Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3254794 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 7, 1966
Filing dateJun 30, 1964
Priority dateJun 30, 1964
Publication numberUS 3254794 A, US 3254794A, US-A-3254794, US3254794 A, US3254794A
InventorsMeresz Henryk W, Perpignani Marino R
Original AssigneeSeeburg Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Pneumatically actuated vending mechanism
US 3254794 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 7, 1966 H. w. MERESZ ETAL 3,254,794

PNEUMATICALLY ACTUATED VENDING MECHANISM 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed June 30, 1964 INVENTORS.

HENRYK w MEHEGSZ /v NAN/ MAR 0 R. PERP/ BY A June 7, 1966 H. w. MERESZ ETAL 3,254,794

PNEUMATICALLY ACTUATED VENDING MECHANISM 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed June 30, 1964 INVENTORS. HENRYK W MERESZ {SK /2N0 PERP G/VA/V/ June 7, 1966 H. w. MERESZ ETAL 3,254,794

PNEUMATICALLY ACTUATED VENDING MECHANISM Filed June 30, 1964 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 F: T H I ilitym3- W WW- 24 'i 1H- Mi m!- JUM m m Milli FHIIM "W '1 IVENTORS. I HENRYK W MERESZ BYMA A/OR'PE/PP NA/V/ q BF M June 7, 1966 H. w. MERESZ ETAL 3,

PNEUMATICALLY ACTUATED VENDING MECHANISM Filed June 30, 1964 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENTO ZE/VRYK 14 MERESZ BY Af/NO R. PE P/G/VA/V/ United States Patent 3,254,794 PNEUMATICALLY ACTUATED VENDING MECHANISM Henryk W. Meresz, Chicago, and Marino R. Perpignani, La Grange, Ill., assignors, by mesne assignments, to The Seeburg Corporation, Chicago, 11]., a corporation of Delaware Filed June 30, 1964, Ser. No. 379,073 13 Claims. (Cl. 221-124) This invention relates to a pneumatically actuated vending mechanism and in the described embodiment to a pneumatically actuated cigarette vending machine adapted to dispense predetermined ones of a variety of cigarette packages contained therein.

The subject invention, which provides a selection and delivery system for a multiplicity of vendable items predicated upon selective pneumatic dispensation, is a new and fundamental approach in the vending machine art. A Whole variety of mechanisms for the vending of articles are available on the market. Basically, these machines are either mechanical or electro-mechanical in nature and as such present a relatively complex and expensive arrangement based upon numerous moving parts. Usually, as in conventional cigarette vending machines,

each mechanism is provided with a series of columns of Y merchandise to be dispensed, and it is necessary to provide an individual dispensing mechanism associated with each column. The mechanical interdependence of each column with its dispensing mechanism not only increases the complexity and expense of the vending machine but also detracts from its versatility since the dispensing mechanism must usually be designed to handle a given type of article (e.g., a king-size cigarette package) and cannot be readily accommodated to handle an alternate type of article (e.g., a regular-size cigarette package). Typical conventional dispensing mechanisms must be located on the column centerline for effective operation.

The present invention eliminates the necessity for individual dispensing mechanisms associated with each column and instead utilizes the force of selectively channeled compressed air as the dispensing medium. -This pneumatic cforce is appropriately channeled upon selection from a common pneumatic source to -a given column of merchandise and acts to dispense a merchandise article from the selected column. In the described embodiment, a relatively simple multiple valve bank (having a normally closed valve for each column of merchandise) is associated with means which serve to open a predetermined valve upon a select-ion signal. Compressed air then travels from the common pneumatic source within the machine through the opened valve and into a dispensing chamber. The dispensing chamber forms a part of a magazine containing a stacked column of articles to be dispensed, and one of the articles is constantly urged into the dispensing chamber so as to form an expendable piston which is urged out from the dispensing chamber into an appropriate delivery area by pneumatic force. The described embodiment also encompasses a selection matrix assembly operatively associated with the multiple valve bank to accomplish the desired selective opening of the valves therein. A simple yet reliable anti-cheating mechanism is also provided to detect a dispensation of an articles so as to shut oil? the air supply to the multiple valve bank, as well as to normally serve as an ant-i-pilfersource is not critical), a wide degree of flexibility in column design is obtainable and the number of moving parts is minimized. Also, it is not necessary to locate the pneumatic inlet on the column centerline so that as a result mechanically adjustable columns capable of handling varying sizes of packages may be utilized in the vending machine.

Accordingly, it is a primary object of this invention to provide a unique vending machine predicated upon the utilization of selectively channeled pneumatic force as the dispensing medium.

It is a related object of .this invention to provide a simple yet practical and efiicient vending machine especially adapted for the dispensation of cigarette packages by channeling of pneumatic force from a common source through normally-closed but selectively operable pneumatic valve means.

It is another object of this invention to eliminate any complex mechanical interdependence between the dispensing medium of a vending machine and the articles of merchandise contained therein and to thereby provide design flexibility in the vending machine.

It is yet another object of this invention to provide an inexpensive and reliable vending machine having a minimum number of moving parts.

It is also an object of the invention to provide a selection matrix assembly for use as a selective pneumatic valve in a pneumatically actuated vending machine.

It is yet another object of the invention to provide a simple yet reliable anti-cheating mechanism, including an anti-pilfering feature, for use in vending machines.

These and other objects, advantages, and features of the subject invention will hereinafter appear, and, for purposes of illustration, but not of limitation, an exemplary embodiment of the subject invention is shown in theappended drawings, in which:

FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a cigarette vending machine produced in accordance with the subject invention;

FIGURE 2 is a similar view showing parts of the cigarette vending machine housing opened for the loading of cigarette packages therein;

FIGURE 3 is a side sectional view of the cigarette vending machine, showing the inter-relationship of the cigarette package magazines and the machine housing;

FIGURE 4 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of the upper portions of the cigarettte package magazines, showing a novel anti-cheating arrangement;

FIGURE 5 is a schematic plan view of the pneumatic dispensing means for three rows or banks of magazines;

FIGURE 6 is a front elevational view of a multiple valve bank and selection matrix portions of the pneumatic dispensing means illustrated in FIGURE 5;

FIGURE 7 is a top plan view, partially in section, of the structure shown in FIGURE 6; I

FIGURE 8 is a sectional view taken along the line 8-8 of FIGURE 6; and

FIGURE 9 is an exploded plan view of four slide members forming a part of the disclosed selection matrix system.

With reference to the drawings, the exterior of a pneumatically actuated vending machine 10 is shown in FIG- URE 1. The machine 10 comprises a cabinet casing or housing 12 supported by a conventional leg support assembly generally indicated at 14. The housing 12 comprises a rear frame 12R, a bottom frame 12B generally perpendicular to the rear frame 12R, two parallelly aligned side frames 12L, 12R which extend generally perpendicularly from both the bottom frame 12B and the rear frame 12R, and a top frame extension 12E which extends generally perpendicularly to the rear frame 12R in parallel alignment with the bottom frame 12B.

, A front housing door 12F is pivotally mounted on the side frame 12L by a door pivot axis 22 (see FIGURE 2) and is adapted to interlock (by conventional means, not shown) with the side frame 12R, so that the door 12F may be rotated from its closed position (shown in FIG- URE 1) to its opened position (shown in FIGURE 2).

A conventional selector assembly 16 and a coin receipt assembly 18 are mounted on the frame extension 12E in a conventional manner. A delivery port 25 is formed in the door 12F between a lower chute plate' 24 and an upper chute plate 26 which are fixedly mounted on the door 12F in spaced relationship so as to define the port 25 therebetween. A cover panel 20 (preferably transparent is pivotally mounted on a panel pivot axis 19 (see FIGURE 3) so that the panel 20 may be rotated from its'closed position (shown in FIGURE 1) to its opened position (shown in FIGURE 2). As shown in FIGURES 2 and 3, the upper extremity of the door 12F is provided with a flange 21 which is adapted to overlie the lower extremity of the panel 20 so as to lock the same in its closed position when the machine is closed by interlocking of the door 12F withthe side frame 12R. A delivery guide area 17 is defined beneath the panel within the housing 12, and the delivery area 17 communicates with the delivery port 25.

A plurality of columnar magazines M are mounted within the housing 12. The magazines M; each of which are adapted to stack a column of cigarette packages C, are arranged in three rows or banks, namely, a forward bank BF, an intermediate bank BI, and a rear bank BR. The said banks BF, BI, and BR are respectively rotatably mounted on pivot shafts 30, 29, and 28 mounted in the frame 12 so that any one of the said banks may be rotated from a dispensing position (full lines in FIG- URE 3) to a loading position (broken lines in FIG- URE 3). FIGURE 2 illustrates the disposition of all three banks when in a loading position. It will be observed that each of the individual magazines M is disposed in a generally vertical upright disposition for dispensing and is rotated therefrom by approximately 90 to a generally horizontally position for loading.

The pivot shafts 28-30 are arranged in the following manner. The shaft 30 (for the bank BF is rigidly mounted in the frame 12 and the bank BF is journaled for rotation thereupon. In this manner, the'bank BF may be rotated through an approximately 90 arc, as indicated by the full and broken line positions for the bank BF in FIGURE 3. The shaft 29 (for the bank BI) is rigidly connected to a crank lever 34 (and to a similar symmetrical lever on the opposite side of the machine 10, not shown), and the said crank levers are journaled on the shaft 30. The bank BI is rotatably journaled on the shaft 29, and in this manner the bank BI may be rotated through an approximately 90 arc with some forward and rearward displacement of the bank BI, as indicated by the full and broken line po sitions for the shaft 29 in FIGURES 2 and 3. Similarly, the shaft 28 (for the bank BR) is mounted in a slotted link 32 (and in a similar symmetrical link on the opposite side of the machine 10, not shown), and the said links are rigidly afiixed to the respective side frames 12R and 12L. The bank BR is rotatably journaled on the shaft 28, and, in'this manner, the bank BR may be rotated through an approximately 90 arc with some forward and rearward displacement of the bank BR, as indicated by the full and broken line positions for the shaft 28 in FIGURES 2 and 3.

Each individual magazine M is provided with a slideable elevator member 64, the said member 64 being marked by the reference characters F, I, and R respectively for the front, intermediate and rear banks of the magazines. In the described embodiment, each elevator member 64 is provided with a corresponding spring 75 which normally urges the member 64 upwardly relative to the generally vertical dispensing position of its associated magazine M. For example, a spring 75F is shown in FIGURE 3 interconnected between an elevator member 64F and the frame 12, with the said spring 75F being trained about a spring sheave F. Similarly, FIGURE 3 shows a spring 751 for an intermediate elevator member 64I being trained about a sheave 701, and a spring R for a rear elevator member 64R being trained about the sheaves 70R and 70R. The effect of the said spring loaded elevator member arrangement is to nor-mall urge a column of cigarette packages upwardly in each individual magazine M when the said magazines are disposed in their generally vertical dispensing disposition. However, when the magazines M arev rotated to their .generally horizontal loading disposition, the elevator members 64 are urged by the associated springs 75 toward the bottom of each magazine, thereby to allow for the loading of fresh cigarette packages between the packages, contained in the magazine and the corresponding elevator member. This procedure allows for a first-in, first-out inventory status for the cigarette packages since the packages are loaded away from the upper dispensing region while the uppermost packages are dispensed from the magazines first.

A cover plate 23 (preferably transparent) is provided for each bank of magazines, as indicated by 23F, 231, and 23R in FIGURE 3. FIGURE 4 illustrates in greater detail the uppermost extremities of the magazines M for the front bank BF and their interrelationship with the corresponding cover plate 23F, and, since the uppermost extremities on each bank are similar, only the front bank BP is described in detail. As shown in FIGURE 4, the top of each individual magazine M is positioned flush adjacent the bottom of the cover plate 23F which thus serves as an airtight seal for the top of the magazines. The top of each magazine is opened at its front and closed at its two sides, and the closed rear thereof communicates with a port P of a pneumatic valve system hereinafter described. The volume between the second uppermost package (or the elevator member, if only one package remains in the magazine), the cover plate, the closed sides and rear of the magazine, and the opened front of the magazine define a dispensing chamher, as indicated by the reference characters, DF, DI, and DR in FIGURE 3. As shown in FIGURE 4, each cigarette package C is in turn urged upwardly against the cover plate 23F and is positioned within the dispensing chamber DF to act as an expendable piston to be dispensed (-by pneumatic means hereinafter described) outwardly from the magazine M by a blast of compressed air selectively admitted through the respective port P associated with the magazine M. Exit ramps 62R are provided adjacent the front side of each magazine M beneath the dispensing chamber thereof in order to guide an ejected cigarette package C into the delivery area 17 of the machine 10 and thence into the delivery port 25 for manual pick-up by the customer.

FIGURE 4 also illustrates the design versatility of a vending machine produced in accordance with the subject invention. The left-hand and right-hand magazines M shown in FIGURE 4 are dimensioned for the reception of regular-size cigarette packages C therein, whereas the central magazine M is dimensioned for the reception of king-size cigarette packages C. Since a pneumatic blast admitted through the ports PS-P10' illustrated in FIGURE 4 accounts for the egress of a cigarette package from the magazines (as hereinafter described) and since the said blast is sufficiently pressurized to propel either size cigarette package, it is apparent that the machine can conveniently accommodate either type of cigarette package. Indeed, the individual magazines preferably are adjustable so that varying size packages may be accommodated in a given magazine, as required.

As schematically indicated by broken lines in FIG- URE 3 and as more clearly indicated in FIGURE 5, pneumatic selection valve assemblies F, 901, and 90R are respectively associated with the uppermost extremities of the magazines M in the respective banks BI, BF, and BR. Each of the three assemblies 90 are generally similar, and accordingly only the rear assembly 99R will be described in detail. As shown in FIGURES 5-9, the assembly 90R comprises a multiple valve bank 94 and a matrix actuating assembly 93. The valve bank 94 is provided with a hollow input manifold 92 extending through the length thereof, and a series of passages 92' (ten in the described embodiment) extend perpendicularly upwardly from the input manifold 92 in spaced parallel relationship through the valve bank 94. Similarly, a series of spaced parallel passages 92" is provided in the valve bank 94, and each such passage 92" communicates with and is generally perpendicular to a corresponding passage 92'. The passages 92' extend from the hollow input manifold 92 through the length of the valve bank 94, and the passages 92" extend from the passages 92' through half the width of the valve bank 94, as best seen in FIGURE 8. A series of port members P1P10 are suitably mounted in the valve bank 94 and communicate with the passages 92". As previously indicated and as illustrated in part in FIGURE 4, the said ports P1P'10 are respectively associated with a given magazine adjacent the dispensing chamber thereof, so as to provide for the reception of compressed air in the said chamber.

A spherical valve chamber 96 is provided in the valve bank 94 at each intersection of the passages 92' and 92", and a generally cylindrical poppet 97 is received in each such valve chamber 96. Each poppet 97 is provided with generally hemispherical end portions, and the diameter of the main cylindrical portion of each poppet 97 is greater than the diameter of the passage 92' but less than the diameter of the chamber 96. A cylindrical guide stem 98, having a diameter slightly less than the diameter of the passage 92, is mounted on top of each poppet 97, and a rectangular stern guide 99, having a length slightly in excess of the length of the passage 92, is afiixed to each guide stem 98 and is mounted within the valve bank 94 for sliding movement within a slot 100. The weight of the stem guide 99 normally biases the corresponding poppet 97 downwardly to the positions illustrated in FIGURES 6 and 8 so as to close pneumatic contact between the passages 92" (and therefore the associated port P) and 92' (and therefore input manifold 92). However, when there is a sufficient pressure differential between the input manifold 92 and the discharge passage 92", the poppet 97 will be urged upwardly in the passage 92' (unless the stern guide 99 is impeded, as hereinafter described) so as to provide a pneumatic passage between the input manifold 92 and the corresponding port P.

As shown in FIGURE 5, the input manifold 92 is provided with an input port 91' which connects with a conduit 91. The conduit 91 in turn connects with a piston pump cylinder 89 which contains the piston 87. The piston 87 is in turn actuated by a suitable drive, such as an electric motor schematically indicated at 87' in FIGURES 3 and 5. This arrangement provides a pneumatic source means, although it is apparent that other arrangements (e.g., a suitable bellows) could be equivalently utilized in order to provide the desired source of compressed air.

In the described embodiment, the selection matrix 93 comprises slides 1, 2, 4, and 8. As shown in FIGURE 9, each slide is provided with ten trapezoidal guideways or slots labeled 1T1-1T10 for slidel, 2T1-2T10 for slide 2, 4T1-4T10 for slide 4, and 8T18T10 for slide 8. These slots are staggered in the manner indicated in FIGURE 9 so that in the normal relative disposition of the slides 1, 2, 4, and 8, none of the four corresponding slots (e.g., the slots 1T1, 2T1, 4T1, and 8T1, etc.) in each set 1-10" will be aligned. However, it is possible with the described arrangement to align four corresponding slots in the given sets by appropriate manip ulation (i.e., relative movement) of the slides. Thus, for example, moving the slide 1 to the left from its FIG- URE 9 disposition by a stroke length distance s so as to position the slot 1T1 in its broken line position aligns the four slots 1T1, 2T1, 4T1, and 8T1. In this position, none of the other sets of slots 210 will be aligned. It will be observed by reference to FIGURE 9 that an alignment of the set of slots 2 can be achieved by moving the slide 2 by a corresponding stroke length s to the left, while maintaining the remaining slides 1, 4, and 8 in the rest disposition shown in FIGURE 9. Similarly, the set of slots 3 can be aligned by moving both the slides 1 and 2 by a stroke length s to the left while maintaining the slides 4 and 8 in their FIGURE 9 rest dispositions. Similar results for the sets of slots 4- 10 can be achieved by moving the following slide combinations by the stroke length s: 4, slide 4; 5, slides 1 and 4; 6, slides 2 and 4; 7, slides 1, 2, and 4; 8, slide 8; 9, slides 1 and 8; and 10, slides 2 and 8 (in each instance, the non-mentioned slides remaining stationary in their FIGURE 9 rest dispositions).

The principle of operation for the selection matrix 93 is based upon the binary number system which consists of only two digits, i.e., 0 and 1. Hence, for a given number of elements used in permitting different combinations (denoted by the numeral n), the total number of permutations available is given by the formula: 2 -1. Thus, with four slides, 11 equals 4, and the maximum number of possible combinations that may be achieved equals fifteen. Of course, in the described embodiment, only ten combinations are required for each of the ten individual valve sections of the multiple valve bank 94, so that as a result only ten corresponding guideways or slots are provided on each slide. The four-slide combination could nonetheless be utilized to provide up to fifteen permutations in accordance with the (2 -1) formula for n slides having no more than (2 -l) corresponding guideways or slots per slide. However, it should be understood that any variety of selection combinations may be achieved by suitable utilization of more or less valves and more or less matrix slides, as required.

The slides l, 2, 4, and 8, which are progressively longer in length, are mounted in spaced parallel relationship above the valve bank 94 on bearings 35 which are received within appropriate slots 36 of each slide, the said slides being normally disposed with one corresponding end of each slide in flush alignment (i.e. the lefthand ends in FIGURES 6 and 7). Spring slide actuating means are provided in the form of a spring 37 for each slide, and the said springs 37 are aflixed between the flush aligned ends of the slides and the frame 12 so as to normally bias the slides to the left (in the FIGURES 5-7 dispositions). This normally biased disposition corresponds to the disposition shown in FIGURE 9 wherein none of the corresponding sets of slots 1-10 are aligned.

Locking means are provided for normally retaining each of the slides in rest position. Thus, each'slide is provided with a detent 1D, 2D, 4D, and 8D respectively (shown in broken lines in FIGURE 6). Four solenoids 18, 25, 4S, and 88 are provided for each corresponding slide, and the solenoid armatures 1A, 2A, 4A, and 8A associated therewith are normally spring biased upwardly to engage the corresponding detents 1D, 2D, 4D, and 8D so as to lock the respective slides from movement from their normally biased rest disposition.

A resetting shaft 65 (see FIGURE 6) is provided adjacent the flush aligned ends of the slides 1, 2, 4, and 8 and is adapted upon actuation (by means not shown) to move from its full line position to its broken line position and back to its full line position, as shown by the arrow in FIGURE 6. This reciprocal movement of the shaft 65 corresponds to a vend cycle for the machine 10. When the shaft 65 is so moved, it frees the slides for movement to the left springs 37 unless the said slides are impeded from movement by virtue of the interengagement of the solenoid armatures 1A, 2A, 4A, and 8A in the detents 1D, 2D, 4D, and 8D respectively. Thus, in order to provide for movement of any one or any combination of the slides, it is merely necessary to control the solenoids, that is, energization of a given solenoid so as to withdraw its armature from the corresponding detent will allow the slide associated therewith to move to the left when the shaft 65 is moved to the left. Thus, if only solenoid 15 is energized, while solenoids 28, 4S, and 88 remain deenergized, movement of the shaft 65 will allow movement of the slide 1 but not of the slides 2, 4, and 8. As the slide 1 is thus moved to the left, the detent 1D clears the retracted armature 1A, and the lower surface of the slide 1 maintains the armature 1A in its retracted position even after the solenoid 1S is de-energized. Upon completion of a vend cycle, the shaft 65 is returned to its full line position (as shown in FIGURE 6.) in order to reset the matrix slides to their normally biased rest disposition, and the retracted armature which initially allowed the slide movement then pops back into its aligned detent.

As best shown in FIGURE 6, the slides ll, 2, 4, and 8 are adapted to cooperate with the respective stem guides 99 of each valve. In the rest disposition, each stem guide is engaged by at least one slide and is maintained in its downward disposition (as in FIGURE 8) so as to keep the poppet 97 associated therewith in a position to close pneumatic passage between the passages 92' and 92". However, when the slides are appropriately moved to align a given set of slots (e.g., movement of the slide 8 by a stroke length .9 so as to align the slots 8), the stem guide 99 associated the port P8 will be cleared from interference with the slides since all of the slots 8 of the slides 1, 2, 4, and 8 will overlie the position of the stem guide. When the said stern guide 99 is so cleared, a pressure differential between the passages 92' and 92" urges the selected poppet 97 upwardly so that the stem guide 99 associated threwith assumes the broken line position illustrated in FIGURE 6, thereby to establish a pneumatic passage for compressed air from the input port under the influence of the 91' to the discharge port P8. After this blast of compressed air has discharged the designated cigarette pack-' age, the shaft 65 returns to its full line position in FIG- URE 6 and thereby urges all of the slides back to their normally biasedrest disposition. Since the slide 8 is the only slide moved for the exemplary selection utilizing the slots 8, it would likewise be the only slide returned to its rest disposition, and the armature 8A of the deenergized solenoid 88 then locks the slide 8 into the said rest position. As the slide 8 moves back to its rest position, the sloping surface of the slot 8T8 cams the stem guide 99 downwardly so as to bias the poppet 97 associated with the port P8 to its normally closed position blocking communication between the-passages 92 and 92".

It should be understood that the described solenoid released detenting of the slides and the spring powering of the slides followed by resetting movement of the reciprocal shaft 65 are merely exemplary and that various other arrangements can be utilized to accomplish the same respective functions.

An anti-cheating arrangement for the pneumatically actuated machine 10 is illustrated in FIGURE 4. One such arrangement is provided for each bank, but for simplicity only the details for the front bank BF are illustrated and described. In the described embodiment, the anti-cheating arrangement comprises a continuous shaft 76 which is journaled for rotation in the cover plate 23F by passage through a series of rectangular slots S provided therein. A series of stop member tabs T are fixedly mounted on the shaft 76, one such tab T for each maga zine M. The shaft 76 is provided with locking means in the form of a square socket clutch half-section 78 adjacent one end of the shaft 76 and a square plug clutch half-section 80 fixedly mounted on a solenoid armature 82 of an unlocking solenoid 84 suitably mounted in the housing 12. The solenoid 84 which functions as an unlatching means when energized is normally de-energized such that the armature 82 thereof is extended to force the plug 80 into the socket 78 and thereby to lock the shaft 76 from rotation. In this normally locked position the tabs T associated with the shaft 76 are disposed in front of the cigarette packages C and C in FIGURE 4 and serve as an interlock to prevent the egress thereof from the dispensing chambers DF of the magazines M. When, however, the solenoid 84 is energized (as by a conventional selection arrangement), the plug 80 is withdrawn from the socket 78, and the shaft 76 is free to rotate, so that if a cigarette package C is urged out of a given dispensing chamber it will merely slide past the corresponding tab. T thereby to cause the shaft-76 to rotate by approximately After the egress of the cigarette package from its dispensing chamber, the shaft 76 returns to its rest disposition, since the tabs T gravity bias the shaft to that disposition.

As the shaft 76 is caused to so rotate (to indicate the dispensation of a given cigarette package C), a'switch 88 (suitably mounted in the housing 12) senses the said dispensation as it is tripped by a switch actuating arm 86 fixedly mounted on the shaft 76. Actuation of the switch 88 de-energizes the pneumatic source mechanism (e.g., the motor 87" and conventional selection circuitry associated therewith) and simultaneously de-energizes the solenoid 84 so as once again to lock the tabs T in front of the respective cigarette packages C. The exact circuitry arrangements for the foregoing are conventional and for simplicity are not illustrated or described in detail herein. However, it should be apparent to one skilled in the art that a time delay should preferably be provided for the action of the switch 88 so as to allow for the return of the shaft 76 prior to re-engagement of the plug 86 and socket 78. In the foregoing manner, no more than one cigarette package C can be acquired by a customer for each selection. Also, pilfering of cigarette packages C without the establishment of credit is prevented by virtue of the fixed positioning of the tabs T in alignment with each magazine M until such time as a selection is made, thereby to energize the solenoid 84.

The operation of the previously described arrangement may be summarized as follows. With the magazines M each loaded with cigarette packages and disposed in their generally upright dispensing position, the uppermost package of each magazine will be urged into its dispensing chamber. When a customer then establishes credit and makes a selection corresponding to a given magazine (in a conventional manner), the motor 87' will be energized to create a pressure differential between the input manifold and the ports P and the unlocking solenoid 84 Will be energized to free the shaft 7 6. The selection sequence then causes appropriate energization of the solenoids IS, 25, 4S, or 88 and reciprocal movement of the shaft 65 so that the slides 1, 2, 4, or 8 are moved into position to free the poppet 97 corresponding to the selected column. As the shaft 65 completes the first half of its reciprocal movement, the said pressure differential then raises the poppet, and a pneumatic blast is emitted through the selected port and into the selected dispensing chamber. The cigarette package therein is then forced from the chamber, past the tab T associated therewith, and into the delivery area 17 for eventual travel to the delivery port 25. The shaft 65 then completes the second half of its reciprocal movement to reset the slides 1, 2, 4, and 8. As the dispensed package clears its tab T, the shaft 76 is rotated to trip the switch 88 which (after a brief time delay to allow the return of the shaft 76 to its rest position) dc-energizes the unlocking solenoid 84 and the motor 87'. Also, the second uppermost package (prior to dispensation of the selected package) is moved upwardly by the elevator member 64 and spring 70 arrangement into the dispensing chamber to set the stage for the next vend cycle.

It should be apparent from the foregoing description that the described arrangement is especially suited for the dispensation of articles of varying sizes, such as king size and regular size cigarette packages. Since pneumatic tfOICC is utilized as the dispensing medium, it is only necessary to appropriately adjust the length and width of the individual magazines in order to accommodate varying sizes of articles therein. the dispensing chamber may be suitably pressurized so that it is indiscriminate of the size of the article in the dispensing chamber whereby sufficient expulsive force will be developed in the dispensing chamber to accommodate the particular classes of merchandise which the machine may vend.

While the invention has beendescribed with particular reference to a top-vend cigarette vending machine, it should be understood that various other types and arrangements of vending mechanisms could be based upon the pneumatic actuation principles outlined herein. For example, a bottom-vend arrangement could be substituted for the described top-vend arrangement, and vending of articles other than cigarette packages could be provided for. Also, the anti-cheating arrangement, while particularly suitable for use in combination with pneumatic d-ispensation as described herein, may be adapted to other vending mechanism environments. It should further be understood that various other changes, modifications, and alternations may be effected in the parts and elements of the described embodiment without departing from the spirit and the scope of the subject invention, as described in the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

:1. A pneumatically actuated vending mechanism adapted to dispense predetermined ones of a plurality of articles contained therein and comprising:

a housing provided with article delivery means; means positioning a plurality of columns of articles in the housing;

dispensing chamber means in the housing for each column contained therein and adapted to receive a predetermined one of the articles at a time from the column associated therewith; delivery guide means interconnecting the article delivery means and each of the dispensing chamber means;

pneumatic source means in the housing;

normally-closed pneumatic valve means interconnecting the pneumatic source means with each of the dispensing chamber means via a plurality of independent pneumatic valve passages and adapted for selective opening of the said passages one at a time so as to pneumatically force a said one article from a selected dispensing chamber means to the said article delivery means, and actuating means for selectively opening the passages of the pneumatic valve means.

whereby a said one article may be dispensed for a selected dispensing chamber means for each actua- .tion of the pneumatic valve means.

2. A pneumatically powered apparatus for dispensing articles comprising:

a housing having a delivery port;

means positioning a plurality of stacked columns of articles in the housing; dispensing chamber means for each column adapted to receive therein a given article at a time from the column associated therewith;

means for each column normally urging a first article thereof into the dispensing chamber means associated therewith;

The pneumatic blast intov guide means interconnecting the delivery port and each of the dispensing chamber means;

normally-closed pneumatic means communicating with each of the dispenser chamber means and adapted when selectively opened to pneumatically force the said first article from a selected dispensing chamber means, into the delivery port; and

actuating means for selectively opening the pneumatic means,

whereby an article may be dispensed into the delivery port via the said guide means for each actuation of the pneumatic means, the said actuating means determining which particular column the dispensed article will emanate from.

3. Apparatus as claimed in claim 2 wherein the said normally-closed pneumatic means comprises:

a multiple valve bank having a series of normallyclosed valve passages therein, one for each column, and a common input manifold pneumatically connected to each such passage;

a source of compressed air pneumatically connected to the input manifold of the multiple valve bank; and

a series of pneumatic conduits, one of each column, interconnecting each valve passage with a dispensing chamber means,

whereby selective opening of the said valve passages allows for the entry of compressed air into the selected dispensing chamber means in order to urge an article contained therein from the dispensing chamber means into the delivery port via the said guide means.

4. Apparatus as claimed in claim 2 wherein the said actuating means comprises:

- a matrix slide assembly comprising:

a series of n slides each normally retained in a given rest position and adapted to be moved to an operative position;

a series of not more than (21) guideways on each slide forming a series of (2 -1) sets of corresponding guideways, one associated with each column of the apparatus, the guideways of a given slide being staggered relative to the corresponding guideways of at least one other slide so that when the slides are in rest position no one set of corresponding guideways align and so that when the slides are selectively moved to their respective operative positions, the sets of corresponding guideways may be selectively aligned, each such alignment being determined by one of the (2 -1) possible permutations of movement of the n slides;

a series of not more than (2 -1) guide members, one associated with each column of the apparatus, posi tioned adjacent the slides and engaged thereby, each guide member being normally retained in a closed position by at least one of the slides when the slides are in rest position and being selectively movable to an opened position of reception within a set of aligned corresponding guideways when a given set of corresponding guideways is aligned by selective positioning of the slides;

a series of valve closure members, one connected to each guide member, each valve closure member being normally retained in a valve-closing position when its associated guide member is in its closed position and being adapted for movement to a valve-opening position when its associated guide member is in its opened position;

slide actuating means for moving selected ones of the slides between their respective rest and operative positions; and

locking means normally retaining each of the slides in rest position and adapted to release selected ones of the slides in conjunction with activation of the slide actuating means. 1

5. Apparatus as claimed in claim 4 wherein the said locking means comprises:

a detent in each slide;

a detent arm for each slide normally biased into locking engagement with the detent thereof; and

a solenoid for each slide adapted to selectively disengage the detent arms and the detents thereof; and

wherein the said slide actuating means comprises:

a spring for each slide fixed between its slide and the housing so as to bias the slide to its operative position; and

a resetting member adapted to move the slides from their respective operative to rest positions.

6. A dispensing mechanism adapted to pneumatically dispense articles comprising:

a housing having a delivery opening therein;

a plurality of magazines mounted in the housing, each adapted to receive a stacked column of articles therein;

a dispensing chamber at one end of each magazine defined between a top cover plate for the magazine and a second article of the column such that a first article of the column is disposed as an expendable piston in the dispensing chamber;

means in each magazine for normally urging the column of articles therein toward the said one end of the magazine so as to dispose a said first article of the column in the dispensing chamber of the magazine;

delivery guide means interconnecting the opening of the housing with each dispensing chamber;

pneumatic means in the housing adapted upon energization to provide a source of compressed air; normally-closed valve means in the housing pneumatically connected between the source of compressed air and each of the dispensing chambers; and means for selectively opening the valve means so as to provide a pneumatic passage from the source of compressed air to a selected dispensing chamber, whereby pneumatic pressure may be utilized to force a said first article of a given magazine as an expendable piston from the dispensing chamber of the magazine through the delivery guide means to the delivery opening of the housing so as to dispense a said first article.

7. Mechanism as claimed in claim 6 and further including anti-cheating means comprising:

a shaft rotatably journaled in the housing;

locking means normally impeding the rotation of the shaft so as to retain it in a rest position;

a series of stop members rigidly mounted on the shaft for rotation therewith, one such member being positioned adjacent each dispensing chamber to bar egress of any articles therefrom when the shaft is in its rest position;

unlatching means adapted to disengage the locking means to free the shaft for rotation whereby an article may be dispensed from a given dispensing chamber thereby to rotate the shaft by rotation of the stop member associated with the said dispensing chamber; and

means responsive to rotation of the shaft for re-engaging the latching means and for de-activating the aforesaid pneumatic means to prevent dispensation of more than one article per selection.

8. A dispensing mechanism adapted to pneumatically dispense articles comprising:

a housing having a delivery opening therein;

a plurality of magazines mounted in the housing, each adapted to receive a stacked column of articles therein;

a dispensing chamber at one end of each magazine defined between a top cover plate for the magazine and a second article of the column such that a first article of the column is disposed as an expendable piston in the dispensing chamber;

means in each magazine normally urging the column of articles therein toward'the said one end of the magazine so as to dispose a said first article of the column in the dispensing chamber of the magazine;

delivery guide means interconnecting the opening of the housing with each dispensing chamber;

pneumatic means in the housing adapted upon energization to provide a source of compressed air;

a multiple valve bank in the housing comprising a series of independent valve passages pneumatically connected between each dispensing chamber and the source of compressed air;

poppet means in each valve passage adapted to normally close the same; and

selection matrix means for selectively engaging the said poppets so as to normally retain the said poppets in a valve passage closed position and so as to allow for the movement of one and only one valve poppet at a time to a valve passage opened position upon selection,

whereby pneumatic pressure may be channeled through I a selected and therefore opened valve passage to force a given first article from a selected dispensing chamber through the delivery guide means to the delivery opening of the housing so as to dispense the said given article while preventing the simultaneous dispensation of any other articles.

9. A dispensing mechanism as claimed in claim 8 and further comprising anti-cheat means adapted to deenergize the pneumatic means upon the passage of a dispensed article from the dispensing chamber.

10. An anti-cheating assembly for use in a vending mechanism comprising:

a frame;

a shaft rotatably journaled in the frame;

locking means normally impeding the rotation of the shaft so as to retain it in a rest position;

a stop tab member rigidly mounted on the shaft for rotation therewith and positioned to bar the egress path of a dispensable article contained in the vending mechanism when the shaft is in its rest position;

unlatching means adapted to disengage the locking means to free the shaft for rotation whereby the said article may be dispensed from the vending mechanism thereby to rotate the shaft by rotation of the stop tab member; and

means responsive to rotation of the 'shaft for reengaging the locking means.

11. An anti-cheating assembly as claimed in claim 10 wherein the said locking means comprises a clutch-half section provided on the shaft and a mating clutch-half section provided on a solenoid armature, and wherein the said unlatching means comprises a solenoid associated with the said armature and adapted to normally position the armature for mating engagement of the said clutch-half sections and to retract the armature for disengaging the said clutch-half sections upon energization of the solenoid.

12. A pneumatically actuated vending mechanism adapted to dispense articles contained therein and comprising:

a housing provided with article delivery means;

means positioning a column of articles in the housing;

dispensing chamber means in the housing adapted to receive therein a predetermined one of the articles at a time from the column, the said dispensing chamber means communicating with the article delivery means;

normally closed pneumatic means communicating with the dispensing chamber means and adapted when operated to pneumatically force the said one article contained therein to the said article delivery means;

actuating means for selectively opening the pneumatic means; and

anti-cheat means adapted to normally bar the path of egress of an article from the dispensing chamber means and to clear the said path upon actuation of the pneumatic means,

whereby a said one article may be dispensed for each actuation of the pneumatic means.

13. A pneumatically powered apparatus for dispensing articles comprising:

a housing having a delivery port;

means positioning a stacked column of articles in the housing;

dispensing chamber means adapted to receive therein a given article at a time from the column;

means norm-ally urging a first article of the column into the dispensing chamber means;

guide means connecting the dispensing chamber means and the delivery port;

normally closed pneumatic means communicating with the dispensing chamber means and adapted when opened to pneumatically force the said first article from the dispensing chamber means into the delivery port;

actuating means for selectively opening pneumatic means; and

anti-cheat means adapted to normally bar the path of egress of an article from the dispensing chamber means and to clear the said path upon actuation of the pneumatic means,

whereby an article may be dispensed into the delivery port via the said guide means for each actuation of the pnuem-atic means.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,700,277 1/1929 Baker 194-7 2,493,868 1/1950 Griflin 221-278 2,863,587 12/1958 Schinzel 221-248 2,881,752 4/1959 Blahnick 124-11 2,931,537 4/1960 Carpenter 221-278 3,019,941 2/1962 Gabrielsen et *al. 221-232 LOUIS J. DEMBO, Primary Examiner.

WALTER SOBIN, Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1700277 *Jan 6, 1928Jan 29, 1929James Baker ErnestAutomatic vending apparatus
US2493868 *Oct 26, 1943Jan 10, 1950Curtiss Wright CorpAir gun rivet feed
US2863587 *Sep 18, 1951Dec 9, 1958Richard P SchulzeDispensing machines
US2881752 *Oct 11, 1954Apr 14, 1959Blahnik Carl EGas actuated guns
US2931537 *Feb 20, 1957Apr 5, 1960United Shoe Machinery CorpFastener inserting devices
US3019941 *Jan 28, 1954Feb 6, 1962Rowe Mfg Co IncElectric console cigarette merchandising machine
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5565242 *Jun 6, 1995Oct 15, 1996The Boeing CompanyLubricant applications to a hole
US5577633 *Jun 6, 1995Nov 26, 1996The Boeing CompanyFeeding nuts to a nut runner
US5580035 *Jun 6, 1995Dec 3, 1996The Boeing CompanyClamp
US5588554 *Jun 6, 1995Dec 31, 1996The Boeing CompanyFeeding fasteners to a workpiece
US5619781 *Jun 6, 1995Apr 15, 1997The Boeing CompanyFor supporting an elongated workpiece
US5634746 *Jun 6, 1995Jun 3, 1997The Boeing Co.Normality control for a tool nose
US5664311 *May 9, 1996Sep 9, 1997The Boeing Co.Automated spar assemby tool
US5729906 *Jan 15, 1997Mar 24, 1998The Boeing CompanyHole diameter inspection
US5893203 *Feb 13, 1997Apr 13, 1999The Boeing CompanySeating interference fit fasteners
US5918358 *Jun 6, 1995Jul 6, 1999The Boeing CompanyLoading large parts on a jig
US8459496Mar 24, 2006Jun 11, 2013Anton K. SimsonPneumatic vending machine
EP1868922A2 *Mar 24, 2006Dec 26, 2007Anton K. SimsonPneumatic vending machine
Classifications
U.S. Classification221/124, 221/129, 221/227, 221/198, 221/278
International ClassificationG07F11/16
Cooperative ClassificationG07F11/16
European ClassificationG07F11/16