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Pub. No.:    WO/1997/007369    International Application No.:    PCT/GB1996/001934
Publication Date: Feb 27, 1997 International Filing Date: Aug 8, 1996
IPC: B67D 1/08
F25B 21/02
F25D 16/00
JONES, Timothy, Roy, Treleaven
Inventors: JONES, Timothy, Roy, Treleaven
The invention proposes a cooling unit, suitable for a soft drinks machine or like liquid dispenser, which is compact and can cool the liquid fast enough to be acceptable in a demand-led arrangement and yet not cool it so much that it actually freezes. Firstly, the invention suggests the use of a cooling system (11) that utilises a combination of a heat pump (17: typically a Peltier-effect device) with an output matched to the thermal characteristics and desired throughput rate of the liquid to be dispensed coupled with - and directly cooling - an ambient medium in the form of a liquid/solid phase-change material (15) operating in the required temperature range (which will usually be from just above 0 °C to around +5 °C; this naturally considerably reduces the possibility of over-cooling the liquid). Secondly, the invention suggests a temperature-sensitive switching device, such as a thermistor (19, 27), thermally coupled to the liquid/solid phase-change material (15) and operatively linked to the heat pump (17) so as to effectively control the pump on or off as required.