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Publication numberUS3837528 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 24, 1974
Filing dateNov 2, 1972
Priority dateJul 6, 1970
Publication numberUS 3837528 A, US 3837528A, US-A-3837528, US3837528 A, US3837528A
InventorsRakucewicz J
Original AssigneeKinematics & Controls Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Article delivery systems for vending machines having sequentially actuated dispensers
US 3837528 A
Abstract
An article delivery system for vending machines comprising a vending mechanism and a vend rack. The vending mechanism comprises a plurality of vending columns, each having a gate which is disposed out of phase a predetermined amount with at least one other gate, and which is moveably affixed with respect to a vending column. When the gate is in a closed position the articles may be retained in and above the vending mechanism. By periodically causing the gates to move a predetermined amount, one gate will be selectively moved to an open position during each vending cycle such that the articles in and above the vending mechanism may be sequentially vended. The vend rack may be affixed to the vending machine, or comprise a plurality of portable vend rack modules.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1 Rakucewicz [451 Sept. 24, 1974 [75] Inventor: John J. Rakucewicz, Northport,

[73] Assignee: Kinematics and Controls Corporation, New York, NY.

22 Filed: Nov. 2, 1972 21 App]. No.: 303,260

Related US. Application Data [62] Division of Ser. No. 52,477, July 6, 1970, Pat. No.

[52] US. Cl. 2211/114, 221/298 [51] Int. Cl B65g 3/44 [58] Field of Search 221/112, 114, 116, 298

[5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,248,479 7/1941 Miller 221/114 3,000,408 9/1961 Vischer, Jr 221/112 UX Primary Examiner-Robert B. Reeves Assistant ExaminerDavid A. Scherbel Attorney, Agent, or FirmRobert F. Hargest [5 7 ABSTRACT An article delivery system for vending machines comprising a vending mechanism and a vend rack. The vending mechanism comprises a plurality of vending columns, each having a gate which is disposed out of phase a predetermined amount with at least one other gate, and which is moveably affixed with respect to a vending column. When the gate is in a closed position the articles may be retained in and above the vending mechanism. By periodically causing the gates to move a predetermined amount, one gate will be selectively moved to an open position during each vending cycle such that the articles in and above the vending mechanism may be sequentially vended. The vend-rack may be affixed to the vending machine, or comprise a plurality of portable vend rack modules.

10 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures Pmmwww man 528 SHEE? 2 BF 5 ARTICLE DELIVERY SYSTEMS FOR VENDING MACHINES HAVING SEQUENTIALLY ACTUATED DISPENSERS This is a division of application Ser. No. 52,477, filed July 6, 1970, now US. Pat. No. 3,713,715. now US. Pat. No. 3,713,715.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to coin controlled vending machines which automatically eject containerized articles such as, and by way of example only, beverages and foostuffs packaged in cans or bottles, when the proper coinage is inserted into the machine, and it particularly relates to an article delivery system comprising a vend rack and a vending mechanism wherein articles are periodically selectively vended from columns in the vend rack and vending mechanism such that the columns are sequentially emptied in a manner such that the first articles positioned in each column are the first articles vended. The vend rack may be affixed to the vending machine, or comprise a plurality of portable vend rack modules which may be entirely removed from the vending machine for loading and subsequently positioned within the machine for operation. I

2. Description of Prior Art The prior art is generally directed to article delivery systems comprising vending mechanisms for vending articles under the influence of gravity such that the first article positioned in a vending column is the first article vended to the customer. Such a vending sequence is desirable in order to vend a fresh product to the customer. Heretofore, however, vending machines incorporating vending mechanisms whereby such a vending sequence has been possible, have involved apparatus and vending column designs of such a nature that a great deal of storage capacity within the vending machine has been wasted. This problem has been particularly acute when what is known in the art as serpentine vending machines are used. Efforts to increase storage capacity in vending machines has resulted in at least two problems. First, in an attempt to increase the storage capacity of serpentine vending machines, a modified serpentine vending machine has been designed, as, for example, the vending machine depicted in Vaughan et al, US. Pat. No. 3,467,275. Although vending machines as disclosed in the Vaughan et a1, patent serve to increase storage capacity, such increase has been obtained at the expense of eliminating a vending sequence by which the first article loaded in the vending column is the first article vended; that is, the'modified serpentine machines contain article delivery systems which comprise vending mechanisms for vending articles under the influence of gravity from successive storage shelves as each shelf is emptied of its supply of containerized articles. Because of the limitation that each respective shelf be emptied prior to vending from a further shelf, in those cases where reloading of the vending machine takes place prior to when the machine is completely empty, the new containerized articles are positioned in the empty shelves of the machine. Accordingly, when the machine is placed in operation the articles most recently positioned in the machine are the first to be vended. Such a vending sequence is undesirable in that those articles not vended lose their freshness.

A second problem attendant to the problem of increasing storage capacity is that because of the design of some vending machines, the loading of the machine has become a lengthy procedure. For example, in some vending machines comprising what is known in the art as upright columns the articles to be vended are stacked within the storage columns of the vend racks two deep; that is, two adjacent vertical stacks of articles are disposed in a single storage column such that a first stack is positioned forward of the machine and a second stack is positioned rearward of the machine. Such vend racks are time consuming to load in that not only is access to the rearward stack obstructed by the framework of the forward column of the vend rack but also delivery personnel must carefully position each article in each stack one at a time. In addition, since vend racks heretofore used have been connected to and formed an integral part of the vending machine, and in some cases have incorporated within, or permanently attached to their chassis, the vending mechanism, such a construction has required that the vending machine be stocked in the field. Those portable dispensing units heretofore in existence have been limited to the storage of small articles such as, for example, coin, candy and cigarettesBecause of the weight and relative bulkiness of containerized articles such as, for example, beverages and foodstuffs packaged in bottles and cans, the portable dispensing units heretofore used have not been adapted for such use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is among the objects of the present invention to provide a vending mechanism which will permit the sequential vending of containerized articles such that the first articles positioned in each vending column of the vending mechanism are the first articles to be vended.

Another object is to provide a vending mechanism which is facilitated by gravity and which will permit the sequential vending of containerized articles such that the first articles positioned in each vending column of the vending mechanism are the first articles to be vended.

A further object is to provide a vending mechanism wherein more than two vending columns may be alternatively emptied such that the first articles positioned in each vending column are the first articles vended.

Yet a further object is to provide a vending mechanism wherein more than two vending columns may be alternatively emptied by means of a single drive means such that the first articles positioned in each vending column are the first articles vended.

Still another object is to provide a gravity feeding vending mechanism of relatively simple construction.

Yet another object is to provide an article delivery system having increased storage capacity comprising a vending mechanism and vend rack which will permit the sequential vending of containerized articles such that the first articles positioned in each storage column of the vend rack are the first articles to be vended.

A further object is to provide an article delivery system having increased storage capacity comprising a vending mechanism, and vend rack comprising a plurality of portable vend rack modules for containerized articles such as, for example, beverages and foodstuffs packaged in bottles and cans, which can be machine loaded with articles at the factory, transported to the cite of the vending machine, and positioned within the vending machine for operation.

Yet a further object is to provide a vend rack which comprises a plurality of portable vend rack modules having storage columns which secure registry with corresponding vending columns of a vending mechanism.

Still another object is to provide a portable vend rack module having storage columns which secure registry with corresponding storage columns of an adjacent portable vend rack module.

Yet another object is to provide a portable vend rack module which is light weight in construction, durable and reuseable.

In accomplishing these and other objects, it has been found advantageous to provide a vending mechanism which comprises a plurality of vending columns, and a gate extending into each of the columns for retaining the articles therein, and for periodically; that is, during each vending cycle, causing an article to be selectively vended from one of the vending columns such that the vending columns are sequentially emptied so that the first articles positioned in each vending column are the first articles vended. To accomplish these objects each gate is moveably affixed with respect to a side of the column into which it extends, as, for example, an opposing side, and has an article contacting surface facing said side which, with respect to distance across the article to be periodically vended between the gate and side, is less distant from the side when the gate is in a closed position, and is entirely more distant from the side when the gate is in an open position. By a closed position, it is meant that the gate is positioned so that the article contacting portion thereof and the side of the vending column form an enclosure in the path of motion of an article to prevent the article from being vended. By an open position, it is meant that the gate has been moved away from the path of motion of the article thereby allowing the article to be vended. As will be apparent hereinafter in greater detail, the word gate" is used in its broadest sense and includes, for example, any moveable barrier for regulating the vending of containerized articles through vending columns as set forth hereinafter. For example, star-wheel gates, or lobes in the shape of a sector of a circle, as, for example, a quadrant of a circle, are particularly suited for the present invention. Another moveable barrier might include, for example, a retaining type conveyor belt having apertures therein through which articles may be vended when the belt is positioned such that an aperture is aligned with a vending column such that the article can pass through the aperture. When such is the case the retaining means or gate is in an open position. When the belt is positioned such that the apertures therein are not properly aligned with the vending columns, then the article will rest upon the land portion of the belt. When such is the case the gate is in a closed position.

Means are provided for causing the gates to selectively move to open and closed positions such that only one of the gates is in an open position at any one time. To accomplish this object each gate is disposed out of phase a predetermined amount with at least one other gate, the moving means being adjustedsuch that the gates remain out of phase said predetermined amount when the gates are caused to move during each vending cycle. Although not necessary, in some cases by proper disposition of the gates relative to one another, the movement thereof may be facilitated by the influence of gravity acting upon the article to be vended. As set forth herein in greater detail, by properly selecting the amount or distance the gates are disposed out of phase, and the amount or distance the gates are moved during the vending cycle, a vend rack which forms a part of the vending machine, or a vend rack comprising a plurality of portable vend rack modules, may be used wherein maximum storage capacity is utilized and yet articles are periodically selectively vended from the columns in the vend rack such that the columns are alternatively or sequentially emptied so that the first articles positioned into each column are the first articles vended.

One type vend rack useful in the present invention comprises a plurality of portable vend rack modules each of which comprises a plurality of storage columns which, when the vend rack modules are positioned in the vending machine, will be in alignment with the vending columns in the vending mechanism described above. A moveable retaining member is provided in at least one end of each storage column whereby the articles contained therein are prevented from coming out of the rack prior to when it has been positioned in the vending machine. In the embodiments described herein, each vending mechanism-vend rack combination forms what is known in the art as a flavor column.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS These and other objects will become apparent from the detailed discussion which follows and from the accompanying drawings. In the drawings wherein like reference characters denote corresponding parts throughout the several views:

FIGS. 1 through 5 depict a sequential schematic representation of the side view of a portable vend rack and vending mechanism during two vending cycles.

FIG. 6 is a perspective elevational view of one embodiment of a vending mechanism of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a front section view taken along line VII- VII of FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is a side fragmentary view taken along line VIII-VIII of FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is a schematic representation of a flavor column comprising a vending mechanism and plurality of portable vend rack modules.

FIG. 10 is a frontal fragmentary sectional view taken along line IXIX of FIG. 9.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to FIGS. 1 through 5, there is schematically depicted the side view of a vending mechanism 2 and portable vend rack module 38 embodying the present invention. The use of portable vend rack modules is by way of example only, it being understood that the present invention is also useful in vending machines wherein a vend rack for retaining or storing containerized articles is connected to and forms an integral part of the vending machine. The vending mechanism 2 comprises vending columns 4, 6, 8 and 10, the sides of each column being formed by a pair of rotatable shafts 12, 14 which are positioned at both sides of each col.- umn and extend from one side 16 of the vending mechanism 2 to the opposing side of the vending mechanism (not shown). Each of the shafts 12, 14 have affixed at either end thereof (only the side 16 can be seen in FIGS. 15), and keyed thereto, a retaining lobe or gate. Each of the gates affixed to shafts 12 is disposed out of phase a predetermined amount with adjacent gates affixed to adjacent shafts 12. In this example, the predetermined amount is measured in degrees. However, in other embodiments of the present invention the predetermined amount may be measured in other units, as, for example, inches. Although not limited to such a construction, and viewing FIGS. 1 through 5 from left to right, gate 18 is disposed 90 in a counterclockwise direction relative to gate 22 which is disposed 90 in a counterclockwise direction relative to gate 26 which is disposed 90 in a counterclockwise direction relative to gate 30 which is disposed 90 in a counterclockwise direction relative to gate 34. Similarly, each of the gates affixed to shafts 14 is disposed out of phase a predetermined number or degrees with adjacent gates affixed to adjacent shafts 14. For example, and again viewing FIGS. 1 through 5 from left to right, adjacent of gates 20, 24, 28, 32 and 36 are disposed at 90 in a clockwise direction relative to each other. Finally, gates 18, 22, 26, 30 and 34 are disposed a predetermined number of degrees with adjacent of gates 20, 24, 28, 32 and 36. For example, and viewing FIGS. 1 through 5 from left to right, gates 18, 26 and 34 are disposed 90 in a counterclockwise direction relative to gates 20, 28 and 36, respectively, and gates 22 and 30 are disposed 90 in a clockwise direction relative to gates 24 and 32, respectively. It should be noted that the present invention is not limited to such a construction. For example, the magnitude of the angular disposition of said gates, and the direction in which adjacent of said'gates are disposed out of phase a predetermined amount relative to each other, is not limited as described above, any angular disposition and relative direction which will accomplish the objectives set forth herein being within the teachings of the present invention.

During each vending cycle, all of shafts 12, 14, and all of the gates affixed thereto, are caused to move, as, for example, rotate, a predetermined number of degrees as described hereinafter, in such a manner that at the end of the vending cycle the disposition of all of the gates relative to each other remains the same as at the beginning of the vending cycle. By properly choosing the angular disposition of the gates relative to each other, and the number of degrees through which all of the gates rotate during the vending cycle, only one article is vended at a time, an article being vended sequentially from, for example, column 4, 6, 8, 10, 4, 6, 8, 10, etc. Although not limited to such rotation, in the preferred embodiment, as depicted by arrows in FIGS. 1 through 5, shafts 12 are caused to rotate in a direction opposite to that of shafts 14, it being understood that in some embodiments of the present invention the shafts 12, 14 may be caused to rotate in the same direction. In addition, the present invention is not limited to movement of the gates by rotation. For example, the gates may be moved to open and closed positioned by lateral movement thereof.

In the preferred embodiment, the actual angular displacement of the gates is dependent upon the number of individual vending columns within the vending mechanism, and may be determined by the equation:

wherein 6 represents the angular displacement and N equals the number ofindividual vending columns. Similarly, the number of degrees through which all of the gates rotate during the vending cycle may be determined by the same equation.

Although not necessary, as can be seen from the drawings, the quadrant shaped lobes or gates are angularly disposed relative to each other such that the influence of gravity upon the articles to be vended assists in the rotation of shafts 12, 14 and the gates affixed thereto, the rotating means described hereinafter therefore not being required to do the job alone. It should be noted that the present invention is not limited to the use of lobes or gates having theconflguration of the quadrant of a circle as depicted in the drawings. Nor is the present invention limited to a vending mechanism comprising two rows of gates '12, 14. For example, the objects of the present invention can be accomplished by a vending mechanism comprising a plurality of vending columns, each column having a starwheel gate rotatably affixed with respect to a wall of the column opposite the star-wheel gate for retaining articles between the opposing wall and a prong of the star-wheel gate, the prongs of each star-wheel gate being disposed out of phase a predetermined number of degrees with the prongs of at least one other starwheel gate.

In the operation of the preferred embodiment of the present invention, before the portable vend rack module 38 is inserted into the vending machine, the vending mechanism 2 is primed in order to get proper vending action. Whenever the lower row of lobes or gates in the vending mechanism 2 supports a number of articles equal to half the number of vending columns, the vending mechanism is said to be primed. Therefore, since FIGS. 1 through 5 illustrate a four column mechanism, two articles are positioned such that they rest on the lobes affixed to the lower row of shafts 14. Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, articles C1 and C2 are depicted as resting upon lobes 20, 24 and 24, 28, respectively. After the vending mechanism is primed, a portable vend rack module may be positioned within the vending machine in such a manner that the storage columns of the module are in vending alignment with the vending columns of the vending mechanism. FIG. 2 depicts portable vend rack module 38 removably interconnected to vending mechanism 2 such that the vending columns 4, 6, 8 and 10 of the vending mechanism 2 are in vending alignment with the storage columns 40, 42, 44, 46 of vend rack module 38. By vending alignment it is meant that the storage columns of, for example, the portable vend rack modules which comprise the vend rack, when positioned in the vending machine, will be disposed such that when the proper coinage is inserted into the machine an article contained in a vend rack will be free, upon being selected, to pass from the vend rack, through for example, a vending column of the vending mechanism, to the customer. Each column of articles is maintained inside the portable vend rack module by means of moveable retaining members 48, 50, 52 and 54 which extend through slots 56, 58, 60 and 62 into columns 40, 42, 44 and 46, respectively. As will be explained in greater detail hereinafter, and referring to FIG. 3, by sliding the retaining members from right-to-left each column of articles is freed from vend rack module 38 such that articles C and C6 bear upon articles C1 and C2, and articles C3 and C4 rest upon lobes 26, 30 and 30, 34.

As the vending mechanism depicted in FIG. 3 is cycled through 90, lobes 20, 24 will rotate 90 into a position which will allow article C1 to drop or be vended from vending column 4 as depicted in FIG. 4. As article C1 is vended, the upper lobes 18, 22 of column 4 also rotate 90 and therefore into position to prevent article C5 and the entire contents of column 4 from being jackpotted or emptied during the single vending cycle. Simultaneously, the upper lobes 26, 30 of column 8 rotate 90 to allow article C3 to move down to rest on the lower set of lobes 28, 32. Although articles C2 and C4 still rest upon the lower set of lobes 24, 28, and upper set of lobes 30, 34, respectively, they have actually advanced during the vending cycle due to the 90 rotation of lobes 24, 28 and 30, 34. As depicted in FIG. 5, the next vending cycle will cause article C2 to be vended and the remaining articles to advance one stage during the vending cycle as a result of an additional 90 rotation of all the lobes or gates.

FIGS. 6 through depict the actual physical construction of the embodiment of the portable vend rack module 38 and vending mechanism 2 of the present invention schematically illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 5. Although the present invention is not limited to such a construction, FIGS. 6 and 7 depict a vending mechanism 2 which comprises a pair of channel members 62, 64, connected together by means of tie rods 66. Shafts 12, 14 extend through apertures in channel members 62, 64, and are thereby rotatably supported by channel members 62, 64. As can be seen in FIG. 7, retaining lobes are affixed to both ends of each shaft 12, 14.

FIGS. 6, 7 and 8 depict means for causing shafts 12, 14 to periodically rotate a predetermined number of degrees. The present invention is not limited, however, to such rotating means as is depicted in the drawings, and any of many means well known in the art for selective control of, for example, rotatable gates may be used. As noted above, since vending mechanism 2 comprises four vending columns, shafts 12, 14 will be caused to rotate 90 during each vending cycle. FIG. 6 depicts a motor 68 which is connected to drive shaft 70. Each shaft 12, 14 has a worm gear 72 affixed thereto which meshes with a drive worm 74 affixed to drive shaft 70. When motor 68 is energized it causes drive shaft 70, and therefore drive worm 74, to rotate. Rotation of drive worm 74 causes worm gear 72 to rotate and therefore shafts 12, 14 and the lobes affixed thereto to rotate. By connecting a star-wheel gear 76 to, for example, one of shafts l2, and causing the starwheel gear 76 to engage a star-wheel switch 78 which is electrically connected to motor 68, the number of degrees through which shafts 12, 14 rotate can be selectively controlled since the rotation of the star-wheel gear 76 caused by the energization of motor 68 when the proper coinage is inserted into the vending machine will cause the star-wheel gear 76 to act as a cam which periodically actuates star-wheel switch 78 to turn off motor 68.

FIG. 6 depicts one embodiment of a portable vend rack module 38 which comprises two opposing walls 80, 82 connected together by end walls 84, 86 to form a box-like structure open at either access end 88, 90

thereof. The interior of the portable vend rack module is divided into a plurality of storage columns 40, 42, 44, and 46 by dividing members 92, 94, and 96 each of which are connected to opposing walls 80, 82. The size of each storage column is such as to permit passage of articles into one end thereof, as, for example, end 88, through a column, and out the outer end thereof, as, for example, end 90. Both open ends 88, have a channel member 98, connected thereto or forming a part thereof which extends about the periphery of each opening respectively. Each channel member 98, 100 has slots 56, 58, 60, and 62 in opposing sides 81, 83. A pair of U-shaped sliding members 102-104 and 106-108 engage the peripheral groove of channel members 98, 100, respectively. Each pair of sliding members are joined to form a single sliding element 103, 107, respectively, by means of, for example, a rivet 110. Each U-shaped member has retaining members 48, 50, 52 and 54 which extend towards the open portion of each respective U-shaped member and through the slots 56, 58, 60 and 62 into columns 40, 42, 44 and 46. The distance between the ends of those retaining members which face each other, as, for example, 48 and 48, 50 and 50, 52 and 52 and 54 and 54 is such that when the retaining members are positioned in a locked position as described hereinafter, articles within the vend rack module are retained therein. The size of each U-shaped member relative to the size of the peripheral groove of channel members 98, 100 is such that each single sliding element 103, 107 is free to slide along the peripheral groove of channel members 98, 100 from end wall 84 towards end wall 86, and back again. In this manner, retaining members 48, 50, 52 and 54 may be caused to slide toward and away from end walls 84, 86 and dividing members 92, 94 and 96, and are thereby moved to vending and locked positions; that is, the distance between that portion of the surfaceof retaining members such as, for example, retaining members 54, 54 which will contact an article in column 46, and the opposing side 84, with respect to distance across an article positioned in column 46 between said surface and said opposing side, is less distant when the members 54, 54' are in the locked position, and is entirely more distant from said side when the members are in the vending position. FIG. 6 depicts the retaining members in a locked position. By sliding, for example, sliding element 107 to the rear, the retaining members are moved to vending position such that they will no longer retain any articles in any of the columns 40, 42, 44 and 46. In this manner, sliding element 107 may be positioned in the locked position during the loading of the portable vend rack. After loading is completed, sliding element 103 may be positioned in the locked position to maintain the articles therein during transport. After the vend rack has been positioned within the vending machine, sliding elements 103, 107 may be positioned in the vending position at which time the articles will be free to move through the storage columns of the vend rack and vending columns of the vending mechanism as described herein.

Although FIG. 6 depicts a sliding element at either end of the vend raclt module 38, one sliding element may be eliminated. When such is the case, the vend rack module 38 would have to be maintained in an upright position in order to prevent articles contained therein from falling out of the open end.

In order to prevent the retaining members 48, 50, 52 and 54 from freely sliding from a locked to a vending position during loading and transport of a vend rack module 38, a latch may be provided to hold each sliding element, and therefore the retaining members affixed thereto, in place. For example, as depicted in FIG. 6 a cantilevered latch 114 affixed to or forming a part of one surface of each of channel members 98, 100 extends through a slot 116 in the sliding elements 103 and 107 and abuts against each respective sliding element to maintain each sliding element in place. By depressing latch 114 and sliding each sliding element to the rear, the retaining members may be moved to a vending position as latch 114 is removed from slot 116 to slot 118. By further depressing the latch and sliding each pair of sliding members to the front, the retaining members may be returned to a locked position as latch 114 is removed from slot 118 to slot 116.

Although not necessary, it is advantageous to provide the loading and vending ends of each vend rack module with aligning means such as a lip to facilitate the stacking of a plurality of vend rack modules within a vend machine. For example, open end 88 of vend rack 38 is provided with a lip 112 extending around the periphery thereof, and open end 90 of vend rack 38 is provided with a lip 115 extending around the periphery thereof. The outer peripheral distance around lip 115 is less than the inner peripheral distance around lip 112. In this manner, portable vend rack module 38 may be stacked upon a second portable vend rack module 39 such that lip 115 of said first module will mesh with lip 112 of said second module, the storage columns of each module being vertically aligned with each other. In order to compensate for any misalignment of storage columns of adjacent vend rack modules, each dividing member of each module may be tapered relative to an adjacent dividing member or end wall, and opposing sides 80, 82 may be tapered relative to each other, such that the open end from which articles are removed from the vend rack is smaller than the open end into which the articles are first fed. For example, dividing members 94 and 96 are thinner nearest open end 88 and wider nearest open end 90. Accordingly, storage column 44 is wider nearest open end 88 and thinner nearest open end 90.

Although not necessary, the walls 80, 82, 84 and 86, and the dividing members 92, 94 and 96, of vend rack module 38 are provided with large apertures therein to facilitate the movement of hot or cold air throughout the interior of the vending machine in those cases where the articles housed in the vending machine must be heated or cooled respectively. As an alternative, each dividing member may be u-shaped.

Although FIG. 6'depicts a vend rack module comprising four storage columns, each column having two retaining members extending therein at either end thereof, the present invention is not limited to such a construction. For example, the vend rack module may comprise more or less than four storage columns, and each column may have a different number of retaining members than four.

The embodiment which has been described herein is but one of several which utilize this invention and is set forth here by way of illustration but not of limitation. It is apparent that many other embodiments which will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art may be made without departing materially from the spirit and scope of this invention.

1 claim:

1. An article delivery system comprising:

a vending mechanism having a front portion and a rear portion, and a plurality of vending columns, two opposing sides of each column being formed by an upper and a lower rotatable shaft which extends from and is rotatably affixed to said front portion and said rear portion, retaining gate affixed to each end of each of said shafts and which extends into each of said columns, each of said gates being moveably affixed with respect to a side of said column, each of said gates having a surface facing said side the article contacting portion of which, with respect to distance across the articles to be vended between said gate and said side, is less distant from said side when said gate is in the closed position, and is entirely more distant from said side when said gate is in the open position, each gate being disposed out of phase a predetermined amount with one other of said gates;

means for causing said shafts periodically selectively to rotate said gates to open and to closed positions, such that when said mechanism is primed the gates affixed to said lower shafts support a number of articles equal to half the number of vending columns, each gates remain out of phase said predetermined amount and said columns are sequentially emptied such that the first articles positioned in each column are the first articles vended; and,

a plurality of storage columns being in vending alignment with said vending columns.

2. The article described in claim 1 wherein said predetermined amount is 3. The article described in claim 1 wherein said predetermined determined amount is determined by the equation where 6 represents the angular displacement and N equals the number of individual vending columns.

4. The article described in claim 1 wherein said storage columns are removeably affixed with respect to said vending columns.

5. The article described in claim 4 wherein each of said storage columns has an opening at either end thereof for loading and vending articles, respectively,

and a retaining member extends into each of said storage columns, each of said members being moveably affixed with respect to a side of said storage column opposite said members, each of said members having a surface facing said opposite side the article contacting portion of which, with respect to distance across the article to be vended between said member and said opposing side, is less distant from said opposing side when said member is in the locked position, and is entirely most distant from said opposing side when said member is in the vending position.

6. An article delivery system comprising:

a plurality of vending columns, one side of each of said columns being formed by a first plurality of retaining gates, an opposing side of each of said columns being formed by a second plurality of retaining gates, portions of said gates extending into said columns, each of said gates being moveably rotatably affixed with respect to said columns, each of said first gates having a surface facing said opposing side the article contacting portion of which, with respect to distance across the article to be number of degrees and said columns are sequentially emptied such that the first articles positioned in each column are the first articles vended;

a plurality of storage columns, each of said source columns having an opening in both ends thereof,

said openings at one end collectively forming an ing portion of which, with respect to distance across the article to be vended between said gate and said side, is less distant from said side when said gate is in the closed position, and is entirely vended between said first and second plurality of more distant from said side when said gate is in the gates, is less distant from said opposing side when open position, each gate being disposed out of said gates are in the closed position, and is entirely phase a predetermined amount with one other of more distant from said opposing side when said said gates; and, gates are in the open position, said gates of said means for causing said shafts periodically selectively first side being disposed out of phase a predeterto rotate said gates to open and to closed positions mined number of degrees with adjacent of said such that when said mechanism is primed the gates gates of said opposing side; affixed to said lower shafts support a number of armeans for causing said gates periodically selectively ticles equal to half the number of vending columns, to rotate to open and to closed positions such that said gates remain out of phase said predetermined said gates remain out of phase said predetermined 15 amount and said columns are sequentially emptied such that the first articles positioned in each column are the first articles vended.

9. The article described in claim 8 wherein said predetermined amount is determined by the equation ingress, and said openings at the other end collectively forming an egress;

a channel member connected to and extending about the periphery of said ingress and egress, each of said channel members having elongated apertures therein, each of which extend through said channel members into one of said columns;

a sliding member moveably affixed with respect to each of said channel members having retaining members connected thereto each of which extends through one of said elongated apertures into said column, each of said members being moveably affixed with respect to a side of said column opposite said member, each of said members having a surface facing said opposite side the article contacting portion of which, with respect to distance across the article to be vended between said member and said opposing side, is less distant from said opposing side when said member is in the locked position, and is entirely more distant from said opposing side when said member is in the vending posiwhere 0 represents the angular displacement and N equals the number of individual vending columns.

10. An article delivery system comprising:

a plurality of vending columns; a retaining gate which extends in each of said columns, each of said gates being moveably affixed with respect to a side of said column, each of said gates facing said side the article contacting portion of which, with respect to distance across the articles to be vended between said gate and said side is less distant from said side when said gate is in the closed position, and is entirely more distant from said side when said gate is in the open position, each gate being disposed out of phase a predetermined amount with one other of said gates;

means for causing said gates periodically selectively to move to open andto closed positions such that said gates remain out of phase said predetermined amount and said columns are sequentially emptied such that the first articles positioned in each column, are the first articles vended; and,

tion. a plurality of storage columns being in vending align- 7. The article described in claim 6 wherein said prement with said vending columns, said storage coldetermined amount is determined by the equation umns being moveably affixed with respect to said vending columns, each of said storage columns having an opening at either end thereof for loading and vending articles, respectively,

and a retaining member extending into each of said storage columns, each of said members being moveably affixed with respect to a side of said storage column opposite said members, each of said members having a surface facing said opposite side the article contacting portion of which, with respect to distance across the article to be vended between said member and said opposing side, is less retaining gate affixed to each .end of each of said shafts and which extends into each of said columns, each of said gates being moveably affixed with respect to a side of said column, each of said gates having a surface facing said side the article contactdistant from said opposing side when said member is in the locked position, and is entirely more distant from said opposing side when said member is in the vending position.

Patent No.

Inventor(s) 3,837,528 September 2%, 197

John J. Rakucewicz Dated It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Claim 1, Column 10, line 29, delete "each" and substitute "said".

Claim 3, Column 10, line 38, delete "determined" second occurrence. Claim 5, Column 10, line 59,

place thereof "more". Claim 6, Column 11, line 19, delete "source" and substitute in place thereof "storage". Claim 10, Column 12, line 45, delete "moveably" and substitute in olace thereof "removeably".

delete "most" and substitute in the specification:

Column 1, line 1 delete "foostuffs" and substitute in place thereof "foodstuffs". Column 5, line 6 1, delete "positioned" and substitute in place thereof positions Signed and sealed this 29th day of April 1975.

(SEAL) Attest:

RUTH C. MASON Attesting Officer C. MARSHALL DANN Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks F ORM PO-105O I 0-69) U.S. GOVERNMENT HUNTING OFFICE

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4057171 *Jul 21, 1976Nov 8, 1977Sankyo Electric Company LimitedArticle storage devices with article releasers for use in vending machines
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US4254893 *Sep 8, 1978Mar 10, 1981Sankyo Electric Co., Ltd.Article storage unit devices for use in vending machines
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US20090321464 *Jun 26, 2008Dec 31, 2009Ronald Edward FindleyAutomated magazine feeder
US20110226794 *Dec 16, 2010Sep 22, 2011The Coca-Cola CompanyVendor
EP1073024A1 *Feb 14, 2000Jan 31, 2001Sanden CorporationCommodities delivery device having a pair of gate members and a pair of lock members for enabling a delivery of commodities of various types
EP1551737A1 *Jun 13, 2003Jul 13, 2005Munroe ChirnomasArticle storage magazine for an article handling device
EP1665178A2 *Jun 3, 2004Jun 7, 2006ROYAL VENDORS, Inc.Clear door vending machine
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Classifications
U.S. Classification221/114, 221/298
International ClassificationG07F11/24, G07F11/16, G07F11/04
Cooperative ClassificationG07F11/04, G07F11/24
European ClassificationG07F11/24, G07F11/04