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Publication numberUS20060238082 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/559,063
PCT numberPCT/EP2004/001953
Publication dateOct 26, 2006
Filing dateFeb 27, 2004
Priority dateJun 3, 2003
Also published asDE10324968A1, DE10324968B4, DE502004009724D1, EP1634254A2, EP1634254B1, WO2004107279A2, WO2004107279A3
Publication number10559063, 559063, PCT/2004/1953, PCT/EP/2004/001953, PCT/EP/2004/01953, PCT/EP/4/001953, PCT/EP/4/01953, PCT/EP2004/001953, PCT/EP2004/01953, PCT/EP2004001953, PCT/EP200401953, PCT/EP4/001953, PCT/EP4/01953, PCT/EP4001953, PCT/EP401953, US 2006/0238082 A1, US 2006/238082 A1, US 20060238082 A1, US 20060238082A1, US 2006238082 A1, US 2006238082A1, US-A1-20060238082, US-A1-2006238082, US2006/0238082A1, US2006/238082A1, US20060238082 A1, US20060238082A1, US2006238082 A1, US2006238082A1
InventorsJens Heidemann, Jurgen Obermeier
Original AssigneeDeutsche Wurlitzer Gmbh
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Merchandise drawer comprising an extending device for vending machines
US 20060238082 A1
Abstract
The invention relates to a merchandise drawer comprising an extending device for vending machines (12). Said merchandise drawer is mounted inside the vending machine (12) by means of the extending device so as to be movable in at least one direction of extension and is characterized by at least one locking element (3) that locks the merchandise drawer (1) in at least one direction of extension in a locked position, releases the merchandise drawer (1) for displacement in at least one direction of extension in a released position, and allows the merchandise drawer (1) to tilt into a tilted filling position in a final extended position. Said locking element (3) locks in the tilted filling position and prevents the merchandise drawer from accidentally falling out.
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Claims(21)
1. A merchandise compartment with pullout device for vending machines (12), said compartment being slidably mountable in the vending machine (12) in at least out pullout direction by means of the pullout device, characterized by at least one locking element (3) that locks the merchandise compartment (1) in at least one pull-out direction when in a locking position, releases the merchandise compartment (1) for displacement in at least one pullout direction when in a release position, and permits the merchandise compartment (1) to tilt in a pulled-out end position into a tilted filling position, wherein said locking element (3) locks when in the tilted filling position and prevents the merchandise compartment from falling out unintentionally.
2. A merchandise compartment with a pullout device according to claim 1, characterized in that the pullout device has guide rails (2,6,7) and/or rollers (4,5,9,10,21) attached to the merchandise compartment (1) and/or the vending machine (12).
3. A merchandise compartment with a pullout device according to claim 2, characterized in that the pullout device has at least one guide rail (2) attached to the vending machine (12) and a plurality of rollers (4,5,9,10,21) attached to the outside of the merchandise compartment (1), and the merchandise compartment (1) can be slidably mounted onto and along the guide rail (2) by means of one or more of the rollers (4,5,9,10,21).
4. A merchandise compartment with a pullout device according to claim 2 or 3, characterized in that the guide rail (2) has a U-shaped profile in sections at least, wherein the side walls of the U-shaped guide rail (2) define a first, upper running edge (6) and a second, lower running edge (7) for the rollers (4,5,9,10,21).
5. A merchandise compartment with a pullout device according to one or more of claims 2 to 4, characterized in that at least one locking element (3) is pivotably and mechanically connected to a guide rail (2) by means of a rotary bolt (35), and at least one stop member (51, 52) for limiting the rotational movement of the locking element is provided.
6. A merchandise compartment with a pullout device according to one of claims 2 to 5, characterized in that the locking element (3) is pivotably connected to the guide rail (2) and has a handle (31) for pivoting the locking element between the release position and the locking position.
7. A merchandise compartment with a pullout device according to one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the locking element (3) has a runner section (34) that in the release position forms an extension of the first, lower running edge (6) for the rollers (5,10,21) mounted on the merchandise compartment (1).
8. A merchandise compartment with a pullout device according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that the locking element has at least one stopping edge (33), such that when the locking element (3) is in the locking position the merchandise compartment runs against the stopping edge (33) with at least one of the rollers (4,5,9,10,21) on insertion.
9. A merchandise compartment with a pullout device according to one or more of claims 4 to 8, characterized in that at least one of the rollers (4,5,9,10,21) is disposed spaced apart from the other rollers (4,5,9,10,21) such that when the merchandise compartment (1) is moved in one of pullout directions, a roller (9) is braced against the second, upper running edge (7), while at least one other roller (10) runs on the lower, first running edge (6) and the two rollers (9,10) thus prevent any premature tilting of the merchandise compartment (1) when the merchandise compartment (1) is being pulled out.
10. A merchandise compartment according to one of claims 8 or 9, characterized in that the stopping edge (33), the runner section (34) and the rotary bolt (35) of the locking element (3) are configured in such a way that when the merchandise compartment (1) is being pulled out and a roller (10) rolls over the runner section (34) after passing the rotary bolt (35) and the merchandise compartment (1) is tilted downward due to its own weight, said roller pivots the locking element (3) into a locking position such that the stopping edge (33),of the locking element (3) blocks another, subsequent roller (9), and prevents the merchandise compartment (1) from falling out of the vending machine (12).
11. A merchandise compartment with a pullout device according to claim 10, characterized in that the runner section (34) and the rotary bolt (35) of the locking element (3) are configured in such a way that when the merchandise compartments (1) is being lifted from the tilted filling position and inserted into the vending machine (12) a roller (9) pivots the locking element (3) back into the release position on rolling over the runner section (34) after passing the rotary bolt (35).
12. A merchandise compartment with a pullout device according to claim 10 or 11, characterized in that the running edge (6,7) and the stopping edge (33) of the locking element (3) jointly block a roller (9) when the merchandise compartment (1) is in the tilted filling position, and prevent the merchandise compartment (1) from falling out of the vending machine (12).
13. A merchandise compartment with a pullout device according to one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the pullout device comprises at least two locking elements (3) on opposite sides of the merchandise compartment (1).
14. A merchandise compartment with a pullout device according to one of the preceding claims, characterized in that at least one dispensing means (17) for merchandise is disposed in or on the merchandise compartment (1).
15. A merchandise compartment with a pullout device according to one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the merchandise compartment (1) adopts an angle of inclination relative to the horizontal position of between 10° and 60° when in the tilted filling position, preferably about 10° or/and about 24°.
16. A vending machine having at least one merchandise compartment with a pullout device according to one of the preceding claims.
17. A vending machine according to claim 1, characterized in that the front wall (13) and/or the rear wall (14) of the vending machine are configured as doors.
18. A vending machine according to one of claims 16 or 17, characterized in that in the vending machine at least one actuating member (15) for actuating the vending machine (12) is disposed and/or slidably mounted in said vending machine and can be pulled out from the vending machine (12) in at least one of the pullout directions of the merchandise compartments (1), whereupon all the relevant service and/or operating members such as coin acceptor, bill acceptor, and change container can be reached from both sides.
19. A vending machine according to claim 18, characterized in that one or more actuating members (15) for slidable mounting in the vending machine (12) are mounted by means of telescopic rails.
20. A vending machine according to one of claims 16 to 19, characterized in that operating means (16) for the merchandise compartment (1) are modularly arranged in the vending machine (12) and the modular operating means are pluggable and/or can be separated from the merchandise compartment (1) by a pivotably mounted support plate (16).
21. A vending machine according to claim 20, characterized in that at least one of the slidably mounted support plates (16) is connected to the rear door (14) such that the support plate (16) is automatically pivoted in order to separate the modular operating means from the merchandise compartment (1) when the rear door (14) is opened.
Description

The invention relates to a merchandise compartment with pullout device for vending machines, by means of which device the merchandise compartments are slidably mounted.

Vending machines of the most diverse kinds have been known for some time, in which the merchandise is kept in merchandise compartments and dispensed from the merchandise compartments when a customer requires.

For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,499,707 describes a vending machine in which merchandise compartments of different dimensions contain different merchandise. The dimensions of the merchandise compartments are based on the dimensions of the merchandise items. At the request of the customer, an item of merchandise is taken from a merchandise compartment and dispensed to the customer by means of an extractor that is moved to the merchandise compartment.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,600,119 describes a dispensing means for merchandise compartments in the form of a spiral that pushes the separate items forwards out of the merchandise compartment by rotating about its own axis. The patent also proposes that a plurality of merchandise compartments with such dispensing means be arranged above and beside each other in a vending machine.

German patent DE 19946609 (Wurlitzer GmbH) also describes a vending machine that has merchandise compartments arranged in horizontal compartment groups. Each merchandise compartment in a compartment group has its own dispensing means.

Other vending machines are known from DE 19532728 (Wurlitzer GmbH), DE 3912903 (Wurlitzer GmbH) and DE 9016741 (Wurlitzer GmbH). These patents likewise describe merchandise compartments disposed above and beside each other and from which items of merchandise are separately dispensed.

A common feature of all previously described vending machines and arrangements of compartments is that access to the merchandise compartments, for example to replenish or maintain said merchandise compartments, may prove difficult. This is the case, on the one hand, when the merchandise compartments are small and/or arranged very closely above or beside each other, and are relatively deep. On the other hand, due to the specific dispensing means of the merchandise compartments (e.g. the helical coil in U.S. Pat. No. 4,600,119), it may be necessary to provide more space in order to correctly position the merchandise in the merchandise compartments and/or the dispensing means of the merchandise compartments. In particular, more space may also be necessary whenever the dispensing means or any partition walls between portions of the merchandise compartments are to be repositioned, maintained or replaced.

The technical problem of the invention is to develop a merchandise compartment and a vending machine to enable more convenient and simpler access to the merchandise compartments in order to fill or maintain the merchandise compartments or the vending machines than is possible in the prior art.

According to the invention, this problem is solved in a merchandise compartment of the kind initially specified by providing the merchandise compartment with a pullout device comprising at least one locking element that locks the merchandise compartment in at least one pullout direction when in a locking position, that releases the merchandise compartment for displacement in at least one pullout direction when in a release position, and permits the merchandise compartment to tilt in a pulled-out end position into a tilted filling position, wherein said locking element locks when in the tilted filling position and prevents the merchandise compartment from falling out unintentionally.

One advantage of the merchandise compartment with pullout device according to the invention is that the merchandise compartment can be pulled out completely from the vending machine and can then move easily from this pulled-out position into a tilted position for filling or maintenance. It is possible in this position to have very convenient access to the entire merchandise compartment. The merchandise compartment can be accessed to a greater extent from above, instead of from the front, as was the case hitherto. Filling and maintenance of the merchandise compartments is significantly facilitated in the pulled-out, tilted and stable position.

In one preferred embodiment, the merchandise compartment with pullout device has rollers and/or guide rails for slidable mounting. The rollers, the guide rails and the locking element are arranged in such a way that they enable the merchandise compartment to be locked in place, to be freely slid and to be tilted into the tilted position for filling.

The rollers are preferably attached to the outside of the merchandise compartment and are guided by the guide rails in the pullout direction. The guide rails are attached to the inside of a vending machine, for example.

One or more guide rails preferably have a U-shaped profile in which the rollers are guided. The U-shaped profile of the guide rail preferably includes a first, lower running edge and a second, upper running edge against which the rollers are upwardly or downwardly braced and on which the rollers run.

A particularly preferred embodiment is one in which the pullout device has a locking element that is pivotably hinged to one of the guide rails by means of a rotary bolt, the rotational movement of said locking element being stopped by one or more stop members.

The locking element preferably has a handle as well for pivoting the locking element between the release position and the locking position of said locking element.

It is likewise preferred that the locking element be configured with a runner section that, when in the release position, forms an extension of the first, lower running edge for the rollers mounted on the merchandise compartment. In this way, the locking element acts as an extension of the guide rail.

It is likewise preferred that the locking element has a stopping edge, and the merchandise compartment runs against the stopping edge with at least one roller when the locking element is in the locking position, such that the merchandise compartment is stopped in at least one of the pullout directions. In normal operation, during separate extraction and dispensing of items from the merchandise compartments, at least one roller is preferably prevented by a locking element from rolling further, with the result that the merchandise compartment is stopped. If the merchandise compartment is designed to be slidable in two or more directions, displacement in these directions can likewise be blocked by other locking elements. If the merchandise compartments have to be maintained or replenished, the locking element(s) in this configuration can be offset in such a way that the merchandise compartment is released so that it can slide in at least one of the possible pullout directions. To achieve this, the locking element(s) can be movably attached to the guide rails.

One specific reason why the aforementioned locking element construction is preferred is because it enables a very compact, simple structure that includes all the necessary properties necessary for operation and maintenance of a typical vending machine. In particular, such a merchandise compartment or vending machine with such merchandise compartments can be constructed very inexpensively.

In yet another preferred embodiment, the rollers of the merchandise compartments are disposed in such a way that one or more rollers are braced against the second, upper running edge of the guide rail and other rollers run simultaneously on the first, lower running edge of the guide rail. This means that the merchandise compartment can be easily displaced but without tilting prematurely. The arrangement of the rollers prevents the merchandise compartment from tilting as a result of its own weight. Tilting is not made possible until near the end of the pullout procedure, and in co-operation with the locking element.

The stopping edge, the runner section and the rotary bolt of the locking element are preferably configured in such a way that when the merchandise compartment is being pulled out and a roller rolls over the runner section after passing the rotary bolt while the merchandise compartment is being tilted downward due to its own weight, said roller pivots the locking element into a locking position such that the stopping edge of the locking element blocks another, subsequent roller, and prevents the merchandise compartment from falling out of the vending machine.

It is also and particularly preferred that the runner section and the rotary bolt of the locking element are configured in such a way that, when the merchandise compartments is being lifted from the tilted filling position and inserted into the vending machine, a roller pivots the locking element back into the release position on rolling over the runner section after passing the rotary bolt.

When the merchandise compartment is in the tilted filling position, the running edges and the stopping edge of the locking element are preferably configured in such a way that they jointly block a roller and prevent the merchandise compartment from falling out of the vending machine.

One particularly advantageous aspect of the preferred embodiment above is the very simple handling of the merchandise compartment when pulling it out and when inserting it. There is no need for any additional manipulation of complicated locking mechanisms.

The locking elements are preferably disposed at the ends and/or corners on opposite sides of the merchandise compartment. This ensures optimal access to the locking elements when the merchandise compartment is to be released by operating the locking element. This also enables the merchandise compartment to be pulled out of the vending machine in at least two directions, and that the lock can be released from two sides. If access to the merchandise compartment from one particular side is rendered difficult, or for other reasons is unsuitable for maintenance or for refilling with merchandise, the merchandise compartment according to the invention can be pulled out from a different side and brought into the tilted filling position.

The merchandise preferably includes its own dispensing means disposed within the merchandise compartment. Maintenance or replacement of the dispensing means is significantly facilitated by the merchandise compartment with pullout device according to the invention, because the merchandise compartment can be accessed in its entirety.

Certain items of merchandise and/or dispensing means require a steeper inclination of the tilted merchandise compartment to ensure optimal access to them in the tilted merchandise compartment. Other items of merchandise would fall out of the merchandise compartment at the same inclination. In one preferred embodiment, therefore, the locking element is configured for a specific tilting angle in the pulled-out, tilted filling position. By this means, it is possible to adapt the merchandise compartment to the different types of merchandise and to the typical dispensing means for each type of merchandise. By using one or more locking elements, different tilting angles can be set according to the specific type of merchandise. Angles of inclination between 10° and 60° are particularly preferred, with angles of 10° and 24° being especially preferred.

It is preferable that the merchandise compartment can be pushed back quite easily into the vending machine by lightly lifting the lowered end of the pulled-out merchandise compartment after being pulled out, tilted and subsequently maintained and/or refilled, without one having to actuate the locking element, other levers or locking mechanisms. This likewise simplifies maintenance and filling.

Maintenance and/or filling is preferably facilitated by making it easy to separate devices or elements of any kind, such as electrical, mechanical or other connecting and/or supply lines, from the merchandise compartment, or to connect them in a flexible manner to the merchandise compartment. In one preferred embodiment, therefore, the supply and/or connection lines, or devices in the form of plug-in groups or flaps or facings with integrated plug-in groups can be very easily separated from one or simultaneously from several merchandise compartments. In another preferred embodiment, these connections are so flexible that they cannot obstruct the sliding and tilting of the merchandise compartment.

In another embodiment, the merchandise compartment has a plurality of areas for different items of merchandise, each with different kinds of dispensing means. In yet another embodiment, only merchandise of the same type is arranged in one or more merchandise stacks in a merchandise compartment.

Vending machines can typically be fitted with one or more merchandise compartments with pullout device according to the invention. The merchandise compartments according to the invention are arranged inside the vending machines in such a way that they can be pulled both backwards and forwards out of the vending machines.

A particularly preferred arrangement is one in which not only the merchandise compartments can be pulled backwards and forwards out of the vending machine and into a tilting filling position, but also in which one or more actuating members can be pulled out of the vending machine. The actuating members can then be pulled out in the same direction as the merchandise compartments, for example, and are preferably mounted on telescopic rails. However, other pullout devices for the actuating members are likewise suitable, if these enable easier access to the actuating members.

A preferred vending machine with the merchandise compartments according to the invention therefore comprises walls, specifically side, front and/or rear walls that can be easily moved in order to shift and/or maintain the merchandise compartments or the actuating members. It is particularly preferred that a vending machine has a front wall and a rear wall that are configured as doors. This enables the merchandise compartments and/or the actuating members to be maintained or filled from the front or the rear side of the vending machine. This embodiment is likewise only one of various options provided by the invention. One conceivable arrangement, of course, is one in which the vending machine is opened at the sides, for example, or even at the top or the bottom, and the merchandise compartments are pulled out and thus brought into the filling position.

An embodiment and the use of the invention shall now be explained in greater detail with reference to the drawings, in which

FIG. 1 shows a lateral cross-sectional view of the merchandise compartment according to the invention, with a pullout device, two locking elements in the locking position and the stopped merchandise compartment,

FIG. 2 shows a lateral cross-sectional view of the merchandise compartment according to the invention with a pullout device and one locking element in the release position and the merchandise compartment partly pulled out,

FIG. 3 shows a lateral cross-sectional view of the merchandise compartment with pullout device according to the invention pulled-out in the direction of the front side of the merchandise compartment to the tilted position for filling or maintenance,

FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of the merchandise compartment with pullout device according to the invention, pulled out in the direction of the rear side of the merchandise compartment to the tilted position for filling or maintenance,

FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of the merchandise compartment with pullout device according to the invention, pulled out in the direction of the front side of the merchandise compartment to the tilted position for filling or maintenance,

FIG. 6 shows a magnified section of a lateral cross-sectional view of a locking element according to the invention in a preferred embodiment for smaller tilt angles,

FIG. 7 shows a magnified section of a lateral cross-sectional view of a locking element according to the invention in a preferred embodiment for larger tilt angles,

FIG. 8 shows a perspective view of the front and side walls of the closed vending machine with merchandise compartments according to the invention,

FIG. 9 a side elevation view of the vending machine with the merchandise compartments with pullout device according to the invention, with the front door opened and with two merchandise compartments as examples pulled out in the direction of the front side of the vending machine (merchandise compartment direction to the front side of the merchandise compartment) to the filling and/or maintenance position, with the merchandise compartments at different tilting angles,

FIG. 10 a side elevation view of the vending machine with the merchandise compartments with pullout device according to the invention, with the rear door opened and with two merchandise compartments as examples pulled out to the rear of the vending machine (rearward direction of the merchandise compartment) to the filling and/or maintenance position, with the merchandise compartments at different tilting angles,

FIG. 11 shows a vending machine with the merchandise compartments with pull-out device according to the invention, with front and rear doors opened and the actuating member of the vending machine pulled out to the rear on telescopic rails (to the rear side of the merchandise compartment) and

FIG. 12 shows a vending machine with the merchandise compartments with pull-out device according to the invention, with front and rear doors opened and the actuating member of the vending machine pulled out to the front on telescopic rails (to the front side of the merchandise compartment).

FIG. 1 shows the side elevation view of an embodiment of a merchandise compartment 1 according to the invention with a pullout device. The following descriptions relate at first only to one side of the merchandise compartment, but apply analogously to the opposite side of the merchandise compartment, which is not shown in FIG. 1. The same arrangements as shown in FIG. 1 is also present in symmetrical form on the opposite side of the merchandise compartment. FIGS. 4 and 5 contain additional 3-D perspective views of the merchandise compartment with pullout device, and which show the arrangement in its entirety.

The rear side 260 of merchandise compartment 1 provides plug-in sockets for supply lines to the merchandise compartment. The items of merchandise are dispensed from merchandise compartment 1 via the front side 160 of the merchandise compartment. The pullout device of the merchandise compartment comprises a first and second roller 4, 5, a middle roller 21 and a third and fourth roller 9, 10, all of which are attached from the outside to one side of the merchandise compartment 1. The pullout device also includes a guide rail 2 comprising a first running edge 6 and a second running edge 7. The merchandise compartment is supported by the middle roller 21, the fourth roller 10 and the second roller 5 on the first, lower running edge 6. The weight of the merchandise compartment is thus transferred evenly onto the first, lower running edge 6 and hence onto the guide rail 2. Guide rail 2 is mounted on the side walls in a vending machine. The first, lower running edge 6 is sized such that the fourth roller 10 and the second roller 5 only just lie on it. The third roller 9 and the first roller 4 are mounted on the merchandise compartment a little higher than rollers 21, 10 and 5 and are located above locking element 3 and a locking element 11. The manner in which the locking elements operate is explained with reference to locking element 3, but applies analogously to each of the locking elements. Locking element 3 is connected by a rotary bolt 35 to guide rail 2 such that locking element 3 is limited to rotational movement about rotary bolt 35. Locking element 3 is in the locking position (as is locking element 11). Locking element 3 is pivoted in to such an extent that the stopper of the locking element 32 abuts guide rail 2. The stopping edge 33 of locking element 3 is then raised above the first, lower running edge 6 and the second roller 5 is prevented from moving towards the front side 160 of merchandise compartment 1 by the stopping edge 33 of locking element 3. Merchandise compartment 1 is likewise prevented from moving towards the rear side 260 of the merchandise compartment by locking element 11. This means that the merchandise compartment is completely locked and cannot be moved in either of the two pullout directions. Furthermore, rollers 4, 5, 21, 9, 10 are guided inside guide rail 2, as a result of which the merchandise compartment is unable to veer to the side or move upwards or downwards.

FIG. 2 shows another lateral cross-sectional view of the same arrangement as shown in FIG. 1. Locking element 3 is now in the release position, while locking element 11 remains in the locking position. The merchandise compartment can now be moved in the direction of the front side 160 of the merchandise compartment. To enable such movement, locking element 3 is turned anti-clockwise about rotary bolt 35 until rotation is stopped by one of the stop members 51 or 52. Depending on the embodiment of locking element 3, stop members 51 and 52 each serve as a stop for an optimal release position in which runner section 34 of locking element 3 is an extension of the first, lower running edge 6 for rollers 5, 10 and 21.

When the compartment is pulled out, the second roller 5 from the front leaves the first, lower running edge 6 and moves over runner section 34 of locking element 3. Locking element 3 is preferably configured with the same width as the rollers, with the result that, in the release position, runner section 34 of locking element 3 constitutes an extension of the first, lower running edge 6. The weight is now brought to bear on the middle roller 21 and on the fourth roller 10. In this position, any downward tilting movement of the merchandise compartment and its front side 160 is prevented by the third roller 9 now being braced from below against the second, upper running edge 7 of guide rail 2. This counteracts a torque resulting from the overweight of the front side 160 of the merchandise compartment. The third roller 9 is attached at an offset position on merchandise compartment 1 that is so much higher than the fourth roller 10 that it rolls along the second, upper running edge 7 while the first rearward roller 9 rolls along the first running edge 6. Thus, rollers 9, 10 do not obstruct each other when moving, while merchandise compartment 1 can be pulled out horizontally with minimal play, and rollers 5 and 21 can successively leave the first, lower running edge 6. The same mechanism operates analogously when the merchandise compartment is being pulled out in the direction of the rear side 260, whereas the functions of rollers 4, 5 are performed by rollers 9, 10 and vice versa, and locking elements 11 and 3 likewise swap their respective functions. Grip lugs 8 mounted on the side of the merchandise compartment make it easier to pull out the merchandise compartment in the direction of the rear side 260 of the merchandise compartment. When pulling out the merchandise compartment in the direction of the front side of the merchandise compartment, the merchandise compartment 1 is gripped underneath, where ideal conditions for gripping are found in the form of a label holder, for example.

FIG. 3 shows the same side elevation view of the merchandise compartment 1 with pullout device as provided in FIGS. 1 and 2. However, the merchandise compartment is now fully extracted to a stable tilted filling position. Only the third roller 9 lies on the first, lower running edge 6 and is prevented from rolling further by the stopping edge 33 of locking element 3. Locking element 3 has returned to the locking position. However, the fourth roller 10 now lies on the handle 31 of the locking element and causes the locking element 3 to be held in the locking position. As soon as the middle roller 21 is pulled over the first, lower running edge 6 and locking element 3, the fourth roller 10 can tilt locking element 3 into the locking position if gradual lowering of the front side 160 of the merchandise compartment is permitted towards the end of extraction by the own weight of merchandise compartment 1. Locking element 3 is configured in such a way that the merchandise compartment now reaches a predetermined inclination due to roller 10 being supported by the locking element, and remains in this tilted filling position due to the own weight of the merchandise compartment. The merchandise compartment cannot leave the pullout device because the fourth roller 9 is prevented from rolling further by the stopping edge 33 of locking element 3. In addition, depending on the configuration of the locking element, roller 9 is also prevented from falling out of the vending machine 12 by the first, lower running edge 6 and the second, upper running edge 7.

To push the merchandise compartment 1 back into the vending machine, the front side 160 of the merchandise compartment is raised slightly, causing the weight of merchandise compartment 1 to be shifted onto the third roller 9 and hence back onto the first, lower running edge 6. The merchandise compartment can then be pushed back horizontally, with the fourth roller 10 pressing locking element 3 into the release position when it rolls over it. This is followed by the fourth roller 10, then the middle roller 21 and finally the second roller 5 rolling over runner section 34 of locking element 3 and then between running edges 6, 7 of guide rail 2.

In this embodiment, locking element 3 is configured in such a way that it falls into the locking position as soon as none of rollers 4, 5, 9, 10, 21 are supported on runner section 34, because the side with handle 31 exerts a greater torque on rotary bolt 35 than the side with stopping edge 33. The insertion process is finished when the fourth roller 10 abuts the stopping edge 113 of locking element 11. As soon as this happens, locking element 3 also falls into the locking position, and merchandise compartment 1 is locked in position for the merchandise dispensing. Of course, locking elements 3, 11 may also be designed so that they frictionally co-operate with guide rails 2 and therefore remain in their respective positions. Locking elements 3, 11 may equally be biased by springs so that they always return to either the locking position or the release position.

Extraction and insertion of merchandise compartment 1 in the direction of the rear side 260 of the merchandise compartment is performed analogously to the above description. All that needs to be considered is that the leading rollers 4, 5 now perform the function of the rearward rollers 9, 10, and that locking element 11 performs the function of locking element 3, and vice versa.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the extracted and tilted merchandise compartments 1. In this view, merchandise compartment 1 has been pulled out in the direction of the rear side 260 of the merchandise compartment and tilted. In this view, the opposite side of the merchandise compartment 1 of the invention with pullout device can also be seen. This arrangement corresponds to the view shown in FIGS. 1-3 for one side of the merchandise compartment. Locking element 300 performs the same function as locking element 3, guide rail 200 behaves in the same manner as guide rail 2, the third and fourth running edges 600, 700 behave analogously to running edges 6, 7. When pulling out the compartment in the direction of the rear side 260 of the merchandise compartment, any actuating means 16 mounted on the merchandise compartment during merchandise dispensing can be swung to the side beforehand by means of a folding mechanism—as shown here, thus freeing the path for the merchandise compartment (1) in the direction of the rear side 260 of the merchandise compartment.

FIG. 5 provides another perspective view of the merchandise compartment shown in FIGS. 1-4, whereby merchandise compartment 1 is now pulled out in the direction of the front side 160 of the merchandise compartment and brought into a tilted position. This view shows locking element 100, which behaves analogously to locking element 11 but is mounted to guide rail 200 on the opposite side of merchandise compartment 1.

FIG. 6 shows a sectional enlargement of a lateral cross-sectional view of the same arrangement as shown in FIG. 3. Locking element 3 is configured here in such a way that the merchandise compartment adopts a small angle of inclination in the pulled-out, tilted position for filling. Here, the third roller 9 is partly braced against stopping edge 33 and partly against the second, upper running edge 7, and the fourth roller 10 rests on the rear runner of locking element 3 instead of on handle 31.

FIG. 7 likewise shows a sectional enlargement of a lateral cross-sectional view of the same arrangement as shown in FIG. 3. Here, however, locking element 3 has a different design to the one in FIG. 6. Runner section 34 is shortened in length compared to locking element 3 in FIG. 6. The fourth roller 10 therefore rests on the handle, whereas the first roller 9 abuts the stopping edge 33 and not the second, upper running edge 7.

Besides the two embodiments of the locking elements in FIGS. 6 and 7, numerous other variants of locking element 3 and of course the other locking elements (11,100,300) are conceivable that likewise realize the apparatus according to the invention in this application.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a vending machine 12 from the front and side. Vending machine 12 is fitted with the merchandise compartments according to the invention. The front wall 13 has a pane 22 through which customers can view the merchandise compartments 1 on the inside, and of course the merchandise therein.

The front of operating unit 22 is shown to the right of pane 22. The merchandise removal area 19 is located below the pane.

FIG. 9 shows the vending machine 12 from FIG. 8 with a front wall 13 in the form of a door, shown here in the opened position. By way of illustration, two merchandise compartments 1 according to the invention are shown in the pulled-out, tilted position for filling and/or maintenance. The two compartments are tilted at different angles.

FIG. 10 shows vending machine 12 from FIG. 9 with a opened rear wall 14, which is in the form of a door. This time, the two merchandise compartments 1 have been pulled out of the vending machine in the direction of the rear wall 14 of said vending machine, into a stable, tilted position for filling. Here, the two merchandise compartments are again tilted at different angles. The upper merchandise compartment is inclined at an angle of 24°, the lower merchandise compartment at an angle of 10°. These angles of inclination can be predetermined, for example by the shape of the locking elements. To achieve this, the locking elements are designed so that the merchandise compartment rests on locking elements 3,300 by means of rollers 4,5, in such a way that it adopts one of the previously mentioned angles of inclination, or some other angle, when in the tilted filling position.

FIG. 11 shows the vending machine of FIG. 10 with opened back and front walls 13,14. The actuating member 15 is now pulled backwards out of the vending machine in the direction of the rear wall.

FIG. 12 shows the vending machine of FIG. 11, but now the actuating member 15 has been pulled out of the vending machine at the front.

It can be seen from FIGS. 11 and 12 that the actuating member 15 is mounted inside vending machine 12 in such a way that it can be pulled out selectively to the front or the rear for maintenance purposes. This is achieved with telescopic rails, for example.

The structure of vending machine 12 is therefore designed so that the machine can be maintained and filled from the front 13 and from the back 14. The merchandise compartments according to the invention and the extractable actuating member 15 are provided for this purpose.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7886932 *Jun 4, 2008Feb 15, 2011Sanden CorporationVending machine having a commodity column
US20120018435 *Jul 19, 2011Jan 26, 2012Jiwon KimRefrigerator
Classifications
U.S. Classification312/131, 312/334.1, 312/323
International ClassificationG07F11/60, A47B88/00, G07F11/62, G07F11/38, A47B88/06
Cooperative ClassificationG07F11/38, G07F11/62, G07F11/60
European ClassificationG07F11/60, G07F11/62, G07F11/38