US 3533211 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 13, 1970 L. EINNEHMER 3,533,211 VENDING MACHINE FOR SUPPLYING AND DISPENSING SEALED CONTAINERS OF POTABLES Filed May 31, 1968 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR 4504mm) I/A/AIEHMEQ BY ATTO RN EYS Oct. 13, 1970 L. EINNEHMER 3,533,211 VENDING MACHINE FOR SUPPLYING AND DISPENSING SEALED CONTAINERS OF POTABLES v Filed May 31, 1968 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 W m ,ll I FIG. 3.
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' 5 INVENTOR l'OIVARD //V/V//M5Q ATTORNEYS Oct. 13, 1970 L. EINNEHMER 3,533,211
VENDING MACHINE FOR SUPPLYING AND DISPENSING SEALED CONTAINERS OF POTABLES Filed May 31, 1968 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTOR LEONARD [/IVM'l/Mfk ATTORNEYS Oct. 13, 1970 1,. EINNEHMER 3,533,211 VENDING MACHINE FOR SUPPLYING AND DISPENSING SEALED CONTAINERS OF POTABLES Filed May 31, 1968 Sheets-Sheet 4 FIG. 6. w /.;z M
ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,533,211 VENDING MACHINE FOR SUPPLYING AND DIS- PENSING SEALED CONTAINERS 0F POTABLES Leonard Einnehmer, 400 Argyle Road, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11218 Filed May 31, 1968, Ser. No. 733,382 Int. Cl. B65b 1/00 US. Cl. 53-37 3 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A vending machine for supplying, sealing and dispensing containers holding a measured quantity of a potable. The vending machine includes an operational system which has a number of conventional components such as ingredient storage tanks, mixing and measuring devices, packaging material storage and dispensing mechanisms, and a coin operated mechanism which activates the system. The improvement in the vending machine comprises the utilization of packaging material stored in the machine to form a sealed container holding the potable prior to delivery to the customer.
Vending machines which are coin operated and dispense predetermined quantities of potables in containers are well known in the art. These vending machines are stationed wherever substantial numbers of people will have ready access to them. Typical locations for these vending machines include train, bus and airline terminals, eating places, automotive service stations and at various areas within ofiices, factories, schools, hospitals, retail outlets, theatres, stadiums, and like places of business and recreation. Such vending machines offer a wide variety of potables both hot and cold, including milk, coffee, tea, cocoa, carbonated soft drinks, fruitades and juices, and soups. Of these, the largest volume by far is in cold carbonated soft drinks.
There have been two basic types of such vending machines recognized by the prior art. One type may be referred to as the package vendor. The machine is loaded with a number of glass, metal or other type of containers which have been previously filled and sealed at a central manufacturing facility and then transported to the machine. It simply dispenses these filled containers one at a time, whenever a customer places money into the machine. The machine does not affect the containers, except for cooling.
The other type may be referred to as the bulk vendor. Water is piped into the machine, and the other ingredients of the potable are loaded in the machine in bulk tanks. The machine also holds a supply of empty cups, in a stacked array. The machine, in its operational cycle, mixes a measured quantity of the ingredients with the water, dispenses a cup, and fills this cup with the potable. The customer then removes the open cup, filled with the potable, from the machine. The foregoing process is characterized as postmix. Another variation of the bulk vendor uses a premix process, wherein the drink in its finished form, including water is loaded into the machine in bulk. The machine measures and dispenses it into an empty cup.
Patented Oct. 13, 1970 "ice The bulk vendor is generally considered to have a number of advantages over the package vendor. First, the cost per drink at the point of sale is lower in the bulk vendor at requisite volume levels. This is due to the savings inherent in manufacturing, warehousing and transporting only those ingredients which comprise a very small portion of the finished product, as compared to the same steps in relation to pre-filled relatively bulky containers holding mostly water before they are loaded into the machine.
Second, the cost of containers themselves used in the bulk vendor is less. In package vendor systems, the containers must be rigid enough and sealed sufiiciently well to withstand the rigors of manufacture, Warehousing, transport to the machine and dispensing in the machine, all without disfiguration, leaking or breaking of an airtight seal. In a bulk vendor system, the containers need be only self-supporting until they are dispensed in the vending machine and filled with a drink. Third, the bulk vendor is considerably more flexible and economical in satisfying the consumers choice of type of potable. Only the key ingredients, typically only syrup, need be stored in relation to estimated demand, and such ingredients are of relatively small bulk as compared with the drink as a whole. In package vendors, the need for each type of potable must be estimated, and the correct ratio of different type drinks each fully constituted and in their own packages, as compared to the total capacity of the machine, must be loaded into the machine.
Fourth, due to the large capacity of bulk vendors and the nature of their functioning, it is not necessary or appropriate to provide space for, and to store supplies of the packaged product near the machine, as it usually is with filled and sealed containers for package vendors. Fifth, since bulk vendors use less. durable and lower cost containers, such as plastic or waterproof paper containers, there is no need to store returnable empty glass containers for later pickup, or to charge a deposit for or retrieve these returnable glass containers, and there is eliminated the difliculty in disposing of rigid metal and glass containers, as well as the safety problems of broken glass and raw metal edges. Sixth, there is only a minimal refill servicing requirement with bulk vendors due to their greater capacity resulting from the use of bulk ingredients and the ability to store containers prior to use in nested condition.
It should be mentioned that some early versions of bulk vendors were considered lacking in cleanliness and not able to deliver a consistently uniform product. However, the progressive development of the art has eliminated these drawbacks and put bulk vendors on a par with package vendors in these respects.
Bulk vendors, however, do have some disadvantages as compared to package vendors, which result from the characteristics of the containers of these two types of machines. The bulk vendors dispense drinks in sealed containers. Thus, if the customer wishes to consume his drink not right at the machine but at some distance from it, it becomes difficult if not practically impossible to carry the open container such a distance either without spilling or without moving at an excessively slow rate. The customer may wish to transport his drink from a central rest station in an ofiice or a factory to his place of work, especially since his employer may not desire him to linger at the rest station. The customer may wish to carry his drink from a bending machine to a table in a cafeteria, or from one place to another within an amusement area or recreation place, such as from a vending machine to his seat in a movie theatre. The foregoing desires of the customer to transport his drink are thwarted as a practical matter by the bulk vendor, since the conveyance of a filled cup is difficult, time-consuming, extremely prone to accident, even harder in crowded areas, and impossible by both persons infirm of hand and children.
If the customer wishes to transport his open filled cup by automobile, as where the same has been purchased during a stop at a rest station on a highway, this is also practically an impossibility. Finally, open containers lose their carbonation and return to room temperature more quickly than their counterparts dispensed by the package vendor.
The provision of a supply of cup lids adjacent the vending machine and the manual capping of the cup by the consumer is not a practical answer to the foregoing problems for several reasons. A flat, stable surface must be provided nearby, increasing by a considerable percent the area taken up by the vending process. The consumer must still extract the open cup from the machine and transport it over some, however short, distance, to the capping area, and must take the time to perform the transporting and capping functions. The consumer must have the skill (which he typically does not) to perform the capping operation easily, smartly, and without damage to the cup and without spillage of its contents. The supply of lids must be readily available to the public, inviting likely ravaging by persons bent on mischief. That the manual capping of cups is not commercially acceptable is evidenced by the almost complete absence of any provision therefor, as well as by the fact that cups for use in vending machines are typically not designed for use with mating lids. Moreover, the suppliers of such cups essentially never supply mating lids for them.
From the foregoing discussion of the two types of vending machines, the bulk vendor and the package vendor, and especially the form of their end product dispensed to the public, their relative ability to meet the consumers needs can be summarized: the bulk vendor with its open container is appropriate only where the drink is to be consumed close to the vending machine and soon after dispensing; the package vendor with its sealed container is most appropriate where the drink is to be consumed a reasonable walks distance from the machine, or an automobiles ride away from the machine, or some short time period after dispensing from the machine. It is also appropriate where the drink is to be consumed days or weeks later.
The usefulness of the package vendor in meeting the customers needs, as above stated, should be given further scrutiny. It is only where the sealed container is to be stored for a few days or weeks that the strength, rigidity, vapor-seal, impermeability to gases and pressure resistance of the bottle or can are necessary to maintain the nature and quality of the drink. But this condition for which the sealed container of the package vendor is best suited is the least important, since purchases at vending machines for this purpose are almost negligible. The purchases made at retail food stores by housewives completely fill this need, and such food store purchases are less costly and more convenient.
For other areas in which the package vendor meets the customers needs, i.e., in transporting the drink a short walk away, an autos ride away, or storage for a short time period, the sealed container of the package vendor has specifications far in excess of what is required. The sealed container is given these characteristics of strength, rigidity, vapor-seal, etc., to meet the requirements of manufacture, warehousing, and transportation to the vending machine. Obviously, the consumers requirements for the three conditions under which a sealed container is most desirable could be met by a far less substantial container, which in addition would yield a lower-in-cost, lighter-in-weight, more easily openable and more readily disposable container for his drink. To date, no system of machine vending of potables exists which gives the consumer a drink in a container of the type described.
The need for such a system is growing at an increasing rate. The well known trends of increasing travel by automobile, more leisure time spent at recreation and amusement areas, thelarger number of meals eaten away from the home, the increasing size of plants and factories, and in general the increasing desire for convenience create such a need.
Thus, at a large number of locations where vending machines are heavily used, the bulk vendor would be more advantageous but cannot be installed due to the con sumers desire to drink the potable at a time and place different than that immediately after dispensing at the vending machine. Conversely, the vending of a drink at a lower cost and in a more convenient package at a number of sites using package vendors would increase the volume of drinks sold.
It is the primary object of my invention to provide a vending machine which, at a retail location, constructs as well as dispenses a sealed container of a potable, having previously been loaded with bulk ingredients and container components.
It is another important object of my invention to provide a vending machine for dispensing potables in containers which has the above-mentioned advantages of present bulk vendors and yet by dispensing potables in sealed containers, eliminates the above-mentioned disadvantages of bulk vendors.
It is another equally important object of my invention to provide a vending machine for dispensing potables in sealed containers which eliminates the above-mentioned disadvantages of present package vendors.
-It is a further object of my invention to provide a vending machine which is bulk-loaded and which dispenses potables into open cups, and which thereafter seals the cup with a lid prior to delivery to the purchaser.
The above brief description, as well as further objects, features and advantages of the present invention, will be more fully appreciated by reference to the following detailed description of a presently preferred, but nonetheless illustrative embodiment in accordance with the present invention, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of a vending machine with its door swung open to expose its numerous mechanisms, the vending machine incorporating my invention;
FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the sealed container construction mechanism;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the sealed container construction mechanism taken substantially along the line 3-3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the sealed container construction mechanism taken substantially along the line 4-4 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a bottom plan view of the sealed container construction mechanism taken substantially along the line 55 of FIG. 4;
FIGS. 6 and 7 show the aforesaid mechanism immediately before and immediately after the sealing of a container, respectively;
FIG. 8 shows the step of conveying the sealing cap to its pick-up zone; and
FIG. 9 is a schematic diagram for the electrical circuit of the sealed container construction mechanism.
Since the vending machine of my invention will have the widest utility when utilized to dispense a cold carbonated soft drink, the vending machine herein illustrated dispenses this type of potable. However, it will be apparent that it is within the scope of my invention to provide a vending machine utilizing the inventive principles herein disclosed for hot or cold potables, carbonated or non-carbonated.
Referring now in detail to the drawings, FIG. 1 illustrates a vending machine including a housing 12 containing a number of components and a door 14 hinged on the housing. The door swings open to give access to the interior of the housing 12 for loading, servicing and the like. The housing has a cup magazine 16 which holds a large number of cups, desirably in the range of 1500 cups. The magazine includes a number of vertical cup chutes 18, each of which retains a stack of nested cups 20. The magazine includes a base 22 on which it is rotatable. The base 22 has a single-cup dispensing mechanism (not shown). As one chute becomes empty of cups, the next chute full of cups rotates to an operative position above the mechanism. A single cup 20a is held by the mechanism in a position ready to be dispensed. The base 22 is hinged on the housing 12 as at 24 so that it can be swung away from the housing for servicing and filling. The magazine is illustrated in its swung-out position.
The housing further mounts a number of powdered g-redient storage tanks 26 which typically contain coffee and tea concentrates where iced coffee and iced tea are offered in addition to carbonated drinks. The tanks are connected to a powdered ingredient dispensing mechanism which mixes these ingredients with the remainder of the potable. A number of syrup tanks 30 store the various syrups utilized to make the variety of carbonated drinks delivered by the machine. Desirably there are at least four such tanks.
A bank of pumps 32, one for each syrup tank, is provided in the housing, and the pumps may be of the positive displacement diaphragm-type. The bank of pumps is contained in a cold water bath unit 34 which keeps the incoming water, syrup tanks, and syrup lines at the desirably low temperature range of approximately 32 F. to 38 F. The water bath unit is cooled by a refrigeration unit 28.
The housing 12 stores a C0 gas cylinder 36 which is connected to a carbonator 38. The water inlet line (not shown) is also connected to the carbonator. The carbonator injects CO into a quantity of water at any desired carbonation level, as the syrup is mixed with the water to make the carbonated drink. The carbonator is cooled by a line running from the water bath unit 34.
An icemaker 40 is also carried by the housing and supplies chunk ice to the carbonated drink. The ice slides down an ice chute 42 into the drink.
A cup grille 44 is situated in the housing and is adapted to have a cup 20c stationed on it. The cup is guided to this location from the cup dispensing mechanism by a cup slide 46. A waste bucket 48 is situated below the cup grille to catch any overflow from the filling of the cup.
The door 14 carries a selection panel 50 with appropriate control mechanisms for initiating a cycle to dispense a desired drink selection into a cup. The front of the panel has a number of push buttons enabling the customer to choose any one of the variety of drinks. The door also carries a coin mechanism 52 which includes a coin changer, a slug rejector, a coin box 54 and appropriate coin-sensing mechanisms to initiate operation of the vending cycle, after deposit of the proper coinage. A lock 56 secures the door in a closed position.
The door has a sliding window 58 which is mounted for vertical sliding movement between a pair of tracks 60. The window may be grasped by a cross-bar 62. The window is raised by the consumer when the vending cycle is completed. A solenoid 64 blocks upward movement of the window during the vending cycle, and the blocking position of the solenoid is shown in dotted lines.
The mentioned components are entirely conventional and well known in the art. Commercially available carbonated beverage vendors having the foregoing and other features include Models PM1, WSM series and WSC series sold by The Vendo Company of Kansas City, Mo. and Models S3, S93 and S94 sold by the Seeburg Sales Corp. of Chicago, Ill. Specific reference is made to these commercially available examples of vending machines of the bulk loading type for further details of any of the foregoing components.
Reference is also made to the following patents which illustrate one or more of the previously described conventional components of the vending machine: Wood, No. 2,979,232; Melikian, No. 2,682,984; Roberts, No. 1,615,885; and Sproul, No. 1,582,146. Reference is also made to the following patents which also show such components, but incorporated into machines other than vending machines: Anderson, No. 3,124,916; Byrd, No. 2,897,643; and Larsen, No. 2,164,530.
The sealed container assembly mechanism which is the improvement of my invention, as embodied in the example shown in the drawings, includes the cup magazine 16, previously decribed, as well as a lid magazine 66. The lid magazine includes a. number of vertical lid chutes 68, and each chute holds a number of cup lids. The number of lids is approximately the same as the number of cups in the cup magazine, being therefore approximately 1500 lids. The lid magazine 66 is carried by an arm 70 which is hinged at 72 on an interior wall of the housing 12 so that the magazine can be swung away from or into the housing. The magazine rotates on a shaft carried by the arm. In FIG. 1, the magazine 66 is illustrated in its swung-out position.
Referring to FIGS. 2 and 8, one of the lid chutes 68 is shown with a number of cup lids 74 situated therein. A floor 76 underlies all of the chutes 68- and said floor has a single aperture 78 formed in it, at a radius which is the same as the radius from the shaft 80 of the lid magazine 66 to any chute 68. Accordingly, only that particular chute 68 which is situated vertically over the aparture 78 in the floor 76 may have its lids 74 dispensed.
The sealed container assembly mechanism further includes means to dispense the lids: 74 one at a time from a lid chute 68 to a lid-loading station 82. Said means in- 0 cludes a lid ejector 84 and a lid slide 86. The slide 86 has an upper horizontal wall 88 upon which the bottommost lid 74 within the lid chute 68 rests. The lid ejector 84 includes an ejector plate 90 which is slidable between the wall 88 and a parallel guide wall 92. The plate 90 is driven by a solenoid 93 mounted below the wall 88. The solenoid is linked to the plate 90 by U-shaped connector 94. (See FIG. 8.)
Prior to actuation, the lid ejector 84 is in the position shown in FIG. 2, with the bottommost lid 74 resting upon the wall 88 of the lid chute. The plate 90 has an aperture 91 formed in it, and when the plate 90 is in its initial position, the bottommost lid is located in the plane of said aperture (see FIG. 2). When the solenoid 93 is energized, the plate 90 is driven toward the left, as seen in FIG. 2, carrying the bottommost lid 74 with it, off of the wall 88 and into the open mouth of the slide 86. After entering the mouth of the slide the lid continues down the slide and enters the lid-loading station 82. When the solenoid 93 is de-energized, the plate 90 is returned to its initial position by a return spring 96. The plate is guided in its return movement by a return arm 98 which slides in a guide block 100 mounted on the guide wall 92.
The lid-loading station 82 includes a table 102 held by a number of supports 104 which are fixed to a wall 106 of the housing 12. F our vertical guide posts 108 which rise from the table 102 serve to position the lid 74 after it has left the slide 86. The guide posts stop the forward movement of the lid 74 and by contacting it about its periphery, properly locate the lid on the table (see FIGS. 4 and 8).
Each lid has a top wall 110 surrounded by a circular channel 112. The lids are oriented in the lid magazine 66 to open downwardly. (See FIGS. 6 and 7). The configuration of each of the lids enables it to mate with and close the open mouth of any cup 20.
The sealed container assembly mechanism further includes a cup-loading station 114. A cup is dispensed into this station as is conventional in coin operated vending machines by well known mechanisms. As has been mentioned, the cup comes to rest on the grille 44 which is secured in the wall 106. When the cup is dispensed, it is positioned on the grille between a set of spring fingers 116 which lightly retain the cup in place.
A transfer arm 118 picks up a lid 74 from the lidloading station 82 and joins it to the open mouth of the cup 20 at the cup-loading station 114. The transfer arm 118 has four through apertures 120 (see FIG. 3) which are spaced apart in plan identicially to the spacing in plan of the guide posts 108. Accordingly, as will be more fully described subsequently, when the transfer arm 118 is lowered over the table 102, the guide posts 108 pass through the apertures 120.
The transfer arm 118 carries a number of spring clips 122 (see FIGS. 3, 5-7) which have arms 124 which are situated about the periphery of a lid recess 126 formed in the underside of the transfer arm 118. The transfer arm 118 is fixed to a transfer arm shaft 128 which is journaled between bearing 130, 132 in, respectively, an upper wall 134 and a lower wall 136 fixed in the interior of the housing 12. The arm carries a heating rod 135 immediately above the recess (see FIGS. 5, 6 and 7). The rod is circular in plan and is insulated from the remainder of the arm.
The transfer arm shaft 128 is rotated by drive means, including a motor 138 (see FIG. 4) mounted on the lower wall 136. The motor 138 is linked by a conventional slip clutch 140 to a shaft 142 on which a doublefaced cam rwheel 144 is fixed (see FIGS. 3, 4 and 5). The shaft '142 rotates within a hub 143. Whenever the motor 138 is energized, the shaft 142 and the cam wheel 144 are rotated by the motor.
The transfer arm shaft 128 is rotated about its own vertical axis by the action of the gear segment 146 as controlled by the cam wheel 144. The gear segment 146 has a hub 148 which is rotatably mounted on a shaft 149 fixed to the lower wall 136. The gear segment 146 meshes with a gear 150 fixed to the shaft 128. Thus, it will be apparent that whenever the gear segment 146 is rotated either clockwise or counterclockwise (see FIG. 5), the gear 150 will also be rotated but in the converse direction, resulting in similar movement of the transfer arm 118.
The cam wheel 144 has a cam groove 152 formed in its lower face (see FIG. 5) and the gear segment 146 carries a cam follower 154 which protrudes into the cam groove 152. Accordingly, as the cam wheel 144 is rotated by the motor 138, the gear segment is either stationary, or moved clockwise or moved counterclockwise, by virtue of the action of the cam groove 152 on the cam follower 154.
The shaft 128 and accordingly the transfer arm 118 is shifted upwardly or downwardly in the bearings 130, 132 by transfer arm shifting means also driven by the cam wheel 144. Said shifting means includes (see FIGS.
3 and 4) a crank lever 156 which is mounted on a post 158 dependent from the upper wall 134. One arm of the crank lever 156 carries a cam follower 160 which rides in a cam groove 162 in the upper face of the cam wheel 144. (See FIG. 5.) The other end of the crank lever 156 is linked by a rod 164 to the lower arm of a crank lever 166. The crank lever 166 is pivoted on the rear of the upper wall 134. The end of the upper arm of the crank lever 166 carries a yoke 168, the arms of which rotatably engage a spool 170 fixed to the top of the transfer shaft 128. As the cam wheel 144 rotates, by virtue of the follower 160 riding on the groove 162, the yoke 168 retains the transfer arm 118 in one plane, or shifts the arm upwardly or downwardly.
Describing the movement of the transfer arm, in its initial position the gear segment 146 is situated with its cam follower 154 at position a on the cam groove 152 (see FIG. 5) on the lower face of the cam wheel 144 and with the crank lever 156 positioned with its follower 160 at position a on the cam groove 162 (see FIG. 3) in the upper face of the cam wheel 144. It will, of course, be understood that position a on the cam groove 152 corresponds with position a on the cam groove 162, and that the other lettered positions on one groove correspond with similarly lettered positions on the other groove. In the aforesaid position of the crank arm 156 the crank lever 166 holds the transfer shaft 128 and thus the transfer arm 118 in an elevated position over the table 102. The motor 138 is energized and the cam wheel 144 rotates in the direction A (see FIGS. 3 and 5). As the wheel rotates through a arc, the cam followers 154, 160 move from positions a to b in their respective cam grooves. In so doing, the linkage 156, 164, 166 causes the shaft 128 and thus the transfer arm 118 to shift downwardly, thereby frictionally engaging the lid 74 on the table 102, and then to move upwardly over the table 102. Through the same 90 are from positions a to b, the cam follower 154 passes through a dwell period and thus the transfer arm 118 does not rotate.
With the cam followers 154, 160 at position b, the transfer arm 118 is in the same position as it was with the cam followers at position a, but the transfer arm now carries a single lid 74.
As the cam wheel 144 continues to rotate through the next 90 arc, the cam followers move from positions b to c. The cam follower 160 experiences a dwell period so that the transfer shaft 128 and thus the transfer arm 118 stay at the same horizontal level. The cam follower 154 in passing from position b to position 0 swings the gear segment 146 in the direction B (see FIG. 5), thus rotating the gear and thus the transfer shaft 128 in the direction C through a 180 arc to an elevated position over the cup-loading station 114 and over the cup 20 situated therein standing on the grille 44 (see FIGS. 2 and 6). As the cam 'wheel 144 rotates through the next 90 are from position c to position d, the cam follower 154 goes through a dwell period and so the transfer shaft 128 and thus the transfer arm 118 does not rotate. The cam follower through the crank arms 156, 166 causes the transfer shaft 128 and thus the transfer arm 118 to shift from the elevated position to a lower position and then to return to its elevated position. During this downward and upward movement, the transfer arm 118 presses the lid 74 over the open mouth of the cup 20 and the channel 112 snaps over the rim of the cup mouth. Due to the interference between the lid and the mouth of the cup, the lid remains secured to the cup, sliding out of the spring clips 122 carried by the transfer arm 118. As the cam Wheel continues its rotation tnrough its final 90 arc from positions d to a, to return to its initial position, the transfer arm is rotated through another arc to its initial position shown in FIG. 2, over the lid-loading station 82.
The heating rod 135 heats to a temperature sufficient to heat seal the cup lid 74 to the rim of the cup 20; this temperature depends upon the materials chosen for the lid and the cup, the time period during which the arm engages the lid and the time period during which the arm presses the lid against the cup. This temperature will, of course, be insufficient to destroy the integrity of the lid and the cup.
A stop mechanism 172 insures that the cam wheel 144 returns to its precise initial position directly over the lid-loading station with the apertures 1 aligned over the guide posts 108, after each cycle of operation. A detent 174 is formed in the periphery of the cam wheel 144 and an index arm 176 is biased by a spring 178 so that its tip attempts to protrude into the detent. A solenoid 180 is linked to the arm 176 and when energized withdraws the point of the arm from the detent, permitting rotation of the wheel 144. When the motor 138 is energized, the solenoid 180 is simultaneously energized, whereupon the wheel 144 rotates. The solenoid is connected with appropriate circuitry so that shortly after its energization it is de-energized so that the arm 176 will protrude into the detent in the cam wheel 144 upon one complete revolution of the wheel. The slip clutch 140 permits the motor 138 to run down, even after further rotation of the cam wheel has been inhibited.
The circuit diagram illustrated in FIG. 9 is operated by a timing motor 182 carrying a number of cams 1 84 on its output shaft. The motor 182 is energized by a customer placing proper coinage into the vending machine and making a drink selection. The cams operate microswitches 186 causing, among other conventional operations, a cup 20 to be dispensed and a potable to be dispensed into the cup. Thereupon, the cam 184a operates microswitch 186a closing parallel circuit 188, energizing solenoids 64, 93, and 180. Energization of solenoid 64 prevents the window 58 from being opened during the 'container construction operation, energization of the solenoid 93 causes ejection of a lid 74 from a lid chute 68, and energization of solenoid 180 causes the stop mechanism 172 to permit a single revolution of the cam Wheel 144 to take place. Closing of the microswitch 186a also energizes the motor 138. The cam 184a is configured to close the microswitch 186a for a period of time necessary to complete one cycle of operation of the sealed container construction mechanism. The heating rod 135 is in parallel with the motor 138 and thus has energy supplied to it during a cycle of operation.
In view of the foregoing detailed description, the operation of the vending machine need only be briefly described. The vending machine is actuated by a consumer inserting coins into the coin mechanism 52 and pushing a drink selection button on the selection panel 50. The timing motor 182 is energized, and causes the cup dispensing mechanism to eject a single cup 20 from the cup magazine 16. The cup descends through the cup slide 46 and comes to rest on the grille 44 within the fingers 116. Next, a measured quantity of a potable is dispensed into the cup. At approxiately the same time, the lid ejector 84 is energized to remove a lid 74 from a lid chute 68 to the slide 86 whereupon it falls to the lid-loading station 82. The transfer arm 118, siutated over the table 102, depresses to engage a lid 74, elevates, swings to the cup-loading station 114 and then depresses to place the lid onto the mouth of the cup, elevates and returns to its initial position. The window 58, previously locked, can now be slid open to enable a consumer to remove the closed container with the potable therein.
Although in the specific embodiment shown herein, the cup lid is joined to the cup by a combination of interference fit and heat sealing, it is within the scope of my invention in connect these components in numerous other ways. For example, the connection can be made by numerous mechanical expedients with or without heat sealing. These include a simple friction fit, placing a thread on the interior of the cup lid and a mating thread on the exterior of the upper periphery of the cup and thereupon threading the lid to the cup. Further, the side wall of the cup lid and the Wall of the cup can be configured in numerous other ways so that a more positive mechanical connection is achieved.
Moreover, the cup lid may be joined to the cup not only through the use of either heat or mechanical means as has been described but by chemicals. These, for example, may comprise a dry adhesive applied to the mouth of the cup and a compatible dry adhesive applied to the inner face of the side wall of the cup lid. These adhesives would normally be dry to the touch but upon coming into contact with one another, would form the desired sealing bond.
It should be pointed out that in the specific embodiment set forth in this application as well as in the ex amles just enumerated for joining the cup lid to the cup, the cup lid may be designed so that the entire cup lid is removed by the consumer to reach his drink or, alternatively, only a small portion of the lid, opened by a pull-away tab, need be removed either to form a drinking spout or to permit insertion of a drinking straw. Further, for purposes of achieving greater stability in the use of the sealed container and for maintaining the integrity of the lid, the pull-away tab may be formed in the smaller end of the container.
Although the specific embodiment described herein discloses a cup, lid which is a component initially separate from the cup, it is within the scope of my invention to integrate the cup lid with the cup so that these two components are even initially interconnected. By way of example, the cup lid may be hinged directly to the mouth of the cup by a small plastic hinge which is integral with both the lid and the cup. Moreover, the cup may be provided with an upper portion which, after the cup is filled with a potable, is folded and collapsed to form a closure. Such construction is used on present-day paperboard milk containers in which the container body carries foldable upper extensions which are folded down and bonded to achieve an integral cap or cover for the container.
Still further, although the specific embodiment shown herein illustrates the cups fully formed prior to their storage in the vending machine, it is yet within the scope of my invention to form the container wholly within the machine, out of materials stored within the machine. By way of example, paper or plastic stored in sheets or rolls could be formed into cylinders or cones open at one end and sealed after insertion of the potable. As a further example, plastic in a powdered or liquid form could be stored and by a process such as blow or injection molding be formed into a receptacle. Rather than having separate components to be joined, the receptacle could be a hollow sphere filled with the potable via an an insertion type device similar to a hypodermic needle. The sphere could seal itself by the contractual action of its material upon withdrawal of the filling needle of the insertion type device.
A latitude of modification, change and substitution is intended in the foregoing disclosure and in some instances some features of the invention will be employed without a corresponding use of other features. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the appended claims be construed broadly and in a manner consistent with the spirit and scope of the invention herein.
1. A vending machine for dispensing potables, including means for storing bulk-loaded ingredients, means for supplying containers serially, means for supplying a potable from the ingredients and placing a measured quantity thereof into one of said containers, means for sealing said container after the potable is placed therein and means for actuating both supplying means and the sealing means in response to the insertion of a coin into the machine.
2. In a vending machine for dispensing potable including means for storing bulk-loaded ingredients, means for supplying open-mouthed containers, means for supplying a potable from the ingredients and placing a measured quantity thereof into a container and means for actuating both supplying means upon the insertion of a coin into the machine,
the improvement comprising means for supplying container closures, and means for securing a closure References Cited over the mouth of a container after the potable is UNITED STATES PATENTS placed therein.
3. A method of machine vending potables in sealed 2,953,171 9/1960 Arne at 141 174 containers comprising steps of: 5 3,196,593 7/1965 Hey 53 29 X (a) supplyinga Potable, 3,354,614 11/1967 St. Clan et a1. 53 37 X (b) providing containers, (c) placing a measured quantity of the potable into a TRAVIS MCGEHEE Primary Exammer container, E. F. DESMOND, Assistant Examiner (d) sealing the container with the potable therein in 10 response to coin actuation, and US. Cl. X.R.
(e) releasing the sealed container of the potable for 53281; 194-3 removal from the machine.