US 3194432 A
Abstract available in
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 13, 1965 c. T. BREETENSTEIN ETAL 3,194,432
VENDING MACHINE 8 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Oct. 25, 1963 INVENTORS C/zgrlasf" July 13, 1965 c. 'r. BREITENSTEIN ETAL 3,
VENDING MACHINE Filed Oct. 25, 1963 8 Sheets-Sheet 2 zez Z16 E16 14 30 Z33 L JVorgwZ a 6266:0602, I Wq. MAM
July 13, 1965 c. 'r. BREITENSTEIN ETAL 3,
VENDING MACHINE 8 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Oct. 25, 1963 r 6 2 wrfiertecewzcz o Ava- 4 8 Sheets-Sheet 6 6 al 'lrfl4 w I N VEN TORS I h m I C. T. BREITENSTEIN ETAL VENDING MACHINE July 13, 1965 Filed Oct. 25, 1963 July 13, 1965 c. 'r. BREITENSTEIN ETAL 3,194,432
vmmme mcmxm Filed Oct. 25, 1963 8 Sheets-Sheet 7 IN VENTOR-S July 13, 1965 c. 'r. BREITENSTE-IN ETAL 3, 4,43
VENDING MACHINE Filed Oct. 25, 1963 a Sheets-Sheet '8 (MW/25f 3 61 5222???) orbe Gee United States Patent The present invention relates to vending machines and more particularly to those which dispense articles of merchandise such as candy bars or the like.
A continuing objective in the development of such machines has been to improve the operating eiiiciency of the machines by such expedients as: 1) increasing the available storage space for articles to be dispensed in relation to the over-all size of the machine; (2) Providing a storage system which can readily be restocked with fresh articles replacing those which has been sold; (3) Providing a mechanism which is readily accessible for repairs or replacement when necessary. A f rther objective and a major consideration in the design of such machines is to provide a mechanism which will be as universal in application as possible. A still further consideration in the design of such machines is to provide storage space in which the articles first stocked in the machine are those sold first, the so-called First-Yin First-Out arrangement. A number of developments in this art have culminated in machines which utilize this First-In First-Out principle but which do not satisfactorily meet many of the other objectives.
it is therefore an object of this invention to provide a novel and improved article vending machine employing the First-In First-Out principle.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a vending machine in which large capacity article-bearing magazines are provided and in which these magazines may be readily detached from the machine without the necessity for using tools of any kind.
it is a further object of the invention to provide an article vending machine in which ready access to each of the article-bearing magazines may be readily effected for such purposes :as restocking of each magazine and to provide ready access to the machine for such repairs as become necessary.
It is a further object of the invention to provide an imroved vending machine which is capable of storing and dispensing many types, shapes, and sizes of articles with but minor readily-effected adjustments.
It is a still further object of the invention to provide an improved article vending machine which displays the particular article to be vended and which dispenses selected articles in a simple manner which forestalls the possibility of more than one article being dispensed in response to a single selection and insertion of the proper coins.
tated generally, the machine embodying the present invention utilizes a plurality of juxtaposed magazines each comprising a structural unit including an endless belt conveyor having spaced shelves extending forwardly and rearwardly of the belt as it progresses through its oblong path. Articles are dispensed from the bottom front of a conveyor and each just-emptied shelf is moved toward the bottom of the conveyor path and for subsequent movement up the rear conveyor section. Each magazine includes at one side a support structure or wall on which the belt drive mechanism is mounted, the mounting leaving the other side of the conveyor shelf area accessible for restocking. In its normal position within the machine, each magazine is suspended on an overhead rail structure which in turn is suspended from the machine top wall and its supports. The rail structures, or slide mechanisms as they may be called, in their normal positions are wholly Within the ma- Bi l-A32 Patented July 13, 1965 ice chine, but are individually extensible to advance the magazine associated therewith out of the machine for restocking and/ or repairs. T he rail structures for the respective magazines are parallel, spaced-apart and extend longitudinally for the greater part of the machine depth.
Below the magazines, there is a common mounting base extending transversely through the storage or magazine area, on the top surface of which the individual magazines normally rest. This base has a series of transversely spaced slots in its top surface, through which lock cams may be pivoted by a common locking handle. These lock cams, when pivoted upwardly to the lock position, register with suitable slots in the magazine bases to lock the respective magazines in place. The registry of these cams and magazine slots is such that the handle cannot assume its locked position, if any magazines are not fully retracted to the normal position. This handle, when out of the locked position, protrudes to an oblique position which strikes the front service door of the machine on attempted door closure. Thus, this handle position and the inability of the door to close indicate to the serviceman that one or more magazines are not fully retracted and locked in place.
When restocking of the magazines or repairs become necessary, naturally, the main door must be unlocked and opened. At this time when the handle is in its lock position, a single movement of the handle releases all magazines to permit the translatory advance or" one or more magazines out of the machine by slide motion on its individual overhead rail structure. The magazines when fully extended are thereby readily accessible for restocking. as they are held by the overhead rail structures in the eX- tended position forward of the machine. The rail structures fully support the magazines, and the individual magazines may be detached from their rail structures, if the magazines are to be repaired or replaced. In addition, the coupling of the rail structures to the machine is also readily detachable so that a magazine and its rail structure may be removed as an integral unit if desired. By this construction, the magazines have no permanent connection, mechanical or electrical, which could obstruct the removal and/ or replacement of individual magazines.
The invention both as to its organization and principle of operation together with other objects, features and advantages of the invention will best be understood by referring to the following detailed description read in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIGURE 1 is a front view in elevation of a vending machine utilizing the present invention;
FIGURE 2 is a perspective view of the machine of PEGURE l with the door of the machine opened;
FEGURE 3 is a partial side sectional view taken along the line 33 of FEGURE 2;
FEGURE 4 is a fragmentary section taken along the line id of FlGURE 3;
FEGURE 4a is a fragmentary broken-away section of the lower left (as viewed in FIGURE 2) corner of the common mounting base and the bottom of the adjacent magazines;
FIGURE 5 is a perspective view from the right side of v a typical article storing magazine as used herein;
FEGURE 5a is a partial elevational view of a typical belt conveyor as used herein;
FIGURE 6 is a side elevational view of the overhead slide structure, the view taken along line 6-6 of FIG- URE 2;
FliGURE 7 is a side elevational view as FIGURE 6 with the rail structure partially advanced out of the machine;
FXGURE 8 is a front view in detail of the slide structure of FIGURE 6;
FlGURE 9 is a partial side elevational View of the common mounting base of Fl'GURE 3;
FIGURE is a plan view of the structure of FIGURE 9, the top surface of which is partially broken away to show interior construction details;
FIGURE 11 is a sectional view. taken along a line 1111 of FIGURE 2, with the ratchet covering wall partially broken away to show the ratchet stepping mech anism;
FIGURE 12 is'a side view in elevation of the ratchet mechanism of FIGURE 11 in a position indicating a sequential step in the dispensing procedure consequent to that shown in FIGURE 11;
FIGURE 13 is a partial elevational view as FIGURE 12 in a later step in the sequential dispensing process;
FIGURE 14 is a partial elevational view similar to the showing of FIGURE 11 with the mechanism at a position still further in the process;
FIGURE 15 is a perspective view of the magazine main drive lever as used in the ratchet mechanism of FIG- URES 11-14; and
FIGURE 16 is a simplified schematic diagram of a circuit for completing the operating sequence of the machine.
Turning now to the drawings in detail, in FIGURES 1 and 2 there is shown the First'In First-0ut vending machine designated 14 having a generally rectangular outer appearance cabinet 12. The cabinet includes opposed side walls 14, a rear wall 16 and top and bottom walls 18 and 20, respectively. The front of the cabinet is normally covered by a door 22 which extends for virtually the entire height of the machine. The door 22 is hinged at one side as indicated by the reference character 24, the door being capable of being moved from a fully closed and locked position as shown in FIGURE 1 to an open position, generally as indicated in FIGURE 2. The cabinet structure rests on two side supporting legs 26, which are continuations of the opposed side Walls 14.
The external surface of door 22 includes at approximately shoulder level, a coin slot which in a generally known manner leads to a coin receiving mechanism shown as rectangular box 32 within the cabinet. Below thecoin slot on the door outer surface is a coin return lever 34, which when depressed actuates an internal mechanism (not shown) to return coins inserted by error. Below the coin slot and return lever, the door includes a window 36, which extends generally across the door front surface. The window is clear plastic or glass and may be divided into vertical sections (not shown) by lines on the Window. Above each of the sections is an individual push button 40, the push buttons individually controlling the operation of dispensing mechanism, as will be described more fully later in this description. Adjacent either each button 40 (as shown) or adjacent the products themselves, is a price tag holder into which the individual tags may be inserted and changed to indicate the price of articles in that particular section. These tags may be visible through the window or through suitable openingsin the opaque portion of the door front wall.
At -the side of the door remote from the hinges 24, there is inset in the front wall of the door a lockable handle 42; the handle in a generally known manner is released by the use of a key (not shown), which mates with the lock 44 of handle 42 to release a catch and allow the door to be opened. Below the window area, the door is slotted horizontally as indicated at slot 46, the slot allowing access to a delivery tray 4% within the machine. Above the slot on the door interior surface there is secured a fluorescent tube 51), which serves to illuminate the .area directly behind the window 36 when the door is in its closed position.
Within the machine, there is mounted at approximately the height of the delivery tray 48 a mounting base 52 of considerable structural rigidity. This mounting base extends virtually the entire width of the machine interior, is firmly secured to the cabinet in a stationary manner and serves "a number of purposes. This mounting base 52, as its title implies, serves as the rigid structure on which the individual article-bearing magazines may rest. The base 52 also serves as the structure within which is secured a common drive mechanism 62 and a common mechanism for locking-the individual magazines 6!) in their normal position. i
Behind the window as there is provided, as can be seen in FIGURE 2, a plurality of vertically disposed magazines 61). These magazines are juxtaposed to one another with their front surfaces mutually aligned and with each of th magazines extending for virtually the entire internal depth of the machine 10. At the bottom front of each of the magazines, there is provided an individual viewing window 7ft. A distance above the window, a handle 72 is fastened to each of the magazines to allow the magazines to be grasped and individually moved, as will be explained.
Turning now to FIGURE 5, there is shown a representative one of the magazine structures 60, the magazine being roughly rectangular in section and fabricated of sheet metal or the like. The magazine 6t) has forming its left side an inner wall 74 .and an outer wall '75. The outer wall 75 provides a smooth surface adjacent the contiguous exposed conveyor belt thereby acting as an enclosing wall for the conveyor belt on the magazine adjacent thereto. The remainder of the structure comprises comparatively short front and rear walls 76 and 78, respectively, and top and bottom walls 81 and 82, respectively. The right side of each of the magazines remains open and exposed.
Each of these magazines 60 has mounted to the exposed side wall 74- an endless belt conveyor 86, which is tracked in a generally upright, oblong path. A typical conveyor construction which may be used herein is shown in copending application Ser. No. 282,483 filed by Auerbach et al. on May 22, 1963. Each conveyor is individually indexed by a step-by-step ratchet mechanism 87 fitted between the walls 74 and 75, the drive components of which extend through suitable slots in the inner magazine side wall 74.
The bottom wall 82 of each magazine terminates at its front end a predetermined distance from the bottom edge of magazine window 7 0 allowing a space 91 for the passage of articles being dispensed. The door delivery tray 4% is positioned a short distance below opening 90, and the tray has an inclined wall 92. to the rear of the opening $0 to direct released articles into the delivery tray.
Each endless belt conveyor 86 includes flexible, spacedapart, paddle-shaped shelves 1% upon which are stacked articles 191, such as candy bars, to be dispensed from the particular magazine. These shelves 1% extend forwardly and rearwardly from the belt conveyor, and are of suflicient length to terminate adjacent the front and rear walls '76 and 7 8 of the magazine. At the top and bottom of the belt travel path, the shelves naturally assume various angular positions disposed from the horizontal in an obvious manner. Each conveyor dispenses from the bottom front releasing each empty shelf for subsequent step-by-step travel upwardly along'the belt rear reach. Thus, fresh articles may be stocked in the empty shelves insuring that the articles are dispensed in a first-in, first-out basis.
Adjacent each front window of a magazine, is an obliquely inclined shelf 102 which may be called a display shelf or an escrow shelf. This shelf displays thearticle to be vended from each of themagazines, the article being held between the display shelf 102 of the magazine window 70 when the machine elements are in their normal positions. It can readily be seen that an article resting on display shelf 102 isvisi-ble through the magazine window 7!) and further through the door window 36, so that the article can be seen by a prospective customer.
Each display shelf 102 is affixed to its conveyor indexing or driving mechanism 87 andis locked in its normal or inclined position thereby. At its upper end 106, each display shelf 102 is overlapped slightly by the empty conveyor shelf 108 which has just dropped its article onto the display shelf 1G2. This shelf 1193 has just moved from the =39 front horizontal position to the angularly disposed position of FIGURE 4, when the motion of the conveyor is counter-clockwise.
To continue the general description of a typical magazine structure 60, the magazine bottom wall 82 includes two slots, a front slot 110, which is slightly to the rear of opening 91), and the second slot 112 rearwardly of slot 110. The rear slot 112 is considerably longer than the front slot for reasons which will be described more fully.
At the top of each of the magazines, there is afiixed a set of mounting fingers 121), which extend forwardly from their connection to the magazine top surface 80. These mounting fingers are of comparatively short length and are spaced-apart to balance a magazine within the mounting structure. Near the upper end of magazine front wall 76 there is a small circular opening 122, which serves to receive a locking screw, as will be described.
Returning to the showing of FIGURE 2, there can be seen adjacent the top of each of the magazines, a magazine support structure 124. These support structures, the details of which are shown best in FIGURES 6 through 8, each comprises a sliding rail structure or slide mechanism which is translatable individually from a normal position within the machine cabinet (the position of FIGURE 6) through a partially extended position such as that shown in FIGURE 7 to a fully extended position (not shown). Each of these support structures 124 includes an upper stationary channel member 130 which is detachably mounted on the adjacent inner top wall of the cabinet 12. This channel member 130 has protruding from its upper surface a pair of longitudinally spaced mounting fingers 125 which mate with suitable slots in mounting brackets 126 firmly secured to the cabinet top wall. A thumb screw 127 and nut 128 combine to mount the slide mechanism to the cabinet to allow ready detachment of each slide mechanism with its magazine. The upper channel member 130 is downwardly open and extends to a stationary end 131 adjacent the machine rear wall 16. Spanning the side walls 132 of the upper chan nel member 130 are two spaced rollers 134. These rollers ride in the upper set of aligned substantially horizontal, elongated slots 136 in parallel sliding rail members 138. The rail members are pinned together by spaced rivets 139, so that the rail members 138 move as a sliding unit 141 on rollers 13 4. Below and roughly parallel to slots 136 in rail members 138 are a second set of slots 140. These slots slideably receive rollers 142 which span the side walls of a lower channel member 144 which is upwardly open.
The slots 136 and in the sliding rail members 138, which have been described as substantially horizontal, in actuality are inclined slightly upwardly toward the machine front so that a magazine borne by the support structure is raised slightly as it is advanced out of the cabinet. The lower channel member 144 is slideable forwardly with respect to the rail member sliding unit 141 and also with respect to the upper channel 131 to a position advanced out of the cabinet 12. In this way, on withdrawal of a magazine from the machine, lower channel 144 advances first to one extended position, following which rail member sliding unit 141 may be advanced out of the stationary channel member 130 to advance the lower channel member 144 a further distance to a fully advanced position.
Within the bottom wall 145 of the lower channel, are a pair of longitudinally spaced openings 146. These openings are positioned and sized to receive the support fingers 120 of a magazine 60 and thereby suspend the magazine from the support member. The lower channel 144 at its front end terminates in a downwardly directed flange 148. An opening in this flange is alignable with the circular opening 122 in the magazine front wall 76, so that by inserting a thumb screw 152 through the aligned openings 122 and 15th and by tightening a suitable nut on the reverse side of this screw, a magazine can be secured to its support structure in a permanent fashion. The support construction set out heretofore, allows each magazine to be slideably advanced individually out of the cabinet and supported fully during the restocking of the magazine shelves. Each magazine may also be readily retracted individually to the normal or dispensing position within the cabinet by the telescoping channel and rail member movement. Each magazine may also be readily detached from the machine with or without its support structure as desired.
Secured to the forward roller 134 on the outside of the upper channel member side wall 132 is a rail member stop 154. This stop is fabricated of resilient sheet metal and is biased inwardly toward its mounting on the outer sunface of the adjacent channel side wall 132. At its mounting, the stop 154 is pivotal in a vertical plane and normally assumes the position shown in FIGURES 6 and 7. When a support structure is fully advanced out of the cabinet and it is desired that the support structure and its appended magazine be maintained in this advanced position, stop 154 is pivoted downwardly to resiliently enter the area to the rear of the fully advanced lower channel member 144. The channel member 144 may not be retracted as the stop is blocking the area through which the lower channel member must pass on retraction.
This stop is especially useful when one magazine is to be detached from the machine and replaced by another magazine. To effect this removal, the front end thumb screw 152 is released and removed and thereafter the magazine is moved rearwardly to disengage the registry of support fingers 120 and mating openings 146. The support structure does not move during this removal and the magazine may be exchanged for a substitute magazine. Once the substitute magazine has been fitted onto the support structure and the thumb screw tightened, the stop may be dislodged manually and restored to its normal position. The support structure and magazine may then be retracted readily.
To complete the mounting arrangement of the individual magazines Within the cabinet, there is provided a common magazine locking mechanism. This locking mechanism is mounted within the mounting base 52, and includes a plurality of parallel cams 158, each individually pivotally pinned to the mounting base. These cams are positioned adjacent slots 159 in the top surface 166 of the mounting base, each slot adjacent the front of a magazine as can be seen in FIGURE 11. Also pivotally mounted to the mounting base 52 is a transverse shaft 160. A second shaft 161 is spaced from and connected in parallel with shaft 169' and is rotatable therewith for movement about the axis of shaft 160. Each cam has a curved portion 168 terminating at one end at radial shoulder 170 and at its other end in finger 174. The slots 159 are alignable individually with the front slots 110 in the bottom walls 82 of the respective magazines 60. These cams 158 normally remain below the upper surface of the mounting base, but are movable upwardly by the force exerted by shaft 161 on each cam finger 174 to a position in which a cam shoulder 170 of each cam 158 protrudes through each of aligned magazine slots 110 to lock all the respective magazines in place with respect to the mounting base 52. A locking handle or lever 172 is mounted for pivotal motion adjacent one end of the mounting base. Handle 172 is firmly connected to shaft and is pivotal about the axis of shaft 160 to provide manual control of the cam movement and through an overcenter linkage this handle pivots shaft 161 to cam each of the cam members 158 from the released position (indicated in broken lines in FIGURE 11). From the released position, the handle may be pivoted to the position shown in solid lines in FIGURE 11, in which the cam shoulders extend through the aligned openings 159 and 110 to lock the magazines in place. In this locked position, the handle is vertically disposed adjacent the front wall 176 of mounting base 52.
Now viewing the handle 172 in the released position of FIGURE 2, it can be seen that the handle will and does interfere with the closure of the door 22.. This interaction insures that all of the magazines are fully retracted within the cabinet before the front door 22may be closed. Thus, if one or more of the magazines 60 are advanced out of the cabinet, the handle on being depressed will push cams 158 upwardly, to a condition wherein one or more of the cam shoulders 170 will engage a bottom wall 82 of a'magazine and will not allow the handle to continue its travel to the lock position. This indicates to the serviceman that one or more magazines must be more fully retracted into the housing before the front door may be closed and locked The tolerances provided in this overcenter linkage and the cam and slots are such that any magazine not fully retracted will be acted on by its cam shoulder on locking motion of handle 172 to retractthe magazine fully. This form of enforced retraction may move the magazine inquestion a distance of approximately a half an inch or more.
The common drive structure for the vending machine is located within mounting base 52 and is shown in detail in FIGURES 3, 9, 10, 11, and 14. This structure includes a drive motor 200 with its drive shaft (not shown). disposed on a horizontal axis and extending normal to the supporting side wall 204 of the mounting base 52. This motor and its linkage to disc 206 are of the type wellknown in the vending art. The motor has mounted to its drive shaft a circular disc 206 which rotates one complete revolution on each motor actuation. A notch 207 in the edge of the disc co-acts with, a miniature snap switch 208 to signal the start or end of the dispensing cycle.
Mounted eccentrically through drive pin 205 on the disc 206 is a pitman or crank arm 21% extending for- Wardly from its mounting in a direction parallel to the mounting base side wall 204. This crank has a second crank arm 212, slideably connected thereto and biased toward the motor disc 206 by a heavy duty tension spring 214 connecting the two crank arms. At the remote end of the second crank arm 212 there is supported an output shaft 216 which extends transversely through the mounting base normal to the crank arms through a cutout 218 in the base wall 204. This output shaft makes one traverse for each motor operation, a traverse including a forward movement through a comparatively fiat arc and a return over roughly the same are. In this way 'the crank mechanism converts the rotary motion of motor 290 to a generally reciprocatory movement of output shaft 216, about the pivotal shaft mounting 220.
A heavy channel structure 230, extends transversely within the base 52 for virtually its entire width. This channel is mounted on the motor output shaft 216 for movement therewith. Within the mounting base 52, the motor output shaft 216 is square in cross section to drive the channel more readily; The channel structure 230 supports a plurality of magnet bracket structures 232, one bracket structure beneath each magazine. The magnet structuresare aligned transversely within the channel structure, the magnet structures all assuming the normal or at-rest position shown in FIGURE '11. v
Adjacent the upper end of the channel structure 230 below each magazine there is mounted an electromagnetic coil 238 whose axis is normal to the bracket structure on which it is mounted. Each coil has an armature 240 which is normally biased by means-of tension spring 242 to a position with its finger 244 extended, as shown in FIGURE 14. This extended finger'normally registers with a cutout 246 in the edge of actuating arm 248 individual to the particular magnet. Actuating arm 248 is biased bya spring 250 in a direction away from motor I jacent shelves.
output shaft'216, and away from the registry of' finger 244 in cutout 246. In what is considered the normal position, the spring 250 is contracted and the magnet armature holds the actuating arm in what may be considered an inactive position. With an actuating arm in the inactive position, the drive or vend motor 260 may drive its output shaft 216 through a cycle (forward and back) without atfectingthe status of the magazine associated with the particular magnet. V
Once a magnet coil is energized, it attracts its armature 240 to draw finger 244 out of the cutout 246. This motion allows bias spring 250 to release its arm 248 to an upwardly extending position, which extends the arm through a slot 252- in the top surface 166 of base 52 and also through slot 112 in the bottom wall of magazine 6%. With an actuating arm extended, operation of the vend motor 200 through a cycle drives the. associated magazine ratchet mechanism to complete a dispensing cycle. As the dispensing cycle is being completed, actuating arm 248 passes below a stationary horizontal rod or roller 254 (which may have an outer surface of Teflon). The roller depresses the actuating arm to restore the arm to its normal or inactive position at the end ofa vend cycle following a slight forward motion of channel 230. Naturally, there is provided a roller for each magazine and for each magnet structure.
Now turning to the construction of an individual ratchet mechanism, it is understood that each magazine has one of these ratchet mechanisms 87 'afiixed to its sidewall 74, on the side opposed to the article storage area with its conveyor belt and shelves. The ratchet mechanism is fitted between the side walls 74 and 75 for protection against accidental jammingsuch as might occur by having a candy bar fall into the ratchet mechanism.
Each'ratchet mechanism '87 has as its main component a main drive lever 262. This drive lever shown in detail in FIGURE 15, is generally triangular in shape and has at its lower vertex end a stepped or offset flange 264. In its upper arcuate surface, the main drive lever 262 has various cutouts and shapeswhich will be explained more fully. In addition, the main, drive lever. 262 has a number ofslots extending through it and has a number of raised members or pins extending from its main surface. As mentioned previously, a ratchet mechanism 87 is mounted between side walls 74 and 75 of a magazine on the sideof wall'74 opposite the conveyor belt structure. The main drive lever 262 is pivotally mounted to the magazine wall at a circularly raised embossed area 266. This embossed area acts to space the ratchet mechanism from side wall 74 to allow movement of the mechanism unencumbered by contact with 'Wall 74. A suitable shaft 268 is used to secure the lever 262 to the emboss. The offset flange 264 extends through a rectangular slot 265 near the base of side wall 74, this slot being directly above the rear slot 112 in the magazine bottom wall 82. A comparatively small curved slot 270, the radius of curvature of which is centered about shaft 268, is'used to restrain the movement of the main drive lever 262 to a comparatively small arc. To attain this end, a suitable pin 272 is fitted through this curved slot 270 and is otherwise aifixed to the magazine side wall 74 within the area of emboss 266. The. main drive lever, thereby is allowed to pivot through only a limited arc.
At its upper curved surface 274, the main drive lever 262 is adjacent a rotatable wheel 276, the wheel having a series of equiangularly spaced rollers generally numbered 278, extending normally to the plane of the wheel 276. In the structure shown, there are provided six of these rollers 278, with the angular distance between these rollers'roughly equalto the vertical distance between ad- Wheel'276 is 'mounted for rotation on arotatable shaft 2%. This shaft 280 extends through the magazine side wall 74 and ha mounted thereon the belt drive sprocket 222; Thus, sprocket 282 will rotate throughan are equal to that through which wheel. 276 is rotated on each step or index. As shown in FIGURES 11 through 14, the wheel 276 is rotatable in a clockwise direction. A spring biased detent 290 acting upon an upper one of the rollers 2'78 holds the wheel against rotation in a counter-clockwise direction.
The main drive lever 262 is biased against movement in a counter-clockwise direction by a tension spring 292 secured between the main drive lever adjacent its oilset flange 264 and a suitable eyelet 293 on wall 74. This bias forces the upper tip 2% of surface 274 against roller 295 on wheel 276. In addition, with the lever 262 in this position, the upper convex edge 29% of the lever is positioned between the two bottom rollers 295' and 2% to positively hold the Wheel against movement.
A pin 3% is mounted on wall '74 and pivotally bears an obliquely extending display arm 352 and motion controlling bracket 3%. The display arm fits between the main drive arm and the magazine side wall '74 and its pin or shaft 3% extends through the main drive lever The motion controlling bracket 3% rests on the surface of the main drive arm opposite the display arm. Bracket 3% has an arcuate slot 3% extending through it, this slot accommodating a motion restricting pin which also extends through a T-shaped slot 319 in the main drive lever 262. This pin or roller is secured to the upper end of the display arm 3% and restricts its motion accordingly. Adjacent the upper concave edge 3112 of the motion control bracket 384, is the wheel drive pawl This drive pawl has an upwardly disposed straight shoulder 322, which is adjacent a lower one (2%) or the rollers 27$ at the start of a ratchet cycle. The wheel drive pawl is pivotally mounted on the main drive lever 262, and is rotatable in a plane parallel thereto. A motion restricting boss 323 and a motion restricting pin 32d extend from the surface of main drive lever 262 on either side of a finger 325 of pawl 32%, in such a manner that movement of the pawl 32d is restrained within a fixed arc. A suitable tension spring 326 is afiixed to the main drive lever at its one end and to the wheel drive pawl finger 325 at its other end, the tension spring resting within a rectilinear slot 339 in the main drive lever 252. This wheel drive pawl 329 has a curved cam surface 332 adjacent the concave edge 312 of the motion restricting bracket to mate therewith during the cycle. The display arm 3% has an oitset end 334 which extends through an arcuate slot 34% in the side wall '74 of the magazine and has secured to this offset end the display shelf Till.
The complex motion of this ratchet mechanism will become clearer following the forthcoming operative description of the motion of the ratchet mechanism:
in FlGURE 11, the ratchet mechanism is shown in its at-rest position with the display arm 3% bearing its display shelf 102, locked in position by the engagement of the motion restricting roller 308 with the upper end of the T-shaped slot 319, and the upper end of the motion restricting bracket slot 306. With this locked arrangement, no one can reach through the delivery slot and improperly release the display shelf. The wheel 2'76 is locked by the action of detent 2%, lever tip 294, and lever curved wall 2%.
To actuate a ratchet mechanism, the magnet 233 associated with the particular magazine will have been energized consequent to deposit of the necessary coins and the selection or" the magazine by the vendee. The circuit to drive motor Ziiti is then completed to start the forward motion of the crank arms Zlltl and 212. As the forward motion of the crank arms begins, the actuating arm 24-8 elevated by energization of its magnet coil 238 will engage the rear edge 35% of the main drive lever oiiset flange in the manner shown in FIGURE 12. This movement pivots the main drive lever 252 a slight amount and display arm 302 drops rapidly due to gravity. This movement causes the display arm roller 3% to fall into the leg 352 of the T-shaped slot 31%? in the main drive lever 262 holding the display arm 3&2. in the dropped position.
This dropping of the display arm inclines the display shelf to allow the article held thereon to pass through the opening between the magazine window 7% and the magazine bottom wall The article selected is thereby dispensed to the delivery tray 48 and the mechanism must restore.
As the forward travel of the motor crank arms and the consequent travel of the main drive lever continues, the wheel drive pawl 32% engages the adjacent roller 2% and begins a slow and limited amount of rotation of the wheel 276. As the wheel 276 begins its limited rotation, the wall of the T-shaped slot fall contacts and depresses the display arm roller 3&3 to rapidly restore the display shelf to its raised or normal position. To etiect this return of the display arm 3%, the roller 3% engages the bottom portion 354 of the T-shaped slot 310 and the bottom of slot to lock the arm and the display shelf and prevent further dispensing on this cycle.
The forward drive continues and the pawl 32% continues to rotate the wheel 27s slowly. Wheel 1276 continues its slow movement, which as mentioned also advances the conveyor belt and its shelves. During this continuing wheel motion, the heretofore lowest horizontal shelf at the front drops it article onto the restored display shelf. The conveyor shelf continues its driven downward movement until it establishes an overlapping relationship with the display shelf upper edge 1%. This overlapping relationship has as its primary goal the prevention or" removal or theft of the article newly dropped onto the display shelf. In a more simplified way, the display shelf is blocked from being reached through the delivery slot opening.
The forward motion of the actuating arm 1243 continues in such a way that the wheel drive pawl 32% continues its rotation with the dispaly arm 392; lock-ed in its normal position. At the forward-most end or" the crank arm motion within the motor cycle, the wheel detent 2% engages the adjacent wheel roller to stop the wheel and conveyor motion. At this position, the channel structure reaches a stop (not shown) which limits its forward motion. The drive motor crank arms 216) and 212 then begin a return motion through virtually the same arc as the forward passage. The crank arms release pressure on the main drive lever and lever 262 begins to restore under the effect of its bias spring. Pawl 32%) is cammed by the engagement of its curved surface with the concave edge 3112 of the motion restricting bracket 3% to hold the display arm and shelf locked in the raised or normal position. Pawl 32%) slides past roller 2% and assumes its at-rest position. The detent 2% holds the wheel 2% during this restoration motion in which the display arm is held while the remainder of the ratchet mechanism restores to the normal position of FTGURE 11. To reach this normal position, the channel structure 23% reaches its rear-most position with respect to its pivotally mounted shaft 226?, and then begins a forward movement to pass actuate arm 243 below roller 254. In retrospect, it may be said that each operation of a ratchet mechanism steps its wheel 275 a sixth of a revolution to advance the conveyor belt the vertical distance between adjacent shelves.
FIGURE 16 shows a simplified electrical circuit to vend articles having three possible price lines for the sale or articles of 52 value, 10 value, or 15 value. The circuit operation as utilized herein is quite conventional and has been utilized to indicate the general mode of operation of the machine.
To actuate the machine, the user inserts the proper coin or coins in the coin chute 30. The coins pass and close the contacts of a coin switch 5% to close an obvious circuit to the stepping unit oil 5% one or more times to step the stepping wiper 5% to the contact indicative of the amount of money inserted. Assuming the choice of a 10 article and the insertion of a dime or two nickels, the switch 566? will have closed twice to cause the wiper 5% to advance to the 10 price line 5496. The user then depresses the push button 40 on the machine front corresponding to the article selected. Depression of the button closes contact 512 to contact 524. Similar contacts 525 and 526 would be closed by depression of the select button for amounts of 5 or respectively. It can be seen that the amount inserted must correspond to the button pushed to complete an operate path to the delivery relay 52d. In a generally known manner, by electrical or mechanical interlocks, the user is restricted to the depression of only one push button of the set of three shown to actuate the respective armature contacts: Slit, 512, or 514.
Once the proper coinage has been inserted (10) to step the wiper 5634 to the 10 contact price line, and the proper button has been depressed to close contact 512 to 524, a complete path can be traced to the delivery relay 520. This path may be traced from lead Ll through normally closed contact 522, contact 510, closed contacts 512524, magnet 53%, the 10 price line and lead 5%,
wiper 504, delivery relay 5% to lead L2. Magnet 5% also operates to release its acutate arm 243 adjacent the selected magazine, as previously described.
The delivery relay 520 is energized over the completed path and closes its contact 532 to complete a circuit to the vend motor 2%. Delivery relay contacts 534 also close to latch the delivery relay 520 in the operated condition over a path through the normally closed motor contacts 540-542. The delivery relay opens its contacts 522 to open its original operate path.
The vend motor 209 once energized, closes itself in the operated position through its own contacts 543. These motor actuated contacts may be operated by the action of motor disc 206 and miniature switch 2&8. Once the motor 200 has started its cycle, the contact closure 546-542 opens and armature contact 546 closes to contact 544 to energize the reset coil 546. During this time period, the vend motor is driving the selected actuate arm 24% to operate the ratchet mechanism of the selected magazine one step dispensing the selected article.
The closure of the contacts 540 to 544 opens the latch circuit to the delivery relay 520 which then restores. The reset coil 546 restores the wiper 504 to its home position 550. The motor Ztltl completes its one revolution at which time the miniature snap switch adjacent motor disc 266 is acted on by the disc notch to release contacts 54% and 542. The entire circuit is restored to normal, 21 The item having been dispensed from the selected magazine column.
It may be noted that the use of two telescoping crank arms 210 and 212 joined by the heavy duty tension spring 214 could be replaced by a single crank arm connected at one end to the motor disc 206 and at the other end to the main output shaft 216. The embodiment shown, is productive of an important safety feature over the single crank arm approach. The reasoning behind the disclosed approach is as follows: First, it is imperative that the crank arm return travel be sufficiently great that it will fully reset all actuated arms 248. To achieve this end, an amount of return overtravel is added to the crank arm stroke to compensate for any combination of manufacturing tolerances. In addition, it is imperative also that in case a magazine ratchet mechanism jams or a candy bar jams, the motor will not stall and burn out.
To combat both these problems, the double crank approach has been used. First, by the spring action, the overtravel feature is readily effected for all machines regardless of the allowed tolerances of the component parts. In addition, the spring 214 is designed to deflect on an excess amount of drive motion and a jammed output. Thus, the motor action will be absorbed by the heavy duty spring on occurrence of a completely jammed output. The spring is sufiiciently strong to override any minor jamming tendency in the completion of its cycle, and only on extensive jamming will the spring deflect to absorb the motor energy. a
To continue with the detailed description, it can be seen that with one exception the magazines shown have been of uniform width (see FIGURES 1 and 2). Naturally, all of the articles, which are to be dispensed are not of uniform width. To accommodate articles of different widths, the machine as set forth herein may have any adjacent pair of magazines replaced by one double-width magazine 6% as shown in FIGURES 2 and 4a. A double-width magazine 600 has its conveyor shelves of extra width to accomodate large size articles. The magazine 6% is suspended on two support mechanisms IZQand would have a frontal width behind two push buttons 4%. The magazine would be provided with a single drive or ratchet mechanism 601, therefore the right-most of the two buttons would either have to be immobilized, or in a preferred system would have to be commonly connected to the magnet coil 6G2. adjacent the magazine ratchet drive. The other magnet 664 below the magazine 60! would be electrically detached from the control circuit to prevent interference. By either of these simple expedients, a double-Width magazine could be used in place of any two'adjacent singlewidth magazines in a readily interchangeable manner. As shown in FIGURE 2 and 4a, the double-width magazine 6% is flanked by two single-width. magazines 6% and 6%, these single-width magazines having their construction identical to that described previously. Conversely, this double-width magazine tltlcould easily be replaced by two single-width magazines.
In addition, the space between adjacent magnet-operated actuate arms and the space between the support members could be varied in providingother machine models. For such models, for example, some of the magazines could be one and one half times the nominal single width. In this Way, the machine could easily store and dispense narrow articles, intermediate size articles, or large size articles.
For such machines, the distance between magnets and the cooperating mounting base structure dimensions would be set to receive these intermediate-Width magazines. Once a mounting base structure has been fabricated for either single or intermediate width, it cannot readily be changed. As mentioned, double-width units could replace two single-width units embodying all the other principles and features employed herein. In one generally used form,'the three right-most magazines are of intermediate width, with the remaining units of single width. As discussed previously, a double-width magazine may be interchanged with two single-width magazines most readily in this form of the machine. The resulting machine once fabricated may be altered in the field by the Serviceman to meet the needs of the particular location. In addition, conventional dispensing magazines for such small items as gum or mints may be fitted onto the small blank area at the right of the machine. The employment of such conventional devices has not been shown herein to simplify the disclosure somewhat.
Within this general framework, there has been described the construction and operation of a First-In First-Gut vending machine. It is quite apparent that with minor modifications in the construction features shown, the principle used herein could be applied to horizontal unitary magazines. By providing such horizontal magazine members which are individually slideable for refilling and maintenance, the First-In First-Out principle shown herein may be used for vending many other articles of mer- Such a machine would employ conveyor belt movement and drive as shown, along with slide mechanisms as shown also. The belt shelves would extend forwardly and 'rearwardly for most of their extent and would push the articles to a dispensing position at the corner of the magazine at the end of the travel along the machine front. In this way, the principle shown herein could readily be adapted for use with many other articles of merchandise.
It is quite obvious that many modifications may be made therein, and it is intended to cover in the appended claims all such modifications which fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.
The invention claimed is:
1. A vending machine having a lockable main housing within which are stored a plurality of articles of merchandise to be dispensed therefrom in response to a selection thereof, means for storing said articles in a plurality of magazines, each of said magazines comprising an endless belt conveyor disposed in an oblong path, spaced-apart, article-bearing shelves extending outwardly from each conveyor in both the forward and rear direction, means driving a conveyor in response to selection thereof, a step corresponding to the distance between adjacent shelves to emit one article from the bank on each selection, a dispensing device adjacent each of said conveyors at the bottom front thereof for discharging an article received from a conveyor in response to a selection, individual overhead mounting structure for each of said magazines, each said mounting structure being individually extensible to advance its magazine out of said machine, and being retractable to enclose said magazines within said housing, and a latch mechanism cooperatively engaging all of said magazines, said mechanism being movable to a lock position latching all the magazines in the machine retracted within said housing, said mechanism being releasable to a release position to allow the advance of one or more magazines out of said machine.
2. A vending machine as claimed in claim 1, in which there is a lever in said latch mechanism debarring closure and locking of said housing with said mechanism in said release position, said latch mechanism further including a plurality of cam members each engaging one of the magazines, and in which said cam members are respon sive to partial retraction of one or more of said magazines and movement of said mechanism toward said first position for fully retracting said one or more partially retracted magazines.
3. A vending machine for dispensing individual articles of merchandise, comprising: a plurality of side-by-side magazines juxtaposed in said machine, a display Window on each magazine for viewing the next article to be dispensed from each of said magazines, a display shelf in each of said magazines for holding said next article adjacent to said window, individual support structure for each of said magazines, means detachably mounting each of said magazines on its support structure, each support structure individually extensible to draw its magazine out of the machine and hold its magazine thereon, each of said magazines including a substantially vertical endless belt conveyor, a plurality of article-bearing shelves spaced along said conveyor, said shelves and said display shelf accessible from one side of said magazine when drawn out of said machine.
4. A vending machine for dispensing individual articles of merchandise, comprising: a plurality of side-by-side magazines juxtaposed in said machine, a'display window on each magazine for viewing the next article to be dispensed from each of said magazines, a display shelf in each of said magazines for holding said next at sic adjacent to said window, individual support structure for each of said magazines, means detacuably mounting each of said magazines on its support structure, each support structure individually extensible to draw its magazine out of the machine and hold its magazine thereon, each of said magazines including a substantially vertical endless belt conveyor, a plurality of article-bearing shelves spaced along said conveyor, said shelves and said display shelf accessible from one side of said magazine when drawn out of said machine; a mounting base for normally retaining thereon said magazines, a mounting surface on each of said magazines normally resting on said mounting base, and means in each said support structure for elevating the 1d mounting surface of its magazine out of contact with said mounting base on displacement of the particular magazine out of said machine.
5. A vending machine for dispensing individual articles of merchandise, comprising: a plurality of side-byside magazines juxtaposed in said machine, a display window on each magazine for viewing the next article to be dispensed fro-m each of said magazines, a display shelf in each of said magazines for holding said next article adjacent to said window, individual support structure for each of said magazines, means detachably mounting each of said magazines on its support structure, each support structure individually extensible to draw its magazine out of the machine and hold its magazine thereon, each of said magazines including a substantially vertical endless belt conveyor, a plurality of article-bearing shelves spaced along said conveyor, said shelves and said display shelf accessible from one side of said magazine when drawn out of said machine; said support structure comprising rail members normally telescoped within said machine, with each structure extensible to individually carry the magazine held thereon out of said machine; and each of said mounting means individually releasable to permit detachment of its magazine from the support structure.
6. A machine as claimed in claim 5 in which'said support structure each includes, means for locking said rail members in the extended position during detachment of the mounting means.
7. A vending machine for dispensing individual articles of merchandise, comprising: a plurality of magazines juxtaposed in said machine; individual telescoping slide structure for supporting each of said magazines; means detachably mounting each of said magazines on its supporting slide structure, each supporting structure extensible individually to draw its magazine out of the machine and hold its magazine therebelow; each of said magazines including an endless belt, shelved conveyor and a display shelf for displaying the next article to be dispensed from that magazine; and each of said magazines including an open side to render the shelves and display shelf accessible from one side when drawn out of said machine.
8. A vending machine for dispensing articles of merchandise comprising: a cabinet having sidewalls and an open interior storage area; a plurality of magazines juxtaposed within said storage area; each of said magazines comprising a substantially vertically disposed, endless belt, shelved conveyor; drive structure individually mounted on each of said magazines, each said drive structure selectively actuatable to step its conveyor on actuation thereof; commonly-driven actuating members operable on selection to engage the magazine adjacent thereto and actuate its drive structure; support means for each of said magazines individually extensible to displace its magazine out of said cabinet for replenishment of the articles and replacement of the magazine, a first and a second of said magazines replaceable by a single greater width magazine, the drive structure on said greater width magazine positioned to allow only one of said actuating members to engage the greater width magazine drive structure.
9. A vending machine for dispensing articles of merchandise, comprising: a cabinet having sidewalls and an open interior storage area, a plurality of article-bearing magazines juxtaposed within said storage area, each of said magazines comprising a substantially vertically disposed endless belt, shelved conveyor; drive structure individually mounted on each of said magazines, each said drive structure selectively actuatable to step its conveyor on actuation thereof; means supporting each of said magazines individually for displacement out of said cabinet for replenishment of the articles and replacement of the magazine, said supporting means including spaced overhead suspension structure for each of said magazines; means for mounting each of said magazines to one of said supporting means, said mounting means releasable to allow detachment of said magazines; and means for mounting one extra Wide magazine on two of said adjacent supporting means.
119. A vending machine for dispensing articles of merchandise, comprising: a cabinet having sidewalls and an open interior storage area, a plurality of magazines juxtaposed within said storage area, each of said magazines comprising a substantially vertically disposed endless belt conveyor, shelves spaced along said conveyor for bearing articles to be dispensed, drive structure individually mounted on each of said magazines, each said drive structure selectively actuatable to step its conveyor on actuation thereof, means supporting each of said magazines individually, said supporting means comprising spaced overhead rail members for each of said magazines, said rail members individually extensible to withdraw the ma gazines individually from said machine for replenishment of articles on said shelves, means for mounting each of said magazines on one of said supporting means, said mounting means releasable to permit detachment of the magazines, and means formounting one extra wide magazine on two of said adjacent supporting means.
11. In a vending machine for dispensing individual articles of merchandise, a plurality of magazines mounted.
in said machine, means mounting each of said magazines for slide movement from an exposed position to an operable position, each of said magazines comprising a substantially vertically disposed endless belt conveyor, a display shelf in each of said magazines for holding the next article to be dispensed from said magazine in a displayed position, a plurality of forwardly and rearwardly extending shelves spaced along the extent of each of said conveyors, each of said shelves being capable of carrying an article, an article dispensing means for depressing a display shelf to emit an article therefrom, for restoring said display shelf to its display position and for advancing its conveyor to drop an article from one of the shelves of the magazine onto said display shelf.
12. A vending machine for dispensing individual articles of merchandise comprising: a plurality of magazines disposed within said machine, a display shelf afiixed to each of said magazines for holding the next article to be dispensed from its magazine, a display window for each magazine through which said next article can be viewed; each of said magazines comprising a substantially vertically disposed conveyor with forwardly and rearwardly extending shelves on each of said conveyors, each of said shelves being capable of carrying an article; means supporting each of said magazines for displacement between a service position and a normal dispensing position, means individual to each magazine for holding the magazine in said service position outside the machine to expose the shelves of its conveyor for restocking the display shelf and articles borne thereon; and article dispensing means operative with a magazine in its normal position for emitting a selected article from the display shelf of the selected magazine, and for advancing its conveyor to dispose a new article onto said display shelf.
13. A vending machine for dispensing individual articles of merchandise comprising: a plurality of magazines normally disposed in retracted position in juxtaposed rows within said machine, each of said magazines comprising a substantially vertically disposed endless conveyor, forwardly and rearwardly extending shelves on each of said conveyors, each of said shelves being capable of carrying an article, article dispensing means for emitting a selected article and for advancing its conveyor to dispose a new article into dispensing position, means mounting each of said magazines for individual displacement to a service position, and individual latch means for holding a magazine mounting means in said service position and operable to permit detachment of said magazine from its mounting means, said latch means on operation latching said mounting means displaced to said service position.
14. A vending machine for dispensing individual articles of merchandise comprising: a plurality of magazines disposed in juxtaposed rows within said machine, each of said magazines comprising a substantially vertically disposed endless belt conveyor, forwardly and rearwardly extending shelves on each of said conveyors, means including structure supporting each of said magazines for individual displacement between a service position and an operative position, a sliding surface comprising the bottom edge of each of said magazines to allow slide movement of each of said magazines on displacement thereof, and article dispensing means operable with a magazine in its operative position to extend through said sliding surface for emitting a selected article and for advancing its conveyor to dispose a new article into dispensing position. 15. In a vending machine for dispensing individual articles of merchandise,.a plurality of magazines disposed in juxtaposed rows within said machine, means mounting each of said magazines for individual displacement between an operative position in said machine and a service position extended out of said machine, each of said magazines comprising a substantially vertically disposed endless belt conveyor,forwardly and rearwardly extending shelves on each of said conveyors, each of said shelves being capable of carrying an article, a display shelf on each of said magazines, and article dispensing means operable for emitting a selected article from said display shelf and for advancing its conveyor to dispose a new article onto said display shelf in dispensingposition, said dispensing means. comprising means individual-to each ofthe magazines for tripping and restoring the magazine display shelf and for advancing its conveyor, common drive for all said conveyors, and members individual to each of said magazines connected to said drive means, said members individually responsive to selection of one of said magazines to extend into said one magazine to couple the common drive to the dispensing means and actuate the article dispensing means. a
16. A vending machine for dispensing individual articles of merchandise, comprising: a plurality of magazines juxtaposed in said machine, said magazines each including a substantially vertical endless belt conveyor, forwardly and rearwardly extending shelves spaced along each said conveyor, said shelves spaced along said belt to carry thereon articles to be dispensed, means on each of said magazines actuatable to advance said conveyor and articles thereon toward a dispensing position, common drive means for said machine, means for coupling said drive means to one of said conveyor advance means, said coupling means normally disengaged from all said magazines, the coupling means of a magazine responsive to a selection thereof for engaging the selected magazine and actuating its drive means to advance the conveyor one shelf spacing, and in which there is a mounting base on which all said magazines rest, and inwhich the coupling means of a selected magazine extends through said mounting base to actuate the advance means of the selected magazine. I
17. A vending machine as claimed in claim 16, in which there is a sliding surface on each of said magazines for resting on said mounting base, and in which there is support structure individually mounting each magazine in said machine for advance out of the machine and off said mounting base. 7
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,634,185 4/53 V-Jilder 221-238 X 2,665,184 1/54 Hord 221-197 2,884,110 4/59 Krasney 221l97 2,923,392 2/60' Gabrielsen 22l129 X 3,114,473 12/63 Weber 221 X 3,128,013 4/64 Holstein et al 221-131 X LOUIS I. DEMBO, Primary Examiner.
HADD S. LANE, Examiner.