Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3893594 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 8, 1975
Filing dateMay 15, 1974
Priority dateMay 15, 1974
Publication numberUS 3893594 A, US 3893594A, US-A-3893594, US3893594 A, US3893594A
InventorsCarbine Joseph C, Wojtowicz Edward A
Original AssigneeBurroughs Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Rotary device to control operations in an incrementally controlled metering system
US 3893594 A
Abstract
A metering device having utility for automatically dispensing a selectable number of equal portions from a web in a vending apparatus such as a stamp machine utilizing a support wheel having a plurality of equally spaced bistable members near its perimeter, the bistable members having hubs or reciprocatable members movable axially between inactive and active positions, individually selectable actuators for setting the reciprocatable members of the bistable members into their active positions and a sensor adjacent the wheel at a designated home position for detecting the advance of an active bistable member thereto. An additional actuator is provided at the home position to reset the reciprocatable member of a detected bistable member to its inactive state. The bistable members are plastic, wheel-like devices having stationary rims and snap-action hubs which may be molded as an integral part of the support wheel or inserted in apertures of the support wheel. In one embodiment of the invention, each hub contains a magnet, the actuators are solenoids, and the sensor includes a magnetic reed switch for identifying an active bistable member. The support wheel may be rotated by a stepping motor which is started by the selection of an actuator and stopped by the actuation of the reed switch sensor.
Images(3)
Previous page
Next page
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent n91 Carbine et al.

[ ROTARY DEVICE TO CONTROL OPERATIONS IN AN INCREMENTALLY CONTROLLED METERING SYSTEM 21 Appl. No.: 470,182

[52] U.S. Cl. 222/76; 231/4; 194/10 [51] Int. Cl 367d 5/10 [58] Field ofSearch..22l/5, 2, 4; 141/248, 258262;

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,890,781 6/]959 Gore l94/l0 3,651,984 3/l972 Redenbach......................... 221/4 X Primary Examiner-Stanley H. Tollberg Assistant ExaminerNormari L. Stack, Jr.

Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Alan Petlin Klein; Leonard C. Brenner; William B. Penn 5 7] ABSTRACT A metering device having utility for automatically dispensing a selectable number of equal portions from a web in a vending apparatus such as a stamp machine utilizing a support wheel having a plurality of equally spaced bistable members near its perimeter, the bistabie members having hubs or reciprocatable members movable axially between inactive and active positions, individually selectable actuators for setting the reciprocatable members of the bistable members into their active positions and a sensor adjacent the wheel at a designated home position for detecting the advance of an active bistable member thereto. An additional actuator is provided at the home position to reset the reciprocatable member of a detected bistable member to its inactive state. The bistable members are plastic, wheel-like devices having stationary rims and snapaction hubs which may be molded as an integral part of the support wheel or inserted in apertures of the support wheel. In one embodiment of the invention, each hub contains a magnet, the actuators are solenoids, and the sensor includes a magnetic reed switch for identifying an active bistable member. The support wheel may be rotated by a stepping motor which is started by the selection of an actuator and stopped by the actuation of the reed switch sensor.

6 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures 1 ROTARY DEVICE TO CONTROL OPERATIONS IN AN INCREMENTALLY CONTROLLED METERING SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a metering device and more particularly to a mechanical rotary device having utility for employment with a vending apparatus for controlling the incremental dispensing of stamps, tickets, and like items from a web.

The vending apparatus for which the present invention is adapted may be of the type that includes a rotatable shaft for receiving a roll of stamps or like items to be dispensed. A second shaft operates to pull the stamps or other items from the roll and to dispense them from the apparatus. A fixed rotational increment of the second shaft dispenses a single stamp or item. The rotary device of the present invention cooperates with the second shaft to meter the number of increments and thereby to count or meter the number of stamps or other items dispensed.

Prior art mechanical metering devices employed in stamp vending machines generally comprise a relatively large number of intricate and expensive components. For example, the metering device typically employs a plurality of spring-biased sliding metal pinmemory elements bistably transposed between active and inactive states by solenoid means. Thus, the cost of manufacture of the prior art mechanical metering devices is adversely affected by the need for relatively long machining, fabrication, and assembly times.

It is, then, an object of the invention to provide an improved mechanical rotary device of economical manufacture effective to control incremental metering operations in an incrementally controlled metering systern.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an improved mechanical rotary device of the above character comprising a relatively small number of low cost parts readily fabricated in minimum machining and assembly time.

It is still another object of the present invention to improve the design of a mechanical rotary device of the above character by reducing the required number of moving parts thereby simplifying manufacture and increasing reliability.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide an improved mechanical rotary device of the above character having utility in an apparatus such as an automatic stamp vending machine for dispensing a selectable number of equal portions from a web.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The improved rotary device of the invention achieves the above and other objects and the purposes of the invention by utilizing a wheel supporting a plurality of equally spaced apart bistable members located near the wheel circumference, the bistable members being unitary, plastic, wheel-like devices having stationary rims and snap action hubs which may be molded as an integral part of the support wheel or inserted in apertures m the support wheel. In one embodiment of the invention, each hub contains a magnet, the bistable members are selectably actuated by solenoids and an actuated member is detected at a home position by a reed switch.

LII

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The above-mentioned and other objects, advantages and features of the present invention will become more readily apparent from a review of the following specification when taken together with the drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a schematic plan view of the preferred embodiment of the support wheel of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of an embodiment of a bistable member adapted for use in the support wheel of FIG.

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the bistable member of FIG. 2, taken along line 3-3 thereof;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the support wheel of the invention, taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 1,

FIG. 5 is a schematic plan view of an alternative embodiment of the support wheel of the invention; and

FIG. 6 is a sectional view of the alternative embodiment taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The rotary device of the invention utilizes a support wheel 12 (FIG. 1) preferably mounted on a shaft 35 for rotation therewith. The support wheel 12 may be used as a feed wheel for a web, as known in the art, or may meter other feed devices (not shown) through the drive shaft 35.

A plurality of bistable members 11 is equally spaced on the support wheel 12 near the perimeter and on radii of the wheel. Each of the bistable members is of unitary construction and has a rim 13 (FIG. 2) and a hub or reciprocatable member 15 that can be translated axially with respect to the rim between two stable positions, as described in detail in U.S. Pat. No. 3,579,778 issued in the name of Peter T. DiPaolo, Jr., et al. and assigned to the assignee of the present application.

The connecting support between the rim 13 and the hub 15 ofa bistable member 11 includes a plurality of pivotally mounted spokes 17, each having a length which is slightly greater than the difference between the radius of rim l3 and the radius of the hub 15. During translation of the hub 15 from one stable position to the other, distortion occurs either in the spokes 17 or in the rim 13. Preferably, the rim 13 has a thickness sufficiently small to allow distortion of the rim I3 during translation of the hub from one stable position to another. In addition, rim 13 is provided with a plurality of guide members 19 which project inwardly from rim l3 and serve to prevent skewing of hub 15 when it is translated between its stable positions.

As disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,5 79,778, the bistable members 11 can be fabricated as unitary devices of plastic, such as polypropylene. The features of the bistable member 11 as adapted for use in the present invention are more readily shown in FIG. 3, which also illustrates a second stable position of the hub 15 in phantom form. To provide for the translation of the hub 15 between its two stable states, the respective spokes 17 are connected to the inside periphery of rim 13 at a location which is intermediate the two stable locations of the connections of the spokes 17 to hub 15. The respective spokes 17 are flared inwardly at each end 21 to provide the necessary flexibility for the pivotal mounting.

The bistable device of U.S. Pat. No. 3,579,778 has been modified for purposes of the instant invention to include a magnet 23 within hub to facilitate positional detection of the hub 15, i.e., for indicating in which of its two stable states it is residing. Of course, in other embodiments of the present invention, optical, mechanical or other non-magnetic positional indicating and detecting methods and apparatus might be employed as is well-known in the position-sensing art.

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the rim 13 of each bistable member 11 is disposed within a molded cavity (FIG. 4) in the support wheel 12 such that the axis of the hub 15 of each bistable member 11 is parallel to the axis of the main body hub 27, mounted on shaft 35. Each cavity 29 is of sufficient circumference to permit expansion or deformation of the rim 13 of the bistable member 11 during the stable state transition.

A molded circular top disc 31 is secured on the support wheel 12 to constrain the axis movement of the rims 13 of the bistable members 11. Circular apertures placed in the support wheel 12 and top disk 31 allow the hubs 15 of the bistable members 11 to extend through the planar sides of the support wheel 12.

Each bistable member 11 has two distinct stable positions, as shown in FIG. 4. For purposes of this invention the active" position is arbitrarily defined as that position wherein a greater portion of the hub 15 of the bistable member 11 extends outwardly from the top disc 31 of the support wheel 12 for interaction with other elements of the metering device as hereinafter described. The second or converse stable position is defined as the *inactive" position.

Positional stability of the bistable member 11 is maintained by the action of the three toggle spokes 17 and the constraints supplied by the hub 15 and the rim 13. A force acting axially upon hub 15 is required to trans fer the bistable member 11 between its two stable states. A component of the transfer force transmitted through the toggle spokes l7 expands rim l3 sufficiently to allow the toggling of hub 15.

In the preferred embodiment selectively activated solenoids 33 are operatively disposed at control positions in relation to each hub 15 of the bistable members 11 for translating the hub from the inactive to the active state except at the home" control position. The solenoid 33 at the home position is operatively located to translate the hub 15 from the active to the inactive position. The invention is not limited, however, to solenoid mechanisms and may be practiced with other types of electro-mechanical or purely mechanical pulsing apparatus capable of transferring the bistable members 11 between their stable states.

In operation of the preferred embodiment, a selected bistable member 11 is translated into its active position by its associated solenoid 33. The support wheel 12 is then rotated by a prime mover (not shown) via the motor shaft 35 which is secured within the main body hub 27. The prime mover may be either a continuous motion motor or a rotary stepping motor. When the active bistable member is rotated to the designated home position its hub 15 is sensed by a sensor 37 which generates a signal to de-energize the prime mover rotating the support wheel 12, and if desired, to energize the home position solenoid to reset the sensed bistable element back into its inactive position.

The preferred embodiment utilizes as sensor 37 a magnetic sensing device such as a magnetic reed switch which is activated by the magnet 23 within a bistable member 11 in the active position but not activated by a bistable member 11 in the inactive position. Alternatively, the invention may employ micro-switches to mechanically detect an active bistable member at the home position. Standard optical detector systems em ploying photocells and like devices may also be used as the sensor 37.

In an alternate embodiment of the present invention, as shown in FIG. 5 and FIG. 6, a circular unitary molded piece 39 is employed in a rotary device, the molded piece 39 substituting in form and function for the support wheel 12 and plurality of bistable members 11 utilized in the above-described embodiment. This substitution of one part for seven parts results in potential savings in inventory and fabrication costs. A plurality of equally spaced apart equivalent bistable members 43 having a plurality of spoke members 45 located near the circumference of molded piece 39 is formed as an integral part thereof.

Expansion cavities 41 are provided around each of the bistable members 43 to provide for the increased diameter of each member 43 created during the transition from one stable state to another. A molded circu' lar top disc 31 having a plurality of circular apertures is secured on the molded piece of 39 to guide the axial movement of the bistable members 43. In operation. the alternate embodiment functions as the preferred embodiment. The chief advantages of the alternative embodiment lies in its lower material inventory, assembly, and production costs.

In the alternate embodiment, a molding undercut portion exists in the area directly between the spokes 45 and the unitary molded piece 39 (FIG. 6). During the molding process a removable die member may be inserted into this area to block the undesirable infusion of plastic thereto. Other suitable methods for undercutting are suggested and disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,595,301 and generally in a host of other patents collected in the U.S. Patent Office in Class 18, Digest 5 8.

Obviously, undercutting may be avoided altogether by simply providing enlarged circular exit holes 47 in the unitary molded piece 39. Likewise, undercutting may also be avoided by enlarging exit holes 47 only in those portions directly under the spokes 17 of the equivalent bistable members 43. In the partial holeenlarging embodiment, the exit hole 47 for the most part tightly surrounds hub 15 of the equivalent bistable member 43 thereby providing guidance for the hub 15 during translation of the equivalent bistable member 43 from one stable state to the other.

In one application, the present invention is used in conjunction with a stamp, ticket or other like item dispensing apparatus. The support wheel 12 of the rotary device is mounted on one of the output shafts of a double shafted drive motor while the remaining shaft is used to drive an item-dispensing drum. Each item dispensed requires a rotation of the counter and dispensing drum. One of the five activating solenoids is actuated, usually by the value of coins or tokens fed into the apparatus to place a selected bistable member 11 in its active position. The subsequent action of itemdispensing advances the active bistable member 11 towards the designated home position. When the hub 15 of the active bistable member 11 reaches the home pcsition it is detected by sensor 37 which generates a signal to halt the dispensing operation and to reset the active bistable member via the home-based de-activating solenoid. Thus, the mechanical metering capability of the present invention can be used for counting and for controlling the number of items being dispensed.

While the present invention has been particularly described for employment in an apparatus for dispensing stamps, tickets, and other like items, it will be appreciated that the present invention is adaptable for use in any conveyor system, for example, that requires a counting or control of the number increments rotated by a rotating element. Also, it is obvious that the support wheel l2 and the unitary molded piece 39 of the present invention need not be perfectly round as shown but may be fashioned otherwise to meet particular application requirements. It will be further appreciated that while only specific embodiments of the present invention and methods of practicing the present invention have been described and illustrated, changes and modifications therein will be apparent to one skilled in the art which changes and modifications will nevertheless be within the spirit and scope of the invention as claimed.

What is claimed is:

1. In an incrementally controlled metering system, a rotary device effective to control incremental metering operations, said rotary device comprising:

a rotatable support wheel;

a plurality of molded unitary bistable means equally spaced within said support wheel near the circumfe rence thereof, each of said bistable means including a member reciprocatably movable axially to one position in an active state from a normal second position in an inactive state to initiate rotation of said rotatable support wheel and further including pivotable means connected to said reciprocatable member and said support wheel for maintaining said reciprocatable member in either its active state or its inactive state;

a plurality of stationary control means located at spaced positions contiguous to said support wheel adjacent to the circumference thereof for cooperation with said reciprocatable members, said plurality of control means being equal in number to said plurality of bistable means, said control means at all but one of said positions adapted to set a selectable reciprocatable member of one of said plurality of bistable means into its active state, said control means at said position not occupied by said setting control means adapted to reset said selectable reciprocatable member of one of said plurality of bistable means in its active state into its inactive state when said reciprocatable member in its active state is positioned in juxtaposition therewith; and

means at said position not occupied by said setting control means for detecting the presence of said reciprocatable member in its active state to cause cessation of rotation of said rotatable support wheel.

2. The combination recited in claim 1 wherein each of said reciprocatable members of said plurality of histable means also includes a magnet and said means for detecting the presence of said reciprocatable member in its active state includes a magnetic field detecting device.

3. The combination recited in claim 2 wherein said magnetic field detecting device is a magnetic reed relay and each of said plurality of control means includes a solenoid.

4. The combination recited in claim 1 wherein said bistable means further includes a rim secured in said rotatable support wheel; said reciprocatable member is a hub aligned perpendicular to the plane of said support wheel; and said pivotable maintaining means is connected to said rim and to said hub for translating said hub between one and the other of two stable positions symmetrically arranged about said rim in an axial direction.

5. The combination recited in claim 4 wherein each of said plurality of bistable means also includes a magnet secured within the hub thereof; each of said plural ity of control means includes a solenoid; and said means for detecting the presence of said reciprocatable member in its active state includes a magnetic field detecting device.

6. In an incrementally controlled metering system, a rotary device effective to control incremental metering operations, said rotary device comprising:

a rotatable unitary molded wheel including a plural ity of bistable means equally spaced within said wheel near the circumference thereof, each of said bistable means (having) including a member reciprocatably movable axially to one position in an active state from a normal second position in an inactive state to initiate rotation of said rotatable support wheel and further including pivotable means connected to said reciprocatable member and said support wheel for maintaining said reciprocatable member in either its active state or its inactive state;

a plurality of stationary control means located at spaced positions contiguous to said rotatable wheel adjacent to the circumference thereof for cooperation with said reciprocatable members, said plurality of control means being equal in number to said plurality of bistable means, said control means at all but one of said positions adapted to set a selectable reciprocatable member of one of said plurality of bistable means into its active state, said control means at said position not occupied by said setting control means adapted to reset said selectable reciprocatable member of one of said plurality of bistable means in its active state into its inactive state when said reciprocatable member in its active state is positioned in juxtaposition therewith; and

means at said position not occupied by said setting control means for detecting the presence of said reciprocatable member in its active state to cause cessation of rotation of said rotatable support wheel.

* l I l

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2890781 *Oct 30, 1957Jun 16, 1959Electro Snap Switch & Mfg CoDispensing machine
US3651984 *Nov 5, 1969Mar 28, 1972Redenbach FriedrichAlarm clock controlled pill dispensing device
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7138783 *Aug 26, 2004Nov 21, 2006Siemens AktiengesellschaftActuator with control unit and method for operating said actuator
US7578419 *Aug 22, 2005Aug 25, 2009Greenwald Technologies, LlcDisposable integrated bag and pump
US7896202Jul 2, 2009Mar 1, 2011Shlomo GreenwaldDisposable integrated bag and pump
US8196781Feb 24, 2011Jun 12, 2012Intelligent Coffee Company, LlcDisposable pump
Classifications
U.S. Classification222/282, 222/333, 231/4
International ClassificationG07F9/00
Cooperative ClassificationG07F9/00
European ClassificationG07F9/00
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Nov 22, 1988ASAssignment
Owner name: UNISYS CORPORATION, PENNSYLVANIA
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:BURROUGHS CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:005012/0501
Effective date: 19880509
Jul 13, 1984ASAssignment
Owner name: BURROUGHS CORPORATION
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNORS:BURROUGHS CORPORATION A CORP OF MI (MERGED INTO);BURROUGHS DELAWARE INCORPORATEDA DE CORP. (CHANGED TO);REEL/FRAME:004312/0324
Effective date: 19840530