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Title:
A FISH BAIT VENDING MACHINE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/043898
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A fish bait vending machine for vending packaged fish bait, the machine comprising a cabinet a compartment within the cabinet, the compartment to retain the packaged fish bait in a colder than ambient environment, a refrigeration system to establilsh the colder than ambient environment, a transfer device within the cabinet, a dispensing opening (where closable or not by any closure means) via which the packaged fish bait can be removed from the cabinet, wherein the transfer device includes means to engage and hold the packaged fish bait and means to displace the packaged fish bait from the compartment to a location where it can be accessed by a person via the dispensing opening.

Inventors:
ZANDERS, Tane, Edward (16 Ashcroft Avenue, Mangere Bridge, Auckland, NZ)
Application Number:
NZ2006/000261
Publication Date:
April 19, 2007
Filing Date:
October 12, 2006
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ZANDER CORPORATION LIMITED (3 Carnoustie Drive, Wattle Downs Manurewa, Auckland, NZ)
ZANDERS, Tane, Edward (16 Ashcroft Avenue, Mangere Bridge, Auckland, NZ)
International Classes:
A47F3/04; A47F1/08; A47F1/10; A47F3/024; A47F3/026
Foreign References:
DE19650394A11998-06-10
US20030209559A12003-11-13
DE10219378A12003-11-20
JP2001258694A2001-09-25
DE19532728A11997-03-06
EP0470513A21992-02-12
DE19940978A12001-03-01
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ADAMS, Matthew, D et al. (A J Park, 6th Floor Huddart Parker Building Po Box 94, Wellington 6015, NZ)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS:

1. A fish bait vending machine for vending packaged fish bait, said machine comprising: a cabinet, a compartment within said cabinet, said compartment to retain said packaged fish bait in a colder tiian ambient environment, a refrigeration system to establish said colder than ambient environment, a transfer device within said cabinet, a dispensing opening (where closable or not by any closure means) via which said packaged fish bait can be removed from said cabinet, wherein said transfer device includes means to engage and hold said packaged fish bait and means to displace said packaged fish bait from said compartment to a location where it can be accessed by a person via said dispensing opening. 2. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in claim 1 wherein said compartment includes an opening (whether closeable or not by any closure means) through which said means to engage and hold can pass to engage and contact said packaged fish bait and transfer said packaged fish bait from said compartment.

3. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in claim 1 or 2 wherein said compartment defines an enclosed cavity within which said packaged fish bait can be located, said compartment including a door to create an opening to said cavity via which said packaged fish bait may be transferred.

4. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 3 wherein said compartment is a thermally insulated compartment. 5. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 4 wherein said transfer device is located above said compartment.

6. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 5 wherein said transfer device is an overhead gantry with means to move said means to engage and hold in at least two directions.

7. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in claim 6 wherein said transfer device is an overhead gantry with means to move said means to engage and hold in a- direction lateral to said two directions.

8. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 7 wherein said transfer device is an overhead gantry with means to move said means to engage and hold in three orthogonal axes.

9. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 8 wherein said compartment can hold a plurality of packaged fish bait.

10. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in claim 9 wherein said plurality of packaged fish bait are located in said compartment in a regular array.

11. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in claim 9 or 10 wherein said plurality of packaged fish bait are stacked inside said compartment.

12. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 11 wherein said cabinet includes a control means to control the position of the means to engage and hold said transfer device.

13. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in claim 12 wherein said control means operates in response to a request from an input device.

14. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in claim 13 wherein said input device is a device to receive commands from a person. 15. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in claim 13 or 14 wherein said input device includes a key pad.

16. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in claim 15 wherein said key pad includes keys to allow said control device to control movement of said means to engage and hold to move the desired number of packaged fish bait units for dispensing.

17. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in claim 15 or 16 wherein said key pad includes keys to allow said control device to control movement of said means to engage and hold to select the desired packaged fish bait for dispensing.

18. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in any one of claims 12 to 17 wherein said control means is programmed to move said means to engage and hold to a location predetermined to allow for engagement with a packaged fish bait unit.

19. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in any one of claims 12 to 17 wherein said means to control includes means to receive feedback from a packaged fish bait location sensor.

20. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in claim 19 wherein said packaged fish bait location sensor is an optical sensor.

21. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 20 wherein said compartment includes at least two different types of packaged fish bait.

22. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 21 wherein a means to effect payment for the requested packaged fish bait is provided. 23. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in claim 22 wherein said means to effect payment is coin actuated.

24. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in claim 22 wherein said means to effect payment is electronic fund transfer actuated.

25. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 24 wherein a means to record the number of packaged fish bait units dispensed is provided.

26. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in claim 25 wherein a means to transmit data recorded by said means to record is provided.

27. A fish bait vending machine as claimed in claim 26 wherein said means to transmit is a wireless means to transmit. 28. A method of selling fish bait, comprising locating a machine as herein before claimed in a publicly accessible location.

29. A method of vending fish bait comprising storing packaged fish bait in a chiller compartment within a cabinet, said cabinet including packaged fish bait transfer means to move said packaged fish bait from said compartment to a location of said cabinet where said so transferred packaged fish bait can become accessible by a person outside of said cabinet, wherein said transfer means moves upon receiving a user specified request, said movement being to effect the user specified request.

30. A method of vending fish bait as claimed in claim 29 wherein said transfer means moves upon receiving a user specified request but only after payment has been affected by said user.

31. A fish bait vending machine as herein claimed with reference to the accompanying drawings.

Description:

A FISH BAIT VENDING MACHINE

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a fish bait vending machine.

BACKGROUND

There is a need for fish bait to be purchased by consumers at times of the day when more traditional outlets for fish bait may be closed. Fishing trips may commence at early hours of the day, well before opening times of many retail shops and garages. Therefore access to bait by such fishermen may be limited. Having the ability to be able to purchase fish bait 24 hours a day is hence a need which at this stage appears to be unfulfilled. Accordingly it is an objection of the present invention to address the abovementioned problems or to at least provide the public with a useful choice.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly in a first aspect the present invention consists in a fish bait vending machine for vending packaged fish bait, said machine comprising a cabinet a compartment within said cabinet, said compartment to retain said packaged fish bait in a colder than ambient environment, a refrigeration system to establish said colder than ambient environment a transfer device within said cabinet a dispensing opening (where closable or not by any closure means) via which said packaged fish bait can be removed from said cabinet wherein said transfer device includes means to engage and hold said packaged fish bait and means to displace said packaged fish bait from said compartment to a location where it can be accessed by a person via said dispensing opening. Preferably said compartment includes an opening (whether closeable or not by any closure means) through which said means to engage and hold can pass to

engage and contact said packaged fish bait and transfer said packaged fish bait from said compartment.

Preferably said compartment defines an enclosed cavity within which said packaged fish bait can be located, said compartment includes a door to create an opening to said cavity via which said packaged fish bait may be transferred.

Preferably said compartment is a thermally insulated compartment.

Preferably said transfer device is located above said compartment.

Preferably said transfer device is an overhead gantry with means to move said means to engage and hold in at least two directions. Preferably said transfer device is an overhead gantry with means to move said means to engage and hold in a direction lateral to said two directions.

Preferably said transfer device is an overhead gantry with means to move said means to engage and hold in three orthogonal axes.

Preferably said compartment can hold a plurality of packaged fish bait. Preferably said plurality of packaged fish bait are located in said compartment in a regular array.

Preferably said plurality of packaged fish bait are stacked inside said compartment.

Preferably said cabinet includes a control means to control the position of the means to engage and hold said transfer device.

Preferably said control means operates in response to a request from and input device.

Preferably said input device is a device to receive commands from a person.

Preferably said input device includes a key pad. Preferably said key pad includes keys to allow said control device to control movement of said means to engage and hold to move the desired number of packaged fish bait units for dispensing.

Preferably said compartment includes at least two different types of packaged fish bait.

Preferably said key pad includes keys to allow said conttol device to control movement of said means to engage and hold to select the desired packaged fish bait for dispensing.

Preferably a means to effect payment for the requested packaged fish bait is provided.

Preferably said means to effect payment is coin actuated.

Preferably said means to effect payment is electronic fund transfer actuated.

Preferably a means to record the number of packaged fish bait units dispensed is provided. Preferably a means to transmit data recorded by said means to record is provided.

Preferably said means to transmit is a wireless means to transmit.

Preferably said means to control is programmed to move said means to engage and hold to a location predetermined to allow for engagement with a packaged fish bait unit.

Alternatively, preferably said means to control includes means to receive feedback from a packaged fish bait location sensor.

Preferably said packaged fish bait location sensor is an optical sensor.

In a second aspect the present invention includes a method of selling fish bait, comprising locating a machine as herein before defined in a publicly accessible location.

In a further aspect the present invention consists in a method of vending fish bait comprising storing packaged fish bait in a chiller compartment within a cabinet, said cabinet including packaged fish bait transfer means to move said packaged fish bait from said compartment to a location of said cabinet where said so transferred packaged fish bait can become accessible by a person outside of said cabinet, wherein said transfer means moves upon receiving a user specified request, said movement being to effect the user specified request.

Preferably said transfer means moves upon receiving a user specified request but only after payment has been affected by said user.

- A -

In a further aspect the present invention consists in a fish bait vending machine as herein described with reference to the accompanying drawings.

This invention may also be said broadly to consist in the parts, elements and features referred to or indicated in the specification of the application, individually or collectively, and any or all combinations of any two or more of said parts, elements or features, and where specific integers are mentioned herein which have known equivalents in the art to which this invention relates, such known equivalents are deemed to be incorporated herein as if individually set forth.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Figure 1 is a perspective view of a fish bait vending machine of the present invention,

Figure 2 is a partially cut away view of the fish bait vending machine of Figure 1, Figure 3 is a perspective view of the overhead gantry that may be utilised for the picking of fish bait in a cold store within the cabinet of the fish bait vending machine for transfer to vend such a bait, and

Figure 4 is a front and partially cutaway view of the fish bait vending machine of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

With reference to Figure 1, there is shown a fish bait vending machine 1 which consists of a cabinet 2 which preferably includes a container 3 into which prepackaged fish bait units 4 may be loaded. Each unit 4 may include one or a plurality of fish bait items which an end user will use for the purposes of baiting hooks for fishing. The units 4 are. preferably packages of a cardboard of or plastic box like nature but may alternatively be of a flexible bag construction. The benefit of each unit being of a regular shaped box shape as for example shown in Figure 4, allows for the units to be arranged in a regular array or grid or stack as also shown in Figure 2.

The container 3 is preferably an insulated container and may include a permanent opening 5 on the top or side or similar through which units can successively be transferred out of the container. The opening 5 may be an opening that is closeable by a closure such as a lid. The closure may be movable at certain times when a replenishing of stocks within the container is required or when a unit is being transferred from the container for dispensing. The insulated container 3 operates in conjunction with a refrigeration circuit or system (not shown) to at least in part retain chilled atmosphere so as to ensure that the fish bait remains at an appropriate temperature for longer than an ambient temperature preservation of the integrity of the fish bait. Preferably the refrigeration circuit will chill the air within the container 3 sufficiently for the fish bait to remain in a frozen state.

In the most preferred form the vending machine can receive power from an external source such as from mains electricity for the purposes of powering the refrigeration circuit. Alternatively power supply may be internal such as from a fuel cell, solar power or similar.

An item transfer device 6 is incorporated within the cabinet 2. The item transfer device 6 is for example shown in Figure 3 and 4. With reference to Figure 3, the item transfer device 6 is preferably an overhead gantry mechanism and includes an item engagement and holding means 7 which can latch onto an item for its transfer for the purposes of vending from the machine. The holding means 7 may include a claw or hook like element or alternatively and in the preferred form is preferably a suction cup 8. The suction cup 8 connected to a suction system via a hose connection or connections, can allow for the engagement means 7 to become engaged to an item 4. The engagement force is preferably sufficiently strong for the item 4 to be uplifted from the stack within the container 3 and by use of the overhead gantry mechanism, be transferred for the purposes of dispensing.

Sensors may be included with the suction cup 8 to determine when the suction cup 8 has made adequate contact with an item for the activation of the suction pressure for the purposes of engaging the suction cup with an item 4. Likewise a sensor may be incorporated in the system to determine when appropriate release of the item held and carried by the suction cup can occur for the purposes of

the movement of the item towards a position where it can be dispensed from the vending machine. The overhead gantry arrangement 6 preferably includes longitudinal rails 9 with which a traveller 10 is located. The traveller 10 is capable of being moved in the longitudinal direction (X) along the rails 9. The traveller 10 may be actuated for movement by a servo motor or the like to directly drive the carriage 10 in the X direction. Such driving may occur via direct drive means and/or including a rack and pinion arrangement, screw drive or similar. Alternatives may include hydraulic drive, pneumatic drive, including the use of linear actuators or linear motors or similar. Carried by the traveller 10 is a carriage 11. The carriage 11 is capable of being moved along the traveller 10 in for example the Z direction. The Z direction is preferably perpendicular to the X direction although angles other than perpendicular may also be possible. The carriage 11 can move along the traveller 10 so as to allow the positioning of the engagement means 7 appropriately for its positioning to engage a unit of the stack within the container 3. Similar drive means to those described with reference to the movement of the traveller 10 may be utilised for the movement of the carriage 11. Positional control of the engagement means 7 is achieved by a control system. The control system may include feedback from the position of the carriage 11 and traveller 10 relative to a fixed reference point. Additional control is preferably exercised over the height (in the Y direction) of the engagement means 7 to allow for the engagement of the engagement means 7 with units at different heights in a stack within the container 3. Height control of the engagement means 7 may be achieved by a telescopic and hydraulic or pneumatically operated arm 12 extending from the carriage 11. Alternative mechanisms such as scissor mechanisms, four bar chain mechanisms, extendable linkages etc. may also be utilised for the purposes of allowing the attachment means 7 to be positioned at different locations in the Y direction. Similar control and feedback of the position of the attachment means 7 in the Y direction may also be exercised. Positional sensing of the carriage 11 and engagement means 7 may be performed by the various systems know within the art including laser displacement sensors, linear variable displacement transducers and RFID tags. The control of the

position of the attachment means 7 for the purposes of its engagement with a unit is preferably determined by a pre-programmed control device. Such a device may include a PLC or similar. Upon the complete loading of items into a container 3, the PLC is reset to its initial position. Its initial position recognises that a full capacity of the container is present. A sequence of movement upon the initiation by a purchaser will then be commenced by the attachment means 7. The sequence will start by selecting a unit from a known location and will progress for example row by row to select the next unit upon the next initiation of a purchase by a consumer. Alternatively however an optical sensor may be incorporated with the present invention for determining the location of units to be dispensed upon request by a consumer.

The container 3 may include two or more zones where in each zone, a different type of bait is located. A customer may be able to select by an interface with the control system, a certain fish bait to be dispensed. The controller having received such input from a customer, can then position the attachment means 7 for engagement with an appropriate unit 4 within the container 3 for the dispensing of a unit so requested by the consumer. The controller preferably includes an ability to know or determine where units have been removed from the fully loaded configuration within the container 3 so as to not move the attachment means 7 to such a location for any subsequent requests for the vending of a unit from the machine of the present invention. Sensors may also be included within the machine of the present invention to determine when a successful vending of a unit as per the customers request has occurred or alternatively when no such vending has occurred. Such may occur through the failure of the attachment device to engage with a unit to be transferred for the purposes of vending.

With reference to Figure 4, the movement of the attachment device 7 may be from a location where it initially engages with a unit within the container 3 to a location where a release with the attachment means 7 will result in a unit being subsequently transferred to an appropriate location where a consumer can reach the unit for removal from the machine. With reference to Figure 4, such a location 13 may be to allow for the unit 4 to fall into a sheet 16 which will result in the unit

from being transferred to an opening 17 at where a consumer can grasp the unit. The opening 17 may be an opening that is closeable by a trap door or the like or alternatively may be permanently open. A unit 4 dropped into the chute, can slide down the chute and through an opening 17 become exposed to the exterior of the machine 1 to allow for a consumer to grasp the product and remove it for subsequent consumption.

The dispensing sequence in addition to an attachment of the attachment means 7 to a unit of the stack within the container 3, may prior to such attachment also include an opening of a closure to the container 3. Upon a request being received from a customer a closure may open access to the interior of the container 3 to allow for the attachment means 7 to pass through such a closure generated opening. The closure may cover the entire upper side of the container 3 or the closure may alternatively be a plurality of closures wherein only certain closures are opened at certain times to allow for the passing of the attachment means 7 through such an opening. The use of a closure to the container 3 will enhance the thermal efficiency of the refrigerated interior atmosphere of the container 3.

The interface between the consumer and the controller controlling the position of the attachment means 7 is preferably via a keypad or touch screen or similar. The keypad 20 can allow for a consumer to enter certain information to initiate the transaction. The keypad may allow for input to be made to select a certain type and certain number of units for dispensing. Input may also be received for the purposes of receiving payment at this stage. Prior to the controller initiating the movement sequence to dispense product as requested by the input 20 via the input device 20 by a consumer, a payment request may be made by the machine. The amount to be paid may be displayed on a display device. The display device may also include information confirming the nature of the request made by the consumer. Payment may be made by the use of coin or notes or alternatively electronic forms of payment may also be available. For example payment by way of Eftpos or credit card may be facilitated by the machine of the present invention. Once payment has been confirmed, the movement sequence of the attachment means 7 may be initiated by the controller to dispense the appropriate

number and type of units. Sensors may be included within the machine 1 to detect when an item dispensed to the opening 17 has been temoved prior to allowing for the subsequent item to be dropped down the chute for its displacement to the opening 17. If an item is sensed to still be present in the opening 17 a subsequent item may not be released for dispensing until the item in the opening 17 has been removed. This can ensure that a blockage of the dispenser does not occur.

Further functionality may be provided by the machine of the present invention including the supply of stock level information to a remote location. Mobile phone technology may be utilised for the purposes of sending messages to a destination to inform of the levels of stock or the numbers of stock that has been dispensed. This information can be utilised for the purposes of stock control and to ensure that adequate stock remains within the dispenser of the present invention. Security type information may also be sent to such a remote location if for example a tampering of the machine is being detected. Doors 21 may be provided to the cabinet 2 to allow for the replenishing of stock to occur. The doors are preferably locked from internally and a remote control central locking system is preferably incorporated. Accordingly as no elements of the locking device are exposed to the exterior of the cabinet, tampering of the locks and die possibility for a break in into the system is minimised.