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Publication numberUS3362579 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 9, 1968
Filing dateOct 19, 1966
Priority dateOct 19, 1966
Also published asDE1574284A1
Publication numberUS 3362579 A, US 3362579A, US-A-3362579, US3362579 A, US3362579A
InventorsNewberry Meigs W
Original AssigneeWestinghouse Electric Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Rotatable vending gate for vending machines
US 3362579 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

J 1968 M. W. NEWBERRY 3,362,579

ROTATABLB VENDING GATE FOR VENDING MACHINES Filed Oct. 19, 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 v WITNESSES INVENTOR Mf f v Meigs W Newberry I ATTORNEY Jan. 9,-1968 M. w. NEWBERRY 3,362,579

ROTATABLE VENDING GATE FOR VENDING MACHINES Filed Oct. 19, 1966 v 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 m1 FIG.6.

Patented Jan. 9, 1968 3,362,579 ROTATABLE VENDING GATE FOR VENDING MACHINES Meigs W. Newberry, East Longmeadow, Mass., assignor to Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pin, a corporation of Pennsylvania Filed Oct. 19, 1966, Ser. No. 587,907 3 Claims. (Cl. 221-115) The present invention relates to vending machines and more particularly to a rotatable vending gate or cage for effecting the release of a lowermost article in a vertical stack of articles.

'Rotatable vending gates adapted to be positioned beneath and to one side of a vertical stack of articles with one or more release rods radially carried thereby so that one of the rods may be movably held in a supporting position beneath the lowermost article of a vertical stack of articles are well known. In order to vend the lowermost article, the gate is rotated by an angular amount sufiicient to remove the supporting and release rod from the supporting position beneath the lowermost article and to allow the lowermost article to drop to a vending position while at the same time to move the next radially position supporting and release rod into supporting posi tion beneath the next lowermost article in the vertical stack of articles.

Recent developments in the soft drink business have resulted in the packaging of soft drinks in either cans or bottles. A canned soft drink can of a given fluid content is considerably shorter than a bottle of the same fluid content. Vending machines may be arranged to vend either bottled or can drinks with the same general arrangemen-t of vending mechanism. However, the capacity of a given machine when vending cans may be considerably increased over its capacity for vending bottles by arranging the short length cans in two tandem-positioned vertical columns whereas the longer bottles would only be contained in a single vertical column. Obviously, when vending cans from two tandem-positioned vertical columns, it is desirable to alternately vend the lowermost can from respective front and back columns for each respective vending operation. Therefore, in a vending machine that is to be convertible from an arrangement for vending from a single vertical column of bottles to provide a convertible arrangement of vending gate for effecting the different required vending actions.

It is therefore a principal object of the present invention to provide a rotatable vending gate that is convertible from one form for alternately and successively vending the lowermost article from a respective one each of two tandem-positioned vertical columns of short length articles such as cans or the like to another form for successively vending the lowermost article from a single vertical column of long length articles such as bottles or the like.

A feature of the invention is the provision of rotatable vending gate comprising two cage members carried in tandem positions on a single shaft to be mounted in a vending machine. Each cage member may comprise one or more spider members carrying a number of equiaxial position of the shaft with the tandem-positioned cage members thereon, the key portions of the shaft will be engaged with the similar spider member aperture surfaces to thus key each of the tandem-positioned cages in a predetermined angular relation to each other on the shaft. Thus the keyed positions of the cage members relative to each other may be such that the release rods of both cages are in alignment with each other for vending from a single vertical column of long length articles such as bottles or are in staggered angular positions relative to each other for alternately vending from front and back tendem-positioned vertical columns of short length articles such as cans for each requisite amount of angular rotation of the gate member during a vending cycle.

Another feature of the invention is the provision of axially spaced circular surface portions on the central shaft with a diameter not greater than the minimum distance between opposed key surfaces on the shaft so that the shaft or one of the cages thereon may be axially moved relative to each other from the normal axial position to an adjusting position to bring the circular surface portions of the shaft into registration with the central apertures of the disk members of the one cage member to thereby unlock such cage member for repositioning its angular position relative to the angular position of the other cage member following which the shaft or cage member may be returned to the normal axial position with the key surfaces locking both cage members in the newly adjusted predetermined angular relation to each other.

Further objects, features and the attendant advantages of the invention will be apparent with reference to the following specification and drawings in which:

FIGURE 1 is a diagrammatic and fragmentary view of the lower end of a vending machine vertical storage column having a rotatable cage type gate member of the invention for controlling the vending release of the articles;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary elevational view, partly in section, of the convertible rotatable vending gate of the invention in the form with the cage members in the predetermined angular relation to each other required for alternately vending short length articles such as cans from two tandem-positioned vertical columns of articles;

FIG. 3 is a section on the line III-III of FIG. 2 as seen in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 2 but showing the convertible vending gate of the invention in the form as adjusted with the cage members in the predetermined angular relation to each other for the vending of a long length article such as a bottle from a single vertical column of bottles;

FIG. 5 is a section on the line V-V of FIG. 4 as seen in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIGS. 2 and 4 but showing the front cage in an intermediate angular position with the central shaft moved axially to the adjusting position from the normal keyed position; and

FIG. 7 is a section on the line VI'IVII as seen in the direction of the arrow of FIG. 6.

Referring to the drawings, FIGURE 1 shows the lower end of a vertical column of articles such as bottles or cans. The vertical column is provided with funnel-shaped side walls 10 and 11 at the lower end thereof so that a corded stack of articles such as the cans 12, 13, 14 and 15 may be funneled to the single can width outlet for controlled vending by the operation of the rotatable vending gate generally shown at 20. The rotatable vending gate 20 is mounted on a central shaft 21 which is rotatably positioned beneath and to one side of the outlet end formed by the column funnel walls 10 and 11 and the arrangement is such that the lowermost article such as the can is supported by the radially positioned supporting and release rod 22 of the cage member 20. When the cage member is rotated counterclockwise by a sufficient angular amount to be later described in detail, the can 15 will be released while the next lowermost can 14 will then be supported by the supporting and release rod 23. In order to obtain the required amount of angular counterclockwise movement for the rotatable vending gate 20, a reciprocal shaft connected to a bell crank 31 may be provided. The arrangement of reciprocal arm 30 and bell crank 31 actually include a form of oneway sprag clutch (not shown) which will produce a predetermined angular amount of clockwise rotation for the shaft 21 each time the bell crank 31 is moved in the counterclockwise direction but will not produce a corresponding clockwise movement of the shaft 21 when the reciprocating arm 30 and the bell crank 31 are moved back in the clockwise direction. Many forms of such one-way clutch arrangements are well known in the art and therefore in order to simplify the present description and the drawings, the details of the clutch arrangement for interconnecting the reciprocating arm 30 and bell crank 31 to the vending cage shaft 21 have been omitted.

Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3 of the drawing, the rotatable vending gate of the invention is comprised of the central shaft 21 and first and second tandem-positioned cage members generally shown at 20 and 25. The front cage member 20 includes one or more spider members such as the front spider member 20a and the rear spider member 2% While the rear cage member includes one or more spider members such as the front spider member 25a and the rear spider member 25b- Each spider member 20a, 20b, 25a and 25b is provided with a central aperture such as that shown at 200 for the front spider member 20a. It will be noted that the central aperture 20c is provided with a hexagonal shape which is formed by an even plural number of equiangularly positioned key surfaces such as the key surface 29d. It will also be noted that the central supporting shaft 21 is provided with at least two axially-spaced hexagonally-shaped sections 32 and 33. Stated another way, the hexagonal-shaped portion 32 of the shaft 21 is comprised of a plural even number of equi-angularly positioned key surfaces with a key shape complementing to the shape of the central apertures for the cage members 2011 and 20b. Similarly the axially-spaced key portion 33 of the shaft 21 is also provided with a plural even number of equi-angularly positioned key surfaces. Since, as stated before, the key surfaces for the shaft portions 32 and 33 are complemental in shape to the apertures for the spider members of the tandem-positioned cages 20 and 25, the relative angular positions of the two tandem-positioned cages 20 and 25 carried thereby is predetermined so long as the shaft 21 is in the normal axial position relative to the cages 20 and 25 as shown by FIG. 2 of the drawing. In other words, the front cage 20 is keyed to the shaft 21 by means of the key surfaces 32 and the rear cage member 25 is keyed to the shaft 21 by means of the key surfaces 33.

As previously mentioned, the front cage 20 includes a plurality of equi-angularly positioned article support and release rods 22, 23 and 24 which are carried in radial positions about the shaft 21 by the front and rear spiders 20a and 2%. Similarly the rear cage member 25 includes article support and release rods 26, 27 and 28 carried in radial positions equi-angularly about the shaft 21 by the front and rear spider members 25a and 25b. With the front and rear cages 20 and 25 positioned in the staggered angular relationship to each other as shown by FIGS. 2 and 3 of the drawing it will be seen that article release and support rods are provided for controlling the vending alternately from front and back tandem-positioned vertical columns of articles such as shown by 10, 15 and 40. It should be understood that the angular rotation for the shaft 21 during each vending operation is equal to the angular amount of the spacing between the front cage release rod 22 and the rear cage release rod 26 which when the cages are in the predetermined angular relation as adjusted for vending from two tandem-positioned columns is 60. Thus when the vending cage shaft 21 is rotated the first angular amount of 60 for a first vending operation the lowermost can 15 of the front vertical column of cans will be released While at the same time support rod 23 is moved into supporting relation beneath the next lowermost can 14 of the front column. Also during this first angular movement the rear support rod 26 remains in a supporting position beneath can 40 of the rear vertical column of cans.

Upon the next successive vending operation, the rear support rod 26 of the rear cage 25 will be moved from supporting relation to the lowermost can 40 of the rear column or cans allowing that can to be vended while at the same time the front support rod 23 remains in a supporting position beneath the then lowermost can 14 of the front tandem column of cans. Also, at that time, the rear support rod 27 is moved into supporting position beneath the next lowermost can in the rear column of cans. Thereafter upon the third vending operation, the front release rod 23 of the front cage 20 will be moved from supporting relation to the then lowermost can 14 of the front tandem column of cans allowing that can to be vended and at the same time the rear cage support rod 27 remains in a supporting relation to the then lowermost can in the rear column of tandem-positioned vertical columns of cans.

It will be noted that the number of support rods for each cage is equal to one-half the number of equi-angular positioned key surfaces for the shaft and spider apertures. Thus with the hexagonal shaft as shown and described, each cage member can comprise 3 equi-angularly and radially positioned support rods and the angular rotation required for each vend When vending alternately from front and back tandem-positioned vertical columns of cans is equal to the angle between adjacent hexagonal surfaces, i.e. 60.

For purposes of enabling the predetermined angular relationship between cages 20 and 25 to be changed, the shaft 21 is provided with two axially spaced unkeyed surface portions 51 and 52 which may be generally of a circular shape having a maximum diameter not greater than the minimum distance between opposed hexagonal surfaces of the key portions 32 and 33 of the shaft 21. 'One end of a coil spring 53 is connected at 54 to the shaft 21 and the other end at 55 to a collar 56 abutting the spider member 20a of the front cage 20 so that in effect the force of the compression coil spring 53 maintains the shaft 21 and the front cage 20 together with the rear cage 25 in predetermined normal axial positions relative to each other as shown by FIG. 2 with the key shaft surfaces predetermining the angular relationship between the front and rear cages 2t and 25. Upon moving the shaft 21 axially to the right to the position shown by FIGS. 6 and 7 of the drawings, the unkeyed portions 51 and 52 of the shaft are moved into registration with the apertures for the front and rear spiders 20a, 20b of the front cage 20. Thus the front cage 20 is unkeyed from the shaft 21 and is free to be rotated to an intermediate position as shown by FIGS. 6 and 7 of the drawings or to a new predetermined angular position which will be registerable with the keyed surfaces 32 of the shaft 21 when the shaft 21 is allowed to return under the force of the compression spring 53 to the normal position as shown by FIGS. 4 and 5 of the drawings. Thus in such manner the relative angular positions for the front and rear cages may be adjusted to be such as to place their article support and release rods in alignment with each other as shown by FIG. 4 of the drawing so that rods 24 and 27 are in alignment with each other as is also the case with article release rods 23 and 28 together with the article release rods 22 and 26. Thus it will be understood that the vending gate of the invention comprising the tandem-positioned front and rear cages 20 and 25 may be converted to a form for vending a lowermost article from a single vertical column or relatively long articles such as the bottle shown at 60 in FIG. 4 of the drawing.

It is of course apparent that the angular spacing between the release rods with the cages adjusted for vending the long articles is now twice as great as the spacing between alternate releasing rods in the tandem release adjusted cage form previously described. Therefore, when arranged in the cage form shown by FIG. 4 of the drawings for vending a single long article, the rotatable vending cage shaft 21 must be rotated an angular amount equal to twice the amount as required for the previous alternate vending of tandem-positioned articles, i.e. 120 as compared to the 60 angular movement. Many arrangements for providing the required increased angular rotation for the vending cage shaft 21 will occur to those skilled in the art and one extremely simple way in which this may be accomplished is to reciprocate the arm 30 and the bell crank 31 twice during each vending cycle, it being assumed that the counterclockwise angular movement of the bell crank 31 during each reciprocation of the arm 30 is the amount of 60 as would be required for the vending of tandem-positioned articles. In other words, assuming the angular counterclockwise rotation of the shaft 21 each time the arm 30 is reciprocated is always equal to 60, then when vending a single long length article the bell crank 31 would be reciprocated twice for each vending cycle to provide a total angular movement for the vending shaft 21 equal to 120 which is the angular spacing between aligned ones of the release rods 24, 27, 23, 28, 22, 26.

It should be understood that the invention is not limited to a particular configuration for the spider members 20a, 20b, 25a and 25b for the respective cages 20 and 25, nor is the invention limited to a particular number of vending release rods carried by each cage. So long as the number of vending release rods are equi-angularly positioned about the shaft 21, and so long as the number of keyed surfaces is equal to twice the number of vending release rods and are also equi-angularly positioned about the shaft 21, the convertible features of the invention will be provided. Although the article release gate of the invention has been shown for use with a funnel for a corded stacked column of articles, it should be obvious that the vending gate may be used with a noncorded vertical column of articles. It should also be understood that more than two tandem-positioned vending cage structures may be carried on a single rotary shaft to provide a convertible rotatable vending gate for more than two tandem-positioned columns of articles by an obvious application of the geometrical teachings of the invention.

Various other modifications will occur to those skilled in the art within the spirit of the invention.

I claim as my invention:

1. A rotatable vending gate that is convertible from a form for alternately vending the lowermost article from a respective one each of two tandem-positioned vertical columns of short length articles to a form for vending the lowermost article from a single vertical column of long length articles comprising, a shaft having at least two axially-spaced portions with a plural even number of equi-angularly positioned key surfaces, first and second cage members adapted to be mounted in normal tandem positions axially on said shaft, each cage member having one or more spider members with a central bore having key portions shaped to complement the key surfaces of said shaft, each spider member supporting a number of equi-angularly and radially positioned article release rods equal to one-half the number of key surfaces on said shaft, and the length of said shaft and the locations of the spaced portions of key surfaces thereof being such that said first and second cage members may be normally positioned axially in tandem relation to each other thereon with the key surfaces of said shaft engaging the complemental key portions of the central bores of the cage spider members to predetermine the relative angular positions of the article release rods of the first and second cage members.

2. The invention of claim 1 in which said shaft is provided with one or more axially-spaced circular surface portions of a diameter not greater than the smallest distance between-opposed key surfaces of the key surface portions of said shaft whereby said shaft and one of said cage members may be moved relative to each other axially from a normal position to align said circular portions with the apertures of the spider members of said one cage member to thus permit such cage member to be rotated into a predetermined desired angular position relative to the other cage member and to be maintained in that angular position after said shaft and one cage member are axially returned to the normal positions thereof.

3. The invention of claim 2 in which resilient means is provided between said shaft and the spider members of said cage members to maintain said shaft and cage members in the normal axial position thereof relative to each other.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,488,288 3/1924 Roth 221- X 1,580,594 4/1926 Fried 221115 X 3,165,231 1/1965 Heiser 221-115 FOREIGN PATENTS 319,139 9/ 1929 Great Britain.

SAMUEL F. COLEMAN, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1488288 *Jul 31, 1923Mar 25, 1924Roth Albert BCombined vending and weighing machine
US1580594 *Oct 20, 1921Apr 13, 1926Harry FriedMatch-vending machine
US3165231 *Mar 10, 1958Jan 12, 1965Ferro Stamping CoVending machine
GB319139A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4460107 *Feb 8, 1982Jul 17, 1984Cavalier CorporationPlural mode multi-column dispensing machine
US4511059 *May 26, 1983Apr 16, 1985Cavalier CorporationVending machine with side mounted escrows
US7401710Oct 6, 2003Jul 22, 2008Dixie-Narco, Inc.Vending machine dispensing system
US8132691Jul 21, 2008Mar 13, 2012Crane Merchandising Systems, Inc.Vending machine dispensing system
US20040104239 *Oct 6, 2003Jun 3, 2004Black Talbert JamesVending machine dispensing system
US20090037019 *Jul 21, 2008Feb 5, 2009Black Jr Talbert JamesVending machine dispensing system
US20100200607 *Jul 14, 2008Aug 12, 2010Felix Guindulain BustoExtractor system for cans and bottles for dispensing machines
US20140183210 *Aug 28, 2013Jul 3, 2014Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd.Dispensing mechanism of vending machine
Classifications
U.S. Classification221/115
International ClassificationG07F11/24, G07F11/16
Cooperative ClassificationG07F11/24
European ClassificationG07F11/24