlet port. Aportion
of the storage tank is controllably sealed to form a metering
chamber in cooperation With the reduced diameter cup
shaped bottom. A ?rst pump provides compressed air along
a How line to the metering chamber to force liquid from the
metering chamber and through the chamber outlet port. A
sensor senses pressure in the How line and provides a sensed
pressure signal indicative thereof. A controller commands
the ?rst pump on, monitors the sensed pressure signal and
turns the ?rst pump off after detecting that the sensed
pressure signal value has dropped beloW a threshold value
indicating the predetermined volume of liquid has been
delivered through the chamber outlet port.
[0007] The system may also include a second air pump
that delivers a second How of compressed air doWnstream of
FIG. 11 is a How chart illustration of a routine for
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
INVENTION
[0020] The present invention is specially adapted for use
in, although not limited in application to, a breWing system
10 illustrated in FIG. 1. Here, the dispensed liquid is Water
that is heated to a predetermined elevated temperature to
breW beverages from extracts (e.g., coffee, tea, poWders and
concentrates) contained in disposable hermetically sealed
cartridges.
[0021] With reference initially to FIG. 1, a single serve
breWer 10 includes a housing 12 containing a liquid storage
tank 14. The tank has a loWer metering chamber 16 formed
by a reduced diameter cup-shaped bottom 18 integrally
joined to the larger diameter tank side Wall at a circular
sealing surface de?ning a seat 20. Water can be poured into
the storage tank 14 via an inlet 17.
[0022]
A ?Xed internal structure includes a horiZontal
platform 22 and struts 24 supporting a vertically disposed
Oct. 24, 2002
US 2002/0152895 A1
sleeve bearing 26 aligned centrally With respect to the tank
14 and its cup-shaped bottom 18.
[0023] Avertically reciprocal shaft 28 extends through the
signal to the controller indicative of air pressure in the hose
50, Which is representative of the air pressure in the metering
chamber 16.
sleeve bearing 26. The shaft carries a generally conically
shaped baf?e 70 at its loWer end, and a circular plate 32
disposed beneath the platform 22. Aresilient and compress
[0032] Referring again to FIG. 3, a panel 100 on the
breWer head includes red and green indicator lights 102a,
102b, connected to the controller 86. The heater 68 and
ible circular gasket 33 on the loWer surface of the baf?e
overlies the seat 20.
pump 48 are also connected to the controller 86.
[0024] An arm 34 is pivotally mounted on a bracket 36
carried by the platform 22. The arm 34 is connected to the
shaft 28 by a pin 38. A coiled spring 40 surrounds the pin 38
betWeen the arm 34 and the upper surface of platform 22,
and an in?atable bladder 42 is positioned betWeen the
bottom surface of the platform 22 and the plate 32.
[0025] The distal end of the arm 34 extends into a breWing
chamber 44 designed to accept a single serve beverage ?lter
cartridge 46 of the type for example described in co-pending
patent application Ser. No. 09/782,622 ?led Feb. 13, 2001,
the description of Which is herein incorporated by reference
in its entirety.
[0026] An air pump 48 on the platform 22 is pneumati
cally connected to the bladder 42, and is also connected via
[0033] With reference additionally to FIG. 4, it Will be
seen that When the breWer is initially energiZed, the red light
102a is lit continuously and the blue light 78 is in a ?ashing
mode. The sensors 82, 84 provide the controller 86 With an
indication of the liquid level in the tank 14, and the con
troller performs a test 104 to determine if an adequate liquid
supply is available. A “No” determination recycles the
sequence, and a “Yes” determination illuminates the blue
light 78 continuously. The controller 86 then performs a
second test 106 using the signal from the temperature sensor
96 to determine if the liquid in the metering chamber 16 has
been heated to the desired breW temperature. A “No” deter
mination recycles the sequence, and a “Yes” determination
extinguishes the red light 102a and illuminates the green
light 102b, indicating that the breWer is ready to perform a
breW cycle.
a ?exible hose 50 to a port 52 in the baf?e 70. A metering
[0034]
tube 54 extends through the baf?e 70 into the chamber 16.
The metering tube 54 is connected via a second ?exible hose
56 to a depending tubular probe 58 carried by the arm 34. A
second tubular probe 60 underlies the cartridge 46 and opens
doWnWardly above an exterior shelf 62 con?gured and
?lter cartridge 46. The sWitch 94 provides the controller With
The user then opens the draWer 88 and inserts a
Which the controller extinguishes the green light 102b. The
dimensioned to support a cup 64 or other like receptacle.
sequence, and a “Yes” determination causes the controller to
a signal indicating that the draWer is open, in response to
controller then performs a test 108 to determine if the draWer
had been closed. A “No” determination recycles the
liquid contained in column 72, and its position in the column
intermittently illuminate the green light 102b, and to com
mence the breW cycle by energiZing pump 48 and deener
giZing the heater 68.
[0035] The air pump 48 then pneumatically effects the
folloWing sequence of system operation. The bladder 42 is
in?ated, the pushing shaft 28 and the baf?e 70 doWnWardly,
until the gasket 33 is pressed against the seat 20 to seal off
the liquid in the metering chamber 16 from the remainder of
the tank 14. The doWnWard movement of the shaft 28 also
produces doWnWard pivotal movement of the arm 34 against
the resistance of the spring 40, Which in turn results in the
lid and bottom of the cartridge 46 in the breWing chamber 44
is visually enhanced by light emitted from the underlying
being pierced respectively by probes 58, 60.
light source 78. Optical sensors 82, 84 are positioned to
sense the position of the ball in its uppermost and loWermost
positions, as shoWn in FIGS. 2B and 2C. The uppermost
position provides an indication that the tank 14 is ?lled, and
ber 16 via the hose 50, causing a metered mount of liquid to
be expelled and fed to the cartridge 46 via the hose 56 and
[0027] The tank 14 stores a supply of liquid 66 heated by
an electrical heating element 68 underlying the cup-shaped
bottom 18.
[0028] A tubular transparent column 72 is connected by
upper and loWer branch conduits 74 and 76 to the tank 14.
As can best be seen by further reference to FIGS. 2A-2C, the
column is illuminated from beloW by a blue light source 78,
such as a light emitting diode (LED). The column 72
contains liquid at the same level as the liquid level in tank
14. A ball 80 is buoyantly supported on the surface of the
the loWermost position conversely indicates that the tank has
been emptied and is in need of being re?lled.
[0029] With reference to FIG. 3, it Will be seen that the
sensors 82, 84 provide output signals to a controller 86.
[0030] Referring again to FIG. 1, the breW chamber 44
includes a draWer 88 that may be opened to the position
indicated by the broken lines in FIG. 1 in order to accept the
?lter cartridge 46. The draWer 88 is carried on a slide bar 90
guided by rollers 92, and a sWitch 94 provides a control
[0036]
Compressed air is then fed into the metering cham
the tubular probe 58. The resulting breWed beverage exits
the cartridge probe 60 and is received in the underlying cup
[0037] At the conclusion of the breW cycle, compressed
air purges the metering chamber 16, and the resulting
pressure drop is sensed by the pressure sensor 98. The
controller then responds by deactivating the pump 46 and
the system is vented. The bladder 42 then collapses, alloW
controller 86 (FIG. 3) indicative of liquid temperature in the
ing an upWard displacement of the shaft 28 under the return
force of the spring 40. The baf?e 70 is thus raised above the
seat 20, alloWing air in the chamber 16 to be displaced by
liquid in the tank 14. The return force of the spring 40 also
pivots arm 34 upWardly, Which in turn removes the probe 58
from the cartridge 46.
[0038] The draWer 88 may then be opened and the spent
metering chamber 16, and a pressure sensor 98 provides a
cartridge 46 removed from the breWing chamber, readying
signal to the controller 86 (FIG. 3) indicating open and
closed draWer positions.
[0031]
A temperature sensor 96 provides a signal to the
Oct. 24, 2002
US 2002/0152895 Al
the system for the next cycle. The heater 68 is reenergiZed
to heat the liquid that has re?lled the metering chamber 16.
[0039] Various modi?cations may be made to the embodi
ment herein disclosed. For example, the shaft 28 may be
vertically reciprocated by other means such as for example
a motor-driven gear drive, or manual operation of the arm
34. The metering chamber 16 and the seat 20 may be formed
on a separate cup-shaped insert received in the tank, rather
than being formed integrally With the tank. The operation of
pump 48 may be controlled by a timed sequence rather than
in response to pressure in the metering chamber. Different
visual indicators may be employed, and audible Warning
[0042] FIGS. 7A and 7B (collectively FIG. 7) together
are a ?oW chart illustration of a breW cycle routine 700
performed by the controller 230. The controller 230 is
preferably a microcontroller such as a model PIC16C57
manufactured by Microchip (WWW.microchip.com). This
microcontroller includes on chip program memory, RAM
and a CPU. In this embodiment, the steps illustrated in FIG.
7 represent executable program instructions that are stored
in the microcontroller program memory and periodically
executed by the CPU.
[0043]
The routine 700 includes a test 702 that determines
devices may be included to indicate various conditions, e.g.,
if the tank is either empty or in danger of being over?lled.
if the breWing process should begin. This test checks the
state of the breW signal on the line 234 (FIG. 6) that is
generated by a breW button located on the breWer, and
An immersion heater may be employed in place of the
external heating element 68.
depressed When the user Wishes to breW a beverage. If the
signal on line 234 indicates that a user has not depressed the
[0040] FIG. 5 is a vertical sectional vieW taken through an
alternative embodiment single serve beverage breWer 200.
This breWer 200 is substantially similar to the breWer 10
illustrated in FIG. 1, With the principal exception that the
breWer 200 includes several pneumatic pumps to control the
breWing process. Speci?cally, the breWer 200 includes an air
pump 202 that in?ates the air bladder 42. A ?rst pneumatic
breW pump 204 provides compressed air into conduit 206,
Which routes the compressed air through a check valve 208,
and into the pneumatic port 52. A pressure sensor 212 is
connected to the conduit 206. The pressure sensor 212 is
preferably a dual threshold pressure sensor that provides a
?rst signal on a line 214 indicative of When the pressure is
above or beloW and ?rst pressure threshold value (e.g., 1.5
psi), and a second signal on a line 215 indicative of When the
pressure is above or beloW a second pressure threshold value
(e.g., 7 psi). Such pressure sensors are available for example
from World Magnetics (WWW.Worldmagnetics.com) and
from Micropneumatics Logic. The breWer 200 also includes
an interrupt breW pump 214 that provides compressed air
into conduit 216, Which routes the compressed air through a
check valve 218, and into conduit 220. The conduit 220
routes the compressed air from the interrupt breW pump to
a ?oW line 222, Which routes compressed air through a
check valve 224 to the tubular probe 58.
[0041] FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustration of the control
system associated With the breWer illustrated in FIG. 5. A
controller 230 (e.g., a microcontroller) receives Boolean
signals from the pressure sensor 212, the draWer sWitch 94
and the optical sensors 82, 84. The controller also receives
temperature threshold signals from a comparator circuit 241.
The comparator circuit 241 receives a temperature signal on
a line 239 from the temperature sensor 96. The circuit 241
includes a ?rst comparator (not shoWn) that provides a
Boolean signal on the line 240 indicative of Whether or not
the temperature is above or beloW a ?rst temperature thresh
old value (e.g., 186°
The circuit 241 also includes a
second comparator (not shoWn) that provides a Boolean
signal on a line 244 indicative of Whether or not the
temperature is above or beloW a second temperature thresh
old value (e.g., 193°
The ?rst and second temperature
threshold values are used as set points for a heater control
routine to be discussed hereinafter. The controller 230 also
receives an input signal on a line 234 from a breW button 232
located on the breWer control panel. We shall noW discuss
the operation of the pumps 202, 204, 214 and a purge value
361.
breW button, then the remaining steps of the routine 700 are
not executed. HoWever, if the breW signal indicates that the
user has depressed the breW button, test 703 checks the
liquid level sensors 82, 84 (FIG. 6) to ensure that there is
Water in the breWer. If there is not, step 705 is performed to
?ash the Water column light 78 (FIG. 6) to call attention to
the tubular transparent column that indicates the Water level.
If there is enough Water in the breWer, test 706 is performed
to determine if the Water temperature is hot enough for
breWing. The test 706 checks the status of the Boolean signal
on line 240 (FIG. 6) to determine if the Water temperature
is above the ?rst threshold value. If the temperature is not
above the ?rst threshold value (e.g., the signal on the line
240 is a logical Zero) then step 708 is executed to illuminate
a status light (e.g., a yelloW light) to indicate the Water
temperature is not hot enough for breWing. If the Water
temperature is hot enough for breWing, a test 710 is per
formed to check that the cartridge draWer 88 (FIG. 5) has
been closed in the last thirty (30) seconds. This test helps to
ensure that the user has placed an unused cartridge into the
breWer. Speci?cally, the test 710 checks the status of the
signal from the draWer sWitch sensor 94 (FIGS. 5 and 6). If
the draWer 88 has not been closed in the last thirty seconds,
step 712 is performed to illuminate a status light. If the
draWer is closed, then the system is ready for breWing and
step 714 is performed to turn the heater off, close the purge
valve 361 (FIG. 6) and turn the bladder pump 202 (FIG. 6)
on.
[0044] Referring to FIG. 5, turning the bladder pump 202
on causes the air bladder 42 to in?ate, Which moves the shaft
28 doWnWard sealing the gasket 33 against the seat 20 to
establish the metering chamber area 16. This also causes the
arm 34 to pivot, causing the probe 58 to puncture the
cartridge 46 to establish a ?oW path inlet to the cartridge.
The doWnWard force from the arm 34 also forces the
cartridge against and to be pierced by the ?oW outlet needle
60, thus establishing a ?oW exit path from the cartridge.
Referring to FIGS. 5 and 7, folloWing the step 714 Where
the bladder pump is turned on, step 716 is performed to
delay for several seconds (e.g., ?ve seconds), before com
manding the breW pump 204 (FIG. 5) on in step 718. The
delay accounts for the time is takes for the shaft 28 to drive
the gasket 33 into position to seal the metering chamber, and
for the arm 34 to move into the breWing position.
[0045] While the breW pump 204 is on and the bladder 42
is in?ated to seal the gasket 33 against the seat 20, com
pressed air enters the metering chamber 16 through port 223
Oct. 24, 2002
US 2002/0152895 A1
driving Water in the metering chamber into the metering tube
54. The Water then passes through the breW valve check
valve 224 into the cartridge 46. The Water enters the car
old may be 75% of the maximum sensed pressure during the
breWing cycle. Alternatively, the threshold may be a con
tridge through the downwardly projecting apertured probe
stant value. If the user has not depressed the breW button
While the breW pump is on in order to terminate the breW
58, passes through beverage extract and a ?lter Within the
cycle, then the pressure Will nominally drop beloW the
cartridge, and exits the cartridge through the holloW piercing
threshold value When a predetermined amount of liquid has
member 60 to a cup beloW.
been delivered from the metering chamber. The predeter
mined amount (e.g., eight ?uid ounces) is set based upon the
[0046]
Referring again to FIGS. 5 and 7, once the breW
pump 204 is turned on in the step 718, the controller
performs a safety test 722. The test 722 monitors the sensed
pressure signal value on the line 215 (FIG. 6), Which is
indicative of Whether or not pressure in the metering cham
ber exceeds a maximum pressure threshold value (e.g., 7
psi). If the pressure the pressure exceeds the maximum
pressure threshold value, then step 724 commands the
pumps off. Step 724 also commands a purge valve 361 (FIG.
5) to the open, in order to de?ate the air bladder 42 causing
the shaft 28 to move vertically upWard and the probe 58 to
disengage from the cartridge 46. The test 722 also checks if
siZe of the metering chamber. HoWever, the user can control
the amount of liquid in the breWed beverage by depressing
the breW button While the breW pump is on. This causes the
breW pump to turn off, and the breW interrupt pump to turn
on in order to bloW out the Water in the line How line 222.
Signi?cantly, depressing the breW button 232 (FIG. 5) While
the breW pump is on, terminates the breW cycle causing an
amount of liquid less than the predetermined amount to be
delivered during the breW cycle.
time and executes the step 724 if it has. FolloWing step 724,
The test 726 monitors the sensed pressure value on
the line 214 from the pressure sensor 212 (FIG. 5). If the
pressure has not dropped (i.e., the signal on the line 214
indicates the pressure is above the threshold), execution
step 725 is performed to determine if an over pressure has
returns to test 322.
the breW pump 204 has been on for an excessive amount of
been detected for tWo consecutive breWing cycles. That is,
test 725 determines if during the breWing of the last tWo
cups, Was an over pressure detected during each breW. If it
Was detected during tWo consecutive breWs, then the How
path betWeen the metering tube 54 and the probe 60 may be
at least partially blocked. Therefore, step 727 is performed
to illuminate a status light(s) indicative of a detected con
dition Where the user should clean the ?oW path betWeen and
including the metering tube 54 and the probe 60.
[0047]
If the test 724 determines an over pressure or a
time-out situation does not exist, an interrupt breW routine
illustrated in FIG. 8 is performed.
[0048]
FIG. 8 is a How chart illustration of a interrupt
breW logic routine 800. This routine controls the operation
of the interrupt breW pump 214 (FIG. 5), Which provides a
user the ability of customiZe the amount of Water in their
breWed beverage, and hence the taste. The routine includes
a test 802 to check if the breW pump 204 (FIG. 5) is on. If
the breW pump 204 is not on, then the routine exits.
HoWever, if the breW pump 204 is on, then a test 804 is
performed to determine if the user has depressed the breW
button 232 (FIG. 5). If the breW button is not depressed, the
routine exits. If the user has depressed the breW button, then
in step 806 the breW interrupt pump 214 (FIG. 5) is turned
on, and the breW pump 204 (FIG. 5) is turned off. As a
result, compressed air ?oWs through the How line 220 (FIG.
5), into the How line 222 (FIG. 5) and through the tubular
probe 58 (FIG. 5) into the cartridge. The breW interrupt
[0050]
[0051]
Once the test 726 determines that the pressure has
dropped (caused by either delivering the predetermined
amount of liquid or a breW interrupt), step 728 is performed
to delay several seconds in order to bloW residual liquid
from the liquid ?oW path leading to the probe 58 (FIG. 5).
During this delay the breW pump 204 or the interrupt breW
pump 214 (FIG. 5) remains on, depending of course Which
one is on prior to the delay 228. Signi?cantly, bloWing out
the How path leading to the cartridge ensures that only hot
Water is used to breW, Which is especially important if there
is a substantial period betWeen uses. In addition, bloWing out
the How path removes liquid from the used cartridge for
cleaner disposal. One of ordinary skill Will recogniZe that
during the delays the controller performs other tasks such as
input signal processing, output signal processing, storage
tank temperature control, and background and foreground
built-in-tests, and/or other control and monitoring routines.
The delays may be implemented by hardWare or softWare
counters.
[0052] Once the delay time of step 728 has elapsed, step
730 is executed to command the pumps 202, 204, 214 off.
Step 732 is then performed to open the purge valve 361
(FIG. 5) to de?ate the air bladder 42. De?ating the air
bladder 42 causes the shaft 28 to move vertically upWard,
Which alloWs Water to enter (i.e., re?ll) the metering cham
ber 16 (FIG. 5) from the tank 14 (FIG. 5).
[0053] Referring again to FIG. 5, to breW another bever
age, the draWer 44 is opened, the used cartridge is removed,
pump remains on for about six seconds, to drive the Water
a neW cartridge is inserted and the draWer 44 is returned to
in the How line 222 through the tubular probe 58 to the
cartridge. Signi?cantly, once the breW interrupt pump 214 is
turned on, Water no longer ?oWs from the metering chamber
the closed position, and the start breW button is depressed
14 (FIG. 5) to the metering probe 54 (FIG. 5). Execution
agam.
[0054]
FIG. 9 is a How chart of a built-in-test routine 900
then returns to test 726 illustrated in FIG. 7.
periodically performed by the controller. The routine 900
[0049]
an excessive amount of time (e.g., tWelve minutes), or it has
been off for too long. If either of these conditions is true, step
904 commands the heater off. Step 904 may also command
the pumps off, and the purge valve open. Step 906 then
annunciates the fault/alarm condition and the system is
placed into an “off/safety state” to prevent further breWing.
Test 726 is performed to determine if the air
pressure in the metering chamber 16 (FIG. 5) has dropped
beloW a threshold value indicating that a desired amount of
liquid has been output from the breWer. The threshold value
is preferably a fraction of the nominal maximum sensed
pressure during the breWing cycle. For example, the thresh
includes a test 902 to determine if the heater has been on for
Oct. 24, 2002
US 2002/0152895 A1
Otherwise, test 908 is performed to determine if the meter
ing chamber 14 (FIG. 5) is over pressurized. The test 908
reads the status of the signal on the line 215 (FIG. 5) from
the pressure sensor (FIG. 5), and if the status of the signal
indicates the pressure exceeds the second pressure threshold
value associated With an over pressure, step 910 is per
formed to turn the pumps off and open the purge value. Step
912 is then performed to annunciate the fault/alarm condi
tion and the system is placed into the “off/safety state” to
prevent further brewing.
embodiments of the present invention compressed air is used
to drive liquid from the metering chamber. In addition,
although the breWer is discussed in the context of manually
adding Water to the system, one of ordinary skill Will
recogniZe that the system may include automatic re?ll if
connected for such operation to the plumbing.
[0058] Although the present invention has been discussed
in the context of an automated breWing system that includes
a microcontroller, one of ordinary skill Will recogniZe that
there a number of different techniques for controlling the
FIG. 10 is a How chart illustration of a routine
delivery of the compressed air to the metering chamber. For
1000 for controlling the liquid heater. The routine 1000
includes test 1002 that checks if the breW pump 204 (FIG.
5) is on. If it is, then the heater has already been commanded
off (step 714 in FIG. 7), and heater remains off While the
example, a state machine may be used rather than a CPU. In
[0055]
breW pump is on. HoWever, if the breW pump is not on, then
test 1003 checks to see if the Water level in the breW is above
the minimum threshold. This test is performed by checking
the status of the signal from optical sensor #182 (FIGS. 2A
addition, the controller may be an analog system rather than
a digital controller. Furthermore, a pneumatic controller
rather than an electronic controller may be used to control
delivery and venting of the compressed air. While obvious,
it should also be noted the present invention is certainly not
limited to the delay values, threshold values or breWing siZes
discussed herein. In addition, it is contemplated that rather
than an electrically controllable valve, the purge valve may
and 5). If there is not enough Water in the breWer the heater
is turned off in step 1006. OtherWise, test 1004 is performed
be mechanically linked to the arm so the valve opens as the
to determine if the Water temperature is above a maximum
Water temperature threshold value. This test checks the
the controller may also include an analog-to-digital con
status of the signal on the line 244 (FIG. 5). If the Boolean
signal on the line 244 (FIG. 5) indicates that the temperature
is greater than this threshold value, then the Water is hot
enough and the heater is commanded off in step 1006. Test
1008 is then performed to determine if the Water temperature
is beloW a minimum Water temperature value. This test
checks the status of the Boolean signal on the line 240 (FIG.
5). If the signal on the line 240 (FIG. 5) indicates that the
temperature is less than the minimum Water threshold value,
then the heater is commanded on in step 1010. If the test
1008 determines the Water temperature is not beloW the
minimum Water threshold value, then the temperature is
betWeen the minimum and maximum threshold temperature
values (i.e., the threshold values set in the comparator circuit
241 of FIG. 5). Therefore, step 1012 is performed to turn the
heater on and off With a 50% duty cycle.
[0056]
FIG. 11 is a How chart illustration of a routine 1100
for checking the liquid level Within the storage tank 14
(FIG. 5). The routine 1100 includes test 1102 to check if the
Water level in the tank 14 (FIG. 5) is too high. The test
checks the status of the optical sensor #1 (FIGS. 2A and 5).
If the optical sensor #182 indicates the tank is full, then step
1104 is performed to provide an audio indication to the user
to stop ?lling the unit via inlet 17 (FIG. 5). For example,
several beeps may be output from speaker 266 (FIG. 5). If
the tank is not full, then test 1106 is performed to determine
if the Water level is too loW. If it is, then step 1108 is
performed the ?ash the Water column light 78 (FIGS. 2A
and 5).
[0057] While the present invention has been described in
the context of a preferred embodiment that senses air
pressure to determine When the desired amount of liquid has
been delivered from the metering chamber, the present
arm moves from the beverage breWing position. In addition,
verter (ADC), Which alloWs analog temperature and pres
sure signal values to be input to the controller and digitiZed
for use in the control and monitoring routines.
[0059] The present invention may also operate in a “vend
ing” environment. That is, as a vending machining, the
system Would not start breWing until money has been
deposited or an account debited. For example, test may
check to ensure the required fee has been paid before
breWing is alloWed to start.
[0060] Although the present invention has been shoWn and
described With respect to several preferred embodiments
thereof, various changes, omissions and additions to the
form and detail thereof, may be made therein, Without
departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. A breWing system for breWing a beverage from an
extract contained in a sealed disposable cartridge, said
system comprising:
housing means de?ning a breWing chamber for receiving
the cartridge;
means associated With said housing means for piercing
the cartridge to provide a ?rst inlet and a ?rst outlet
communicating With the interior of the cartridge;
a storage tank comprising a supply of liquid and having a
reduced diameter cup-shaped bottom and being in
communication With the cartridge via a second outlet;
means for sealing a portion of said storage tank from the
remainder of said storage tank to form a metering
chamber, that includes said reduced diameter cup
shaped bottom;
invention is not so limited. For example, a level sensor (e. g.,
means for delivering compressed air to said metering
a ?oat sWitch) may be located in the metering chamber to
determine When the liquid in the chamber is beloW a certain
level. In addition, the breW pump may be simply com
chamber to transfer a volume of liquid from said
manded on for a set period of time suf?cient to ensure that
the predetermined amount of liquid has been delivered from
the metering chamber. Notably, it suffices that in all these
metering chamber via said second outlet for delivery to
and through the cartridge via said ?rst inlet and said
?rst outlet, and for sensing the pressure of said com
pressed air and providing a sensed pressure signal value
indicative thereof; and
Oct. 24, 2002
US 2002/0152895 A1
a controller that
commands said means for delivering
to provide compressed air to said metering chamber,
(ii) monitors said sensed pressure signal value and (iii)
commands said means for delivering to terminate deliv
ery of compressed air to said metering chamber after
detecting that said sensed pressure signal value has
dropped beloW a threshold value, and unseals said
metering chamber.
2. The breWing system of claim 1, Wherein said means for
delivering comprises:
a ?rst breW pump for generating said compressed air;
compressed air to
said means for moving said
slideable shaft and to (ii) said means for delivering
compressed air; and
an air bladder that receives said compressed air from said
air bladder pump, and in an in?ated state drives said
shaft to said second position, and in an unin?ated state
drives said shaft to said ?rst position.
8. A system for repeatedly delivering a volume of heated
liquid, said system comprising:
a storage tank comprising a supply of liquid and having a
reduced diameter cup-shaped bottom and a sideWall
With a seat;
a How line that receives and provides said compressed air
to said metering chamber; and
a heater for heating the supply of liquid;
a pressure sensor disposed to sense the pressure of said
a slideable shaft having a proXimal end and a distal end
compressed air Within said How line and provide said
sensed pressure signal value.
3. The breWing system of claim 2 Wherein said controller
that includes a sealing assembly on said distal end,
Wherein said shaft assembly is connected to a baf?e that
moves betWeen a ?rst position and a second position,
commands off said means for delivering to terminate deliv
ery of said compressed air a predetermined time after
Wherein in said second position said baffle engages said
detecting that said sensed pressure signal value has dropped
beloW a threshold value.
4. The breWing system of claim 3, Wherein said means for
sealing comprises:
seat to form a metering chamber in a portion of said
storage tank; and
means for moving said slideable shaft betWeen said ?rst
and second positions;
a discharge conduit communicating With the interior of
a slideable shaft having a proximal end and a distal end
said metering chamber; and
that includes a sealing assembly on said distal end,
Wherein said sealing assembly moves betWeen a ?rst
position and a second position, Wherein in said second
a ?rst pump that pneumatically pressuriZes the interior of
position said sealing assembly engages a seat of said
cup shaped bottom to form said metering chamber; and
exhaust said heated liquid from said metering chamber
via said discharge conduit.
9. The system of claim 8, further comprising:
said metering chamber to an elevated pressure level to
means for moving said slideable shaft betWeen said ?rst
and second positions.
5. The breWing system of claim 2, Wherein said means for
delivering includes a second air pump that delivers a second
How of compressed air doWnstream of said second outlet
ump in response to a breW interrupt signal received by said
controller.
6. The breWing system of claim 4, Wherein said means for
moving said slideable shaft betWeen said ?rst and second
positions comprises:
an air bladder pump that receives an air bladder pump
command signal from said controller and provides
compressed air;
an air bladder that receives said compressed air from said
air bladder pump, and in an in?ated state drives said
shaft to said second position, and in an unin?ated state
drives said shaft to said ?rst position; and
a valve that is operably connected to said air bladder and
can be opened and closed in response to a valve
command signal from said controller, Wherein in the
open position said
valve vents said air bladder to ambient and in the closed
position prevents said air bladder from venting to
ambient.
7. The breWing system of claim 4, Wherein said means for
moving said slideable shaft betWeen said ?rst and second
positions comprises:
an air bladder pump that receives an air bladder pump
command signal from said controller and provides
a sensor that senses pressure in said metering chamber
and provides a sensed pressure signal value indicative
thereof; and
a controller that monitors said sensed pressure signal
value and turns said ?rst pump off a predetermined time
period after detecting a reduction in said sensed pres
sure signal value beloW a threshold value indicating
said volume of heated liquid has been delivered
through said discharge conduit.
10. The system of claim 9, Wherein said controller com
prises a central processing unit.
11. The system of claim 11, further comprising:
a holder that holds and pierces a disposable cartridge
containing a beverage eXtract to establish a cartridge
inlet and a cartridge outlet that together de?ne a How
path through the beverage eXtract to provide a breWed
beverage through said cartridge outlet, Wherein said
cartridge inlet receives said heated ?uid.
12. The system of claim 11, further comprising:
a temperature sensor that senses the temperature of said
supply of liquid in said storage tank and provides a
sensed temperature signal value indicative thereof,
Wherein said controller monitors said sensed tempera
ture signal value and prevents said ?rst pump from
being turned on if said temperature signal is beloW a
minimum breWing temperature value.
13. The system of claim 12, Wherein said controller
monitors said temperature signal value and commands said
heater on if said sensed temperature signal value drops
beloW a loWer heating threshold value and commands said
Oct. 24, 2002
US 2002/0152895 A1
heater off if said sensed temperature signal value is greater
a storage tank comprising a supply of liquid and having a
than an upper heating threshold value.
14. The system of claim 8, Wherein said means for moving
said slideable shaft comprises an air bladder that receives
compressed air from said ?rst pump to move said slideable
reduced diameter cup-shaped bottom and being in
shaft betWeen said ?rst and second positions.
15. The system of claim 8, Wherein said means for moving
said slideable shaft comprises an air bladder that receives
compressed air from a second pump to move said slideable
shaft betWeen said ?rst and second positions.
16. The system of claim 9, Wherein said means for moving
said slideable shaft comprises:
a second pump that receives a second pump command
signal from said controller and provides compressed
air;
communication With the cartridge via a chamber outlet
port;
means for sealing a portion of said storage tank to form a
metering chamber in cooperation With said reduced
diameter cup-shaped bottom;
a ?rst pump that provides compressed air along a How line
to said metering chamber to force liquid from said
metering chamber and through said chamber outlet
port;
a sensor that senses air pressure in said How line and
provides a sensed pressure signal indicative thereof;
and
a controller that commands said ?rst pump on, monitors
an air bladder that receives said compressed air from said
said sensed pressure signal and turns said ?rst pump off
second pump, and in an in?ated state drives said shaft
to said second position, and in an unin?ated state drives
after detecting that said sensed pressure signal value
has dropped beloW a threshold value indicating the
said shaft to said ?rst position; and
predetermined volume of liquid has been delivered
through said chamber outlet port.
a valve that is operably connected to said air bladder and
can be opened and closed in response to a valve
open position said valve vents said air bladder to
19. The breWing system of claim 18, Wherein said con
troller also commands said pump off if said sensed pressure
signal value eXceeds an upper pressure threshold value.
ambient and in the closed position prevents said air
bladder from venting to ambient.
a temperature sensor that senses the temperature of the
command signal from said controller, Wherein in the
20. The breWing system of claim 19, further comprising:
17. The breWing system of claim 16, further comprising
liquid in said storage tank and provides a sensed
a third air pump that delivers a third How of compressed air
to said How line upstream of said ?rst pump in response to
temperature signal value indicative thereof, Wherein
said controller monitors said sensed temperature signal
a breW interrupt signal received by said controller.
18. An automated beverage breWing system that receives
value and Will not command said pump on if said
a cartridge containing a beverage eXtract and establishes a
liquid ?oW path through the cartridge to provide a breWed
beverage, said system comprising:
a holder that holds and pierces the cartridge to provide a
cartridge inlet and a cartridge outlet that together
establish a How path through the beverage eXtract to
provide the breWed beverage;
sensed temperature signal value is beloW a temperature
threshold value.
21. The breWing system of claim 18, further comprising
a second air pump that delivers a second How of compressed
air doWnstream of said metering chamber outlet port and
upstream of said cartridge inlet in response to a breW
interrupt signal received by said controller.
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