US 3357133 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
12, 1967 K. J. HELSING 7 3,357,133
AUTOMATIC CONTROLLED DOOR FOR A VENDING MACHINE Filed Oct. 13, 1965 FIG. 5.
INVENTOR Knud J. Helsingv BY ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,357,133 AUTOMATIC CONTROLLED DOOR FOR A VENDING MACHINE Knud J. Helsing, Longmeadow, Mass., assignor to Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pa., a corporation of Pennsylvania Filed Oct. 13, 1965, Ser. No. 495,478 3 Claims. (CI. 49-25) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A vending machine is provided with a normally closed movable door across the vending outlet and a cable and lever servo linkage is provided to be automatically controlled to open the door when an object is deposited in the vending outlet and close the door when the object is removed, the cable linkage being arranged so that the door may be manually opened at any time without interfering with automatic operation.
Vending machines such as the so-called cup drink dispensers are usually provided with a recess in the front wall thereof to which the cup is moved to be filled and to be thereafter removed by the customer. It may be desirable for esthetic reasons to provide an access door for normally closing the recess and such door is usually transparent so that the customer may observe the vending operation. In a preferred arrangement the door is slidable upward from the closed to the open position and must be held in the upper position by the customer with one hand while he removes the cup with the other hand. Needless to say such an arrangement is at times awkward and inconvenient for the customer.
It is a principal object of the present invention to provide a vending machine cabinet having a vending recess and 'a movable door for normally closing the recess toether with automatic means for opening the door upon movement into the recess of an article to be vended and for closing the door upon removal of the article from the recess.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a simple and reliable automatic door opener mechanism for a vending machine that is arranged to open the door when an article is available for vending and to close the door when the article is removed, the arrangement being such that the door may be manually moved from the closed to the open position without interfering with the normal operation of the automatic door opener mechanism.
'In accordance with a presently preferred embodiment of the invention, the access door is slidably positioned in front of the recess to be movable upward from the closed to the open position. The automatic door opener may include a flexible cable which is connected to be moved in one direction to raise the door to the open position and to be movable in the opposite direction to permit the door to drop by gravity back to the normal closed position. A lever is connected to the cable to move the cable in the one direction when the lever is moved in one direction and to move the cable in the opposite direction when the lever is moved in the opposite direction. A crank arrangement is connected between the aforementioned lever and a rotatable shaft such that a first portion of one revolution of the shaft will cause the lever to move in one direction while the remainder portion of one revolution of the shaft will cause the lever to move in the opposite direction. Electric motor means is connected to the shaft to rotate the shaft and switch means responsive to the amount of shaft rotation is effec- 3,357,133 Patented Dec. 12, 1&6?
tive to deenergize the motor and stop rotation of the shaft after a portion of one revolution of rotation of the shaft. Article sensing means in the aforementioned recess is connected in circuit with a first means including certain contacts of the previously mentioned shaft which to cause the motor to be energized to move the shaft over the first portion of one revolution thereof to thereby move the lever and cable in a direction to raise the door when the article to be vended has been positioned in the recess. The article sensing means is also connected in circuit with second means including other contacts of the shaft switch to cause the motor to be energized to move the shaft over the remainder portion of one revolution thereof to thereby move the lever and cable in the opposite direction to allow the door to close after the article is removed from the vending recess by the customer. Although in the preferred embodiment of the invention, the article sensing means may be a conventional photocell detector, other types of article sensing circuit and switch arrangements may be used.
Thus, with the flexible cable automatic door opener arrangement of the invention as described above, the desirable feature is obtained of enabling the door to be manually raised and lowered when the door opener mechanism including the lever and crank is not operating, and is in the normal closed position. Also, because of the flexible cable arrangement of the invention, when the door opener mechanism is operating to permit the door to be lowered from the open to the closed position, the customer may still be able to leave his hand in the path of movement of the door without injury, since the prevention of the door from lowering to the closed position under such conditions would only create slack in the cable and only the weight of the door would rest upon the customers wrist.
Further objects, features and the attendant advantages of the invention will be apparent with reference to the following specification and drawing in which:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective elevational view of a vending machine to which the automatic door opening mechanism of the invention may be applied;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary sectional view partly in elevation of the vending recess with a cup drink in position to be removed by the customer.
FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic view of the automatic door opening cable arrangement of the invention with the door shown in the closed position and the dotted line position showing how the door may be manually raised without consequent movement of the operating lever together with the crank and shaft;
FIG. 4 is a View similar to FIG. 3, but showing the v mechanism in the door-open position;
FIG. 5 is a side view of FIG. 3, and
FIG. 6 is a schematic wiring diagram of a circuit switch arrangement suitable for use with the invention. 7 Referring to FIG. 1 of the drawing, a cup drink vending machine cabinet 10 is shown to have a front wall 11 with a vending recess 12 enclosed by the slidable transparent door 13. The door 13 is provided with a handle 14 by means of which it may be manually raised to obtain access to the interior of the vending recess 12. The automatic door opening mechanism to be described in connection with FIGS. 2-6 of the drawing is arranged to raise the slidable door 13 to the open position automatically when a cup is moved into the dispensing recess 12. and to lower the door 13 to the closed position when the cup is removed by the customer.
Referring to FIG. 2 of the drawing, the vending recess 13 is shown to include the cup chute 15, the liquid dispensing spout or spouts 16 and the cup guide 17 in which a cup such as the cup 18 is positioned for filling with liquid from the spout 16. A photocell 20 and a light source 21 are arranged such as to detect the presence of the cup 18 by interception of the light beam from the light source 21. It will be noted that apertures 22 and 23 in the wall of the vending recess 13 are provided to enable the light beam from the light source 21 to pass to the photocell detector 20 when the cup 18 is not present. As will be better understood after describing the operation of the invention, in connection with FIG. 6 of the drawing, any type of article sensing switch may be used in place of the photocell 2t} and light source 21 and the invention is not to be limited to the use of such photocell arrangement.
Referring now to FIGS. 3-5 of the drawing, it will be seen that the slidable door 13 is connected to a cable 30 passing over the pulleys 31, 32 which are secured to the cabinet structure in any suitable fashion and the pulley 33 which is mounted upon a weighted operating lever 34. The other end of the cable 30 is secured to a stationary portion of the vending cabinet at any convenient place diagrammatically shown at 35. The operating lever 34 as previously mentioned is weighted so as to take up any slack in the cable 30 at all times although the lever 34 is not heavier than the door 13 so as to cause the door to be raised solely by the weight of the lever 34. A drive lever 40 is connected at one end to the crank member 41 and is connected at its other end to a pin 42 received in a slot 43 of the operating lever 34. Thus, when the lever 40 is moved downward in a first direction upon a certain portion of one revolution of the crank 41 and shaft 44, the door 13 will be raised to the position shown by FIG. 4 of the drawing. Continued rotation of the shaft 44 and cam 41 through a remainder portion of one revolution will cause the drive lever 40 to move in the opposite direction also allowing the operating lever 34 to move in the opposite direction and causing the door to drop under the influence of gravity back to the closed position shown by FIG. 3 of the drawing. It should now be apparent that the provision of the slot 43 enables the door 13 to be manually raised from the closed position shown by FIG. 3 of the drawing under which conditions the weighted operating lever 34 simply drops downward to take up the slack in the cable 30 without a corresponding downward movement of the drive lever 40 or rotation of the crank member 41.
As previously mentioned, the arrangement of crank 41 and drive lever 40 is such that a first half revolution of the crank 41 and shaft 44 will cause movement of the drive lever 40 in one direction while a second half revolution of shaft movement will cause movement of the drive lever 40 in the opposite direction. In other words, a first half revolution of the shaft 44 can be arranged to be eifective to raise the door 13 while the remainder half portion of a revolution of the shaft 44 can be effective to lower the door 13. In order to control the rotation of the shaft 44 to be in increments of a revolution such as a first half revolution for opening the door and a second half revolution for closing the door in a cyclical operation, a cam switch 50 is provided and the crank 41 is provided with suitable peripheral cam contours 41a and 411). When the drive lever 40 is at its fullest upward extended position and the door 13 is then closed, the cam switch lever 51 is first positioned on the cam contour 41a thereby causing the switch 50 to assume the position shown by FIG. 3 of the drawing. On the other hand, when the shaft 44 is rotated to the position shown by FIG. 4 of the drawings with the door 13 open, the cam switch lever 51 is first positioned on the cam contour 4112 causing the switch 50 to assume the position shown by FIG. 4. Thus, when the door 13 is raised and first reaches the upper position shown by FIG. 4 of the drawing, the cam switch 50 assumes the position shown, but when the shaft 44 and the door 13 first reaches the closed position shown by FIG. 3 of the drawing, the cam switch 50 assumes the position shown by that figure of the drawing.
Referring now to FIG. 6 of the drawing, the cam switch S0 is shown to be a single pole, double throw switch having its switch arm connected to one terminal 60 of a source of electric power. The electric motor 61 for rotating the shaft 44 is connected to the other terminal 62 of the source of electric power and to the switch arm of a single pole, double throw relay switch 63. The relay coil 64 for the switch arm 63 is connected to the photocell amplifier 65. The cam switch arm 50 and the relay switch arm 63 are shown in the positions they should be with the door closed and an article to be vended 'not yet present in the recess. As soon as the cup is deposited in the vending recess, the photocell detector 20 will respond in a manner to energize the relay coil 64 and move the relay switch arm 63 into engagement with contact 63a. Since the cam switch 50 is in the position shown engaging its contact 50a, a circuit will thereby be completed for energizing the drive motor 61 to rotate the shaft 44 and crank 41 in a manner to move the drive arm 40 downward and thereby raise the door 13. As soon as the door 13 reaches the upper open position, the cam switch arm 51 will engage contour 41b and assume the position shown by FIG. 4 of the drawing moving the switch arm 50 into engagement with contact 50b and thereby opening the circuit to the motor 61 thus stopping the motor and the rotation of the shaft 44 with the door 13 in the open position. With the switch arm 50 now in the dotted line position and the door opening mechanism in the corresponding position shown by FIG. 4 of the drawings, a circuit is now prepared to energize the motor 61 when the relay coil 64 is deenergized. The relay coil 64 will be deenergized upon re moval of the cup 18 by the customer which causes the photocell 20 to react in a manner to cause the relay coil 64 to be deenergized. The relay switch arm 63 thereby returns to the solid line position in engagement with contacts 63b completing the circuit through contacts 50b of cam switch 50 for energizing the motor to cause the shaft 44 and crank 41 to rotate for the remainder half revolution portion of rotation as required to cause the door 13 to be moved downward to the closed position. At the end of the remainder half revolution of the shaft 44, the cam switch operating arm 51 again engages the cam contour portion 41a to assume the position shown by FIG. 3 of the drawing with the switch arm 50 engaging contact 50a and the circuit to the motor 61 opened, thus stopping rotation of the shaft 44 with the door closed.
Obviously, the circuit arrangements may be such that the relay coil 64 will be energized when the cup is present or alternatively will be energized when the cup is removed. In either case, a mere reversal of the arrangement of the switch contacts for the relay switch 63 and the switch 50 would provide exactly the same operations as previously described. Also, it may be desirable to connect the relay switch coil 64 in series with a manual control switch (not shown) to lock out the operation of the opener mechanism. Also the relay switch coil 64 may be connected in series with conventional coin switch contacts (not shown) in order to control the automatic operation of the door opener mechanism only when the vending machine has been unlocked for vending an article upon deposit of the requisite coinage.
Various modifications may be made within the spirit of the invention.
I claim as my invention:
1. A vending machine comprising a cabinet, a recess in a wall of said cabinet to which an article to be vended is moved during vending, a movable access door mounted on said wall to have a normal position closing said recess, door moving means including first means responsive to the positioning of an article being vended in said recess for moving said door to an open position, second.
means responsive to removal of an article being vended from said recess for moving said door to the normal closed position, said door moving means comprising a cable secured to said door, a lever attached to said cable and movable in one direction to move said cable in a direction to open said door and movable in the opposite direction to move said cable in the opposite direction to close said door, rotatable means connected to said lever to move said lever in said one direction during a portion of one revolution thereof and to move said lever in said opposite direction during the remainder portion of one revolution thereof, said first means being responsive to rotate said shaft for the first portion of one revolution thereof to thereby move said door to the open position, and said second means being responsive to rotate said shaft for the remainder portion of one revolution thereof to thereby move said door to the normal closed position.
2. The invention of claim 1 in which said door is movable upward from the normal closed position to the open position, and in which said second means responsive to 6 the removal of an article being vended is responsive to allow said door to drop by gravity back to its normal closed position.
3. The invention of claim 2 in which said door moving cable is flexible and arranged such that said door may be manually raised and lowered without interfering with the normal operation of said door moving means.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,247,931 7/1941 Vincent et al. 49-25 X 2,949,993 8/1960 Adler 221-12 X 2,994,572 8/ 1961 Morrison 49-25 X DAVID J. WILLIAMOWSKY, Primary Examiner. J. KARL BELL, Assisllant Examiner.