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Publication numberUS3685692 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication date22 Aug 1972
Filing date17 Aug 1970
Priority date15 Aug 1969
Also published asDE2032795A1
Publication numberUS 3685692 A, US 3685692A, US-A-3685692, US3685692 A, US3685692A
InventorsHansjorg Erne, Laszlo Halma
Original AssigneeDerby Anstalt
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic beverage dispenser with key control
US 3685692 A
Abstract
An automatic beverage dispenser operated by keys and provided with means for automatically dispensing a liquid and with means for providing a price indication and recordation for the drink chosen and a recordation of the number of drinks dispensed by each key holder. Means are provided for concurrently dispensing more than one drink without interfering with the dispensing of the other drink. The electronic means including pulse counters are utilized to accomplish the above discribed functions.
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United States Patent Erne et al.

[54] AUTOMATIC BEVERAGE DISPENSER WITH KEY CONTROL [72] Inventors: Hansjorg Erne; Laszlo Halma, both of Zurich, Switzerland [73] Assignee: Derby-Anstalt, Liechtenstein [22] Filed: Aug. 17, 1970 [21] Appl. No.: 64,260

3,428,218 2/1969 Coja ..222/129.4 X

[ 51 Aug.22, 1972 Brice ..222/153 Woodward ..222/153 X Primary Examiner-Robert B. Reeves Assistant Examiner-Thomas E. Kocovsky Attorney-Waters, Roditi, Schwartz & Nissen ABSTRACT An automatic beverage dispenser operated by keys and provided with means for automatically dispensing a liquid and with means for providing a price indication and recordation for the drink chosen and a recordation of the number of drinks dispensed by each key holder. Means are provided for concurrently dispensing more than one drink without interfering with the dispensing of the other drink. The electronic means including pulse counters are utilized to accomplish the above discribed functions.

11 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures EEIEE IHEEI 1 20 21 PATENTEUAUSZZ 1912 SHEET 1 0F 4 mmmm Fig.1

AUTOMATIC BEVERAGE DISPENSER WITH KEY CONTROL BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to an automatic beverage ing, often resulting in long waits for the customer. Such waits frequently results in customer dissatisfaction and annoyance. Further, in restaurants and the like, individual waiters may be called upon to mix and serve drinks. Frequently, they are inexperienced to such matters and the results of their efforts is often found wanting. In addition, it is important to keep a tally of drinks served for accounting purposes.

In order to remedy such problems, automatic beverage dispensing systems have been devised which are capable of being operated by a bartender or waiter with a key for operating the dispensing system. Such systems suffer from several disadvantages. It is necessary to record the number and amount of drinks made by each waiter or operator. Such recordation and totalization systems frequently are relatively inaccurate due to their complex nature. Thus, since the price of each mixed drink may vary, the amount of information which must be accommodated by the system is often too cumbersome for it to accommodate. In addition, such systems are not capable of concurrently being operated by more than one operator or key holder. When concurrently operated, errors in the mixing dispensing and recording process change to operations are frequently encountered.

An object of the present invention is to provide an improved liquid mixing and dispensing system.

Another object of the present invention is to provide such a system which is relatively simple in design and easy to operate.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide such a system which is capable of being concurrently operated by more than one key holder or opera- 1101'.

Another object of the present invention is to provide such a system including improved means for recording the amount and number of drinks dispensed by each key holder or operator.

Another object of the present invention is to provide such a dispensing system including means for totaling the charges for the drinks mixed or dispensed by each key holder or operator.

. Other objects, advantages, and features of the present invention will become more apparent from the following description.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the principals of the present invention, the above objects are accomplished by providing an automatic liquid mixing dispensing capable of concurrently dispensing more than one drink without interfering with the dispensing of another drink. Means are provided for simultaneously recording the number and amount of drinks dispensed to each key holder or operator and recording the corresponding monetary amounts. Such a dispensing system is provided with electronic means, including pulse counters for accomplishing the above said functions. Further description of the principle of the present invention and an embodiment thereof will be set forth below.

IN THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a front view of an automatic dispensing system constructed in accordance with the principles of 0 the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an end view of the dispensing system shown in FIG. 1;

FIGS. 3a and 3b are schematic diagrams of an embodiment of the electronic circuity suitable for use with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION The beverage dispenser illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 includes a square housing 1. A plurality of control keys and indicators will be described later, are mounted on a front panel 2 of the front portion of the housing 10. A recess 3 is provided in front panel 2. Six pipes or pipelines 4 through 9 terminate below the front panel 2 in recess 3 and dispense a beverage into containers or glasses 10 placed on a bottom platform portion formed in recess 3. In the embodiment shown, the pipes are arranged in two groups and 7, 8 and 9 forming the other.

The beverage dispenser system of the present invention is capable of being operated by six key holders or operators. In other words, unless the operator is in possession of the requisite key, the dispenser system cannot be operated. When a specific key is inserted in the corresponding keyhole or slot, a corresponding electronic circuit is energized for recording the amount of liquid dispensed and the type thereof. Additionally, the price of each drink dispensed for each waiter in accordance with the key hole operated is simultaneously recorded and totaled; lllustratively, the six key switches 11-16 are shown and mounted on the front of front panel 2, with each key switch being operated by one of six diflerent keys. A larger number of key switches can be accommodated, for which purpose six additional key holes 17 are provided in front panel 2, as shown in FIG. 1, which are covered by blind discs. Each key switch 11-16 has a respective warning light 18 associated with it, which lights up when the corresponding key switch is operated by the proper key. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, 12 such signal lights 18 are provided corresponding to the capacity of 12 key switches. In accordance with the feature of the present invention, a supplementary key switch 19 is provided on the front panel 2 to permit the dispenser to be operated by an attendant or other service personnel.

SIx pushbuttons 20-25 are mounted at the bottom of front panel 2 for selecting the beverage or liquid to be dispensed or poured, their number corresponding with that of the beverage pipes 4 through 9. Pushbuttons 20 through 25 can also be designed to be luminous, thereby indicating when a specific beverage is being dispensed. An indicator device 26 is mounted in the topmost portion of front panel or face plate 2. The indicator device 26 includes three Nixie tubes 27, 28 and 29 which provide a visual indication of the price of the selected beverage when one of the keys 20 through 25 is depressed. The visual indication serves as a check to insure that the proper price is being charged for the selected beverage.

The operation of the beverage dispenser shown in FIG. 1 is as follows: On the assumption that none of the key switches is in its active position, namely that none of the signal lights 18 is lighted, the waiter fits his key into the relevant key switch 11 to 16 and then turns the key. The signal light 18 associated with the selected key switch lights up and thereby indicates that the automat is ready for selection and dispersing of the beverage. The key can now be turned back and withdrawn. The glass is then placed in the recess 3 beneath the group of pipelines 4 to 9 which will dispense the beverage to be selected, for example, under the group of pipes 4 to 6. The desired beverage button, in this instance, one of the buttons to 22, is then depressed and a very short time thereafter the annunciator or indicator device 26 shows the price of the selected liquor and the liquor itself flows from the pipeline into the glass. During the dispensing process, the key can be turned back and withdrawn. After the glass has been filled, the flow of liquor is automatically stopped, the bulb lighting the pressed button goes out and thereby indicates that delivery of the liquor has been completed.

As will later be described in detail, the present beverage dispenser is constructed that an additional beverage can be dispensed concurrently through the second pipeline group, that is, in one of the pipelines 7 to 9, although dispensing of the first beverage has not been completed. For this purpose, the dispenser is so constructed that when the key is turned back, the corresponding signal light 18 and the price indicator 26 go out a predetermined time before the completion of the beverage delivery. The same or another key switch can then be immediately operated, and after placement of an additional glass 10 beneath the second group of pipelines 7 to 9, one of the beverage buttons 23 to can be pushed for delivery of a subsequent drink.

As shown in FIG. 2, the beverage dispenser includes counter mechanisms 31 and 32 within the housing 1, which can be read after lifting and unlocked shutter 33. A first group of the counting mechanism includes twelve electromechanical registers 31, of which each one corresponds to key switches 11 to 16 and the further six key switches 17 not yet mounted according to FIG. 1. After the operation of a key switch and the pressing of a beverage button, the price of the selected liquor in dollars and units of a nickel, for example, is displayed on the counter mechanism 31 corresponding to the selected key switch and added to the previous registered total.

Each counter 31 accordingly shows the sum total of prices of the beverages taken from the machine by the holder of the key in dollars and cents and thus aids in the calculation of the waiters charge.

A further group of counter mechanisms includes six electromechanical registers 32, of which each register corresponds to one of the beverage buttons 20 to 25 of FIG. 1. On pressing one of the buttons 20 to 25, respectively and the consequent delivery of the selected drink, the appropriate counter increases by a step or unit each time, so that the registers 32 indicate the total of individual drinks issued or served according to the type of liquor. Counters 31 and 32 may be of any other type such as electronic with associated NIXIE displays.

Adjusting mechanisms 36,37 and 38 are mounted inside housing or casing 1 behind a second lid 35 which can be locked in place by a key 34. These mechanisms include six groups each of three assigned preselector switches 36 for the beverage prices, namely, the price of a shot issued in each particular case. Each of the beverage buttons 20 to 25 in FIG. 1 corresponds to a group of three preselector switches 36. The switches 36 are formed of preset disks 39 providing a display signal 40, which is moved by contact sectors (not shown) and rotates disk to display the desired numeral. The rightmost disk of switch 36 has two positions with the numerals 0 and 5 for registering in nickel price units, while the two left disks each have 10 numerals for setting up dime or dollar units, so that the maximum beverage price that can be displayed is $9.95. The shot price displayed by means of switch 36 is computed in one of the registers 31 on the one hand when the dispenser is operated and indicated in the indicator device or annunciator 26 (FIG. 1).

The setting mechanisms further include six adjusting controls or potentiometers 37, of which each is assigned to a particular beverage button 20 to 25 (FIG. 1) and the potentiometers can adjust the amount of liquid delivered for each shot in the manner hereinafter described.

Finally, a key switch 38 is provided which serves to electrically reset the registers 31 and 32 to zero and independently to disconnect the hereinafter described control device housed in casing 1 whenever a fault occurs, and to permit the delivery of the required drink only when one of the beverage buttons 20 to 25 is depressed and maintained in that position.

Fundamentally the same processes take place through the operation of the additional key switch 19 shown in FIG. 1 as with the operation of one of the key switches 11 to 16. The difference consists in the fact that the key switch 19 blocks the computation of the individual beverage price in one of the registers 31 of FIG. 2 so that key switch 19 serves for the delivery of unbilled free drinks or operational tests of the automat or dispenser system.

FIGS. 1 and 2 do not show supply containers for the beverages to be dispensed nor means for conveying the beverages from such containers to casing 1, which includes feed pipelines and gaseous pressure agents such as carbonic acid gas or nitrogen, since they are located outside the casing 1. On the other hand, casing 1 does contain as mentioned hereinafter, solenoid valves for facilitating or interrupting the liquor feed from the containers to the pipelines 4 to 9.

From the basic sketch of the correlative FIGS. 3a and 3b, a control circuit arrangement will now be described, housed in casing 1 of FIGS. 1 and 2 which serves to carry out the described operational functions of the beverage dispenser as well as of desired lockages in the course of operations.

According to FIG. 3a, key switches 11 to 16 of FIG. 1 each include one contact 11' to 16' and a further contact 11" to 16" each, of which only contacts 11', 12' and 16' or l1", l2" and 16" are shown respectively, and the remaining similarly connected contacts are indicated by dots. Each contact 11' and 16 lies in the transfer circuit between a inhibiting circuit 41 common to all contacts and a wiring section provided individually for each contact comprising the series connections of a storage unit 42 built as a bistable trigger circuit, of an amplifier 43 and to the electromagnetic counter mechanism 31 of FIG. 2 assigned to each key switch. The signal light 18 (FIG. 1) assigned to the corresponding key switch is connected to the output of amplifier 43 in addition to the counter mechanism 31. Each counter 31 has two terminals, of which one terminal each is connected to the output of the particular amplifier 43 and is constructed as a make-and-break connection for the counting process, while the other terminal of each counter is connected to a common line 44, over which counting impulses are fed simultaneously to all counter mechanisms 31.

v The output of each storage means or unit 42 is, additionally, connected over a line 45 to one input of a primary link circuit 46, which performs an OR-function. The output of the OR-link circuit 46 on line 47 is supplied as one input to a two input AND circuit 48. The second input of the AND circuit 48 is connected to the contacts 11" to 16" of key switch which are wired in parallel on a line 49 to the second input. A fixed potential 50 which can be ground, for example, is connected to line 49 through the contacts 11 16-. The output of the AND circuit 48 is connected over a line 51 to the input of the cut-off circuit 41.

Each storage 42 has a second input, these second inputs of all the storage means being connected to a common line 52 over which a reset signal is fed to the storage means 42. Line 52 is connected to the output of a two input AND gate or circuit 53. Wire 49 is supplied to one input of the AND gate 53, while a line 54 is connected to the other input and carries a reset signal as described hereinafter.

Cut-off 41 and gates 46, 48, 53 are provided for the purpose of preventing the effect of the operation of a key switch whenever another key switch has already been put in operation and the dispensing of a beverage thereby produced has not yet been terminated. On operation of one of the key switches 11 to 16 of FIG. 1, for example, key switch 11, the pertinent closing contact 11 (FIG. 3a) is momentarily closed, whereupon a signal is sent by the cut'out 41 to the setting input of the storage means 42, so that the latter is gated into the working state, for which the output cut-off 41 must be unblocked a predetermined potential effecting the change of state of storage device 43 is provided through the closed contact 11'. This is the case whenever the AND circuit delivers an On signal over line 51 to cut-off 41, thereby opening or releasing the latter. The AND circuit 49 is so constructed that it delivers such On signal whenever an Out signal is on its input line 47, this corresponding to the rest condition of all storage devices 42 (no storage 42 being set) and an In" signal is simultaneously present on its second input line 49, corresponding to the operating condition of key switch 11 (key switch 11 in operation). The latter In signal is produced by the closing contact 11" closing on the operation of key=switch 11 and transferring potential 50 over line 49 to the input and the AND circuit 48, while the first-mentioned Out signal then is on line 47, if there is no In signal at one of the inputs of the OR circuit 46 corresponding to the working or set position of one of the storages 42.

After the said switching of states storage device 42 from its rest state into its set state by operation of key switch 11 and conclusion of the closing contact 11', and In signal appears on line 45 which is distinguished from the preceding Out signal by voltage level or polarity. The OR circuit 46 then also supplies an In signal to line 47, so that the condition for the delivery of an On signal to line 51 by the AND circuit 48 is no longer fulfilled and cut-out 41 is closed. By that means, the operation of each further key switch 12 to 16 or the closing of each further closing contact 12' to 16 stays inactive as long as the storage 42 can, however, only be restored to its reset or set position by a signal on line 52, so long as no beverage selector button is pressed or when, at least, the beverage dispensing is started.

The In signal generated by storage device 42 on its switching into its operating or set position is amplified in the amplifier 43. The amplified output signal operates the signal light 18 and releases the register 31. Counter pulses arriving over line 44 can now be counted in the register 31 of the key switch 11 but not in the other registers of the other switches 12 to 16.

The contacts 19' and 19" pertain to the supplementary key switch 19 of FIG. 1. The contact 19' is in parallel shunted to any closing contact, such as contact 16' while the closing contact 19" is shunted across contacts 11" to 16". Key switch 19 includes a third contact 19" constructed as a normally closed contact, disposed in the counter pulse line 44. The setting of a storage device 42 and the locking occurs similarly to the way it does with one of the key switches 11 to 16. However, when the key switch 19 is turned the line 44 over which the counter pulses are supplied to register 31 is interrupted, so that the beverage dispenser is actually in operation but a price registration in any of the registers 31 is blocked. As an alternative, the operating voltage of the register 31 and signal lights 18 can be disconnected by the opening of contact 19". A reset signal is fed to the storage devices 42 by the AND circuit 53. AND-gate 53 delivers a reset signal to line 52 whenever there is a simultaneous occurrence of the conditions that one input line of gate 53 has a reset signal and the other input line of gate 53 an out signal equivalent to the condition of no key switch operating so that a consecutive starting of the beverage dispenser is not possible if a first key has been left inadvertently inserted in its operative position. The production of a restoration pulse on line 54 then occurs at the earliest when the pulse-counting process for registration of the price of the beverage delivered has been completed, as is explained hereunder.

For production of the counting pulse a constantly running impulse generator 55, a multivibrator for instance, is provided, producing about 15 to 20 pulses per second. A gate circuit 56 permits a number of impulses corresponding to the price of the dispensed beverage to enter line 44 over which the pulses are supplied to one of the registers 31 and to an electronic counter including elements 57, 58, 59. This counter includes a flip-flop circuit 57, a first and second binarycoded decimal circuit 58 or 59, whereby the numeral channels 27, 28 and 29 of the annunciator 26 (FIG. 1) are connected in known manner to the binary outputs of the counter stanges. It is assumed in the foregoing embodiment that each counter pulse corresponds to a one-nickel unit. The flip-flop circuit 57 accordingly counts units of one nickel (numeral indicators 0 and 5), the decimal stage 58 units of one dime (numeral indicators to 9) and decimal stage 59 units of one dollar (numeral indicators 0 to 9). The binary outputs are carried over a 10 line bus 69 to the further portions of the present circuit arrangement illustrated in FIG. 3b.

Control of gate circuit 56 comes through the output signal of an OR-gate 61 comprising six input lines 62 to 67. A signal of one polarity on one of the input lines 62 to 67 generates an On signal on the output line which opens the gate circuit 54. When this input signal is removed, the gate circuit is again closed.

The On signal of the OR circuit 61 also trips an adjustable timing circuit 68 which can be a Miller integrator, for example, with an added Schmitt trigger connected thereto.

As a result of direct control, the On signal produces an instantaneous change of the output state of timing circuit 68. After the OR circuit 61 returns to the closed state, a signal appears at the output of timing circuit 68 after lapse of the adjusted time lag, over line 54, which beside resetting the coded storage device 42 also sets the electronic counters 57,58,59 and the number indicator tubes 27, 28, 29 back to zero. The time lag of timing circuit 68 is so regulated that for purposes of verification, the price indication in number indicator tubes 27 28, 29 the state of operation in signal lights 18 will remain on for such time lag, whereby the keyholder who is operating the dispenser can check the operation.

The circuit portion shown in outline in FIG. 36 will assist the following explanation of the control of beverage dispensation and pulse counting for recording the beverage price (that is, the control of gate circuit 56 of FIG. 3a).

The beverage buttons to of FIG. 1 each have a normally open contact 20 to 25 whereby, in a similar manner as contacts 11' to 16 of the key switches, these contacts are placed between a common blocking circuit 69 or 69' and a plurality of storage devices 70, such as flip-flops. However, separate interceptors 69 or 69', respectively, are assigned to the group of contacts 20, 21, 22 and to the group of contacts 23', 24, 25. For the time being only the group of contacts 20', 21', 22 will be considered. For opening the interceptor 69, an AND gate or circuit 71 is provided. For the release, this delivers an On-signal only when there is no In signal present on any of the output lines 72 of the storage devices 70(no storage 70 coded), when the line 47 carries an In signal (one storage 42 coded according to FIG. 3a), and line 54 is supplying an In signal (counting run terminated, that is reset signal generated in accordance with FIG. 3a). If these conditions are not met, the operation of one of the beverage buttons 20, 21, 22' is ineffective. It is therefore not possible, to secure delivery of a beverage by pressing one of the buttons, if another button has already been pressed, and the pouring of the liquor thus started has not been completed. In addition, delivery cannot be effectuated if no key switch has previously been operated and if the computation of the beverage price in one of the individual registers 31 (FIG. 2 and has not yet been completed, so that misrecording of the beverage price or a pouring without price registration cannot take place.

The output of each storage device 70 is further connected to the lamp 73 mounted in each button 20, 21

22' which lights up when the corresponding button is pressed and thereby codes in the appropriate storage device 70, that is, it delivers an In signal if the foregoing conditions are met and the blocking circuit 69 is unlocked. The output of each storage device is further connected to one of the two inputs of AND gates 74, respectively.

The binary outputs of the counter 57, 58, 59 of FIG. 3a are carried on line 60 three groups preselector switches 36, which are provided for the purpose of generating a renewed signal cutting out the gate circuit 56 of FIG. 3a, soon as the number of pulses assigned to the registers 31 and produced by impulse generator 55 and carried through the open gate circuit 56 cor responds to the price set on the preselector switches 36. In a well known manner, each of the preselector switches 36 offers for this purpose two or four normally open contacts as the case may be, to which the 10 hinary output lines of counter 57, 58, 59 are connected and which are each also connected together through an individual interceptor diodes and across a resistance to a fixed potential. The activation of the contacts follows through the adjustment wheels 39 shown diagrammatically in FIG. 2 and provided with a decimal numeral indicator 40, whereby the connection between the closings of the individual contacts and the setting of adjustment wheel takes place according to the same binary decimal code as that present in counter 57, 58, 59.

As a binary-coded output signals of counter 57,58,59 which develop predetermined potentials (from any value from zero up), a potential drop arises for the first time on the common junction of the closing contacts of the preselector switch 36, when the output signal of the counter corresponds to the value set on the preselector switches. This potential drop is supplied as output signal of the selector switches 36 to an adjustable timing circuit connected to same.

The timing circuit 75 is constructed as a monostable multivibrator which is brought dynamically into the quasistable state by the output signal of the selector switch 36 and thereby emits an In signal. After the interval adjustable by potentiometer 37 (FIG. 2), the multivibrator again returns to its stable condition and in this state delivers an Out signal.

The output of each timing circuit 75 is connected in each case to the second input of the AND circuit 74, the output of which supplies a signal to lines 62, 63 or 64 if the appropriate storage device 70 produces an In signal, that is the storage is coded and at the same time the timing circuit 75 delivers an Out signal, that is it is in the steady state. As previously explained by means of FIG. 3a, such an output signal of one of the AND circuits 74 over one of the lines 62, 63, 64 operates an On signal at the output of the OR circuit 61 of FIG. 3a thus opening the gate circuit 56.

Furthermore, the electromagnetic counter 32 (FIGS. 2 and 3b) is connected through an amplifier 76 to the output of the timing circuit 75 and switches forward by one figure each time the timing circuit 75 swings from the stable to the quasistable state.

Timing circuit 75 also controls the amount of beverage issued. For this purpose a magnet 78 is connected through an amplifier 77 to the output of the timing circuit 75 and operates a valve 79. The valve 79 has the beverage fed to it through a pipeline 80, while the beverage is delivered to the glass through the pipeline 4 also shown in FIG. I. For review purposes, the amplifiers 76,77, the register 32 and the solenoid valve 78,79 are drawn individually only for the pushbutton contact 28. Identical elements are however also used for the pushbutton contacts 21' and 22', with the corresponding pipelines 5 and 6 for the delivery of additional beverages.

Further, a line 81 leads from the output of each timing circuit 75 to the appropriate storage device 70. Such line serves to clear the storage device 70 dynamically, that is switch it back to its rest position when the timing circuit 75 switches back to its stable state. Finally, each timing circuit 75 is connected to the appropriate storage device 70 through a further line 82, over which whenever the storage is not coded, that is whenever it is at rest, an interceptor signal travels from the storage to the timing circuit. This serves to prevent an unwanted tripping of the timing circuit and consequently an issue of beverage through fortuitous stray pulses or through a pulse of the preconnected preselector switch.

The operation of the circuit portions shown in FIG. 3b and of appropriate circuit portions of FIG. 3a is as follows:

On the assumption that one of the key switches 11 to 16 (FIG. I) has been operated and that none of the previously described locking mechanisms is preventing the required pouring of beverages, pressure of a beverage button 20 to 25, button 20, for example, will close the appropriate closing contact 20 (FIG. 3b) and thus code in the subsequently switched in storage device 70, whereby the storage remains in this working position when the push button is released and the closingcontact 20' again opened. In coding the storage device 70, the timing circuit 75 is unlocked over the line 82. On the AND circuit 74 input exists in an In signal provided by storage device 70 and an Out signal of timing circuit 75, so that a signal appears on line 62 which produces an On signal at the output of the ORcircuit 61 (FIG. 3a). This On signal opens the gate circuit 56, so that now the pulses of impulse generator 55 reach line 44 and are counted in the register 31 and in the electronic counter 57,58,59. On the conductors of line 60, the binary coded representation of the tallied pulses now permanently appears. As soon as the number of the counted pulses in the binary coded representation agrees with the binary coded decimal adjustment of the preselector switch 36 (FIG. 3b) of closing contact 20, a pulse appears on the output of the preselector counter which releases the unlocked timing circuit 75.

On the momentary switch of the timing circuit 75, its output recording level changes from the Out signal to the In signal. On the AND circuit 74, there are now the In signal of the storage 70 and the In signal of timing circuit 75, so that the output signal of the AND circuit falls back to its original value befor the coding-in of the storage. The On signal at the output of the OR circuit 6i (FIG. 3a) likewise disappears, and the gate circuit 56 is closed so that no further pulses reach line 44. Since the switch and signal intervals from the moment the timing circuit 75 is tripped are altogether substantially smaller than the time between two counting pulses of the impulse generator 55 and the gate circuit is constructed for putting through only complete pulses, register 31, in fact, counts in only as many pulses as were set up in an equivalent pried indication on the preselector switches 36. As the admission of counter pulses to counter 57, 58, 59 is also blocked by the closing of gate circuit 56, the counter remains at the same value and indicates this by means of the numeral indicator tubes 27,28,29 (FIGS. 1,3a) thus, for example, an amount of 3.25 (FIGS. 1,2).

As already mentioned, the On signal of the OR circuit 61 is supplied also to timing circuit 68 which after termination of the counting run, sets the counter 57,58,59 and the storage 42 back with an adjustable lag.

The In output signal of timing circuit 75 actuates magnet 78 of valve 79 through the amplifier 77, so that the required beverage now flows out of pipe or pipeline 4. At the same time, the In output signal steps the re gister 32 one numeral forward to record the shot issued. The flow of beverage is then stopped again, when the timing circuit 75 swings back automatically from its quasi-stable state to its steady state, thereby deactivating magnet 78. The duration of the quasi-stable state of timing circuit 75 thus measures the quantity of beverage poured and can accordingly be adjusted by means of potentiometer 37 (FIG. 2).

The pulse delivered on the swingback of timing circuit 75 into the steady state clears storage through line 81 so that the timing circuit is reset over line 82. The AND circuit 74 now holds the Out signal of timing circuit again, so that after preliminary operation of a key switch by pressure of one of the buttons 20 to 25 and through that by setting of the relevant storage device 70, a pulse counting run and consequent issue of beverage can again be started.

As already illustrated introductorily by means of FIG. 1, it can be advantageous to combine the ap paratus for drink selection and delivery into two or more groups, thus providing the possibility of taking a further beverage from the machine even while the issuance of the first shot has not yet been completed. FIG. 3a diagrammatically shows how this can be achieved in the present beverage dispenser as constructed.

The closing contacts 23', 24' and 25 of push buttons 23, 24 and 25 of FIG. 1 are, as previously described, connected to the interceptor 69'. On the other side, each normally open contact is connected to a storage device and to all other portions of the circuit, which are shown particularly in their relation to the closing contact 20' in FIG. 3b but for the rest of the closing contacts 23', 24 and 25' are only indicated as block 83. Similarly for unlocking interceptor 69, a separate AND circuit 7i is provided, lines 47 and 54 again being connected to its inputs as are also lines 72' from the output of each of the storage devices contained in block 83. The lines 65, 66, 67 are output leads from AND circuits corresponding to the gate circuits 74. Furthermore, block 83 is connected to the bus were 68 for transference of the binary coded output signals of the counter 57, 58, 59 of FIG. 3a to analogous preselector switches contained in block 83. The lines 7, 8 and 9 indicate the correspondingly denoted pipes or pipelines of FIG. I collected in one group.

As one separate AND circuit 71 belongs to the interceptor 69', this barrier can be unlocked even when one of the storage devices corresponding to the closing contacts 21, 22' is still coded in, that is when the pouring of the first shot is not yet completed. To control these functions, line 54 is carrying an In signal (Counting run terminated). If then all the remaining conditions of lines 47 and 72' are met, as has been previously explained, then the delivery of a further shot over one of the pipelines 7, 8, 9 can be started by closing one of the closing contacts 23', 24, or by pressing one of the corresponding buttons 23, 24, 25 (FIG. 1), even when the pouring of the first shot over one of the pipelines 4, 5, 6 has not yet been completed.

Key switch 38 of FIG. 2 is provided for tapping off beverages from the machine in the event of breakdown of the switching arrangement described. This key switch has a contact bank (not shown) which connects the contacts 20 to 25 of the beverage buttons directly to amplifier 77 and accordingly to the solenoid valve 78, 79, that is to an appropriate power source when the switch is in action. The larger part of the circuitry, especially key switches 11 to 16, the beverage price recording mechanism including the counter 57, 58, 59 and the registers 31 as well as the automatic dispensing of the beverage issued is then out of commission. For filling the inserted drinking glass, one of the beverage buttons 20 to 25 (FIG. 1) must be pressed long enough until the required amount of beverage has gone into the container.

It is also advantageous to provide the supplementary key switch 38 (FIG. 2) with a further contact bank, operated by an additional turn of the key. Reset windings of registers 31 can be connected to the contact bank, so that the registers can be set back to zero after the computation of the total amount recorded by the registers.

The operative parts of the foregoing circuit described by means of FIGS. 3a and 3b, can be readily constructed from known switching units, especially from integrated logical circuitry, wherein the signals hitherto mentioned are binary signals, of which one significant state is, for example, the earth potential and whose other state is a positive potential. It is an advantage to arrange the circuit elements assigned individually to one of the closing contacts 11 to 16 and 20' to 25 on a common plug-in printed circuit board and to provide corresponding sockets in the apparatus, so that the beverage dispenser can at any time be changed to accord with the then required control modifications (number of key switches, number of beverages dispensed) by simple addition, removal or interchange of the circuit boards. If several of the beverages to be dispensed have the same price, so that only two prices, for instance. are required, it can also be advantageous to code the preselector devices 36 only in a quantity equivalent to the number of the price stages, thus for example only two preselector devices, and to assign one or the other preselector setting either permanently or commutably to each beverage switch.

It can also be advantageous to provide an optical empty warning for the supply tanks containing the beverages to be dispensed. This can be done simply, by having the beverage outpour from the stock tanks monitored by a conductimeter for example, and

providing a circuit which operates a flashing of the pertinent beverage selector lamp when the outpour dwindles, that is when the resistance of the measuring section rises.

What is claimed is:

1. In an automatic beverage dispenser for dispensing drinks having a plurality of key-operated switches, each of said switches being actuated by a different key, a plurality of dispensing pipes for said drinks, a platform for at least one liquid container, said platform being located below said dispensing pipes, a plurality of beverage selector switches, said beverage selector switches being selectively operated to control the type of beverage dispensed through one of said pipes, and summing indicator means for additively registering and displaying monetary amounts corresponding to the beverages dispensed, an improvement wherein said indicator means includes a plurality of first pulse counters each associated with a different key-operated switch for counting pulses in a pulse train the length of which corresponds to the monetary amount of the beverage being dispensed, and for displaying the number of pulses counted, pulse generator means for continuously generating said pulses, gate means for controlling the length of said pulse trains, said gate means having a pulse input connected to the output of said pulse generator means, a pulse output connected to each of said first pulse counters and to a second pulse counter, and a control input connected via logic circuit means to said beverage selector switches and to pulse count preselector switches associated with said beverage selector switches and connected to said second pulse counter for selecting a count corresponding to the monetary amount of the selected beverage, whereby said gate means is in its enabling condition on actuation of a first one of said key-operated switches and subsequent actuation of a first one of said beverage selecting switches, and in its inhibiting condition on occurrence of an output signal of said pulse count preselector switches when said second counter assumes a counting state corresponding to the count selected by said pulse count preselector switches, a plurality of first adjustable timing circuits each associated with a different beverage selector switch for controlling a flow control member for the selected beverage to open said flow control member on occurrence of said output signal of said pulse count preselector switches for dispensing the selected beverage through one of said pipes, and again to close said flow control member on occurrence of an output signal of said associated timing circuit, and electronic interlocking means for the prevention of the effect of actuation of a second beverage selector switch at least until termination of the pulse counting in said first and second pulse counters brought about by the actuation of said first keyoperated switch and said first beverage selector switch.

2. A beverage dispenser as claimed in claim 1, including a plurality of resettable stores, each of said stores being connected to a different key-operated switch and beverage selector switch for storing the operating state of the associated switch.

3. A beverage dispenser as claimed in claim 2, wherein each of the first pulse counters comprises an inhibiting input connected to the output of the store of the associated key-operated switch for enabling said pulse counter when said store is set after actuation of said keytoperated switch.

4. A beverage dispenser as claimed in claim 2, comprising at least one second locking circuit, said beverage selector switches being connected to said at least one second locking circuit, said second locking circuit being controlled by the output signal of a second AND-function circuit having a plurality of inputs, whereby the output signal of each of said AND-function circuits unlocks the associated locking circuit when concurrently only one beverage selector switch is actuated, one of said key-operated switches is actuated and the pulse counting is terminated.

5. A beverage dispenser as claimed in claim 2, wherein said first timing circuits are monostable multivibrators arranged to be triggered by the output signal of the associated pulse count preselector switch, the output of each of said first timing circuits being further connected to a reset input of said stores connected to said beverage selector switches for resetting said switches when said first timing circuit reassumes its stable state,

6. A beverage dispenser as claimed in claim 2, wherein each of said stores connected to a beverage selector switch has a further output connected to the associated first timing circuit for inhibiting said first timing circuit when said store is not set.

7. A beverage dispenser as claimed in claim 2, wherein said control input of said gate means is connected to the output of a second OR-function circuit having a plurality of inputs, each input of said OR-function circuit being connected to the output of a different one of a plurality of third AND-function circuits, each of said third AND-function circuits having two inputs, one of said inputs of said third AND-function circuits being connected to the output of a different one of said stores associated with said beverage selection switches, the other input being connected to the output of the associated first timing circuit, whereby said gate means is enabled only when one of said stores of said beverage selector switches is set and said timing circuit is in its inactivated condition.

8. A beverage dispenser as claimed in claim 7, wherein a second adjustable timing circuit is connected to the output of said second OR-function circuit for generating a reset signal delayed with respect to the instant of enabling said gate means.

9. A beverage dispenser as claimed in claim 2, comprising a first locking circuit, said operated switches being connected to said first locking circuit, said locking circuit being controlled by the output signal of a first AND-function circuit having a plurality of inputs, whereby the output signal of said first AND-function circuit unlocks said locking circuit when one of said key-operated switches is actuated and none of said stores is set.

10. A beverage dispenser as claimed in claim 9, wherein said key-operated switches have two sets of parallel contacts, a first set of contacts being connected to said stores and a second set of contacts being connected to a source of fixed potential, said first AND- function circuit having two inputs, one of said inputs being connected to said fixed potential via said second set of contacts, and the other input being connected to the output of a first OR-function circuit having several inriuts each connected to a different one of said stores.

1. A beverage dispenser as claimed in claim 10,

wherein said reset signal from said second timing circuit is supplied to said second pulse counter, to each of said second AND-function circuits and to one input of a fourth AND-function circuit having two inputs, the output of said fourth AND-function circuit being connected to reset inputs of said stores connected to said first set of contacts of said key-operated switches, and the second input of said fourth AND-function circuit being connected to said source of fixed potential via said second set of contacts of said key-operated switches, whereby at the earliest at the instant of the termination of the pulse counting in said first and second pulse counter one of said key-operated switches and one of said beverage selector switches can be actuated.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3884391 *9 May 197320 May 1975Pauliukonis Richard SAutomatic bar
US4011967 *21 Jul 197515 Mar 1977The Vendo CompanyElectronic system device for control of ingredient dispensing in a cup beverage vendor
US4267942 *20 Jun 197919 May 1981John B. Wick, Jr.Pharmaceutical dispensing cabinet
US4549570 *12 Oct 198229 Oct 1985Cook Kenneth DWaste disposal monitoring system
US4628974 *14 Mar 198416 Dec 1986Meyer Ronald KApparatus for automated assembly of flowable materials
US4962866 *4 Nov 198816 Oct 1990The Coca-Cola CompanyNon-attended, self-service cup vender
US5731981 *8 Jun 199224 Mar 1998Azbar, Inc.Beverage dispensing system for bar
US5769271 *11 Aug 199423 Jun 1998Wilhelm Handke GmbhApparatus and methods for monitoring a beverage dispenser, in particular a counter system
US5967367 *8 Jul 199619 Oct 1999Coca-Cola & Schweppes Beverages LimitedDrinks-dispensing apparatus
US20120080445 *22 Sep 20115 Apr 2012Nick MoezidisRefrigerator door wine dispenser
USRE4377118 Feb 201030 Oct 2012Koncelik Jr Lawrence JDisplay device for beverage pitcher or coffee machine
WO1985004157A1 *11 Mar 198526 Sep 1985Ronald K MeyerApparatus for automated assembly of flowable materials
WO1993025466A2 *7 Jun 199323 Dec 1993Azbar IncBeverage dispensing system for a bar
WO1995005337A1 *11 Aug 199423 Feb 1995Handke Wilhelm GmbhProcess and device for monitoring a beverage dispenser, in particular designed as a counter system
WO1997003916A1 *8 Jul 19966 Feb 1997Coca Cola & Schweppes BeverageDrinks-dispensing apparatus
WO2012040589A1 *23 Sep 201129 Mar 2012Napa TechnologyRefrigerator door wine dispenser
Classifications
U.S. Classification222/23, 222/129.4, 222/153.3
International ClassificationG07F7/02, B67D1/00, G07F13/06, B67D7/10
Cooperative ClassificationB67D1/0041, G07F7/02, G06Q20/206, B67D2210/00091, G07F13/065, B67D2210/00083, B67D7/103
European ClassificationG06Q20/206, B67D1/00G, G07F13/06B, G07F7/02, B67D7/10B