EP1339029B1 - Automatic sandwich dispenser and method for automatic sandwich dispensing - Google Patents

Automatic sandwich dispenser and method for automatic sandwich dispensing Download PDF

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Publication number
EP1339029B1
EP1339029B1 EP02290428A EP02290428A EP1339029B1 EP 1339029 B1 EP1339029 B1 EP 1339029B1 EP 02290428 A EP02290428 A EP 02290428A EP 02290428 A EP02290428 A EP 02290428A EP 1339029 B1 EP1339029 B1 EP 1339029B1
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EP
European Patent Office
Prior art keywords
means
sandwich
compartment
characterised
dispenser
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Expired - Fee Related
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EP02290428A
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German (de)
French (fr)
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EP1339029A1 (en
Inventor
Neemat Frem
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Neemat Frem
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/0064Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for processing of food articles
    • G07F17/0078Food articles which need to be processed for dispensing in a hot or cooked condition, e.g. popcorn, nuts
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F11/00Coin-freed apparatus for dispensing, or the like, discrete articles
    • G07F11/46Coin-freed apparatus for dispensing, or the like, discrete articles from movable storage containers or supports
    • G07F11/58Coin-freed apparatus for dispensing, or the like, discrete articles from movable storage containers or supports the articles being supported on or by endless belts or like conveyors
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F11/00Coin-freed apparatus for dispensing, or the like, discrete articles
    • G07F11/62Coin-freed apparatus for dispensing, or the like, discrete articles in which the articles are stored in compartments in fixed receptacles
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F11/00Coin-freed apparatus for dispensing, or the like, discrete articles
    • G07F11/70Coin-freed apparatus for dispensing, or the like, discrete articles in which the articles are formed in the apparatus from components, blanks, or material constituents
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F9/00Details other than those peculiar to special kinds or types of apparatus
    • G07F9/10Casings or parts thereof, e.g. with means for heating or cooling
    • G07F9/105Heating or cooling means, for temperature and humidity control, for the conditioning of articles and their storage

Description

    Field of the invention
  • The present invention relates to the field of vending machines. The invention relates more particularly to the field of automatic distribution of food products such as sandwiches.
  • Prior art
  • In public or private places, there is currently a wide variety of vending machines. From cold products such as hot sandwiches to pizzas to hamburgers, these products are always manufactured in the factory and stored at low temperatures in the dispenser until a user buys them. In this case, the role of the distributor is limited to deliver, and warm if necessary, one of the products previously manufactured in the factory.
  • Although they are of generally acceptable quality, these products, because of their shelf life in the dispenser and preservatives added for their preservation, do not present for the user a flavor equivalent to that of the same product. made to order from fresh whole ingredients.
  • This flavor problem is very sensitive when it comes to sandwiches. Indeed, a sandwich consists mainly of two slices of bread between which are perishable ingredients (ham, eggs, tomatoes, salads, ...). These ingredients should in most cases be sliced before being placed in the bread. It is known that an ingredient, such as a tomato or egg for example, is damaged much faster when in slices than when whole. For a given shelf life, a vegetable, a fruit or even a meat, keeps much better its flavor and freshness when it is whole. Therefore, after manufacture, a sandwich must be consumed quickly if we want the flavor of the ingredients that compose it remains intact. However, for practical and economic reasons, current sandwich vending machines can not be stocked with sandwiches often enough to be able to deliver fresh, tasty products at any time. In addition, the whole sandwich, that is, the bread with the ingredients, is stored at a relatively low temperature for preservation. Therefore, when the user buys a sandwich, the bread that generally appreciates at room temperature is at the same temperature as the ingredients, which still affects the overall flavor of the product.
  • Today, some fast food restaurants deliver sandwiches to order. However, such institutions have significant investment and management costs. Indeed, a fast food establishment involves the employment of a staff and the rental or purchase of premises. In addition, this type of establishment is generally subject to opening times that do not allow to offer sandwiches at any time.
  • Document US Pat. No. 3,859,904 discloses a device for automatic preparation of sandwiches which makes it possible to arrange on a first slice of bread various pre-selected ingredients by slicing the ingredients one after the other above the first slice of bread which moves on a carpet. Once all the selected ingredients have been placed on the first slice of bread, a second slice of bread is then deposited to finish the sandwich.
  • Object and brief description of the invention
  • The present invention aims to overcome the aforementioned drawbacks and to achieve, economically, a sandwich vending machine that allows to automatically produce sandwiches to order from whole fresh ingredients while requiring a minimum of labor for its supply.
  • These objects are achieved through a sandwich vending machine as defined in claim 1.
  • Thus, through the sandwich dispenser of the present invention, sandwiches made from fresh ingredients can be delivered at any time to a user. Sandwiches are prepared to order without the need for human intervention. The dispenser according to the invention is therefore an economical solution that allows to distribute tasty sandwiches anywhere and at any time.
  • More particularly, the compartments are arranged in a refrigerated enclosure.
  • The automatic sandwich manufacturing means further comprises a jack which cooperates with a movable portion of the storage means to reposition the ingredient in the opening when the ingredient has been sliced.
  • According to one characteristic of the invention, the control means comprises means for selecting the ingredients to allow the user to choose the composition of the sandwich. This means may further include means of payment.
  • According to one particular aspect of the invention, the dispenser further comprises an automatic bread making device and a means for transferring, on the one hand, the bread of the automatic bread making device by means of automatic sandwich manufacturing, and, on the other hand, means for automatically manufacturing the sandwich by means of delivery.
  • The present invention also relates to a method of automatic distribution of sandwiches as defined in claim 9.
  • Therefore, thanks to the method of dispensing sandwiches according to the invention, it is implemented an automatic manufacture of sandwiches from fresh whole ingredients which allows to deliver permanently tasty sandwiches because they are made to order of the user.
  • According to a feature of the present invention, the storage means is removable and a prior step of filling the storage means with fresh ingredients in a packaging center and a step of placing the storage means in the dispenser are implemented. artwork.
  • The step of filling the storage means with fresh ingredients in a packaging center can be carried out according to the information on ingredient stocks transmitted by the distributor.
  • The method of the invention further comprises a step of replacing an empty storage means with a new full storage means in the dispenser.
  • The method according to the invention may furthermore comprise a step of automatic manufacture of the bread.
  • Brief description of the drawings
  • Other characteristics and advantages of the invention will emerge from the following description of particular embodiments of the invention, given by way of non-limiting examples, with reference to the appended drawings, in which:
    • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the automatic sandwich dispenser according to one embodiment of the invention,
    • FIG. 2 is a vertical sectional view of the portion 1A of the dispenser of FIG. 1,
    • FIG. 3 is a horizontal sectional view of the dispenser of FIG. 1 along section plane III indicated in FIG. 2,
    • FIG. 4 is a perspective view, before assembly, of an ingredient storage compartment according to an embodiment of the invention,
    • FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the automatic sandwich preparation system of the dispenser according to the invention,
    • FIG. 5A is an enlarged detail view of an arm of the system of FIG. 5,
    • FIGS. 6 and 7 are perspective views of part of the system of FIG. 5,
    • FIGS. 8 and 9 are perspective views of the automatic sandwich preparation system and an ingredient storage compartment according to the invention,
    • FIG. 10 is a partial schematic side view of the automatic sandwich preparation system and an ingredient storage compartment of FIG. 9,
    • FIG. 11 is a partial top view of the automatic sandwich preparation system and an ingredient storage compartment of FIG. 9,
    • FIG. 12 is a vertical sectional view of the portion 1B of the sandwich vending machine according to one embodiment of the invention, and
    • Figure 13 is a schematic view of the supply system of a plurality of vending machines sandwiches according to the invention.
    Detailed description of particular embodiments
  • For the sake of simplicity and given the number of parts that constitute the sandwich vending machine of the present invention, only parts of the latter useful for understanding the invention will be described in detail. The other conventional structural or functional parts of such an apparatus may be envisaged by those skilled in the art without particular difficulty. From a general point of view, the sandwich vending machine is intended to be placed in any public or private place and to deliver a sandwich to a user's order made from bread and fresh whole ingredients.
  • For this purpose, as shown in Figure 1, a distributor 1 comprises a front 22 on which are arranged all the elements necessary for the user to control, pay and obtain a sandwich. With regard to the sandwich control elements, the dispenser has a panel 23 which includes labels or photos of the various proposed ingredients each associated with a button for selecting the corresponding ingredient. The control of the composition of the sandwich can also be done from a keyboard 27 associated with a screen 26 to guide the user in his control. For payment of the sandwich, when the latter is required, the distributor 1 has a coin mechanism 29, a coin return 30 and / or a means of payment by credit card 31. The dispenser may also be provided with a means of issuing invoices 28. When the sandwich is manufactured, it is made available to the user behind a hatch 21. The dispenser 1 also includes a door 32 to allow filling or renewal of the dispenser. whole fresh ingredients.
  • On the other hand, the sandwich dispenser 1 comprises processing means (not shown) of the programmable microprocessor type with associated memories. Thus, the control of the movements of the various mechanisms of the machine, the management of the stock of ingredients as well as the taking into account of the selection and the payment of the user are carried out by specific computer programs stored and implemented by the microprocessor in a conventional manner. For example, the order of filling of the ingredients in the sandwich may be that in which the user has selected the ingredients or be defined by a program which calculates, according to the selection of ingredients made by the user, the preferential order in which the selected ingredients should be placed in the bread.
  • The sandwich dispenser 1 consists mainly of three parts: a portion 1A of bread preparation, a portion 1B of sandwich preparation in which the bread is filled with ingredients according to the selection made by the user and a part 1C which corresponds to the front part of the machine and which comprises in particular the selection and payment means for the user as well as means for delivering the prepared sandwiches.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 2, the portion 1A for preparing the sandwich bread comprises several compartments 2 to 6 which correspond to the different stages of preparation of the sandwich bread. Pieces of frozen dough 7 each corresponding to the amount necessary to make a sandwich bread are stored in a freezer compartment 2. Each piece of frozen dough 7 is deposited, by a drum mechanism 9, in a mold 11 element of a transport chain 10 inside a starting compartment 3. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, the dough pieces 7 are extracted three by three and each deposited by gravity in a mold 11 of the conveyor chain. transport 10. The transport chain 10 is an endless chain which comprises a plurality of molds 11 distributed along its length. The molds 11 then circulate in all the compartments of the part 1A of the machine in a direction of movement of the chain indicated by the arrows A to V. The configuration of the path traveled by the chain 10 is defined by a series of guides 12. The chain is set in motion by a series of motors 13. Disengagement means (not shown) molds 11 of the chain 10 are provided to allow the approximation of the molds in the starting zone 3.
  • Once placed on molds 11, pieces of dough 7 are first transported in a pre-cooking compartment 4 which is used mainly for defrosting the dough and then in a final cooking compartment 5 in order to obtain a bread 8 basic ingredient of sandwiches. The bread 8 is then directed to a storage compartment 6. In the lower part of the storage compartment 6 is a zone 14 which corresponds to the location of a passage for the transfer of the bread 8 of the preparation part 1A. bread in Part 1B Preparation of Dispenser Sandwich 1.
  • As shown in Figure 3, which shows a top sectional view of the dispenser, the bread preparation portion 1A and the sandwich preparation portion 1B are adjacent to each other. Thus, by providing a passage 15 between these two parts which corresponds to an alignment position between a mold 11 of the transport chain and a tray 260 of the sandwich preparation system 200, the bread 8 can be transferred for the preparation of the sandwiched by a pusher 16. The pusher 16 comprises means (not shown) for moving in translation and rotation relative to its axis. The pusher 16 further comprises peaks 17 at its end to maintain the bread 8. Thus, thanks to the rotation means of the pusher 16, the bread 8 rotates 90 ° during its transfer. This makes it possible to position the bread in the right position to be sliced and to receive the ingredients that will make up the sandwich. Another passage 18, formed between the parts 1B and 1C of the distributor makes it possible to transfer, using the pusher 16, the sandwich made on a support 20 accessible by the user by opening the hatch 21.
  • Figure 4 shows an embodiment of a storage compartment 100 according to the invention. The compartment 100 is formed by a first and second sets 101 and 102, the second set 102 being slidable within the first set 101.
  • The first assembly 101 is formed by a first and second support members 110 and 120 which are held parallel to each other by a plate 160. The plate 160 is fixed at its ends to the inner wall of each of the elements of FIG. support 110 and 120. The length of the plate 160 disposed perpendicularly to the support elements 110 and 120 defines the necessary spacing between these two elements to receive the second assembly 102.
  • The second set 102 of the compartment 100 is formed of three parts: an upper plate 130, a lower plate 140 both attached to a front wall 103.
  • Each support member 110, respectively 120, comprises on its inner wall two slides 112, 114, respectively 122, 124. The upper plates 130 and 140 comprise at each of their lateral ends guide portions 131 and 132, respectively 141 and 142 , which cooperate with the slides 112 and 122, respectively 114 and 124. More specifically as illustrated in Figure 4, the guide portions 131 and 132 of the upper plate 130 engage in the slides 112 and 122 while the portions of Guide 141 and 142 of the lower plate 140 engage in the slides 114 and 124.
  • Thus, the second set 102 of the storage compartment 100 slides between the two support members 110 and 120 of the first set 101 to allow control of the storage space 167 of the compartment depending on the amount of ingredient present in this compartment. latest. Indeed, since the plate 160, which forms the bottom of the compartment, is integral with the two elements 110 and 120, the sliding of the second assembly 102 relative to the first assembly 101 will reduce the storage space 167 of the compartment by approximation of the wall frontal 103 to the plate 160.
  • On the other hand, the two support elements 110 and 120 each comprise a third slide 111, 121 respectively, fixed on the outer wall of the latter. These external slides are intended for the establishment and handling of the compartment 100 along rails arranged the automatic sandwich dispenser.
  • The second assembly 102 has at its front portion an opening 105. This opening is formed, on the one hand, by symmetrical cutouts made in the upper and lower plates 130 and 140 and, on the other hand, by the front wall. 103 which comprises on each side of the recesses 103a defining a central portion 103b which is offset from the end of the plates 130 and 140. The opening 105 thus defined allows a cutting tool of the sandwich vending machine to cross the 102 together perpendicularly to the plates 130 and 140 for slicing the ingredients that are stored in each device 100.
  • The second assembly 102 further comprises two guides 165 and 166 disposed along the length of the lower plate 140 perpendicularly thereto. These two guides define the width of the space 167 in which the ingredients are stored. The guides 165 and 166 are fixed relative to the second assembly 102. For this purpose, the guides may be fixed on the front wall 103 of the second assembly and / or on the lower plate 140. In order not to impede the sliding of the assembly 102 in the assembly 101 and to allow control of the storage space 167 of the compartment, the two guides 165 and 166 pass respectively into the grooves 151, 152 made in the plate 160. Thus, when an ingredient is consumed by slicing in the opening 105, the front wall 103 can be pushed, which moves the entire assembly 102 back, including the guides 165 and 166 which then pass through the plate 160 by the grooves 151 and 152. This allows to fill the space created in the compartment by the ingredients material that has has been sliced so that a portion of these is always present in the opening 105. This type of sliding has the advantage of always repositioning ingredients in the opening 105 after slicing without having to push the ingredients directly. This solution advantageously avoids any manipulation of the ingredients between the packaging and slicing, which, given the fragility of certain ingredients (tomatoes, eggs ...), is appreciable to ensure their resistance during the process of manufacturing sandwiches.
  • Fig. 5 shows a detailed view of the sandwich preparation system 200. The sandwich preparation system 200 is in the form of a rack 201 which moves, as shown in Fig. 4, in a direction H along two ramps 302, 303. The system 200 mainly comprises three mechanical devices involved in the development of the sandwich: a bread positioning device 230, a device for handling the ingredient compartments 240 and a device for cutting the ingredients 250.
  • The device 230 for positioning the bread comprises a plate 260 on which the bread 8 is disposed. Two walls 232 and 233 are intended to hold the bread 8 in place on the plate 260. The wall 232 is a movable wall which moves on the surface of the plate relative to the wall 233 by means of a jack 231. The device 230 also comprises a pair of spacers 234, 235. The two spacers 234, 235 are respectively mounted on two rods 236, 237 which, under the action of a cylinder 239, rise or fall in a direction I. Under the action of another cylinder 238, the spacer 235 is still movable relative to the spacer 234 in a direction J perpendicular to the direction I.
  • The cutting device 250 is formed by a frame 251 which comprises a knife 252. The knife 252 oscillates in translation by means of an alternating rotary motor 254 which transmits the movement to the knife by a belt 253. This makes it possible to animate the knife 252 of a movement back and forth to produce the cutting action. The frame 251 is supported by two rods 255, 256 which guide the movement thereof under the action of a cylinder 257 in a direction K parallel to the direction I. The action of the cylinder 257 will allow to bring or to move the knife 252 away from the bread or slicing ingredients.
  • The device 240 for handling the ingredient compartments comprises two arms 241 and 242 each provided with an end 246, 247 adapted to cooperate with orifices 113, 123 of the ingredient compartment 100. The other end of the arm 241, respectively 242 , is fixed to an axis 243, respectively 244. As shown in FIG. 5A, the axes 243 and 244 are rotated in a direction S which makes it possible to control an opening or closing movement of the arms in order to grasp or release a compartment 100. The arms thus provided with rotation means are fixed on each side of a frame 245 which moves forwards or backwards in the rack 201 in a direction indicated by the double arrow R. In FIG. 5, the frame 245 is in its maximum advancement position.
  • The sandwich preparation system 200 further comprises a jack 270 disposed between the cutting device 250 and the bread positioning device 230. This cylinder has the function of pushing the front wall 103 of the ingredient compartment 100 when part of the ingredient has been sliced.
  • We now explain the phase of opening and positioning the bread 8 for the preparation of the sandwich. As seen in Figure 3, the bread 8 is transferred to the plate 260 by means of the pusher 16 which positions it (rotation of 90 °) so that the side of the bread is at the vertical of the knife 252 As shown in FIG. 5, the wall 232 is then advanced towards the wall 233 by the jack 231 in order to hold the bread 8 during the removal of the pusher 16. Next, the motor 254 is started to animate the knife 252. 'a cutting movement and Actuator 257 is actuated so as to lower the knife on the bread to open it in two as shown in FIG. 6. When the knife is lowered sufficiently low to separate the bread into two parts, the knife is raised by actuation of the cylinder 257. The spacers 234, 235 are then positioned in the opening of the bread. In combination with the withdrawal back of the wall 232, the spacers are separated by actuation of the cylinder 238 as shown in Figure 7. This last configuration of the device 230 bread positioning will be retained throughout the preparation of the sandwich, because this position Separate spacers 234, 235 not only keeps the two bread slices apart to receive the ingredients but also to guide the slices of ingredients inside the bread.
  • The operation that corresponds to the preparation of the actual sandwich, that is to say the operation of filling the bread with the ingredients selected by the user, will be described in relation to FIGS. 8 to 12. As can be seen in FIG. 12, a plurality of compartments 100 are disposed one above the other in the dispenser sandwich preparation portion 1A. With a refrigeration device 304 placed inside the part 1B, the latter forms a refrigerated chamber to keep the ingredients stored in the compartments. Each compartment is thus held by means of two rails 306 in which the slides 111 and 121 engage on the outer walls of the compartment 100. Thus, each compartment 100 can slide in a direction M along the rails 306 on which it is positioned. The displacement and positioning of the compartments 100 on the rails 306 may be assisted by a friction type system 305. The loading of the compartments 100 in the dispenser is performed by an operator. For this, the operator opens the door 32 (shown in FIGS. 1 and 3) to gain access to the interior of the Part 1B and positions each compartment on the corresponding pair of rails 106.
  • When the user has selected all the ingredients that he wishes to have in his sandwich, the processing means of the machine 1 will then control a jack 301 to move the system 200 in the direction H and position it in front of each compartment that includes one of the selected ingredients. In Fig. 12, the system 200 is in its lowest position, i.e. facing the lowest compartment in the dispenser. The positioning of the system 200 in front of a compartment corresponds to the position of the system 200 in which the arms 241 and 242 are aligned with the orifices 113 and 123 of the compartment. This position is illustrated in FIG. 8. In this figure, it can be seen that the ends 246 and 247 of the arms are respectively aligned with the orifices 113 and 123 of a compartment 100. Referring to FIG. that the arms of the system 200 are between the two supports 110 and 120 of the compartments. Therefore, in order not to hinder the movement in the H direction of the system 200, the arms 241, 242 are held in a closed position (in solid lines in FIG. 8) during the movement of the system 200. On the other hand, once the system 200 positioned opposite a compartment 100, the arms 241 and 242 are open (in dashed lines in FIG. 8) to engage their respective ends 246, 247 in one of the corresponding orifices 123 and 113. The compartment thus grasped by the arms 241, 242 can be pulled towards the cutting device 250 by movement of the frame 245 towards the rear of the system in the direction R and a fixed distance d. The compartment 100 is then in a position shown in Figure 9. In this position, the frame 245 has moved backwards until the opening 105 in which the ingredient 50 appears is at the vertical of the knife 252.
  • When the compartment is in the position of Figure 9, it then controls the start of the motor 254 to animate the knife 252 of a cutting movement and the actuation of the cylinder 257 to lower the knife into the opening 105. As illustrated in FIG. 10, a slice 51 of the ingredient 50 is then cut and deposited in the bread 8 between the spacers 234 and 235. To guarantee the complete slicing of the ingredient 50, the knife 252 is lowered to beyond the ingredient until leaving the opening 105 at the bottom of the compartment. The knife is then reassembled to its initial position. Ingredient 50, of which a portion 51 has been cut, is no longer in contact with the front wall 103 of compartment 100. More specifically, there is a space between the ingredient and the wall whose width 1 corresponds to The thickness of the wafer 51. Therefore, before the ingredient 50 can be sliced again, it has to be repositioned in the opening 105. This repositioning is carried out by the jack 270 which pushes the end wall 103 until it is again in contact with the ingredient. In other words, the jack 270 pushes the front wall 103 over the distance l . This results in the rearward movement and the distance l of the whole assembly 102 relative to the assembly 101 of the compartment 100 as shown in FIG. 10. When this operation is performed, the compartment can be either returned to its storage position, that is to say in vertical alignment with the others as in Figure 12, is used again to cut down once again the ingredient it contains. In the first case, it is sufficient to control the displacement of the frame 245 forward a distance equal to the distance d minus the distance l . This keeps the openings 105 of all the compartments in the same vertical plane. Thus, with each new slicing operation, the retreat of the frame 245 to position the opening 105 to the vertical of the knife 252 will be identical, ie always on the distance d.
  • In the case of additional slicing, before lowering the knife to slice the ingredient again, it is necessary to reposition the compartment 100 so that the knife 252 is again vertical to the opening 105. is achieved by closing the arms 241, 242 to disengage their respective ends 246, 247 orifices 113, 123 in which they were engaged, advancing the frame 245 until the ends 246, 247 are in correspondence with the orifices 113 , 123 following and retreat of the frame 245 to its previous position. We then find ourselves in the position of Figure 9 except that the guides 165 and 166 and the end of the upper and lower plates 130 and 140 protrude from the rear wall 160 an additional length equal to width l filled to the front of the compartment.
  • According to an alternative embodiment, after slicing of the ingredient and thrust of the front wall, it controls the displacement of the frame 245 forward over the distance d to return to the position of Figure 8. In this case, the means dispenser processing calculates the distance on which the frame 245 must be moved back to bring the opening 105 to the vertical of the knife 252. In a particular embodiment, the distance between each orifice 113, 123 can be set to correspond at the distance l or a multiple thereof so as to allow the positioning of the compartment by the arms 241, 242 vis-à-vis the knife as the ingredient is consumed. Indeed, since each time an ingredient is sliced, it pushes the front wall 103, thus moving the assembly 102 relative to the assembly 101, the distance between the opening 105 and the knife increases of as much. Thus, since the back stroke of the frame 245 is limited, the positioning of the compartment relative to the knife will have to be done several times as soon as possible. that a quantity of specific ingredient has been consumed. For example, the distance between each port can be adjusted to match the width of a slice ingredient. Thus, during the first use of the compartment, once the system 200 positioned in front of the latter, the arms 241 and 242 are engaged in the first orifices 123 and 113 as in Figure 8. The frame 245 is then moved back to that the opening 105 is vertical to the knife as in Figure 9. The maximum recoil stroke of the frame 245 can be adjusted to this distance. Once the ingredient has been sliced and the jack 270 has pushed the assembly 102 the distance l , the processing means stores this offset. Therefore, at the next use of this compartment, the memorized offset information will be taken into account by the processing means to control a first displacement of the compartment by a distance l corresponding to the distance between two orifices, then, after having brought the frame back to its starting position by having previously closed the arms, a second displacement on the maximum stroke as at the first use. In this way, the opening 105 is again at the vertical of the knife. In general, the processing means permanently store for each compartment the number n of ingredient slices already cut to calculate the distance n * 1 to be taken into account for positioning the compartment for cutting.
  • In a particular embodiment, the value of the distance 1 (wafer width) may be variable depending on the nature of the ingredient. The processing means then memorize the value l specific to each compartment in order to be able to control the displacement of the latter as a function of this specific value. For this purpose, the ends 246, 247 of the arms 241, 242 are replaced by electromagnets and, in order not to limit the minimum distance of displacement at a fixed distance between two orifices, the internal parts of the two supports 110 and 120 compartments are provided with metal strips in place of the orifices 113, 123 to allow the attachment of the compartments by the electromagnets.
  • When the bread 8 is filled with all the selected ingredients, the wall 232 is moved by the cylinder 231 to close the bread 8 on the sliced ingredients. The sandwich is then gripped by the pusher 16 (see Figure 3) which pushes the sandwich on a support 20 accessible by the user. The user can then obtain his sandwich by opening the flap 21. A bag dispenser (not shown) can be provided in the part 1C of the dispenser.
  • Defrosting and baking of the loaves 8 can be performed automatically by means of a program for monitoring the storage time of the loaves 8. This makes it possible to renew the loaves available for the preparation of a sandwich after a certain period of time. storage in order to always deliver a sufficiently fresh bread.
  • For ingredients that are stored in compartments 100, there may be provided means for detecting when a compartment is empty or will be soon. As the ingredient is consumed in the compartment, the assembly 102 shifts toward the rear of the assembly 101 until there is no more ingredient between the front wall 103 and the plate 160. Therefore, a sensor of the position of the assembly 102 relative to the assembly 101 could be provided in each compartment to alert the dispenser processing means of the impending shortage of a ingredient in the compartment. Alternatively, there may be provided sensors that indicate the position of the ends of the supports 110 and 120 of each compartment in the dispenser. In this way, an operator can interrogate the machine to know the state of the stocks of ingredients. Since the initial length of space 167 is known and identical for all compartments, the amount of ingredient present in each The compartment can also be controlled by the processing means by simply subtracting the stored distance n * l from the initial length of the space 167. Finally, in the case where the end position sensors of the supports 110, 120 are used, the amount of remaining ingredient can be controlled by measuring the distance traveled by the media and taking into account the value l stored for each compartment and specific to each ingredient.
  • As regards the management of the freshness of the ingredients stored in the compartments inside the machine, the processing means can memorize the storage period for each compartment and alert an operator after exceeding a retention period. Such monitoring can be implemented by means of identification means (barcode, microchip, etc.) provided on each compartment. In fact, from these means of identification and with suitable reading means in the dispenser, the processing means can identify the type of ingredient contained in the compartment and record the date of setting the machine in the compartment to calculate the expiry date of the ingredient in the machine.
  • Thanks to the compartment 100 of the present invention, a very economical method of supplying the distributors according to the invention can be realized. Indeed, as described above, once the ingredient has been placed in the compartment and the latter has been placed in a sandwich vending machine of the present invention, all other operations necessary for the manufacture and distribution sandwiches are made by the vending machine automatically. Therefore, the invention has the advantage of limiting the human intervention to filling the compartments and their implementation in the distributors. As illustrated in FIG. 13, the method of managing or supplying the machines can be implemented from a center 35 for filling the compartments of ingredients. In this center, fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, ham, sausage, butter, etc., are packaged in the compartments 100. For this purpose, the ingredients can be arranged in the space 167 defined between the guides 165. and 166 of the assembly 102 before it is nested with the assembly 101 to form the compartment 100 (Figure 3). Alternatively, access means to the space 167, such as a pivoting cover, may also be provided on the top plate 130 or lower 140 to place the ingredient in the compartment 100 already assembled.
  • When all compartments are filled, they are loaded into a refrigerated vehicle. Thus, for a given geographical area, all the machines included in this sector can be supplied by one and the same operator. The proposed method of supply therefore has a significant economic advantage because only one operator can handle a plurality of distributors on his own.
  • With regard to the management of the stocks of ingredients present in the machines as explained above, each machine may comprise transmission means 33 connected to the processing means for sending to the center 35 in real time information on the stocks of ingredients in order to order the filling of new compartment before each tour of the operator. For this purpose, the center 35 has a receiving means 34 adapted. Thus, by processing the information received continuously at the center 35, optimal inventory management in real time can be performed so that the operator's vehicle is loaded before each tour of the quantity and variety of ingredients necessary at this time. The transmission means 33 and 34 may be of the radiofrequency type. Transmissions between the distributors and the center can also be realized by telephone connections by equipping each distributor with a modem which makes it possible to connect to a server present on the center 35.
  • The average duration of manufacture of a sandwich, that is to say between the control of the user and the delivery of the manufactured sandwich, is about 2 minutes. This duration depends essentially on the number of ingredients that the user has selected.

Claims (13)

  1. Automatic sandwich dispenser intended for fast-food catering, characterised in that it comprises a means for storing and conserving fresh ingredients (50), a means (23) allowing a consumer to order a sandwich, a means for automatically making a sandwich (200) which cooperates with said means for storing and conserving the fresh ingredients in order, in response to the consumer's order, to slice the fresh ingredients and to fill a bread roll (8) with the slices of fresh ingredients (51), and a means for delivering (20, 21) the made up sandwich, the storage and conservation means comprising one or more compartments (100) in which the fresh ingredients (50) are stored, each compartment (100) comprising an opening (105), the automatic sandwich making means (200) comprising a cutting device (250), said opening being adapted to receive said cutting device above the bread roll (8), the automatic sandwich making means (200) further comprising a holding means (230) for holding the bread roll (8) in a determined position while the sandwich is being made,
    the dispenser being characterised in that the automatic sandwich making means comprises means (241, 242, 245) for automatically handling each compartment (100) for storing the fresh ingredients in order to position the opening (105) vertically with respect to the cutting device (250) and the bread roll (8), and in that said holding means (230) further comprises a pair of spreader elements (234, 235) in order to maintain the bread roll (8) open.
  2. The dispenser according to claim 1, characterised in that said compartments (100) are arranged in a refrigerated enclosure (1B).
  3. The dispenser according to claim 1 or claim 2, characterised in that the automatic sandwich making means (200) further comprises a jack (270) which cooperates with a mobile part (102) of a storage compartment (100) in order to reposition the ingredient (50) in the opening (105) when the ingredient has been sliced.
  4. The dispenser according to any one of claims 1 to 3, characterised in that said ordering means comprises means (23) for selecting the ingredients in order to allow the consumer to choose the composition of the sandwich.
  5. The dispenser according to claim 4, characterised in that said ordering means further comprises means (29; 31) for payment.
  6. The dispenser according to any one of claims 1 to 5, characterised in that it further comprises a device (1A) for automatically making the bread roll (8).
  7. The dispenser according to claim 6, characterised in that it comprises a means (16) for transferring the bread roll (8) from the automatic bread roll making device (1A) to the automatic sandwich making means (200).
  8. The dispenser according to any one of claims 1 to 7, characterised in that it comprises a means (16) for transferring the made up sandwich from the automatic sandwich making means to the delivery means (20, 21).
  9. Method for automatically dispensing sandwiches intended for fast-food catering, comprising the following steps of:
    a) storing fresh ingredients (50) in a storage and conservation means (100) in a dispenser (1) which comprises automatic sandwich making means (200), the storage and conservation means comprising one or more compartments (100) in which the fresh ingredients (50) are stored, each compartment (100) comprising an opening (105), the automatic sandwich making means (200) comprising a cutting device (250), said opening being adapted to receive said cutting device above the bread roll (8), the automatic sandwich making means (200) comprising a holding means (230) for holding the bread roll (8) in a determined position while the sandwich is being made,
    b) automatically slicing said stored fresh ingredients (50) in a bread roll (8) in response to an order by a consumer, and
    c) delivering the sandwich thus constituted,
    the method being characterised in that the automatic sandwich making means comprises means (241, 242, 245) for automatically handling each compartment (100) for storing the fresh ingredients (50) in order to position the opening (105) vertically with respect to the cutting device (250) and the bread roll (8), and in that said holding means (230) further comprises a pair of spreader elements (234, 235) in order to maintain the bread roll (8) open.
  10. The method according to claim 9, characterised in that each storage compartment (100) is removable, and in that it comprises a prior step of filling the storage compartments (100) with fresh ingredients in a packing centre (35) and a step of placing the storage compartments (100) in the dispenser (1).
  11. The method according to claim 10, characterised in that the step of filling a storage compartment (100) with fresh ingredients in a packing centre (35) is carried out as a function of the information on the stocks of ingredients transmitted by the dispenser (1).
  12. The method according to one of claims 9 to 11, characterised in that it further comprises a step of replacing an empty storage compartment (100) in the dispenser by another full storage compartment (100).
  13. The method according to any one of claims 9 to 12, characterised in that it further comprises a step of automatically making the bread roll (8).
EP02290428A 2002-02-21 2002-02-21 Automatic sandwich dispenser and method for automatic sandwich dispensing Expired - Fee Related EP1339029B1 (en)

Priority Applications (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
EP02290428A EP1339029B1 (en) 2002-02-21 2002-02-21 Automatic sandwich dispenser and method for automatic sandwich dispensing

Applications Claiming Priority (4)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
EP02290428A EP1339029B1 (en) 2002-02-21 2002-02-21 Automatic sandwich dispenser and method for automatic sandwich dispensing
AT02290428T AT363703T (en) 2002-02-21 2002-02-21 Device and method for the automatic output of observed breads
DE60220371T DE60220371T2 (en) 2002-02-21 2002-02-21 Apparatus and method for automatically dispensing sandwiches
US10/369,730 US7281468B2 (en) 2002-02-21 2003-02-21 Automatic sandwich dispenser and method for automatically dispensing sandwiches

Publications (2)

Publication Number Publication Date
EP1339029A1 EP1339029A1 (en) 2003-08-27
EP1339029B1 true EP1339029B1 (en) 2007-05-30

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EP02290428A Expired - Fee Related EP1339029B1 (en) 2002-02-21 2002-02-21 Automatic sandwich dispenser and method for automatic sandwich dispensing

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US (1) US7281468B2 (en)
EP (1) EP1339029B1 (en)
AT (1) AT363703T (en)
DE (1) DE60220371T2 (en)

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Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
US7281468B2 (en) 2007-10-16
EP1339029A1 (en) 2003-08-27
DE60220371T2 (en) 2008-01-24
DE60220371D1 (en) 2007-07-12
US20030155369A1 (en) 2003-08-21
AT363703T (en) 2007-06-15

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