US 3360163 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 26, 1967 H. s. FESSLER 3,360,163
VENDING MACHINE Filed June 27, 1966 m I m /2 BY 4 AITURAIISYS United States Patent 3,360,163 VENDING MACHINE Herman S. Fessler, Coon Rapids, Minn., assignor to The Cornelius Company, Anoka, Minn., a corporation of Minnesota Filed June 27, 1966, Ser. No. 560,683 3 Claims. (Cl. 221-152) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An article dispensing mechanism has a zig-zag rack with a downwardly directed outlet governed by a starwheel. A solenoid-actuated lever has one end which blocks advancement of the weel by abutting the leading side of one of its vanes, and an opposite end which positively advances the wheel by abutting the trailing side of another of its vanes.
This invention relates generally to a vending machine construction, and more specifically to a solenoid-actuated article release mechanism.
Although the principles of the present invention may be included in various vending machines, a particularly useful application is made in a vending machine of the type used to vend refrigerated canned beverages.
The present invention contemplates the utilization of gravity to advance successive articles to be bended. It further contemplates the utilization of power derived from a solenoid to actuate the vending mechanism, there being structure and sufficient power provided to assist gravitational article movement in the event that any undesired binding tends to delay or prevent release of the article. According to a further feature of the invention, two successive articles simultaneously engage a starwheel which forms a part of the release mechanism.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a simple article release mechanism for a vending machine.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an article release mechanism in which a star-wheel is not only released but is positively driven.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide an article release mechanism in which a starwheel is so driven as to free any article that may be binding in such release mechanism.
Yet another object of the present invention is to provide an article release mechanism in which overtravel of the star-wheel is rendered impossible.
Many other advantages, features and additional objects of the present invention will become manifest to those versed in the art upon making reference to the detailed description annd the accompanying sheet of drawings in which a preferred structural embodiment incorporating the principles of the present invention is shown by way of illustrative example.
On the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view of a portion of a vending machine Showing an article release mechanism in elevation, such view being taken along line I-I of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 2 is a side view of the structure shown in FIG. 1.
As shown on the drawings:
This invention is particularly useful when embodied in a vending machine such as fragmentarily illustrated in FIG. 1, generally indicated by the numeral 10. The vending machine includes a number of columns 11, 12 (FIG. 2) arranged in side-by-side relation for accommodating a corresponding number of different types of canned beverage or other article. Each column 11, 12 iS like the others as to essential details, and each column each column such as 11, there are provided two of the front wires 16 and two of the rear wires 15.
At the lower end of the ramp 19, the path 18 curves downwardly to provide a downwardly directed discharge opening 20. A tie-rod 21 joins together the lower ends of the front wires 16, and the several discharge openings 20 are disposed within a cabinet 22 well above a discharge opening in the cabinet (not shown) to which the various outlets 20 lead. v
A star-wheel 23 is rotatably supported on a shaft 24, the shaft 24 being common to each of the columns for supporting corresponding star-wheels in each column. The star-wheel 23 is disposed adjacent to the ramp 19, and its axis of rotation is substantially concentric with the downward curvature of the path 18 at the lower end of the ramp 19. The star-wheel has a series of angularly spaced radially projecting portions 25, 26, 27 and 28, and two of these portions 27, 28 normally extend into the path 18. When the machinen is loaded with articles, each of these portions 27, 28 individually engages an article to be vended so that two articles are thus simultaneously engaged, the portion 27 engaging an article 29 and the portion 28 engaging an article 30. The radially projecting portion 27 holds the uppermost of the two articles 29 out of engagement with the lowermost of the two articles 30, the lowermost article 30 being in a position to be next vended.
There is a tendency for the articles to rotate the starwheel 23 in the direction of the arrow. This tendency is resisted by a pawl 31 which is pivoted on a shaft 32 intermediate its ends, the shaft 32 being common to all the pawls 31 in the various columns. The pawl has a first arm 33 with an end that is normally biased by a spring 34 against a leading surface 35 of the projection 25 to block rotation of the star-wheel 23. The pawl 31 has a second arm 36 which is engageable with the trailinng surface 37 of the projection 26 whenever the pawl is pivoted in a clockwise direction.
A solenoid '38 is provided with a plunger 39 that is connected by a link 40 to the pawl 31. When the solenoid 38 is'energized, the pawl 31' is pivoted in a clockwise direction, thereby storing energy in the spring 34.
When the solenoid 38 is reenergized, the spring 34 returns the pawl 31 to the position illustrated and with it the solenoid armature 39 is also restored to the illustrated position.
In this embodiment, the rotational axis of the star-wheel 23 provided by the shaft 24 is disposed below the ramp 19. The leading surface 35 that is engaged by the first end 33 of the pawl 31 lies below the rotational axis of the starwheel 23. The trailing surface 37 engaged by the other end 36 of the pawl 31 lies above the rotational axis of the starwheel 23.
Means are provided that are responsive to the absence of the uppermost one 29 of the two articles 29 and 30 for preventing the vending machine 10 from vending the lowermost one 30 of the two articles. To this end, :a sensing lever 41 engages the article 29 that is disposed against the projecting portion 27. The lever 41 is pivoted about a rod or shaft 42 that is common to each of the columns. The lever 41 includes .an actuator portion 43 which is arranged to keep two switches 44, 45 in an actuated position. One of these switches may thus normally be held closed and be connected in series with the solenoid 38. Thus in the absence of the article 29, the lever 41 will pivot clockwise, thereby opening such switch 44 and hence the circuit to the solenoid 38, thereby preventing vending of the article 30. The other of the switches 45 may be connected in parallel with all other corresponding switches and such switches collectively connected in series with the conventional coin-return relay of the coin mechanism (not shown). Thus when all of the switches 45 are released [for each of the columns, the deposited coin will automatically be returned.
When the vending machine is filled with articles to be vended and the solenoid 38 is momentarily energized tor vending the article 30, the plunger 39 acting through the link 40 pivots the pawl 31 in a clockwise direction. After the pivoting has continued to a sufiicient extent, the end 33 of the pawl 31 will clear the projection 25, thus releasing the star-wheel 23 for rotation in a clockwise direction. At approximately the same instant, the end 36 of the pawl 31 will engage the projection 26, thereby utilizing energy from the solenoid 38 to positively rotate the starwheel 33 in the direction indicated. As soon as such rotation begins, gravity acts on the article 29 and on the article 30 so that both of these move forward. The angular spacing between the adjacent projections such as 26 and 27 is sufiiciently large so that only one of these can be engaged at any one moment by one article. Thus the initial rotation of the star-wheel 23 causes the projection 27 to move away from the article 29. If the article 30 should for any reason be binding, the projection 27 will positively drive it. Similarly, if the article 29 for any reason should be binding, the projection 26 will ultimately engage it and drive it positively. Normally, when there is no binding, during such initial movement, the projections 26 and 27 are out of contact with both of the articles 29 and 30, and the article 29 thus will engage the portion 27 after the portion 27 has reached the position illustrated by the portion 28, and the next succeeding article 46 will engage the projection 26 after it has reached the position of the projection 27.
In the event that a wrong-door should somehow cause foreign matter to be effective in holding the plunger 39 within the solenoid 38, even after the solenoid 38 has been deenergized, the portion 36 would remain between the projections 26 and 25, thereby serving as an anti-jackpotting means. The end 36 would thus prevent the portion 25 from moving to the position occupied by the projection 26. In summary, in each operation, the star-wheel 23 is released and is driven by the pawl end 36, which by its presence precludes overtravel of the star-wheel 23, and such driven motion of the star-wheel frees any article that may be stuck or binding.
Although various minor modifications might be suggested by those versed in the art, it should be understood that I wish to embody within the scope of the patent warranted hereon all such embodiments as reasonably and properly come within the scope of my contribution to the art.
I claim as my invention:
1. A vending machine comprising in combination:
(a) a rack for supporting articles to be vended which includes a downwardly sloping ramp on which the articles may roll;
(b) a rotatable star-wheel disposed adjacent to said ramp, and having a series of angularly spaced radially projecting portions for extending into the path of the articles supported on said ramp, each of said projections having a leading article surface facing in the direction of star-wheel rotation, and a trailing articleengaging surface facing in an opposite direction;
(0) a pawl pivoted intermediate its ends, a first of such ends being normally biased against the leading articleengaging surface of a first of said projections to block rotation of said star-wheel, and the other of such ends being engageable with the trailing article-engaging surface of a second of said projections in response to pivoting of said pawl to positively rotate said starwheel; and
(d) a solenoid connected to said pawl for pivoting it.
2. A vending machine comprising in combination:
(a) .a rack for supporting articles to be vended which includes a path through which articles may pass, said path having a downwardly sloping ramp on which articles may roll, .and the path being tangent to and curving downward at the lower end of said ramp;
(b) a star-wheel disposed below said ramp for rotation about an axis offset downwardly from said path and sulbstantially concentric with the downward curvature of said path, said star-wheel having a series of angularly spaced radially projecting portions, two of said angularly spaced portions normally extending into said path for only individually engaging two articles to be vended;
(c) a pawl biased against said star-wheel for normally blocking rotation thereof; and
(d) a solenoid connected to said pawl for moving it.
3. A vending machine according to claim 1, in which the rotational axis of said star-wheel is offset below said ramp, in which at rest said leading article-engaging surface engaged by said first end of said pawl lies below the rotational axis of said star-wheel, and in which at rest said trailing article-engaging surface engaged by said other end of said pawl lies above the rotational axis of said star wheel.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,294,286 12/1966 Zibbell 22l295 STANLEY H. TOLLBERG, Primary Examiner.