US 3638392 A
A measuring container of defined volume employs electrodes for premeasuring slush for constant volume slug discharge into an underlying vend cup. Multiple safety features are incorporated in the electronic circuitry of the completely automated coin operated dispenser to shut down operation under emergency conditions.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
0 United States Patent 11 1 3,638,392
Welker, Jr. et al. 51 Feb. 1, 1972  AUTOMATICS SLUSII DISPENSING  References Cited MACHINE H w lk 3 UNITED STATES PATENTS 72 l t 2 Lo 240S.C' 1 ;f f fig t, 2:32 2,984,059 5/1961 Hollingsworth ..14|/174 3 1 Ann both Tuba, 0 4 05 3,170,479 2/1965 Mueller ..222/64  Filed: 1970 Primary Examiner-Houston S. Bell, Jr. 1 App]. 13,249 Attorney-Sughrue,Rothwell,Mion,Zinn&Macpeak  ABSTRACT  US. Cl ..53/l23, 53/239, 141/82, 1
141/ 104, 141/ 105, 141 174, 222/21, 222/64 A measuring container of defined volume employs electrodes 5 1 1 1111. C1 ..B65b 63/08 for premeasurins slush for constant volume Slug discharge imo  Field of Search ..l41/82, 100,104, 105, [56-162, an underlying vend cup. Multiple safety features are incor porated in the electronic circuitry of the completely automated coin operated dispenser to shut down operation under emergency conditions.
13 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENTED FEB 1 E72 SHEET 1 OF 3 S 8 RR VI O N C... T 0 N N T R ERR 0 WWW W c L A M M I PUB w H WM 0 MW l H PATENTEU nae 1 m2 SHEEI 2 [IF 3 FIG. 3
MTENTEU FEB i 1972 SHEET 3 [1F 3 AUTOMATICS SLUSH DISPENSING MACHINE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION l. Field of the Invention This invention relates to an automatic dispensing apparatus and more particularly to a coin operated vending machine adapted to dispense slush or other fluid materials in liquid or slurry form.
2. Description of the Prior Art Presently known commercial slush dispensers achieve dispensing of a mass of slush,'or semifrozen liquid in slurry form, by opening a piston-type valve the slush passes into the vend cup through gravity feed. In an attempt to vend uniform volumes within the cup, paired electrodes drop mechanically into the vend cup and measure or sense electrical conductance by the slush between the spaced electrodes to shut off the source of air to the piston-type valve which then closes to prevent further discharge of slush into the cup. While this is an attempt to control, by measurement of the amount of product delivered to the vend cup, uniform volume vending of the slush or other type slurry product, the system does not work due to electromechanical instability. As the slush passes from the slush store chamber or the refrigerator directly into the vend cup, it sets up a wave similar to water, splashing in a bath tub, with the waves passing over the electrodes prematurely. The electrodes sense the simple conductance but do not sense a variation in electrical resistance, that is, due to the wave action, upon wave contact, they shut the air valve off which then shuts off the slush. The waves drop below the electrodes causing the air valve to reopen and thereby energizing the delivery piston which adds more slush to that in the vending cup, providing an additional wave, and conductance. A resonant effect is set up causing the slush to splash out of the cup.
Attempts have been made to modify such commercial machines in order to make them to some extent operable. Such attempts have included the elimination of the electrodes entirely from the electrical circuit by employing a rotary cam type of timer and allowing the piston valve to open for a certain amount of time and thus attempt to dispense equal volumes of slush into the vend cup. This is not completely satisfactory because the viscosity of the slush product changes and therefore the volume passing through a given orifice in a given time changes so that each customer gets a different amount of slush within the vend cup.
The present commercial design of dispenser uses an O-ring to seal the piston valve. Each time the O-ring passes over the outlet orifice, it is scraped on the edge of said orifice. In so moving, with the great numberof cycles of operation of the machine, it tends to chew up the O-ring, causing the piston to fail in one of two modes, either closed or open. If the piston valve fails to open, the machine is inoperable. If it fails to close, the machine dumps vast quantities of product on the floor of the establishment housing the vending apparatus,
which is not only wasteful but creates quite a mess.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is directed primarily to an improved slush-type dispenser employing a solenoid operated pinch valve which opens to allow passage of preformed, unflavored ice particles or slush from a refrigerated supply chamber or a refrigerated slush formation chamber into a closed volume measuring container for premeasuring a constant volume slug of the same. The premeasuring container contains two electrodes, which are adjustable to any level to measure accumulated slush. Upon measuring a given volume of the slurry type product, the solenoid controlled inlet pinch valve is shut off and a measuring container outlet pinch valve is opened to allow passage of the slurry product from the measuring container into the vend cup. Flavoring is selectively added thereto.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an elevational view of the automatic, coin operated slush dispenser of the present invention with the front door in open position to display the components interiorly of the.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the principal components of the improved slush dispenser, in particular, the premeasuring portion of the apparatus.
FIG. 3 is a schematic illustration of the hydraulic and pneumatic circuit of the slush dispenser shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is an electrical schematic diagram of the control circuit for the slush dispenser of the present invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawings, the coin operated slush dispenser forming one embodiment of the present invention is adapted particularly as a coin operated dispensing machine for dispensing a semifrozen slurry product or slush" within a vend cup 10 positioned within a rectangular support frame or cup receptacle 12. The vend cup I0 is securely located in slush and flavor receiving position within an annular guide member 14 which forms a portion of the cup receptacle 12. A conventional cabinet 16 is provided with a hinged front door 18 which carries a small slidable door 20 movable in the directions of arrow 22 to allow access to the cup 10, after filling of the same, from the exterior of the dispenser cabinet 16, since the door 18 is of course locked in closed position during normal operation of the dispenser.
Slush dispensers, in general cause a plurality of ice particles to be formed of preflavored liquid or, alternatively, of clear ice particles, to which is subsequently added a fruit flavor and have become quite popular. The sizeable proportion of the dispensed flavored drink comprises discreet ice particles with a minimum of the slurry type drink constituted by the liquid. The present invention is directed to a slush drink in which the clear ice particles, that is without flavor, are premeasured and gravity discharged in the form of constant volume slugs from a measuring chamber into the vend cup along with the liquid fruit flavoring.
The invention is particularly directed to the solution to the problem of dispensing uniform volume slugs of the slurry product within each vend cup. The slush vending machine 16 therefore carries, within the conventional rectangular cabinet I6, an air pump 24, which is mounted underneath the shelf 32. A plurality of cans or containers 28, carrying the base product in liquid form, which may be removably positioned within the vending machine, are maintained in correct position in the cabinet 16 by latching means 30. A horizontal shelf 32 extends partially across the machine from the left side to vend cup receptacle l2. Partition 32 supports a plurality of replaceable flavor extract cans or containers such as 34 and 35. Immediately above the flavor extract cans is an electrical control unit 36 carrying the majority of the components of the electrical control circuit for causing the dispensing of constant volumes slugs of the slush drink into a vend cup 10 which is moved into fill position within frame 12 upon the deposit of the correct coin value into a coin slot (not shown) which is conventional to all coin operated vending machines. Adjacent thereto, is dispenser 42 for dispensing in sequence, vend cups 10, from a stacked supply, the individual cups being discharged under gravity influence for movement down an inclined trough 44, and falling within annular guide member I4 for correct positioning during each automated dispensing cycle. A drain plate 46 is carried by the frame 12, which is perforated to allow any slush or flavoring material, which has not entered cup 10, to fall therethrough, and flow along the inclined bottom 48 where it enters removable waste container 50 through drain tube 52.
As mentioned previously, the semiliquid or liquid materials are moved between components of the slush vending machine by an electrical control system formed principally by control unit 36, through the intermediary of pneumatic means. In this respect, the air pump 24, powered by an electrical motor causes compressed air to pass through pump outlet 54. Some of the air is directed to the base product cans or containers 28 via tube 56 and additional compressed air is delivered to the flavor extract cans 34, 35 via tubes 58 and 60.
Reference may be had to the schematic, hydraulic and pneumatic circuit diagram of FIG. 3 wherein, in addition to the two flavor extract cans 34 and 35, a third can 37 is shown providing yet a third and different flavor in liquid form, with pressurized air being delivered to the same via tube 64. Additional tubes 66, 68, and 70 lead to other flavor extract cans or containers, the number of course depending upon the number of different flavors being offered by the coin operated slush vending machine. Pressure regulators 70 may be provided for insuring that the pressure to the flavor extract cans is of a particular value, different from that in the base supply containers 28.
The present invention as mentioned previously is directed particularly to a measuring container or cup 72 which acts to define, for each vend cycle, a uniform volume slug of unflavored slush from the refrigeration unit 40 via measuring cup inlet tube 74, under control of a first solenoid operated pinch valve 76. A second solenoid operated outlet pinch valve 78 allows controlled discharge of the flavor slug of constant volume slush from the measuring container 72 into the vend cup via outlet tube 80. With valve 76 open and valve 78 closed, slush discharges through inlet tube 74 and rises within cylindrical container 72 until a circuit is completed between electrodes 116 therein.
Solenoid operated pinch valve 76 includes a bracket 77 fixedly supporting solenoid coil 136 above delivery tube 74. Armature 79 supports a thin rod 81 which defines the upper pinch surface of the valve. A U-shaped bracket 83 carries an adjustable wobble plate 85 which defines a lower pinch surface and upon which the tube 74 rests. A pair of return springs 87 are coupled at one end to rod 81 and to the frame of the cabinet at the other end through adjustable turnbuckles 89. Solenoid valve 76 is therefore spring biased in normally closed position with the tube 74 pinched closed, and upon energization, armature 79 and rod 81 moves upwardly against the bias to open tube 74.
For pinch valve 78, frame 91 supports Z bracket 93 which defines one pinch surface while the slotted armature 95 defines the other pinch surface. Tube 80 passes through the rectangular slot 97. Valve 78 is normally open but closes when energized simultaneously with valve 76. In this respect, solenoid coil 172 controls the position of armature 95. Tube 80 is sufficiently resilient to open when coil 172 is deenergized, but alternately biasing springs may be employed to insure opening of the same when released.
As mentioned previously, the refrigeration unit 40 is of conventional construction in which case it consists primarily of two sections, an upper section 86, where the base material is prechilled, and a lower section 88 in which the ice particles are stored prior to controlled discharge via line 74 into the measuring cup 72. The refrigeration unit constitutes a very fast, highly refrigerated freezing surface with sharp scrapers removing thebase material frozen thereon to form relatively large ice crystals for controlled discharge into measuring container 72 and then into the vend cup 10 prior to flavoring of the same. The base product cans 28 may be two or more in number and are fluid coupled in series fashion, via connecting tubes 90 the last can in the series, that is the one most remote from air pump 24, is connected to the refrigerator via liquid inlet tube 92. The ice particles pass directly to the measuring cup or container 72 through gravitational force under control of solenoid operated inlet valve 76,
in the particular coin operated slush vending machine of the present invention, the flavor is added to the slush or clear ice particles after a slug of given volume is premeasured by paired electrodes 116 associated with the measuring cup 72. In this respect, for each of the flavor extract cans 34, 35, and 37, outlet pipes or tubes are provided as at 96, 98, and 100. The ends of these tubes are positioned above vend cup 10, as illustrated in FIG. 3, so as to discharge the contents into the vend cup 10, simultaneously with the slug ofclear ice particles which fill the same. Within each flavor dispensing tube, is provided a sole noid operated valve for dispensing a given volume of the liquid flavor extract, all under control of solenoid valves. ln this respect, valve 102 is carried by flavor dispensing line 96, tube 96, valve 104 for tube 98, and valve 106 for tube 100. For each of the additional lines 66, 68, and 70, similar means are provided. The cabinet 16 includes, of course, refrigeration and control means including a refrigerant compressor, condenser for unit 40, with the evaporator forming the principal component of chamber 86 of the same. As shown in FIG. 1, a bracket 108 supports solenoid operated flavor control valves 102, 104, and 106 through which pass the flavor deliver tubes 96, 98, 100. In addition, as illustrated in FIG. 1. tubes 110 and 112 are shown as passing through the top 114 of cup receptacle 12, the flavor delivery tubes 110 and 112 corresponding, for instance, to pressurized air inlet tubes 66 and 68, which are coupled to flavor extract cans or bottles (not shown).
As illustrated best in FIG. 2, the measuring cup or container 72 is cylindrical in form and is closed except for a small diameter vent tube 82, the clear ice particle supply tube 74 under control of solenoid operated valve 76, and measuring cup outlet tube 80 under control of solenoid operated valve 78 for discharging clear ice particles in slug form of uniform volume within vend cup 10 carried by the vend cup receptacle 12.
Premeasuring of slugs of uniform volume slush material is achieved electrically through the employment of paired electrodes 116 which depend interiorly of a measuring cup cylinder 72 from the top end thereof. The filling of the interior of the measuring cup by opening solenoid operated valve 76, with solenoid operated valve 78 closed, causes, for each cycle of operation, a flow of nonflavored slush to enter the interior of the measuring cup until the level of the same creates an electrical conductance path between electrodes 116 feeding an appropriate signal via electrical leads 118 to the control circuit forming a portion of control unit 36.
The automated control of the coin operated slush vending machine of the present invention is fully electrical in nature. Referring to the electrical control circuit of FIG. 4, in addition to components within the cabinet as illustrated in the views of FIGS. 1, 2, and 3, a great number of other components carried thereby are shown schematically in FIG. 4.
Referring to the circuit drawing of FIG. 4, it is noted that an insulating strip 120 serves as the support for a plurality of terminals 122 allowing connection between the various components of the circuit. In this respect, the left most terminal is connected to ground at 124, the next two terminals are connected to the electrical current supply which may, for instance, comprise a conventional l lO-volt AC source (not shown) connected thereto via wall plug contacts 126. From left to right, there is shown agitator motor 128 which, along with refrigeration compressor motor 130, form components of refrigeration unit 40. The air pump motor 132 drives the air pump 24. A door light 134 indicates the position of the door, that is, whether the door 18 is closed or open. The next two electrical terminals are connected to paired electrodes 116, for measuring the level of content of the slush within premeasuring cup 72. The next two terminals are connected to the solenoid coil 136 for solenoid operated pinch valve 76.
There are provided five electrodes at different levels for the refrigeration storage chamber 88. The level control electrodes are, in order, a common electrode at 138, a sold out electrode 140, a fill or low-level electrode 142, a shutoff or high-level electrode 144, and an overfill electrode 146, the electrodes being positioned at varying heights with the left-hand electrode 138 being at the lowermost position and the right-hand electrode 146 at the uppermost, and all in the order shown. For waste can 50, there are provided a pair of electrodes 148 for indicating when the waste can is filled with melted slush falling by gravity through tube 52. A buzzing alarm is provided such that, if the door 18 is closed when any or all of the switches 226, 227 or 228 are in the off position while the main power switch 216 is still on, a warning is provided. Switch 152 is normally open but closes during closing ofdoor 18.
The cup index mechanism 154 forms a rather large segment of the control unit 36, the cup index mechanism constituting a motor driven, cam operated timer including timer motor 156 which rotates a plurality of cams carried by a common drive shaft. In this respect, the cup index mechanism 154 is provided with a reset cam 158, a premeasuring cam 160', a flavor cam 162, a vend cup fill cam 164, and a shutoff cam 168. Appropriate normally closed and normally open switches are provided under control of the various cams as illustrated. To the right of cup index mechanism 154, there is shown the out let solenoid coil 172 forming a part of solenoid operated valve 78within measuring cup outlet tube 80, Next in line is a base fill solenoid coil 174 forming a part of the solenoid valve 175 located within air delivery tube 56 leading to the refrigerator unit 40 from one of the base fill liquid containers 28. A coin mechanism 176, of conventional type, is operatively coupled within the control circuit for controlling the operation of the machine to dispense in a single cycle, a flavored drink within vend cup upon the depositing of coins of proper value within the coin slot (not shown), of the machine.
To the right of the coin mechanism 176 are shown two indicating lights, light 178 constituting the empty light, and energized when the machine is empty, while light 180 indicates the deposition of the correct change in the coin mechanism 176. A plurality of individual flavor solenoids are provided at 190 through 200 inclusive, six valves being shown, three of which are associated with the illustrated solenoid valves 102, 104, and 106, and employing solenoid coils 190, I92, and 194. Adjacent thereto, in the schematic diagram, are provided manually operated flavor switches in the form of pushbuttons (not shown) carried on the front of the machine, the switches 202, 204, 206, 208, 210, 212, and 214 corresponding to solenoid valves 190 through 200 inclusive.
On the opposite side of the terminal strip, there are shown additional components of the machine, primarily located within the control unit 36. In this respect, there is shown to the left, a manually operated off/on switch for the unit at 216 which acts to energize the timer motor 218 which controls the refrigeration system under timed operation. A counter 220 is provided within the circuit for counting the number of slugs of slush drink being vended within the individual cups emanating from supply 48. For operation of the electronic transistor circuits 236 and the like, there is provided a power transformer 222 which in turn is coupled to rectifier 224 for delivering the required direct current to operate the same. The dispenser is further provided with a cup fill switch 226, a base fill switch 227, and a manual flavor switch 228, each of these switches being moved to selected position by the machine operator during filling or placement of cups within container 48 for dispensing the same, the placement of appropriate filled containers of base material, as at 28 within the machine, and the placement of the correct number of filled flavor containers such as 34, 35, and 37 on support platform 32. An alarm, in the form ofa lamp or light bulb 230 is electrically coupled to all three of the switches 226, 228, and 230 such that, if any one of these switches are left in the off position, an alarm light 230 is lit. Then (if the door is then closed and locked) the door buzzer coupled thereto operates to sound the alarm. A manual vend switch 234 is provided such that by operation of the normally open manual vend switch 234 a dispensing cycle is initiated.
The control unit 36 is provided with a transistor circuit indicated generally at 236 which is coupled through terminal strip 238 to various components of the system to effectively control the same. Relay circuit 240 consists of cup fill relay 242, sold out relay 244, refrigeration level relay 246, overfill dump relay 248, vend relay 250, antijackpot relay 252, and flavor switch lockout relays 254 through 266, inclusive.
While the specific combination of elements within the circuit shown in FIG. 4 is, in itself novel, the individual components are standard in the art. The cam operated timer for the cup index mechanism 150, the coin mechanism 176, the pushbutton flavor switches, flavor operated solenoid valves, and various relays, are employed in general in coin operated vending machines.
The operation of the vending machine will now be described. With the machine grounded at 124, connection of wall plug contacts 126 to a source of alternating current (not shown) delivers electrical power to the vending machine under control of the manually operated on/off switch 216, Plugging in the wall plug and closure of switch 216 energizes the time clock which includes a timer motor 218. This supplies electrical power to the agitator motor 128, the refrigerator compressor motor 130, and the air pump motor 132. The air pump pressurizes the pneumatic system which transports the base product in liquid form from the cans or containers 28 in the base of the machine to refrigeration unit 40 and the freezing process begins due to operation of agitator motor 128 and refrigeration compressor motor 130. The freezing process creates thin layers of clear ice on the interior surfaces of the container 86 of the refrigeration unit which is removed by a scraping operation common to slush dispensing machines, this taking place in the lower unit 88 of the refrigeration apparatus. The upper slush reservoir container 86, which carries electrodes 138 through 146, senses the level of the prechilled liquid within the same until a circuit is completed between the common electrode 138 and the shut off or high level electrode 144. A sample unit takes approximately 2 hours from the time that hot base liquid is directed to unit 40 until the product is ready to serve. it is assumed, of course, prior to operation of the machine, a cup supply is provided, the base material is loaded as are the flavor containers so that cup sold out switch 274, cup fill switch 226, base filled switch 227, and manual flavor switch 228 are closed. If not, the alarm lamp 230, which is a part of unit 36, will be lit, and upon closing and locking of the hinged door 18, with the door switch 152 closed, buzzer sounds since it is coupled into the alarm light circuit. This indicates immediately that the machine is not in an operable condition and that it should be fixed.
Assuming, however, that all of these switches are closed, then dispensing may be achieved either by depression of the manual vend switch 234 or by dropping the required coin or coins in the coin mechanism 176. By dropping the required coin or coins in the coin mechanism 176, the vend relay 250 is pulled in, opening the normally closed switches and closing the normally open switch contacts of the same. The machine is then placed in wait position until manual selection of one of the flavor switches occurs. Assuming for instance, that normally opened flavor switch 202 is closed, which may comprise depression of an associated push button, the flavor switch lockout relay 154, associated therewith, will be energized, locking out all of the other flavor switch lockout relays 256 through 268. In other words, by selecting a given flavor, the selection of any other flavor is prevented. Energization of any one of the flavor switch lockout relays, causes energization of the cup mechanism 154, and motor 156 causes cams 158 through 168 to rotate in unison. Motor 156 is energized through the vend relay 250. Of course, this is under control of the energized flavor switch lockout relay as well as the dispenser antijackpot 252.
For the illustrated embodiment, the drive motor, the timer motor 156 for the cup index mechanism 154 rotates at 6.0 r.p.m. Energization of the same releases a cup 10 from its supply 42 which falls open end up through the guide chute 44 and is securely positioned within the annular guide ring 14. From the position shown for the cup mechanism, rotation of the cams causes cam 160 to open the unconnected left-hand contacts and close the right-hand contacts which, in turn, energize the inlet solenoid coil 136 associated with inlet valve 76 allowing ice particles to discharge from the refrigeration storage cabinet 88 through line 74 into the measuring cup or container 72. As soon as the level of clear ice particles reaches the level defined by paired electrodes 116; the inlet valve is closed by deenergizing the inlet valve solenoid 136. In this respect,'the solenoid operated inlet valve 76 is a normally closed valve which, when deenergized, moves to closed position blocking the movement of ice particles from refrigerator supply chamber 88 to the premeasuring container 72. It is the creation of an electrical conductance path between electrodes 116 due to the presence of the clear ice that causes deenergization of solenoid coil 136. The inlet solenoid 136 is coupled via the normally closed cup fill switch contacts of switch 226 and normally closed cup fill relay switch contacts of relay 242 to a source of supply current under control of cam 160. Relay 242 is deenergized by the transistor circuit cup fill which is activated by conductance across the electrodes 116 in the measuring cup 72. The cup mechanism 154 and specifically motor 156 continues to rotate moving the flavor cam 162 to a position such that its normally open contacts close. With one of the flavor switches, such as push button operated switch 202 closed, the movement of the flavor cam 162 into a position where the movable switch contact associated therewith closes on normally open contact to the right thereof, energizes, through the flavor switch lockout relay coil 254, flavor solenoid 190. Thus, pulling in of cam 162 activates the flavor solenoid coil 190 and thecorrect flavor in liquid form is injected into the cup by compressed air from air compressor or pump 24. As this is happening, the level of clear ice particles within the measuring cup 72 reaches electrodes 116 to cause closure of inlet valve 76 in which case a given volume of clear slush is collected within the premeasuring container 72. Meanwhile the next cam 164 moves into position to allow the movable switch contact associated therewith to open, deenergizing outlet solenoid coil 172 of solenoid valve 78. This allows the constant volume slush from the premeasuring cup or container 72 to discharge into the vend cup 10. The measuring cup, due to its special shape and vertical orientation, allows the slush to pass by gravity, completely out of the measuring cup and into a vend cup 10. Finally, the shutoff cam 168 moves into position. The cam 168 has a peripheral recess such that the moving contact is normally closed on the stationary contact immediately to the left and acts during the earlier portion of the cup index cam shaft rotation to maintain the vend relay coil energized. However, when the movable contact shifts to the right, the vend relay coil of vend relay 250 is deenergized. This causes the motor to be pulled in on itself and the motor 156 continues to rotate until the reset cam 158 moves again into theposition shown, whereupon its movable contact opens with respect to the stationary contact immediately to the left of the same to deenergize the motor. Thus, the motor continues to run past the point where the shutoff cam 168 causes its movable contact to move from left to right with all of the clockwise rotating cams moving to the position shown in the figure to initiate a new sequence of operation for the next coin operated vending cycle.
If the base fill switch is off, the refrigeration 40 is not replenished as drinks are drawn. If the flavor fill switch is off, the cycle is complete except that the flavor is not dispensed as the solenoid coil 190 cannot be energized. If the cup fill switch is off, the inlet solenoid 136 is never energized.
The cup index solenoid 270 and switch 272 sense the low level of one stack of cups and rotate the turret to bring the next stack into position. Switch 272 is a blade-type switch as is sold out switch 274 mounted below the cup index switch. If there are no more cups in the turret, switch 274 opens and shuts the machine down.
The basic components of the system, other than the refrigeration circuit, etc., and in particular the measuring cup, may be employed for the dispensing of other materials, particularly in liquid form, such as beer, where it is particularly important to dispense absolutely identical volumes for each slug of liquid being sold. The system may be applied to the dispensing of premeasured slugs of alcoholic beverages of all types including distilled liquor or in conjunction with the sale of pizza or other foods, the dispensing of pizza sauce or other semiliquids which must be applied to each product being sold. It is noted that the counter 220 is energized each time the shutoff contact associated with cam 168 moves from leftto righthand position, thus counter 220 receives a pulse indicative of dispensing of a preset volume slug of liquid or semiliquid material.
1. In a dispensing machine including a storage container carrying a liquid, solid particle slurry material of highly changeable viscosity and having an outlet for discharging material therefrom, means positioning a receptacle in material filling position beneath said storage container outlet for gravity discharge therein, the improvement comprising: a closed measuring container lying intermediate said storage container outlet and said receptacle and having its upper end in communication with said container outlet and its lower end overlying said receptacle, a small diameter vent for said measuring container, electrically operated valvemeans associated with said measuring container for controlling discharge of material from storage container through said outlet into said measuring container, and discharge of material from said measuring container into said receptacle, and spaced electrodes carried by said measuring container for measuring accumulation of a set volume of said slurry material within said measuring container and operatively coupled to said valve means to terminate the flow of material from said storage container to said measuring container and to discharge said measured volume of material from said measuring container into said underlying receptacle, said vent acting as a viscous damping means for slurry flow into and out ofsaid measuring container.
2. The dispensing machine as claimed in claim 1 wherein said storage container includes refrigeration means having a freezing surface to which liquid material is applied and scraping means to remove a thin frozen layer of solidified material as discreet particles therefrom, said receptacle comprising a vend cup and said dispensing machine further includes; a plurality of containers carrying liquid flavoring, individual tubes leading from said flavoring containers to said vend cup with their discharge ends overlying the open end of said vend cup, and means for selectively applying pneumatic pressure to force metered amounts of liquid flavoring from selected containers to said vend cup for flavoring said discreet particles.
3. The dispensing machine as claimed in claim 2 wherein; said refrigeration means includes an agitator motor, a
refrigerator compressor motor, an air pump motor for providing the source of pneumatic pressure, a timer motor for selectively controlling said motors, said machine comprises; a refrigerated cabinet for holding the same including a door on said cabinet allowing access thereto, a stack of vend cups carried by said cabinet, means for feeding individual cups into cup filling position, at least one container carrying liquid base material to form said frozen discreet particles, and switch means closed by the presence of a supply of cups, a base liquid container and a flavor container, alarm means, a door operated switch, and circuit means connecting said alarm, said dooroperated switch and said switch means for indicating the incorrect position of any of the same.
4. The dispensing machine as claimed in claim 2 wherein said refrigeration means includes a storage container for temporarily storing frozen discreet particles, and said machine further includes a plurality of sensing electrodes at different levels within said storage container and means responsive for accumulation of frozen discreet particles within said storage container for creating a conductive circuit between various electrodes to initiate operation of said refrigeration means in response to lowering the reduction of the supply of accumulated frozen discreet particles, terminate filling operation of said storage container upon accumulation of a suitable supply of liquid within said storage container, or actuation of an overtill dump relay t automatically cut power to air pump thereby ceasing filling of said storage container in response to overfill of said storage container with the same.
5. The dispensing machine as claimed in claim 4 further comprising a cup mechanism, means for feeding a single vend cup from said vend cup supply to vend cup filling position, a first solenoid operated valve for controlling the flow of discreet particles from said storage chamber to said measuring container, a second solenoid operated valve for controlling flow of discreet particles from said measuring container to said vend cup, said cup mechanism including a plurality of cams rotatable in unison and cam operated switches operating in sequence to energize said cup indexing me'ans, open said first solenoid valve, energize said flavor control means, close said first solenoid operated valve, open said second and third solenoid operated valves, and reset said timer motor to initial position.
6. The dispensing machine as claimed in claim 5 further including counter means for counting each cycle of operation of said multiple cam operated switches of said cup mechanism,
7. The dispensing machine as claimed in claim 6 further comprising a flavor control circuit for each container of liquid flavoring, each circuit including a manually operated switch for each flavor, individual flavor solenoid operated valves for controlling the application of pneumatic pressure to respective flavor containers for forcing flavor therefrom for discharge into said cup, and flavor switch lockout relays associated with each flavor switch for preventing multiple flavors from being discharged simultaneously into a given vend cup during a singlecycle of operation.
8. The dispensing machine as claimed in claim 7 further comprising a cup fill relay for automatically terminating the delivery of discreet particles from the refrigeration storage container to said measuring container when a measured volume of the same reaches the level of the measuring electrodes within the measuring container by overriding the cam operated timer of said cup mechanism.
9. The dispensing machine as claimed in claim 8 further comprising a sold out relay for preventing cyclic operation of said cup mechanism in response to depletion of discreet particles below the level defined by said sold out electrode within said refrigeration storage container and operatively coupled thereto, a reference level relay for controlling operation of said multiple refrigeration storage unit level control electrodes, and an overfill dump relay for shutting down the air pump delivering base product to said refrigeration storage container upon overfill of the same, and a vend relay for preventing reinitiation of a vend cycle until the cam operated timer of said cup mechanism completes a full cycle of operations.
10. A coin operated slush dispensing machine comprising: in combination, a cabinet housing at least one container of liquid base material, a plurality of individual containers of liquid flavoring, refrigeration means including a freezing surface, means for applying liquid base material to said freezing surface, and scraping means to remove a thin frozen layer of solidified material as discreet particles therefrom, a storage container for storing said discreet particles in the form of a liquid, solid particle slurry of highly changeable viscosity, a plurality of vend cups, means for positioning individual vend cups in slurry filling position with respect to said storage container outlet, a measuring container operatively coupled to the outlet of said refrigerated storage container intermediate said outlet and a positioned vend cup, said measuring container being generally closed except for a small diameter vent, electrodes carried by said measuring container for measuring an accumulated volume of slurry within the same, first valve means for controlling the flow of slurry from said refrigeration storage compartment to said measuring container, second valve means within the outlet of said measuring cup for controlling discharge of a measured volume of slurry into said vend cup, means responsive to accumulation of slurry to the level of said electrodes within said measuring container for operating said first and second valve means, individual flavor delivery tubes with their ends overlying said vend cup and valve means for selectivel controllingthe application of pneumatic pressure to sai flavor containers for controlled delivery of measured amounts of liquid flavoring to said vend cup and said accumulated slurry within the same.
11. The slush dispensing machine as claimed in claim 10 further comprising; multiple electrodes at various levels within said refrigeration storage container, one of said electrodes controlling means to indicate that the machine is sold out due to a lack of frozen base material particles therein. one electrode responsive to depletion of said accumulated particles below a predescribed level for initiating operation of said refilling means, one electrode for shutting off said refilling means upon the accumulation of a sufficiently higher level of particles, and one electrode controlling means responsive to the accumulation of an excessive level of particles for shutting down the air pump which delivers the base liquid.
12. The slush dispensing machine as claimed in claim 11 further including: a coin mechanism, manually depressable flavor switches and a cup mechanism responsive to depression of one of said flavor switches and depositing of a coin within said coin mechanism for operation of the same, said cup mechanism comprising; a timer motor, and a plurality of cam operated switches driven simultaneously by said motor and operable in sequence to control movement of a single cup into fill position, initiate opening of said first valve means to cause frozen ice particles to move into said measuring cup, initiate opening of one of the solenoid operated valves for a liquid flavor container corresponding to the depressed pushbutton flavor switch, and subsequent deenergizing of said second solenoid operated valve associated with said measuring container for discharging a premeasured volume of frozen particles through said second valve and into said vend cup, and resetting said timer motor to its initial position.
13. The dispensing machine as claimed in claim 12 wherein said cabinet carries a door thereon for access into the cabinet interior, and said machine further includes a first normally open switch, closed upon closing of said door, a buzzer; a second cup fill switch, a third base fill switch, and a fourth manual flavor switch, said switches being responsive respectively, to the presence of slush material, a supply of base liquid material, and the presence of a sufficient number of flavor containers, and means operatively coupling all of said switches and said buzzer for operating the buzzer if the machine door to the slush dispensing machine is closed with any one of said last three switches left in open position.