|Publication number||US3756455 A|
|Publication date||4 Sep 1973|
|Filing date||22 Feb 1971|
|Priority date||22 Feb 1971|
|Publication number||US 3756455 A, US 3756455A, US-A-3756455, US3756455 A, US3756455A|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (8), Referenced by (14), Classifications (14)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent 1 Patrick 1 MERCHANDISE DISPENSING MODULE HAVING COOPERATING HOOK AND TAB ARTICLE SUPPORT  Inventor: William A. Patrick, Mayflower, Ark.
 Assignce: Polyvend, Inc., Conway, Ark.
122] Filed: Feb. 22, 1971 21 Appl. No.: 117,562
l52| U.S. Cl 221/85, 198/177;'221/86 I51 Int. Cl. B65g 35/00  Field of Search 221/69, 76, 88, 218, 221/85, 86; 198/177, 179
 References Cited UNlTED STATES PATENTS 2,789,726 4/1957 Wilson et a1 221/84 972,351) 10/1910 Dupont 221/85 X 3,288,271 11/1966 Burford 198/179 X 2,101,685 12/1937 Nisbet 198/177 R 1 Sept. 4, 1973 2,298,955 10/1942 Mason et a1. 221/218 X 2,288,620 7/1942 Goodhue 221/218 X 2,665,184 1/1954 Hord 221/84 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1 1,799 7/1891 Great Britain 221/85 Primary Examiner-Robert B. Reeves Assistant Examiner-David A. Scherbel Att0meyRaym0nd N. Matson  ABSTRACT A replaceable vending machine merchandise dispensing module having endless chain -mounted merchandise supporting hooks wherein chain sag is prevented to insure proper dispensing of the merchandise, the chain is guided to the sprockets to prevent its dislodgment therefrom, and the hooks are provided with closure tabs to prevent dislodgment of the merchandise therefrom.
3 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures PATENTEDSEP 41m INVENTOR WILLIAM A. PATRICK HIS AGENT MERCHANDISE DISPENSING MODULE HAVING COOPERATING IIOOK AND TAB ARTICLE SUPPORT This invention is an improvement on the replaceable merchandise dispensing modules disclosed in my copending application for Letters Patent, Ser. No. 47,257, filed June 19, I970, entitled Vending Machine".
While the disclosed modules have proven far superior to other'known dispensing modules in preventing the theft of merchandise therefrom by tilting and shaking the vending machine in which they are mounted, such thefts can occur if the tilting and shaking is done during the dispensing operation due to the open chain hooks and the sag inherent in a chain. Lateral jolts, while tilted, occasionally will cause misalignment of the chain with its sprocket and dislodgment therefrom with a resultant loss of the merchandise thereon.
Accordingly, the main object of the present invention is to provide an improved dispensing module in which misalignment of the chain and its sprocket cannot occur.
Another important object of thepresent invention is to provide an improved dispensing module for vending machines in which chain sag is eliminated.
A further important object of the present invention is to provide an improved merchandise dispensing module with chain guiding and supporting means, and merchandise-supporting hooks having closing means to prevent dislodgment of the merchandise therefrom.
A still further important object of the present invention is to provide a chain conveyor having means for preventing chain sag and dislodgment of the chain from its sprockets.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent during the course of the following description.
In the drawings I have shown one embodiment of the invention. In this showing:
FIG. I is a side elevational view of a vending machine illustrating the manner in which a plurality of merchandise dispensing modules are mounted;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view to an enlarged scale showing one of the improved merchandise dispensing modules;
FIG. 3 is a similar, fragmentary view to an enlarged scale showing the improved module with its conveyor chain guiding, sag prevention and hook closing means comprising the present invention;
FIG. 4 is a front elevational view thereof; and
FIG. 5 is a similar view to a reduced scale in which part of the conveyor chain supporting means is attached to the module housing rather than being formed integral therewith.
Referring to FIG. I of the drawings, numeral 20 designates a coin operated vending machine as a whole which comprises a one-piece, molded fiberglass or metal outer cabinet 21 suitably supported on legs and- /or rollers. The cabinet 21 is provided with a front door 22 having a glass merchandise viewing panel and a rear door hinged as at 26 to provide access to the rear face of a support panel 34. The front face of the panel includes a coin-receiving slot, a coin return slot, a plurality of merchandise selector buttons 31 (one for each vending module), and a merchandise dispensing bin 32 to which access is had by a pivoted door 33.
A panel 34 which supports a plurality of individually replaceable, dispensing modules 35 is mounted within the cabinet 21 and inclines forwardly so that the overhang enables the merchandise packages to be dispensed to fall freely from the front end of their module into the dispensing bin 32 without interference from the packages on lower modules. Each module 35 holds a series of merchandise packages 36 which have tabs with apertures and may contain food such as potato chips, peanuts, etc., or any desired item or items.
Each module 35 is an elongated housing having an inverted U-shape in lateral cross-section and forms the support for the endless conveyor chain 43. The modules extend from a position to the rear of the support panel 34 adjacent their motors 40, forwardly through a rectangular opening in the support panel to a point adjacent the glass viewing panel in the front door 22.
The chain 43 is supported on a front idler sprocket 44 which is mounted on a shaft 46 suitably joumalled in the sides of the support housing 35 and on a drive sprocket 48 axially aligned with and driven by the motor shaft 50. The chain of each module 35 has hooks 52 fixed thereto at regularly spaced points (depending on the thickness of the merchandise packages 36) which hooks open toward the rear of the machine. In order to prevent the dislodgment of the merchandise packages from the hooks 52 regardless of sag, a metal or plastic hook-closing tab 58 which bears against and closes a hook, is rigidly fixed to the next adjacent chain link of each hook as shown. This comprises an important feature of the invention.
The merchandise packages 36 are easily loaded onto a module 35 by suspending them from the hooks 52 by means of apertures in their tabs which are easily inserted between the books 52 and their tabs 58 for this purpose. When a given hook reaches the idler sprocket 44 during the operation of the vending machine and starts upwardly, being on a different chain link, it swings away from its closing tab and its suspended package will naturally and freely slide off of the hook 52 and drop into the discharge bin 32.
Referring to FIGS. 2, 3 and 4, it will be noted that the bottom edges of the slides of each module housing support 35 are provided with integral coextensive internal flanges 54 to support the chain 43 and prevent its sagging. The chain 43 and its hooks 52 move between the ends of the flanges 54 and -.are supported on the surfaces thereof throughout the length of the chain by transversely extending pins 56. The chain may be formed of plastic with the links, hooks and pins integrally molded or the hooks and pins may be rigidly attached to a regular metal roller chain.
It will be appreciated as indicated in FIG. 5, that the flanges 54 need not be integral with the housing support 35 but may be provided by attaching a coextensive angle member 55 thereto as by spot welding, etc.
It will now be apparent that lateral movement of the pins 56 and hence of the chain 43 will be severely limited so that the sides of the module housing support 35 act as guides for the chain and maintain its alignment with its idler and drive sprockets to eliminate any possibility of the chain being dislodged therefrom. Furthermore, the flanges 54 support the chain 43 throughout its length through the medium of the pins 56 so that chain sag is also eliminated and the merchandise supporting hooks remain closed by the tabs 58 until they reach the sprocket 44. Thus, pilferage of the merchandisc packages on the hooks 52 is effectively guarded against.
It is to be understood that the form of the invention herewith shown and described is to be taken as a preferred exam ple of the same and that various changes in the shape, size and arrangement of parts may be resorted to without departure from the spirit of the invention or the scope of the subjoined claims.
What is claimed is:
I. In combination, a vending machine having a support panel including apertures for supporting a plurality of individually removable dispensing modules; and a dispensing module having one end mounted in one of said apertures and detachably secured to said panel; said module comprising an elongated inverted U- shaped housing having idler and driving sprockets journalled in opposite ends of the sides of said housing, an endless chain mounted on said sprockets, and merchandise package-supporting hooks fixed to and depending from said chain at spaced points; spaced pins fixed to said chain and extending laterally outwardly thereof; said housing including a pair of intumed flanges on the sides of said housing coextensive with said chain; and said pins resting on said flanges and supporting the chain against sag.
2. The combination recited in claim 1 wherein said conveyor includes hooks for supporting the merchandise; and tabs fixed to said conveyor and engaging the hooks to close the open part thereof and maintain the merchandise thereon.
3. In combination, a vending machine having a support panel including apertures for supporting a plurality of individually removable dispensing modules; and a dispensing module having one end mounted in one of said apertures and detachably secured to said panel; said module comprising an elongated inverted U- shaped housing having idler and driving sprockets journalled in opposite ends of the sides of said housing, an endless chain mounted on said sprockets, and merchandise package-supporting hooks fixed to and depending from said chain at spaced points; tabs fixed to the links of said chain and engaging the hooks to close the open part thereof and maintain the merchandise thereon; and spaced pins fixed to said chain and extending laterally outwardly thereof; said housing including a pair of intumed flanges on the sides of said housing coextensive with said chain; and said pins resting on said flanges and supporting the chain against sag. a: a:
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|U.S. Classification||221/85, 221/86, 198/678.1|
|International Classification||G07F9/10, B65G17/20, G07F11/46, G07F11/58|
|Cooperative Classification||G07F11/58, B65G17/20, G07F9/10, B65G2201/02|
|European Classification||B65G17/20, G07F11/58, G07F9/10|