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OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates, in general, to the preparation of beverages by extraction under pressure with the use of capsules or cartridges.
More specifically, the invention relates to a capsule or cartridge of the type comprising
a cup-shaped body with a bottom wall, a lateral wall and a flange-like top formation which is essentially planar and extends transversely towards the outside, and
a cover fixed to the flange-like formation of said body, such as to define a chamber containing a substance for the preparation of the beverage, in particular ground roasted coffee;
wherein the lateral wall of the cup-shaped body has a plurality of recesses and projections which protrude outwards, which as a whole define at least an identification of the capsule.
International application WO 2012/010317 A1 describes and illustrates several embodiments of capsules of this type. For example, FIG. 1 of this document illustrates a solution in which the lateral wall of the cup-shaped body of a capsule has a plurality of parallel circular annular projections, the longitudinal profile of which defines an identification of the capsule, “readable” by means of an optical detector. FIGS. 18-22 of said document illustrate another capsule in which the lateral wall of the cup-shaped body has identification projections and recesses, evenly spaced around the circumference thereof, forming a toothed crown. The number, size and spacing of the projections define an identification of the capsule.
For example, as shown in FIG. 18 of said document, only a capsule that has a toothed crown defined by projections/recesses with predetermined characteristics can engage with, and pass, a pinion gear which is arranged, in a machine for the preparation of beverages, at the entry to a conduit for the introduction of capsules. This solution is also not very flexible as it conveys, through the toothed crown made up of projections and recesses, only a limited amount of information: in practice it does no more than accept or reject a capsule for use in a given machine.
European application EP 1 890 271 A1 describes and illustrates solutions based on the use of RFID tags to define an identification of capsules or cartridges for use in a machine for the preparation of beverages provided with an RFID reader. For this purpose, an RFID tag, containing information that identifies the capsule and how it is to be used in the machine, is applied to a perimeter configuration in the form of flanges on each capsule or cartridge.
It is an object of the present invention to provide capsules or cartridges of the type defined above, having improved features.
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OF THE INVENTION
This and other objects are achieved according to the invention with a capsule or cartridge for the preparation of a beverage of the type defined above, characterized primarily in that said projections and recesses are aligned in an essentially rectilinear direction, belonging to a plane essentially parallel to the flange-like formation of the body of the capsule.
Preferably, in one embodiment of a capsule according to the invention, in proximity to the flange-like formation, the cup-shaped body has at least one essentially planar lateral wall portion or face in which there is provided said plurality of projections and recesses.
Advantageously, in proximity to the flange-like formation, the cup-shaped body of a capsule according to the invention may have at least two external lateral wall portions or faces which are essentially planar and parallel with each other and in which there are provided respective pluralities of identification projections and recesses.
Also advantageously, in proximity to the flange-like formation, the cup-shaped body may have four external lateral wall portions or faces which are essentially planar and parallel each to another one, and in which there are provided respective pluralities of projections and recesses.
In one embodiment, the cup-shaped body of a capsule according to the invention has a first lateral wall portion whose transverse cross-section, from the bottom wall to the flange-like formation, passes gradually from an essentially circular shape to an at least approximately quadrangular shape.
Between said first lateral wall portion and the flange-like formation, the cup-shaped body conveniently has a second wall portion which is essentially prismatic, with a transverse cross-section having an essentially quadrangular shape, with preferably rounded and externally convex vertexes, and in which there are provided said lateral planar faces with the identification projections/recesses.
Further advantageous features of the capsules or cartridges according to the present invention are defined in the dependent claims.
A further object of the present invention is to provide an infusion assembly for a machine for the preparation of beverages with the use of capsules or cartridges having the features defined in claim 1 and optionally the features defined in the claims which are dependent on claim 1.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
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Further features and advantages of the invention will appear from the detailed description which follows, provided purely by way of non-limiting example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view from above of a capsule according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view from below of the capsule according to FIG. 1;
FIGS. 3 and 4 show, in perspective view, two embodiments of a cup-shaped body included in a capsule or cartridge according to the present invention;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view which shows, in simplified form, part of a machine for the preparation of beverages, for use with capsules according to the present invention;
FIG. 6 is substantially a plan view from above in the direction of the arrow VI of FIG. 5;