US 3804299 A
A shampoo mixing and dispensing system having a number of individual shampoo application stations utilizes a single, central mixing and control device for shampoo concentrate and water drawn from respective individual sources, thus distributing solution of uniform concentration to all application stations. A pressurized holding tank downstream from the central mixing and control device assures that sufficient solution is always available for all of the stations, and mixing of the concentrate and water is enhanced by means of enveloping a stream of concentrate with a surrounding stream of water as the two are merged into solution. The tank is equipped with a pressure sensor operably coupled with a pair of valves disposed in the mixing device for controlling the flow of water and concentrate such that when a pressure drop occurs because of solution being dispensed at one or all of the stations, additional solution will be introduced into the tank.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Kain [ Apr. 16, 1974 AUTOMATIC SHAMPOO MIXING AND DISPENSING SYSTEM  Inventor: Philip Kain, 9649 Chadwick,
Leawood, Kans. 66206 22 Filed: Jan. 8, 1973 21 Appl. No.: 321,816
Primary ExaminerRobert B. Reeves Assistant Examiner-Thomas E. Kocovsky Attorney, Agent, or F irm-Schmidt, Johnson, Hovey & Williams [5 7] ABSTRACT A shampoo mixing and dispensing system having a number of individual shampoo application stations utilizes a single, central mixing and control device for shampoo concentrate and water drawn from respective individual sources, thus distributing solution of uniform concentration to all application stations. A pressurized holding tank downstream from the central mixing and control device assures that sufficient solution is always available for all of the stations, and mixing of the concentrate and water is enhanced by means of enveloping a stream of concentrate with a surrounding stream of water as the two are merged into solution. The tank is equipped with a pressure sensor operably coupled with a pair of valves disposed in the mixing device for controlling the flow of water and concentrate such that when a pressure drop occurs because of solution being dispensed at one or all of the stations, additional solution will be introduced into the tank.
2 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures AUTOMATIC SHAMPOO MIXING AND DISPENSING SYSTEM This invention relates to a system for mixing shampoo in concentrate form with a diluent such as water in order to produce a final solution which is of predetermined concentration, which system is especially suited for use on a commercial basis in hairstyling salons and the like. I
- Conventional methods of supplying and dispensing shampoo in such salons have not been altogether satisfactory for several reasons. For example, where a number of operators are involved, one practice has been to require each operator to mix his own shampoo solution, which often results in a cluttered work station and allows the operator to control the final concentration of the solution to suit his own individual preference. Thus, it is virtually impossible for the manager of the salon to control the activities of his operators in this regard with the likely result that the strength of the solution will vary from operator to operator. Therefore, it
7 becomes especially difficult for the manager to maintain a uniform standard of quality for shampoo operations among his operators and waste is promoted which necessarily is detrimental in an economic sense.
Accordingly, an important object of the present invention is to eliminate the problems associated with individual operator mixing and control over the concentration of shampoo solution by providing a shampoo mixing and dispensing system which premixes shampoo concentrate and water in a single, central control device remote from the shampoo application stations, thereby assuring that a solution of uniform concentration is supplied to all of the stations.
A further important object of the present invention is to provide a system as aforesaid which utilizes a single, pressurized holding tank for mixed shampoo solution from which the individual application stations may draw a supply of the solution.
Another important object of the instant invention is the provision of a special control and mixing device as aforesaid, upstream from the holding tank which combines shampoo concentrate and water from separate sources in order to thoroughly mix the concentrate and water intoa solution of predetermined strength before flow of the solution into the holding tank.
A still further object of my invention is to insure a uniform supply of solution, on demand, under a constant pressure to all stations at all times.
Another object of the invention is to provide a shampoo mixing and dispensing device in which a holding tank has provision for the escape of air as the tank is being initially filled with solution and prior to its being pressurized.
Yet another object of the invention is the provision of a shampoo mixing and dispensing system in which pressure sensing means are employed to automatically control the flow of solution into the tank in order that a continual supply of solution is assured as the same is dispensed at the stations.
In the drawing:
FIG. 1 is a fragmentary, perspective view of the shampoo mixing and dispensing system embodying the principles of my present invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged, bottom plan view of the special mixing device of the system, the conduits for the concentrate and diluent being shown by dotted lines;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged, side-elevational view of the mixing device taken along irregular line 3-3 of FIG. 2, portions being shown in section to reveal details of construction; and
FIG. 4 is an enlarged, fragmentary, cross-sectional view showing a bleeder float valve in a holding tank of the system.
The system of the present invention includes a pressurized container 10 for shampoo concentrate and any source of a suitable diluent such as water, in this case the source being a city water supply line 12. A pressure regulator 14 on line 12 reduces the pressure of water to approximately 12 psi, and a line 16 carries the water of reduced pressure to a mixing block 18. Similarly, a supply line 20 for concentrate from container 10 couples the latter with block 18.
As shown in detail in FIG. 2, block 18 has a connection 22 for concentrate line 20 and a connection 24 for water supply line 16. A passage 26 in block 18 communicates connection 24 with a conventional solenoid flow control valve 28 which, in turn, is in communication with a passage 30 leading to a chamber 32 defined by the block 18 and an externally threaded, elongated fitting 34; the outlet end 36 of the passage 30 being spaced radially from the longitudinal axis of the fitting 34 as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. Fitting 34, which cooperates with an internally threaded receptacle 38 to present a conventional mixing head 40, is provided with a series of spaced conduits 42 disposed circumferentially near its perimeter which deliver the concentrate, at openings 44, to a second chamber 46 defined by the fitting 34 and the receptacle 38.
The connection 22 is in communication with a second solenoid flow control valve 48 via a passage 50, the valve 48 being in direct communication with an axially located bore 52 in the fitting 34. An extension 54 of the fitting 34 is loosely received in the end of a coupling 56 which is part of a delivery line 58 leading from the receptacle 38 and connected to a holding tank 60 by means of a coupling 62. An adjusting screw 64 is projectable into and out of the passage 26 for regulating the flow of water through the latter as a function of the rotative position of the screw 64. Indicia 66 surrounding the screw 64 serves as a gauge in cooperation with the slot in the head of the screw 64 to visually indicate the amount of flow permitted through the passage 26. A pressure sensor 67 in communication with the tank 60 and coupled with the solenoid valves 28 and 48 is set to actuate the same such that they are opened to admit solution to the tank 60 when the pressure is below 1 1 psi and closed when the pressure is above the ll psi setting.
Tank 60 has an outlet 68 at the lower end thereof which communicates with a plurality of actuatable applicators 70 (one only being shown) by virtue of a discharge line 72, a common distribution line 74 coupled with the line 72, and individual lines 76 which couple each of the applicators 70 respectively with common distribution line 74. Located at the top of the tank 60 is a suitable bleeder float valve assembly 78 for the purpose of allowing the air in the tank 60 to escape as the same is being initially filled with solution.
The concentrate container 10 and the holding tank 60 are both pressurized by virtue of being coupled to a compressed air source (not shown) through the provision of air lines 80 and 82 respectively. An air pressure regulator 88 in the line 82 is employed to maintain a minimum pressure in the holding tank 60 of 6 psi while the concentrate container 10' is ideally pressurized at l2 psi and therefore balanced with the pressure of the water supply. A check valve (not shown) is also provided in the line 82 in connection with the regulator 88 as a safety measure to prevent backflow of the solution through the line 82.
In use, it is to be understood that the tank 60 and all of the equipment upstream therefrom, including block 18, may be conveniently located remote from the stations at which shampoo solution isapplied by applicators 70, thereby providing uncluttered work space for the operators. Initially, the adjusting screw 64 should be set at a selected position which will normally remain fixed after such initial adjustment thereof. In this manner the ratio of water to concentrate is controlled to determine the extent of dilution of the concentrate upon subsequent'mixing in the head 40. By initially noting the selected position of screw 64 relative to indicia 66, the strength of the shampoo solution may be varied to produce a more concentrated or less concentrated solution if such initial setting is not entirely appropriate.
The mixture of the concentrate and the water takes place as the water exits from the bore of the fitting 34 at the coupling 56. Inasmuch as the stream of water has been divided by virtue of having to pass through the conduits 42 for distribution around the extension 54, a venturi effect is created in which the solution draws the water from the chamber 46 and between the outer surface of the extension 54 and the inner wall of the coupling 56, it being understood that the water surrounds the extension 54 and, as such, readily mixes with the concentrate as the two merge in the line 56. In other words, the stream of water completely envelops the stream of concentrate as the two come together thus enhancing the overall mixing of the solution as opposed to dumping the water into the concentrate in a localized stream. As the tank 60 is being initially filled with solution, the air inside the tank escapes through a vent 90 until a float 84 of the valve assembly 78 rises, with the level of solution, to a point at which the valve assembly 78 closes, thereby permitting pressurization of the tank.
It is also during the initial installation of the system that the desired mix-ratio of concentrate and diluent is set after which time the strength of the solution may be adjusted for a special reason by simply adjusting the screw 64 to change the amount of water. During setup and adjustment, the line 58 is removed at the coupling 62 to permit sampling of the solution to check for the desired concentration as the adjustments are being made. A second adjusting screw 86, projectable into and out of the passage 5.0, is provided to regulate the amount of concentrate flowing from the container 10 in the event the desired dilution cannot be attained by adjusting the screw 64 for the water. Normally, this second adjustment is not required; however, occassionally the viscosity of the particular concentrate being used is such that the flow thereof from the container needs to be reduced. For example, some types of concentrates flow much the same as water and, therefore, the passage 50 may need to be restricted to achieve the desired solution, while other concentrates are relatively thick and do not flow nearly as well at which time the passage should be unrestricted.
Upon actuation of any one of the applicators 70, solution is withdrawn from tank 60 through outlet 68 and is distributed to the actuated applicator 70. By virtue of holding tank 60 it will be appreciated that an ample supply of solution is always available, even if all of the applicators 70 should be placed in operation simultaneously. Moreover, it is apparent that all of the applicators 70 are provided with solution of precisely the same concentration which may not be varied by the operators themselves because of the fact that the control for varying such concentration is contained in a single location in the form of mixing block 18 remote from the shampoo stations. In the event that a sufficient number of applicators 70 are in simultaneous use and the pressure in tha tank 60 drops below the minimum 6 psi, the regulator 88 automatically provides for the introduction of air from the compressed air source thus insuring sufficient working pressure.
It should now be apparent that the system as described herein provides an extremely neat and efficient means for mixing and dispensing'shampoo of uniform quality and concentration at all shampoo stations of the system. Moreover, the fact that only one central mixing control is provided for the entire system assures that the concentration of the solutionmay not be changed to suit individual preferences when the solution reaches the respective application stations.
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:
l. A shampoo mixing and dispensing system comprisa supply of shampoo concentrate under pneumatic pressure;
a supply of diluent under pressure for diluting said concentrate,
said diluent and said concentrate being pressurized at predetermined, substantially equal rates of pressure;
a mixing device coupled in direct flow communication with said concentrate supply and with said diluent supply for receiving concentrate and diluent under pressure from their respective supplies and for mixing the same together to produce a solution under pressure of predetermined concentration;
a holding tank for said pressurized solution, said tank being in direct flow communication with said mixing device,
said mixing device being provided with integral, actuatable, on/off flow control means to control the flow of solution into said tank for maintaining a quantity of solution in said tank;
a plurality of individually actuatable applicators for the solution;
means coupling each said applicator in direct flow communication with said tank for supplying said pressurized solution from the tank to all of said applicators, whereby said applicators are only capable of uniformly dispensing solution of said predetermined concentration; and
a pressure sensor in communication with said tank and operably coupled in unison with said flow control means for actuating the same as required in response to variations of pressure in said tank caused by the dispensing of solution via said applicators.
2. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said device includes a first passage for said concentrate and a second passage for said diluent, and wherein said device further includes a shiftable metering valve in said second passage for varying the flow of diluent therethrough, whereby to control the concentration of said solution.