|Publication number||US3749280 A|
|Publication date||Jul 31, 1973|
|Filing date||Nov 5, 1971|
|Priority date||Nov 5, 1971|
|Publication number||US 3749280 A, US 3749280A, US-A-3749280, US3749280 A, US3749280A|
|Inventors||Gale M, Gale R|
|Original Assignee||Rowe International Inc|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (6), Referenced by (12), Classifications (15)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent 1191 Gale, deceased [111 3,749,280 [451 July 31,1973
[ BULK LOADING CAN DISPENSER  lnventor: Ronald Gale, deceased, late of Orlando, Fla. by Mae Gale, executrix  Assignee: Rowe International, 1nc., Whippany,
 Filed: Nov. 5, 1971  Appl. No.: 196,147
 U.S. Cl. 221/67, 221/68, 221/200  Int. Cl. G071 11/08  Field 01 Search 221/67, 68, 200-205, 221/129, 224, 236, 175, 283-287, 275
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,019,575 2/1962 Charley 221/201 1,852,392 4/1932 Axelson 221/204 2,924,356 2/1960 Pollmann 221/201 2,261,654 4/1941 Livengood 221/200 3,175,669 3/1965 Garvin 2,956,661 10/1960 Radclifi'e 221/67 Willey Shenier & O'Connor  ABSTRACT A bulk loading can dispenser for delivering cans of beverage or the like in response to the deposit of coins, for example, in which cans may be randomly stacked in an upper relatively deep hopper portion having a width approximating the height of a can upon removal of retaining elements at the front of the upper hopper por tion in which the upper hopper section is provided with vertically staggered can kickers at the front and back thereof for ensuring that the centers of the cans do not become horizontally or vertically aligned as they move downwardly toward a relatively shallower can dispensing hopper section from which a can is released upon each operation of a releasing mechanism. An empty switch is provided at a location between the upper and lower hopper sections to cause the hopper to be refilled before the supply of cans falls below a level at which the upper hopper section leads into the lower hopper section.
15 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures PATENTEUJUL31 I973 sum 3 or 5 Mi f2 4 TTORNEYS PATENTED 3,749,280
SHEET 4 [1F 6 HTTORNE'YS PAIENTED 3,749,280
sum & 0F 5 INVENTORS MAE 64m EXEC urfl/x OF R 64.0 GALE H T TORNE Y5 PATENTEUJHLBI I973 3, 749,280.
SHEET 6 [1F 6 INVENTORS MAE GALE, EXEGUT/Q/X 0F KUNAL GALE wwaw A TTORNEYs BULK LOADING CAN DISPENSER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Many machines are known in the prior art for dispensing articles of merchandise such, for example, as canned soft drinks. All of the machines which have been successful incorporate guide means for directing a string of cans making up the supply to a delivery mechanism adapted to dispense the cans one at a time. The provision of such guide means which extend throughout the supply greatly complicates the operation of loading the machine. That is, the person servicing the machine must load the cans on the guides with a great deal of care. It might be said that the serviceman must almost place the cans individually on the guide tracks. It will readily be appreciated that this operation is extremely time-consuming.
In addition to the difficulty pointed out hereinabove of loading machines of the prior art which are adapted to dispense cans, the complicated guide system adds to the expense of the machine. Moreover, the capacity of such machines is limited, thus necessitating relatively frequent servicing.
A number of attempts have been made in the prior art to overcome the problems outlined hereinabove by providing a machine which can be bulk loaded." That is to say, a machine which permits of a random stacking of cans in the supply. None of these attempts have heretofore been successful for the reason that if a supply of any appreciable magnitude is to be provided the weight of the upper cans in the magazine causes a bridging effect on the lower cans so that the cans become jammed in the supplyand do not reach the delivery mechanism.
This invention relates to a solution to the problems of the prior art pointed out hereinabove. The can dispensing machine disclosed herein permits bulk loading while avoiding the problem of bridging present in mechanisms of the prior art. It is more quickly and expeditiously loaded than are can dispensing machines of the prior art. It has a relatively large capacity as compared with machines of the prior art thus reducing the necessity for frequent servicing. It is relatively expensive to construct for the result achieved thereby.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION One object of the invention is to provide a can merchandising machine which can be loaded by random stacking of cans.
Another object of the invention is to provide a bulk loading can dispenser which can be loaded much more quickly than can dispensing machines of the prior art.
A further object of the invention is to provide a bulk loading can dispenser having a greater capacity than do can dispensers of the prior art.
A still further object of the invention is to provide a bulk loading can dispenser which is relatively inexpensive to construct for the result achieved thereby.
Other and further objects of the invention will appear in the following description.
In general the invention contemplates a bulk loading can dispenser each unit of which includes a hopper having a width approximating that of a can to be dispensed and having a relatively deep upper section into which cans can be random stacked upon removal of retainers at the front of the upper section and provided with vertically staggered can kickers and vertically staggered inclined steps leading to a relatively shallower lower hopper section, which kickers and steps prevent the centers of cans from becoming aligned in vertical or horizontal directions from front to back or from top to bottom of the upper hopper section to prevent bridging. A mechanism located at the bottom of the lower hopper section releases cans one at a time from the hopper. An empty switch located above the dividing line between the upper and lower sections prevents further operation of the machine after such time as the supply reaches a level above the lower section.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the accompanying drawings which form part of the instant specification and which are to be read in conjunction therewith and in which like reference numerals are used to indicate like parts in the various views:
FIG. 1A is a sectional view through a unit of the bulk loading can dispenser illustrating possible initial relative positions of the cans of the supply.
FIG. 1B is a diagrammatic view of the unit shown in FIG. 1A illustrating the relative positions of the cans of the supply following one operation of the unit.
FIG. 1C is a diagrammatic view of the unit illustrating the relative positions of the cans following another operation of the unit.
FIG. 1D is a diagrammatic view of the unit illustrating the relative positions of the cans following a still further operation of the unit.
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary front elevation of the bulk loading can dispenser taken along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1A and drawn on an enlarged scale.
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary front elevation of the machine shown in FIG. 1 taken along the line 3-3 of FIG. 1A and drawn on an enlarged scale.
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary sectional view of a portion of the upper hopper section taken along the line 44 of FIG. 3.
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view of the delivery mechanism taken along the line 5-5 of FIG. 4.
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary sectional view of a portion of the delivery mechanism taken along the line 6-6 of FIG. 4.
FIG. 7 is a schematic view of one form of electrical circuit which may be used to control the operation of the bulk loading can dispenser.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now more particularly to the drawings, the bulk loading can dispenser includes a hopper indicated generally by the reference character 10 made up of two sides 12 and 14 which may be made of sheet metal, for example. Hopper 10 includes an upper section indicated generally by the reference character 16 which is relatively deep and a lower section indicated generally by the reference character 18 which is relatively shallow as will be explained more fully hereinbelow. A slightly outwardly bent mounting flange 20 extends along the forward edge of the upper portion of each of the sides 12 and 14. An inwardly directed mounting flange 22 extends along the rear edge of the sides 12 and 14. An inwardly directed retaining flange 24 having an offset 26 along the inner edge thereof is provided along the lower forward edge of each of the sides 12 and I4. inwardly directed can retaining flanges 28 are formed along the rear edge of each of the lower portions of the sides 12 and 14.
Respective straps 30, 32 and 34 spot welded or the like between flanges 22 at the upper and lower ends thereof and spot welded between the lower ends of the flanges 28 hold the sides 12 and 14 together adjacent the rear edges thereof.
An upper front can kicker and retaining rod receiver 36 is secured between the support flanges 20 of the sides 12 and 14 at a location slightly below the upper end of the unit 10. The member 36 is formed with an off-set 38 extending slightly inwardly of the hopper 10. A horizontal flange 40 at the lower end of the offset 38 has a vertical flange 42 along the forward edge thereof. A plurality of combined intermediate can kickers and retaining rod supports 44 are secured between the sides 12 and 14 at spaced locations along the forward edge of the hopper 10. An upper horizontal flange 46 on member 44 has a vertical flange 50 at the front edge thereof. A lower horizontal flange 48 has a vertically extending flange 52 along the forward edge. A lower retaining rod support and empty switch bracket 54 is secured between the flanges 20 at the lower end of the upper hopper section 16 by any suitable means such as by spot welding. A horizontal flange 56 extending along the upper edge of bracket 54 has a vertical flange 58 at the front thereof.
The dispenser includes a plurality of identical can retaining rods 60 the upper ends of which have laterally extending portions 62 carrying downwardly extending offsets 64. A laterally extending portion 66 at the lower end of each of the rods 60 has a downwardly extending offset 68. After the machine has been loaded, in a manner to be described hereinbelow, the rods 60 are assembled on the retainers 38, 44 and on the bracket 54. For example, the offset 64 on one of the rods 60 is inserted in a hole 70 adjacent the outer edge of the offset 38 of the upper member 36 and the vertical portion of the rod 60 extends downwardly through a slot 72 formed in the flange 42. As this operation is accomplished, the
offset 68 is inserted into a hole 74 in the upper flange 46 of the intermediate kicker 44 with the horizontal portion 66 located behind the retaining flange 50. In this manner, the rod is securely held in place. in the particular embodiment of the hopper illustrated in the drawings, two rods 60 are shown as extending between the upper kicker 38 and an intermediate kicker 44. In a similar manner rods may be assembled between as many adjacent intermediate kickers as there are provided. The offset 68 of a lowermost rod 60 is inserted in a hole 76 adjacent the outer edge of the flange 48 and the horizontal portion 62 is located behind flange 52 so that the vertical portion of the rod extends through a slot 78 formed in the flange 52. As this is done, the offset 68 on the lower end of the rod is inserted through an opening 80 in the flange 56 at the upper end of the bracket 54. When all the rods have been placed in position in the manner just described, they prevent escape of any cans out through the front of the hopper 1.0. Flanges 22 prevent escape of any cans from the back of the upper hopper portion.
The machine incorporates a plurality of rear can kickers 82, provided with offset flanges which permit them to be welded or otherwise secured to the inwardly directed flanges 22 on the sides 12 and 14. For a reason which will more fully be explained hereinafter, the rear kickers 82 are staggered vertically with relation to the front kickers 38 and 44.
inwardly extending runners 84 formed at the lower ends of the flanges 22 on the sides 12 and 14 form a first can step extending inwardly and downwardly at an angle of about 5 toward the lower portion 18 of the hopper. A lower step 86 formed of sheet metal or the like and welded into position between the sides 12 and 14 receives cans from the step 84 and guides the cans inwardly and downwardly at an angle of about 5 toward the rear of the lower hopper section 18.
Respective upper and lower front steps 88 and 90 are provided by elements which may be integral which are secured to the respective sides 12 and 14 so as to guide cans at the front of the upper hopper section slightly downwardly and inwardly toward the lower hopper section 18. It will be seen that the front steps 88 and 90 are staggered with respect to the rear steps 84 and 86.
We mount a partition 92 in the lower hopper section 18 generally centrally thereof and extending between sides 12 and 14. The form of our dispenser illustrated in the drawings is adapted to handle either rimless cans or cans having rims. Where rimless cans are involved, we attach respectively vertically extending members to the partition 92 at the front and rear thereof to reduce the space between the partition and the front flanges 24 and between the partition and the rear retaining flanges 28 so as to handle the rimless cans. These members are indicated in phantom at 94 in FIG. 1 of the drawings. Respective can delivery runners 94 secured to the sides 12 and 14 at the lower ends thereof are adapted to guide cans released in a manner to be described outwardly through an opening 96 at the lower ends of the flanges 26.
A motor mounting plate 98 is secured to the offsets 26 on flanges 24 adjacent the lower end of magazine 10 by any suitable means such as by welding. Respective bearing brackets 100 and 102 rotatably support the output shaft 104 of a gear reduction box 108 the input to which is provided by a motor 106. The hear reduction box 108 and motor 106 may be mounted on a bracket 110 secured to the plate 98. Shaft 104 supports for rotation therewith a cam 112 having four spaced recesses 114 for receiving the actuating element of a switch 116. As will be more fully described hereinafter cam 112 actuates the switch 116 to control motor 106 so that shaft 104 rotates through a quarter revolution on each operation of the machine.
A front pivot rod 118 supports the lower ends of spaced front roller arms 120 and 122 the upper end of each of which receives a stub shaft 124 carrying a plug 126. Plugs 126 receive a front roller 128. A rear shaft 130 rotatably supported in the sides 12 and 14 receives the lower end of spaced rear roller support arms 132 and 134. The upper end of each of the arms 132 and 134 carries a stub shaft 124 supporting a plug 126 received in one end of the rear delivery roller 136.
The machine includes an operating mechanism responsive to rotation of shaft 104 for oscillating rollers 128 and 136 so that one can is delivered on each operation of the machine. Respective pins 138 connect the front arms 120 and 122 to front connecting rods 140 and 142. Pins 144 connect the front ends of connecting rods 146 and 148 to the rear arms 130 and 132. Each connecting rod is formed with an opening 150 at its end for receiving an eccentric plate 152. Each of the plates 152 is formed with a first pair of holes 154 and 156 having flats disposed at 90 with respect to each other. A second set of holes 158 and 160 are arranged with their centers on a line generally at right angles to a line through the centers of the two holes 154 and 156.
Cam retainer plates 162 having holes similar to the cam holes are disposed at the sides of each of the cam plates 152. A spacer retainer plate 162 may be located between the center plates 162 at each side of the unit to hold the cam plates 152 in position in the openings 150. A hub 164 having a flat 166 is adapted to be received in the holes 154 and 156 of the cam plates 152 and retainer plates 162 at each side of the unit in such a way that the two sets of arms 120 and 122 and 132 and 134 oscillate 90 out of phase as shaft 104 rotates. In order to accomplish this the hub 164, which is secured to shaft 104 by a set screw 168 or the like, is passed through the hole 154 of the eccentric plate 152 associated with rod 140 and is passed through the hole 156 of the eccentric plate 152 associated with rod 146. Any suitable means such, for example, as a rivet 170 extends through certain of the holes 158 and 160 of the eccentric plates 152 and retainer plates 162 so as to retain the assembly at each side of the unit in assembled relationship. For example, rivet 170 passes through the holes 160 of the eccentric plates 152 associated with the connecting rods 140 and it passes through the holes 158 of the eccentric plates 152 associated with rods 146.
From the structure thus far described, it will be appreciated that the two eccentric plates 152 are oriented at 90 with relation to each other on the axis of the shaft 104. For that reason, the two rolls 128 and 136 oscillate 90 out of phase through three positions including a position to the left as viewed in FIG. 5, a central position as viewed in FIG. 5, and a position to the right as viewed in that figure. As will more fully be explained hereinafter, for that reason each time the shaft 104 rotates through 90, one can is released from the lower section of the hopper.
An empty switch 172 is mounted on bracket 154 at a location at which the feeler thereof senses the presence of a cam on the front step 90. As will be more fully pointed out hereinafter, switch 72 is adapted to occupy a first position at which it completes the circuit of motor 106 and a second position at which the motor circuit is interrupted and at which an empty signal light, to be described, is illuminated.
Referring now to FIG. 7 we have a simplified schematic diagram of an electrical circuit which may be used to control the operation of a single unit of the machine. The circuit shown in FIG. 7 includes respective conductors 174 and 176 connected to the terminals 178 and 160 of a suitable source of electrical power. A coin mechanism 182 of any suitable type known to the art is adapted to complete a circuit in response to the deposit of coins as is indicated in phantom by switch 184 to energize motor 106 from conductor 174 through switch 184, through the motor, and through empty switch 172 to line 176 assuming that the level of cans in the hopper is above the level of the step 90. Once the motor starts rotating, switch 184 opens and earn 112 closes switch 116 to bypass the coin mechanism switch 184. Thus, motor 106 is driven for a quarter revolution. When the supply of cans in the machine In operation of the can vending unit with the rollers 128 and 136 positioned as indicated in FIG. 1A, the lower or escrow hopper section 18 is initially carefully loaded with the cans placed in relative positions as indicated in FIG. 1A. Cans are loaded in the hopper until a can actuates the feeler of the empty signal switch 172. From that point the upper hopper section 16 can be loaded in random fashion with little care being exercised. When the purchaser wishes to make a purchase, he deposits a sum equal to the purchase price in the register 182 to close switch 184 to energize motor 106 to cause shaft 104 to go through a quarter revolution under the action of cam 112. Assuming the rolls 128 and 136 are initially in the position illustrated in FIGS. 1A and 5, and that shaft 104 rotates in the direction of the arrows in FIGS. 5 and 6, in the course of the first quarter revolution the rollers 128 and 136 move from the positions illustrated in FIG. 1A to the position illustrated in FIG. 1B. As they move from the first position to the second position one can will be delivered from the front or forward portion of the lower hopper section 18. Upon subsequent quarter revolutions of the shaft 104, rollers 128 and 136 move to the position shown in FIG. 1C and then to the position shown in FIG. 1D and finally back to the position shown in FIG. 1A. On each quarter revolution a can is delivered from either the front or the back portion of the lower hopper section 18. By way of illustration numbers applied to the cans in FIGS. 1A to 1D indicate the sequence in which cans are delivered from the lower hopper section. As is pointed out hereinabove, upon the initial loading operation of the unit, care must be exercised in placing the cans in the lower hopper section to ensure that this action takes place. In one actual embodiment of a machine unit adapted to store approximately 140 cans, only about 16 cans are located in the lower section so that it comprises only a very small percentage of the overall capacity. Further, when the supply of cans in the unit 10 reaches a level belowthat at which the feeler of empty switch 172 is disengaged the machine cannot further be operated. Thus, on the next servicing of the machine, no care needs to be taken in loading the upper hopper section since cans in the lower hopper section already are properly oriented for delivery by the rollers 128 and 136.
A number of factors have been found to contribute to the effective operation of the machine even though the upper section is bulk or random loaded. That is to say, construction of the machine is such that the bridging effect" is substantially eliminated. More specifically, the construction is such that the centers of a line of cans are not permitted to become aligned in either a vertical or a horizontal direction. Constructional features contributing to this operation are the fact that the depth of the upper hopper section is greater than x can diameters but less than at a can diameters. Similarly, the depth of the lower hopper section 18 is greater than y a can diameters but less than y can diameters. The upper hopper section is approximately 3 a can diameters deeper than the lower hopper section. Additionally, and significantly, the staggered can kickers provided by front elements 38 and 44 and rear elements 82 contribute to maintaining the staggered relationship of the can centers. In addition, the front steps falls below the level of step switch 172 ehanges posi B8 and,901 sreabove .the rear steps 84 and 86; The
Men to eo mpletc'th'e circuit of an eniptysigfial lamp "riser of the front step is shorter than is that of the rear steps. Moreover, the treads" of the front guide are longer than those at the rear guide. These factors, together with the location of the empty switch 172 at a position at which the predetermined arrangement of cans in the lower delivery section of the hopper cannot be distributed after the initial loading, all contribute to the operation which permits random loading.
While there is shown only one unit of the machine, it will readily be appreciated that as many units as desired providing different selections can be assembled into one machine.
It will be seen that the objects of the invention have been accomplished. There is provided a can dispensing mechanism which permits of random loading. It can be loaded much more quickly than can dispensing machines of the prior art adapted to dispense goods of a similar character. It has a greater capacity than do can dispensers of the prior art. It is relatively inexpensive to construct for the result achieved thereby.
It will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations. This is contemplated by and is within the scope of the claims. It is further obvious that various changes may be made in details within the scope of the claims without departing from the spirit of the invention. It is, therefore, to be understood that the nvention is not to be limited to the specific details shown and described.
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed 1. Apparatus for dispensing cans including in combination, a hopper having a width approximately the length of a can to be dispensed for receiving cans with the longitudinal axes thereof extending laterally of said hopper, said hopper comprising an upper hopper section and a lower hopper section, said upper hopper section being deeper than said lower hopper section and extending forwardly of said lower hopper section and rearwardly of said lower hopper section, respective inclined front steps leading from said upper hopper section to said lower hopper section, respective inclined rear steps leading from said upper hopper section to said lower hopper section, said rear steps being vertically staggered with respect to said front steps, a plurality of front can kickers extending transversely of the upper hopper section and into said upper hopper section at vertically spaced locations at the front thereof, a plurality of rear can kickers extending transversely of said upper hopper section and into the upper hopper section at vertically spaced locations at the rear thereof, said rear locations being staggered with respect to said front locations, means adjacent to the lower hopper section for delivering cans one at a time, and empty signal means located above and adjacent to the juncture between the upper and lower hopper sections.
2. Apparatus as in claim 1 including detachable gates at the front of said upper hopper section for retaining cans therein.
3. Apparatus for dispensing cans including in combination, a hopper having a width approximating the length of a can to be dispensed, said hopper comprising a lower hopper section constructed to hold a pair of columns of cans in side by side relationship with the longitudinal axes of the cans of each column generally vertically aligned and with the longitudinal axes of the cans of one column vertically staggered with respect to the longitudinal axes of the cans of the other column and an upper hopper section having a depth from front to back which is greater than that of the lower hopper section, said upper hopper section having a back spaced rearwardly from said lower hopper section and having a front spaced forwardly from said lower hopper section, a first pair of stationary forwardly inclined rear steps connecting the back of said upper hopper section to said lower hopper section, a second pair of stationary rearwardly inclined front steps for connecting the front of said upper hopper section to said lower hopper section, and means adjacent to the lower end of said lower hopper section for alternately dispensing cans from said columns.
4. Apparatus as in claim 3 in which said front steps have risers which are shorter than the rear step risers.
5. Apparatus as in claim 3 in which said front steps have treads which are deeper than those of the rear steps.
6. Apparatus as in claim 3 including a can kicker extending into said upper hopper section from the front thereof at a location intermediate the upper and lower ends of the upper hopper section.
7. Apparatus as in claim 3 including a can kicker extending into said upper hopper section from the rear thereof at a location intermediate the upper and lower ends of the upper hopper section.
8. Apparatus as in claim 3 including respective front and rear can kickers extending into the upper hopper section from the front and rear thereof at staggered locations intermediate the upper and lower ends of the upper hopper section.
9. Apparatus as in claim 3 in which the depth of said upper hopper section is greater than X can diameters but less than X /5 can diameters, where X is an integer.
10. Apparatus as in claim 3 in which the depth of the lower hopper section is greater than y can diameters but less than y k can diameters, where y is an integer.
11. Apparatus as in claim 3 in which the upper hopper section is deeper than the lower hopper section by greater than p but less than q can diameters, where p and q are integers.
12. Apparatus as in claim 3 including detachable gates extending across the front of said upper hopper section for releasably retaining cans therein.
13. Apparatus as in claim 3 including empty signal means located adjacent to and above the juncture between said upper and lower hopper sections.
14. Apparatus as in claim 3 including a transversely extending partition located centrally of said lower hopper section to divide the lower hopper section into subsections, and in which said delivery means includes respective laterally extending rollers associated with the respective subsections for supporting the cans therein, means mounting said rollers for oscillatory movement below said subsections and means for oscillating said rollers with simple harmonic motion out of phase whereby alternately to deliver cans from said front and rear subsections.
[5. Apparatus as in claim 3 in which said front steps are vertically staggered with respect to said rear steps. ll '01 I I
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|U.S. Classification||221/67, 221/68, 221/200|
|International Classification||G07F9/02, G07F11/16, G07F11/04, G07F11/08, G07F11/24, B65G59/06|
|Cooperative Classification||G07F11/04, G07F11/24, G07F9/02|
|European Classification||G07F11/24, G07F9/02, G07F11/04|