CleanCup

Solution

cleancup is a product-system to encourage use of the many existing reusable cups. Presented here are two variations on the water+steam+air cleaner - an installation piece for cafe's and a tabletop version ideal for offices and homes.

The issue:Many regular coffee drinkers already own reusable coffee cups. The most common reasons for not using them are:1. Forgot to bring it2. The cup is currently dirty and I would rather a disposable cup than go to the trouble of washing it.3. The cup was only rinsed for the last ~10 uses and is now too dirty for continued use.

The Solution:cleancup provides a cup cleaner where you need it - in the cafe or next to the office coffee machine.Two cleancup's are presented:Cafe: a fully installed and plumbed-in bollard for self-service cleaning.Benchtop: a device that can be plumbed-in to mains water, reservoir filled, or connected to steam outlets of existing coffee machines.

Using cleancup:
1. Push your cup upside down onto the cleaner. The cup will click and lock securely into place over the conical coupling as you push down.  The conical connection will receive most reusable cup sizes.
2. With the cup securely locked in the cleaner the nozzles will spray a rotating column of steam, then water, then air across the inside of the cup.
3. Nozzles around the edge of the cup clean away "lip marks" and spills.
4. Once clean and dry the cup pops up ready for coffee.

For Cafe owners:A separate standing cleaner, such as pictured, means customers can clean their own cups without inhibiting the workflow of baristas.Installed cleancup devices provide onsell opportunities for branded reusable cups.cleancup provides an additional service to customer while boosting green credentials.

FAQ:
Can I (or my children) hurt themselves using cleancup?The system is activated by the rim of a cup pressing through a gap large enough only for cup rims - not fingers. The system cannot be accidentally activated. Both devices shown are double insulated from thermal and electrical risks.

What about slip hazards from water around the cleancup?The jet of air dries cups and all water drains into the device minimizing dripping from cleaned cups.

What maintenance and cleaning is needed?The drains have filtered inserts to capture debris. Standard cleaning as applied to dishwashers and kitchen appliances should be employed.

Why would my office need one?The benchtop version reduces water use from sink-cleaning cups and can be plumbed into office coffee machines or water supply. This version is best suited next to office coffee machines.

Is it patented?The device is patent pending. All images and text are copyright Adam Long 2010
How does this address the competition criteria?Reduce Waste: The machine removes barriers to sustainable behavior by making it easier to keep reusable cups.Resources Required: Inputs to the device are water and electricity. Both can be created in employed in sustainable systems. The water used by a fast clean is significantly less than that used by hand washing a cup with the tap running.New or Existing Capabilities: This requires no new technology, and can be integrated with existing coffee machines.The Whole Experience: For the cafe or office, installing a device like this is an extra service provision that builds the green credentials of the host, also providing a new branding space/opportunity. For the user, it creates a sense of self satisfaction  that contributes to the indulgent nature of coffee drinking.
What about public health regulations?These differ in every country. Being a simple system, the wash cycle, temperature and water pressure can be adjusted to match local requirements. In some countries the naming of the device may vary between "cup rinser" and "cup cleaner" based on local standards. To classify as sanitary, the device will have to kill a certain percentage of germs (99.9% in Australia). Pasteurisation time/temperature curves are available which suggest the minimum time water of a certain temperature can be applied to kill enough germs. At 72 degrees Celcius, it takes 16 seconds for pasteurisation to take place. A higher temperature sterilises faster, so a balance must be found between safe temperatures and safe sterilisation.
What are the psychological barriers?The main issue appears to be sharing a cleaning device with strangers. While the home/office version does not pose this problem, an issue could occur in the use  of a public cleaner. A number of solutions can be used here:- Have the cleaner behind the coffee bar and for staff to use only- Have a retracting cover that turns the cleancup into a self contained and self cleaning cup. - Regular cleaning of the cleaning device itself, however it is acknowledged that this is not ideal.

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