US 3355065 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 28, 1967 J. A. MOE 3,355,065
DISPENSING APPARATUS Filed Aug. 5, 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR.
9 J nn-'54 M05 BY W1 6 6% Nov. 28, 1967 I J. A. MOE $355,065
DISPENSING APPARATUS Filed Aug. 5, 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 jj' INVENTOR.
/fl/WES A7. M05 22% 5am United States Patent Office 3,355,65 DISPENSING APPARATUS James A. Moe, 503 Carolyn Lane, White Bear Lake, Minn. 55110 Filed Aug. 3, 1966, Ser. No. 569,857 8 Claims. (Cl. 221-90) This invention relates to a dispensing device for dis pensing items singly upon command, as by coin deposit, and in one aspect, to a dispensing device for packaged foods Where it is necessary to have the same stored in a spaced relation.
Many different types of vending devices are known in the prior art and many are coin operated in a well known manner. Mechanically however the devices differ both in the means for storing a supply of the items to be dispensed and the manner of dispensing the items from such supply. Typical among these devices are those where the items are stacked within channels, one upon the other, and are dispensed one at a time from the bottom of a stack. Other devices employ separate shelves upon which each item is placed. The shelves are then tripped individually within a given column to dispense the article from the shelf and from the device. These latter devices are related to the present invention in that they employ a separate shelf for each item. They are complicated however in the manner of tripping the shelves, the construction of the shelves, and they are most readily adapted only for miniature items, particularly items not larger than candy bars and generally for items which may be closely packed. These types of devices would not be considered usable where refrigeration of the dispensable items is required.
Common among the pertinent prior known devices utilizing separate shelves are tripping mechanisms associated with the shelf hinge. Also, in most instances the shelves are thus supported in a cantilever fashion from the pivot support. These devices thus comprise many additional parts, heavier material for the parts and more labor to assemble the devices.
' The present invention provides a novel dispensing mechanism comprising a plurality of rows of shelves arranged in tiers with vertically spaced shelves arranged in columns, separated by vertically positioned partitions. The shelves are spaced affording sufiicient air passage between the same. The shelves are tripped by a simple and reliable mechanism.
The present invention provides a noveland economical dispensing module useable in dispensing items of one kind and formed of light weight material.
The dispensing module of the present invention is adapted to be placed singly or in groups in a dispensing apparatus. Preferably they are adapted for use in a refrigerated machine for storing packaged foods such as sandwiches. A plurality of the modules of the present invention may be slidably supported, as by rollers or swingably mounted, for movement in and out of such an apparatus affording access thereto for resetting and restocking the shelves. The modules may extend into a refrigerated box, thus a dispensing apparatus may store many items and not have much width or require a great amount of wall space.
The present invention and its many features and advantages will be more apparent after reading the following detailed description which refers to the accompanying drawing wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a side elevational view of a dispensing module constructed in accordance with the present invention;
FIGURE 2 is a schematic wiring diagram;
FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view tak en approximately along the lines 3-3 of FIGURE 1;
3,355fi55 Patented Nov. 28, 1967 FIGURE 4 is a perspective view of one of the shelves of the module; and
FIGURE 5 is a bottom view of the shelf of FIGURE 4.
The device depicted in the drawing is a modular structure for use in a dispensing apparatus. This modular structure generally identified by the reference numeral 5 is adapted to be energized by a single motor 6 mounted conveniently adjacent the upper left-hand edge of the structure as pictured in FIGURE 1. Each time this motor is energized in response to the proper coin or coins passing through a coin accumulator mechanism 7 (FIGURE 2) of the type which is conventional in the art, a drive shaft and gear train (schematically illustrated) rotates a drive pinion 8 through a single revolution. The single revolution of pinion 8 is controlled by any well known means such as a rotary cam 9 and normally open switch 10 in parallel relation With the. accumulator 7 to the motor 6 which combination after energization of the motor 6 by the accumulator 7 and upon one revolution of the pinion 8, deenergizes the motor 6. A subsequent energization, by a further coin or coins passing through the accumulator 7, will again rotate the pinion 8.
The modular structure 5 comprises a generally rectangu lar side wall 15, having a first large rectangular planar portion 17 and a recessed forward portion 19, a front wall 21 and a parallel rear wall 23. Extending vertically and spaced between the walls 21 and 23 are vertically extending parallel partitions 25, 27, 29 and 31. Extending between the partition 25 and the rear wall 23 are parallel horizontally extending vertically spaced rods 33 (FIG- URE 2). The partitions 25-31 and the rods 33 divide the area between the partition 25 and rear wall 23 into a grid pattern of vertical columns and horizontal rows.
Hingedly mounted on the rods 33 and placed between the partitions 25 and 27, 27 and 29, 29 and 31, and 31 and. rear wall 23, are a plurality of hinged article supporting shelves 35.
Each shelf 35 is formed from an identical single piece of flat sheet stock, e.g. aluminum, stamped and bent, and a piece of fairly rigid rod stock 37. The shelf is generally rectangular and substantially planar having along one edge one or more rolled edge pieces 39 formed to encircle the rod 33 hinging the shelf to the rod. A bent and slotted projection 41 is formed on the opposite edge of the shelves 35. The projections 41 are located to place one end of the slot therein along the center line of the shelf extending from side to side or from the rod 33 toward side wall 15. The rod 37 is pivoted as by a rivet 43 to the shelf 35 and extends through the slot in the projection 41 beyond the opposite edge of the shelf. A spring 44 biases the rod 37 toward the end of the slot in the projection near a corner of the shelf. The spring 44 is connected to the rod and to a projection on the under side of the shelf. The eX- tended end of the rod 37 penetrates the portion 17 of the side wall 15. The shelves in each tier alternate in a right and left hand manner but are formed from an identical stamping. By changing the direction of bend for the projections 41 and edge pieces 39 and by placing the rods 37 on different sides of the stampings the different shelves in the different rows are made.
At each location of a shelf 35 the front wall 15 is formed with an aperture comprising a horizontally extending slotted portion 49 communicating with a vertically inclined portion 51 at its upper edge. The direction of inclination of the slotted portions 51 alternate in each column or in each tier of shelves as shown in FIGURE 1.
Each horizontal portion 49 forms a ledge upon which the extended ends of the rods 37 may rest when the shelves are in a horizontal position. In its horizontal position the rod is also retained by the associated spring 44 at or near the closed end of the horizontal slot. Movement of a shelf rod from its normal position toward the center line of the shelf will position the rod in the upper portion of the vertical inclined slot 51. Through gravity the shelf would then drop. The length of the rods 37 is such that the shelf is free to pivot about the rod 33 from a horizontal solid line article supporting position, as illustrated in FIGURE 3, to a generally vertical dotted line position at which it dumps the article.
In the horizontal position a shelf 35 may support a prewrapped sandwich 53, see FIGURE 3. When the rod 37 is moved off of the ledge defined by the horizontal slotted portion 49 of the aperture .a shelf will drop to the vertical inclined position and the sandwich will fall to the bottom of the dispenser.
Sequential dispensing of the sandwiches or other articles is afforded by a series of stacked intermeshed identi cal gears, each having a driven crank arm connected thereto by a pin supported in an eccentric relation on the gears. The identical gears are identified by the numerals 57, 59, 61, 63, 65 and 67 in the illustrated embodiment. To these gears are respectively attached the crank arms, 69, 71, 73, 75, 77 and 79 in an operative manner such that upon rotation of the gears through a predetermined range only one of said arms displaces a support rod 37 although all of said arms and gears move simultaneously. The upper gear 67 is meshed with the pinion gear 8 to be driven thereby. In the illustrated device the pinion gear is driven by the motor 6 through its gear train in a counterclockwise direction, as shown in FIGURE 1, and each of the gears 57-67 alternately rotate in a clockwise and counterclockwise direction from top to bottom, with the lowermost gear 57 driven in a counterclockwise direction. The crank arms 69-79 are generally right-angularly shaped with the hypotenuse thereof cut to form cam surfaces including spaced detents engageable sequentially with the extended ends of rods 37 for moving the rods from their normal positions to positions tripping the shelves.
In operation, presupposing the shelves are all in their horizontal position and supplied with the article to be dispensed, dispensing takes place first at the shelf on the lower right-hand corner of FIGURE 1 and progresses upwardly in the column of shelves on the right-hand side. Upon completion or upon dispensing the last article in the column on the right, the lower article in the second column from the right is dispensed, etc. The first time the motor is energized and upon the first subsequent revolution the pinion 8 (having for example 22 teeth), gear 57 (having for example 132 teeth) is driven through onesixth of a revolution, driving the arm 69 to the right from bottom dead center a distance suflicient for one lower projecting cam surface 85 formed thereon to engage the rod 37 on the shelf located at the lower right-hand corner of FIGURE 1, and move the same to a position in the vertical portion 51 of a slot 87. Upon the rod moving into the vertical portion of the slot 87 the shelf 35 will pivot and the article will fall to the bottom of the module. Below the module a shelf will be placed which will catch the dispensed item and guide it toward a door located at the front of the apparatus through which it may be removed by the customer. After a single revolution of the pinion 8 the same stops and each of the gear 57, 59, 61, 63, 65 and 67 will have made one-sixth of a revolution. The second time the motor 6 is energized the gears are again moved through a sixth of a revolution and upon this occurrence, gear 59 moving clockwise moves the arm 71 to the left from bottom dead center a distance such that its depending cam portion 91 can draw a rod 37 projecting through the slot 93 off of the horizontal ledge portion of the slot to the vertical inclined portion dropping the second shelf in the right-hand column. This operation continues upwardly of the right-hand column with the arms operating sequentially vertically, dispensing articles by alternate movement thereof to the right and to the left upon their respective gears moving from a position at bottom dead center clockwise or counterclockwise 4- therefrom through the predetermined range or arc. The are in the illustrated embodiment being 60.
It is to be noted that the position of the pin connection of each arm to its respective gear wheel, when in the bottom dead center position, plus the triangular shape of the arms and relationship of the cam surfaces avoids having all the shelves in the horizontal row or tier from falling at one time. The cam surfaces on the arms support the arms sequentially on the rods 37 and until such time as the rearmost rod is displaced, moving the rearmost shelf from the horizontal position at which it supports an article of merchandise to the generally vertical position at which it dumps the article, the next closest detent to the gear is held above and out of engagement with the next closest rod 37. When the rearward shelf is tripped the arm then rides on the support rod 37 next closest to the gear or front of the module, etc., until finally the shelf in the column adjacent the stacked gears is dropped.
To retain the arms 69, 71, 73, 75, 77 and 79 in their positions along the face of the front wall 15, a retaining member is secured generally centrally of the wall and this bar 95 is provided with various transversely extending stop portions 97, 99 and 101 which catch the arms so they do not fall into a position directly below the gears after all of the rods 37 in a particular horizontal row have been tripped.
Also aiding in the oscillating movement of the arms is the fact that each arm is formed with a vertical portion upon which the cam edges are formed and a transversely extending upper shelf portion upon which the arms thereabove may rest, in some instances, as the rows of items are dispensed. This structure is clearly shown in FIG- URE 2.
In resetting the shelves 35, they are merely lifted from the underside and the incline of the slots 51 cam the rods 37 against the bias of springs 44, around the acute corner of the apertures. The springs 44 then return the rods to their normal positions in the projections 41 and in position above the ledge of slots 49.
The present invention thus provides a dispensing m0dule for a plurality of articles, twenty-four in the illustrated embodiment. It is operated by a single and simple electric motor, which in a refrigerated device provides many advantages over manually operated tripping devices, primary of which is the problem of sealing the device around such levers, buttons or cranks.
One side of the module is open except for the rods 33 extending thereacross and joining the rear edges of partitions 25, 27, 29, 31 and the end wall 21. This allows the shelves to be reset easily and to be loaded. Having thus described the present invention in terms of a single embodiment thereof it will be understood that the structure of the shelves may vary to afford a better design for cooling such as formed with corrugations or slots, and that a greater number of shelves may be provided in any one module by increasing its height or width and correspondingly increasing the number of gears and the length of the rod and decreasing the arc through which the gear will necessarily be rotated to drop a shelf. The relationship between the number of gears and the number of shelves is such that for each shelf in a row the arcuate extent through which a gear is driven is directly proportional. Thus each of the gears make a complete revolution in dispensing the items off each shelf in a column. The number of teeth on the pinion gear 9 is such as to be in the illustrated embodiment one-sixth of the teeth on the drive gears.
What I claim as my invention is:
1. A module for a refrigerated article dispensing mechanism which is adapted to be coin operated comprising (A) a plurality of shelves arranged in a row,
(B) hinge means pivoting each of said shelves along one edge,
(C) support means extending generally normal to said edge beneath each shelf and movably aflixed to said shelf,
(D) wall means disposed adjacent an opposite edge of said shelves and parallel to said hinge means,
(E) ledge means on said wall means upon which said support means for each shelf is adapted to rest with said shelf in a plane normal to said wall means, and
(F) cam means movable in a plane parallel with said wall means for moving said support means relative to said ledge means affording displacement of said support means from said ledge means so the shelf may pivot on said hinge means to a position generally parallel to said wall means whereby an article placed upon said shelf may be dumped.
2. A module as claimed in claim 1 wherein said cam means comprises a driven oscillating arm extending along said row and above said support means, said arm being formed with spaced detents along its lower edge sequentially engageable with said support means for displacing said support means relative to said ledge means.
3. A module as claimed in claim 1 wherein said support means comprises a rod, pivoted at one end to the shelf, and means for holding said rod in the position at which the same will be positioned above said ledge means.
4. A module as claimed in claim 3 wherein said wall means is formed with an aperture defining said ledge means and a cam surface engageable by said rod of each shelf such that pivotal movement of a shelf about said hinge means from the position parallel to said wall means toward the position norm-a1 to said wall means moves said rod from the position at which it will be above said ledge means to a position off said ledge, and said means for holding said rod includes a spring for biasing said rod back to said position at which the rod will be above the ledge means whereby the shelves may be easily reset to an article supporting position.
5. A module for a refrigerated item dispensing mechanism which is adapted to be coin operated comprising a plurality of shelves arranged in rows and columns, hinge means pivoting each of said shelves along one edge, support means extending beneath each said shelf and beyond the edge of said shelf opposite to said one edge, means movably mounting said support means to each said shelf and for holding said support in a first position, wall means disposed adjacent said opposite edge of said shelf and parallel to said hinge means, ledge means on said wall upon which each said support means is adapted to rest when said support means is in said first position and said shelf is normal to said wall means in which position it supports an article of merchandise, a crank arm including cam means associated with each row of shelves and extending along said row, said crank arm being movable in a plane parallel with said wall means for moving said support means of each shelf in a said row successively from said first position to a second position affording displacement of said support means relative to said ledge means so the shelf may pivot on said hinge means to a position generally parallel to said wall means during which pivoting the shelf dumps the article of merchandise supported thereon, driven gear means connected for simultaneous rotary movement through a predetermined range, and pin means for coupling said gear means and said crank arms for sequential operation of said crank arms such that only one of said arms displaces one said support means during rotation of all said gear means through said predetermined range of movement.
6. A module as claimed in claim 5 wherein said support means includes a rod pivoted at one end to the under side of the shelf with the opposite end extending through a slotted projection depending from the edge of said shelf opposite said hinge means.
7. A module as claimed in claim 5 wherein said driven gear means includes a plurality of identical gears mounted on parallel axes positioned vertically one above the other, and said crank arms are connected to said gears eccentrically for oscillatory movement.
8. A module as claimed in claim 6 wherein said wall means is formed with inclined cam surfaces joining said ledge means adjacent one end whereby movement of said shelves, from said generally parallel position toward said normal position by a lifting pressure, moves said rod on the shelves from said first position to said second position and back to said first position affording rapid reloading of the shelves.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,037,663 6/1962 Steiner 2219O 3,312,321 4/ 1967 Gretzky 221 X ROBERT B. REEVES, Primary Examiner.
STANLEY H. TOLLBERG, Examiner.