Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3608775 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 28, 1971
Filing dateOct 9, 1969
Priority dateOct 9, 1969
Publication numberUS 3608775 A, US 3608775A, US-A-3608775, US3608775 A, US3608775A
InventorsOffutt Elmer Bradley
Original AssigneeVendo Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
First-in first-out product-dispensing machine having high-level article display and discharge
US 3608775 A
Images(6)
Previous page
Next page
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United Stat es Patent [72] Inventor Elmer Bradley Olfutt Independence, Mo. [21] Appl. No, 865,007 [22] Filed Oct. 9, I969 [45] Patented Sept. 28, 1971 {7 3] Assignee The Vendo Company Kansas City, M0.

| 54 l FIRST-IN FIRST-OUT PRODUCT-DISPENSING MACHINE HAVING HIGH-LEVEL ARTICLE DISPLAY AND DISCHARGE 27 Claims, 22 Drawing Figs. [52] U.S. Cl 221/84,

221/86 [51] Int. Cl G071 11/52 [50] Field Search 221/76-86 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,300,888 4/l9 l9 Singletary 221/80 X 1,841,378 1/1932 Parrish 221/84 2,665,184 111954 I-Iord 221/84 3,021,030 2/1962 Thompson.. 22 l/77 3,253,736 5/1966 221/84 Moyer et aI Primary Examiner-M. Henson Wood, Jr. Assistant Examiner.lohn J. Love Attorney-Schmidt, Johnson, Hovey & Williams ABSTRACT: A first-in, first-out product-dispensing machine provided with a plurality of upright, side-by-side conveyors each having a series of product-supporting tray assemblies movable incrementally upon selection thereof through a respective inverted, J-shaped path of travel past a dispensing station and operable during each cycle of actuation to effect release to the dispensing station of a product supported by a tray assembly initially in a product display location proximal to the upper part of the path of travel of the tray assemblies of the selected conveyor and to also shift another tray assembly thereof into said product display position whereby both display of each of the products next to be dispensed, and delivery of a selected product to the dispensing station, may be carried out at a convenient, high-level height while at the same time permitting stocking of virtually all of the product tray assemblies of each conveyor. The tray assemblies of said conveyors are each made up of .two nonnally back-to-back, pivotally interconnected tray members co-operable with J-shaped conveyor guides therefor to fan apart as the tray members are moved through the arcuate portions of said closed loop path to prevent e'nd-over-end tumbling of the products between adjacent tray assemblies.

PATENTEU SEP28 I97! SHEET 2 UF 6 WHHHIHIHI' MWM' Elmer Bradley Offufi BY J M,/

ATTORNEYS.

PATENTED SEP28 I9?! SHEET 4 [1F 6 INVENTOR 900 95 Elmer Bradley Off'uft ATTORNEYS.

Vending machines adapted to dispense candy and confectionery products having somewhat limited shelf life desirably are operable to dispense the oldest product in the machine to prevent the candy and confection products from becoming stale before discharge to the customer. Although routemen are instructed to make sure that all stock is rotated in machines which do not inherently dispense the oldest products in the machine, in actual practice, such rotation is not always efi'ected because it takes time to do so and there is no way to directly supervise the work of the servicemen in the field. However, provision of first-in, first-out dispensing machines involves complications which tend to increase the cost and maintenance of such units over other types of successive-product dispensers. For example, drop shelf candy dispensers have been found to be economical to construct and largely maintenance-free. in these machines a series of vertically aligned shelves are normally held in a horizontal position by a common control unit and then successively released from the bottom upwardly each time the control unit is actuated to discharge a product to a dispensing station therebelow. This design also lends itself to stocking a maximum number of products in a minimum of space, particularly from back-tofront and side-to-side of the machine cabinet. However, when the serviceman restocks the machine he repositions all of the shelves in a horizontal location and if he follows instructions, removes all of the products in the machine at the time of restocking and places them on the lower shelves while putting fresh merchandise on all of the upper shelves. It has been observed that this is frequently done when only a few items remain in a respective column but, generally speaking, rotation of the stock is not effected if a considerable number of items remain unvended at the time of replenishment.

One type of first-in, first-out machine which has found commercial acceptance involves a series of product-supporting trays carried by an upright endless belt trained over upper and lower rotatable members so that the trays project outwardly from the vertical stretches of the belt and are radial with respect to the curved-end sections thereof. A number of these magazines may be placed in upright, side-by-side relationship and a product vended from a selected conveyor by movement of the corresponding conveyor through an increment to permit gravitational discharge of a product from a tray member located adjacent the bottom part of the respective belt. Discharge of products from the lower ends of the conveyors is a requisite since this is the only way that effective release of a product by gravity may be obtained while at the same time permitting stocking of virtually all of the product trays of respective conveyors. lf discharge were eflected from a try located adjacent the top part of the corresponding conveyor or belt, it would not be possible to stock the tray members therebelow since items such as candy bars and the like, which are of elongated configuration, would twist and tumble and possibly become lodged around the bottom part of the curved path of the tray members as they move around the lower rotatable support for the conveyor belt. In addition, effective gravitational discharge of a product from a tray member can best be accomplished by pennitting a product to be delivered from that tray member commencing to move from a horizontal position through an are around the bottom support member for the conveyor belt, since the tray member is thereby tilted to an extent to assure gravitation of a product therefrom.

lt is, therefore, the primary object of the present invention to provide a first-in, first-out dispensing machine having highlevel article display and discharge wherein a series of selectively actuatable upright conveyors in side-by-side relationship are each provided with a series of product-supporting tray assemblies located to move past the high-level dispensing station and to not only release products therefrom by gravity thus simplifying the discharge mechanism, but also of a design permitting stocking of virtually all of the tray assemblies including the downwardly moving stretch thereof as well as the upwardly moving stretch of tray assemblies.

A further important object of the invention is to provide a first-in, first-out dispensing machine as described provided with guide means for each series of tray assemblies causing the latter to move through an inverted J-shaped path of travel so that as each tray member approaches the dispensing station located adjacent the upper part of the path of travel of the tray members at the reentrant stretch thereof, it is caused to swing about an arc for gravitational release of a product therefrom and thus permit discharge of products from the conveyor at a convenient high level not heretofore possible with machines of this general type.

A still further important object of the invention is to provide a dispensing machine having first-in, first-out productdischarge capability wherein each tray assembly is initially moved through an arc adjacent the reentrant stretch of the path of travel of the tray assemblies to a disposition for display of the product thereon whereby further movement of the tray assembly in display position effects discharge of a product therefrom so that vending of the displayed product is accomplished in an efficient manner at a level where the customer may readily observe the nature and appearance of the product which he receives. This is especially important in the candy and confection field andeven permits stocking of theconveyors with different products if desired, so long as they vcnd at the same price.

A further important object is to provide a machine of the characteristics above wherein a transparent retainer is provided in front of each of the conveyors above the dispensing station in disposition to hold a product onthe respective tray assembly when the latter has been shifted into the display position thereof whereby such retainer serves the function of preventing discharge of a product from the display position until after the tray assembly has been shifted past the retainer while at the same time permitting visual observation there through of the product next to be vended.

Also an important object of the invention is to provide a first-in, first-out dispensing machine having high-level article display and discharge wherein the product compartments are made up of two tray assemblies, each of which is comprised of a pair of tray members normally located in back-to-back relationship, but cooperable with the inverted J-shaped guide means therefore to fan apart when moving around the curvedend portions of the path of travel thereof so that the products remain confined between essentially parallel members of adjacent assemblies, to preclude tumbling or end-for-end movement of the products. F

It is also an object of the'invention to provide a unique conveyor for a first-in, first-out dispensing machine wherein the tray members of each tray assembly described above are joined one to the other to present an endless chain thereof, thus avoiding the necessity of providing a separate belt or link unit therefore to support the tray members in disposition projecting outwardly from the path of travel of the same. As a corollary to this object, it is a feature of this invention to provide novel cam and retainer means on the tray members engageable with the guides for the tray assemblies to not only restrict the tray assemblies to a path of travel defined by the guides, but also maintain the panel sections of the tray members in disposition projecting outwardly from the closed loop path of travel of the product-supporting assemblies.

A very important object of the invention is to provide firstin, first-out dispensing structure as described, wherein the individual, upright side-by-side conveyors are especially adapted for actuation by. a common power source which desirably includes a vertically reciprocable beam behind the conveyor units and selectively actuable latch mechanism for coupling the actuator of a selected conveyor to the beam for operation thereby during reciprocation of the beam whereby relatively simple and inexpensive structure may be employed to couple the conveyor actuators to the operating beam by virtue of the fact that it is only necessary to move the latches into the path of travel of the operating beam thus avoiding problems inherent in clutch assemblies and equivalent devices wherein the various components are always in a frictional relationship during each cycle of operation of the dispensing mechanism.

It is an important object of the invention to provide a machine as described wherein restocking of the individual conveyors is facilitated by virtue of the fact that each conveyor may be pulled out of the cabinet for access to the tray assemblies thereof, and wherein tilting of the cabinet when one or more conveyors is moved outwardly therefrom is precluded by virtue of the provision of an accessory track-support normally folded into the cabinet opening behind the front door thereof, but swingable downwardly into alignment with the cabinet tracks for the conveyors so that each may be shifted outwardly into a position supported at least in part by the accessory track unit.

Other objects and features of the present invention will be explained or become apparent as the description here under progresses. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a vertical sectional view in essentially diagrammatic form showing the machine of FIG. 17 with the righthand sidewall thereof removed and illustrating in schematic form an end conveyor unit, the drive assembly therefor, the supporting track for the conveyor, and the accessory track support in its folded position within the cabinet inside the door thereof;

FIG. 2 is an essentially diagrammatic showing similar to FIG. 1 but illustrating the front door of the cabinet open with an end conveyorpulled out and resting on the accessory track support which is folded down into horizontal supporting disposition from the location thereof illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary, diagrammatic front elevational view of the lower part of the machine as illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary, enlarged, front elevational view of the upper and lower ends of one of the product conveyors along with the respective tracks therefor within the cabinet of the machine;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged, fragmentary, side elevational view of the upper end of one of the product conveyors with parts thereof being broken away to illustrate details of construction of the components;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged, side elevational view of the lower end of the conveyor illustrated in FIG. 5 with parts again being broken away for clarity and other components being shown by dotted lines;

FIG. 7 is a horizontal, cross-sectional view on the irregular line 7-7 ofFIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a horizontal, cross-sectional view along the line 8-8 of FIG. 6;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged, fragmentary, rear elevational view of antitheft mechanism forming a part of the conveyor with the rear wall of the conveyor removed for clarity;

FIG. 10 is a horizontal, cross-sectional view on irregular line 10-10 of FIG. 5 illustrating the antitheft mechanism of FIG.

FIG. 1 1 is a side elevational view of a tray assembly forming a part of the conveyor illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6, and showing the two tray members making up each tray assembly;

FIG. 12 is an enlarged, vertical, cross-sectional view with the front panel and guide means of the conveyor removed therefrom to illustrate the relationship of the shelf assemblies, particularly the disposition thereof as they move past the dispensing station, with parts being broken away for clarity;

FIG. 13 is a side elevational view of the tray assembly guide structure of FIG. 12 with parts being broken away to better reveal the configuration of the guide controlling the relationship of the tray assemblies thereto;

FIG. 14 is a side elevational view of the opposite side of the track shown in FIG. 3 and projected from FIG. 12;

FIG. 15 is a diagrammatic representation of the inverted J- shaped path of travel traversed by the tray assemblies of each conveyor and showing the tray assembly guide channel and end-curved walls for maintaining the tray members in proper spaced, generally parallel relationship as they move around the curved portions of the path of travel thereof;

FIG. 16 is a fragmentary, enlarged, exploded perspective view of a pair of tray members making up one tray assembly of each conveyor of the machine;

FIG. 17 is a perspective view on a reduced scale of a first-in, first-out dispensing machine having high-level article display and discharge, construction in accordance with the preferred concepts of the present invention;

FIG. 18 is a front elevational view of the drive mechanism for the conveyors with the motor and mounting plate being broken away to better illustrate the components therebehind and with the common vertically reciprocable operating beam shown in its up position and one of the coupler latches in an actuated position for engagement by the beam, while the transfer arm for the beam is illustrated in dotted lines;

FIG. 19 is a side elevational view of the right-hand side of the drive mechanism illustrated in FIG. 18;

FIG. 20 is a vertical, cross-sectional view on the line 20-20 of FIG. 18;

FIG. 21 is a fragmentary, horizontal, cross-sectional view on the line 2121 of FIG. 19; and

FIG. 22 is fragmentary, front elevational view of the drive mechanism as shown in FIG. 18, but illustrating the operating beam in the lowermost portion of the same during reciprocation thereof.

A first-in, first-out product dispensing machine having highlevel article display and discharge is broadly designated by the numeral 30 in FIG. 17 and includes a cabinet 32 provided with a rear wall 34, sidewalls 36 and 38, a bottom 40, and a front door 42 hingedly mounted on wall 36 and normally closing the front access opening to cabinet 32. A series of conveyor units 44 are provided within cabinet 32 in upright, side-by-side disposition as indicated in FIG. 17, along with a common actuating motive unit therefor broadly designated 46, as well as other electrical control and coinage mechanism not illustrated. Since all of the conveyor units 44 are of identical construction, only one of the same has been shown in detail and the description herein is restricted to such single conveyor unit, although it is to be appreciated that all of the same are adapted to be selectively actuated by motive unit 46 as will be explained.

Referring to FIGS. I-4, it is first to be appreciated that each conveyor unit 44 has a main upright sidewall 48 of generally rectangular configuration provided with a relatively wide, rear end wall section 48a and narrower top and front walls 48b which support a wall 50 (FIG. 7) of substantially the same configuration as wall 48 and spaced therefrom a sufiicient distance to accommodate operating mechanism for the tray assemblies and antitheft mechanism to be hereinafter detailed. A horizontal, downwardly opening channel 52 mounting glide rollers 51 therewithin and carried between the lower ends of walls 48 and 50 is adapted to be slidably positioned over the upright leg of an L-shaped track 54 on bottom 40 of cabinet 32 in disposition extending from the rear wall 34 thereof toward the front access opening of the cabinet. As shown in FIG. 4, a track 54 is provided for each conveyor unit 44 and located in parallel relationship as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.

The upper end of unit 44 defined by walls 48 and 50 is slidably positioned in a downwardly opening channel 56 aligned with the track 54 therebelow. Again it is to be understood that the channel 56 is provided for each of the conveyor units 44 with all of the channels 56 being in parallel relationship. At least one downwardly extending wall segment of each channel 56 is provided with a hook portion 56a on the outer end thereof (FIGS. 1 and 2) for limiting outward movement of a corresponding conveyor unit 44 as indicated in FIG. 2, by virtue of the engagement of a pin 58 on wall 50 with stop 56a, as shown in FIG. 2.

An accessory conveyor support unit broadly designated 60, is carried by cabinet 32 at the front opening thereof for providing auxiliary support for one or more of the conveyor units 44 when the same are pulled out of cabinet 32 for replenishment of the products to be dispensed therefrom. As shown in FIGS. l-3, support units 60 include a main rectangular panel 62 mounted on bottom 40 by hinge structure 64 at opposite sides of the panel 62 for rotation from a position behind door 42 when the latter is closed to a horizontal position as illustrated in FIG. 2 extending forwardly from and generally aligned with the bottom 40.

A support foot 66 pivotally carried by panel 62 adjacent the forwardmost margin thereof and rotatable about an axis parallel with the axis of rotation of panel 62 about hinge structure 64 is adapted to swing downwardly into a vertical position as indicated in FIG. 2, when panel 62 is shifted to a conveyorsupporting location. The effective vertical height of foot 66 is dependent upon the vertical extent of the legs 68 provided for cabinet 32. A link 70 between foot 66 and a point of pivotal connection thereof to ears 72 on the bottom 40 is of a length to maintain foot 66 in vertical disposition when panel 62 reaches a horizontal location and to automatically fold foot 66 against panel 62 when the latter is shifted to its collapsed condition inside of cabinet 32.

The panel 62 is provided with a plurality of L-shaped tracks 74 thereon similar to tracks 54 and directly aligned therewith when support unit 60 is folded outwardly into conveyor supporting disposition as shown in FIG. 2. In this way, one or more of the conveyor units 44 may be shifted out of cabinet 32 without danger of tilting of the cabinet.

An essentially inverted .I-shaped panel 76 secured to the outer face of wall 50 intermediate the side margins thereof as well as the top and lower ends, has an outwardly bent circumscribing lip 76a which defines one wall of a generally channelshaped, .I-shaped track for tray assemblies 78, each in turn made up of a tray member 80 and a tray member 82 (FIG. 16) incrementally movable across the face of wall 50. Another essentially inverted J-shaped panel 84 of slightly smaller peripheral dimensions than panel 76 but generally complemental thereto, has an out-turned lip 84a which is spaced from lip 76a to cooperate therewith in defining the inner J-shaped channel guide for tray assemblies 78 referred to above.

A series of outwardly projecting spacers 86 projecting from panel 84 carry another inverted J-shaped panel 88 complemental with panel 84 and having an intumed lip 88a directly aligned with lip 84a. An outer, inverted J-shaped panel 90 overlying panel 88 and secured to spacers 86 for support thereby is of essentially complemental configuration to panel 76, aligned therewith and provided with an intumed lip 90a directly opposed to lip 76a, which together and along with lips 84a and 88a, present opposed, aligned, inverted J-shaped channels 92 and 94 for guiding tray assemblies 78 along a closed loop path of inverted J-shaped configuration.

Channel 94 is illustrated schematically in FIG. and this diagrammatic showing is also intended, along with the elevational view in FIG. 13, to indicate the relative heights of lips 88a and 90a around the perimeter of channel 94. The lip 90a is of the height indicated in FIGS. 7 and 8 between the the points A and B (shown schematically in FIG. I5) of the upright stretch 94a of channel 94 and also of that same height between the points C and D of upright stretch 9412 having a reentrant portion 94b. However, between points B and C, as well as D and A, the lip 90a is of a height equal to lip 880 as shown in FIG. 7 as well as in FIG. 13. Lip 88a on the other hand is of the height illustrated in FIG. 7 throughout the upright stretch 94a of channel 94 between points E and F of FIG. 15 and is also of height between the points G and H, as well as I and J on stretch 94b of the channel 94. Between points F and G, H and I, and J and E, the lip 88a is of essentially the height of lip 900 as shown in FIG. 7.

Semicircular end plates 91 and 93 are carried at the horizontally and lower ends respectively of inner panel 88 and have intumed lips 91a and 934 respectively of a height substantially equal to the height of lip 90a throughout the area between points B and C and A and D of FIG 15. Lip 91a extends between the points G and F, while lip 93a circumscribes the arc between points E and .I.

The tray assemblies 78 are preferably made up of two tray members and 82 which are especially designed to be injection molded of synthetic resin material, pivotally interfit and be joinable to and adjacent tray assembly 78 so that the series thereof present an endless chain extending around the inverted J-shaped closed loop path defined by channels 92 and 94.

Referring to FIGS. 7, 8, 11 and 16, it is to be noted that the tray member 82 has an elongated, essentially planar section 96 reinforced by integral V-shaped, elongated protuberances 96a and joined to a connector section 98 at an angle of about degrees with respect to the plane of panel section 96. The length of connector section 98 determines the spacing between adjacent tray assemblies 78. A tubular boss 98a projecting from one side margin of connector section 98 is of a width to generally complementally fit within channel 92, while a pin 98b extending outwardly from the opposite side margin of connector section 98 in coaxial alignment with boss 98a is adapted to be pivotally received within the tubular boss 98c of an adjacent tray member 82. It is to be noted from FIG. 16 that the boss 98c is located at the zone of juncture of connector section 98 with panel section 96 and is of a transverse dimension to complementally fit within channel 94. The outwardly projecting pivot pin 98d coaxially aligned with boss 98c and projecting from the opposite side of connector section 98 at the zone of juncture thereof with panel section 96, is adapted to receive the boss 98a of a proximal tray assembly 78 on the opposite side of the tray assembly 78 connected to pin 98b.

The tray member 80 has a panel section 100 reinforced by integral V-shaped protuberances 100a and is coextensive in length with panel section 96 of each tray assembly 78. The integral ear 102 at one inner corner of panel section 100 has an opening 102a therein adapted to complementally receive pin 98:! of the corresponding tray member 82. An opposed, aligned, spaced ear I04 integral with the innermost margin of panel section 100 also has an opening 104a therein designed to complementally receive pin 98b of an adjacent tray assembly 78. It is, therefore, to be seen that the ear 104 is located between boss 98c and connector section 98, while ear 102 is normally disposed between boss 98a of an adjacent tray assembly 78 and connector section 98. In an assembled condition, the panel sections 96 and 100 of each tray assembly 78 are normally located in abutting, complemental, side-by-side relationship as shown in FIG. 5 for example.

A cam plate 106 is provided on each car 104 projecting therefrom in generally perpendicular relationship to the plane of section 100 and provided with a cam edge 106a spaced from the axis of opening 104a adjacent thereto. A cam retainer 110 is formed integrally with cam plate 106 and provided with a cam edge 110a thereon also spaced laterally from the axis of opening 104a. The cam edge 106a extends in general parallelism with the plane of panel section 100, whereas the edge 110a of retainer 110 is in generally perpendicular relationship to edge 106a as well as to panel section 100. The width of the retainer 110 is such that it will fit within channel 94 with cam edge 110a thereof in sliding engagement with lip 88a throughout stretches 94a and 94b of channel 94 as illustrated in FIG. 15, but in engagement with lips 91a throughout the arcuate stretch 94c of channel 94 at the top part of the closed-loop path and in engagement with lip 93:: in the arcuate stretch 94d of channel 94 when located at the lower part of the J shaped path of travel of tray assemblies 78.

Cam edge 1060 of each tray assembly 78 on the other hand, is adapted to engage and ride over L-shaped cam block 108 secured to the inner face of panel 88 at the edge of channel 94 defined by the merger of reentrant portion 94b thereof with stretch 94c (FIG. 15).

The wall section 48a at the rear of the conveyor unit 44 is of a width slightly greater than the space occupied by tray assemblies 78 as is apparent from FIG. 7, while a slanted, elongated wall section 112 is provided on the opposite side of the path of travel of the tray assembly 78 extending from the reentrant portion 94b of channel 94 downwardly to the point where the tray assemblies commence to move around the arcuate stretch 94d as is apparent from FIG. 6. The front wall 48b (FIG. extending from the upper part of the wall 48 is of a width substantially equal to that of wall section 480, as well as wall section 112, and extends downwardly at an angle substantially parallel to the path of movement of tray assembly 78 as they approach reentrant portion 94b of channel 94. A transversely arcuate, transparent window panel 114 extends from the bottom of wall section 48b to a fixture 116 carried by walls 48 and 50 in direct opposition to the reentrant portion of the J- shaped path of travel of tray assembly 78. Fixture 116 serves as a mount for the bottom edge of window panel 114 with the latter also being of a width approximately equal to that of wall section 48b and wall section 112. The are of window panel 1 14 is such that it only slightly clears the outer margins of tray assemblies 78 in proximal relationship thereto as shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 5.

End hoods 118 and 120 carried by wall 50 and overlying the upper and lower circular stretches of tray assemblies 78 each have a series of radially extending slots 122 therein to permit stocking of the product compartments at the extremities of the conveyor as will be explained.

Mechanism for incrementally moving the endless chain of tray assemblies 78 includes an elongated actuator arm 124 swingable on a pivot support 126 carried between walls 48 and 50 as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, extends to the inside of the closed loop path defined by channels 92 and 94, and mounts a shaft 128 on the inner end thereof which extends through arcuate slots 130 in wall 50 as well as panels 76 and 84. A spacer sleeve 132 on shaft 128 maintains a normally upright pawl 134 in spaced relationship from adjacent panel 84 and retained on shaft 128 by a clip 136. Torsion spring 138 around spacer 132 and secured at one end thereof to the latter as well as to pawl 134, biases the latter in a clockwise direction viewing FIG. 6. Spring 138, between walls 48 and 50 and connected to one of the latter, is joined to actuator arm 124 to the left of pivot support 126 viewing FIG. 6, to thereby bias arm 124 in a counterclockwise direction as viewed in that Figure. The connector section 98 of each tray member 82 has an offset section adjacent the axis through boss 98a and pin 98b thereof, presenting a shoulder 98e which faces toward pawl 134 as well as downwardly when each tray assembly 78 is in proximal relationship to actuator arm 124 and the pawl 134 thereon to provide a surface against which the upper end of the pawl 134 may effectively operate to shift the tray assembly 78 engaged thereby as well as all of the other tray assemblies connected thereto.

Antitheft mechanism, broadly designated 140, is operated by arm 124 and includes a plate 142 behind wall 50 and pivotal relative thereto about stub shaft 144 on wall 50. The arcuate opening 146 in wall 50 adjacent fixture 116 clears an outwardly extending, transversely arcuate blocking element 142a forming a part of plate 142 (FIGS. 5 and 9). A latch member 148 mounted for pivoting movement on wall 50 about pin 150 is spaced laterally from shaft 144, has an outturned lug 148a thereon remote from pin 150 and adapted to normally be received within notch 142b in the lower curved edge of plate 142 as illustrated in FIG. 9. Release lever I52 pivotally carried by latch member 148 intermediate the ends thereof has an out-turned lug 152a which is normally received within a notch 154 of the operating member 156 pivotally coupled to arm 124 as indicated by the dotted lines in FIG. 6. Spring 158 between the lower end of release lever 152 and plate 142 serves to bias the latter in a clockwise directing to normally maintain the same in engagement with lug 148a of latch member 148. Spring 158 also serves to bias lever 152 and in turn latch member 148 in a counterclockwise direction to hold lug 148a in engagement with plate 142 and lug 152a in engagement with operating member 156. Pin 160 projecting outwardly from plate 142 is slidably received within an elongated slot 162 therefor in operating member 156.

Common motive means 46 for driving a selected actuator 124 is shown in FIGS. 18-22 inclusive as being mounted on the panel 34a of backwall 34 adjacent the bottom portions of conveyor units 44 and includes a horizontally extending housing 164 made up of a U-shaped panel 166 as well as an outer Z-shaped panel 168 overlying relationship thereto defining an upright, generally rectangular space therebetween. Stub shaft 170 projecting forwardly from wall 34 reciprocably carries a channel-shaped, outwardly opening operating beam 172 having an outwardly directed, upper horizontal flange 172a and a similar outwardly extending, lower flange 172b parallel therewith.

An electric motor 174 carried by the panel 168 adjacent the right-hand end thereof, viewing FIG. 18, has a drive shaft 176 extending through the upright section of panel 168 and carries a U-shaped operating crank 178 on the inner end thereof. The inner arm 178a of crank 178 has a component 178b thereon slidably received within a horizontal slot 172c in operating beam 172, while the return am 1780 of crank 178, which extends in the opposite direction from arm 178a and spaced therefrom, is provided with an inwardly extending projection (not shown) slidably received within an elongated slot 180 of I transfer am 182 also pivotally mounted on shaft 170 on intermediate ends thereof. The arm 182 extends substantially the full length of operating beam 172 and has an outwardly extending pin 184 which is slidably received within a keyhole opening 172d at the end of operating beam 172 opposite slot 172a. Operation of motor 174 serves to reciprocate beam 172 with transfer arm 182 functioning to maintain beam 172 in horizontal disposition as it moves vertically.

The upright segment of panel 168 has a series of horizontally aligned and spaced, inwardly projecting pins 186 which are slidably located within elongated slots 188 in corresponding upright couplers 190 of irregular planar, as well as crosssectional configuration.

The upper flange 172a of beam 172 has a notch 1722 therein for each coupler 190, and a similar notch 172f is provided in the lower flange 172b of beam 172 for clearing the lower end of a corresponding coupler 190. However, as indicated in FIGS. 18 and 21, the upper and lower notches l72e and 172f are horizontally offset. As a consequence, in the normal tilted disposition of tee couplers as illustrated in FIG. 18, the inturned lug 190a at the lower end of each coupler 190 clears a corresponding notch 172f during reciprocation of beam 172. The vertical, inturned end wall 190!) is of trapezoidal configuration to present a downwardly facing shoulder (FIG. 20) which normally rests on flange 172a and provides support for each coupler 190 on beam 172. Integral, inturned tabs 190s of couplers 190 below the slots 188 therein, overlie the actuators 124 of corresponding conveyor units 44 which project through openings 190d in couplers 190 immediately below tabs 190C. During downward movement of beam 172, the unactuated couplers 190 move downwardly until the tabs 19% thereof rest on respective actuators 124.

The laterally extending sidewall 190e of each coupler 190 on the side margin thereof opposed to section 19% has an upright, elongated slot l90f therein for slidably receiving the T-shaped armature 192 of an actuator solenoid 194 for each coupler 190 and carried by the inner face of panel 169 as shown in FIGS. l8, l9 and 22. Integral tabs 196 projecting inwardly from panel 168 below couplers 190 serve to maintain an actuated coupler in an upright position as shown in FIG. 22.

J-shaped retainer springs 198 carried by panel 168 on the inner face thereof immediately to the right of each coupler 190 are disposed to engage the upper edge of the sidewall l90e when a corresponding coupler 190 is swung by the solenoid coupled thereto, as is evident from FIG. 18.

The front door 42 of cabinet 32 is provided with a high level viewing window 200 (FIG. 17) which permits a customer to visually observe products held by tray assemblies 78 in a product display position in that window 200 is directly aligned with transparent window panel 114. The product discharge tray 202 across the full width of cabinet door 42 is also at a relatively high level so that the customer may retrieve a product therefrom without stooping over to any significant extent. The conveyor units 44 are each provided with an inclined wall 204 (FIG. immediately below antitheft plate 142 and extending outwardly from wall section 112 in alignment with tray 202 for diverting a product into the latter upon release thereof from a corresponding tray assembly 78.

A manually operable product selection pushbutton 208 is provided on door 42 in alignment with each of the conveyor units 44 for selective operation thereof.

OPERATION The serviceman stocks machine 30 by swinging front door 42 outwardly to an extent to permit support unit 60 to be swung downwardly into a position as shown in FIG. 2 with the panel 74 horizontally aligned with bottom 40 and maintained in such disposition by the foot 66. Then, if desired, all of the conveyor units 44 may be pulled out of the interior of cabinet 32 and supported principally on unit 60 without danger of tipping of the cabinet. Products 206 which, for example, may comprise elongated candy bars, are then placed on each tray assembly 78 as indicated in FIG. 5. In the upwardly moving right-hand portion of the endless chain of tray assembly 78, as indicated in FIG. 5, the products 206 are positioned on tray assembly 78 in disposition with their top surfaces facing downwardly since these bars will turn over so to speak, when passing around the top curved part of the closed loop path of travel of the tray assemblies. Very thin bars may be positioned between the tray assemblies 78 at the reentrant portion of the downwardly extending path of travel as indicated in FIG. 5, but generally speaking, these tray assemblies are not filled with products to be dispensed because of the limited about of space therebetween. However, these are the only tray assemblies which do not lend themselves to be filled with products at each restocking of the machine.

At the upper and lower ends of the conveyors 44, products I 206 are inserted between adjacent tray assemblies 78 through the slots'122 in end hoods 118 and 120 respectively.

The panel sections 96 and 100 of tray members 80 and 82 are located in back-to-back relationship in all instances except where the tray members are caused to move around the upper and lower curved portions of the inverted J-shaped path of travel defined by channels 92 and 94. Such relationship of panel sections 100 and 96 of tray members 80 and 82 is maintained by virtue of the fact that the bosses 98a and 980 are retained within the upright stretches of channels 92 and 94 which serves to maintain panel sections 96 of corresponding tray members 82 virtually perpendicular to the path of travel thereof defined by guide channels 92 and 94 since the connector sections 98 are rigidly joined to corresponding panel sections 96 at almost a right angle relative thereto, The panel sections 100 of tray members 80 are maintained proximal to panel sections 96 by virtue of engagement of the cam edge 110a of each retainer 110 with the upright lip 88a of panel 88, throughout the area of channel 94 between points A and B, as well as C and D shown schematically in FIG. 15.

However, when the tray assemblies 78 go around the upper and lower circular portions of the closed loop path of travel thereof, the panel sections 96 are maintained in generally radi al relationship to the path of travel as the bosses 98a and 980 follow the arcuate guides 92 and 94, while panel sections 100 are retained in spaced, generally parallel relationship to the next adjacent panel section 96 by virtue of engagement of edge 1100 of each tray member with the corresponding end lips 91a and 93a. The parallel relationship with these panel sections 96 and is illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6. It can be seen that the spacing between adjacent panel sections 96 and 100 around the arcuate portions of the path of travel of tray assemblies 78 is substantially equal to the effective width of the connector sections 98 whereby products 206 are precluded from tumbling end-over-end as they pass around the curved part of the inverted J-shaped path of travel thereof. In the absence of providing two cooperable tray members 80 and 82 making up each tray assembly 78, the spacing of the tray members around the curved portions of the channels 92 and 94 would be so great as to permit end-over-end movement of the products and possible jamming of the same, particularly at the lower part 94d of the path illustrated in FIG. 15. Extra end plates 91 and 93 are for the purpose of providing guide lips 91a and 930 respectively, which are spaced apart a distance somewhat greater than the spacing between lips 90a and 88a to accommodate the retainers 1 l0 and prevent binding of the tray assemblies 78 as they pass around the arcuate portions of the paths of travel thereof, while at the same time providing true arcuate guidance for the bosses 98a and 980 which are confined between the narrower parts of the stretches 94c and 94d of channel 94.

As shown in FIG. 5, products 206 are placed on all of the tray assemblies 78 except those immediately adjacent the reentrant portion 94b of the path of travel thereof, including the tray assembly 780 located in product display disposition where the customer can visually observe the product 206a thereon through transparent window panel 114, as well as the window 200 of front door 42. As soon as the right-hand conveyor unit 44 has been completely stocked, it may be shifted back into the cabinet 32 and the next adjacent conveyor unit 44 filled with products 206. This replenishment operation may be continued successively until all of the conveyor units 44 have been filled and the entire series of conveyor units 44 returned to nested positions within the interior of the cabinet. The support unit 60 is then folded back into its stowed position within cabinet 32 as illustrated in FIG. 1, whereupon the front door 42 may be closed and locked.

The customer, after visually observing products 206a on the tray assemblies 78a of corresponding conveyor units 44 to determine which product he desires, then makes appropriate money deposit in the machine and pushes the corresponding selection button 208. It is to be understood in this respect that conventional control mechanism is provided in cabinet 32 for controlling the operation of motor 174 so that the latter is energized only if the required deposit has been made and to return change to the customer if the deposit exceeds the value of the product selected. Preferably, the control structure also includes suitable sold-out mechanism for deactivating each conveyor unit 44 after all products have been sold therefrom. However, display of the product next to be vended provides the customer with a visual check as to whether products are available for sale in a particular conveyor unit 44, even though electrical or mechanical sold-out mechanism is also provided in the machine for precluding actuation of a conveyor unit 44 which has been exhausted of products to be vended.

Assuming however, that the customer pushes a button 208 associated with a conveyor unit 44 having at least one product still available for dispensing, initiation of the vend circuit effects energization of a solenoid 194 associated therewith to pull the coupler joined thereto into an upright, actuated position. Thus, viewing FIG. 18, it is assumed that the second button 208 from the left has been operated by the customer, thereby causing the second from the left solenoid 1940 to be energized and thus pivot the coupler 190 joined thereto into the upright disposition of the same illustrated in FIG. 18. Only momentary energization of the solenoid 194a is required since the spring 198 associated with coupler 190 maintains the same in an actuated position by virtue of engagement of the associated spring 198 with the upper edge of sidewall 190e of coupler 190'. Shifting of the coupler 190 into an upright position as illustrated, moves the lug 190a thereon into underlying relationship to the flange 1721) of beam 172. Energization of the vend circuit also causes motor 174 to be energized for an interval of time to efi'ect vertical reciprocation of beam 172 downwardly to the bottom of its path of travel and then return thereof to the initial disposition of the same illustrated in FIG. 18. During operation of motor 174, the crank 178 is rotated through an arc of 360 which causes the beam 172 to be driven downwardly by the crank arm 178a, while transfer arm 182 is pivoted about shaft 170 to assure movement of member 172 through a path with the horizontal axis thereof remaining perpendicular to the path of travel of the same.

As the beam 172 moves downwardly, the actuated coupler 190 is moved downwardly therewith as illustrated in FIG. 22 whereby engagement of the tab 1900 thereon with the actuator 124 therebelow, causes the latter to be rotated about the axis of the respective pivot support 126 to move all of the tray assemblies 78 of the second from left conveyor unit 44 through an increment of travel to discharge product 206a from tray assembly 780 and deliver the same to the customer.

Returning however, to the initial downward movement of beam 172, it is first to be noted in FIG. 20 that the tab [906 is spaced above the corresponding actuator 124 so that the coupler 190 may be rotated into the position of the same illustrated in FIG. 18 by means of a relatively small solenoid 194 since there is no interference to movement of the coupler 190, either by virtue of engagement thereof with beam 172 or contact with actuator 124.

Also, when the tab 1000 of the actuated coupler 190' engages the associated actuator arm 124, the first effect of rotation of the arm 124 is to move the blocking plate 142 out of the normal position of the same illustrated in FIG. into a location at the lower end of opening 146 to clear the tray assemblies 780 as it is moved downwardly upon shifting of all of the tray assemblies 78 of selected conveyor unit 44. The shifting of plate 142 prior to movement of any of the tray assemblies 78 is accomplished by virtue of the fact that pawl 134 is normally located some distance below the shoulder 98c immediately thereabove of the adjacent tray assemblies 78 as is evident from FIG. 6. Thus, during the increment of movement of pawl 134 upwardly into engagement with the shoulder 98s of tray assembly 78 proximal thereto, the operating member 156 is pulled downwardly by actuator arm 124 which effects rotation of latch member 148 about the axis of pin 150 by virtue of downward pressure on release lever 152 engaged by operating member 156. Disengagement of latch member 148 from plate 142 permits rapid rotation thereof under the influence of spring 158 about stub shaft 144, thus moving blocking element 142 into a position at the lower end of opening 146 to clear tray assembly 78a. Slight further downward movement of member 156 causes lug 152a to disengage from notch 154 in lever 156 which releases latch member 148 to move counterclockwise until the lug 148a contacts the shoulder of member 142 to the right of notch 154, as shown in FIG. 9. As soon as the pawl 134 engages the shoulder 98c of tray assembly 78 thereabove, the rotation of actuator 124 in a clockwise direction, viewing FIG. 6, causes the tray assembly 78 engaged thereby to be moved upwardly and thereby shifting all of the tray assemblies 78 of the entire chain thereof by virtue of the interconnection therebetween. The tray assembly 78a in article display disposition is moved downwardly past blocking element 142a whereby product 206a gravitates from the upper surface of the tray member 80 and falls downwardly into the chute defined by wall 50, wall section 112, and wall assembly 78b immediately above tray assembly 78a does not fall from the tray 80 during swinging of such tray assembly by virtue of the close proximity of window panel 114 to the outer extremity of panel sections 96 and 100.

When tray assembly 78b has reached a point slightly below horizontal, the pin reaches the end of the slot 162 whereby further downward movement of the operating member 156 of antitheft mechanism 140 rotates plates 142 about shaft 144 through an arc to return blocking element 1420 into the initial disposition thereof as shown in FIGS. 5 and 9 whereby latch lug 148a returns to a position within the notch 142b thereby locking plate 142 against rotation. As a consequence, it is impossible for a person to reach up into the discharge chute of a conveyor unit 44 to obtain a product from the tray assembly .78. The final position of the tray assembly 78a is illustrated by the location of the tray assembly 780 immediately therebelow in FIG. 5.

The out-tumed lugs 172g on beam 172 aligned with couplers serve to assure return movement of the depressed actuator 124 notwithstanding the fact that spring 138 tends to return a respective actuator to its initial position. In this way, jamming of an actuator 124 in an operated position is precluded. Return movement of the beam 172 also causes the actuated coupler 190' to be biased back into its normally tilted position by the action of spring 198 thereabove acting downwardly on the right side of pivot pin 186 near the end of the path of travel of the coupler 190 combined with the force of lifting of the coupler 190 by beam 172 acting on wall 190b, this force acting upward on the left side of pivot 186, both forces thus tending to rotate the coupler 190 in a clockwise direction.

Having thus described the invention, what is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:

1. In a first-in, first-out product dispensing machine, a dispensing station; a series of product-supporting tray members; structure supporting the tray members of successive movement past the dispensing station along an upright closed loop path extending below the dispensing station with the tray members projecting outwardly from respective portions of said closed loop path; and motive means operably coupled with the tray members for incrementally shifting the series thereof along said path,

said structure and said motive means being cooperatively operable to first swing each tray member into a product display position as it approaches the delivery station during one increment of operation of the motive means, and then continue the swinging movement of such tray member relative to the adjacent tray members during another increment of operation of the motive means through a displacement sufficient to insure gravitational delivery of a product from each tray member as it is moved past the delivery station.

2. A machine as set forth in claim 1, wherein is provided a shiftable blocking component adjacent said dispensing station normally located to prevent removal of a product from a tray member in said product display position, and mechanism operably connected to said component for shifting the latter to a second location clearing each tray member as it is swung from said product display position through an arc to effect gravitational delivery of a product thereon to said dispensing station.

3. A machine as set forth in claim 2, wherein said mechanism is operable to shift the component out of blocking relationship to an adjacent tray member before the latter is swung from said product display position thereof.

4. A machine as set forth in claim 2, wherein said mechanism is actuated by the motive means during each cycle of operation thereof.

5. A machine as set forth in claim 2, wherein said structure and the motive means are cooperable to swing each tray member into a product display position with the latter inclined in a direction toward the dispensing station, said blocking component being positioned to prevent removal of a product from each tray member respectively upon movement thereof to said display position adjacent the dispensing station.

6. A machine as set forth in claim 5, wherein said mechanism is operable to shift the component out of said product blocking location thereof and back prior to swinging of the next tray member into the inclined product display position thereof.

7. A machine as set forth in claim 1, wherein is provided retaining means operably associated with the tray members at said dispensing station for maintaining the product on each tray member in said product display position, said retaining means clearing a corresponding product for gravitational delivery thereof to the dispensing station as each tray member is swung from said display position past the dispensing station.

8. A machine as set forth in claim 7, wherein said retaining. means comprises a transparent element to permit visual observation of a product therethrough located on a tray member in said product display position thereof.

9. A machine as set forth in claim 1, wherein said structure includes guide means configured to cause the tray members to move through a generally J-shaped closed loop path.

10. A machine as set forth in claim 9, wherein said guide means is disposed to cause the tray members to move through an inverted .l-shaped closed loop path defined by upper and lower curved portions and upright stretches joined thereto with one of the upright stretches having a reentrant section.

11. A machine as set forth in claim 10, wherein said dispensing station is located adjacent the upper end of said reentrant section of said one stretch of the closed loop path.

12. A machine as set forth in claim 11, wherein said motive means is operable to shift the tray members in a direction to effect movement thereof downwardly along said one stretch of the closed loop path and upwardly along the other stretch thereof.

13. A machine as set forth in claim 1, wherein adjacent tray members are joined one to the other presenting an endless chain thereof extending around said closed loop path.

14. In a first-in, first-out product dispensing machine, a dispensing station; a series of product-supporting tray members; structure supporting the tray members for successive movement past the dispensing station along an upright closed loop path extending below the dispensing station with the tray members projecting outwardly from respective portions of said closed loop path; and motive means operably coupled with the tray members for incrementally shifting the series thereof along said path,

said structure being operable to swing each tray member as it is moved past the dispensing station during incremental movement of the series of tray members by the motive means, through an are relative to adjacent tray members sufficient to insure gravitational delivery of a product therefrom,

adjacent tray members being joined one to the other presenting an endless chain thereof extending around said closed loop path,

said tray members being provided with mutually cooperable, interfitting elements pivotally adjoining adjacent tray members for rotation relatively in a direction transverse to said closed loop path.

15. A machine as set forth in claim 14, wherein said elements project outwardly from opposite sides of the tray members and said structure includes guide means on opposite sides of the series of tray members slidably receiving proximal elements along said closed loop path as the tray members are shifted by said motive means.

16. A machine as set forth in claim 15, wherein said guide means comprises opposed, inwardly facing, aligned, complemental channels configured to define an inverted J-shaped closed loop path.

17. A machine as set forth in claim 15, wherein is provided retainer means on said tray members engaging said guide means and operable to maintain said tray members in disposition projecting outwardly in generally perpendicular relationship to that portion of said closed loop path being traversed by a respective tray member.

18. A machine as set forth in claim 17, wherein said guide means is provided with a wall defining said closed loop path and extending toward one side of said series of tray members, said retainer means each having a shoulder-defining edge located to slidably engage a proximal part of the wall and hold respective tray members in positions projecting outwardly from said proximal part of the wall.

19. A machine as set forth in claim 1, wherein is provided a plurality of said series of tray members presenting individual, independently movable, side-by-side, upright, product-receiving conveyor units, said motive means being common to the conveyor units, and means for coupling said motive means to a selected conveyor unit of said plurality thereof for moving only the tray members of a selected conveyor unit each time the motive means is operated.

20. in a first-in, first-out product dispensing machine,

a dispensing station;

a series of product-supporting tray members;

structure supporting the tray members for successive movement past the dispensing station along an upright closed loop path extending below the dispensing station with the tray members projecting outwardly from respective portions of said closed loop path;

motive means operably coupled with the tray members for incrementally shifting the series thereof along said path,

said structure being operable to swing each tray member as it is moved past the dispensing station during incremental movement of the series of tray members by the motive means, through an arc relative to adjacent tray members sufficient to insure gravitational delivery of a product therefrom,

said structure including guide means configured and disposed to cause the tray members to move through an inverted J-shaped closed loop path defined by upper and lower-curved portions and upright stretches joined thereto with one of the upright stretches having a reentrant section;

a cam block located above the dispensing station adjacent the upper extremity of said reentrant section of the inverted J-shaped closed loop path defined by said guide means; and

cam plates operably associated with said tray members in disposition to engage the cam block and as a consequence positively swing each tray member through said are of movement thereof relative to adjacent tray members as the corresponding tray member approaches the dispensing station and moves into the reentrant section of the closed loop path defined by said guide means during operation of said motive means.

21 In a first-in, first-out product dispensing machine,

. a dispensing station;

a plurality of series of tray members presenting individual, independently movable, side-by-side, upright, product receiving conveyor units;

structure supporting the tray members of each unit for successive movement past the dispensing station along an upright closed loop path extending below the dispensing station with the tray members projecting outwardly from respective portions of said closed loop path;

motive means common to said conveyor units;

' means for coupling said motive means to a selected conveyor unit of said plurality thereof for moving only the tray members of the selected unit each time the motive means is operated to cause each tray member of a selected unit to be shifted relative to the adjacent tray members of said unit into a position for gravitational delivery of a product from said tray member as it approaches and is moved past the dispensing station during incremental movement of the series of tray members of the selected unit by said motive means,

said motive means including a vertically movable beam,

power means for reciprocating the beam, a coupler for each conveyor unit normally in position clearing the beam but movable into disposition to engage and be moved by the beam, an actuator operably coupled to each conveyor unit for moving the tray members thereof upon movement of a respective actuator, and selectively operable means connected to said couplers for shifting the latter into disposition to be moved by said beam, each of said couplers being operable to shift a corresponding actuator upon movement of the coupler by said beam.

22. A machine as set forth in claim 21, wherein said selectively operable means comprises a solenoid operably connected to each of the couplers, and a customer-actuated switch for each solenoid respectively.

23. A machine as set forth in claim 22, wherein said couplers are normally out of engagement with said beam to preclude interference with movement of the couplers by respective solenoids.

24. In a first-in, first-out product dispensing machine,

a dispensing station;

a series of product-supporting tray assemblies pivotally joined one to the other presenting an endless chain thereof;

upright guide means slidably receiving the tray assemblies for successive movement past the dispensing station along a closed loop path defined by said guide means and having upper and lower curved path portions and upright path stretches joined thereto; and

motive means engageable with the tray assemblies for incrementally shifting the series thereof along said closed loop path,

said tray assemblies each including a pair of pivotally interconnected tray members having elongated, normally back-to-back, proximal panel sections, and mutually cooperable components engageable with said guide means to maintain the panel sections of respective pairs of tray members in said back-to-back, proximal relationship as the tray assemblies move along the upright stretches of said closed loop path, and to maintain the panels in generally radial relationship to the curved upper and lower portions of said closed loop path whereby each panel section is maintained in sufficiently close relationship to the proximal panel section of an adjacent tray assembly to preclude end-for-end turning of products between the assemblies as the latter are moved around said curved portions of said closed loop path.

25. A machine as set forth in claim 24, wherein the tray members of each assembly are connected for pivoting movement relatively about a common axis.

26. A machine as set forth in claim 24, wherein said com ponents include retainer means engageable with the guide means and disposed to maintain each panel section of the tray members in generally parallel relationship to the panel section of an adjacent assembly as the tray assemblies are moved around the curved portions of said closed loop path.

27. In a first-in, first-out product dispensing machine,

a dispensing station;

a series of product-supporting tray assemblies;

upright guide means for said assemblies configured to define a closed loop path past the dispensing station and having upper and lower curved path portions and upright path portions joined thereto,

each of said tray assemblies including a first tray member interconnection thereof, there being gur e elements on said tray assemblies at the points of pivotal interconnection thereof slidably received in said guide means for causing the assemblies to follow said closed loop path; and

motive means engageable with the tray assemblies for incrementally shifting the series thereof along said closed loop path,

said connector segments being located at an angle relative to respective panel sections to cause the latter to be maintained in outwardly extending relationship to the upright stretches of the closed loop path and generally radial relationship to the curved portions thereof, and

said second tray member of each pair thereof being provided with a retainer cam thereon between respective adjacent axes of pivoting of the tray members located to engage the guide means and maintain the panel sections of corresponding second members in said proximal back-toback relationship to the panel sections of the first tray members when the assemblies are located at the upright stretches of said closed loop path and to maintain said panel sections of the second tray members in spaced, generally parallel relationship to the panel section of the adjacent tray assembly when the assemblies are located at the curved portions of said closed loop path to preclude end-for-end turning of products between the assemblies as the latter are moved around said curved portions of the closed loop path.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1300888 *Jan 2, 1918Apr 15, 1919Emerson W SingletaryPencil-vending machine.
US1841378 *Aug 6, 1930Jan 19, 1932Parrish Wilbur GVending machine
US2665184 *Jul 19, 1951Jan 5, 1954Hord Paul EVending machine
US3021030 *Sep 26, 1958Feb 13, 1962Automatic Canteen CoVending devices
US3253736 *May 25, 1964May 31, 1966Howard DiebelVending machines
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4629383 *Jan 16, 1984Dec 16, 1986Jack BussVertically stackable luggage cart vending machine
US4768642 *Jun 16, 1987Sep 6, 1988Kimberly-Clark CorporationMultiple conveyors with overlapping material handling device paths
US8069068 *Jun 5, 2009Nov 29, 2011United Services Automobile Association (Usaa)Systems and methods for insuring stored food
US8229771 *Nov 29, 2011Jul 24, 2012United Services Automobile Association (Usaa)Systems and methods for insuring stored food
CN100498849CMar 2, 2007Jun 10, 2009上海普天邮通科技股份有限公司Coin processing device
Classifications
U.S. Classification221/84, 221/86
International ClassificationG07F11/58, B65G1/127, B65G1/12, A47F3/00, G07F11/46, A47F3/08
Cooperative ClassificationA47F3/08
European ClassificationA47F3/08
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 24, 1982ASAssignment
Owner name: FAWN ENGINEERING CORPORATION, 8040 UNIVERSITY BLVD
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:VENDO COMPANY THE;REEL/FRAME:003962/0700
Effective date: 19820311