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Publication numberUS3872801 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 25, 1975
Filing dateJun 1, 1973
Priority dateJun 1, 1973
Publication numberUS 3872801 A, US 3872801A, US-A-3872801, US3872801 A, US3872801A
InventorsWeddendorf Elmer R
Original AssigneeB W Metals Company Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Drive system for a rotating cafeteria type food service counter
US 3872801 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

[4 1 Mar. 25, 1975 1 1 DRIVE SYSTEM FOR A ROTATING CAFETERIA TYPE FOOD SERVICE COUNTER [75] Inventor: Elmer R. Weddendorf, Cincinnati,

Ohio

[73] Assignee: B/W Metals Company, Inc.,

Fairfield, Ohio [22] Filed: June 1, 1973 [21] Appl. No.: 365,981

[52] US. Cl. 108/20, 211/15, 74/242.13 R

[51] Int. Cl A47b 37/00 [58] Field of Search 108/20, 22, 103, 139; 74/242.13, 212, 213, 207; 211/15 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 905,018 11/1908 Sullivan 108/20 1,470,217 10/1923 Claus 108/20 2,971,651 2/1961 Shoffner 211/15 3,120,824 2/1964 Loyd 108/20 3,124,398 3/1964 Fuller 108/20 X 3,142,191 7/1964 Domenighetti 74/213 3,421,724 l/1969 Cornell 74/242.13 R

3,437,057 4/1969 Wulff 211/15 X 3,477,670 11/1969 Sloyan 74/242.l3 R

3,491,496 1/1970 Johnston 248/188.4 X

Primary E.\'aminerFrancis K. Zugel Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Wood, l-lerron & Evans [57] ABSTRACT A rotating cafeteria type food service counter that includes a doughnut-shaped counter top mounted for rotation on top of a fixed frame. The counter top is provided with a depending annular rail at its outer periphery and a depending annular rail at its inner periphery. The counter tops inner annular rail rests on a series of drive assemblies located along the counters inner periphery and fixed to the support frame. The vertically disposed drive wheels provided by the drive assemblies are adapted to frictionally engage the underside of the counters inner annular rail due to the weight of the counter thereon, and are easily and readily adjustable into'and out of such frictional engagement, for rotating the counter top on the fixed frame. A series of horizontally disposed positioner wheels are also fixed to the frame, the positioner wheels being adapted to bear against the outer face of the counters outer annular rail for maintaining the counter in position on top the fixed frame as it rotates thereon.

7 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures PATENTED W 2 51975 DRIVE SYSTEM FOR A ROTATING CAFETERIA TYPE FOOD SERVICE COUNTER This invention relates to food service counters. More particularly, this invention relates to a drive system for a food service counter of the rotating cafeteria type.

Over the years the cafeteria style of serving food has been one of the mainstays of the food service industry. This particular style of distributing food to the consumer has been found particularly effective in connection with institutional type feeding such as commonly is found in schools, hospitals and the like. The cafeteria style food service facility is also quite popular with large corporations in connection with the feeding of employees at lunchtime. Of course, the cafeteria style food distribution system has also been used over many years in retail restaurant installations. All such food service facilities are commonly known as cafeterias.

Historically, the food service counters in cafeteria style food service operations have been substantially planar, i.e., the counter has been of a flat, table-like configuration. Prepared food of each individual food dish is placedon the counter in dish rows extending from the front edge to the rear edge of the counter, the dishes of food in each row being the same, e.g., the same salad or same dessert or the like. The customers tray is supported on a tray support rail that is fixed to the. counter along the front edge thereof, and extends outwardly therefrom. In use, a customer walks from one end of the food service counter to the other, making periodic selections of different food dishes along the way. Thus, as the customer moves from one end of the counter to the other he pushes the tray on the tray support rail in front of him, periodically makes food selections from the counter top, and places those selections on his tray.

In recent years there has been developed a new type cafeteria counter top that is configuredin the shape of a doughnut. The doughnut-shaped counter'top rotates about a center axis at a relatively slow rate. The counter top rotates between a kitchen or food supply area and a customer service area, the kitchen and customer service areas being separated one from the other by a wall or other suitable divider. The counters food supply is replenished by employees within the kitchen area, and the dished food is selected and removed from the counter top by customers standing within the customer service area. A series of radially disposed tray supports are located about the circular outer periphery of the rotating counter top in the customer service area. The tray supports are stationary and are fixed to a stationary exterior wall within which the counter top rotates, thereby defining fixed stalls within which the customers stand as the food counter top (with dished food thereon) rotates past each stall for selection or'rejection by the customer within the stall.

The rotating cafeteria type food service counter is becoming popular particularly with institutional and in-plant type facilities. The rotating style food service counter does not require the customer to walk the length of the counter available for customer service. On the contrary, the customer stands completely still while the food dishes move to the customer in sight and within easy reach. It has been found that the method of serving food by a rotating food service counter provides fast service, requires less customer service area, reduces'mechanical installation costs, and provides an style food service counter in which the customer walked from one end of the counter to the other.

However, and in connection with the rotating cafeteria type food service counter, it is important that a drive system be provided for the counter that is reliable and relatively trouble-free. It is also important that the drive system be structured so that is can be easily maintained. These facets are particularly important because, if rotation of the counter top stops during operation, the cafeteria installation or operation also must stop or close down. This for the reason that the basic concept behind a rotating cafeteria style counter is one of supplying the counter in the kitchen area, and having that counter rotate out into the customer service area where customers serve themselves. Generally speaking there is no provision for the counter to be resupplied from the customer service side, and certainly there is no provision for transforming the counter into the ordinary historical type counter installation where the customer walks from one end to the other, if the counter should stop rotating. Hence, it is quite important that a reliable, relatively trouble-free drive system be provided for rotating the counter top on the fixed frame for long periods at a time without stopping.

Therefore, it has been an objective of this invention to provide a drive system for a rotating cafeteria type food service counter that is relatively trouble-free and thatis reliable.

It has been another objective of this invention to provide a drive system for a rotating cafeteria type food service counter that allows certain components thereof to be removed from driving relation with the counter, and then serviced, without interrupting rotation of the counter top itself.

In accord with these objectives, the drive system of this invention is provided for a rotating cafeteria type food service counter that includes a doughnut-shaped counter top mounted forrotation on top of a fixed frame. The counter top is provided with a depending annular rail at its outer periphery and a depending annular rail at its inner periphery. The counter tops inner annular rail rests on a series of drive assemblies located along the counters inner periphery and fixed to the support frame. Thevertically disposed drive wheels provided by the drive assemblies are adapted to frictionally engage the underside of the counters inner annular rail due to the weight of the counter thereon, and are easily and readily adjustable into and out of such frictional engagement, for rotating the counter top on the fixed frame. A series of horizontally disposed positioner wheels are also fixed to the frame, the positioner wheels being adapted to bear against the outer face of the counters outerannular rail for maintaining the counter in position on top the fixed frame as it rotates thereon.

Other objectives and advantages of this invention will be more apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a top view illustrating a rotating cafeteria type food service counter;

FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1 but showing the counter top removed, thereby exposing the counters frame structure and drive system;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 1 illustrating the basic components of the drive system of this invention;

F IG. 4 is a perspective view of a drive assembly which isa component of the drive system of this invention;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 4,

FIG. 6 is a perspective view illustrating an idler assembly on the inner periphery of the counter top which is apart of the drive system of this invention;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 77 of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view illustrating a first outer idler wheel which is a component of the drive system of this invention; and

FIG. 9 is a perspective view illustrating a second outer idler wheel which is a component of the drive system of this invention.

The novel drive system of this invention is incorporated with a rotating cafeteria type food service counter 10. The rotating food service counter 10 does not require a customer to walk the length L of the counter available for customer service. Indeed, and on the contrary, each customer stands completely still within a stall 11 while the food dishes (not shown) on the'counter top 12 move to the customer in sight and within easy reach.

As particularly illustrated in FIG. 1, the rotating cafeteria type food service counter 10 incorporates a horizontal, doughnut-shaped counter top 12 adapted to rotate about a center axis 13. The counter top 12 rotates between a kitchen or food supply area 14, and a customer service area 15. The kitchen 14 and customer service 15 areas are separated one from the other by a wall 16 or other suitable divider. The counter's food supply is replenished by employees within the kitchen area 14, and the dished food (not shown) is selected and removed from the counter top 12 by customers standing within the customer service area 15. A tunnel 17 passes beneath the counter top 12 and connects the kitchen area 14 with the interior or center area 18 of the counter 10', the tunnel may be provided with an outer door (not shown) on the counters outer periphery 19.

A series of tray supports are disposed about the circular outer periphery 19 of the rotating counter top 12 in the customer service area 15, see FIG. 1. The tray supports 20 are stationary, and are fixed to a stationary exterior wall 21 within which the counter top 12 rotates, thereby defining the fixed stalls 11 within which customersstand as the food counter top (with the dished food, not shown, thereon) rotates past each stall for selection or rejection by the customer within the stall. The exterior wall 21 extends completely around the outer periphery 19 of the counter 10, and extends from slightly above floor 22 level to the level of the counter top 12, thereby precluding access to the counters center area 18 by crawling beneath the counter top except through tunnel 17.

More particularly, the rotating counter 10 includes a stationary frame 23 comprised of a series of vertical posts or uprights 24 (which define a circle) disposed about the circular outer periphery 19 of the counter and which terminate at their lower ends in legs or feet 25, and a series of vertical posts or uprights 26 (which define a circle) disposed adjacent the circular inner periphery 27 of the counter top and also which terminate at their lower ends in legs or feet 28, see FIGS. 2 and 3. These posts 24, 26 are disposed in pairs, each pair being tied together by an upper cross member 29a and a lower cross member 29b. Further, successive outer posts 24 about the counters outer periphery 19 are tied together by brace members 30 (except in the area of tunnel 17), and successive inner posts 26 about the counters inner periphery 27 are tied together by brace members 31 (except in the area of tunnel 17). These members 29-31 integrate the posts 24, 26 into the structurally rigid support frame 23 which supports the counter top 12. The outer wall or plate 21 is fixed to the exterior of the outer posts 24 of the frame 23, thereby providing a closed frame or base structure for the rotatable counter top 12. The tunnel l7 beneath the counter top 12 is provided in the frame 23 and is defined by certain posts 24a, 24b, 26a, 26b, and cross members 29t, 29t with lower brace members 30, 31 being removed within the tunnel area.

The rotating counter top 12 includes a horizontally disposed doughnut-shaped table 35 having a circular front edge and a circular rear edge that substantially correspond, respectively, to outer l9.and inner 27 peripheries for the counter 10, see FIGS. 1 and 3. It is, of course, on the counter top that the dished food (not shown) is placed for review and selection by the customer. The counter top 12 is supported by the frame 23, and is rotated by the drive system of this invention which is fixed to the frame and described in detail below. The counter top 12 also includes a first depending annular rail 36 adjacent to and concentric with the counters outer periphery l9, and a second depending annular rail 37 adjacent to and concentric with the counters inner periphery 27. Note that the second annular rail 37 is in the configuration of an L-shaped keel having a horizontal foot plate 38. Framework 39, 40 is fixed to the counter tops underside thereof, that framework thereby rotating with the counter top 12 as the counter top is rotated relative to the frame 23. The framework 39 may be used to carry compressors (not shown) for supplying refrigerant to coils (not shown) implanted in the counter top 12, thereby providing refrigeration to cold food dishes thereon. The framework 40 may be used to carry electric busbars or contact bars (not shown) for providing electric power to the compressors (not shown), and/or to heat lamps (not frame by suitable brackets 42. A vertical stall wall 43 disposed radially relative to the counter 10 is interconnected with each support platform 41 on one side thereof, and to the counters peripheral wall 21. The tray support platform 41, and vertical radially disposed stall walls 43 associated therewith, cooperate to define the series of stalls 11 disposed about the outer periphery 19 of the counter within the customer service area 15, each stall being sized to accommodate one customer at a time.

The drive system of this invention provides a series of ilder wheels 46, 47 for supporting and guiding the rotating counter top 12 adjacent its outer periphery 19 and a series of drive assemblies 48 and idler wheels 49 for driving and supporting the counter top adjacent its inner periphery 27. The idler wheels 46, 47 disposed about the counters outer periphery 19 are differently oriented one from the other; wheels 46 are vertically disposed and wheels 47 are horizontally disposed. The vertically disposed idler wheels 46 are disposed about and fixed to the frames outer periphery, and function to support the outer periphery of the counter top 12 since the lower edge 50 of outer annular rail 36 rests on top those wheels. The horizontally disposed idler wheels 47 are also disposed about and fixed to the frames outer periphery, and function by bearing against the outside face 51 of the annular rail 36 to maintain the counter top 12 in coaxial relation with its axis 13 of rotation. Note that the vertically disposed idler wheels 46 and the horizontally disposed idler wheels 47 are interposed one with the other about the counter tops outer periphery 19. The drive assemblies 48 (which include drive wheels 52) are mounted to the frame 23 about its inner periphery 27, the drive wheels serving to rotate the counter top 12 as well as support it about its inner periphery. The idler wheels 49 disposed about and mounted to the frames inner periphery are solely for the purpose of supporting the counter top 12 about its inner periphery, each idler wheel 49 being interposed between a drive wheel 52. Note particularly that the counter top 12 is maintained in driving relation with the drive wheels 52 solely by virtue of the counter tops weight, i.e., the counter top 12 simply rests on the outer vertically disposed idler wheels 46 as well as the inner idler wheels 49 and drive wheels 52,

there being no driving engagement of the drive wheels with the counter top other than through frictional interengagement of the drive wheels tire 53 with the bottom surface 54 of the keels foot plate 38. Further, note particularly that the keels foot plate 38 is of a width slightly greater than the width of the' drive wheels tire 53, thereby insuring that a driving relationship will be maintained at all time with the drive wheels 52 even if variations in the concentricity at various locations throughout the counters periphery cause the foot plate to move or slide axially to a slight extent relative to the drive wheel. Typically a rotating type cafeteria food service counter may have a diameter of eighteen or twenty feet or more; as is shown in the Figures. a counter of such size may require eight or more vertically disposed idle'r wheels 46 located about the frames outer periphery 19 (this, of course, means there are also eight or more horizontally disposed idler wheels 47 since a horizontally disposed idler wheel is positioned between each pair of vertically disposed idler wheels) as well as four or more drive assemblies 48 positioned about the inner periphery 27 of the counter (this means that there are four or more idler wheels 49 disposed about the counters inner periphery since an inner vertically disposed idler wheel is disposed between each pair of drive wheels 52).

In connection with the horizontally disposed idler wheels 47 disposed about the outer periphery 19 of the 1 counter top 12 and fixed to the frame 23, note particularly FIG. 9. As shown in this Figure, each horizontally.

disposed idler wheel 47 is a self-bearing wheel mounted to a bracket 55. This bracket is fixed to a vertical outer post 24 of the counters frame 23, there being provided a pair of spaced slots 56 in that bracket adapted to receive a typical bolt and nut 57 type mounting, thereby mounting the idler wheel 47 to the post 24. The radial location of the idler wheels vertically disposed rotational axis 59 relative to the counters axis 13 is variable by virtue of adjusting the position of the bracket 55 relative to the post 24 since slots 56 permit the bracket to be moved radially relative to the counter. This adjustment structure allows the horizontally disposed idler wheels 47 to be positioned substantially flush against, or very closely adjacent to, the outer rail 36 that depends from and is mounted to the underside of the counter top 12. As previously mentioned, these horizontally disposed idler wheels 47 function to maintain the rotating counter top 12 in desired location rela tive to the axis 13 of rotation of the counter 10 as the counter top 12 rotates on top the frame 23.

Each vertically disposed idler wheel 46 located about the counters outer periphery 19 is a self-bearing wheel mounted to a bracket 60, see FIG. 8. The bracket 60 is fixed by bolts 61 to a base plate 62 welded to a vertical outer post 24. The wheel 46 is, in essence, connected to adjustment bolts 63 carried by the bracket 60. A vertical slot 58 in the bracket allows the vertically disposed idler wheel 46 to be adjusted vertically relative to the horizontal plane of the counter top 12. This adjustment allows each idler wheel 46 to provide substantially the same frictional contact with the bottom edge 50 of the annular rail 36. Further, this vertical adjustment feature for the vertical outer wheels 46, in combination with the horizontal adjustment feature for the horizontal outer wheels 47, allows the outer peripheral idler wheels 46, 47 to be adjusted so that a substantially vibration-free travel path is established for the outer periphery 19 of the rotating counter top 12.

Each inner idler wheel 49 is of substantially the same diameter as each drive wheel 52. Each inner idler wheel 49 is mounted on an axle 64, and has a high friction outer surface, e.g., hard rubber tire 53, see FIGS. 6 and 7. The idler wheels axle 64 is carried at each end in suitable bearing blocks 65 bolted (as at 68) to a table 66, the table being disposed beneath the keels foot plate 38 such that the idler wheel is in substantially the same vertical plane as the keels foot plate for contact with the keel 37 from the underside thereof. The idler wheels table 66 is pivotally mounted along edge 69 to the counters frame 23 on a pivot axis 67 thatis substantially radially disposed relative to the counters axis 13 and parallel to the keels foot plate. This pivotal mounting is accomplished by means of a hinge 70 fixed to the table 66 and to a first support bracket 71 that is welded to an inner vertical post 26. A second support bracket 72 is welded to an adjacent inner vertical post 26 and is adapted to underlie the other or nonhinged edge 73 of the idler wheels table 66. An adjustment bolt 74 having a handle 75 on one end thereof is threadedly engaged with the second support bracket 72 such that its other end bears against the underside of the idler wheels table 66. Thus, and by means of the adjustment bolt 74, the idler wheels frictional contact with the underside of the keels foot plate 38 may be adjusted. This frictional contact adjustment is desirable as indicated below.

A detailed illustration of each drive assembly 48 is illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5. Each drive assembly 48 includes the drive wheel 52 (with friction tire 53) that is mounted to axle 76 through a one-way clutch 77 (not shown in detail) that is press fit on the axle. The one way clutch 77 allows the drive wheel 52 to function, in effect. as anidler wheel if power to that drive assembly 48 is interrupted, i.e.. allows the counter top 12 to conwheels axle 76 is carried in bearings 76a, the bearings being bolted (as at 76b) to a table 79 fixed to extend substantially horizontally relative to the counter top 12 in much the same manner as inner idler wheels 49 are mounted. The drive wheels table 79 is pivotally mounted to the frame 23 on a radially disposed pivot axis 80, the pivot axis being established by hinge 81, fixed to one end 82 of the table and also fixed to a first bracket 83 welded to a vertically disposed plate 84. The other or nonhinged end 85 of the table 79 is adapted to overlies a second bracket 86 also welded to the vertical plate 84, thereby supporting the other end of the table 79. Note that, as shown in P16. 5, a lip 87 is integral with the vertical plate 84 along its top edge, the lip being received over inner cross member 31 of the'cou nters frame 23 in a sortof latching engagement, thereby positioning the drive wheel 52 (and all other structure fixed to the plate 84) in operating position relative to the counter top 12 and frame 23.

An adjustment bolt 88 is vertically oriented and threadedly engaged with the second bracket 86, and is adapted to abut against the underside of the drive wheels table 79 adjacent its free edge. A handle 89 is provided on one end of that adjustment screw, thereby allowing the table to be pivoted clockwise as illustrated in FIG. 4 so as to frictionally engage the drive wheel 52 with the underside of the keels foot plate 38. This adjustment allows the drive wheel 52 to be maintained in intimate frictional or driving engagement with the underside of the keels foot plate 38. Further, the bolt 88 adjustment on each drive assembly 48, in combination with a similar bolt 74 adjustment on each inner idler wheel 49, allows the inner periphery 27 of the counter top 12 to be maintained and/or adjusted relative to the frame 23 so that the counter rotates at a substantially even state, i.e., so that the counter does not bump along from one drive wheel to another or so that one drive wheel does not slip relative to the keels foot plate 38. The plate 79, the hinge 81, the adjustment bolt 88 in combination with fixed brackets 83-86 comprise means for adjusting the compression of wheel 52 against the underside of the counter.

The drive wheel 52 is provided with a pulley 90 on its inner end, the pulley 90 being connected with pulley 91 of transmission 92 by flexible drive means such as belt 93. The transmission 92 is, of course, directly connected to drive motor 78. The drive motor 78 and transmission 92 are mounted on a separate sub-table 94 fixed to the vertical wall 84 of the drive assembly 48. This sub-table 94 is slidingly disposed on main table 95 permanently fixed to the wall 84. The sub-table 94 is disposed for sliding movement along an axis 96 parallel to the plane of the drive belt 93, and is guided in that sliding motion by rails 97 at each side thereof fixed to the main table. A threaded adjustment bolt 98 is provided at one end 99 of the sliding table 94, and is adapted to bear against that end 99. The adjustment bolt 98 is interconnected with bracket 100 fixed to the stationary table 95, and handle 101 is interconnected 90. Note particularly that the orientation of the drive wheel 52 and the drive motors pulley 91 is such that the hinged end 82 of the drive wheels table 79 is interposed between the free or vertically movable end of the drive wheels table and the trailing end 102 of the drive motors table 94 even though the drive motors table is disposed beneath the drive wheel's table in spatial relation relative one to the other. Thus, when the drive belt 93 is tightened by pushing the drive motor in the direction indicated by arrow 103 (by rotating the adjustment bolt 98) this will not only tighten the tension on the drive belt but will not detract from the frictional relation between the drive wheel 52 and the underside of the keels foot plate 38 as established by adjustment bolt 88, i.e., tightening of the drive belt 93 by adjustment bolt 98 does not tend to offset tightening of the drive wheel 52 into frictional engagement with the underside of the keels foot plate by adjustment bolt 88. The drive motor 78 is electrically connected by lead 104 and plug 105 with a suitable electric outlet 106 mounted on the fixed frame 23.

As mentioned, the vertical wall 84 to which the drive wheel 52/drive motor 78 assembly are both fixed is hung on the support frame 23, that wall .having a bracket or lip 87 at its upper end adapted to overlie horizontal frame members 31 and resting against vertically disposed inner posts 26 thereby positively positioning the drive assembly 48 on the counters support frame 23. This, in effect, makes the drive wheel 52 mechanism a modular assembly that can be easily removed from driving relation with the counter top 12. Such is accomplished simply by lowering the drive wheel 52 from driving engagement with the underside of the keels foot plate 38 by manipulating the adjustment bolt 88 which allows the drive wheels table 79 to pivot counterclockwise on hinge line 80 until the table rests on the top of the bracket 86. The drive motor 78 is then unplugged from outlet box 106, and the entire assembly 48 then simply lifted off the frame 23 by removing wall 84 from the frame. The assembly 48 can subsequently be returned to the manufacturer for servicing, or it can be easily transported to the maintenance section of the cafeteria installation. Of course, since multiple drive assemblies 48 are provided on the inner periphery 27 of the rotating counter top, the temporary removal of one such assembly 48 for maintenance purposes will not adversely affect the rotation of the counter top 12 to an appreciable extent.

Having described in detail the preferred embodiment of my invention, what I desire to claim and protect by Letters Patent is:

1. A drive system for a rotating cafeteria food service counter, said counter including a counter top adapted to rotate on a fixed frame, including a plurality of vertically disposed drive wheels disposed beneath said counter top, each drive wheel being frictionally engageable with the underside of said counter top for rotating said counter top,

a drive motor interconnected with said drive wheels by a flexible drive means,

tension adjustment means connected with said drive motor, said tension adjustment means permitting adjustment of the tension on said flexible drive means as desired compression adjustment means connected with each drive wheel, said compression adjustment means being manually adjustable to permit varying degrees of compression to be exerted on the underside of said counter top by each drive wheel as desired, and said compression adjustment means also being manually adjustable to frictionally engage or disengage each drive wheel with the underside of said counter top as desired,

a series of vertically disposed idler wheels mounted to said fixed frame, said vertically disposed idler wheels bearing against the underside of said counter top,

first positioning adjustment means connected with each vertically disposed idler wheel, said first positioning adjustmentmeans being manually adjustable to permit varying degrees of compression to be exerted on the underside of said counter by each idler wheel as desired,

a series of horizontally disposed idler wheels mounted to said fixed frame and positioned along a circular locus of points concentric with the counter tops axis of.rotation, said horizontally disposed idlerwheels cooperating with an annular rail fixed to said counter top that is concentric with said counter tops axis of rotation, and

second positioning adjustment means connected with said horizontally disposed idler wheels, said second positioning adjustment means being manually adjustable to permit positioning of each idler wheel along a radially oriented path relative to the center of said counter top for maintaining said counter top in centered position on said fixed frame during rotation of said counter top,

said compression adjustment means, and said first and second positioning means, permitting said drive and idler wheels to be adjusted manually as required so that said counter top may rotate with substantially no noticeable vibration to a customer.

2. A drive system as set forth in claim 1 wherein said compression adjustment means and said first positioning adjustment means each includes a manually adjustable threaded shaft.

3. A drive system as set forth in claim 1 including tension adjustment means connected with said drive motor, said tension adjustment means permitting adjustment of the tension on a drive belt for said motor as desired,

a base wall to which each drive wheel, compression adjustment means, and drive motor are all mounted, and

means mounting said base wall to a structural mem ber of said fixed frame.

4. A drive system as set forth in claim 3 including hinge means connecting said drive wheel to said base wall, said drive wheel pivoting about said hinge means as said drive wheel is selectively engaged with or disengaged from frictional engagement with said counter top, and

rail means interconnecting said drive motor with said base wall, said drive motor being selectively positioned on said rails as desired to vary the tension on said drive belt. 5. A drive system for a rotating cafeteria food service counter, said counter including a counter top adapted to rotate on a fixed frame, including a drive wheel hingedly mounted on a pivot axis beneath said counter top, said drive wheel being frictionally engageable with the underside of said counter top for rotating said counter top,

compression adjustment means connected with said drive wheel 'for pivoting said drive wheel on said pivot axis, said compression adjustment means beingmanually adjustable to permit varying degrees of compression to be exerted on the underside of said counter top by said drive wheel as desired, and said compression adjustment means also being manually adjustable to frictionally engage or disengage said drive wheel with the underside of said counter top as desired,

a drive motor interconnected with said drive wheel by means of a drive belt,

tension adjustment means connected with said drive motor, said tension adjustment means permitting the distance between said drive motor and said drive wheel to be varied so as to adjust the tension on said drive belt as desired, and

a base wall to which said drive wheel, compression adjustment means, drive motor and tension adjustment means are all mounted, said drive wheel being hingedly mounted to said base wall with said pivot axis fixed thereto, said drive motor being slidably mounted to said base wall, and said base wall being mounted onto said fixed frame.

6. A drive system as set forth in claim 5 including latch means fixed to said base wall, said latch means permitting a selective connection between said base wall and a structural member of said fixed frame, thereby providing a modular drive system easily engaged with and disengaged from said fixed frame.

7. A drive system as set forth in claim 6 wherein said compression adjustment means and said tension adjustment means each includes a manually adjustable threaded shaft.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4631044 *Oct 7, 1985Dec 23, 1986Challenge Tool & Manufacturing, Inc.Speed changing device
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Classifications
U.S. Classification186/57, 474/114, 211/1.52
International ClassificationA47F10/06, E04B1/346, E04H3/04, A47F10/00, E04H3/02
Cooperative ClassificationE04H3/04, A47F10/06, E04B1/346
European ClassificationE04B1/346, E04H3/04, A47F10/06