|Publication number||US3795345 A|
|Publication date||Mar 5, 1974|
|Filing date||May 24, 1972|
|Priority date||May 24, 1972|
|Publication number||US 3795345 A, US 3795345A, US-A-3795345, US3795345 A, US3795345A|
|Original Assignee||Vendo Co|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (4), Referenced by (20), Classifications (9), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
llnited States Patent Baxendale Primary Examiner-Robert B. Reeves Assistant ExaminerFrancis J I Bartuska Attorney, Agent, or FirmSchmidt, Johnson, Hovey & Williams  ABSTRACT A multiple selection vending machine for canned beverages and the like has individually operable can dispensers for each selection which load the selected, gravitationally fed can at one point and carry the can by gravity to a delivery point for release to the customer, all the while blocking other cans of the selec tion against release..Selector keys for manually operating the dispensers are controlled by a coin-actuated, mechanical latching mechanism which locks all keys until proper coinage has been deposited, whereupon the main latch of the mechanism is maintained released until a single product vend has been completed.
7 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures  lnventorz John William Baxendale, Kansas City, Mo.
 Assignee: The Vendo Company, Kansas City,
 Filed: May 24, 1972  Appl. No.: 256,352
 US. Cl. 221/125, 221/264  int. Cl. 365g 59/06, G07f 11/28  Field of Search 194/2, 10, 37, 63, 45; 221/124, 125,131,192, 254, 274, 264
[5 6] References Cited 1 UNITED STATES PATENTS 952,542 3/1910 Mohr 221/264 X 1,301,301 4/1919 Nishioka 221/274 X 1,814,955 7/1931 Oddsen 221/264 X 3,102,761 9/1963 Andrews et al.... 194/10 X l 4 I 24 I i'ww- H 59 I 92 1 l 1 s; aw.
l I l 67 22 1: 1 I
l l l l l) l 25 l '5 7a 64 i "l 50 74 a We 1 '550 76. l I "I.
: I46 5 ll Q PRODUCT DISPENSING APPARATUS This invention relates to multiple selection vending or dispensing machines of the type which are especially adapted for dispensing canned products such as beverages or soups and the like, and has as an important object to provide a compact, low-profile machine of the aforesaid character having relatively non-complex, yet highly reliable and virtually maintenance-free vending apparatus that derives its primary operating forces from manual operation by a customer of a product selecting lever and from gravity.
Another important object of the instant invention is to provide such a dispensing machine for cylindrical products having a novel product dispenser which is operable to receive the lowermost, gravitationally fed product from a series thereof and to carry such product to a delivery station for release at the latter to complete a vend, all the while preventing release of remaining products in the series.
A further important object of the instant invention is to provide a vending machine having a dispenser as aforesaid which is disposed during standby adjacent the delivery station of the machine, is manually shiftable during the vending cycle we position for loading a product to be dispensed, and is then returnable by gravity, carrying the loaded product therewith, to its initial position adjacent the delivery station for gravitational release of the product.
An additional important object of the present invention is to provide a vending machine as set forth above in which a structural portion of the cabinet of the machine serves to retain the product within the dispenser during loading thereof and during its movement to the delivery station, whereby to prevent premature product release.
Yet another important object of the instant invention is to provide a multiple selection vending machine for cylindrical products employing one of the novel product dispensers for each selection carried by the machine and having novel, essentially mechanical latching and control mechanism for regulating operation of the individual dispensers.
Other important objects of the present invention will be made clear or become apparent from the specification and drawings which follow.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a fragmentary, essentially vertical, crosssectional view of a vending machine constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary, cross-sectional view of the machine taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1, parts being broken away to reveal details of construction;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the machine on a reduced scale;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged, fragmentary, detail view of a selector key unit after actuation and its associated blocking finger'for controlling such actuation;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged, fragmentary, detail view of one end of a control bar for the selector key units of the machine showing the return spring for the bar;
FIG. 6 is an enlarged, fragmentary, cross-sectional view of a selector key taken longitudinally of its cylindrical body portion to illustrate details of construction;
FIG. 7 is an enlarged, fragmentary detail view of the latching and control mechanism in its normal standby condition, actuated positions of the latch and holding element therefor being indicated in phantom;
FIG. 8 is a detail view of the mechanism similar to FIG. 7 illustrating the condition of the components thereof at a point duringa vend cycle in which the mechanism is committed to a vend;
FIGS. 9, It), and H are enlarged, essentially diagrammatic views showing-a dispenser in successive stages of its dispensing cycle including standby, loading, and releasing; and
FIG. 12 is an enlarged, fragmentary detail view of the captive bar system for permitting only one vend per each credit deposit, such view being taken from the interior of the machine toward the outside thereof.
Referrimg initially to FIG. 3, the vending machine 20 has a low profile, console-style, refrigerated cabinet 22 provided with a selector keyboard 24 having five individually operable key units 26 which correspond to product selections stocked within cabinet 22. A horizontally extending display window 28 below keyboard 24 allows a prospective customer standing before machine 20 to view the next-to-vend product of each selection for determining whether such selection has been sold-out. Five indicia-bearing strips 30 are disposed immediately below window 28 corresponding to the selections therebehind for indicating the flavor or nature of the selections, and a product-vending station 32 is defined below window 28 and strips 30 by a continuous product-receiving tray 34- underlying a series of five individually hinged and normally closed delivery doors 36.
A removable access panel 38 on the right-hand side of cabinet 22 covers conventional coin control equipment (not shown) for performing a number of essential functions in response to the deposit of coinage in a coin slot 40, such functions including, for example, checking the authenticity of such coinage, releasing the vend mechanism of machine 20 for a single product vend, and returning change to the customer via coin return 42 if his initial credit deposit should exceed the designated price for his selection. A receptacle 44 is provided at the front of cabinet 22 for discardable, quickopening tabs which may be provided on the canned products stocked by machine 20.
Cabinet 22 has a lockable top 46 which is hinged at 48 to provide access to the interior storage area and vending mechanism of machine 20. Five side-by-side product compartments 50 are defined within cabinet 22 by horizontally spaced-apart pairs of vertically extending compartment walls 52 supported above the floor of cabinet 22. Each compartment 50 houses serpentine inclined chute structure 54 for supporting a series of product cans 55 and supplying the same by gravity in successive order from the upper region of the compartment 50 toward the lower region thereof. Each chute 54 has identical inclined structure on the opposing walls 52 of its compartment 50 for supporting opposite ends of cans 55 including an uppermost, straight ramp 56 and a plurality of cooperating ,l-shaped ramps 58 that are alternately reversely oriented and lead to a dispensing station 66 at the end of the lowermost, J- shaped ramp 58. A continuous serpentine guiding bead 62 is provided on each wall 52 for engagement with corresponding ends of cans 55 gravitating through chute 54 to space the same out of frictional contact with walls 52.
Although not shown in the drawings, it is to be understood that additional supporting structure, separate from chutes 54, may be conventionally provided across the top of each compartment 50 for carrying a limited number of extra product cans which are not vended along with the cans 55. This auxiliary product supply is enclosed by the concavity of cabinet top 46 and provides precooled cans which may be inserted ahead of warm cans when the compartments 50 are restocked, thereby assuring that only products cooled to a palatable temperature are vended even immediately following a restocking operation.
A windowed masking plate 64 is supported within cabinet 22 between window 28 and the dispensing stations 60 of chutes 54 to clearly separate visually the product selections from one another, yet permit viewing of the next-to-vend product in each compartment 50.
As shown best in FIGS. 1 and 9-11, each chute 54 has a product dispenser or carrier 66 which is swingably mounted by a horizontal shaft 68 for movement between a common standby and delivery position shown in FIGS. 1, 9 and 11, and a loading position shown in FIG. 10. Each dispenser 66 has a pair of foreand-aft extending arms 70 which are disposed on opposite sides of the corresponding chute 54 and are coupled at their rear ends with shaft 68, and a bucket portion 72 at the front ends of arms 70. Bucket portion 72 is open at the front and rear thereof for receiving and releasing cans during a vending cycle and has an upstanding, can stop 74 along the top thereof which is U- I shaped (see also FIG. 2) to permit visual examination of dispensing station 60 through window 28. A formed, can-retaining abutment 76 extends across the front interior of cabinet 22 in spaced alignment with the dispensing stations 60 of chutes 54 for cooperating with dispensers 66 during operation as will hereinafter be more fully described.
Each dispenser 66 is operably coupled with its corresponding selector key unit 26 by a pair of links 78, each of which extends generally vertically between adjacent walls 52 of neighboring compartments 50. Each line 78 is pivotally connected at its lower end to arm 70 of the corresponding dispenser 66 and at its upper end to the proximal terminus of a crosspiece 80 supported between two spaced-apart, rearward extensions 82 of the corresponding key unit 26. As hereinafter further described, each of the key units serves as a pivotally mounted lever for transferring operating force derived from manual depression of a key unit 26 by a customer to lift a corresponding dispenser 66 to an articlereceiving or loading position, from which the dispenser may then move to an article-dispensing position solely under the influence of gravity.
Dispenser operation is controlled by a latching and control mechanism broadly denoted by the numeral 84 and contained within a housing area 86 immediately behind selector keyboard 24 and in front of compartments 50. Mechanism 84 includes a horizontally extending control bar 88 common to all of the key units 26 and supported for rotation by horizontally spaced, upright brackets 90. A plurality of blocking finger components 92, one for each key unit 26, are mounted in spaced relationship along bar 88 and overlie corresponding crosspieces 80. A torsion spring 93 (FIG. interconnects one of the brackets 90 and bar 88 to return the latter from its operated position in FIG. 4 to its normal position'in FIG. 1 as a vend is being completed.
As shown best in FIGS. 7 and 8, mechanism 84 also includes a one-way ratchet member 94 fixed to bar 88 for rotation therewith and having a notch 96 for receiving a horizontally disposed leg 98 on a releasable latch 100. Latch 100 is mounted by a pivot 102 for swinging movement between a latching position as shown by solid lines in FIG. 7, and a releasing position indicated by phantom lines in FIG. 7. A solenoid device 104 (operated by the coin controlled equipment earlier described) is coupled with the upper end of latch 100 for swinging the latter from its latching to its releasing position, and a tension spring 106 coupled with the armature of solenoid 104 returns the armature to its normal extended position and hence yieldably biases latch 100 toward its latching position.
A swingably mounted holding element 108 is movable between the alternate positions indicated in FIG. 7 and has a shoulder 110 engageable with a foot 112 on latch 100 when the latter is momentarily released by solenoid 104 for holding latch 100 in its releasing position. A tension spring 114 coupled with one end of element 108 urges the latter toward its disposition for holding latch 100.
An actuating lug 116, spaced circumferentially from notch 96 on ratchet member 94, is disposed to engage and shift element 108 against the action of spring 114 during rotation of member 94 to thereby release element 108 from holding latch 100, and a spring-loaded, anti-reverse pawl 118 is disposed for engagement with teeth 120 on member 94 after a predetermined amount of anticlockwise rotation of the latter.
As shown in FIG. 6, each selector kc; unit 26 includes a hollow, cylindrical body portion 122 which coaxially houses a square shaft 124 having opposed, rounded ends, the latter serving as mounting bearings for that key unit 26 within keyboard 24, as best shown in the upper right portion of FIG. 2. A pair of caps 128, loosely keyed to shaft 124, close opposite ends of body 122 to permit relative rotation between the latter and caps 128. A relatively stiff torsion spring interconnects body 122 and shaft 124, and the extensions 82 of unit 26 are each keyed to shaft 124 between the corresponding rounded end 126 and adjacent cap 128. In this manner, stress relief is provided should an attempt be made to depress a key unit 26 when the corresponding dispenser 66 is still locked against operation by mechanism 84.
Each key unit 26 also has a wedge component 132 threaded into the side of shaft 124 and projecting through an arcuate clearance slot 134 in the wall of body 122. The wedges 132 of units 26 are designed to cooperate with a captive link system 136, shown in FIG. 12, which in conjunction with control bar 88 and fingers 92 thereon, permits the operation of only one key unit 26 for each credit deposit, thereby preventing jackpotting of machine 20. System 136 includes a series of links 138 disposed end-to-end and slidable within a channel in molding 140 of keyboard 24. The wedge 132 of respective key units 26 is disposed to normally underlie the beveled end 142 of a corresponding link 138 for shifting the latter against the action of a compression spring 144, along with any other links 138 disposed between the engaged link 138 and spring 144. The total available displacement of links 138 is such that only one wedge 132 may be received between adjacent links 138 at one time.
The peripheral surface of the fingers 92 on control bar 88 oppose operation of all other key units 26 as soon as a selected key unit is operated and will continue to block other than the operating key unit until the control bar 88 is restored to its standing position and relatched again by engagement of latch 100 in notch 96 of the member 94 at the conclusion of the vend cycle. Consequently, it is not possible to manipulate the machine to obtain m'ore'than one product for a single coinage deposit by switching from the first operated key unit 26 to another before loss of credit.
OPERATION trated in FIGS. 1 and 9, and the latching and control mechanism 84 is disposed as shown in. FIGS. 1 and 7. At this time, the lowermost can 55a of each chute 54 is disposed at the dispensing station 60 thereof, but gravitational release is precluded by the stop 74 of the corresponding dispenser 66. Should an attempt be made to vend a product at this time without first insert ing the proper amount of coinage into slot 40, such attempt would be thwarted by virtue of the fact that control bar 88 is locked against counterclockwise rotation (viewing FIG. 7) by latch 100. Inasmuch as blocking fingers 92 overlie the crosspieces 80 of their corresponding key units 26, upward movement of links 80 to operate dispensers 66 is positively precluded. Note, however, that by virtue of the shiftability of each key body 122 relative to its inner shaft 124 against the action of spring 130, stress relief is provided-to prevent breakage should any key unit 26 be forcibly depressed.
Standing in front of machine 20, the prospective customer determines his selection by flavor strips 30 and may check via window 28 to see whether his selection is sold out. In this regard, a sold out" label 146 may be provided on each chute 54 which is normally covered by the lowermost can 55a but is exposed when the selection has been depleted.
Upon deposit of a proper amount of coinage in slot 40, the coin control equipment behind panel 38 generates a pulse to momentarily actuate solenoid 104 and thereby swing latch 100 to its releasing position clearing leg 98 from notch 96. As soon as latch 100 is released, holding element 108 moves to its dotted-line position of FIG. 7 to align its shoulder 110 with foot 112 of latch 100 and thereby prevent relatching of the latter with ratchet member 94. Accordingly, ratchet member 94 is free to rotate in a counterclockwise direction, viewing FIGS. 7 and 8, when a selection is made by depressing the appropriate key unit 26 to raise the blocking fingers 92 in unison (FIG. 4) and thereby rotate bar 88. As soon as ratchet member 98 is rotated a predetermineddistance to the position shown in FIG. 8, the customer is committed to a vend as the one-way pawl I18 engages teeth 120 of member 94 to prevent retrograde movement thereof until a full depression stroke of key unit 26 has been made. At approximately the same time that pawl 118 takes effect, the actuating lug 116 on member 94 moves against holding element 6 held in its releasing position by the periphery of member 94.
As the selected key unit 26 is depressed, the corresponding dispenser 66 is progressively raised by its linkage 78 into its loading position adjacent dispensing station 60 and abutment 76 as shown in FIG. 10. This movement clears stop 74 from the path of can 55a and allows the same to leave station 60 and enter bucket portion 72 of dispenser 66. Further movement of can 55a out of the open front of bucket 72 at this time is precluded by abutment 76, which thereby also supports and prevents release of the remaining cans 55 beyond station 60. After the customer has released the selected key unit 26, the dispenser 66, which has received the can 55a while in the loading position, may swing by gravity, carrying can 550 therewith, back to the initial position of the dispenser 66 adjacent delivery station 32 for gravitational release of can 55a through the proximal door 36, as shown in FIG. 11. Thus, the dis pensing position of dispenser 66 shown in FIG. 11 is the same as its standby position shown in FIG. 9, with movement to the loading position of FIG. 10 being accomplished from the force manually applied to the key unit 26 by the customer and movement back to the standby and dispensing position of FIGS. 9 and 11 being accomplished from the force of gravity acting on the weight of the dispenser 66 and the can 55a therein. Note that during the movement of dispenser 66 from its FIG. 10 position to its FIG. 11 position, abutment 76 continuously engages cans 55a to preclude premature release thereof. Moreover, as dispenser 66 once again approaches its standby position, the stop 74 thereof progressively moves into blocking relationship with the next can 55 in the series to retain the same against release.
As the operated dispenser 66 returns to its standby position, by gravity, the key unit extensions 82 and crosspiece are drawn downwardly by links 78 such that the depressed key unit 26 is returned to its normal position in readiness for the next vend cycle. Simultaneously, the torsion spring 93 seeks to return bar 88 and blocking fingers 92 from their operated positions of FIG. 4, and such return is now permitted by virtue of the reversal of the action of pawl 118 with respect to the teeth 120 of member 94. Thus, member 94 rotates with bar 88 in a clockwise direction, viewing FIGS. 7 and 8, until such time as leg 98 of latch 100 is swung into notch 96 by solenoid return spring 106, whereupon dispensers 66 are once again locked against unauthorized operation.
It is important to note that during the vend cycle, the
captive link system 136, in conjunction with the blocking action of fingers 92 on bar 88, has permitted actuation of only one of the key units 26. It should be apparent to those skilled in the art that various minor modifications and substitutions of equiv alents could be made from the preferred structure described for purposes of illustration without departing from the spirit and gist of the invention. Accordingly, the invention should be limited only by the fair scope of the claims which follow.
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:
l. In a vending machine:
a cabinet assembly;
a plurality of inclined product supply structures each mounted in said assembly for supporting a series of products to be vended and each having a dispensing station to which the products may gravitate in successive order,
said assembly including means defining a delivery station for said products at a location spaced from each supply structure and said dispensing station thereof;
a product dispenser for each structure respectively and shiftably mounted in said assembly for successively carrying products from said dispensing station to said delivery station during repeated operations of the machine,
said dispensers each being selectively operable independently of the others and each being mounted for movement between a loading position in which the dispenser is disposed adjacent its dispensing station for receiving the lowermost product from its supply structure and a dispensing position in which the dispenser is disposed adjacent said delivery station for release at the latter of the lowermost product,
each dispenser having means thereon disposed to block release of remaining products in the series from said dispensing station when the dispenser is in said dispensing position but disposed to permit gravitation of the lowermost product into the dispenser when the dispenser is in said loading position;
shiftable operating means coupled with each dispenser respectively for operating the same;
a rotatable control bar common to all of said operating means;
a plurality of blocking components, one for each operating means, mounted on said bar for rotation in unison therewith and each disposed in the path of 35 travel of its corresponding operating means for rotating said bar during actuation of any one of the operating means; and
a releasable latch operably couplable with said bar for locking the same against rotation and thereby said operating means against actuation.
2. In a vending machine as claimed in claim 1, wherein is provided an actuatable control device for releasing said latch.
3. In a vending machine as claimed in claim 2, wherein said device is momentarily actuatable, and wherein is further provided a releasable element for holding said latch released after actuation of said device.
4. In a vending machine as claimed in claim 3, wherein is provided an actuator mounted on said bar for releasing said element during rotation of the bar.
5. In a vending machine as claimed in claim 1, wherein each of said dispensers includes a pair of swingable arms on opposite sides of the corresponding structure and a bucket carried between said arms adjacent said dispensing station for swinging movement between said loading and dispensing positions, said bucket being open at the normally front and rear thereof for pass-through of a product during the dispensing process.
6. In a vending machine as claimed in claim 5, wherein said dispensing station of each structure is disposed above and behind the corresponding delivery station with the corresponding bucket being swingable vertically therebetween, said blocking means of each dispenser comprising an upwardly projecting stop on the bucket of the dispenser above the pass-through area of the bucket.
7. In a vending machine as claimed in claim 6, wherein said cabinet assembly includes an abutment above each delivery station disposed to block escape of the lowermost product from the corresponding bucket when the dispenser is in said loading position and the stop is above said dispensing station.
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|U.S. Classification||221/125, 221/264|
|International Classification||G07F11/16, G07F11/02, G07F11/32, G07F11/24, B65G59/06|
|Mar 29, 1982||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: BARCLAYSAMERICAN/BUSINESS CREDIT, INC., 180 GRAND
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:VENDO COMPANY THE;VFC ACCEPTANCE CORPORATIONON;VAN PAR VENDING EQUIPMENT SALES, LTD.,;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:003962/0922
Effective date: 19820301