Illinois Patent of the Month – October 2022
Bunn-O-Matic Corp. (BUNN®) has been at the forefront of dispensed beverage equipment manufacturing since 1957. They have met the changing needs of customers over the years, expanding their product portfolio to include coffee and ice tea brewers, multi and single cup solutions, bean grinders and more. With another patent recently awarded, it’s clear their innovation has never slowed down.
BUNN’s recent design addresses the issue of potential cross-contamination and germ transfer on shared faucets. When pulling a handle to dispense a liquid – like on a large coffee machine in a hotel, every customer must touch the handle. In order to prevent this contamination, BUNN designed a cup push trip level adaptor which modifies the faucet’ mechanism to reduce the need for touch-contact.
The design has each handle connected to a valve so that moving the handle opens the valve. The adapter sits below the dispense nozzle so that the customer can simply push their cup into the adapter, triggering the valve to open and filling up their cup. The company played around with materials until they found a solution that was both durable without introducing too much flexibility. Alternative push assemblies have faced problems with flexing leading to deformities. The material had to be rigid but not so rigid as to crumple a cup being pushed against it. These solutions are no easy feat, requiring multiple iterations to address but BUNN® thrives on this innovation.
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