US 3385413 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
May 28, 1968 w. H. JACOBS ETAL 3,
PORTION CONTROL AND VENDING MECHANISM FOR DISPENSERS Filed June 4 Sheets-Sheet l 9% I a INVENTOR.
ATTO R N EYS 3, 1968 w. H. JACOBS ETAL 3,385,413
PORTION CONTROL AND VENDING MECHANISM FOR DISPENSERS Filed June 3. 1966 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 68 l J 0 62 L.
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PORTION CONTROL AND VENDING MECHANISM FOR DISPENSERS Filed June 5, 1966 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTOR.
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PORTION CONTROL AND VENDING MECHANISM FOR DISPENSERS Filed June 5, 1966 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 FIGS United States Patent 3,385,413 PORTION CONTROL AND VENDING MECHANISM FOR DISPENSERS William H. Jacobs, Brookline, Mass., and Fred W. Kunath, Somerset, Bermuda, assignors to Jet Spray Cooler, Inc., Waltham, Mass, a corporation of Massachusetts Filed June 3, 1966, Ser. No. 555,083 16 Claims. (Cl. 194-13) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A beverage dispenser is provided comprising a tank for holding a beverage and a stand supporting the tank with a discharge outlet provided in the tank. A valve and valve actuator act to open and close the outlet and a portion control container is disposed in the tank with the outlet connected to the discharge outlet of the tank. A beverage circulating system in the tank includes a passage for filling the container with the beverage in the tank and means are provided for stopping the circulating system from fillin the container when the container is discharged through the outlet.
Thereare presently available a wide variety of beverage dispensers and vending machines that include portion controllers and coin mechanisms for controlling their operation. These machines are relatively large and occupy a sizable area, and are very costly. Although they are large, costly, and rather sophisticated pieces of equipment, nevertheless diificulties are regularly encountered in handling beverages that contain pulp, such as orange juice and other fruit juices. Further, the portion controls which are used in such machines ordinarily include a timer and a relay, and the size of the portion discharged during the timed interval set in the machine is a function of the level of beverage in the machine, which of course is variable. Therefore, the machines do not dispense the same amount of beverage during each actuation.
One important object of this invention is to provide a beverage vending machine which is significantly smaller than those now available and which is designed for table top installation.
Another important object of this invention is to provide a beverage vending machine which is of significantly less cost than the larger machines now available.
Another important object of this invention is to provide a portion control for beverage dispensers, which can handle pulpy beverages as well as beverages that are free of solid substances.
Still another important object of this invention is to provide a portion control for beverage dispensers, which is free of timers, relays, etc., and which is not subject to performance variations due to changes in liquid head in the machine.
Still another important object of this invention is to provide a portion control for beverage dispensers, which is suitable for use both in coin operated vending machines and in other forms of beverage dispensers that are not coin operated.
Still another object of this invention is to provide a coin control mechanism and a portion control, each of which may be incorporated into a variety of different forms of beverage dispensers to improve and expand their range of applications.
To accomplish these and other objects this invention includes a beverage dispenser having a tank for holding the beverage to be dispensed. A discharge outlet is provided in the tank, and a valve and valve actuator are provided at the discharge for opening and closing it. A por- Patented May 28, 1968 tion control container is disposed in the tank with an outlet connected to the discharge outlet of the tank, and the container is filled by a circulation system provided in the tank that includes a passage from the circulating system to the container. Means are provided in the dispenser for discontinuing operation of the circulating system so that the container is not being filled as its contents are discharged through the outlet.
In accordance with one embodiment of this invention a coin actuated electrical circuit is provided to control disabling means in turn operatively connected to the actuator to prevent the actuator from opening the valve at the outlet unless the circuit is first energized by a coin deposited in it.
These and other objects and features of this invention along with its incident advantages will be better understood and appreciated from the following detailed description of several embodiments thereof, selected for purposes of illustration and shown in the accompanying drawing, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a coin operated beverage dispenser constructed in accordance with this invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary side view partly in section, of the dispenser of FIG. 1 and showing the portion control;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary top view of the actuator controls of the dispenser shown in the locked position;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary top view similar to FIG. 3 and showing the controls in the unlocked position;
FIG. 5 is a side view of the coin receiving assembly;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a detail of the coin receiving assembly; and
FIG. 7 is a schematic diagram of the electrical system forming part of this invention.
The embodiment of this invention shown in the drawing includes a stand 10 that may sit on a counter, table or other form of support and which in turn carries a tank 12 that contains the beverage to be dispensed by the machine. In the embodiment shown, the tank is made of a transparent plastic material such as Lexan having sufficient strength to withstand substantial normal as well as abusive wear. An opening 14 is provided in the tank in its lower wall 16 through which an evaporator dome 18 extends so as to be in heat exchange relation with the beverage in the tank (see FIG. 2). A gasket 20 is secured to the tank about the opening and forms a seal against the outer cylindrical surface 21 of the dome 18 when the bowl is assembled on the stand. The bowl is designed to be lifted from the tray 22 that forms the upper wall of the stand when the parts are disassembled for cleaning, shipping or any other purpose.
A shallow well 24 shown in FIG. 2 is formed in the bottom of the tank 12 and houses a pump impeller 26 that has a magnet 28 embedded in it. A drive magnet 30 is disposed beneath the tank 12 in the stand 10, which in turn is driven by a motor also in the stand. The motor 32 is shown in FIG. 7. The drive magnet 30 and the driven magnet 28 embedded in the impeller 26 are magnetically coupled together when the impeller is disposed in the well 24 so that energization of the motor rotates the impeller.
The impeller 26 is covered by cap 34 that has a pump volute 35 formed in its lower surface with an enlarged chamber at its center which surrounds the impeller. Thus, the impeller and cap with the shallow well define together a pump 25 in the bottom of the tank for circulating the beverage in it.
An upstanding nipple 36 is formed as an integral part of the cap 34, which nipple 36 supports a stand pipe 38 that is adapted to discharge the beverage pumped into it upwardly against the cover 39 of tank 12. An opening 40 in the nipple 36 provides a second discharge from the pump below the level of the beverage to cause the beverage to circulate in the tank.
Inlet openings 42 are provided in the cap 34 in communication with the enlarged central chamber of the pump to allow beverage in the tank to flow into the impeller chamber. The impeller in turn causes the liquid drawn in through the opening 42 to circulate through the volute 35 and discharge into the stand pipe and through the opening 40. It should be noted that the opening may either be located in the nipple 36 or in the stand pipe below the level of the beverage in tank 12.
The opening 40 is so oriented that it causes a circulation of the beverage in the tank about the surface 21 of the evaporator dome 28 to establish an efiicient heat exchange relationship between the beverage and the evaporator.
Much of the structure thus far described is shown and described in greater detail in United States Patent No. 3,206,069 issued to Jacobs et al. and does not per se form part of the present invention. However, this structure in combination with the structure described below forms one embodiment of the present invention.
A discharge spout 44 in the form of a depending cylinder is formed as an integral part of the bottom wall 16 of the tank 12, and a shoulder 46 is formed on the inner surface of the spout below its upper end. A portion control container 48 in the form of a closed cylinder has 21 depending stem 50 that serves as a discharge for the container, and the stem is seated on the shoulder 46 in the spout. The container may be replaced by containers of different sizes merely by unseating its stem 50. A pair of ducts extend upwardly from the top of the container 48. The upper end of one duct 52 open adjacent the top of the tank above the level of the beverage, and the other duct 54 is connected at its upper end to the midportion of stand pipe 38. The duct 54 serves to charge the container 48 with beverage when the pump 25 is operating. The duct 52 serves to vent the container so that it can be filled through the duct 54.
A valve body 56 is disposed in the spout 44 and carries an O-ring 58 that seats in the spout 44 to prevent liquid from discharging through the spout. A push handle 60 is pivotally supported at its top on bracket 61 about the spout and engages the valve body 56 so that when the push handle is moved rearwardly in the direction of arrow 62 the body 56 rises in the spout and unseats the O-ring 58. When so moved, the contents of the container 48 are allowed to discharge through the body 56 by entering the port 57 and flowing down the pas age 59 in the body. The construction of the valve body and push handle may be of the variety shown in Witzel et al. Patent No. 3,238,963 or in copending application Ser. No. 505,847, filed Nov. 1, 1965 in the name of Gordon.
A bracket 64 shown in FIGS. 24 is disposed beneath the tank 12 and surrounds a portion of the spout 44 and may be part of the bracket 61 that supports the push handle 60. The bracket 64 carries several switches, a stop in the form of a rod, and a lock that are all related to the operation of the push handle. The stop rod 66 is disposed in a generally horizontal position behind the bend 68 in the push handle 60, and the forward end 70 of the rod is disposed against the bend in the handle to prevent actuation of the handle except under certain conditions (see FIG. 2). The stop rod 66 is mounted for translational motion in the bracket 64 and is urged to a forward position against the back of the push handle by spring 72. The spring 72, connected to the rod and bracket, urges the rod to the forward position which in turn will urge the handle to assume its rest position with the valve body 56 in its closed condition. In order to open the valve in the spout, it is necessary for the push handle to overcome the bias of spring 72 and move the stop rod with it in a rearward direction. This may only be done if the rod is unlocked.
An opening 74 extends through the rod 66 and is adapted to receive the stem 76 of the solenoid 78 supported on the bracket (see FIG. 3). The stem 76 moves at right angles to the rod 66 in and out of the opening 74 when the opening is aligned with the stem. It will be appreciated that when the rod is moved translationally, the opening 74 may be moved out of alignment with the stem. It will be appreciated that when the rod is moved translationally, the opening 74 may be moved out of alignment with the stem and the stem Will not be able to enter the opening until they are aligned. When the stem is disposed in the opening, it serves as a lock to prevent the stop rod from being moved. In this way the push handle 60 is prevented from being actuated and therefore the valve 56 cannot be opened. In order to be able to actuate the push handle, the solenoid stem 66 must be withdrawn rom the opening 74.
A normally closed microswitch 80 is mounted on the bracket 64 adjacent the stem 76 of solenoid 78, and the microswitch blade 81 is positioned to be actuated by the solenoid stem. That is, when the solenoid stem 76 is withdrawn from the opening 74 to release the stop rod 66 (see FIGS. 3 and 4), the movement of the solenoid stem actuates the microswitch. As seen in FIG. 7, the microswitch 80 lies in the circuit for motor 32, and when it is opened, the circuit is opened to shut off the motor. The normally closed microswitch 80 is placed in an open condition when it is actuated by the solenoid stern as shown in FIG. 4. Consequently, whenever the solenoid stem is withdrawn to enable the push handle to be actuated, the motor 32 is shut down which in turn shuts off the pump 25. Thus, before the valve 56 is opened, the pump is shut off, which prevents the further introduction of beverage from the tank 12 into the portion control container 48. Consequently, only the contents of the container before the push handle is actuated can be discharged from the spout, and when the container is emptied, no additional beverage will be discharged, even though the push handle is held so that the valve is in its open condition. Because no additional beverage flows to the container, no more than what is in the container can be discharged at the time the pump shuts off.
In 'FIGS. 1 and 5 a coin receiving head is shown mounted on stand 10. The head 82 is connected to a coin prover 84 disposed inside the stand. The coin prover is characterized below. The coin proving box is in turn connected to a coin collection box 86 also disposed inside the stand through chute 88. A second microswitch 90 has a blade 91 that extends into chute 88, and as a coin passes down the chute from the prover 84 toward the box 86, it engages the microswitch blade 91 to hold the blade in a thrown position. That is, the coin remains in the chute resting on the microswitch blade 91 as is suggested in FIG. 6. The microswitch 90 which is normally open, is closed by the coin, and the microswitch lies in the circuit 92 controlling the energization of the solenoid 78 (see FIG. 7).
Consequently, when a coin is dropped into the coin receiving head 82 and passes through the chute 88 to actuate the blade 91 of microswitch 90, the solenoid 78 is energized to withdraw its stem 76 from the opening 74 in the stop rod. Thus it is seen that in order to be able to actuate the push handle 60 to draw beverage from the container within the tank, it is necessary first to deposit a coin in the coin receiving head which satisfies the requirements of the prover 84 and which thereupon actuates the microswitch 90.
It is to be understood that the coin prover per se may be any one of a number of different varieties which are now regularly available. These provers respond to such characteristics of coins as their conductivity, diameter, thickness, and/or weight, to establish that they are authentic. Should the coins introduced into the prover fail to pass any of the several tests to which it is subjected, a mechanism is provided to kick the coin from the chute or prevent it from entering the chute so that it will not thereafter actuate the microswitch 90.
The coin and blade 91 of microswitch 90 are supported at the bot-tom of the chute with microswitch blade 91 in the thrown position by the bent end 94 of the stem 96 of second solenoid 98. The end 94 of the stem extends into the chute through the opening 97 in the chute side wall 99. It will be noted in FIG. 6 that when the solenoid is deenergized, the stem 96 lies beneath and supports the blade 91 of microswitch 90 so that the coin cannot pass out of the chute into the collection box 86. When the solenoid 98 is energize-d, the stem 96 is pulled out from beneath the blade 91 of the microswitch 90 so that the coin is allowed to pass over the blade into the box and release the blade of the microswitch. When this occurs, the circuit 92 which energizes the solenoid 78 is again deenergized and the stem 76 moves out of the solenoid coil and toward the stop rod 66.
The second solenoid 98 is disposed in circuit 100 which in turn is controlled by yet another microswitch 102 mounted on bracket 64 and controlled by the rod 66. The third microswitch is normally open so that the solenoid 98 is normally deenergized, but when the third microswitch 102 is closed by actuation of the stop rod, the circuit 100 is energized which in turn energizes the solenoid 98. Thus, when the rod is moved rearwardly slightly by and with the push handle 60, which action is permitted only after the stem 76 is withdrawn from the opening 74, the solenoid 98 is energized to cause the coin to drop ofi the blade 91 of microswitch 90 which in turn deenergizes the solenoid 78 to release the solenoid stem 76. The solenoid stem 76, however, cannot enter the opening 74 and lock the rod 66 until the handle 60 is released to allow the rod to move to its forwardmost position so that the opening 74 is aligned with the solenoid stem. Once this occurs, however, another portion cannot be drawn from the container or tank unless or until the microswitch 98 is again actuated by a coin which has been deposited into the coin mechanism and proved authentic.
From the foregoing description it will be apparent that the dispenser shown in FIGS. 1-7 is suitable for use as a vending machine in public places and satisfies the many objects of the invention set forth in the introduction. Its operation is quite simple and will be reviewed but briefly.
When in operation, the tank 12 is filled with the beverage to be vended and the stand is supported on a table, counter, or other support to place the machine at a convenient level for use. As long as the electrical system is energized and the refrigeration system which includes the cold dome 18 is operative, the beverage in the tank 12 is circulated about the surface 21 of the dome 18 so as to continuously cool the beverage. A portion of the beverage drawn from the tank int-o the pump chamber 25 is driven up the standpipe and sprayed against the cover of the tank 12 to enhance the visual display made by the unit. Another portion of the discharge from the pump 25 is driven out the opening which causes the circulation of beverage in the tank. An additional portion of the pump discharge is driven through duct 54 into the container 48 and the container will remain filled and constantly in condition to supply a portion determined by its volume to a customer.
A customer desiring to purchase the beverage deposits a coin of appropriate denomination into the coin receiving head 82 and that coin after it is authenticated in the prover 84 will actuate the microswitch 90. The closing of switch 90 will energize the circuit 92, and the solenoid 78 forming part of that circuit will withdraw the stem 76 from the opening 74 in the stop rod 66. When the stem is withdrawn from the opening, the rod is unlocked, and the customer may take a cup and manually press it against the push handle 50 causing the handle to move rearwardly as suggested by arrow 62 so as to open the valve 56. The open valve 56 will allow the contents of the container 48 to discharge through the spout 44 and fill the cup.
When the solenoid 78 is energized to withdraw the stem 76 from the opening 74, the solenoid stern actuates the microswitch 80 which deenergizes the circuit of motor 32 to shut olf the pump 25. Consequently, the container 48 in the tank will not continue to be filled by the pump, but rather its supply of beverage will be limited to that which was in the container at the time the coin was deposited in the coin receiving head 82 by the customer. Thus, but one portion, namely, the volume of the container 48, will be discharged through the spout 44 when the handle is actuated.
When the handle is actuated so as to move the stop rod 66 against the bias of its spring 72, the notch provided in the stop rod 66 actuates the third microswitch 102 which in turn controls the circuit 100 of the second solenoid 98. The solenoid stem 96 releases the blade of the microswitch which in turn allows the coin to fall from contact with the microswitch and the switch 90 closes. This action deenergizes the solenoid 78 which allows the solenoid stem to return to a position wherein its end engages the side of the stop rod 66. When the push handle 60 is released so that the stop rod moves to its forward position under the influence of its spring 72, the stem 76 will reenter the opening 74 to again lock the stop rod in place and prevent further actuation of the push handle until another coin is deposited.
From the foregoing description it will be appreciated that the portion control subassembly comprising the container 48 and its associated parts may be used in beverage dispensers other than those controlled by coin operated mechanisms. For example, a beverage dispenser of the type shown in United States Patent No. 3,206,069, supra, provided with a container of the variety described, would make such a dispenser suitable for use in a self-service cafeteria or other establishment where direct vending payment is not made. In such a device the push handle operates the valve and may directly control switch 80 in the motor circuit. When the push handle is actuated, the pump shuts down and the beverage discharged from the tank is limited to that which is contained within the container. In order to draw an additional drink from the tank, the push handle must be released so that the pump again is energized and fills the container. Such an assembly will also enable an accurate count to be made of the number of drinks dispensed.
It will also be recognized that the coin assembly may be used on vending machines other than the specific machine shown. Moreover, modifications may be made of the coin subassembly. For example, the microswitch 80 shown actuated by the solenoid stem 76 could be combined with the microswitch 90 actuated by the coin. Moreover, other arrangements may be used to effect the functions performed by each of the switches in the present arrangement. It will also be recognized that additional features may be incorporated into the coin assembly which would not effect the present invention. For example, upon failure of power to the machine, a stop could be provided which would prevent insertion of coins into the coin receiving head or alternatively, a bypass for the chute could be rendered operative which would convey the coins to a return box. These arrangements are well known in the coin handling art.
From the foregoing description those skilled in the art will appreciate that numerous modifications may be made of this invention without departing from its spirit. Therefore, it is not intended that the breadth of this invention be limited to the single embodiment illustrated and described. Rather, it is intended that the scope of this invention be determined by the appended claims and their equivalents.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
1. A beverage dispenser comprising:
a tank for holding the beverage and a stand for supporting the tank,
a discharge outlet provided in the tank,
a valve and valve actuator for opening and closing the outlet,
a portion control container disposed in the tank with an outlet connected to the discharge outlet of the tank,
a beverage circulating system in the tank which includes a passage for filling the container with beverage in the tank,
and means for stopping the circulating system from filling the container when the container is discharging through the outlet.
2. A beverage dispenser as defined in claim 1 further characterized by:
said circulating system including a pump and stand pipe with the pump drawing in beverage from the tank and driving at least a portion of it up the stand pipe and into the passage.
3. A beverage dispenser as defined in claim 1 further characterized by:
said container being closed so as to be filled only through the passage.
4. A beverage dispenser as defined in claim 1 further characterized by:
said discharge outlet being a spout that extends downwardly from the tank,
said actuator being mounted for reciprocal linear movement and including a push handle disposed beneath the tank and adapted to be actuated manually by pushing it with a cup for the beverage,
a seat at the top of the spout,
and a discharge duct depending from the container and removably secured on the seat.
5. A beverage dispenser as defined in claim 1 further characterized by:
said actuator including a push handle disposed beneath the tank and adapted to be actuated manually by pushing it with a cup for the beverage.
6. A beverage dispenser as defined in claim 1 further characterized by:
disabling means comprising a stem mounted for reciprocal linear movement and operatively connected t the actuator for preventing the actuator from opening the valve at the outlet,
and means including a coin actuated electrical circuit :for rendering the disabling means inoperative.
7. A beverage dispenser in accordance with claim 1 further characterized by said portion control container being fixed in said tank whereby it remains stationary throughout the operation of the dispenser in the opened, closed and intermediate positions of said valve.
8. A beverage dispenser as defined in claim 2 further characterized by:
said container being closed so as to be filled only through the passage.
9. A beverage dispenser as defined in claim 8 further characterized by:
said tank being made of a transparent material,
refrigeration means having a surface in heat exchange relation with the beverage in the tank,
and a discharge port connected to the outlet of the pump end below the level of the liquid in the tank 'for circulating the beverage in the tank over the surface of the refrigeration means.
10. A beverage dispenser as defined in claim 4 further characterized by:
said container being removably mounted in said seat for facilitating change of the container and replacement of the container with one of different size.
11. A beverage dispenser in accordance with claim 7 further characterized by said stopping means acting to stop said circulating system when the container is discharging.
12. A beverage dispenser as defined in claim 6 further characterized by:
a coin receiving chute mounted on the stand,
said coin actuated electrical circuit including a switch that is operated by a coin that is deposited in the chute for rendering the disabling means inoperative,
and means responsive to operation of the valve actuator for releasing the switch to release the disabling means.
13. A beverage dispenser as defined in claim 5 further characterized by:
a stop engaging the push handle for preventing the handle from being pushed to open the valve at the outlet,
a locking device operatively connected to the stop,
a coin receiving chute,
and a coin actuated electrical circuit connected to the locking device for releasing the lock when a coin is disposed in the chute.
14. A beverage dispenser as defined in claim 13 further characterized by:
said circuit including a switch positioned to be held in one position by a coin dropped in the chute,
and means operated upon the release of the locking means for allowing the coin to pass through the chute and release the switch.
15. A beverage dispenser as defined in claim 14 further characterized by:
said stop being movable with the handle when the lock means is released,
an opening in the stop,
a stem forming part of the locking means and disposed in the opening in the stop when the locking means is operative,
and a solenoid for withdrawing the stem from the opening when energized by the circuit closed by the switch.
16. A beverage dispenser as defined in claim 15 further characterized by:
said switch including a blade upon which the coin rests to hold the switch in one condition,
means operative upon the release of the locking means including a support for the switch blade,
a second solenoid for moving the support between operative and inoperative positions,
and a second circuit including a switch actuated upon movement of the stop for energizing the solenoid to render the support inoperative whereby the coin passes in the chute beyond the blade and the first mentioned solenoid releases the stem so that it extends into the opening in the stop when the opening is aligned with the stem.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS STANLEY H. TOLLBERG, Primary Examiner.