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United States Patent im
[ii] Patent Number: 4,857,355  Date of Patent: Aug. 15,1989
Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Scully, Scott, Murphy &
A batch mixing process for the preparation of a beverage syrup which results in a requirement for significantly lesser quantities of water in the syrup mixing process, primarily by reducing the amount of rinse water required to rinse between the mixing of the separate components of the beverage syrup. The syrup batching loop employs a main syrup tank and a subsidiary premixing tank for premixing selected components of the beverage syrup with a quantity of water to dilute each premixed component. A feed line extends from the premixing tank to the syrup tank, such that after dilution, each diluted premixed component can be pumped therethrough from the premixing tank to the main syrup tank. A significant feature of the present invention is the utilization of a recycle line extending from the syrup mixing tank to the premixing tank, which allows recycling of the partially prepared syrup mixture from the syrup tank to the premixing tank for rinsing of the premix equipment between the individual mixing steps of the overall syrup making process. While the premixing tank is being emptied of the diluted component into the syrup tank, the premixing tank and the lines associated therewith are also being rinsed with the partially completed beverage syrup from the syrup tank, rather than with rinse water. The premixing and rinsing steps are repeated for each additional component of the beverage syrup mixture which must be premixed in that manner, such that the rinse water normally required to rinse the premixing vessel and the lines associated therewith between each different premixing step is not required.
2 Claims, 2 Drawing Sheets
U.S. Patent Aug. 15,1989 Sheet 2 of 2 4,857,355
SYRUP BATCHING LOOP
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention 5 The present invention relates generally to an improvement in a batch mixing process for a beverage syrup which results in a requirement for significantly lesser quantities of water to be used in the syrup making process, primarily by reducing the amount of rinse 10 water required therein. In greater detail, the present invention does not employ rinse water, as in the prior art, to rinse between the separate premixing steps for the separate components of the beverage syrup.
2. Discussion of the Prior Art 15 A currently employed batch making premix process
for the production of many contemporary soft drink beverages utilizes a preliminary process for making a beverage syrup, which is followed by a mixing of the syrup with water (commonly called "throwing the bev- 20 erage"), carbonating this mixture, and then filling containers therewith.
In the preliminary process of making the syrup (containing flavor, sugar, water, various salt solid components, juice, and other liquid components), concen- 25 trated salts are typically predissolved in water utilizing a small predissolving or premixing vessel. These solutions are, in turn, added to the remaining ingredients in a larger syrup mixing tank.
The recipe for syrup utilized in many contemporary 30 soft drink beverages incorporates therein a number of various salt components which are mixed together to form the beverage syrup. In actual practice, the salt components, and some liquid components as well, cannot be mixed together all at once because of possible 35 gross negative chemical interactions therebetween when the salt components are present simultaneously in highly concentrated forms. Accordingly, the present state of the art dilutes one salt component at a time with water in the premixing (or predissolving) tank, and then 40 pumps the diluted component from the premixing tank through a feed line to the already partially prepared syrup mixture in a larger syrup tank. The premixing tank and its associated feed line are then rinsed with water prior to the next step of diluting the next salt 45 component in the premixing tank, and the rinse water is added to the already partially prepared syrup mixture in the larger syrup tank, and etc. In such a syrup making process and arrangement, the premixing tank and its feed line are rinsed with water a number of different 50 times, which results in an overall usage of a large quantity of rinse water in the production of a given quantity of finished beverage product.
As an example of such gross chemical negative interactions, in soft drink recipes containing both potassium 55 benzoate and citric acid, if those two components are present simultaneously in highly concentrated forms, the potassium benzoate is converted into benzoic acid crystals which settle out of the solution. Various other salt components which are utilized in contemporary 60 syrup recipes include sodium benzoate, potassium citrate, sodium citrate, potassium sorbate, sodium sorbate, mallic acid, Aspartame, various gums such as pectin, erythorbic acid, caffeine, ascorbic acid, sorbic acid, flavorants, calcium salts, and sodium chloride. In gen- 65 eral, these ingredients are primarily solids which are dissolved and diluted with water in the premixing or predissolving tank, and are then pumped in diluted form
through the feed line into the already partially prepared syrup recipe in the syrup tank. Additional liquid ingredients include food grade acids such as phosphoric and hydrochloric acids, juices, flavorants and antifoaming agents.
Accordingly, in syrup formulas using a high number, such as five or six, such salt components therein, the premixing tank and the feed line are rinsed and flushed with water after each such component is diluted, such that the next concentrated component does not interreact with the previous component, even in a diluted form thereof. Thus, this often involves six or seven different rinsing and flushing operations after each salt component is predissolved, involving the additions of large quantities of rinse water to the syrup mixture being prepared.
Bulatkin U.S. Pat. No. 2,988,450 discloses a premix process, and contains therein a discussion of rinsing problems which arise when changing flavors. Kalko et al U.S. Pat. No. 3,938,537 discloses a premix process having both a premixing container and mixing containers, and also incorporates therein a discussion of cleaning (rinsing) steps involved therein. Wieland et al U.S. Pat. No. 4,599,239 incorporates therein several discussions of premixing steps and the considerations thereof. In summary, the prior art cited hereinabove discusses only generally the problems associated with rinsing of predissolved or premixing equipment, and does not disclose the syrup batching loop process of the present invention/or the significant advantages thereof.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Accordingly, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide a batch mixing process and arrangement for the preparation of a beverage syrup which results in a requirement for significantly lesser quantities of water in the syrup mixing process, primarily by reducing the amount of rinse water required to rinse between the mixing of the separate components of the beverage syrup.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a syrup batching loop process and arrangement which allows a bottler to throw (i.e. mix the beverage syrup with water) the beverage at a higher ratio (with more water), which is a more cost efficient operation, if available, since the syrup making portion of the overall operation is usually the most time consuming aspect of the overall beverage preparation process.
The present invention provides three very significant benefits.
1. It allows small batches to be made with formulas that do not have much "free water" therein, primarily because separate additions of water are not required for rinsing. Several formulas, especially juice containing beverages, do not have much available water in the syrup formula for rinsing between salt dissolution steps. The majority of water is introduced with the sugar and juice. As such, smaller units can only be made if the beverage is thrown at a lower ratio (e.g. 1+4 instead of 1 + 5—wherein 1 refers to 1 part syrup and n refers to n parts water). This alternative requires more syrup to be made per unit of finished carbonated soft drink. Syrup making is a time consuming step, and accordingly bottlers always prefer to throw the beverage at the highest ratio possible.
2. It also allows larger batches to be thrown at higher ratios than are currently employed. Less water is re