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1. WO2004006195 - APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR VENDING PRODUCTS HAVING VARIOUS DIMENSIONS

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

[ EN ]

What is Claimed:

1. A container release assembly for use with a vending machine for vending items from a queue, the assembly comprising:
(a) a first release apparatus having a first front engaging member and a
first rear engaging member, each of the first front engaging member and the first rear engaging member pivotally positioned in relation to a first gate, the first release apparatus positioned on a first side of the item to be vended;
(b) a second release apparatus having a second front engaging member and a second rear engaging member, each of the second front
engaging member and the second rear engaging member pivotally
positioned in relation to a second gate, the second release apparatus positioned on a second side, opposite the first side, of the item to be vended;
(c) the first release apparatus and the second release apparatus operably and pivotally connected together;
(d) the first and second front engaging members for engaging a first item in the queue, and the first and second rear engaging members for
engaging a second item in the queue.

2. The assembly according to claim 1, wherein:
(a) the first front engaging is pivotally connected to the first gate by a
first camming mechanism,
(b) the first rear engaging member is pivotally connected to the first gate by a first fast camming mechanism, the first fast camming mechanism having a faster camming motion that the first camming mechanism;

(c) the second front engaging member is pivotally connected to the
second gate by a second camming mechanism; and
(d) the second rear engaging member is pivotally connected to the second gate by a second fast camming mechanism, the second fast camming mechanism having a faster camming motion that the second camming mechanism.

3. The assembly according to claim 2 wherein the first and second fast camming mechanisms comprise a bifurcated feature.

4. The assembly according to claim 3, wherein the bifurcated feature is a kidney shaped slot.

5. The assembly according to claim 1 wherein:
(a) the first gate is pivotally connected to a first sidewall between the
first front engaging member and the first rear engaging member; and

(b) the second gate is pivotally connected to a second sidewall between
the second front engaging member and the second rear engaging
member.

6. The assembly according to claim 1 wherein:
(a) a portion of the first front engaging member extends through a slot in the first gate and is pivotally connected to a first sidewall of the
assembly; and
(b) a portion of the second front engaging member extends through a slot in the second gate and is pivotally connected to a second sidewall of the assembly.

7. The assembly according to claim 1 wherein each of the first front engaging member, second front engaging member, first rear engaging member and second rear engaging member comprises a vertical portion extending perpendicular to a floor of the assembly.

8. The assembly according to claim 1, wherein the first item in the queue has a first diameter and the second item in the queue has a second diameter, the second diameter being different than the first diameter.

9. The assembly according to claim 1, wherein the first item in the queue and the second item in the queue are beverage containers.

10. A method of vending a first item from a queue of a vending machine, the method comprising:
(a) retaining the first item in the queue with a front engaging member of a release assembly; and
(b) releasing the first item from the release assembly and retaining a
second item in the queue with a rear engaging member of the release assembly.

11. The method according to claim 10, wherein retaining a second item in the queue with a rear engaging member of the release assembly occurs faster than releasing the first item from the release assembly.

12. The method according to claim 10, wherein the step of retaining the first item in the queue comprises:
(a) retaining the first item in the queue with a first front engaging
member and a second front engaging member opposite of the first
front engaging member.

13. The method according to claim 10, wherein the step of retaining the second item in the queue comprises:
(a) retaining the second item in the queue with a first rear engaging
member and a second rear engaging member opposite of the first rear engaging member.

14. The method according to claim 10, further comprising:
(a) releasing the second item from the rear engaging member and
retaining the second item with the front engaging member.