US 3203588 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. 31, 1965 w. o. O'NEAL 3,203,588
CAM OPERATED ARTICLE RELEASING MEANS Filed May 14, 1962 3 Sheets-Sheet l FIG.1
' A ll INVENTOR. Will) '0. 01760/ Eh. W
Aug. 31, 1965 w. o. O'NEAL 3,203,588
CAM OPERATED ARTICLE RELEASING MEANS Filed May 14, 1962 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR.
Wilbert 0. O'nea/ Aug. 31, 1965 w. o. O'NEAL CAM OPERATED ARTICLE RELEASING MEANS 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed May 14, 1962 AT/ys R O N E V m BY Wharf 0 O'neal mw W United States Patent 3,203,588 CA'M OPERATED ARTICLE RELEASING MEANS Wilbert 0. ONeal, Arlington Heights, 111., assignor, by mesne assignments, to L. W. Menzimer, Rockford, Ill., trustee Filed May 14, 1962, Ser. No. 194,489 '4 Claims. (Cl.22-1'67) This invention relates to the dispensing of packaged material and, more particularly, to an improvement in dispensing machines of the type utilized to dispense individual packaged units in response to a vend cycle or other impulse.
The invention will be described with reference to the dispensing of bottled beverages, for example, of a variety of flavors in generally cylindrical containers, but it is to be equally understood that the device hereinafter described may also be utilized to dispense other types of package articles, including canned and bottled goods and other similar items.
In the last decade, the volume of goods purchased through coin operated vending machines has grown at an extremely rapid rate. In view of this rapid increase, the vending industry in general has attempted to up-date their vending equipment in order to keep pace with consumer demand for vended items. In redesigning older equipment and in evolving new equipment, particular emphasis has been placed on the design of equipment which involves relatively low initial costs and which will perform with great reliability. The reliability of vending equipment is of particular importance because of the increase in labor service costs and because of the fact that a machine in the field which is subject to frequent breakdowns not only destroys consumer confidence in the machine, but loses many sales due to its inability to dispense item-s. As a result, there is a great demand in the industry for equipment which will perform in a reliable manner and which does not involve a premium price for this reliability.
In a co-pending application filed in the name of Floyd Bookout on February 20, 1961 (Serial Number 90,346), now Patent No. 3,146,907 and assigned to the assignee of the instant invention, a dispensing device is described which is particularly adapted to dispense generally cylindrical items from a staggered stack column. The device described in the co-pending application accomplishes the elimination of crushing forces which heretofore tended to make staggered stack vendors relatively impractical, and thereby provides a dispensing device which is free from interference in normal operation so that articles contained therein can be delivered smoothly and cleanly to the consumer.
While the device described in the co-pending application and described hereinafter by way of explanation of the instant invention has proven to be a valuable addition to the art, it is subject on occasion to a man-made condition which render-s it capable of being pilfered by those unscrupulous citizens in our midst who apply their talents in a nefarious manner.
It is, therefore, an object of this invention to provide a dispensing device of simple and economic construction which is incapable of being pilfered.
Another object of this invention is to provide a dispensing device which is capable of dispensing articles in a smooth and clwn manner and which, by virtue of its construction, positively prevents pilfering of items contained therein.
Another object of this invention is to provide a dispensing device wherein only one item may be removed therefrom during an individual vend cycle.
A still further object of this invention is to provide a dispensing device which is constructed in such a manner that all but the item to be legitimately vended are positively prevented from being removed from the device.
Other objects and advantages of my invention will be apparent from the following description of the preferred embodiments of the invention taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a side view in elevation of a dispensing magazine with parts broken away.
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the magazine of FIG. 1 with additional structure shown.
FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic view of the operating and dispensing elements with parts rearranged to facilitate illustration.
FIG. 4 is a sectional elevation looking into a compartment of the device from the line 55 of FIG. 3 and showing the arrangement of elements in one position.
FIG. 5 is a view like that of FIG. 4 showing the arrangement of elements in an adjacent compartment as seen from line 55 of FIG. 3.
FIG. 6 is a View like that of FIG. 5 showing the arrangement of elements in another adjacent compartment.
FIG. 7 is a view like FIG. 6 but showing the position of the parts during the vending operation.
FIG. 8 is a view similar to FIG. 7 showing the arrangement of elements at a subsequent time.
FIG. 9 is a view like that of FIG. 8 showing the arrangementof elements at a subsequent time.
Referring now to FIGURES 1 and 2, 10 indicates an article dispensing machine which, for purposes of illustration and explanation only, is indicated as a bottle vendor and which has front and rear walls 11 and side Walls 12. Extending between the front and rear walls 11 in substantially parallel spaced apart relation to the side walls 12 are intermediate wall portions 13 and 14. Open end compartments 15, 16 and 17 are defined respectively by one side wall 12 and one side of intermediate wall 13, the other side. of wall 13 and one side of wall 14, and the other side of wall 14 and the other side wall 12.
Intermediate the front and rear walls 11 in each compartment (15, 16 and 17) is .a spacer member designated respectively as 18, 19 and 20. It is to be noted that the spacer members are adjustable forwardly and rearwardly so as to accommodate a variety of bottle lengths. Portions of the side and intermediate walls are also adjustable transversely so that the widths of any of the compartments may be varied to accommodate bottles of varying diameters. A discussion of this adjustability concept will not be engaged in here as it does not form a necessary portion of the inventive concept of this application and is in fact the subject matter of applicants co-pending application Serial No. 209,421, filed July 12, 1962, now Patent No. 3,145,066.
Irrespective of bottle length, the spacer member in a particular compartment will be so positioned so as to either lie flush with, or receive a portion of, the crown ends of all bottles in the particular compartment since it is generally intended to have similarly sized bottles. in each individual compartment. The walls defining each. of the compartments will normally be spaced one from the other by an amount greater than the greatest crosswise dimension of the bottle, but less than twice such. dimension so that when the bottles are laid horizontally in the compartment to extend lengthwise between the. front and rear walls 11, they will form into a column 21 (FIGS. 4-9) in which they are alternately offset or staggered one from the other in two row-s in such a manner that the centerlines of each of the rows in a column are spaced apart by a distance less than the greatest crosswise dimension of the bottles.
Pivotably mounted to the front and rear walls 11 in each of the compartments 15, 16 and 17 are a pair of arm members 22 and 22. Abutments or rods 25 are fixedly attached between each pair of arms at the extremity thereof opposite to the respective pivot points 23 of the arms. Another series of pairs of pivotable arms 24 and 24' are disposed in respective adjacent position to the aforesaid arms and between each pair, as before, are affixed abutment rods 26.
Looking at FIGURE 3 which illustrates the operating mechanism in compartment 16, it can be seen that, by alternately moving the arms transversely to the compartment length, a space can be created between one of the abutment rods (25 and 26) and one of the compartment side walls sufiicient to allow a bottle to pass therebetween. However, when both rods are in the position of FIGURE 3 or FIGURE 4, they effectively prevent a bottle from passing therebetween or between one or the other of the rods and the compartment side walls.
Each frontal arm (22 and 24) is provided with a protruding cam follower indicated respectively at 27 and 28. Centrally positioned with respect to each compartment is a rotatable cam shaft 37 having a cam 29 affixed thereto which has a recess 30 extending inwardly from the general cam periphery. The cam shaft is motor driven as will subsequently be explained in greater detail.
By viewing FIGS. 3 and together, it can be seen that as the cam 29 in compartment 16 is rotated in a counterclockwise manner, the cam follower 28 associated with arm 24 rides into the recess 30, thereby allowing the bottle which was formerly resting upon the rod 26 to escape between the intermediate wall portion 14 and the displaced rod 26. The bottle in the other row in the compartment which was formerly in contact with the escaped bottle together with all bottles thereabove descends until it rests upon the rod 25. It is to be noted that the bottle resting upon the rod is effectively prevented from following the path of the escaped bottle because the bottles above it wedge it into engagement with the rod 25. It can, therefore, be seen that as the cam rotates, bottles are first dispensed from one row in the column and thence from the other row in the column according to the order of displacement of the rods 25 and 26.
The device so far described is substantially identical with that of the co-pending application of Bookout. In that device, it was possible for a dishonest person to cheat the machine, and it is to prevent this occurrence that the improvement herein was evolved. To cheat the up-tonow described structure, the evildoer would insert a legitimate coin to initiate the vend cycle and thereby rotate the cam shaft and cam so as to allow, for example (FIG. 5), the cam follower 28 to enter the recess 30, thereby displacing the rod 26 to allow the bottle formerly resting thereon to escape from the compartment (and in that embodiment to be delivered to the evildoer). By so timing his actions, the culprit would pull the main power plug before the cam follower 28 had an opportunity to engage the general periphery of the cam 29. This would serve to immobilize the machine, leaving the rods 25 and 26 in the position of FIG. 5. The culprit would then insert his hand up into the compartment 16 and manipulate the bottle resting upon rod 25 out of engagement therewith so that it would follow the path of the legitimately dispensed bottle. In this manner, it was entirely possible to remove the complete contents of any one compartment, particularly if the compartment was not entirely full of bottles since the only thing tending to resist this manipulation was the weight of the columns of bottles in the compartment. As the number of bottles in a compartment decreased, the chances of success in pilfering the compartment increased since the culprit was called upon to exert a correspondingly lesser force with his fingers to manipulate the bottles.
To prevent the above described occurrence, I have by modification improved the basic device so that it is impossible to illegally remove bottles in this manner either by hand or by other implement. This has been accomplished through the use of an escrow shelf 31, FIG. 3,
which is located near the bottom of each compartment and is affixed to frontal and rearward arms 32 which may be pivoted at 33 at the same points (23) as one pair of arms (in this case, the arms 24 and 24). The frontal escrow arm 32 has an extended portion which has a cam follower 34 thereon. A second cam 35 having recesses 36 thereon is mounted on the original cam shaft 37 and like the cam 29 is rotatable therewith. It is to be noted that the cams 29 and 35 may be separate cams as shown or they may constitute a single cam having two faces. By noting the configuration of the cams 29 and 35 in FIG. 3, it can be seen that the escrow shelf 31 will be displaced twice as often as either of the rods 25 or 26 and displaced at some period of time subsequent to the displacement of each of the rods.
While the invention has been disclosed in a three compartment dispensing device, it is equally applicable to a one compartment device or to a device having more than three compartments. Before embarking upon a discussion of the three compartment device, a short explanation of the complete cycle of a one compartment device will be engaged in.
Referring to FIG. 5, it can be seen that, when the cam follower 28 on the arm 24 rides into the recess on the cam 29 by virtue of the cam shaft having revolved in a counter-clockwise direction, the bottle formerly resting upon the displaced rod 26 falls downwardly between the rod and the side of the compartment onto the escrow shelf 31. The remainder of the bottles descend a bottle width in the compartment so that the bottle in the next row adjacent the bottle formerly resting upon the displaced rod rests upon the other rod 25. As the cams continue to rotate in a clockwise direction, the cam follower 28 rides out of the recess 30 onto the general periphery of the cam, causing the rod to assume the position of FIG. 6. Continued rotation of the cam shaft 37 and the weight of the bottle on the escrow shelf 31 causes the escrow cam follower 34 to enter one of the recesses 36 in the cam so as to assume the vending position of FIG. 7. In a single compartment machine, each complete rotation of the cam shaft would accomplish two vending cycles and the coinage circuit and timing circuit would be arranged in such a manner that upon insertion of the proper coinage, the shaft would be made to rotate one-half of a revolution.
It is to be especially noted that, at all times during the cycle of the device, entrance to the compartment is blocked by either both abutment rods or one or the other of the abutment rods and the escrow shelf. In this manner, it is physically impossible to remove additional bottles from the compartment since the horizontal distance between the abutment rods or between one of the abutment rods and the escrow shelf is always less than the diameter of the bottles. Thus, even though some one with a small hand could reach up into the compartment, it would still not enable him to illegally remove a bottle therefrom.
One preferred embodiment of the device has a plurality of compartments. A motor 38 which is connected to a coin switch is afiixed to the device 10 and has a drive shaft 39 upon which is mounted a drive gear 40. The driving gear 40 engages a gear 41 which is fixedly mounted on the cam shaft 37. On either side of the gear 41 in engagement therewith on appropriate shafts are located idler gears 42. The idler gears 42 engage gears 43 which are mounted on cam shafts 44 which are the counterparts of the cam shaft 37, in compartments 15 and 17.
The cam shaft 37 has a timing gear 45 fixedly mounted thereon. The timing gear in this illustration has 6 abutments 46 in equally spaced relation around the periphery thereof. Adjacent the timing gear 45 in position to be operated thereby is a normally open motor full cycle switch 47.
While the complete circuitry of the coinage and vend cycles is not shown, since it does not form a portion of the invention, the motor and timing sequence will be explained. After a coin of the proper denomination has been inserted in the device and determined to be legitimate in any one of a variety of well-known manners, a switch is automatically closed to activate the motor 38. The motor causes the cam shafts to rotate through the illustrated gear train. Rotation of the cam shafts initiates the vend cycle and causes the timing gear 45 to close the motor full cycle switch 47 via abutments 46. When the full cycle switch is closed, power is fed from the source through the switch to the motor so that the switch in a manner of speaking constitutes a motor holding circuit. When the cam shaft has rotated 60 or the distance between adjacent switch abutments, the next abutment on the timing gear contacts the motor switch to open same, thereby inactivating the motor and gear train and restoring the initial power circuit to the motor so that the system is ready for the next operation which, of course, would be initiated by the insertion of another coin.
Referring now to FIGS. 4-6, three adjacent compartments 15, 16 and 17 are shown with the cams in each successive compartment 60 out of phase. When a coin of the proper denomination is inserted in the device to activate the motor, the cams in each of the compartments are rotated 60. The escrow cam follower 34 in compartment 17 enters the cam recess 36, thereby allowing the bottle on the escrow shelf 31 to be vended (FIG. 7). During the same 60 of rotation, the escrow cam follower quickly rides out of the recess 36 and asumes its nonvending position with the recess in the two oclock position (as in FIG. 4, for example). At the same time, the cam follower 28 in the adjacent compartment 16 is brought back into blocking position. Meanwhile, the cam follower 28 in the third compartment 15 rides into the recess 30, thereby allowing a bottle to drop onto the escrow shelf. It should be noted that in each and every compartment, there are always at least two abutment rods or an abutment rod and the escrow shelf prohibiting bottles from exiting from the compartment directly to the consumer. The mechanisms in each compartment operate so that bottles are dispensed alternately from each of the column rows onto the escrow shelf with a particular escrow shelf dispensing its contents during every third vending cycle.
I have, therefore, by providing an intermediate stage, the escrow shelf, effectively prevented pilfering of the type which was heretofore relatively common. This has been accomplished in such a manner that a minimum of additional structure is required and so that none of the advantages of the basic structure are lost.
While I have illustrated one motor for the three compartments, it may be necessary to utilize two or more motors when the number of compartments increase above three or four so as to group certain compartments with a particular motor, but this is not shown.
While a particular embodiment of the invention has been shown and described, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made therefrom without departing from the spirit of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
1. In an article dispensing device having laterally spaced side walls and end walls defining a compartment for holding generally vertical rows of articles in side-by-side relation with the articles in each of the rows laterally and alternately overlapping the articles in the other row, the improvements comprising: a pair of laterally movable abutments in said compartment arranged with one abutment below each of said rows for supporting said articles and mounted for lateral movement to a position to release the bottom article from its row for downward movement in said compartment, each of said abutments having cam follower means fixed thereto; a first disc cam mounted closely adjacent one of said end walls for rotation about an axis parallel to said side walls, arranged with its periphery engaging said cam followers and configured to effect movement of said abutments alternately and sequentially to cyclically release the lowermost articles from said rows; a laterally movable shelf in said compartment below said abutments, having a further cam follower fixed thereto and arranged to support an article released from any of said rows; a second disc cam adjacent to and fixed relative to said first disc cam and arranged to control lateral movements of said shelf to discharge an article on said shelf from said compartment; and means for cyclically rotating said cams to first effect movement of said shelf to discharge an article thereon, to then return said shelf to article holding position and to then effect release of an article from one of said rows onto said shelf.
2. A device as defined in claim 1 wherein said cams are flat disc cams fixedly mounted on a common shaft and wherein said cam followers engage the peripheral edges thereof.
3. A device as defined in claim 1 wherein said shelf is pivotally suspended, in said compartment, about an axis upwardly and laterally displaced therefrom whereby the weight of an article thereon urges said shelf to swing to article discharging position.
4. A device as defined in claim 3 wherein said shelf comprises a flat and elongated member for supporting an article when oriented in a substantially horizontal position and wherein a supporting arm extends obliquely upwardly therefrom to said axis; said arm having a portion extending beyond said axis and having said further cam follower mounted thereon.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,711,021 4/29 Hoopes 221-297 X 2,160,351 5/39 Bemis 221298 X 2,493,223 1/ 50 Brock 221-298 X 2,615,773 10/52 Holt et a1. 22167 2,835,409 5/58 Rankin 22167 2,847,146 8/58 Obourn 221248 X 3,019,941 2/62 Gabrielsen et a1 221248 X LOUIS J. DEMBO, Primary Examiner.
KENNETH N. LEIMER, Examiner.