Plastic beer-barrel dispensers gone wild!

  • RoFo BevDisHeadgears with Randall Flann

    Randy Flann displays the RoFo BevDisHeadgear in several of his sporty designs

    What can you wear on your head that looks exactly like a baseball, futbol, motorcycle or any of 150 different things that can dispense beer or any other cold beverage? That would be the “Substance Dispensing Headgear,” which inventor and art major Randy Flann refers to as the RoFo Beverage Dispensing Headgear. Because it was exactly 20 years ago this Octoberfest month that he received U.S. Patent # 5,966,743 for the product, PlasticsToday thought it timely to feature a slideshow showcasing the various RoFo BevDisHeadgear designs along with custom fresh information and details disclosed this month by the inventor.

  • RoFoBeer Barrel Design Patent Combo

    Where it started: RoFo BevDisHeadgear beer barrel patent

    The initial design iteration was illustrated in the patent filing and ended up in prototype form as seen above. It’s called the RoFo Wooden Barrel Headgear; that’s wooden as in molded using faux-wood plastic that can be either polyethylene or polypropylene. Flann’s first prototype was made of fiberglass.

    A University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) engineering study conducted as a senior project in 2014 determined that either high-density PE (HDPE) or linear-low-density PE (LLDPE) would be the best materials considering ease of molding, food safety and container integrity and the polymers’ availability in a range of pigmented colors.

  • RoFo BULL ROUGHSTOCK RIDING RODEO BevDisHeadgear beverage dispenser pouring

    Saddle up with the RoFo BevDisHeadgear roughrider hat

    The RoFo Motific Spigot at the front of the dispenser is designed and molded specific to the chosen theme. For example, a hockey-puck shaped dispenser uses a goal-net shaped spigot while another that looks like a hotdog on a bun offers a combo mustard-relish spigot. The spigot’s self-venting design means the spigot can dispense without the need for a vent hole. As well, it can be removed for filling and for post-use cleaning of the headgear using mild dish soap and warm water before the next use.

  • RoFo Futbol BevDisHeadgear left angle

    Game on with the RoFo Futbol Headgear

    Flann tells PlasticsToday that the general overall shape helps determine the molding options that are technically feasible apart from the economics. For example, the shape of the futbol, football, baseball and other spheroid headgear products with general overall uniformity lend themselves to blowmolding. More complex shapes like the sombrero seen in the previous slide that require more wall strengthening (I.e., polymer) in certain portions are more appropriate for rotational molding. Other parts and features like the spigot and detail accessories are injection molded including the motorcycle shocks seen in the next slide.

  • RoFo MOTORCYCLE BevDisHeadgear Right side Pouring

    Rev up any party with the RoFo BevDisHeadgear Motorcycle

    This blow-molded motorcycle is considered by Flann his most complex project. It features detailed injection-molded parts including the shocks and of course the spigot, which for this product is the front tire. But is this and other designs even practical? When technical feasibility, economics and other considerations are factored in, the answer is yes.

    A 2009 UWM senior project study corroborated by a second 2014 study drew the same conclusion that the “RoFo BevDisHeadgear can be best represented to customers through a process of rotational molding. The rotational process is a small fraction of [the cost of] other molding processes and will easily produce any shape of headgear desired.”

    Steve Eggers, Business Development Manager of Custom-Pak Design and Blowmolding (Clinton, IA), who has been with the company 35 years, has been in periodic touch with Flann over the years. Eggers concurs that rotational molding makes better sense as a lower cost of entry and would direct the polymer choice to LLDPE especially in lower volumes of up to 100 units of any single design. Container volumes above that increasingly tip the method more towards blowmolding using HDPE, he says.

  • RoFo Hot Dog BevDisHeadgear angled view with Flann

    Any occasion becomes an instant picnic with the Hotdog Headgear

    …including an actual outdoor picnic.

    Key facts about the RoFo BevDisHeadgear, it: measures approximately 10-in. in diameter and is nearly a foot high; holds the equivalent of 2L or about 68oz of liquid; and weighs approximately 1½ pounds empty and 5-7 lb when full, depending on the beverage.

  • RoFo BevDisHeadgear Wrestlers

    You won’t have to fight others for your drinks with the RoFo Mixed Fighting Arts Competitor BevDisHeadgear

    Because the filled weight of about six pounds places some stress on the neck, an ergonomic study by UMW concluded that the product’s best support method was a standard (and importantly, cheap) four-point ratchet suspension system. It’s the same system used in standard hard hats for construction and industrial work. The adjustable harness design keeps the headgear balanced, stationary and comfortably balanced while worn on the head. The combo lining/headband and straps that suspend the RoFo Container at least an inch from the user’s head also serves to keep any temperature liquid from affecting the wearer’s head. However, Flann recommends that cold or tepid still and carbonated beverages are ideal and that warm or hot beverages should not be used.

  • Rofo Computer Combo

    The Computer Headgear clicks with computer aficionados and techies

    Ted VanCleave, author of Totally Absurd Inventions “America's Goofiest Patents!”, mentioned Flann’s patent in the book and included it on the back cover where it is described as a “Keg Head.” It was also added to VanCleave’s related website archive of Totally Absurd Inventions.

    Certainly the novelty of product and the various designs that many will find amusing if not humorous drive the marketability of the product. Manufacturability, material, weight and comfort of the headgear as noted in the previous slide were critical issues that Flann considered in order to make the product successful. Additional technical aspects are detailed in the next slide.

  • RoFo Beer Barrel FEA

    There’s lot of plastic design and engineering science behind RoFo Headgear

    Certain plastics industry professionals and other technically minded people may find the Finite Element Analysis (FEA) Stress Analysis graphic of a RoFo Plastic Wooden Barrel interesting. This demonstrates that while the product itself is whimsical and fun, producing it is serious—considerable polymer and molding science and knowhow have been applied to assess the feasibility of producing RoFo Headgears.

    In fact, over the years Flann enlisted expert input starting with designers and CAD experts before moving on to molders and other industry professionals. Apart from Flann’s solo efforts, he was involved with two separate UWM senior project studies, in 2009 and 2014, that provided him with invaluable feedback. The second and final UWM study provided the FEA impact stress analysis.

    How did he find the whole experience? “The process to find a plastic molder wasn’t hard, instead it was exhilarating, stimulating and educational,” Flann tells PlasticsToday.

  • RoFo Ice Hockey Puck BevDisHeadgear angle view

    Every puck drop is more exciting with the Hockey Headgear

    Scoring goals or conversely stopping goals are the two key considerations in hockey and other sports.

    Flann’s goals are also basically two-fold, the first being to work on another design; he says the design he likes best is always the next one. His other top goal is to see the product commercialized.

    Both goals might be reached in 2020. Flann disclosed to PlasticsToday that the next design is expected to be a van or 18-wheeler truck for a new business arrangement. That anticipated deal would result in getting RoFo BevDisHeadgears placed on the store shelves of one or more high-end retailers where they would sell for $39.95.

    For Flann and numerous inventors before him, having their invention in use is the ultimate sign of validation and success.

    For further information, contact Randy Flann via or via email [email protected].

    Also, we’d welcome your comment below as to which design you liked the best.

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