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Publication numberUS3924779 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 9, 1975
Filing dateAug 7, 1974
Priority dateAug 7, 1974
Also published asCA1023708A, CA1023708A1
Publication numberUS 3924779 A, US 3924779A, US-A-3924779, US3924779 A, US3924779A
InventorsLindsey James C
Original AssigneeCavalier Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Adaptable article dispensing apparatus with cam actuating member
US 3924779 A
Abstract  available in
Images(7)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Lindsey Dee..9, 1975 ADAPTABLE ARTICLE DISPENSING APPARATUS WITH CAM ACTUATING MEMBER [75] Inventor: James C. Lindsey, Chattanooga,

Tenn.

[73] Assignee: Cavalier Corporation, Chattanooga,

Tenn.

[22] Filed: Aug. 7, 1974 [21] Appl. No.: 495,492

Primary ExaminerRobert B. Reeves Assistant ExaminerH. Grant Skaggs Attorney, Agent, or FirmCameron, Kerkam, Sutton, Stowell & Stowell [5 7 ABSTRACT Apparatus for dispensing articles such as cans and/or bottles from staggered stacks thereof is disclosed as comprising a reservoir or bin for receiving the staggered stacks of articles, a releasable support member for each column of the staggered stacks of articles movable from a first article supporting position beneath its column to a second article releasing position whereby an article from that column is released, an escrow bar disposed to receive one of the released articles and movable from a first article retaining position to a second article releasing position, a pivotably m n e l h m l fr m,a first,,normalmnositionmam for retaining the support members in their first article supporting position, to a second position wherein one of the article support members is retained in its first article supporting position, and to release the other article support member permitting it to be disposed to .its second releasing position, and to a third position wherein the latch engages the other article support member to retain it in its first article supporting position and releases the one article support member whereby it is disposed to its second article releasing position.

10 Claims, 13 Drawing Figures Sheet 2 0f 7 US. Patent Dec. 9, 1 975 US. Patent Dec. 9, 1975 Sheet 3 of7 3,924,779

US. Patcant Dec. 9, 1975 Sheet 4 of7 3,924,779

US. Patent Dec. 9, 1975 Sheet 5 of7 3,924,779

US. Patent Dec. 9, 1975 Sheet 6 of7 3,924,779

US. Patent Dec. 9, 1975 Sheet 7 of7 3,924,779

mmw

ADAPTABLE ARTICLE DISPENSING APPARATUS WITH CAM ACTUATING MEMBER CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION Reference is made to commonly-assigned, co-pending Application Ser. No. 497,713 entitled, Adaptable Article Dispensing Apparatus With Unique Escrow Bar and Associated Latch Mechanism, filed Aug. 15, 1974 in the name of Harry R. Payne and now U.S. Pat. No. 3,904,076.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to dispensing apparatus for dispensing a single article at a time in sequence from a plurality of articles arranged in a front-to-back staggered stack of the type generally disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,224,631, issued Dec. 21, 1965.

Even more particularly, this invention relates to a mechanism for dispensing a single article at a time in sequence from front-to-back staggered stacks of articles in which the releasing and dispensing mechanisms are actuated by the weight of the articles in the staggered stacks of articles and release of the releasing and dispensing mechanisms for dispensing a single article at a time from the staggered stack of articles is actuated by electrically energized means.

Even more particularly still, this invention relates to a dispensing mechanism for dispensing in sequence and one-ata-time an article such as a single can or bottle from front-to-back staggered stacks of articles, cans or bottles, hereinafter referred to for convenience as cans, in which the weight of the cans in the stacks actuates the releasing and dispensing mechanisms. The mechanism is released for the dispensing of a single can at a time by electrically energized means which may be energized from any suitable source and controlled by any suitable switch mechanism, which switch mechanism may preferably be actuated by the deposit of a coin.

Even more particularly, this invention relates to a dispensing mechanism in which two staggered stacks of cans are arranged in front-to-back relationship with a releasing me chanism common to both stacks for releasing a can from each stack when the releasing mechanism is energized with one can then being immediately dispensed and the other can being retained until the mechanism is again energized, as by the deposit of a second coin, whereupon the other can is released and dispensed.

2. Description of the Prior Art At the present time, articles such as cans of popular beverages are usually stored for selective sale in refrigerated cabinets with coin release mechanisms for dispensing one can at a time. In these cabinets, the cans may be disposed on sloping shelves arranged one shelf above the other or the cans may be arranged in vertical staggered stacks in side-by-side bins. In the first type of dispenser in which the cans are arranged on sloping shelves, the lowermost can on each shelf may move by gravity to a position where it can be withdrawn manually by the purchaser after a coin has been deposited to release a locking mechanism allowing withdrawal on one can at a time.

In the second type of apparatus, in which the cans are arranged vertically in columns in staggered stacks in side-by-side bins, various devices have been used for releasing one can at a time on the deposit of a suitable coin. Usually this release mechanism is driven by an electric motor and moves from beneath one can in the 5 selected column in the selected staggered stack to a position beneath the next can to prevent more than one can from being dispensed at a time.

The first type of dispenser has advantages of relatively simple construction and the merchandise is visible for selection by the purchaser. A variety of types of beverage can be sold in this machine depending only on the number of sloping shelves provided. This multiplicity of variety is disadvantageous to the supplier who may place the machine on location since the machine can then be used for vending products other than those of the supplier.

In the second type of dispenser in which the cans are arranged in staggered stacks, it has been found that the practical size of the cooler, doors and the like of the apparatus limits the number of double column staggered stacks side-by-side in the cabinet. The number of selections are therefore limited in a machine of maximum size. This is advantageous to the supplier since it limits the number of beverages that can be sold other than those of the supplier. A further advantage is that more cans can be stored in the staggered stack type dispenser than in the shelf type machine. Even greater capacity is obtained when the staggered stacks are arranged in front-to-back relationship. However, in the staggered stack machine, the delivery mechanism is usually motordriven and is expensive; there is always the possibility of a mechanical jam of the mechanism in the au tomatic, positive drive of the dispensing mechanism for the cans.

Heretofore, it has been proposed to dispense from stacks of articles or cans less than two diameters of the articles or cans in width with a mechanism for holding the lowermost can in the stack first on one side of the stack and then on the other side of the stack. A mechanism of this type is disclosed. in the aboveidentified U.S. Pat. No. 3,224,631, which discloses apparatus for dispensing articles from one side or column of the staggered stack and then from the other column of the staggered stack, as referred to above. In particular, first and second support members are provided under each column of the staggered stacks, each of which is movable from an article supporting position to an article releasing position as controlled by a pivotably mounted latch or rock plate. When a coin is deposited within the dispensing apparatus or an initiating switch in a control circuit is momentarily closed, an energizing signal or current is applied to a first lock mechanism associated with the pivotably mounted latch, whereby the latch is permitted to rotate from a first, rest position to either' of a second or third position. In the second position, the pivotably mounted latch member serves to retain the first support member in its article supporting position, while at the same time releasing the second support member to its article releasing position, whereby at least two articles from the aligned, staggered stacks thereof are released. One of the two released articles is dispensed for the use of the operator, while the other article is retained by an escrow bar that is held during this first cycle of operation, in its article retaining position.

The movement of the released support member is controlled, as taught in the above-identified patent, by a non-extensible member such as a chain, whose tension is released, whereby he disengaged support member is slowly moved to its article releasing position under the weight of the stacked articles. The chain tensioning mechanism comprises, in the above-identified patent, a motor-driven disk to which the chain is connected. As the disk continues to rotate, the chain tension is again increased and the support member is moved from its second article releasing position back to its article supporting position and the rotatable latch member is disposed to its first, rest position, at which time the rotatably mounted latch member is again latched by the first lock mechanism. When the disk has rotated through a complete revolution, a de-energizing circuit switch is actuated, whereby the control circuit de-energizes the motor.

When the next coin is inserted or the initiating switch thrown, a second cycle commences, wherein the motor-driven disk rotates through a second complete revolution. During the second cycle, a second lock mechanism is actuated whereby the escrow bar is released, permitting it to be moved to its second article releasing position, and the article initially released during the first cycle but retained by the escrow bar, is now released. Illustratively, the first and second lock mechanism comprise solenoid mechanisms that are sequentially energized during the first and second cycles by the aforementioned control circuit.

In the above-identified patent, the mechanism is adapted to release articles such as cans from at least two staggered stacks thereof, corresponding cans in the adjacent stacks being substantially axially aligned of each other. In the present invention, the dispensing apparatus is adapted to vend different types of articles, such as bottles, that may be disposed in a single stack, as well as other articles such as cans, that may be stacked double from front to back. Such adaptation makes the dispensing apparatus more versatile and permits the refrigerated area to be used more efficiently than presentlyavailable dispensing apparatus. Further, the conversion or adaptation from articles of one size to another, i.e., cans to bottles, is relatively simple and may be carried out by a technician at the location of the dispensing apparatus.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is therefore an object of this invention to provide an article dispensing apparatus that is capable of easy conversion between dispensing articles of a first size to articles of a second, different size.

It is a further object of this invention to provide new and improved article dispensing apparatus capable of operating in a first mode to dispense articles, e.g., cans, one-at-a-time from staggered stacks thereof in front-toback relation and to a second mode of operation, in which articles of greater axial dimensions, e.g., bottles, are dispensed one-at-a-time from a single staggered stack thereof.

These and other objects are accomplished in accordance with the teachings of this invention by providing article dispensing apparatus comprising a reservoir or bin for receiving at least two staggered stacks of articles wherein adjacent articles in these stacks are aligned substantially axially of each other and releasable support means in the form of first and second members, one for each column of the first and second staggered stacks and movable from a first article supporting position to a second article releasing position. The movement of the first and second support members is controlled by a pivotably mounted latch plate, disposable from a first rest position to either of a second position wherein the first support member is maintained in its article supporting position while the second support member is released to its article releasing position or of a third position wherein the second support member is maintained in its article supporting position while the first support member is released to its article releasing position. When the pivotably mounted latch plate is disposed to either of its second or third positions, a corresponding support member is disposed to its article releasing position, thereby releasing an article from each of the staggered stacks. One of the two articles is dispensed while the other is retained by an escrow bar that is held during the first cycle of operation in its article support position. To initiate operation of the dispensing apparatus, an energizing or control circuit is closed by a switch to initiate a first of two cycles of operation, for energizng a motor to rotate a coupled cam member. The cam member actuates a first lock means from its first rest position, wherein it engages and retains the pivotably mounted latch plate in its first, rest position to a second, unlocked position wherein the pivotably mounted latch plate is free to move to either of its second or third positions. As the cam member continues to rotate, it engages a reciprocally mounted operating plate to move it from its first to its second position. The operating plate includes a surface for engaging one of the support members and as it moves toward its second position, one of the first and second support members follows its movement whereby it is disposed to its second article release position. The energizing circuit includes a switch actuatable by the cam upon completion of the first cycle, whereby the cam-driving motor is deenergized. When the energizing circuit again is closed to initiate the second cycle, the motor again is energized to continue to drive the cam through the second cycle of operation in which the cam engages and actuates a second lock mechanism, whereby the escrow bar is released to permit it to be disposed in its article releasing position whereby the retained article now is released. At the end of the second cycle, the cam again engages a switch whereby the motor is de-energized.

The above-described dispensing apparatus may be readily adapted from the described mode of operation wherein relatively short articles, such as cans, are disposed in staggered, aligned stacks thereof for release in a two-cycle mode of operation, to receive a single staggered stack of relatively larger articles such as bottles. In particular, the reservoir or bin is modified with suitable spacers to receive the single staggered stack of bottles, the escrow bar is removed and the cam surface is adapted so that it opens the energizing circuit only at its start or initial position, thus eliminating the second cycle of operation. In one illustrative embodiment of this invention, the cam is provided with first and second surfaces for operating in the first two-cycle mode of operation whereby the energizing circuit is opened twice when the first and second surfaces engage the circuit switch. In order to adapt the article dispensing apparatus to dispense the second type of article, the cam member is modified in that the second surface, e.g., a screw, is removed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent by referring to the following detailed description and accompanying drawings, in which like reference characters indicate like parts:

FIG. 1 is a front view of an embodiment of the present invention showing a plurality of bins for receiving the articles to be dispensed by a corresponding plurality of dispensing mechanisms, in which a motor associated with each dispensing mechanism is shown;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged, front view of one dispensing mechanism as shown in FIG. 1, with the motor and its supporting assembly removed;

FIG.. 3 is a side view in section of the dispensing mechanism of FIG. 2 taken along line 3-3 thereof;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a single dispensing mechanism as shown in FIG. 1; I

FIGS. 5 and 6 are front views of the dispensing mech anism as shown in FIG. 1 with the motor and motor support removed therefrom and illustrating particularly in conjunction with FIG. 2 the cyclical rotation of the cam member and the corresponding release of the escrow bar;

FIGS. 7 to 10 are front views of an individual dispensing mechanism as shown in FIG. 3 as taken along line 7-7 thereof and particularly illustrating the operation of the pivotably mounted latch plate;

FIG. 11 is a side view taken partially in section of the dispensing mechanism of FIG. 1 as modified to receive a single staggered stack of articles;

FIG. 12 is a front view in section of the modified dispensing mechanism of FIG. 11 taken along line 12-12 thereof; and

FIG. 13 is a schematic diagram of the circuit for energizing the plurality of dispensing mechanisms as shown in the embodiment of FIG. 1.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now to the drawings and in particular to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, there is shown article dispensing apparatus in accordance with the teachings of this invention, ascomprising a plurality of bins 10a, 10b, 10c and 10d for receiving staggered stacks of articles. For example bins 10a and 10b receive, as illustrated particularly in FIG. 3, first and second staggeered stacks of cans 16, corresponding cans 16 being axially aligned of each other from the front to the back of its bin 10. In a further embodiment of this invention, as will be explained with respect to FIGS. 1 l and 12, the dispensing apparatus of this invention is adapted to be modified readily to accept a single stack of staggered articles such as bottles 18. As particularly shown in FIG. 3, each bin or reservoir 10 is formed of side walls 11, and front and rear walls 14 and 14. The side walls 11 of the bins 10 are spaced apart less than twice the diameter of the articles to be dispensed so that the articles will lie between the walls 11 in staggered stacks, in a known manner. The front and rear walls 14 and 14 are spaced as shown in FIG. 3 to accommodate the axial lengths of the cans 16 to be dispensed from the first and second staggered stacks.

As shown in FIG. 1, each bin 10a to 10d has an associated dispensing mechanism comprising generally a selectively energizable motor 9 for rotating a cam member generally identified by the numeral 26. It is understood that the elements of corresponding dispensing mechanisms are identified with the letters a, b, c and d throughout these drawings. Further, each dispensing mechanism includes an escrow bar 68 that is disposable from a first position as illustrated in FIG. 1 for retaining an article, to a second position as illustrated in FIG. 6, wherein the article is released or dispensed from the apparatus. In particular, the position of the escrow bar 68 is controlled by a reciprocally mounted lock plate or mechanism 78 that is biased by spring 74 to a first locking position, wherein a notch 112 of the plate 78 locks the escrow bar 68 in its first, article retaining position. As seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, the plate 78 is reciprocally mounted by a plurality of studs 70 disposed within slots 72 of the plate 78. As will be explained in detail later, the cam member 26 serves to move the locking plate 78 from its first locking position to a second position wherein the escrow bar 68 is released therefrom to permit dispensing of an article. As shown in FIG. 1, upon release of an article by the dispensing mechanism associated with either bin 10a or 10b, an article is dropped into the tray 20 to be received by the customer. In a similar fashion, an article released by the dispensing mechanism associated with either bin 10c or 10d is released into the tray 22.

With respect to FIGS. 2, 3 and 4, there is shown the structure and arrangement of the motor 9 as it is coupled by the shaft to the cam member 26, which comprises an arm 98 and a sector member 92 bearing a first switch actating surface in the form of a screw 94 and a second switch actuating surface in the form of a screw 96. As particularly illustrated in FIG. 4, the first and second screws 94 and 96 are disposed angularly apart for actuating a switch 102 in a sequential fashion as the sector member 92 is rotated by the motor 9. In particular, the screw 94 engages first an arm 104 of the switch 102, whereby the switch 102 is opened. Thereafter, as the cam member 26 continues to rotate, the screw 96 is brought into engagement with the arm 104.

Further, the arm 98 includes a roller fixedly attached to one end thereof, for engaging the top surface (as shown in FIG. 4) of a flange 114 integrally connected to the reciprocally mounted lock plate 78 to drive the plate 78 to its second, unlocked position. As particularly shown in FIG. 2, the roller 100 is disposed to also engage a second reciprocally mounted operating plate 120. The, roller 100 engages a flange 122 when the arm 98 is in its starting or upright position as shown in FIG. 2. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the operating plate includes a second, lower flange 124 for engageing and controlling the motion of first and second support members 58 and 5'9, as will be explained in detail later.

In addition, the roller 100 engages a locking mechanism generally identified by the numeral 15 and in particular a cam surface of a reciprocally mounted member 126. As shown in FIG. 3, the member 126 is reciprocally mounted by a pair of studs 132 and 134 disposed respectively within slots 136 and 137. The studs 132 and 134 are fixedly secured to a bracket 150 which in turn is mounted upon the face of the front wall 14. The cam surface 130 is disposed upon a cantilevered arm of the member 126 and is disposed within a cutaway portion 121 of the flange 122 of the member 120, whereby the roller 100 engages the surface 130 to force the member 126 upward as shown in FIG. 5. In particular, there is provided a stop member 142, as shown in FIG. 2, having a flange 144 against which the reciprocally mounted member 126 abuts. Thus, as the arm 98 is rotatively driven in a counterclockwise direction as shown in FIG. 2, the roller 100 engages the surface 130, forcing the arm 126 upward, from a first rest position to a second release or unlocking position.

As shown in FIG. 3 and 4, the reciprocally mounted member 126 has a lower flange 138 extending so as to engage a member 160 pivotably secured as shown in FIG. 3 and 7, by a pin 29 to a bracket 164 mounted upon the front wall 14 of the bin 10. The pivotably mounted member 160 is disposed in its first or rest position in FIG. 3, wherein a narrowed portion thereof 162 (see FIG. 4) engages a notch 38 within the pivotably mounted latch plate 35. As shown in FIG. 3, the pivotably mounted member 160 is retained in its first position under the influence of a spring 67 having one end secured to the member 160 and the other end secured to a pin 166 mounted upon the rear side of a mounting wall 82. As will be explained in detail later, as the cam member 26 rotates, the roller 100 engages the cam surface 130 of the member 126, thereby rotating the member 160 upward against the bias of the spring 67 and releasing the pivotably mounted latch plate 35 to move from its first, rest position as shown in FIGS. 4 and 7, to either of its second position (see FIG. 8) of of its third position (now shown).

With respect to FIG. 4, the pivotably mounted latch plate 35 operates, as will be explained in detail later with respect to FIGS. 7 to 10, to control the movement of one of the first and second support members 58 and 59 between a first article supporting position as shown in FIGS. 4 and 7, and a second article releasing position as shown in FIG. 8, wherein the article is released from its corresponding support member. As shown in FIG. 7, the staggered stack of cans 16 is considered to include first and second columns of the cans 16; each can overlying the support arm 59 is marked with a prime and is considered to be in a first column of the staggered stack, whereas each can 16" overlying the support member 58 is considered to be in a second column of the staggered stack. Thus, as the pivotably mounted latch plate 35 is unlocked, the support member 58 will be permitted first to rotate to its second position to release articles from its column and then the support member 59 will be released to its second position, to dispense articles from its corresponding column. As shown in FIGS. 3, 4 and 7, the latch plate 35 is pivotably mounted by a stud 34 fixedly secured to the front wall 14. An arcuately-shaped slot 116 is provided within the latch plate 35 for receiving a guiding stud 118, likewise secured to the front wall 14. As most clearly shown in FIG. 4, a pair of tumbler plates 79 and 80 are pivotably mounted upon the latch plate 35 by a pair of rivots 42 and 43, respectively. A spring 45 urges the tumbler plates 79 and 80 into engagement with a stop portion 44. As shown in FIG. 7, the tumbler plates 79 and 80 serve when the latch plate 35 is disposed in its first rest position, to retain the support arms 58 and 59 in their first article supporting positions. Further, the support arms 58 and 59 extend through slots 47 and 46, respectively, of the front wall 14 and into the bin (see FIG. 3) to retain in their first, article supporting position the articles, e.g., cans 16, within the bin 10. As explained above, the narrowed portion 162 of the pivotably mounted member 160 retains the latch plate 35 in its first, rest position.

As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the support arm 59 is pivotably mounted by a pair of arms 63 and 63"to rotate from its first to its second position. The arm 63 is pivotably mounted at one end by a stud 64 affixed to the rear wall 14.

A front wall 140 is spaced from and mounted upon a mounting wall 82 as shown in FIG. 3. The escrow bar 68, formed in cantilevered fashion, is pivotably mounted by a stud 73 secured fixedly to the front wall 140 and further includes a support bracket 87 secured at one end to an extended, cantilevered portion 69 and at its other end pivotably mounted upon a stud 71 fixedly secured to the front wall 14. The cantilevered portion 69 extends within the bin 10 a length slightly less than the axial length of the can 16, whereby when one of the arms 58 and 5 9 is disposed to its second, article releasing position, two cans 16, and 16 are released thereby; the can 16 falling from the frontmost staggered stack is retained by the escrow bar 68, whereas the can 16 falling from the second or rearwardmost staggered stack drops into the tray to be dispensed to the customer. As will be explained in detail later, the dispensing mechanism of this invention is operated in a first cycle to release one of the support bars 58 or 59 and thereafter in a second cycle, whereby the escrow bar 69 is disposed to its second, releasing position so that the can 16 is dropped into the bin 20 to be dispensed.

As shown in FIG. 3, the motdL9 is mounted upon a a support plate 88, which in turn is spaced from and secured to the mounting wall 82 by brackets 84 and 86. Further, the switch 102 is mounted by a flange 85 upon the bracket 86 so that its contact arm 104 may engage the first and second screws 94 and 96.

In FIG. 13, there is shown a control or energizing circuit for applying a voltage signal one of the motors 9a to 9d, dependent upon which of the selection switches 215A, 215B, 215C and 215D is actuated by the customer according to the beverage that he desires. Only part of the operation of the energizing circuit shown in FIG. 13 will be explainend below, the complete operation being set out in detail in US. Pat. No. 3,486,601, issued Dec. 30, 1969 and assigned to the assignee of this invention. Briefly, power to the energizing circuit is applied across a pair of supply conductors 224 and 225 which may be connected to a conventional supply source (not shown). The positive terminal of line 224 designates the hot line, while the negative terminal connected to line 225 designates the ground return line. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 13, each bin 10 has associated therewith a motor 9, a switch 102, a pair of sold-out switches 212 and 213, a sold-out indicator light 214, the selector switch 215 and a selector relay 216. Corresponding to the notation adopted for FIG. 1, those components corresponding to a bin 10 are designated with a character followed by a letter, e.g. A, to indicate that these components operate in conjunction with the dispensing mechanism associated with the bin with the corresponding letter. In addition to the components associated with a particular column, a number of common control components are provided including coin-operated switch 217, vend relay 218, coin reject electromagnet 219, select indicator or established-credit light 220and credit release relay 221.

Operation of the circuit of FIG. 13 now will be explained with regard to the dispensing mechanism previously described. Upon insertion of proper coinage into the vending machine, coin-operated vend switch 217 is caused to be actuated and vend relay 218 energized. Light 220 is lit to indicate that credit has been established. Energization of vend relay 218 establishes a holding circuit for its windings through contacts 235 and 236, one more of the sold-out switches 213A to 213D and normally closed contacts 255, 256 of credit release relay 221. Also, an enabling circuit for the se- 9 lector relays is established through contacts 232 and 233 and the normally closed contacts of the vend relay. Energization of vend relay 218 also breaks the energizing circuit for the coin-reject electromagnet 219 initially maintained through contacts 234and 236.

The dispensing apparats is now ready for a particular selection to be made by a customer, which selection is effected upon operation of a selector switch. For examplc, assuming that selector switch 215A corresponding to column A is actuated by a customer, a circuit is established for energization of vend motor 16a and selector relay 216D. Selector relay 2161) is held in upon closure of its contacts 246D, 2481), while closure of its contacts 247!) and 250D connect the energizing winding of credit release relay 221 in series with the winding of vend motor 16a through the now closed, but normally open contacts 265, 266 of the motor timer switch 102a.

It should be noted that motor 9a, which was initially energized through the selector switch 215A, is energized through conductor 242 and the holding circuit of relay 216D established with the normally open contacts 246 and 248. Operation of motor 9A drives its associated cam 26a causing the responding contact arm 104A to be actuated so as to remove power to the motor 160 from line 242. Selector relay is held in, however, by its holding circuit and the motor windings are connected in series with the energizing winding of the credit release relay through the normally open, now closed contacts 247D, 2501) of the energized selector relay 2161).

When the credit release relay energizes, its contacts 255, 256 are switched to the open position breaking the vending relay holding circuit, and thus removing established credit from the machine. As the vend relay is deenergized, the holding circuit for the selector relay 2161) is in turn opened, de-energizing the selector relay. This returns contact arm 247 to its normally closed position, again completing the power circuit to the vend motor 9a through contact 251 and conductor 277, causing motor 9a to continue to drive cam 260.

Before the circuit of FIG. 13 is closed to energize the selected motor 9, the corresponding cam member 26 and in particular its arm 98 is disposed in its initial, upright position as shown in FIG. 2. When the energizing circuit is closed, the motor 9 begins to rotate the arm 98 is a counterclockwise direction as shown by the arrow in FIG. 2, whereby the roller 100 is driven into contact with the surface 130 of the reciprocally mounted member 126, driving it against the flange 144 and upward. In its initial or starting position as shown in FIG. 7, the latch plate 35 is disposed uprightly in its first or rest position wherein the lock mechanism 15 and in particular the narrowed portion 162 of the pivotably mounted member 160, is disposed within its notch 38 locking plate 35 in its first, rest position. As roller 100 engages surface 130, the reciprocating member 126 is forced upward, whereby the lower flange 138 engages the pivotably mounted member 160 rotating it out of engagement with the notch 38 of the latch plate 35. At this time, the latch plate 35 rotates to either its second or third position, dependent upon which of the support members 58 or 59, the lowermost can 16 rests. In FIG. 7, the lowermost can 16 is disposed in the second column of the staggered stack, resting upon the support arm 58. As a result, the weight of the can 16" in the second column forces the tumbler plate 80 downward and out of the way; as shown in FIG. 8, the

10 latch plate 35 rotates in a clockwise direction. Once the support member 58 has cleared the tumbler plate 80, it is free to rotate in a counterclockwise direction from its first article supporting position to its second article releasing position, whereby the lowermost can 16" in the second column is released. Referring now to FIG. 3, it is seen that when a pair of cans 16 and 16 are released by one of the support arms 58 or 59, the can 16 disposed in the foremost staggered stack is retained by the escrow bar 68, whereas the rearwardmost can 16 is released into the tray 20 to be received by the customer.

As shown in FIG. 5, during the first cycle of operation, the reciprocally mounted lock plate 78 is disposed in its first, uppermost locking position, whereby the notch 112 thereof retains the escrow bar 86 against movement, i.e., the escrow bar 86 is retained in its article support position, preventing the can 16 from being released into the tray 20. As the cam member 26 rotates as shown in FIG. 5 from its initial position, the first contact surface in the form of the screw 94 is brought into engagement with the contact arm of the switch 102, thereby opening switch 102 and its contacts 247 and 250 (see FIG. 13) whereby the energizing signal is removed from the windings of the motor 9a. At this point, the first cycle of operation is completed. During the first cycle of operation, the movement of the selected support member, e.g., support member 58 as shown in FIG. 8, is controlled by the reciprocally mounted plate 120 and the cam member 26. In particular, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 5, the roller of the member 26 engages the flange 122 and as the cam member 26 rotates, the member moves down under the weight of the column of cans bearing against the support arm 58 and therefore, against the lower flange 154 of the plate 120. As the roller 100 reaches the bottom of its cycle, as shown in FIG. 5, the screw 94 engages the switch arm 104 to open the switch 102, thus completing the first cycle of operation.

To commence the second cycle of operation wherein the can 16 retained by the escrow bar 68 is released, a further coin is deposited in the vending machine whereby coin-operated vend switch 217 is actuated. After the operator actuates one of the selector switches 215A to 215D, the corresponding motor, e.g., motor 9a, is energized to complete its second cycle. In particular, the cam member 26 and in particular the arm 98, continues to rotate in a counterclockwise direction as shown in FIG. 6, until the roller 100 engages the top surface of the flange 114 driving plate 78 downward against the biasing action of spring 74, until the escrow bar 86 is released from the notch 112 of the plate 78. Thus, the escrow bar 86 is permitted to rotate to one side as shown in FIG. 6, whereby the can 16 is released into the tray 20.

As the arm 98 is continued to be rotated from its lowermost position as sown in FIG. 6, the roller 100 is moved counterclockwise in an upward direction, whereby the plate 78 is urged upwardly by its spring 74. As the plate 78 moves upward, the cam surface 1 10 thereof moves against the escrow bar 86, moving it back into the notch 112, thus locking it in its first article supporting position. Further, as the roller 100 moves upward, it engages the lower surface of the flange 124 of the reciprocally mounted plate 120, thus moving it back upward toward its position as shown in FIG. 5. As the plate 120 is moved upward, its lower flange 124 engages the released support member, e.g. support member 58 as shown in FIG. 9, thereby moving it in a clockwise and upward direction from its second article releasing position toward its first article support ing position. As shown in FIG. 10, the support arm 58 as it is rotated upwardly, engages a leading surface of the tumbler plate 80, thereby displacing it against the biasing action of the spring 45. When the support arm 58 has cleared the tumbler plate 80, the spring 45 causes the tumbler plate 80 to rotate clockwise slightly, whereby its topmost surface engages and locks the support member 58 in its first, article supporting position. The second cycle is completed when the screw 96 engages the switch arm 104 of the switch 102, as shown in FIG. 2, whereby the energizing circuit of FIG. 13 and in particular the contact made between arm 104 and contact 66 is opened, at which time the energizing voltage applied to the motor 9a is removed. Thus, the cam member 26 has been rotated through a revolution, completing two cycles of operation, and is returned to its starting position as shown in FIG. 2.

Referring now to FIG. 11, there is shown the manner in which the dispensing apparatus of this invention may be readily modified so that articles such as bottles 18 may be singly dispensed from the same essential mechanism that dispensed cans 16, as explained above. First, a rear spacing wall 152 is disposed within the bin 10 according to the axial length of the bottles 18. In an illustrative embodiment, a series of openings 154 is provided in each of the side walls 11 and spaced from each other so as to be aligned with the openings formed between a plurality of fingers 157 formed within a flange extending from the rear spacing wall 150. When the rear wall 150 has been spaced the correct axial distance from the front wall 14, a suitable keying member 156 is disposed within one of the openings 154 so as to engage adjacent fingers 157 to retain the rear wall 150 at its correct position. In a similar manner, as shown in FIG. 12, side spacing walls 158 also may be disposed within the bin 10 to dispose the bottles in a staggered stack. Spacing elements 160 are inserted between the side walls 11 and the side spacing walls 158 to determine the correct bin width so that the bottles 18 are staggered in the manner as shown in FIG. 12. Further, as shown in FIG. 11, the escrow bar is removed by removing the washer retaining the escrow bar 68 to the stud 73, as shown in FIG. 3. In addition, the first switch contact surface, i.e., the screw 94, as shown in FIG. 4, is removed by simply unscrewing the screw 94. As a result, in the operation of the modified embodiment as shown in FIGS. 11 and 12, a coin is deposited to close the switch 217 and upon actuation of the appropriate selector switch 215A to 215D, an energizing signal is applied by the circuit of FIG. 13 to the selected motor 9. The motor 9 initiates the rotation of the cam member 26 to release the lock mechanism 15, whereby the pivotably mounted latch plate 35 is permitted to rotate to either of its second or third positions to release a corresponding support arm 58 or 59. The cam member 26 engages the topmost flange 121 of the reciprocally mounted plate 120, to guide the released support member 58 or 59 to its second. article releasing position. At this time, a single bottle 18 is released into the tray 22 as seen in FIGS. 1 and 11. Since the first contact surface or screw 94 has been removed, the cam member 26 continues to rotate until the screw 96 engages the I switch arm 104 of the switch 102, whereby the switch 102 is opened and the energizing signal applied to the selected motor 9 is removed, thus completing the operation of the modified dispensing mechanism. In FIG. 1,

12 the dispensing mechanism associated with the bins 10C and 10D have been modified as more specifically described with respect to FIGS. 11 and 12 so that a single bottle 18 may be dispensed one-at-a-time.

Thus, there has been shown a dispensing mechanism that is readily capable of being adapted to dispense various types and sizes of articles. For example, in one mode of operation, the dispensing apparatus of this invention may be disposed to dispense cans from at least two staggered stacks thereof in a double-cycle mode of operation, wherein two cans are first released by a support member, one of which is dispensed to the customer and upon a second energization of the mechanism as by depositing a second coin, the second can, retained by an escrow bar, is released. In a second mode of operation, the escrow bar may be removed and the cam member modified so that it rotates through a single rotation or cycle without stopping; at the completion of the single rotation, the cam member and thus the energizing circuit is prepared to be actuated again to dispense the next .bottle.

The conversion from the first to the second modes of article dispensing is simple in contrast to that required for the complex mechanisms of the prior art. The conversion contemplated by this invention may be carried out on location with simple tools in a relatively short period of time. Further, a single motor has been employed with each bin or reservoir of articles, rather than dispensing articles from each bin by the use of solenoids and a common lowering device. Thus, if the dispensing mechanism associated with one bin malfunctions, the remaining dispensing mechanisms remain operative. Thus, articles may continue to be dispensed from the dispensing mechanism, while a serviceman is called to repair the inoperative mechanism. In addition, the escrow bar as disclosed herein is cantilevered from the front, thus permitting the omission of a partition between the first and second staggered stacks of articles. As a result, the bins of such dispensing apparatus of this invention are easier to load.

Numerous changes may be made in the abovedescribed apparatus and the different embodiments of the invention may be made without departing from the spirit thereof; therefore, it is intended that all matter contained in the foregoing description and in the accompanying drawings sh all be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for dispensing a single article at a time from at least two staggered stacks of the articles in a bin, corresponding articles in the two staggered stacks being axially aligned of each other, said apparatus comprising:

a. selectively energizable motor means;

b. cam means coupled to said motor means to be rotatively driven, said cam means comprising a cam surface, and first and second switch actuating surfaces;

c. first and second article support members disposed transversely across the lower end of said bin and mounted for movement from a first supporting position wherein one of said first and second article support members engages and supports the lowermost articles of the staggered stacks, to a second releasing position to permit the discharge of the articles from said bin;

(1. latch means pivotably mounted to be moved from a first rest position wherein said latch means engages and holds said first and second article support members in their first supporting positions when said apparatus is in a stand-by condition, to either of a second position wherein said latch means engages and holds said first article support member to prevent its downward movement to its second article releasing position, or of a third position wherein said latch means engages and holds said second article support member against movement to its second article releasing position;

e. a reciprocally mounted operating plate having a surface for engaging and controlling the movement of said first and second article support members and reciprocally movable between a first position, wherein said first and second article support members are in their first position and a second position wherein a selected one of said first and second article support members is lowered with said operating plate to its second article releasing position;

f. first releasable lock means for retaining said pivotably mounted latch means in its first rest position; g. control means for selectively operating said motor means and including initiating means for initiating the energization of said motor means whereby said cam means is rotatively driven and said cam surface engages said first lock means disengaging it from said pivotably mounted latch means so that said latch means rotates to either of its second or third positions and said cam surface engages said operating plate directing it toward its second position whereby said one support member follows said operating plate to its second article releasing position;

h. switch means disposed to be engaged by said first and second switch actuating surfaces of said cam means and responsive thereto to interrupt the energization of said motor means thus terminating the rotation of said cam means;

an escrow bar movable from a first normal position for .retaining one of the two articles released from the stacks of articles by one of said first and second support members, to a second article releasing position; and j. a second releasable lock means engagable by said cam surface of said cam means to be disposed from a first locking position wherein said second lock means retains said escrow bar in its first normal position to a second unlocked position, wherein said second lock means releases said escrow bar and said escrow bar is disposed to its second article release position;

k. said initiating means being initiated a second time for energizing said motor means and continuing the rotation of said cam means to dispose said second lock means to its second position, thus permitting the movement of said escrow bar to its second position and the release of the retained article, until said second switch surface engages said switch means to de-energize said motor means and to terminate the movement of said cam means at its starting position.

2. Dispensing apparatus as claimed in claim 1 capable of being modified to receive a stack of single arti- III:

cles, wherein said escrow bar is removably mounted upon said dispensing apparatus, and said cam means includes removable means bearing said first switch actuating surface so that without said first switch actuating surface, said motor means rotates said cam means from its start position through a complete rotation thereof until said second switch actuating surface engages said switch means to terminate energization of said motor means.

3. Dispensing apparatus as claimed in claim 2, wherein there is included adjustable spacer means adapted to be mounted within said bin to vary the effective size of said bin, whereby a single stack of articles is arranged in a staggered manner therein.

4. Dispensing apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein said escrow bar is suspended in a cantilevered fashion and comprise a portion extending into said bin a length not greater than the axial length of an article, whereby two stacks of the articles may be disposed in said bin without partition therebetween.

5. Dispensing apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein said first releasable lock means comprises a rotatably mounted member for movement from a first locking position wherein said rotatably mounted member engages and locks said latch means, to a second unlocked position free of said latch means, and a reciprocally mounted member engagable with said cam means for movement from a first rest position toward a second position, engaging said rotatably mounted member and disposing it to its second unlocked position.

6. Dispensing apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein said second releasable lock means comprises a reciprocally mounted plate comprising a notch engageable with said escrow bar when said second lock means is disposed in its first locking position for locking said escrow bar in its first article supporting position, and a cam surface for engaging said escrow bar as said second lock means is disposed from its second to its first position whereby said escrow bar is moved into said notch to be retained thereby.

7. Dispensing apparatus as claimed in claim 6, wherein there is further included spring means coupled to said reciprocally mounted plate for biasing it to its first locking position.

8. Dispensing apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein said escrow bar includes a cantilevered portion extending into the lower portion of said bin a length not greater than the axial length of an article, and means for suspending only one end thereof in cantilevered fashion so as to rotate between its first normal position and its second article releasing position.

9. Dispensing apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein said cam means comprises a first member one end of which is rotatably driven by said motor means and its other end having a roller fixedly secured thereto forming said cam surface, and a second member for forming said first and second switch actuating surfaces.

10. Dispensing apparatus as claimed in claim 9, wherein said first and second cam surfaces respectively comprise threaded members removably received by said second member.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4220235 *Feb 16, 1979Sep 2, 1980Cavalier CorporationVending machine control circuit including credit release relay
US4335832 *May 21, 1980Jun 22, 1982Cavalier CorporationCross link mechanism for staggered stack vending machine
US4354616 *Nov 6, 1980Oct 19, 1982Cavalier CorporationAlternate column circuit reciprocator for multiple column vending machines
US4561564 *Aug 23, 1984Dec 31, 1985Sanden CorporationArticle dispensing mechanism for a vending machine or the like
US5062545 *Oct 15, 1990Nov 5, 1991Sanden CorporationAutomatic vending machine dispensing mechanism
US9149405 *Mar 3, 2009Oct 6, 2015Aesynt IncorporatedMedication storage and dispensing unit having a vial dispenser
US20100228392 *Mar 3, 2009Sep 9, 2010McKesson Automation Inc.,Medication Storage And Dispensing Unit Having A Vial Dispenser
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WO1993003462A1 *Aug 7, 1991Feb 18, 1993Autorefre, S.A.Machine for supplying beverage-containing cups and similar articles
Classifications
U.S. Classification221/67, 221/118, 221/242
International ClassificationG07F11/08, G07F11/04, G07F11/16, G07F11/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F11/24, G07F11/08
European ClassificationG07F11/08, G07F11/24
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 17, 1988ASAssignment
Owner name: CONNECTICUT BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, THE, N.A., 100
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:CAVALIER ACQUISTION CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:004985/0311
Effective date: 19880104
Owner name: CONNECTICUT BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, THE, N.A., A N
Mar 7, 1988ASAssignment
Owner name: CAVALIER ACQUISITION CORPORATION, A TENNESSEE CORP
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:CAVALIER CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:004835/0657
Effective date: 19880224
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:CAVALIER CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:4835/657
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:CAVALIER CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:004835/0657