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Publication numberUS3616966 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 2, 1971
Filing dateSep 10, 1969
Priority dateSep 10, 1969
Also published asCA934336A1
Publication numberUS 3616966 A, US 3616966A, US-A-3616966, US3616966 A, US3616966A
InventorsFalk Leonard P, Schuller James T
Original AssigneeUmc Ind
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Article-dispensing apparatus
US 3616966 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent XX 76 78 ll 22 22 099 3/1952 Larkin.........................

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[72] Inventors James'l lSchuller St. Louis County;

165 5/1959 Brookout et al.. Leonard P. Falk, Florissant, both of M0. 262 12/1960 Du [21] Appl.No. 856,597 283 12/1966 Gore [22] Filed Sept. 10, 1969 045 4/1962 Smith [45] Patented 1971 Prima Examiner-M. Henson Wood Jr [73] Asslgnee UMC Industries Assista t Examiner-Michael Y. Mar

Louis Alrorney- Koenig, Senninger, Powers and Leavitt [54] ARTICLEDISPENSING APPARATUS a 4 i 4 3 8 M00 U 1 2 Z "n/ m m T. n u N m m m n n d S F w m n w n D" Wu 9 In N ewm U L w we n S .l 1 Mk 1U IF U 111m. P U s U 2,512,684 6/1950 Shontz,Jr.....................

PATENTEDNBV 2 I97! 3,616.966

SHEET 30F 4 E-Ti PATENTEDNUV 2 I9?! FIG.7

FIG. 5

ARTICLE-DISPENSING APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to article-dispensing apparatus, and more particularly to an endless chain type of dispensing apparatus for use in a vendor for dispensing articles such as milk cartons or the like.

Endless chain article vendors of the prior art typically utilize one or more side-by-side endless chain dispensing columns for vending the lowermost article from one of the chains on each vend cycle. Although such dispensers have generally served the purpose, they have not proven entirely satisfactory for all purposes. For example, in dispensers which carry articles on individual shelves and discharge them laterally from beneath a stepped formation at the lower edge of a divider, the number of articles that can be held in each row of shelves, and hence the storage capacity of the dispenser, is limited by the close vertical spacing of adjacent steps. To increase the storage capacity, it would be necessary to decrease this spacing, thus requiring a highly precise and expensive control for moving the conveyor. In addition, loading of the articles of the individual shelves in each row of shelves is difficult and time consuming, frequently necessitating the use of a pallet for this purpose. The crevices between the shelves in each row of shelves collect dirt and food particles causing sanitation problems. Furthermore, these dispensers rely on gravity for conveyor movement and thus are affected by factors such as the number of articles on each shelf, the weight of the articles, etc.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Among the several objects of this invention may be noted the provision of dispensing apparatus of the class above described in which a relatively large number of articles are carried in each row without necessitating use of a precision control to operate the apparatus, thereby increasing the storage capacity of the dispenser; the provision of such apparatus in which a column is easily loaded without the use of pallets or similar loading devices; the provision of apparatus of the class described in which sanitary conditions are easily maintained by eliminating the crevices between shelves in which dirt and food products collect; the provision of such apparatus in which a positive drive and release mechanism is provided; and the provision of such apparatus which is of simple and economical construction.

In general, apparatus of this invention comprises a series of pivoted drop shelves arranged one after another in a horizontal row. Each of these drop shelves is adapted to occupy a raised position for supporting a carton or other article to be dispensed, and to swing downward from its raised position to cause the article thereon to drop off for dispensing. Control means is provided for the drop shelves operable to effect downward swinging of the shelves in the series one after another in a sequence starting with the first shelf of the series successively to dispense the articles for the shelves, and then operable to return the shelves to their raised position. Means comprising an endless conveyor having a series of shelves thereon is provided for reloading the drop shelves with articles from a supply thereof after the shelves have been returned to raised position. Other objects and features will be in part apparent and in part pointed out hereinafter BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a vertical transverse section of the lower part of a milk carton dispensing apparatus made in accordance with this invention;

FIG. 2 is a continuation of FIG. 1 showing the upper part of the apparatus;

FIG. 3 is a horizontal section on line 3-3 of FIG. 1;

FIGS. 3A and 3B are views showing details of a conveyor shelf of the apparatus;

FIG. 4 is a side elevation of the apparatus, showing it mounted in the cabinet of a vendor;

FIG. 5 is a side elevating of a conveyor drive of the apparatus;

FIG. 6 is a vertical section on line 6-6 of FIG. 5; and

FIG. 7 is a view showing a modified version of a cam of the drive.

Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views of the drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawings, there is shown a milk carton dispensing apparatus made in accordance with this invention comprising three side-by-side dispensing columns, a left-hand column 1, a center column 3 and a right-hand column 5 (see FIGS. 1-3). The left-hand column I is referred to as a singlerow column, for dispensing cartons only from one side of the column (its right side). The center column 3 is referred to as a double-row column, for dispensing cartons from both sides thereof. The right-hand column 5 is a single-row column, for dispensing cartons only from one side (its left side). The righthand column 5 is only shown fragmentarily, on account of space limitations. However, it will be understood that it may be essentially a duplicate of the left-hand column 1, but oppositely arranged. Also as shown herein, the left-hand column 1 is adapted for vending half-pint cartons Cl, while the center column is adapted for vending pint cartons C2. Cartons C1 and C2 are conventional square-bodied gable-top canons, having the same body width, e.g., measuring about 2% inches on each of its four sides, with cartons C1 having an overall height (from the bottom to the ridge of the gable top) of about 3% inches, and cartons C2 having an overall height of about 5% inches.

The left-hand column 1 has a single vertical passage indicated at 7 extending from front to rear of the apparatus for accommodating front-to-rear rows of canons C1, one row above another, with five cartons in each row. This passage is at the right of a housing 9, its left side being defined by the right side of the housing 9 and its right side being defined by a vertical partition 11 which extends from front to rear of the apparatus. The center column 3 has a vertical passage 13L and a vertical passage 13R on opposite sides of a center housing 15. Each of passages 13L and 13R is adapted to accommodate front-to-rear rows of cartons C2, one row above another, with five cartons in each row. The left side of passage 13L is defined by partition 11 (which is common to passages 7 and 13L) and its right side is defined by the left side of housing 15. The left side of passage 13R is defined by the right side of housing 15 and its right side is defined by a partition 17 (which is also commmon to the right-hand column 5).

The center housing 15 comprises a vertical front wall 19, a vertical rear wall 21, and left-hand and right-hand vertical sidewalls 23 and 25. The front wall 19 is a constituted by a sheet metal plate having rearwardly extending flanges 27 at its side edges, and the rear wall 21 is constituted by a sheet metal plate having forwardly extending flanges 29 at its side edges. The vertical sidewalls 23 and 25 are constituted by sheet metal plates having flanges such as indicated at 31 at their front and rear edges attached as by suitably fasteners (not shown) to the front and rear walls. The vertical sidewalls 23 and 25 are spaced apart a distance less than the width of the front and rear walls 19 and 21, which project laterally beyond the sidewalls. Flanges 27 of the front wall 19 form left-hand and right-hand vertical chain guide channels 33 opening toward the rear; flanges 29 of rear wall 21 form left-hand and righthand vertical chain guide channels 35 opening toward the front. The lower edges of the sidewalls 23 and 25 are indicated at 23a and 25a (FIG. 1); their upper edges are indicated at 23b and 25b (FIG. 2). The distance between the front and backwalls 23 and 25 is somewhat greater than five times the body width of a carton. Partition 11 is spaced from wall 23 a distance somewhat greater than the body width of a carton; partition 17 is similarly spaced from wall 25. As appears in FIG. 3, each of partitions 11 and 17 may be formed of two corrugated plates, a left-hand plate 37 and a right-hand plate 39. These plates 37 and 39 have flanges 41 at their rearward edges generally in the plane of the forward edges of flanges 29 forming backstops for cartons in passages 7, 13L, 113R.

The columns, 1, 2 and are assembled in a unit which is mounted in a refrigerated vendor cabinet 43 (see FIG. 4), the assembly including a rear plate 45 and an inclined chute 47 for delivering a carton dispensed from any column to a delivery station (not shown) of the vendor.

A rod 49 extends horizontally from front to rear between the front and rear walls 19 and 21 of the housing toward the bottom of this housing. This rod constitutes a pivot for a left-hand series A of five drop shelves for holding five cartons C2 one behind another in a front-to-rear horizontal row on the left side of housing 15 toward the bottom of the left-hand passage UL, and also constitutes a pivot for a right-hand series B of five drop shelves for holding five cartons C2 one behind another in a front-to-rear horizontal row on the right side of housing 15 toward the bottom of the right-hand passage 13R. The five drop shelves of series A are serially designated Al-AS from front to rear; the five drop shelves of series B are serially designated 81-85 from front to rear. It is to be particularly noted that rod 49 is located below the level of the lower edges 23a and a of sidewalls 23 and 25 of housing 15 (see FIG. 1). The drop shelves extend laterally from rod 49, shelves Al-AS extending toward the left and B1435 toward the right, with Al-AS generally opposite lit-B5, respectively.

Each of the drop shelves Al-A5 is adapted to occupy a raised position in which it is adapted to support a carton C2 at the bottom of passage 13L, and each of the drop shelves 81-85 is adapted to occupy a raised position in which it is adapted to support a carton C2 at the bottom of passage 13R. Each drop shelf is adapted to be released to swing down from its raised position for permitting the respective carton to drop out for delivery to a customer via chute 47. As will appear, shelves Al-AS are successively released one after the other, then shelves Bl-BS are successively released one after another.

Each of the drop shelves Al-AS and Bl-BS has a tongue 51 constituting its carton-supporting portion extending from a wider angled portion 53, and a lever arm extending upward from the angled portion. Each of these arms has a width coextensive with that of the angled portion. The arms of shelves Al-AS are specially designated LAl-LAS, the arms of shelves 81-85 are specially designated LBl-LBS. Arms LAl-LAS are of progressively increased length, LAl being the shortest, LAS being the longest. Similarly, arms LB1-LB5 are of progressively increased length, LBl being the shortest LBS being the longest. Each shelf has reinforcing ribs such as indicated at 55 on its back, these ribs having holes such as indicated at 57 adjacent the junction of the angled portion 53 and the arm of the shelf, the holes receiving rod 49 for the pivotal mounting of the shelf on the rod. As appears in FIG. 3, the ribs on pairs Al, and B1, A2 and B2, A3 and B3, A4 and B4 and A5 and B5 interfit for the opposite mounting of the two shelves in each pair.

Means is provided for successively releasing the shelves Al-AS to swing downward from their raised position for successive dispensing of cartons held up on their tongues 51 one after another on successive vend cycles, then returning these shelves to their raised position, and reloading them with cartons. This means comprises an endless chain conveyor generally designated 59L carrying a series of conveyor shelves 61 extending from front to rear each adapted to support five cartons C2 in a row from front to rear in passage 13L. This conveyor is movable in steps, as will appear, to effect the successive release the drop shelves Al-AS, the return of the drop shelves All-A5 to raised position, and the transfer of a row of five cartons C2 from a conveyor shelf 61 to the drop shelves Al-A5 in raised position.

The endless chain conveyor 59]. comprises a pair of endless chains 63F and 63R, chain 63F being located toward the front of housing 15 immediately rearward of the housing front wall l9, and the chain 63R being located toward the rear of the housing immediately forward of its rear wall 2K. Each chain is trained around an upper sprocket 6 and a lower sprocket 67, these sprockets being located so that each chain has an upwardly movable or ascending inside vertical reach 69 on the inside of the housing 15 and a downwardly movable or descending outside vertical reach 71 which travels downward on the outside of side wall 23 of the housing, these outside vertical reaches being guided in the aforesaid guide channels 33 and 35 at the right side of the housing. The conveyor shelves 61 extend horizontally between the front and rear chains 63F and 63R, spaced at intervals along the length of the chains somewhat greater than the height of a carton C2. Each shelf 61 is formed of such cross section (being an extruded aluminum section, for example) as to have a narrow flat carton supporting web 73, a hinge eye section 75 extending in one direction from the web generally at a right angle along one edge of the web, and a lip '77 extending in the opposite direction from the web at an acute angle thereto along the other edge of the web. At the ends of each shelf 63 are molded plastic end member 79 (see FIG. 38), each having a tubular part 81 inserted in the respective end of the hook section flange 75 and a finger 83 underlying the web and projecting beyond the flange. Pins 85 extend from the chains into the parts 81, and the shelf being free to pivot on these pins. As to each of the shelves 61 descending with the outside reaches 72 of the chains 63F and 63R, fingers 83 are engageable with wall 23 to maintain the shelf in carton-supporting position with web 73 thereof generally horizontal and extending outwardly (to the left) from wall 23 until the fingers 83 travel down past the lower edge 23a of wall 23, whereupon the shelf 61 swings downward to release the row of cartons thereon. The shelf 61 then remains in its swung-down position in the course of its travel back upward with ascending reach 69 of the chains, and is returned to its carton-supporting position when it comes around on the outside ofwall 23 at the top thereof.

As each conveyor shelf 61 starts its upward travel with ascending reach 69 of the chains, a flat face 87 of its hinge eye section 75 comes into engagement with arms LA l-LAS of the drop shelves Al-AS to swing the latter to their raised carton supporting position (wherein arms LAl-LAS are vertical and tongues 51 are horizontal). At g9 is indicated a backup member for the conveyor shelf 61 engageable by the shelf 61 to maintain it in position for holding the drop shelves in their raised position as shelf 61 moves upward. The shelf 61 holds each of the drop shelves A1-A5 in raised position until, in moving upward, it clears the upper ends of arms LA ll-LA5.

Means is provided for successively releasing the shelves Bl-B5 to wing downward from their raised position for successive dispensing of cartons held up on their tongues 51 one after another on successive vend cycles after shelves Al-AS have been released, then returning shelves Bil-B5 to their raised position and reloading them with cartons. This means comprises an endless chain conveyor generally designated 59R which is essentially identical to conveyor 59L and the parts of which are identified by the same reference characters as the parts of 59L, but which is located at the right of com veyor 59L so that the outside vertical reach 7t of conveyor 59R is one the outside of the right side wall 25 of housing 13. Each of the shelves 61 of conveyor 59R is adapted to support five cartons C2 in a row from front to rear in passage 13R. Conveyor 59R is movable in steps, like 5591., to effect the successive release of the drop shelves Bil-B5, the return of the drop shelves lit-B5 to raised position, and the transfer of a row of five cartons C2 from the shelf 61 of conveyor 59R to the drop shelves 81-85 in raised position. As to each of the shelves 6! of conveyor 59R travelling downward with the outside reaches 71 of the chains of conveyor 59R, fingers 83 are engageable with the wall 25 to maintain the shelf in cartonsupporting position with web 73 thereof generally horizontal and extending outwardly (to the right) from wall 25 until the fingers 83 travel down past the lower edge 25a of wall 25. whereupon the shelf 6!. swings downward to release the row of cartons thereon. The shelf 61 is returned to its carton-supporting position when it comes around on the outside of wall 25 at the top thereof. As each shelf 61 of conveyor 591?. starts its upward travel with the inside reach as of the chains of 5912., it comes into engagement with anns LB1-LB5 of the drop shelves 31-135 to swing the latter to their raised carton-supporting position (wherein arms LB l-LBE are vertical and tongues 51 of 131-85 are horizontal). The shelf 61 of 59R holds each of the drop shelves 181435 in raised position until, in moving upward, it clears the upper ends of arms LEI-LBS.

The shafts 91 for the upper sprockets 65 of conveyors 59L and 59R are geared together for conjoint rotation in opposite directions by means of gears 93 and 95 on the rear ends of shafts 91 adjacent the rear wall 19 of housing 13. An electric motor 97 (a gearmotor) is mounted on the back of rear wall 19 and has a gear and cam cluster 99 on its output shaft 101,

. the gear 103 of this cluster being in mesh with a gear 105 forming part of a cluster with gear 93 on one of the sprocket shafts 91. The cam of cluster 99 is indicated at 107. It has two diametrically opposite series of five notches each. A control switch for motor 97 is indicated at 109. This has an operating arm 111 having a follower 113 at its free end riding on the periphery of the cam 107. The switch is deactivated when the follower drops into a notch in the cam, and activated whenever the follower is raised out of the notches. The notches are designated N1-N10.

Operation of the center column 3 is as follows:

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, the drop shelves A1-A5 are raised, holding a row of five cartons C2. Drop shelves 81-85 are all lowered. Each shelf 61 in the descending outside reach of each of the conveyors 59L and 59R supports a row of five cartons C2. Shelves A1-A5 are held raised by a shelf of conveyor 59L at the lower end of its ascending inside reach 69. This conveyor shelf is specially designated 61A. Follower 113 of switch 109 is in notch N1.

O eration of motor 97 through a first dispensing cycle is initiated in response to deposit of coin via a suitable circuit bypassing switch 109, which takes over when cam 107 lifts the follower 113 and holds the motor in operation until the follower drops into notch N2. This results in travel of the chains of conveyor 59L a limited distance such as to move shelf 61a upward off arm LAl of drop shelf A1 but not enough to move shelf 61a upward off arm LAZ of drop shelf A2. As a result, drop shelf A1 is released to swing downward from its raised position and the carton C2 which was on shelf A1 thereon drops off shelf A1 and out of column 3 for being dispensed via chute 47. Operation of motor 97 for the N1-N2 interval also results in travel of the chains of conveyor 59R a limited distance such as to bring a shelf 61a of 59R at its lower end toward engagement with the arms Lilli-LE5 of drop shelves 81-85. The conveyor shelves 651 on the descending reaches 71 of conveyors 591. and 59R holding cartons C2 in passages 13L and 13R are lowered to lower these cartons a limited distance. On a second dispensing cycle, motor 97 is held in operation until follower 113 drops into notch N3. This results in travel of the chains of conveyor 59L a limited distance such as to move shelf 61a of 591. upward off arm LA2 of drop shelf A2 but not enough to clear arm LA3. Accordingly, drop shelf A2 is released to swing downward to dispense its carton. Shelf 61a of conveyor 59R moves around to start swinging up shelves Bl-BS.

One a third dispensing cycle (Nil-Nd), shelf 61a of 59L moves upward off arm LAB but not far enough to clear arm LA4. Accordingly, drop shelf A3 is released to swing downward to dispense its carton.

On a fourth dispensing cycle (Nd-N5), shelf 61a of 59L moves up to clear arm LAd but not far enough to clear arm LAS. Accordingly, drop shelf Ad is released to swing downward to dispense its carton.

On a fifth dispensing cycle, involving rotation of cam 107 from the point where notch N5 is in register with the follower 113 to the point where notch N6 comes under the follower, shelf 61a of 591. moves up to clear arm LAS. Accordingly,

drop shelf A5 is released to swing downward to dispense its carton, thus completing the dispensing of cartons from the A shelves. Shelf 01a of conveyor 59R moves upward to a position corresponding to that of the starting position of shelf 61a of conveyor 591. so that all the shelves 121-85 are raised. The next shelf '61 of conveyor 519R around from shelf 131a moves down to the lower edge 25a of wall 29, and this shelf 151 is thereby released to swing down and drop the five cartons that were held thereon onto shelves B1B.

On the sixth dispensing cycle, involving operation of motor 97 for the Nb-N7 interval, the chains of conveyor 59R travel a limited distance such as to bring shelf 01a of 59R upward off arm LB1 of drop shelf B1, but not enough to clear arrn LBZ. Accordingly, drop shelf B1 is released to swing down to dispense its carton. Similarly, on the seventh through the ninth dispensing g cycles (NT-N0, bid-N9, N9-N10), drop shelves 82-84 are successively released to dispense their cartons. On the tenth dispensing cycle (N10 back to N1), shelf 61a of 59R moves up to clear the last drop shelf Ed and the latter swings down to dispense its carton. A shelf of conveyor 59L comes into the bile starting position shown in HG. 1, all five shelves A1-A5 being raised. The next shelf 01 of 591. moves down to the lower edge 23a of wall 23 (see FlG. 1) and this shelf at is thereby released to swing down and drop its five cartons on to shelves A1-A5. The apparatus is then ready to repeat the dispensing of cartons in sequence from A1A5 and then from BIL-B5 as above described.

The left-hand column 1 is essentially the same as the righthand half of the center column 3, except that the conveyor shelves 61 of the endless conveyor of the left-hand column are more closely spaced to take the half-pint cartons C1. The right-hand column 5 is essentially the same as the left-hand of the center column 3. FIG. 7 shows a cam 1070 with five notches Nl-NS used to control the operation of the leftand right-hand columns instead of the IO-notch cam 107. Peelers such as indicated at are provided for detecting the emptying of the columns and actuating empty switches such as indicated at 117. Springs such as indicated at 119 and 121 are provided for engaging the cartons.

From the above, it will appear that the apparatus of this invention is adapted to hold a relatively large number of cartons (five in each row times the number of rows) without requiring any precision control for its operation. The columns may be easily loaded simply by sliding cartons in from the front on shelves s11 without requiring use of a pallet or the like. There are no crevices between shelves to collect dirt and the apparatus may be readily cleaned. The operation is positive via the positive drives from the motors for the chain conveyors.

In view of the above, it will be seen that the several objects of the invention are achieved and other advantageous results attained.

As various changed could be made in the above construe tions without departing from the scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

What is claimed is:

1. Article-dispensing apparatus comprising a series of pivoted drop shelves arranged in a horizontal row, each drop shelf being adapted to occupy a raised position for holding an article to be dispensed and to swing downward from its raised position to cause the article thereon to drop off for being dispensed, control means for the drop shelves operable to effect downward swinging of the drop shelves in said series one after another in a sequence starting with the first shelf of the series successively to dispense the articles from the shelves and then operable to return the shelves to their raised position, and means for reloading the drop shelves with articles from a supply thereof on return of the drop shelves to raised position, said reloading means comprising and endless conveyor having a series of shelves thereon each adapted to hold a row of articles for transfer to the drop shelves, said endless conveyor having an ascending reach and a descending reach.

with the conveyor shelves on the descending reach holding rows of the articles, the row of articles on each conveyor shelf dropping onto the drop shelves as the conveyor shelf approaches the lower limit of the descending reach, the conveyor shelves being pivotally carried by the endless conveyor for swinging downward from a generally horizontal articlesupporting position to cause the articles to drop onto the drop shelves, and means for maintaining the conveyor shelves in article supporting position as they descend and releasing them for swinging downward as they approach the lower limit of the descending reach.

2. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said control means comprises arms on said drop shelves engageable by the conveyor shelves.

3. Apparatus as set forth in claim 2 wherein the arms of the successive drop shelves are of progressively increased length, and each conveyor shelf is engageably with said arms as it starts to ascend.

4. Apparatus as set forth in claim 3 having means for positively driving the conveyor in steps for successive release of the arms of said drop shelves and for return of the drop shelves to raised position after release of the arms of all the drop shelves.

5. Article-dispensing apparatus comprising a series of pivoted drop shelves arranged in a horizontal row, each drop shelf being adapted to occupy a raised position for holding an article to be dispensed and to swing downward from its raised position to cause the article thereon to drop off for being dispensed, control means for the drop shelves operable to effect downward swinging of the drop shelves in said series one after another in sequence starting with the first shelf of the series successively to dispense the articles from the shelves and then operable to return the shelves to their raised position, and means for reloading the drop shelves with articles from a supply thereof on return of the drop shelves to raised position, said drop shelves being pivoted on a horizontal axis, a second series of drop shelves also pivoted on said axis and extending oppositely to the drop shelves of the first-mentioned series, control means for the drop shelves of the second series operable to effect downward swinging of the drop shelves of the second series one after another in sequence following the downward swinging of all the drop shelves of the first series and then operable to return the drop shelves of the second series to their raised position, and means for reloading the drop shelves of the second series with articles from a supply thereof on return of these shelves to raised position.

6. Apparatus as set forth in claim 5, wherein the first reloading means comprises a first endless conveyor having a series of shelves thereon each adapted to hold a row of articles for transfer to the drop shelves of the first series, and the second reloading means comprises a second endless conveyor having a series of shelves thereon each adapted to hold a row of articles for transfer to the drop shelves of the second series.

7. Apparatus as set forth in claim 6 wherein each of said endless conveyors has an ascending reach and a descending reach, with the conveyor shelves on the descending reach holding rows of the articles, the row of articles on each conveyor shelf dropping onto the respective drop shelves as the conveyor shelf approaches the lower limit of the descending reach.

8. Apparatus as set forth in claim 7 wherein the conveyor shelves of each of said endless conveyors are pivotally carried thereby for swinging downward from a generally horizontal article-supporting position to cause the articles to drop onto the drop shelves, and wherein means is provided for maintaining the conveyor shelves of each conveyor in article-supporting position as they descend and releasing them for swinging downward as they approach the lower limit of the descending reach.

9. Apparatus as set forth in claim 8 wherein said control means comprises arms on the drop shelves of the first series engageably by the conveyor shelves of the first conveyor and arms on the drop shelves of the second series engsgeable by the conveyor shelves of the second conveyor.

10. Apparatus as set forth in claim 9 wherein the arms of the successive drop shelves of the first series are of progressively increased length, and each conveyor shelf of the first conveyor is engageable with these arms as it starts to ascend, and the arms of the successive drop shelves of the second series are of progressively increased length, and each conveyor shelf of the second conveyor is engageable with the latter arms as it starts to ascend.

11. Apparatus as set forth in claim 10 having means common to both conveyors for driving them in steps for successive release of the arms of the drop shelves of the first series and return thereof to raised position and successive release of the arms of the drop shelves of the second series and return thereof to the raised position.

Patent Citations
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US2888165 *Mar 11, 1954May 26, 1959Vendo CoPackage vending machine
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4742924 *Apr 2, 1986May 10, 1988Tarlow Kenneth AArticle-supporting web-forming unit
US5009303 *Feb 6, 1989Apr 23, 1991Nigrelli Systems, Inc.Automatic case accumulator
Classifications
U.S. Classification221/84, 221/115, 221/86, 221/253
International ClassificationG07F11/58, G07F11/46
Cooperative ClassificationG07F11/58
European ClassificationG07F11/58