Europaisches Patentamt
European Patent Office
Office europeen des brevets
© Publication number: 0 5 1 4
© Application number : 92500059.8
© int. ci.5: A47J 31/40, G07F 1 3 / 0 2
@ Date of filing : 12.05.92
© Priority: 13.05.91 ES 9101161
07.05.92 ES 9200950
@ Date of publication of application :
19.11.92 Bulletin 92/47
@ Designated Contracting States :
Mediodia, 6, Polg. Ind. "El Soto"
E-31195 Aizoain, Navarra (ES)
© Inventor : Ciaurriz, Juan Ignacio
Eunzebidea, 5
E-Orcoyen (Navarra) (ES)
Inventor : Martinez, Antonio
Segunda Agrupacion Orvina, 33 - 6 B
E-31015 Pamplona (ES)
© Representative : Carpintero Lopez, Francisco
E-28014 Madrid (ES)
© Improvements to automatic vending-machines dispensing coffee infusions.
The improvements are applicable to those
vending-machines dispensing coffee infusions
where a quantity of coffee is duly batched and
compacted, passing hot water over the same
thereby to obtain the infusion which shall exit
and be collected in a suitable package. The
improvements lie in the actual batcher and in
the mechanism for obtaining the infusion. The
batcher includes a cylindrical body (1) with a
rotatory vane (3) within the same, in which two
cavities (5) are formed which are alternately
filled with batched coffee (6) to be hauled in
such rotation to a drop duct (13), reaching a
receptacle (11) whose bottom is made up by a
lower seat (12), the latter and the receptacle
body (11) mounted on a main shaft (15) which
can travel up and down and is in turn provided
with turning movement to allow the batched
coffee (6) to be carried from the drop duct (13)
to face a compacting piston (24) provided in a
fixed body (18), which shaft (15) is driven by a
Jouve, 18, rue Saint-Denis, 75001 PARIS
EP 0 514 313 A2
The invention relates to a number of improvements to vending-machines dispensing coffee infusions automatically activated using either coins or any
other conventional activation system.
The improvements lie in the mechanism batching
and feeding the ground coffee to the distribution unit,
and in the mechanism (automatic unit) collecting the
batched coffee, distributing the hot water onto the said
coffee and evacuating the mass or cake of used coffee to the waste tank.
Other improvements comprise fitting out the machine as a whole with protection means which on the
one hand provide for the automatic cleaning from time
to time of the main elements involved in preparing the
coffee infusion and on the other protection of certain
machine elements or mechanisms.
Several kinds of vending-machines and appliances dispensing coffee infusions are known, for instance as claimed in Spanish utility model 293,578
and likewise Spanish patents of invention 363,411,
524,359, 540,714 and 552,455, all of which relate to
machines or parts thereof designed for the automatic
vending of coffee infusions.
The machines of the above registrations could in
essence be said to do the following:
1) . Loading the ground coffee into the relevant receptacle provided to such end.
2) . Moving the part holding the receptacle containing the batched ground coffee to the operating
position of the infusion.
3) . Compacting the batched ground coffee, which
takes place by means of two pistons travelling in
opposite directions, toward one another, inside
the receptacle where the batched coffee had previously been deposited.
4) . Distributing or pouring hot water over the said
batch of compacted coffee, to obtain the coffee infusion.
5) . Ejecting the mass or cake of used coffee.
These registrations all require that several actions be carried out in order for the above to take
place, as well as ancillary means for rotation, in addition to the need to haul the ground coffee and the used
mass or cake.
Besides these drawbacks, the mechanisms used
to carry out these operations are complex and in most
cases troublesome in operation.
The improvements, applicable to vending-machines dispensing coffee infusions, are provided to
fully overcome the above trouble in toto, putting forth
a structurally simple and operatively efficient solution,
which essentially works as follows:
1). Batcher mechanism designed to do the following:
a). To eliminate the use of inclined hoppers in
hauling the coffee.
b) . To obviate the need for grinding until service is demanded.
c) . To control the batch properly irrespective
of a number of variables, such as condition of
the coffee, extent of grinding and wear of the
d) . To permit adequate repetition without any
maintenance being required.
2). The pumping unit, which is provided in any
conventional coffee machine for distribution purposes, is used as a drive element for the automatic unit.
3) . A piston drives a shaft which triggers all the cydie operations in moving up and down.
4) . Feeding of the ground coffee to the unit and removal of the cake is by gravity, thereby preventing blockage as in other solutions.
5) . The activation system provides the batched
coffee with a uniform compacting, irrespective of
the quantity upon distribution, and a total drying
of the cake of used coffee.
More specifically, the improvements lie in the fact
- The ground coffee, coming from a conventional
mill, is driven towards a tank through a side charging inlet thereof; such tank contains a rotatory
vane which conforms two receptacles, each of
which can in taking up a position upon rotation of
the vane face the said side charging inlet of the
tank, such that when the respective cavity is filled
with ground coffee, a piston located on the upper
tank closure cover moves triggering a microswitch which causes the mill from which ground
coffee is supplied to stop, and a conventional activation element, for instance a motor, eletromagnet, hydraulic cylinder and so forth, then causes
the said vane to turn 180° in order for the respective cavity filled with the batched ground coffee to
be positioned as an extension to the mouth of a
vertical outlet, whereupon the said batch drops
due to gravity.
- This batched ground coffee falls, as aforesaid,
due to gravity through an ejector duct and drops
directly upon a receptacle comprising a cylinder
whose bottom is defined by a lower seat, such cylinder and seat being independently coupled to a
main turning shaft which can moreover move up
and down, driven by a cylinder located at the lower end thereof.
This shaft has been provided with a winding
groove on its side, in which a pin coupled to a fixed
body can travel, as well as a second pin coupled to the
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body of the seat in the cylinder making up the receptacle for the batched coffee, all such that upon vertical
displacement of the main shaft, the ejector duct
moves and the said shaft turns and hence so do the
bodies in which the receptacle for the batched coffee
and the lower seat of such receptacle are conformed,
such receptacle being moreover drawn towards a
drive position against the lower seat by action of a helical spring.
In a given position, both the receptacle and the
lower seat are located inside a body as a lower extension to an upper piston located in such body, such that
upon upward travel of the vertical shaft and hence of
such receptacle and the seat, the same shall drive
against the piston which will in turn push against the
batched coffee contained in the said receptacle, compacting the same whilst hot water is inserted through
the actual piston for distribution purposes, the infusion
leaving through a side outlet into a duct from which the
said infusion is collected by means of the relevant
Taking this structure and the simple and efficient
design of the mechanism as a whole, according to the
improvements of the invention, not only are the said
advantages afforded, but the batched ground coffee
is not dragged along hot surfaces, as is the case in
other systems, but it is transported on the same receptacle in which distribution shall take place, the lower
seat itself acting as the base of such receptacle.
Furthermore, the mass or cake of used coffee
drops due to gravity into a storage tank, once it is taken from the receptacle through the ejector duct, without first or later having to be dragged along hot surfaces.
It should finally be noted that the batched coffee
is uniformly compacted, irrespective of the size thereof.
The machine includes a number of other improvements, among which noteworthy is a protection system which allows the main elements involved in preparing the coffee infusion to be cleaned from time to
time, such cleaning to be effected either at the user's
demand, from time to time, or after a given pre-set
number of operations, such that in any case the machine itself actually proceeds with the cleaning operation, on being instructed to do so, coordinating the
movements of the parts involved to take up the adequate position.
More specifically, the protection means with
which the machine is equipped can be used to wash
and clean the body receiving the batched ground coffee fully, including the upper areas and other parts, for
the hot water leaving the distributor at a given position
shall flood the batched coffee receptacle, causing the
same to overflow thereby to clean the upper edge
thereof. Part of the hot water shall leave through the
relevant outlet duct, while the overflow shall drop to fill
the lower base and be ducted through drains to tanks
provided to such end.
In order for the hot waste water not to reach the
shafts and mobile parts of the machine mechanisms,
telescopic plastic material or metallic sheathes have
been provided on the main shaft and a casing or
washing deposit independent of the duct through
which the cakes of used coffee are ducted has been
provided, to avoid contact with the cleaning water.
As to the batcher device, in a practical embodiment, the same comprises a tubular body with a horizontal sector which the coffee arrives at from the mill,
which duct leads into another vertical duct inside of
which there is a flap drawn by a spring towards a
closed position, while the other part of the said flap is
connected to an electromagnet or any other conventional system the activation of which shall cause the
flap to move against the spring action causing it to
open, such flap making up the bottom for the batched
coffee entering through the aforesaid side duct, a photoelectric cell being provided in the vertical duct which
shall cause the mill to stop when the relevant batched
coffee cuts off its beam, whereupon coffee shall
cease to enter thereby for the relevant batch to be obtained.
In order to provide a fuller description and contribute to the complete understanding of the characteristics of this invention, a set of drawings is attached
to the specification which, while purely illustrative and
not fully comprehensive, shows the following:
Figure 1.- Is a diagrammatic side elevation and
vertical section view of the ground coffee batcher
applicable to automatic vending-machines dispensing coffee infusions, all provided as one of
the improvements of the invention, showing the
general configuration of the batcher with a side
window to which a mill shall be coupled such that
the coffee from the mill can be inserted by impulsion through the said side inlet up to the inside of
the one of the cavities in the relevant vane housed
inside the general cylindrical body is filled.
Figure 2.- Is a diagrammatic upper plan and section view of the same batcher.
Figure 3. - Is a diagrammatic side elevation and
vertical plane section view of the general actuation mechanism for obtaining the coffee infusion,
in a position in which the batched coffee is being
Figure 4.- Is another diagrammatic side elevation
and vertical section view of the same mechanism,
in a position in which it shall receive the batched
coffee through the funnel-ejector through which
the relevant batched coffee drops due to gravity.
Figure 5.- Is finally the same mechanism of the
previous two figures in a position in which the
mass or cake of used coffee is being ejected,
EP 0 514 313 A2
such ejection being caused by the actual ductejector.
Figure 6.- Is a vertical plane section view of the
batcher device in accordance with a second embodiment, with the lowerflap blocking the vertical
duct of such device, such position defining the
bottom for the relevant batched coffee.
Figure 7.- Is the coffee infusion vending-machine
fitted out with the protection system representing
another improvement of the invention.
In light of the above figures, the automatic coffee
infusion vending-machine with the improvements of
the invention includes a coffee batcher device and a
device or mechanism to obtain the infusion.
The batcher device is actually comprised by a cylindrical body (1) located collaterally with the relevant
conventional mill (which is not shown) such that the
said general cylindrical body (1) includes a side window (2) on the wall of attachment to the said conventional mill, while the inside houses a vane (3) which
can rotate by means of a central shaft (4), which vane
shall conform two diametrically opposed cavities (5)
such that upon rotation of the vane (3) they can face
the side window (2) to receive the relevant batched
coffee, as in reference number (6).
It is finally provided with an upper cover (7) under
which a piston or plunger (8) is provided and used to
activate a microswitch.
The cylindrical body (1) is also provided with a
vertical load inlet (9) and another discharge or vertical
outlet (1 0) which latter face each other vertically and
in turn face one of the housings or cavities (5) in the
vane (3) when the latter is obviously in the appropriate
Thus, ground coffee from a mill attached to the
general body (1) of the batcher shall fill one of these
vane (3) cavities (5) through the side opening (2) such
that once it is full the piston (8) shall be actuated and
trigger a microswitch which shall cause the actual mill
to stop working, in order for a conventional element,
for instance a motor, eletromagnet, cylinder and so
forth, then to cause the vane (3) to rotate about its
central shaft (4) until the relevant cavity (5), full of
ground coffee (6), faces the outlet (10) and hence the
upper vertical hole (9), allowing the said batched
ground coffee (6) to drop due to gravity upon a receptacle (1 1) that forms part of the mechanism which prepares the coffee infusion as such.
The batched coffee (6) drops due to gravity towards the receptacle (1 1), which is a hollow cylindrical
body whose bottom comprises a mobile seat (12),
through an ejector duct (13) which is connected
through an arm (14) to a main drive shaft (15) which
can travel up and down and can in turn rotate by action
of a cylinder (16), the duct (13) arm (14) being guided
by means of a vertical shaft (17) coupled to a body
(18) which remains fixed as regards the main drive
shaft (15).
The receptacle (1 1) forms part of a body mounted
upon the said main shaft (15) and drawn towards a
downward drive position by a spring (19), the seat (1 2)
making up the bottom of the receptacle (11) being
moreover mounted about the shaft (1 5) and related to
the latter through a pin (20) which plays in a winding
groove provided on the side, and numbered (21), on
the actual shaft (15), the latter being guided through
spaces provided to such end on the static body (18).
The seat (12) has spaces (22) communicating
with the receptacle (11) for the infusion to exit, the
said spaces leading into a duct (23) for the infusion to
Furthermore, mounted upon the body (18) is a
plunger or piston (24) which remains still, and which
will be used to introduce the distribution hot water,
through the duct (25), towards the batched coffee (6)
provided in the receptacle (1 1).
Thus, once the batched coffee (6) lies in the receptacle (11), as shown in figure 4, the shaft (15) is
actuated, turns and travels up to face the fixed piston
or plunger (24), in charge of compacting the batched
coffee (6). Upon rotation of the said main shaft (15)
the receptacle (11) and the seat (12) making up the
bottom also turn, due to the pin (20) coupled to the
seat body (12), and which pin (20) runs along the
winding groove (21) provided on the side surface of
the shaft (15). At the same time, the upward travel of
the main shaft (15) shall cause the arm (14) and
hence the duct (13) to rise in order that seconds before the said shaft (1 5) begins to turn the duct (1 3) and
the actual receptacle (11) release each other in order
for the latte^s body to be able to turn as aforesaid.
The arm (14) is coupled to the shaft (15) which
travels vertically next to the said arm (14) and is guided by an auxiliary shaft (17) which is coupled to the
body (18) to prevent rotation of the said arm (14).
Once the receptacle (11) has come to face the
static piston (24) the rise of the main shaft (15) shall
entail the rise or upward travel of the actual receptacle
(1 1) and hence the compacting of the batched coffee
(6), at the same time as hot water shall be distributed
or poured through the inlet or duct (25), passing
through the said piston (24) and crossing such batched ground coffee (6), whereupon the infusion shall
leave through the duct (23).
Furthermore, once the batched coffee has been
prepared, rotation in the opposite direction of the main
shaft (15) shall entail the rotation of the receptacle
(11) and of the lower seat (12) up to the position of
ejection, whereupon, i.e. when the duct (13) faces the
receptacle (11), the lower seat (12) shall turn towards
its first position, as shown in figure 5, and then the
shaft (15) shall move down, and the duct (13) shall
hence be lowered and, on being inserted through the
EP 0 514 313 A2
receptacle (1 1), shall eject the mass or cake of used
coffee (27) as shown in figure 5, which shall drop into
a general collector or case (28) for such used masses
or cakes.
In a second embodiment, shown in figure 7, the
batcher device comprises a tubular portion (29) disposed horizontally to face the relevant mill (which is
not shown) such that the coffee provided by such mill
enters through such lateral and horizontal duct (29),
reaching a sector of the duct (30) in a vertical position,
with a lower part (30') which defines a sector that can
face the relevant receptacle (1 1) in the actual coffee
machine. Between the vertical duct (30) and the lower
sector (30') thereof there is a flap (31) disposed horizontally, drawn at one of its ends towards a closed
position by a spring (32), anchored at its other end to
a fixed part or bearing (33) that makes up a branch of
the tubular lower sector (30'). The other end of the flap
(31) is related to the rod (34) in an electromagnet (35)
or any other drive system that can drive such rod (34)
as shall be explained hereinafter. Inside the duct (30)
there are photoelectric cells (36), while the horizontal
duct (29) and the actual lower bearing (33) are stiffened to each other by means of columns (37), the horizontal duct (29) being moreover provided with a device (38) comprising a jet breaker, provided to render
exit of the coffee uniform.
In accordance with this structure, the coffee from
the mill enters through the duct (29) and into the vertical duct (30), the batched coffee (6) being placed inside this duct (30), the bottom of which is defined by
a flap (31) which is drawn to the closed position by
means of the spring (32) which drives it entirely, such
thatthe mass of coffee which penetrates theduct(30),
upon reaching up to a greater height, cuts off the
beam let off by the photoelectric cells (36) and the latter send out the relevant instructions in order for the
mill to stop, ceasing the supply of coffee, thereby to
determine that the amount or mass of coffee penetrating the duct (30) is that batched (6) appropriately.
Next, and after receiving the relevant instructions, the
electromagnet (35) or drive motor shall drive the flap
(31) in the opposite direction, overcoming the spring
(32) force and moving in order for the batched coffee
(6) to drop through the lower sector (30') and be located in the receptacle (11), to which end the latter shall
have turned and will have travelled up or down to an
adequate position in which to receive the batched coffee (6).
The machine is finally fitted out with the protection
system that shall be described hereinafter, and which
allows the various internal elements and parts of the
actual machine to be cleaned, safeguarding such mobile parts of the general mechanism from any dirt that
can be generated in the process to obtain the coffee
and allowing cleaning to take place automatically from
time to time.
In this sense, and as shown in figure 7, the pro-
tection system as such comprises a cleaning tank (39)
with a lower outlet (40), a duct (41) for eliminating the
used coffee towards the receptacle (28), such that the
outlet (40) for the water leads into a duct (42) which
in turn leads into a general drain (43). In addition to
the said tank, the protection system includes a casing
(44) for the cylinder rod or piston (16) and a protection
(45) over the said casing (44) for the seat of the actual
shaft (1 5) to be protected, in its upward and downward
movement, and thus the protections (44) and (45)
must be telescopic to allow such upward and downward movement and moreover to protect the desired
The protection system is in turn provided with a
pair of telescopic bushings (46) and (47), the first attached to the fixed bearing (18) and the latter to the
receptacle (11) body, moreover allowing such upward
and downward travel and constantly protecting the
relevant spring (19) which tends to constantly push
the receptacle (11) body downwards, such that the
said bushings (46) and (47), together with the casing
(33), define the means of protecting not only the said
spring (1 9) and parts close to the same, but moreover
altogether allow all of the elements that can be dirtied
to be cleaned automatically, being able at all times to
safeguard the area of actuation of the machine mechanism and ducting the waste and cleaning water and
the used cakes of coffee along different ducts, preventing them from mixing.
We feel that the device has now been sufficiently
described for any expert in the art to have grasped the
full scope of the invention and the advantages it offers.
The materials, shape, size and layout of the elements may be altered provided that this entails no
modification of the essential features of the invention.
The terms used to describe the invention herein
should be taken to have a broad rather than a restrictive meaning.
1.- Improvements to automatic vending-machines dispensing coffee infusions, applicable to
those kinds of automatic machines in which after service is demanded, the set quantity of coffee is sent towards an outlet facing a batcher from which the relevant batched coffee is driven towards a compacting
area in which hot water is provided to cross through
such batched coffee, thereby to obtain the respective
infusion, essentially characterised in that the batcher
as such comprises a cylindrical body (1) with a side
opening (2) facing the relevant mill, the inside of this
cylindrical body being fitted out with a vane (3) conforming two diametrically opposed cavities (5) that
can upon rotation of the actual vane (3) face the side
window (2) in the cylindrical body (1) in order to re-
EP 0 514 313 A2
ceive the relevant batched coffee, the latter being
driven towards an outlet duct (1 0) which, in the appropriate vane position (3), faces the relevant cavity (5)
in the latter, such outlet duct (1 0) in turn facing an inlet
duct (9) through which batched ground coffee of different characteristics can be manually inserted; moreover characterised in that the relevant cover (7) for the
batcher body (1) is fitted with a piston (8) which upon
travelling when the cavity (5) in the respective vane
(3) is filled activates a microswitch which stops the mill
and activates the element in charge of causing the
vane (3) to turn; further characterised in that batched
coffee (6) driven by the vane (3) drops due to gravity
through an ejector duct (13) onto a cylindrical receptacle (11) whose bottom comprises a mobile body or
lower seat (12), independently mounting the receptacle body (11) and the seat body (12), albeit functionally associated, upon a common shaft (15) that can
turn and travel up or down, by action of a cylinder (16),
and all in order that when the said main shaft (15)
moves, the said bodies shall move both rotating and
up and down to receive the batched coffee (6) and locate the same under a compacting piston (24) which
remains still and upon which such batched coffee (6)
contacts in the upward movement of the receptacle
(1 1) with the relevant internal seat (12).
2. - Improvements to automatic vending-machines dispensing coffee infusions, as in claim 1,
characterised in that the main shaft (1 5) has a winding
groove (21) wherein plays a pin (20) which belongs to
the lower seat body (12), and a pin (26) belonging to
the fixed body (18) and moreover provided with an
arm (14) to which the ejector duct (1 3) is coupled and
which in moving up-down is guided by the shaft (17)
coupled to the body (18) which remains fixed and
wherein is provided the compacting piston (24) which
is reached by a duct (25), through which hot water
passes to be mixed with the compacted batched coffee (6) in the receptacle (11).
3. - Improvements to automatic vending-machines dispensing coffee infusions, as in the above
claims, characterised in that the main shaft (15) is
guided in its upward and downward travel through
holes provided to such end in the fixed body (18),
moreover characterised in that between the latter and
the actual body in which the batched coffee (6) receptacle (1 1) is conformed, a spring (19) is provided that
keeps urging the said receptacle (11) down against
the lower seat (12) making up its bottom.
4. - Improvements to automatic vending-machines dispensing coffee infusions, as in the above
claims, characterised in that the duct (13) makes up
the ejector means for the relevant mass or cake (27)
of used coffee, after its downward vertical travel jointly
with the main shaft (15) and the relevant insertion
through the receptacle (11) where the cake of used
coffee was located.
5. - Improvements to automatic vending-ma-
chines dispensing coffee infusions, as in claim 1,
characterised in that the batcher device comprises a
general tubular body wherein is provided a horizontal
duct (29) coupled to the relevant conventional mill,
which duct (29) communicates with another vertical
duct (30) which is related close to the lower end to a
horizontal flap (31) making up the bottom upon which
the mass of coffee shall be deposited to obtain the relevant batch (6), the said flap (31) being drawn towards a closed position by means of a drive spring
(32) anchored at its opposite end to a bearing (33) that
forms part of an extension or lower tubular sector (30')
of the duct (30), moreover characterised in that the
opposite end of such flap (31) is related to an electromagnet (35), motor or conventional driving device to
open the same, the duct (30) moreover having photoelectric cells (36) whose beams are cut off by the
quantity of coffee (6) when the relevant batch is obtained.
6.- Improvements to automatic vending-machines dispensing coffee infusions, as in claim 5,
characterised in that the horizontal duct (29) has a jet
breaker device (38) provided to render the outlet of
coffee uniform, while between the part making up
such duct (29) and the lower bearing (33) forming part
of the sector (30') into which the vertical duct (30) extends, a stiffening column (37) is provided.
7.- Improvements to automatic vending-machines dispensing coffee infusions, as in the above
claims, characterised in that the machine is altogether
complemented with a cleaning tank (39) with a hollow
and through part (41) thereof for the passage of the
relevant cakes of ground coffee, which tank (39) has
an outlet (40) on its base from which a duct (42) projects towards a general drain (43) while the seat and
relevant piston or rod of the cylinder (16), by means
of which the mechanism preparing the coffee infusion
is lifted or lowered, includes a casing comprising two
tubular parts that can be telescopically coupled to
each other (44) and (45), one fixed to the bottom of the
actual tank and the other fixed to the lower part of the
rigid bearing (18) which forms part of the general machine structure, while between such fixed bearing (1 8)
and the actual receptacle bearing (11) in which the
batched ground coffee is deposited, two telescopic
bushings (46) and (47) are provided, the first coupled
to the actual bearing (18) and the latter to the receptacle body (11), which bushings work with a casing
(48) coupled to the actual body (18) protecting both
the area corresponding to the turning shaft (15) and
the spring (19) and even the actual receptacle (1 1).
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