US 3753514 A
A vending machine including a plurality of movable containers for articles to be dispensed, the containers being mounted adjacent a rotatable shaft which supports drive rollers. The containers are selectively magnetically energized so as to move toward the shaft where a drive roller will contact and drive an article out of each selected container.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 11 3,753,514 Naguet 5] Aug. 21, 1973 APPARATUS FOR SELECTIVELY  References Cited DISPENSING ARTICLES STORED IN A UNITED STATES PATENTS PLURALITY 0F CONTAINERS 3,418,913 12/1968 Snarr 271/39 x 76 Inventor; Pierre Naguet, 2 rue C 93 3,618,933 11/1971 Roggenstein 271/39 Noisy le Grand, France Primary Examiner-Stanley H. Tollberg  July 1972 Attorney-Roger A. Van Kirk et al.  Appl. No.: 272,756
 ABSTRACT  Foreign Application prior), Data A vending machine including a plurality of movable J l 20 1971 F 7126478 containers for articles to be dispensed, the containers u y rance being mounted adjacent a rotatable shaft which supports drive rollers. The containers are selectively mag- Zn/1239652173113: neticany energized so as 'to move toward the shaft 58] Fieid 187 277 where a drive roller will contact and drive an article out of each selected container.
7 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTEDAUBZI 1973 SHEET 1 OF 5 o o m 0 o o o o 0 or o o o 2w E E 2 L: 45' g HUENTED AUG 21 I975 SHEET k [If 5 PATENTEU AUG 21 I975 SHEET 5 OF 5 APPARATUS FOR SELECTIVELY DISPENSING ARTICLES STORED IN A PLURALITY OF CONTAINERS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to the automatic dispensing of articles. More specifically, this invention relates to coin operated vending machines for dispensing flat objects. Accordingly, the general objects of the invention are to provide novel and improved apparatus of such character.
2. Description of the Prior Art Numerous coin operated vending machines are known in the art. These prior art vending machines are characterized by varying degrees of complexity and reliability of operation. Typically, prior art coin operated vending machines, and particularly those machines which can be employed to dispense flat objects such as postcards, are comparatively complex from a mechanical standpoint and thus expensive and susceptible to operational difficulties.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention comprises an improvement over the prior art by providing an inexpensive and operationally reliable vending machine particularly well suited to dispensing flat objects. A coin operated vending machine in accordance with the invention comprises a stand which supports a plurality of containers for the articles which are to be dispensed. These containers are movable with respect to a dispensing slot in the stand and are arranged adjacent a rotatable shaft. Each of the containers has an aperture in a first wall, which faces the rotatable shaft, and a slot in an adjacent second wall; the slots being oriented tangentially with respect to the shaft and permitting passage of the articles being dispensed. The device also includes means within each container for urging an article or articles against the internal surface of the apertured wall. The shaft carries rollers, there being a roller for each container, located opposite the apertures in the containers. The rollers are sized to pass partly through the apertures in the containers. The vending machine further comprises means for selectively moving the containers, either singly or in combination, toward the rotatable shaft so that the rollers will engage articles in the selected container or containers via the apertures in the containers and will drive the articles being dispensed through the slot in the ends of the containers.
Thus, apparatus in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention includes a plurality of containers mounted so as to slide horizontally on supports. The containers will typically be resiliently urged away from the rotatable shaft or shafts and the apparatus will comprise means, in the form of electromagnets and cooperating armatures mounted on the containers, for selectively moving the containers toward the rotatable shaft.
In accordance with a preferred embodiment the containers are arranged one above another and the rotatable shafts are oriented vertically. Alternatively, the containers may be mounted so as to slide vertically or at an angle and the rotatable shaft or shafts appropriately reoriented.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING The present invention may be better understood and its numerous objects and advantages will become apparent to those skilled in the art by reference to the accompanying drawing wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements in the several figures and in which:
FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a preferred embodiment of a coin operated vending machine in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 2 is a mechanical schematic diagram of the embodiment of FIG. 1 with the front of the housing removed;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an article container for use in the embodiment of the invention depicted in FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional top elevation view, taken along line IVIV of FIG. 2, of a container for articles in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 5 is a view, taken along line V-V of FIG. 4, of a portion of the disclosed embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 6 is a view taken along line VI-VI of FIG 4; and
FIG. 7 is a electrical schematic diagram of the control circuitry of the disclosed embodiment of the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT With reference now to FIG. 1, a coin operated vending machine in accordance with the invention may take the form of a stand or housing 1 provided with a pair of opposed display panels 2; each display panel comprising ten display apertures in the disclosed embodiment. Reproductions of the articles obtainable from the machine, for example postcards, will be positioned behind the apertures in the display panels 2. The housing 1 is also provided with elongated slots 3 through which the articles dispensed emerge, a coin slot 4 for energizing the apparatus and selection switch actuator buttons 5.
As may be seen from FIG. 2, in the disclosed embodiment of the invention a pair of parallel vertical shafts 6 and 7 are disposed within housing 1 behind display panels 2. Each of shafts 6 and 7 carries a plurality of rollers; the rollers being in the form of rubber sleeves 8 evenly spaced along the shafts. A first end of shaft 6 is keyed to a pinion 9 which engages a pinion l0 keyed to a shaft 11. Shaft 11 is driven by an electric motor 12 via reduction gearing. Shaft 11 is also keyed to a pinion 13 which drives a pinion 15 via an intermediate pinion l4. Pinion 15 is keyed to shaft 7 and it will .be obvious that the above described gearing arrangement results in the rotation of shafts 6 and 7 in opposite directions. While not shown in the drawing, for purposes which will become apparent from the description below, each of sleeves 8 may be provided with a serrated or grooved surface to prevent slippage.
As may be seen from joint consideration of FIGS. 2 and 4, the housing 1 of the disclosed embodiment of the invention is provided with vertical members 17 and 18 which support troughlike containers 19. The containers 19 are arranged in a pair of parallel vertical arrays with the arrays containers being located adjacent and parallel to shafts 6 and 7. Considering FIGS. 3 and 4, each of containers 19 consists of a box of para]- lelopipedal shape having a base 20 and side walls 21, 22, 23 and 24. The wall 24 of each box is provided with a wide aperture 25 and carriers, on its outer surface, a pair of plates 26 comprised of soft iron. As will be described in greater detail below, plates 26 form armatures for electromagnets.
Each of the containers 19 is designed to receive and store postcards or other flat objects to be dispensed. The objects stored in the containers are urged against the internal surface of the lateral wall 24 by a spring loaded movable plate 27 a, compression spring 28 being interposed between plate 27 and the internal surface of container wall 22.
A switch 52 (H6. is located adjacent each of the containers 19. Switch 52 is normally open and will be closed by a contact member 51 carried by an extension of plate 27. The contacts of switch 52 are connected in an indicator circuit which provides a visual warning that the associated container is empty.
A slot 29 is defined by a space between walls 21 and 24 of each of containers 19. As may best be seen from FIG. 3, slot 29 is of sufficient width to permit passage therethrough of articles from the container. The verti cal support member 18 is provided with a slot 50 which registers with slot 29.
Each of containers 19 is mounted for horizontal movement on supports 17 and 18; the motion being in opposition to compression springs 30. To facilitate movement of the containers, reference being had jointly to F lGS. 4 and 6, support member 18 carries a rail or track defining member 31 while support member 17 is provided with a similar track defining member. The containers 19 are provided, on opposite walls 21 and 23, with channels 33 which retain balls 32 in position. The balls travel on rails 31 and thus permit the containers 19 to slide easily between supports 17 and 18 for movement towards and away from rotatable shafts 6 and 7.
Each of containers 19 is, as previously noted, aligned with a sleeve or roller 8 and the dimensions of the apertures 25 in the containers are such that the sleeves 8 can enter the containers and engage the article which is being urged against the internal surface of the lateral wall 24.
Referring to FIG. 5, electromagnets 35 are situated opposite the wall 24 of each container 19. Upon energization of the coils of the electromagnets 35 the resulting magnetic field will exert an attractive force on the plates 26 mounted on each container thereby causing movements of the containers against the action of springs 30. Movement of a container toward the rotatable shaft results in the roller 8 engaging an article within the container associated with the energized electromagnet whereby an article will be expelled from the container through slot 29. As will be obvious, when the coils of the electromagnet is deenergized, the springs 30 will cause the container 19 to move away from the rotatable shaft and return to its initial position where it is displaced from the roller 8.
FIG. 7 depicts the electrical control circuit for the disclosed embodiment of the present invention. Electrical power for operation of the machine is supplied via conductors 42 and 43. A switch 40 is associated with the coin slot 4 and has a pair of normally open contacts connected in series with a relay 41 across power supply lines 42 and 43. The control circuit also includes an impulse'counter 45, which includes a movable contact 49,
a relay 46 connected with each of the selector switches associated with buttons 5, and a timing circuit 47. The relays 46, in response to the depression of a button 5, cause energization of the corresponding electromagnets 35 by means of connecting the electromagnets across the supply lines via the impulse counter 45. It is to be noted that only three electromagnets 35 and associated buttons 5 and relays 46 have been shown in F IG. 7 while in actual practice there will be a selector switch, relay and pair of electromagnets for each container in the vending machine.
In the following operational description it will be assumed that the introduction of a coin through the slot 4 is intended to result in the simultaneous supply of a number of articles, for example three postcards, which will be selected by depression of the appropriate selector switch actuator buttons 5. When a coin is inserted in slot 4 the contacts of switch are temporarily closed causing relay 41 to be energized. A holding circuit for relay 41 is established through contacts D2 of timing circuit 47 which will initially be in the opposite position from that shown. A second pair of contacts of relay 41 will establish a circuit connecting rotatable shaft drive motor 12 across the supply lines whereby shafts 6 and 7 and thus all of the rollers 8 are caused to rotate.
When one of the selector buttons 5 is pressed the first pair of contacts associated therewith will complete a circuit through contacts D1 of timing circuit 47 and a first winding of impulse counter whereby an impulse is applied to the counter. The other pair of contacts of switch 5 will simultaneously energize an associated relay 46. The energized relay 46 will be held in" by a holding circuit established from supply line 43, through contacts D2 of timing circuit 47 and the contacts of relay 46, to supply line 42. The remaining pair of contacts of the energized relay 46 will connect the electromagnets 35 to line 43. However, the electromagnets are not immediately energized since the contacts 49 of impulse counter 45 are initially open. Restated, the impulse received by counter 45 upon the depression of a selector switch actuation button 5 is stored.
When the user presses a second button 5 the same process takes place; i.e., the corresponding relay 46 is energized; and when a third of selector buttons 5 is depressed the impulse counter 45 will be activated causing contacts 49 to close. At this time the three selected electromagnets 35 are energized and the corresponding containers 19 are attracted toward the rotating shafts and the sleeves 8 will cause the articles in these containers to pass through aligned slots 29 and 50 and emerge through slots 3 in the housing.
When the contacts 49 of impulse counter 45 close, a relay 53 of timing circuit 47 is energized and causes switching of contacts D1 and C1 so that the circuits associated with selector buttons 5 are disconnected from supply line 43 and it is therefor impossible to actuate any additional relays 46. At this time the timing motor M1 is supplied with current from line 43 through contacts C1, B2 and Al. At the end of the timing period the timing motor M1 temporarily closes contact 81 in order to energize relay 54 which closes contacts C2 and causes contacts D2 to move to the position shown. This results in the second timing motor M2 being supplied with current.
In its switched position, the closed contacts D2 of timing circuit 47 cause the second winding of impulse counter 45 to be energized. Energization of this second winding resets the counter to zero and causes deenergization of all of the relays 46 associated with depressed selector buttons. Also, since relay 41 is no longer connected to line 43 via contacts D2, the relay is deenergized and motor 12 stopped. At the end of the timing period the timing motor M2 causes the contacts B2 and A2 to open momentarily so that all of the circuits in the timing system return to their initial position and D2 is switched back from the position shown. Accordingly, upon deposit of a further coin, the operational sequence may be repeated.
While a preferred embodiment has been shown and described, various modifications and substitutions may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is to be understood that this invention has been described by way of illustration and not limitation.
What is claimed is:
1. An article dispensing apparatus comprising:
a plurality of containers for articles to be dispensed, each of said containers having an aperture in a first wall and a slot commensurate in size and shape with the articles to be dispensed in an adjacent second wall, said containers including means for urging the articles against the internal surface of said first wall;
means mounting said containers from said housing for individual movement, said mounting means arranging said containers in at least a first linear ary;
at least a first rotatable shaft mounted in said housing, said shaft being oriented parallel with a line defined by a container array;
roller means commensurate in number with the number of containers mounted on said rotatable shaft, said roller means being located oppositely to the apertures in the container first walls and being adapted to pass partly through said apertures; and
means for selectively moving said containers toward said rotatable shaft whereby the corresponding roller means will engage an article in the selected container through the container wall aperture thereby feeding the article through the slot in the container second wall.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising:
means resiliently biasing said containers away from said shaft.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said means for selectively moving said containers each comprises:
armature means mounted on each of said containers;
magnetic field generating means mounted on said housing.
4. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein said means for selectively moving said containers each comprises:
armature means mounted on each of said containers;
magnetic field generating means mounted on said housing, energization of said magnetic field generating means producing forces which overcome said biasing means.
5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said containers are mounted in a vertical array and wherein said mounting means includes:
track means for each of said containers whereby horizontal movement of individual containers is permitted.
6. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein said containers are mounted in a vertical array and wherein said mounting means includes:
track means for each of said containers whereby horizontal movement of individual containers is permitted.
7. The apparatus of claim 6 further comprising:
switch means mounted on said housing adjacent to each of said containers for providing an indication of the exhaustion of the supply of articles in the containers; and
means including an extension of said means for urging the articles against the container first walls for contacting and energizing said switch means.
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