GB2209331A - Vending machine for hot food - Google Patents

Vending machine for hot food Download PDF

Info

Publication number
GB2209331A
GB2209331A GB8720739A GB8720739A GB2209331A GB 2209331 A GB2209331 A GB 2209331A GB 8720739 A GB8720739 A GB 8720739A GB 8720739 A GB8720739 A GB 8720739A GB 2209331 A GB2209331 A GB 2209331A
Authority
GB
United Kingdom
Prior art keywords
columns
item
freezer compartment
release pin
vending machine
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Withdrawn
Application number
GB8720739A
Other versions
GB8720739D0 (en
Inventor
Ali A Daghir
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Atlas Equipment
Original Assignee
* ATLAS EQUIPMENT
ATLAS EQUIPMENT
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by * ATLAS EQUIPMENT, ATLAS EQUIPMENT filed Critical * ATLAS EQUIPMENT
Priority to GB8720739A priority Critical patent/GB2209331A/en
Publication of GB8720739D0 publication Critical patent/GB8720739D0/en
Publication of GB2209331A publication Critical patent/GB2209331A/en
Application status is Withdrawn legal-status Critical

Links

Classifications

    • 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
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A23FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS; THEIR TREATMENT, NOT COVERED BY OTHER CLASSES
    • A23GCOCOA; COCOA PRODUCTS, e.g. CHOCOLATE; SUBSTITUTES FOR COCOA OR COCOA PRODUCTS; CONFECTIONERY; CHEWING GUM; ICE-CREAM; PREPARATION THEREOF
    • A23G9/00Frozen sweets, e.g. ice confectionery, ice-cream; Mixtures therefor
    • A23G9/04Production of frozen sweets, e.g. ice-cream
    • A23G9/22Details, component parts or accessories of apparatus insofar as not peculiar to a single one of the preceding groups
    • A23G9/28Details, component parts or accessories of apparatus insofar as not peculiar to a single one of the preceding groups for portioning or dispensing
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A23FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS; THEIR TREATMENT, NOT COVERED BY OTHER CLASSES
    • A23LFOODS, FOODSTUFFS, OR NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES, NOT COVERED BY SUBCLASSES A23B - A23J; THEIR PREPARATION OR TREATMENT, e.g. COOKING, MODIFICATION OF NUTRITIVE QUALITIES, PHYSICAL TREATMENT; PRESERVATION OF FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS, IN GENERAL
    • A23L3/00Preservation of foods or foodstuffs, in general, e.g. pasteurising, sterilising, specially adapted for foods or foodstuffs
    • A23L3/36Freezing; Subsequent thawing; Cooling
    • A23L3/365Thawing subsequent to freezing
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F11/00Coin-freed apparatus for dispensing, or the like, discrete articles
    • G07F11/02Coin-freed apparatus for dispensing, or the like, discrete articles from non-movable magazines
    • G07F11/04Coin-freed apparatus for dispensing, or the like, discrete articles from non-movable magazines in which magazines the articles are stored one vertically above the other
    • G07F11/10Coin-freed apparatus for dispensing, or the like, discrete articles from non-movable magazines in which magazines the articles are stored one vertically above the other two or more magazines having a common delivery chute
    • 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
    • G07F11/50Coin-freed apparatus for dispensing, or the like, discrete articles from movable storage containers or supports the storage containers or supports being rotatably mounted
    • G07F11/54Coin-freed apparatus for dispensing, or the like, discrete articles from movable storage containers or supports the storage containers or supports being rotatably mounted about vertical axes
    • 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

Abstract

A vending machine comprises a freezer compartment 12 for storing items of frozen food, means for selecting an item from the freezer compartment, a carriage for transferring the selected item from the freezer compartment 12 to an oven and means for enabling the item heated in the oven to be collected from a dispensing aperture. The freezer compartment 12 includes at least one storage unit comprising a plurality of columns 20 in which food items may be stored one above the other, the lowermost item in a column being removable from the column by lateral displacement of the item. A release pin 64 common to a plurality of the columns of the storage unit is provided and the columns 20 and the release pin 64 are movable relative to one another to enable an item from any one of the columns 20 to be removed from a selected column. As shown, the columns may be fixed and the release pin mobile; alternatively columns may rotate on a "spider" arrangement past a fixed pin. <IMAGE>

Description

VENDING MACHINE The present invention relates to a hot food vending machine which comprises a freezer compartment for storing items of frozen food, means for selecting an item from the freezer compartment, means for transferring the selected item from the freezer compartment to an oven, preferably a microwave oven, and means for enabling the item heated in the oven to be collected from a dispensing aperture.

In the design of such a vending machine, it is important to minimise the size of a machine for a given storage capacity of frozen food items and it is also important to minimise the number of moving parts and actuators required to select an item from the freezer compartment.

Various prior art proposals have been made but they do not successfully meet the above requirements and result in machines which are expensive to manufacture, unreliahle in operation or are not economically viable by virtue of the limited number or range of items that can be dispensed.

According to the present invention, there is provided a vending machine which comprises a freezer compartment for storing items of frozen food, means for selecting an item from the freezer compartment, means for transferring the selected item from the freezer compartment to an oven and means for enabling the item heated in the oven to be collected from a dispensing aperture, wherein the freezer compartment includes at least one storage unit comprising a plurality of columns in which food items may be stored one above the other, the lowermost item in a column being removable from the column by lateral displacement of the item, a single release pin common to all the columns of the storage unit, and means for moving the columns and the release pin relative to one another to enable an item from any one of the columns to be removed from a selected column by the action of the release pin for transfer to the oven.

In the preferred embodiments of the invention, the release pin does not move laterally and remains at a fixed position in the vending machine whereas the columns containing the food items are moved in the machine to cause the column containing the food item to be dispensed to move past the release pin and thereby cause the lowermost food item in the column to be removed.

The column may move rectilinearly but it is preferred that in each unit the columns should be arranged for rotation about a central axis and that the item should be removed from the columns by movement in a tangential direction. In this case, the columns rotate past the release pin and the latter is brought into an operative position when aligned with the selected column.

The freezer compartment may conveniently comprise a plurality of such rotatable storage units and the units may themselves be rotatable about a central axis. In other words, each column in storage unit can rotate about the axis of the storage unit, while all the storage units can rotate in unison about a further central axis. In this case, a single release pin may be common to all the storage units.

The invention will now be described further, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which Figure 1 is a front view of a vending machine of the invention, Figure 2 is a front view of the interior of the freezer compartment of a first embodiment of the invention, Figure 3 is a plan view of the freezer compartment in Figure 2, Figure 4 is a side view of a detail of the embodiment in Figures 3 and 4, Figure 5 is front view of the vending machine with the front cover of the machine removed, Figure 6 is a view similar to that of Figure 3 of a second embodiment of the invention, and Figure 7 is a view similar to that of Figure 3 of a third embodiment of the invention.

The vending machine shown in Figures 1 to 5 is formed of an oven compartment 10 and a freezer compartment 12. On the front cover of the oven compartment 10 is a selection panel 70 and a dispensing aperture 76 from which heated food items can be selected. The selection panel 70 includes buttons 72 for permitting selection of the desired food item from amongst the available items stored in the freezer compartment 12 and a mechanism 74 for enabling payment to be made. The latter mechanism may be designed to accept coins, paper currency, tokens or magnetic cards. Such mechanism are well known and will not therefore be described in detail.

The vending machine is shown in Figure 5 with its front cover removed. The oven compartment 10 contains an oven 14 which may be raised and lowered and is connected to the freezer compartment 12 by a door which is open when the oven 14 is raised and is closed when the oven 14 is lowered. A carriage 16 mounted on a rail 18 can move between the two compartments 10 and 12 through the connecting door and acts to transport food items from the freezer compartment 12 to the oven compartment 10.

In use, a user selects an item by depressing the appropriate one of the buttons 72 on the front of the vending machine and paying the correct price for the item into the mechanism 74. The carriage 16 moves to the freezer compartment 12 and the selected food item is made to drop from one of several storage columns, described in more detail below, onto the carriage 16.

The carriage 16 next transports the food item through the connecting door into the oven compartment 10, whereupon the oven 14 is lowered on to the carriage 16 and is energised to heat the food item by microwave energy. After heating for sufficient time to defrost and cook, or at least heat, the food item, the oven 14 is raised and the top platform of the carriage 16 is tilted up to tip the heated food item into a dispensing chute for collection by the user from the dispensing aperture 76.

The above description of the whole vending machine is given only by way of background to assist in better understanding of the invention. The invention is primarily concerned with the method of storage of the food items to achieve a high storage density and with a simple selection mechanism employing few moving parts for displacing a food item from the storage trays onto the transport carriage 16.

Referring now to the embodiment shown in Figures 2 to 4, the freezer compartment 12 contains a set of vertical columns 20 which are arranged in a rectangular array when viewed in plan, the columns 20 being arranged three across and five deep when viewed from the front to the vending machine. Typically, the columns are cages made from plastics coated steel. Each column 20 is designed to carry a stack of food items, packaged items being retained on all sides for all but the lowermost item.

The walls of the columns are cutaway at their lower end, as more clearly shown in Figure 4, so that the lowermost items can be withdrawn by lateral displacement.

To effect the necessary lateral for displacing an item from a selected one of the columns to the carriage 16, there is provided a bar 56 which extends across the width of the freezer compartment and is guided for movement parallel to the depth of the freezer compartment. The bar 56 as illustrated is driven by cable runs 60 guided on pulleys 62 disposed on the front and the rear of the vending machine, the rear pulleys being driven by an electric motor 48.

The bar 56 carries three actuators 58, which may for example be solenoids of hydraulic jacks, whereby a release pin 64 (see Figure 4) associated with each actuator can be made to project to collide with the lowermost items in the columns 20 or can be retracted to clear the lower ends of the columns 20.

When an item from one of the columns 20 has been selected by a user, the bar 56, with all the pins 64 retracted is moved to position it just behind the column 20 containing the selected food item. The appropriate one of the three actuators 58 is then energised to raise one of the three pins 64 and as the bar 56 is then advanced further it laterally displaces the selected food item from the column 20 and after the latter has cleared the walls of the column 20 it drops onto the carriage 16 for transfer to the oven 14.

The columns are conveniently formed of wire coated with a plastics material as is frequently the case in fittings for the interior of a freezer. This reduces any tendency for the food items to adhere to the columns and avoids the formation of ice to interfere with free movement of the food items. The freezer is also defrosted on a regular basis to avoid ice formation.

In the above described embodiment, the columns 20 are stationary and the release pin 64 is moved to remove a food item from the selected column. It is alternatively possible, however, for the release pin to remain stationary while the columns are moved and an embodiment operating in this manner is illustrated in Figure 6.

In this embodiment, a total of eighteen columns 20 are arranged within a rotatable drum 100, the columns being arranged in groups of three on radii of the drum lying at 60 degrees to one another. An arm 102 carrying guide sprockets for a chain 104 driven by a motor 106 is arranged beneath the columns 20. The chain 104 carries a release pin, not shown, which can sweep through the lower end of a column 20 as the drum 100 rotates, to withdraw a food item from the column.

In use, the chain starts with the release pin in a parked position where it lies outside the range of the columns and does not interfere with the latter as the drum 100 is rotated. Before the group of three columns 20 containing the selected column reaches the arm 102, the chain 104 is driven to position the release pin in line with the required column 20. During continued rotation of the drum 100, the release pin prevents movement of the lowermost food item in the selected column, while the latter rotates with the drum and permits the food item to be withdrawn and to drop onto the transfer carriage 116.

The embodiment of Figure 7 operates following the same principles as the embodiment of Figure 6 but consists of several rotatable units 200, each consisting of four columns 20 rotatable about a central shaft 202. These units 200 are themselves mounted in a drum 204 rotatable about a central shaft 206. The drum 204 carries twelve such units 200, eight on an outer radius and four on an inner radius.

The shafts 202 are connected to one another by gears or a chain drive which rotates with the drum 204 and permits all the individual units 200 to rotate in unison about their respective axes. The units can also be carried around with the drop so that each column can follow an epitrochoidal path. Two release pins 208 and 210 are provided, the first for the inner units and the second for the outer units. The release pins are retractable and solenoid operated.

In use, the pins 208 and 210 are retracted and the drum 204 is rotated until the unit 200 containing the desired column 20 is brought into the vicinity of the pins 208 and 210. The drum 204 is now brought to a rest and the units 200 are rotated about their own shafts 202 until the desired column approaches the appropriate one of the two release pins 208, 210. The release pin in question is then raised and with continued rotation of the unit 200, the lowermost food item from the selected column is withdrawn in the same manner as previously described.

It will be noted that in all embodiments, only a few moving parts are required to enable selection of a food item from a large number of storage columns. The designs therefore permit efficient usage of the storage space while achieving good reliability and inexpensive manufacture through the small number of moving parts employed.

Claims (6)

1. A vending machine which comprises a freezer compartment for storing items of frozen food, means for selecting an item from the freezer compartment, means for transferring the selected item from the freezer compartment to an oven and means for enabling the item heated in the oven to be collected from a dispensing aperture, wherein the freezer compartment includes at least one storage unit comprising a plurality of columns in which food items may be stored one above the other, the lowermost item in a column being removable from the column by lateral displacement of the item, a single release pin common to all the columns of the storage unit, and means for moving the columns and the release pin relative to one another to enable an item from any one of the columns to be removed from a selected column by the action of the release pin for transfer to the oven.
2. A vending machine as claimed in claim 1, wherein the release pin does not move laterally and remains at a fixed position in the vending machine whereas the columns containing the food items are moved in the machine to cause the column containing the food item to be dispensed to move past the release pin and thereby cause the lowermost food item in the column to be withdrawn.
3. A vending machine as claimed in claim 2, wherein in each unit the columns are arranged for rotation about a central axis and the item is removed from the columns by movement relative to the release pin in a tangential direction.
4. A vending machine as claimed in claim 3, wherein the freezer compartment comprises a plurality of such rotatable storage units and the units are in turn rotatable about a central axis.
5. A vending machine as claimed in claim 1, wherein each unit comprises a plurality of stationary columns arranged in a straight line in the freezer compartment and the release pin is retractable and movable relative to the columns.
6. A vending machine constructed arranged and adapted to operate substantially as herein described with reference to any one of the embodiments illustrated in the accompanying drawings.
GB8720739A 1987-09-03 1987-09-03 Vending machine for hot food Withdrawn GB2209331A (en)

Priority Applications (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB8720739A GB2209331A (en) 1987-09-03 1987-09-03 Vending machine for hot food

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB8720739A GB2209331A (en) 1987-09-03 1987-09-03 Vending machine for hot food

Publications (2)

Publication Number Publication Date
GB8720739D0 GB8720739D0 (en) 1987-10-07
GB2209331A true GB2209331A (en) 1989-05-10

Family

ID=10623217

Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
GB8720739A Withdrawn GB2209331A (en) 1987-09-03 1987-09-03 Vending machine for hot food

Country Status (1)

Country Link
GB (1) GB2209331A (en)

Cited By (11)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5127544A (en) * 1990-04-13 1992-07-07 Design Technology Corporation Method and apparatus for handling buns and meat patties
WO1992016918A1 (en) * 1991-03-15 1992-10-01 Bernard Delarue Self-service device for meals, especially cooked meals
US5236103A (en) * 1991-10-01 1993-08-17 Unidynamics Corporation Food module
WO1994028700A2 (en) * 1994-04-21 1994-12-22 Krh Thermal Systems Vending machine including refrigeration and oven compartments
US5688423A (en) * 1994-08-31 1997-11-18 Krh Thermal Systems Vending machine including multiple heat sources with programmable cook cycles
WO1998025240A2 (en) * 1996-12-06 1998-06-11 Arturo Lesca Apparatus for automatically dispensing food products, specifically bakery products
US5799822A (en) * 1994-04-21 1998-09-01 Krh Thermal Systems Vending machine including multiple failure control devices
FR2765986A1 (en) * 1997-07-11 1999-01-15 Gilles Marty Automatic device disribution
EP0905660A1 (en) 1997-09-24 1999-03-31 Staar Societe Anonyme Device for releasing and dispensing articles
WO2002013628A2 (en) * 2000-08-17 2002-02-21 Mark Nathan Beagle Apparatus for dispensing heated comestibles
WO2006082508A3 (en) * 2005-02-03 2006-11-16 Michele Amoruso Apparatus for distributing packaged food products

Cited By (19)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5127544A (en) * 1990-04-13 1992-07-07 Design Technology Corporation Method and apparatus for handling buns and meat patties
WO1992016918A1 (en) * 1991-03-15 1992-10-01 Bernard Delarue Self-service device for meals, especially cooked meals
US5236103A (en) * 1991-10-01 1993-08-17 Unidynamics Corporation Food module
US5799822A (en) * 1994-04-21 1998-09-01 Krh Thermal Systems Vending machine including multiple failure control devices
WO1994028700A3 (en) * 1994-04-21 1995-09-28 Krh Thermal Systems Vending machine including refrigeration and oven compartments
US5590809A (en) * 1994-04-21 1997-01-07 Krh Thermal Systems Method of controlling inventory carousel in vending machine
US5772072A (en) * 1994-04-21 1998-06-30 Krh Thermal Systems Vending machine including refrigeration and oven compartments
WO1994028700A2 (en) * 1994-04-21 1994-12-22 Krh Thermal Systems Vending machine including refrigeration and oven compartments
US5688423A (en) * 1994-08-31 1997-11-18 Krh Thermal Systems Vending machine including multiple heat sources with programmable cook cycles
WO1998025240A2 (en) * 1996-12-06 1998-06-11 Arturo Lesca Apparatus for automatically dispensing food products, specifically bakery products
WO1998025240A3 (en) * 1996-12-06 1998-07-23 Arturo Lesca Apparatus for automatically dispensing food products, specifically bakery products
FR2765986A1 (en) * 1997-07-11 1999-01-15 Gilles Marty Automatic device disribution
WO1999003077A1 (en) * 1997-07-11 1999-01-21 Gilles Marty Automatic dispenser
EP0905660A1 (en) 1997-09-24 1999-03-31 Staar Societe Anonyme Device for releasing and dispensing articles
BE1011471A3 (en) * 1997-09-24 1999-10-05 Staar Sa Clearing device and distribution boxes, tapes ...
US6126036A (en) * 1997-09-24 2000-10-03 Staar S.A. Apparatus for dispensing articles
WO2002013628A2 (en) * 2000-08-17 2002-02-21 Mark Nathan Beagle Apparatus for dispensing heated comestibles
WO2002013628A3 (en) * 2000-08-17 2002-08-22 Mark Nathan Beagle Apparatus for dispensing heated comestibles
WO2006082508A3 (en) * 2005-02-03 2006-11-16 Michele Amoruso Apparatus for distributing packaged food products

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
GB8720739D0 (en) 1987-10-07

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Legal Events

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WAP Application withdrawn, taken to be withdrawn or refused ** after publication under section 16(1)