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:
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.
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 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.
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.
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.