US 3729117 A
An automatic vending machine comprising a display panel and vending means capable of dealing with a plurality of kinds of tickets for traffic facilities (simply referred to as "multi-performance machine") is controlled to a less-multi-performance machine or a single-performance machine by means of a setting means, wherein less plurality of kinds or a single kind of ticket are dealt with.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 1 Naito et al.
[ 4] AUTOMATIC VENDING MACHINE CONTROL SYSTEM  Inventors: Nobuyoshi Naito; Tsuyoshi Hiraguri;
Katsunori Yamashita, all of Otokunigun; Oomi Honda, Kyoto, all of Japan  Assignee: Omron Tateisi Kyoto, Japan Dec. 7, 1970 Electronics Co.,
' 21 Appl. No.: 95,458
 U.S.Cl ..221/9, 221/15 I  Int. Cl. ..G07b H00 [581 Field of Search ..22l /2, 8, 9, 15, 3-8;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 31606359 9/1971 Stonor ..2.2l/2 3,165,185 1/l965 Moore .....l94/9 T 3,395,829 8/1968 Cogdell .1 ..2Zl/l5 3,416,705 12/1968 Hohmann ..22l/2 45] Apr. 24, 1973 Primary E.\'aminerRobert B. Reeves Assistant E.\'aminerThomas E. Kocovsky Art0rneyW. G. Fasse  ABSTRACT An automatic vending machine comprising a display panel and vending means capable of dealing with a plurality of kinds of tickets for traffic facilities (simply referred to as multi-performance machine) is controlled to a less-multi-performance machine or a single-performance machine by means of a setting means, wherein less plurality of kinds or a single kind of ticket are dealt with.
As another embodiment of the invention a plurality of multi-performance machines are installed to provide a group of vending machines and a time sequence programmer is provided for controlling the performance of the machine and also for controlling the number of the machine to be actuated.
The performance and/or number of the machine is displayed on the display panel. An embodiment of the display panel comprises a plurality of indication elements which can be controlled to turn on or off and the panel is controlled by the on-or-off control of the element to provide a plurality of display states.
8 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures Patented April 24, 1973 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 formance machine,
AUTOMATIC VENDING MACHINE CONTROL SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to an automatic vending machine control system and more particularly to such a system for controlling a plurality of automatic vending machines.
2. Description of the Prior Art Various types of automatic vending machines have been put into practical use. Sometimes only one machine is installed in the same place, but frequently a plurality of machines must be installed in the same place in order to meet the demands of many customers at the same time.
As typical examples of such automatic vending machines one can enumerate automatic vending machines of tickets for traffic facilities and of meal tickets in restaurants. These vending machines are provided with a control panel for customers which, as a a rule, comprises a display panel for indicating kinds of tickets to be issued, a slot for receiving money such as bills and/or coins and a ticket delivery port for issuing tickets; the control panel may be referred to as the customer panel.
Considering the mechanism of vending machine, apart from the modes of use as mentioned above, a certain type of machine is so constructed that it can issue or deal with only a single kind of predetermined ticket. This type of machine may be referred to as a singleperformance or single-purpose machine. On the other hand, there is a type which can issue or deal with a plurality of kinds of tickets in compliance with customers demands. This type of machine may be referred to as a multi-performance or multi-purpose machine.
If a plurality of such automatic vending machines have the customer panel so arranged as to provide a group of automatic vending machines, there are possibilities that all of the machines are a single-perall are a multi-performance machine or a group is a combination of singleand multi-performance machines.
Now, let it be assumed that taking the case of automatic vending machines for tickets of traffic facilities only one multi-performance machine is installed in a certain place. This multi-performance machine makes a change in its use of customers depending upon the time. This change may often result from the time zones of a day, the difference between work days and public holidays, entertainments given along the line of traffic facilities, traffic accidents, and the like. The same is also applicable to the automatic vending machines of meal tickets in the restaurants. In view of the fact that performance machine generally deals with more kinds of tickets than in case of single-performance machine, the display panel is more complicated and more difficult for customers to operate. From a statistical point of view it is seen that a certain kind of tickets tends to be issued in a concentrated manner depending upon the time of day. Therefore, it is desirable that this multi-performance machine can be controlled to reduce the number of its different vending operations that shall be effective, possibly to one, making the machine a single performance machine, according to the time.
Furthermore, if a plurality of such multi-performance machines are installed to provide a group of automatic vending machines, there arises another problem. That is, for the same reasons as mentioned above, the frequency of use by customers is considerably changed in addition to the change in concentration tendency to particular tickets according to the time. Since a group of automatic vending machines have their customer panel designed in such a way as to meet the largest demands and all machines in the group are in a state of operation in spite of decrease of the frequency of use, these machines are disadvantageous in many points, particularly in consumption of electric power and mechanical wear of machines. Therefore, it is desirable that all or some of the multi-performance machines of grouped automatic vending machines can be controlled, in accordance with the change in concentration tendency and in frequency of use, to make them less-multi-performance and/or single-performance machines conforming to the concentration tendency and also that the number of machines in operation should be controlled. A requirement encountered when automatic vending machines implementing such possibility have been completed is that the display panel thereof should be easy to be observed by the customers and yet easy to be controlled to provide different display states or patterns of the display panel. This invention provides several possibilities as mentioned above.
Basically, this invention provides means for controlling a multi-performance machine to make it work as a less-multi-performance machine or a single performance machine of a performance type as desired and comprises a means for such controlling, and, if desired, further comprises a display panel controllable by means of such control means to provide a plurality of kinds of display states or patterns. On the other hand, this invention also is directed to the installation of a plurality of such multi-performance machines and comprises a means for controlling the operation modes of .individual machines according to changes in tendency of concentration to particular tickets and in frequency of use of machines, and, if desired, further comprises a display panel controllable by means of such control means to provide a plurality of kinds of display states or patterns including stoppage of operation of each multi-purpose machine. Such control means can take a form of automatic time programmer. Thus, this invention realizes things which have been desired heretofore.
Therefore, an object of this invention is to control a multi-performance automatic vending machine to make it a less-multi-performance machine or a desired single-performance machine.
Another object of this invention is to control the performance of an automatic vending machine according to changes in demands of customers for the performance.
Other object of this invention is to control the per formance of each of a plurality of multi-performance machines constituting the grouped automatic vending machines and also to control the number of machine in operation.
A further object of this invention is to provide means for automatically controlling the performance of each of a plurality of multi-performance machines constituting the grouped automatic vending machines and the number of machines in operation by a program system.
Still a further object of the present invention is to provide a display panel for a multi-performance machine adapted to be controlled to a desired different multi-performance (less multi-performance) machine or a single-performance machine.
These and other objects and features of the present invention will be better understood from the following detailed description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 shows an arrangement of a plurality of automatic vending machines.
FIG. 2 shows the block diagram of an embodiment of the system of this invention illustrated partially in more detail.
FIGS. 3A and 3B are elevational views of an embodiment of the display panel of the automatic vending machine shown in FIG. 1, which are in differently controlled display states,
FIG. 3C is a side view of the display panel shown in FIGS. 3A and 33,
FIGS. 4A and 4B are elevational views of another embodiment of the display panel of the automatic vending machine shown in FIG. 1, which are in differently controlled display states, and
FIG. 4C is a side view of the display panel shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION FIG. 1 shows a state in which a plurality of customer panels or portions V,, V, V,, of automatic vending machines for tickets for traffic facilities are installed. For simplicity of illustration, some of them arranged midway are shown by dotted lines. The customer panel, as a rule, has at least a display panel In for indicating the kinds of tickets to be issued, a slot Co for receiving coins and a ticket delivery port Ti for issuing tickets and at its back the mechanism of automatic vending machine is housed. An example of the mechanism of the vending machine will be depicted hereinafter by referring to FIG. 2. It should be noted, however, that the mechanism is a multi-performance mechanism havin g a plurality of different vending operations and it can be controlled such that only selected ones, for example, any selected single one of its vending operations will be effective at a given time, thus becoming, if required a single-performance mechanism.
FIG. 2 shows a plurality of customer panels V,, V, V, each housing such a machine Out of these customer panels the panel V, represents others in illustrating the details of the mechanism of the vending machine. An input signal for the customer panel V, is applied to a decoder De and out of a plurality (m) of destination display panel states In, In,, a desired one is selected according to the input and visual indication is provided on the customer panel. The output of decoder De is also applied to a destination designating counter Des and the output therefrom is supplied to a comparison operation circuit Corn. There is provided a coin input mechanism CM in which customers put coins corresponding to the indication on the destination display panel and the coins put in from the mechanism are counted with an input coin counter Cct and the counter output is applied to a comparison operation circuit Com. Both the above mentioned inputs are compared in the circuit Com, the output therefrom drives a ticket printing machine Pr to print tickets and the printed tickets are sent out from a ticket delivery port Top. The output of the circuit Com also drives a change circuit Ch to send out change from a change delivery port Chop. The other customer panels V V, are composed in the same way.
The customer panels V,, V V, are connected to the outputs of OR gates 0,, 0 0,,, respectively. According to the time zones to be set, a plurality (l) of setting circuits 8,, S S, are provided. The respective setting circuits include a plurality (n) of coder circuits Cu, C12 C1: C21. C22 v C2": 1C, C12 C corresponding to a plurality (n) of customer panels V,, V, V respectively.
The coder circuit C,,, representing the others, has its inside mechanism illustrated in more detail and includes a plurality (m) of manually settable connections comprising pins and diodes D,, D D,, between one input terminal and a plurality (m) of output terminals, in which m corresponds to the kinds of tickets which can be dealt with in the customer panel and the kinds of destination display panel states. It should be noted that for convenience of illustration a plurality (m) of output terminals are shown put together.
As mentioned above-the setting circuits 8,, S, S are provided so that each of them corresponds to a respective one of the time zones to be set. More specifically, the setting circuit S, is, for example, utilized for the purpose of setting the control of the system of the present invention during the time zone t, during which an output is obtained at the output terminal I, of a timing counter Ct. During the said time zone 2,, the coder circuits C,,, C C,, each encode the information present therein for use in the automatic vending machines housed in the customer panels, V,, V, V, respectively. Assuming that a pin corresponding to the diode D (Where k is an arbitrary number) is inserted to form a connection of only the diode D, in the coder C,,, for example, it is apparent that during the time zone I, the automatic vending means in the customer panel V, is capable of automatically vending only a number of kinds of tickets corresponding to the coded information conveyed by this single connection. Thus, the setting of required information for control of the automatic vending means is accomplished by merely inserting a pin in the coder circuits to form a connection of the corresponding diodes. Such set information is decoded by means of a decoder De, as will be described more fully hereinafter. Similar setting is done in other coder circuits C,,,, C,, for control of automatic vending means in the customer panels V, V,,, respectively. Likewise the setting is also done with respect to other setting circuits S S for the purpose of control of the automatic vending means in other time zones t t In FIG. 2 it is to be noted that the pins above mentioned are adapted to be connected in series with the various diodes between the input line, e.g., t,, and selected output lines to form the coded signal, the pins being insertable in the plugs indicated in the figure.
The OR gate 0 connects the outputs of the coder circuits C C C of respective setting circuits to the input of the panel V the OR gate 0 connects the outputs of coder circuits C C C of respective setting circuits to the input of the panel V and similarly the OR gate 0,, connects the outputs of coder circuits C C C of respective setting circuits to the input of the panel V,,.
The inputs of respective setting circuits are connected to the predetermined time output terminals, t,, t, t, of a counter Ct. The counter Ct is so connected that clock or timing pulses are supplied through the intermediary of the frequency division circuit D from a clock or timing pulse source S. A manual switch Sw is connected to the frequency division circuit D and out of the output terminals t t, of the counter Ct an optional one may be selected manually by operating the switch Sw.
Now, the operation of the system of this invention will be explained. The respective setting circuits 8,, S S, are connected to the outputs t t t, of the counter Ct corresponding to the desired time zones of which control is desired. As for the setting the circuits 8, the respective coder circuits C C C are set manually beforehand in order to meet the demands for the tendency to kinds of tickets in the corresponding time zone. Statistical data are prepared for the purpose of such setting and considerations are given to meet the demands of customers. In setting, for instance, is set the diode circuit corresponding to the performance of the customer panel V of the coder circuit C in relation to the particular tickets.
Similarly, as for the other coder circuits C C,,,, the diode circuits are set corresponding to the desired performance of tickets in relation to the customer panel V V,,. Regarding the other time zones, too, the same applies to setting circuits 8, 8;.
When the manual switch Sw is not turned on, the
counter Ct gives an output successively at the terminals t t during the successive time zones which is fed to the corresponding setting circuits during the respective predetermined time zones, the timing counter being advanced as a result of supply of the clock pulses from the clock pulse source S. The setting circuit given a signal sends the pre-set signal to the corresponding customer panel from the respective coder circuits. In the customer panel a display state of a corresponding ticket destination is chosen according to the signal and the indication is made, and the destination designating counter Des, ticket printing machine Pr, etc., are so controlled that they have the corresponding lower multi-performance or single-performance. In this way, a plurality of customer panels are controlled to have the lower multi-performance or single-performance demanded in the respective time zones. Some of a plurality of customer panels are controlled to stop their operation depending upon the time zones. As a result, a plurality of customer panel are favorably controlled in conformity with the change in demands for tickets issued changing with the time and with the change in use of customer panel.
If desired, an additional setting circuit may be provided for setting a particularly controlled pattern to meet particular circumstances such as traffic accidents. In the event such an accident occurs, the switch Sw is manually operated in order to forcibly control the counter Ct to the said additional setting circuit, in which case the group of the vending machines is capable of dealing with only the tickets meeting such particular circumstances.
Detailed structure of embodiments of the display panel In implementing a plurality (m) of display states In,, In, In described in connection with customer panel V shown in FIG. 2 will be described with reference to FIGS. 3A through 4C.
Referring first to FIGS. 3A and 3B, there are shown elevational views of adisplay panel controllable to two display states, in which display is made by showing a section corresponding to the ticket to be vended or issued by the machine, the name of station being indicated in the indication area P,, P, and P At the back of the indication area P P and P are mounted a corresponding plurality oflamps La supported by means of supporter Su, each lamp La being so adapted as to be controlled in accordance with a plurality (m) of display states In In In,,,, as shown in FIG. 2. In FIG. 3A all indication areas P P and P are shown illuminated;
which means that the automatic vending machines deals with a ticket applicable to all sections. On the other hand. FIG. 3B shows a display state so controlled as to deal with only a ticket corresponding to the indication areas P and P Referring to FIGS. 4A and 48, there are shown elevational views of another type of display panel controllable also to two display states, in which display is made by showing a map including station indicia ST 8T ST and line indicia 1,, l l At the back of every indicia is mounted a lamp La supported by means of the supporter Su, each lamp La being so adapted similarly as to be controlled in accordance with a plurality (m) of display states In,, In, In,,,, as shown in FIG. 2. FIG. 4A shows the display panel in such a-state as controlled according as the automatic vending machine is controlled as applicable to a comparatively broad area, while FIG. 4B shows that as controlled to a comparatively narrow area.
As depicted in the foregoing, the embodiments shown in FIGS. 3A through 4C have a plurality of indicia arranged on the display panel of the automatic vending machine, which are separately illuminated by the light source controlled to turn on or off so as to provide desired visual indication of display states. Therefore, the control of display states in the display panel can be implemented with a simple structure in making desired display according as the automatic vending machine is controlled by means of the control circuit, as shown in FIG. 2.
The embodiment shown in FIG. 2 has been described as the inside mechanism of customer panel being provided independently. It is possible, however, that some of the inside mechanisms are made common. Though tickets are printed inside the customer panel in the embodiment shown, it is also possible to provide such a mechanism to select and deliver the plural kinds of tickets which have been prepared beforehand.
While specific preferred embodiments of the invention have been described, it will be apparent that obvious variations and modifications of the invention will occur to those of ordinary skill in the art from a consideration of the foregoing description. It is therefore desired that the present invention be limited only by the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. An automatic vending system comprising a plurality of automatic vending means, each of said vending means including means for automatically vending a plurality of different kinds of goods to be vended, said vending means each being responsive to coded control signals applied thereto for enabling the vending by said vending means of a selected number of kinds of said goods corresponding to the coded control signals applied to the respective vending means, and control means for producing a plurality of said coded control signals and connected to selectively applysaid coded control signals to said vending means said control means including setting means for selectively setting said control means for differently coding said coded control signals, whereby the number of kinds of said goods that can be vended by each of said vending means at any time is determined by the setting of said setting means, said setting means comprising a plurality of setting devices and means for selecting said setting means in a preset time sequence, said differently coded control signals enabling the same means to vend different kinds of goods at different times.
2. A system in accordance with claim 1, wherein said selecting means comprises an automatic time sequence programmer.
3. A system in accordance with claim 2, wherein said setting means further comprises an additional setting device adapted to set said control means to a specified controlled state and means responsive to given information for manually selecting said additional setting means.
4. A system in accordance with claim 1, further comprising means for controlling the number of the automatic vending means in operation.
5. A system in accordance with claim 4, further comprising an automatic time sequence programmer connected to control said means for controlling the number of automatic vending means in a preset time sequence.
6. A system in accordance with claim 1, wherein said vending machines each comprise separate display means, each of said display means being responsive to the control signals applied to the respective vending means for displaying the automatic vending capability of the respective vending means as determined by said control signals, said control means being connected to selectively apply said control signals to said display means.
7. A system in accordance with claim 6, wherein said display means comprises a plurality of indication elements connected to be controlled by said control signals, said display means being controlled by said control of the elements so as to provide a plurality of display states.
8. A system in accordance with claim 6, wherein said display means comprises a plurality of indication elements connected to be controlled by said control signals, said display means being controlled by said