US 3464589 A
Abstract available in
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Sept. 2, 1969 K. w. ODEN 3,464,589
SERPENTINE CAN VENDER MECHANISM Filed March 22, 1968 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENI'OR. KEN/v5 TH W ODE/v K. W. ODEN SERPENTINE CAN VENDER MECHANISM 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVFJNI'OR. KENNETH W 00N Sept. 2, 1969 Filed March 22, 1968 Sept. 2, 1969 K, W ODEN 3,464,589
SERPENTINE CAN VENDER MECHANISM Filed March 22, 1968 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 1= INVIGNIOR.
a KENNETH W ODEN 3,464,589 SERPENTINE CAN VENDER MECHANISM Kenneth W. Oden, Charles Town, W. Va, assignor to Dixie-Narco, lnc., Charles Town, W. Va., a corporation of West Virginia Filed Mar. 22, 1968, Ser. No. 715,368 Int. Cl. B65h 3/30; 365g 59/00 US. Cl. 221295 7 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A plurality of adjacent vertically sinuous sloping tracks guide rows of cans to adjacent release ends where a depending fixed projection over each track engages the leading can or the like from a row of cans guided by vancement. Each leading can rests on a platform tiltable about a transverse axis rearwardly of the fixed projection but held against tilting by a solenoid-actuated slide. The solenoid withdraws the slide to tilt the platform and the leading can is thus lowered and rolls under the projection to a common delivery chute while the rear end of the platform restrains the remaining cans of the row. A common switch is actuated by any released can to reset the solenoids.
Background of the invention This invention relates to vending machines for releasing the leading article of a row of rollable articles from a magazine.
Prior machines have been arranged to release the leading can or the like from a row of cans guided by sloping trackway but conventionally relatively complicated release mechanisms were employed for removing restraining means from the front of the leading can while at the same time introducing or inserting a further restraining means between the leading can and subsequent cans in the row whereby only a single can is released at one time. All such prior devices were of relatively complicated structure and relatively expensive to produce.
Summary of the invention The present invention comprises track or channel defining means for guiding a row of cans to a release station and wherein the cans are advanced by gravity. A fixed abutment projects downwardly into the path of movement of the cans to engage the upper portion of the leading can and thereby restrain the entire row. The leading can which is in engagement with the abutment rests on a tiltable platform locked against tilting movement by a slide member which is retraced upon the deposit of a proper coin, by means of a solenoid. Retracting the support means from the platform permits the latter to tilt downwardly so that the can thereon is dropped to a level below the downwardly extending abutment and is permitted to roll thereunder and off the platform to a dispensing or delivery station. When the can rolls off the platform it actuates a switch to reset the solenoid and return the platform to its upper position, the rear end of which had been swung upwardly to restrain the remainder of the row. A plurality of the trackways are provided in side-by-side relation in a cabinet and cans rolling off any of the platforms fall into a common delivery chute leading to the delivery station. The reset switch referred to is actuated by a common bar extending across the lower ends of all of the trackways so that a single switch will sufiice to reset any and all of the energized solenoids.
States Patent Brief descriptiion of the drawings FIG. 1 is a front elevational view, with parts broken away, of a cabinet having the present invention therein;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged vertical sectional view taken along line 22 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 but showing the parts in different relative positions;
FIG. 4 is a top plan view of a portion of FIG. 2, as seen from the line 44 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a bottom view of the mechanism of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is an enlarged sectional view taken along the line 66 of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken on the line 77 of FIG. 4.
Description of a preferred embodiment FIG. 1 of the drawings shows only schematically a suitable cabinet 2 housing the article releasing mechanisms and in which a plurality of side-by-side trackways 4 are mounted; the trackways are all identical in structure and operation so only one will be described in detail hereafter. Each trackway confines a row of rollable articles, such as the cans 6, and directs them to a release end of the trackway, which overlies a hopper structrue 8 having an open top 10 (see FIG. 3) into which a can may drop from any of the trackways. The hopper 8 directs any released can to a suitable delivery or dispensing station 12 from which the customer may obtain the article. The general arrangement thus far described may be considered more or less conventional in prior devices.
Referring now to FIG. 2, the means defining the trackways 4 are arranged in the general serpentine arrangement shown in the figures, at least in the lower regions of the cabinet and direct the cans 6 onto a sloping support member 14 along which the cans 6 roll under the influence of gravity. An upper assembly 16 arranged over the support 14 is rigidly mounted in the cabinet 2 a short distance above the tops of the cans 6 and is provided with a fixed downwardly extending rigid flange or abutment 18, which projects downwardly into the normal path of rolling movement of the cans 6 whereby it engages the leading can, as shown in FIG. 2, and holds the entire row of cans against forward movement.
The support member 14 and its associated mechanisms are shown in more detail in FIGS. 4 to 7 and comprises an upper platform member 20 having depending side flanges 22. An inner generally channel-shaped sheet metal plate 24 is fixed to the bottom surface of the plate 20 and is likewise provided with depending side flanges 26. The flanges 26 and narrow portions of plate 24 project forwardly beyond the plate 20 and define bushings for a pivot pin 28, which pivotally supports a tiltable platform generally designated at 30. The platform 30 is provided with an upper plate portion 32 extending substantially coplanar to the plate 20 when the platform is in its normal or holding position. Side flanges 34 on the platform 30 provide bushings to receive the pivot pin 28. Depending from the platform plate 32 is a central flange 36 having a generally horizontal slot 38 therein below the axis of the pivot pin 28 and extending from a position forwardly thereof to a position substantially below the pivot pin.
A depending flange 40 is secured to the bottom surface of the plate 24 centrally thereof and substantially in alignment with the flange 36 of platform 30. The flange 40 is provided with aligned elongated slots 42 (see FIGS. 2 and 3 also). A slide assembly comprising side bars 44 on opposite sides of flange 40 and secured together to move as a unit, is slidably guided by the slots 42 by means of suitable rollers or spacers 45 between the bars 44 and slidably received in the slots 42. The bars and spacers are held in assembled relation by suitable bolts 46 or the like. The side bars 44 extend forwardly on opposite sides of the flange 36 of platform 30 and a roller therebetween, held in place by fastener 48, is free to slide loosely in the slot 38. This structure is shown in more detail in FIG. 6. At its rear end the slide assembly comprising the side bars 44 is secured by a cotter key 50 to the armature 52 of a solenoid 54. The side bars 44 are further provided with depending fingers 56 to which one end of a tension spring 58 is engaged, the other end of the spring being engaged in an opening in a portion of the depending flange 40. Thus, it will be apparent that energization of solenoid 54 will cause its armature to draw the slide bars 44 rearwardly and to slide roller 49 along the slot 38. When the solenoid is deenergized the spring 58 will move the slide parts forwardly. As is apparent, with the slide bars 44 in the forward position shown in FIG. 2, the roller 49 constitutes a support for the platform 40 and prevents the same from tilting counterclockwise about pivot pin 28. In this position the platform will support the leading can 6 and hold it in position where it engages the abutment flange 18.
The side bars 44 are provided with laterally extending flanges 60 at their lower edges, one of which is in position to engage an actuator member for a switch 62 mounted on a depending portion of flange 40. With the parts in the forward position shown in FIG. 2, the switch 62 is held open but when the parts are retracted to the position of FIG. 3, the switch 62 is closed and completes a holding circuit to maintain the solenoid 54 energized for ensuring release of the leading can.
Certain of the upper assemblies 16, previously referred to, provide forwardly extending elements 64 on which a pair of depending arms 66 is pivoted, one arm on each of the elements 64, as seen in FIG. 1. A transverse substantially rigid elongated bar or plate member 68 is secured to each of the arms 66 and together they define a pendulous assembly swingable about the axis of pivot pins 70. The plate 68 is so positioned that when the platform 30 is caused to tilt to the position of FIG. 3 and permits the leading can 6 to roll therefrom, under the abutment flange 18, that leading can will engage the plate 68 to swing the arms 66 about pivot pins 70 and thus actuate a switch 72 shown as being mounted on the inner face of the cabinet 2. The switch 72 is closed when the parts are in the position of FIG. 2 but when actuated by a can rolling off the platform 30, the switch is open for a purpose to be referred to later.
As is apparent from FIG. 3, rearward movement of the slide bars 44 not only removes roller 49 as a support for the platform but actually causes that roller to engage the rear end of the slot 38 and continued rearward movement forcibly causes the platform 30 to swing to the counterclockwise position shown in FIG. 3. As is also apparent from FIG. 3, that portion 74 of the platform 30 which extends rearwardly of the pivot pin 28 is caused to swing upwardly to a position to engage the next succeeding can 6 and thereby restrain the remainder of the row of cans from rolling forwardly.
As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 the upper assembly 16 also supports a further switch 76 having an actuating finger 78 extending downwardly into the path of movement of the cans 6. As long as a can is resting on the platform 30, with the parts in the position of FIG. 2, the switch 76 is negative but if all of the cans of that particular row have been released and there is no can resting against the abutment 18, the switch 76 will function to condition a circuit to an indicator light (not shown) to indicate that all articles from that particular row have been released and that supply is exhausted or sold out.
While the electrical circuitry employed is not shown, it may be considered to be more or less conventional to those skilled in the art, and the following description of operation presupposed the presence of suitable and 0bvious control circuits.
With the parts in the normal position of FIG. 2, the machine is quiescent and merely awaiting actuation by a customer. When a customer desposits the required coin or coins in the usual slot (not shown) a circuit for the solenoids 54 is conditioned and one of them is completed by the customers actuation of a particular button (not shown) selecting any particular row or column of cans from which he wishes to receive his article. Such selection means are conventional. When the customer actuates the select button, he momentarily energizes the selected solenoid 54 which retracts the slide bars 44 to the position of FIG. 3 wherein the holding switch 62 holds the circuit through the solenoid closed even though the customer releases his select button. This ensures that the platform 30 will remain tilted, as shown in FIG. 3, until the leading can has rolled therefrom and has actuated the switch 72 which operates to open the circuit through the solenoid 54, deenergizing the same and permitting the spring 58 to return the parts to the relative positions shown in FIG. 2. Only a single switch '76 is shown on the upper assembly 16 but in practice, two switches are employed, each responding to a single actuator arm 78. When the supply of cans in one row is exhausted, the switches 76 are so conditioned that as the customer presses the select button for that particular column, the circuit to the selected solenoid 54 is not closed and at the same time a circuit through the signal light is closed indicating that articles are exhausted from that column.
While a single specific embodiment of the invention has been shown and described herein, the same is merely illustrative of the principles involved.
1. Apparatus for releasing a single article from a row of rollable articles, comprising: sloping guide means defining a continuous unobstructed tracltway for guiding a row of rolling articles to the lower end thereof defining a release station; a fixed abutment flange over said trackway at said release station and extending downwardly to position its free lower edge in the path of movement of the upper portions of rolling articles of said row to engage an upper portion of the leading article of said row and thereby hold all said articles against forward movement; said lower end of said runway comprising a platform below said abutment and extending rearwardly therefrom, in position to support said leading articles, said platform being mounted for downward movement relative to said abutment; support means normally holding said platform against downward movement; and selectively operable means for disabling said support means to release said platform to move downwardly and thereby lower said leading article to roll under said abutment flange and off said platform to a delivery station and means responsive to downward movement of said platform to restrain all articles rearwardly of said leading article.
2. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said platform is pivotally mounted about a transverse axis rearwardly of said abutment, a portion of said platform extending rearwardly of said axis to swing upwardly, when said platform is tilted, into the path of movement of said articles immediately behind said leading article whereby to restrain the remainder of said row against forward movement.
3. Apparatus as defined in claim 2 wherein said selectively operable disabling means comprises a member slidably mounted on said trackway for rearward sliding movement and having said support means thereon sup portingly engaging said platform forwardly of and below said axis whereby rearward movement of said support means to a position under said axis permits said platform to tilt.
4. Apparatus as defined in claim 3 including means depending from said platform in the path of rearward movement of said support means to enforce swinging of said platform upon rearward movement of said support means.
5. Apparatus as defined in claim 2 wherein said selectively operable means includes a solenoid for disabling said support means, when energized, by moving the same out of supporting engagement with said platform.
6. Apparatus as defined in claim 5 including a pendulously swingable depending arm, forwardly of said abutment, in the path of movement of an article rolling off said platform; and switch means actuable by said arm for deenergizing said solenoid.
7. Apparatus as defined in claim 6 including a plurality References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,659,644 11/1953 Hadden t 221-194- X 2,784,872 3/1957 LuX 221--115 X 3,294,286 12/ 1966 Zibbell n 221-295 3,348,733 10/1967 Johnson 221129 X of said trackways, abutments, solenoids, and platforms 15 SAMUEL COLEMAN, Primary Examiner