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Operations in Vending Machine – a Closer Look

vendnetusa - Operations in Vending Machine – a Closer Look

A vending machine provides customers convenient access to snacks, drinks, personal supplies, and many other items for use or consumption. Vending machines provide operators with income that can serve as a full-time job, part-time job, or side hustle

This article provides an overview of how vending machines operate.

Journey of a remarkable innovation

Vending machines are a highly sophisticated product today, but their beginnings were humble yet marked. The first-ever traces of the vending machine was in 215 BC, when Hero, the mathematician, developed a device that dispensed holy water in the temples of Alexandria in exchange for bronze coins. In the AD 1000s, the machine began finding its real purpose.

Beverage vending machines were first used in Paris, France, during the 1890s to dispense cigarettes and liquor. Today, vending has evolved to dispense hot and cold beverages, hot and cold foods, flowers, clothing, postage stamps, books, movies, company assets, and much more.

The earliest instance of vending machines in the United States was in 1896 when the Adams Gum Company introduced gum machines, which were placed on elevated train platforms across New York City. Cigarette vending machines were first brought into the picture by William Rowe. 

In 1931, F.A. Wittern, Sr. began operations. The Wittern Group now has a storied history in the convenient services industry. We had begun vending operations even before coffee vends were first developed in 1946. Vendnet, a subsidiary of the Wittern Group, is one of America’s leading establishments in vending machine service. 

A brief on the fundamentals

We know how vending machines work – users deposit payment through cash or other means, and the machine accepts the payment and dispenses the required food or beverage to customers. This machine is intricately designed, with each layer of the design serving a purpose of its own.

The raw materials involved in vending machine manufacturing include galvanized steel, plastic, acrylic powder coating, and polyurethane insulation. Galvanized steel is majorly used to prevent the machine from rusting, as a rusted device isn’t quite sustainable and hence may result in damage. The thicker gauge of the steel is used for the internal tank and external doors, while the thinner gauges are used to create the interior doors and plates.

Acrylic powder coatings, painted on vending machines’ surfaces and then baked during production, can make the device smoother and resistant to natural conditions and chemicals. Polyurethane foam is used to insulate the internal portions of the machine and help maintain the optimal temperature required for proper operation.

A closer look

A design so meticulous should constitute a range of accessories. Here’s a highlight:

Keypad

The keypad is our means to communicate with this machine. The keypad receives the instructions from the user and transmits the same to the vending machine’s control board.

Tray

The tray, on a basic level, stores the product in the vending machine. Motors and coils are attached to the tray to dispense items. Coils are attached to motors with a coupler. The motor powers the coil to turn and release the product.

Bill Acceptor

Bill acceptors receive paper currency and validate bills without human supervision. Once the bill is approved, the bill validator sends a signal to the control board acknowledging payment has been received. The bill is eventually stacked in a holder to be accessed and removed later.

Control Board

This is a central component that manages the entire machine. Its functions are comprehensive and include:

  • Monitoring the status of the machine
  • Organizing security issues
  • Alerting any unauthorized security access
  • Ensuring that the device is server-connected

The Quality Control process

Every machine is rigorously tested after the assembly. These tests are conducted to verify if the stacks are properly fitted in, whether all accessories function well, and if any operational area needs further attention. Products that pass the test will be packed and processed to the market or the consumer point.

Why Vendnet?

Vendnet is a branch of the Wittern Group that provides parts and service for vending machines that are manufactured at our plant here in Des Moines, IA. We take pride is helping our customers problem solved questions they have about their machines and providing parts to help fix any issues that arise.

Best Practices to Reduce Vending Machine Repair Needs

VendnetUSA - Best Practices to Reduce Vending Machine Repair Needs

The best way to ensure your business is running smoothly is to ensure that the machine is always running steadily, and not experiencing avoidable downtime and repairs. Here’s how to keep your equipment operating well and working for as long as possible, avoiding repairs and improving revenues.

Follow these simple vending machine maintenance tips: Regular maintenance is one of the most significant ways to lessen the likelihood of vending machine repair needs. If you know how to fix devices, you can save money. However, everybody should be aware of the machine’s maintenance procedures to keep it in excellent operating condition and avoid significant challenges.

Easy Steps to Maintaining a Vending Machine:

  1. Ensure Better Positioning: To maximize ventilation and limit the danger of overheating, keep vending machines at least 4 inches away from walls. Overheating and UV discoloration may be avoided by keeping your vending machine out of direct sunlight. Also, make sure vending machines are perfectly balanced on the ground.
  2. Proper Plug-in: Most providers get calls claiming a vending machine they installed isn’t operating. Most of the problem is mainly because the equipment has been disconnected from its power supply. Sometimes all it takes to fix a vending machine issue is re-plugging it.
  3. Keep it Clean: To eliminate dirt and bacteria, wipe down and clean surfaces regularly. Clean the condenser coils using compressed air or a brush every 3 months, depending on the site’s cleanliness. Depending on usage, clean all accessible portions of the vending machine at least twice a year with mild detergent, warm water, and a soft cloth. Using compressed air to clean the condenser coils regularly extends durability. The lifespan may extend if your machine is placed in a cleaner environment.
  4. Clean the bill acceptor: This portion may be cleaned with a moist cloth or disinfectant wipe. When a consumer makes a purchase, this is the most crucial portion of the vending machine since it helps to check and read the cash value. Cleaning can assist in lessening the likelihood of money being trapped.
  5. Periodic Check: Checking the voltmeter and ammeter, as well as the machine’s voltage and ensuring that the correct amount of power reaches the machine will significantly extend the machine’s life.

Choose vendnet that lets you order parts, provides technical support and a variety of instructional videos that help troubleshoot. Also, keep in mind that the manufacturer of vending machines must provide documentation on spare parts and procedures to maintain the machines functioning smoothly.

Vending Machine Service And Repair – A Complete Guide

VendnetUSA.com Vending Machine Service And Repair - A Complete Guide

If you have a vending machine in your business, you want it to work as intended. Not only is it an inconvenience for you and your customers if it breaks down, but you also lose out on sales. There are certain vending machine repairs that you may handle yourself rather than spending time and resources on technical support. 

Minor challenges to deal with in a vending machine. Here are a few minor issues that you may fix without the need for technical support. 

  • Improper Ventilation: A vending machine requires airflow. It’s best to keep it 5-6 inches away from the wall. Because some beverages, such as diet drinks, can freeze at high temperatures, make sure the thermostat is set appropriately. Temperatures of 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit are recommended. If a machine occasionally jams, it’s almost certainly due to temperature.
  • Stuck Coins: First thing to do is to see if any slots are empty. If the items are not present, the machine will return the money to the vendor, indicating that there is a jam. If items are available, you must clear the blockage if coins are not returned. Remove all cans and other goods before replacing them. Also, make sure the wheels are in good functioning order. These two critical checks should solve the issue. 
  • Not accepting bills: If your vending machine refuses to accept bills, there are two possibilities. There isn’t enough change in the machine, or the dollar validators are damaged. You’ll likely need to replace any loose dollar validators. Check it two or three times to make sure it’s operating correctly.

Vending machine maintenance is crucial and periodic checks have numerous advantages. All the little inspections will simplify your vending machine operation while saving you time. Routine inspections will reduce downtime, which will help your company gain a good reputation. 

There’s a lot you can do to ensure your vending machines are running at full capacity for as long as possible. In case of difficulties before contacting a professional, we recommend trying a few things to fix your vending machine on your own. 

Test to see if all the selections are working

When a food or beverage is selected, it is intended to drop down within seconds. If it doesn’t, be prepared for one disappointed customer.

You may wonder who appears to be the culprit of this unfortunate incident. There might be several reasons, but the most common is a defective motor. Make sure you test each product you choose. Press every motor switch to discover if a single-engine is faulty or if the machine as a whole is malfunctioning.

Perform an immediate power check

Although it may be a simple task, many vending machine operators fail to check the power supply. If the power supply for your vending machine is an issue, keep in mind that it features dollar bill slots, coin mechanisms, and control boards that all require electricity to operate. The device will not work if the circuit is tripped or the cable is disconnected.

Before you do anything, make it a practice to examine the product first. You don’t want to waste money on unnecessary expenditures only to discover that the connections are the only ones at fault.

Keep vending machines level during repairs

Positioning the vending machine on a flat surface is another easy repair for the most frequent vending machine problems. Otherwise, the entire vending process may be disrupted, resulting in products not dropping down. It can also prevent you from making necessary changes to the vending machine. 

Ensure the money path is clear 

The money mechanics of these vending machines will become soiled with everyday use. When cash and coins are inserted into the machine, filth and dust are left behind, accumulating over time.

To avoid difficulties, make sure you clean the money slots regularly. This can be done by using a paper towel or a damp cloth. Remove the top half of the coin slot to make clearing it more manageable and ensure the passage is free. If you don’t, your coins could get struck and your purchases may be rejected. When should the money pathways be cleaned? Cleaning them every time you collect your earnings is a good practice.

Organize items appropriately

Many vending machines have drinks or snacks that drop when you select them. It’s not adequately organized if they don’t drop down smoothly. Remove the motor cover and press each motor switch one time to test the selection. This starts the vending machine so you can observe whether there’s a problem with one of the motors or the machine itself.

When Should You Call a Professional?

It’s alright to admit failure and ask for help if you’ve tried a few things and nothing appears to be working. Calling experts who can maintain and repair your vending machines are readily available. While most fixes are easy, others may be beyond your knowledge or capabilities. When that time arrives, take a step back and let the experts look into it so you can get your vending machine back up and running quickly.

Do you want to find out more? Contact Vendnet today by calling 1-800-833-4411.

Vending machine downtime and its impact on your vending business

Vending Machine Downtime - VendNetUSALike all machinery and equipment, vending machines are susceptible to failure or performance issues. While some parts of the machinery are pretty complex and need expert handling, most of them are easy to maintain with low technical skills. In other words, timely DIY maintenance of vending machines can keep the downtime to a minimum.

Meant-Time-Between-Failures (MTBF) is a crucial measure that defines the productivity and uptime of machines. The longer the MTBF is, the better the utilization of the machine will be. When the MTBF is low, however, it is not just a question of machine utilization. Unplanned downtime can impact a vending business at several levels.

Impact on revenue and competition

The point of value creation in the vending business is the vending machine. When it is out of action, consumers cannot buy from it. This translates to a direct loss of revenue. Frequent outage means that the vending machine is standing idle. Suppose your competitors have placed machines in the same location. In that case, your revenue will start flowing into the hands of your competition. This allows your competition to price higher and earn more per machine.

Unrecovered capital

Vending machines are capital equipment. Businesses invest in them and recover the capital over the machine’s life. An idle machine will result in a longer duration to recover the capital employed. Unrecovered capital could bite you harder if your business has multiple machines installed in different locations. The higher the number of transactions, the quicker is your RoCE (Returns on Capital Employed). Ensuring that the machine does not go out of service is essential to achieve this milestone faster.

Cost of upkeep

Machines that fail frequently need constant investment in maintenance and upkeep. The failure could be because of several reasons, including user abuse, ambient operating conditions, lack of proper preventive maintenance or even ageing equipment. Getting the machine back up and running will require investment in parts, consumables, and time of skilled personnel.

Lost customer base

Customers who cannot transact with your machine when they are out cold will look out for nearby alternatives. If a competitor’s machine is available, they will use that machine. When this happens frequently enough, the end-user will eventually start walking straight to the machine they know will work for sure. Over time, frequent outages of your vending machine will lose its customer base.

The loss of  trust from partners

The businesses where you place your machines are your partners. They have chosen to share access to their customer base with your vending business. Hence, they will expect your vending machines to deliver the best experience for the end customer. If they realize that some vending machines serve their customers better than others, they will want to do more business with them than those that are always out of action.

Causes of downtime

A vending machine under repair can do more damage than just losing revenue from a few transactions. This can be easily avoided by taking necessary corrective actions. To take such steps, however, it is required to understand what causes the failure of vending machines. Some of those reasons are discussed below:

  • Machine repairs

All types of machinery experience wear and tear during their operations. Vending machines are no exception to this. Moving components, like the dispensing mechanism, can experience friction-related damages. Electronic components might fail due to power surges. Even simple mechanisms like doors in the collection tray can rust over time. Used machines may come with parts that are past their useful life. User abuse can also lead to repairs that can bring down a good machine.

  • Stocking issues

Another common cause of vending machine downtime is the problems due to poor stacking. Products that come in bags, like potato chips, are a good example. The bags tend to get stuck in the side rails between coils or under the coils. A candy bar on the metal coil can jam two bars and render the whole line useless. A common mistake that most operators make is not checking each product for a successful vend after stocking.

  • Site conditions

Vending machines that store beverages or other refrigerated products are vulnerable to ambient conditions. Too much exposure to the sun might overload the refrigeration compressor. A dusty environment can clog up the air circulation system and choke the refrigeration system. Poor flooring can also result in the machine tipping over. Chocolate bars tend to melt in hot conditions and get stuck in the machine. These are examples of how ambient conditions can cause vending machine failures.

Preventing unplanned downtime in vending machines

Regular preventive maintenance can reduce machine outages significantly. Using the right parts can help you increase MTBF. Operating the machine to specifications can reduce failures due to overloading or mishandling. Ensuring the availability of stock can eliminate instances of idling machines.

Our experts at Vendnet can help you with technical inputs on maintaining a well-oiled fleet of vending machines. We can help you find the right parts and consumables that extend the life of your machines. If you would like help solving frequent machine failures, talk to us at 1-800-833-4411.

Are You Prepared for Winter?

The weather has finally begun to cool off, which means customer cravings are going to start switching from an ice-cold beverage to a piping hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Is your hot beverage vending machine prepared to serve your customers?

While you should be performing regular maintenance routines on all of your vending equipment to increase the life of your equipment, you may find that hot beverage machines require a different type of upkeep than your snack vending machines. 

One example of hot beverage maintenance that should be performed, whether you are just receiving your machine or you are replacing a current part, is installing a cup chute fixed mount. Your cup chute fixed mount is an essential aspect of your hot beverage machine. When a customer makes a selection on the machine, a cup is brought down via the chute. Then, it is filled with the selected product. Without a properly working cup chute fixed mount, the cup will not drop down and the customer will not receive their product.

Watch the video below to walk through the process and call Vendnet today at 1-800-833-4411 for other hot beverage details.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew7liGi8VBs

The Bill Validator Your Business Needs

When it comes to your vending business, Vendnet is your one-stop source for technical support, service and vending parts. Our parts department is dedicated to providing quick, reliable shipments of parts globally. One of these parts is Conlux. Conlux delivers high performance for the value-conscious operator.

The Conlux Bill Validator is the reliable operator you need for your vending machine. It accepts $1-$20 bills with 4-way bill acceptance. Additionally, operators love the simple programming capabilities of Conlux. Simply press the blue button on the back of the validator and feed the bill denominations of your choice. 

Find out more about how to program your new Conlux Bill Validator by watching the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbeJkcVSnQM

For more information regarding vending parts and technical support, contact Vendnet at 1-800-833-4411.

Greenlite: Making Business Easier for Operators and Customers

In today’s economic climate, customers crave accessibility and ease, especially when purchasing products. In order to be more profitable, vending operators must strongly consider adding a cashless device, such as Greenlite Cashless, to their vending equipment. 

Greenlite is a card and mobile payment acceptance solution that features cost-saving telemetry and data management tools. It allows customers to purchase products with credit/debit cards and mobile payments. Its features do not stop there. Greenlite allows vending operators to remotely monitor and retrieve reports of sales, cash and cashless and machine information, along with a slew of management tools. 

Greenlite cashless is a helpful solution that can take any vending business to the next level. To find out more about Greenlite cashless and how it is beneficial to customers, watch the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKUSkthr8tI

For more information about Greenlite cashless, call Vendnet at 888-836-3638.

Prepare Your Customers for Summer

With the hot summer months around the corner, your customers will be craving frozen sweet treats including ice cream and popsicles. This also means that more customers will be looking to possibly install new frozen vending machines or work on fixing their current machines. 

One of the major tasks that customers may need to do to their frozen vending machines is replacing the refrigeration unit on models 3532, 3576 and 3589. Walkthrough how customers can replace refrigeration units on their own by watching the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yh0tDZ4_1Ok

To find out more about Vendnet and our services, give us a call at 888-836-3638.

Vendnet: Supporting You Every Step of the Way

Vendnet provides its customers more than just access to technical support. In fact, we proudly assist customers throughout their journey as vending machine owners. From paying your account online to downloading the right manual for your machine, Vendnet is here to support you every step of the way.

Download Manuals

Vendnet allows you to download parts and service manuals right to your tablet or computer. This allows you to quickly search for the information you need, when and where you need it. Manuals are available for snack, soda, frozen food, refrigerated and coffee vending machines. Additionally, advanced programming manuals are available to download for complex repair needs.

Warranty Registration

No matter what vending machine you purchase, your full-line vending equipment manufacturer is committed to providing you with top-quality merchandise to last you for years to come. Vendnet is committed to serving you and your equipment’s needs. If you think you believe your vending machine purchase qualifies for a warranty, we invite you to register today with our confidential application.

Make a Payment

Making a payment has never been easier, thanks to our safe and secure financing website. Financing is available on more than just vending equipment. In fact, customers have the ability to finance parts, cashless devices and route acquisitions, too! Once approved, make payments by credit card, check or even through automatic payments

For more information on how Vendnet can help your vending machine excel, give us a call at 888-836-3638.

Your Guide to the iVend Replacement

The iVend Guaranteed Delivery System is a standard on many vending machines from The Wittern Group. It ensures all products will be dispensed from the vending machines, or customers will receive their money back to try for a different product.

From time-to-time, the iVend Guaranteed Delivery System will need to be replaced. Take a look at the videos below to find out how to replace this feature on a combo vending machine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VZN-l2zx6k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXYk9BlsFAM

For additional information about iVend or any other questions regarding your vending machine, give Vendnet a call at 888-836-3638.