Author Archives: Pravin T

Coffee & Hot Beverage Vendors – Clearing Jams in Bill & Coin Collectors.

April VendNet BLOG

Beverages have become an essential part of today’s work culture. Even project modules are broken down based on the amount of coffee involved. For most, a cup of coffee is a routine set in place to begin your day. You visit the coffee vending machine and “clink,” dunk your coin, and “whoosh” comes the beverage of your choice. It all seems so easy.   

Not always! There are countless reasons that cause the occasional hiccup in the local coffee vending machine. And much like an uncontrolled nuclear reaction, when the vending machine comes to a grinding halt, it leads to a chain reaction that ultimately ends with frustration and despair. 

Making sure that employees have access to the elixir is not really that difficult, though. Timely and periodic maintenance is the solution, similar to many other problems.  That is why it is necessary to learn ways to enhance and maintain your vending machines, especially your coffee vending machines. 

In this blog, we take a look at some of the common troubleshooting steps for clearing jams in coins and bill collectors that can create unwarranted drama around the caffeine corner. 

Clearing Jam in Coin Acceptor

There can be several reasons that may cause a jam in a Coin Acceptor. Wear and tear over the years, accumulation of debris, and blockage due to foreign objects can all hinder the normal functioning of the overall system.

A Red DIS flashing: Indication of possible obstruction in the coin discriminator 

If you come across a red DIS flashing light or cannot take coins from your Conlux MCM model coin mechanism, you may have encountered one of the possible scenarios that would require opening up a few of the parts.

A simple workaround is to gently open the cover behind the coin channel to examine for coin jams, obstruction, or other debris. If found, you could remove the block by sliding your finger across the coin channel. You’re good to go! 

Obstruction Beyond the Coin Channel Neighborhood

For obstructions in other parts of the coin mechanism, open the coin funnel and open the acceptor gate to clear out any obstacle you may find.  

Inspecting the Coin Cassette 

Periodic inspection of the coin cassette for obstruction or any misalignment is a healthy practice. Push down on the white finger tap to open the coin cassette. Ensure that the white slider is in the cassette and not lodged at the bottom of the mechanism. 

   

If the coin jam issue persists, you may have to remove the coin discriminator portion from the coin mechanism to examine other jams.

Clearing Jam from the Bill Acceptor:

Like the Coin Acceptor, you may occasionally have to clear note jams from the bill acceptors. Let us look at some common troubleshooting steps to help fix note jams.

Locating the Bill Collector 

Accessibility to the bill acceptor will vary based on the model of the vending machine. Ideally, you may require a manager pin or a passcode for access. The bill acceptor is housed inside the door. The number of light flashes across it indicates the issue with the bill acceptor.

Diagnostic Indicators
The varying rate of LED flashes points to the possible issues with the bill acceptor. For instance, continuous, slow flashes indicate failure of the unit and the need for replacement. Similarly, fast and continuous flashes mean that the stacker is full.

Troubleshooting

The first step is to unhook the LED housing from the main unit. Press up the metal pin and pull it outwards. Now inspect the unit for any debris or obstruction that could possibly be causing the jam. If any, remove the obstruction and hook the unit back in.

       

Locate a blue button on top of the bill acceptor. Push the blue button on top of the bill box toward the door to remove it. Inspect the compartment for jams in both the validation and the box. Flip open the blue color doors and check for any obstruction.

 

 

Normally, the steps should help clear out any obstruction and get the machine up and running. In the unlikely event that the self-troubleshooting doesn’t work, then you may reach out for additional support to Vendnet through 1-800-833-4411.

Extending the cashable life of your vending machine in 5 easy steps.

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The vending business is a rewarding venture. A major share of the fixed cost goes into buying the machine. There and onwards, the cost is just variable. This means you incur these costs as you make sales. Hence, the recovery of this capital is what defines the breakeven point in a vending business. All the money you make from the machine after your break-even point contributes to your profit. That is why it is important to have a machine that has a long life.

Like all machines with moving parts and user interfaces, vending machines go through wear and tear. If you take good care of your machines, they will keep giving you success and happiness. Yes, we are talking about vending machines, not relationships. Thankfully good machines are designed in such a way that makes their upkeep easy. The key to a long cashable life of a vending machine lies in the following five steps.

1. Preventive Maintenance

Regular maintenance of the machine and its subsystems can help prevent unplanned downtime. Remember, downtime does not only mean spoiled drinks or stale snacks. The true cost of downtime is lost revenue and dissatisfied consumers. Periodic maintenance is not as difficult as it sounds. Some basic checks like cleaning blocks in the cash or coin validators and dusting the air intake can help significantly. The videos below show how you can do them both.

Cash or Coin Validator Check

Dusting the Air Intake

2. Upgrade & Update

Technology in the vending space is growing rapidly. Cashless and contactless payments were cutting edge a few years ago. Today, they are no longer a wow factor. You just need them to stay relevant. The demographics of vending machine users are also changing fast. The millennials do not carry their disposable income in cash or cards. They use mobile payments for transactions.

Touchscreens are quickly replacing push-button keypads, as they give the user a better experience. With fewer mechanical parts, they are also more reliable. The pandemic has also created a need for safe contact surfaces. UV irradiation technology can help alleviate some of those concerns. There are several other retrofit options that you can buy and fit on your machines to make them relevant for the changing dynamics of the market. You do not need to fork out cash to buy a new machine each time. These small upgrades are not only cost-effective they also increase the addressable audience for your machine and make them more profitable.

3. Reliable Parts & Consumables

Machines are designed, tested, and certified for how different components and consumables come together to meet functionality or safety specifications. This makes it important to use the right parts with the necessary certifications. You can avoid unnecessary machine failure or safety incidents by using certified parts. If you consider the cost of Mean-Time-Between-Failures (MTBF), the savings you make from buying spurious parts will seem trivial.

4. Professional Service & Support

Regular maintenance can be done by the machine owner or its operator. You still need to follow the user manuals and service guide for your machine. However, when your machine is in trouble, ask for help. Call the manufacturer or a reliable support partner. The vending machine is an intricate contraption. It is an electro-mechanical device with many auxiliary pieces of technology, like embedded electronics and cloud connectivity. Making a change in one component can and will impact others, too. While DIY is all the rage today, the value of expertise and experience can never be replaced. Your solution provider might still provide guidance on the phone if the issue does not warrant a visit. But that will definitely be much more informed and safer than getting adventurous with a complex piece of equipment.

5. Customer Satisfaction

Technology like Guarantee Vend can ensure that products are either dispensed successfully, or the money is returned, without exception. This makes your machine more reliable and the experience less frustrating for your customers. In return, the customers treat your machine with the courtesy it deserves. 

A stuck product is frustrating for both the user and the machine operator. It not only results in a failed transaction but the machine is also incapacitated. Following simple instructions while stocking the machine can help avoid frequently failed transactions. This video throws some light on best practices to follow while stocking your machines.

6. Sustainable Profitability

The cost of buying a vending machine is the biggest expenditure while you start a vending business. Suppose you are already running a fleet of machines in different locations. In that case, the cost of owning and operating them is quite high. This includes costs like energy consumption, repairs, maintenance, upgrades, and others. Either way, these five steps can help you enjoy sustained profits.

Taking care of your machines is easier with the right solution provider, like Vendnet. Vendnet provides parts and supplies for a wide range of machines and applications. To know how we can help you enjoy sustained profitability, call us at 1-800-833-4411.

How can preventive maintenance of your vending machines help you sleep better

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Why Preventive Maintenance For Your Dispensing Machine?

Dispensing machines are tough cookies. They can handle everything from tampering attempts and inclement weather conditions to unintended product abuse. Yet, they need to be inspected, calibrated, and serviced at the appropriate intervals to ensure minimal downtime and a great experience for the customers. 

What Are The Advantages Of Preventive Maintenance?

  • Fewer/No Breakdowns – a well-maintained machine has fewer chances of halting operations mid-vend during peak traffic hours.
  • Reduced Repairs & Services Costs now, we could imagine that rare scenario where repairs are needed. A routinely checked machine will have you coughing up far less in terms of spare part replacements.
  • Consistent Customer Experience – your dispensing machine plays multiple roles for recurring visitors. You must help maintain the same levels of efficiency for customers as the day you unwrapped the vendor.
  • Increased Cash Flow & Profits – All of these add up to a reduced bottom line and more topline. 

What Tasks Are Covered Under Preventive?

  • Perusing Product Literature: Checking the product and service manuals is the easiest and most effective first step towards preventive maintenance. Even if you do not read it cover to cover, some call-outs are intended to be at the top of your mind. 
  • Maintaining Logs: Checklists require updated data to be compared against to be effective. Logs are the answer here and go a long way in helping with preventive maintenance. Logging also helps keep track of high-impact factors such as water consumption, units of electricity consumed, the time taken to vend items, etc. This approach helps address many avoidable and recurring problems by – 
    • Understanding Cause & Effect: If your coffee dispensing machine requires more water for the same number of vends, the filters likely need to be cleaned. 
    • Identifying Deviations: maintaining logs helps identify the sweet spot in terms of running costs and helps flag down deviations. For example, consider a 29 Selection combo vending machines that require 216 electric power units for 24/7 operations in a month. If your consumption exceeds this substantially, this needs to be checked out.
  • Order Original Parts: Vendnet is your trusted supplier of quality spare parts, and there are few if no parts that we do not have in stock.  
  • Track Feature Usage: Operational wear and tear impacts components differently. For example, the coin validator, motor mechanism, etc., must be checked more frequently than others. 
  • Bringing In Expert Help: dispensing machines are a long-term investment, so it would be best if you were confident about the technicians who worked on them. Vendnet is at your disposal with its 90 years of experience in servicing dispensing machines.

What Is Preventing You From Doing Preventive Maintenance?

However, the biggest question is what exactly prevents you from doing maintenance activities. Is it bandwidth, maintenance costs, access to information, or would you like to see a more compelling business case to invest in preventive maintenance?

Whatever the case is, we highly recommend you get in touch with us because –

  1. If the reason is time or bandwidth – our training videos cover multiple aspects of preventive maintenance in setup videos, certainly worth your time.
  2. If you think the cost of routine maintenance is expensive, please talk to us – you might be surprised by the things you could accomplish by just hopping on a call with our experts. 
  3. If you have the time and inclination to perform routine maintenance and just require access to information, then visit the Vendnet website. We are the one-stop-shop for all things related to dispensing machine service, spares, and maintenance.
  4. And if you want to see a more compelling business case – we recommend you keep tabs on the cost of lost profits due to avoidable downtime.

For more information about Vendnet and how we can help you, give us a call at 1-800-833-4411.

Setting Up Snacks and Drinks Combination Vendor – Model 3589 (With Checklists)

Setting Up Snacks and Drinks Combination Vendor -  Model 3589 (With Checklists)

Following best practices in setting up your vending machine helps reduce service costs, eliminate downtime, extend your vending machine’s life, and maximize your revenue. There are many points to be considered to ensure a hassle-free setup of your brand new machine.

Vendnet has a library of video content about our equipment across all models and variants. With just a few clicks, customers can find out how to set up their machine, how to load products, and, maybe most importantly, how to set prices. 

In this post, we take the Futura Combo Model 3589 as an example. This bestseller is a high-capacity snack, candy, and drink combo vending machine. And is the most versatile combination vendor on the market. The Model 3589  combination vending machine vends 

  • Nine (9) drink/beverage selections for cans and bottles 
  • Twenty (20) snack, candy, and food selections for pastries, chips, and healthy vending food products.

Receiving and Inspecting the 3589 Snack and Drink Machine

We run a thorough inspection of your combo machine before shipping. However, it is highly recommended that you check for any visible damages before accepting the delivery from the freight operator. Like this, quite a few things need your attention during the receiving and setup time. Watch the video below to ensure you are prepared for your delivery.

 Model 3589 Receiving and Setup

Loading Products To Model 3589 Snack and Drinks Machine

Loading Products into model 3589 is made simpler by writing down all the selected numbers and the corresponding products and their prices on a piece of paper. This piece of paper will become handy when programming the pricing for your products. 

Video Loading Products into model 3589

Filling the Coin Changer for Model 3589 Snack and Drinks Machine

The machine’s door is to be left unlocked for the software setup. Check out our video with the stepwise instructions and the points that you need to keep in mind when filling the coin changer. Let us start you up with the first step – Before filling the coin changer, please keep one roll of each coin denomination – quarters, nickels, and dimes.  

Video → https://youtu.be/DQw3wW0SeKc?t=295 

Price Setting For Individual Products –  Model 3589 Snack And Drinks Machine

You could set each product’s prices that correspond to the selection number. Utilize the sheet with the product and price information against the selection numbers from the earlier video on loading products.

Now, there are three options to set prices. One is setting them for individual products, the second is setting prices by row, and the third is setting the entire machine to one price. Please select your merchandise accordingly and conversely please choose the price-setting that matches your merchandise. Our videos cover all these options, but still, we would like to start you off with the steps that are repeated in all three before you check the videos out.

  1. Press the service mode button
  2. Press <5> in the door  keypad, which activates the pricing setup
  3. Press 
    1. <1> for activating price-setting for individual selections
    2. <2> for activating price-setting by row
    3. <3> for activating price-setting for entire machine
  4. This shows the current pricing for the selection number
  5. You could reset the prices against the selection number
  6. Press the pound key <#> to confirm
  7. Press the star key <*> three times to exit

Check out this video for setting prices for individual selections in the Model 3889 Snacks and Drinks machine → https://youtu.be/DQw3wW0SeKc?t=360

This section of the video specifically deals with setting products by row Setting the price for products by row

This section helps you set all selections in your Model 3589 combination vendor to one price Setting the entire machine to one price

Pulling The Cash And Coins Out Of The Model 3589 Combo Vending Machine

The bill acceptor cassette and coinbox are securely located on the door of the machine. Please refer to

this video for clear step-by-step instructions on retrieving cash and coins from your Model 3589 combo vendor Pulling the cash out of the machine

Checklists And Pointers For Setting Up Model 3589 Snack And Drink Combo Machine

This video covers the entire setup of your Model 3589 combo snacks and drinks vendor, from receiving till collecting cash from the vends

Model 3589 Setting Prices – YouTube

The service manual is also available here for further reference.

We have also put together a quick checklist that you might find useful when setting up your Model 3589 combo vendor and start making profits.

  • Pre-Delivery Checklist
  • Please ensure the availability of,
  • A dedicated power outlet for the machine
  • Rolls of nickels, quarters, dimes (Dollar coins are optional)
  • Vend products that correspond to each selection number
  • More stocks of fast-moving items
  • On-Delivery Checklist
  • Please check the machine for any visible damages
  • Keep the serial tag in the wrapping for future reference 
  • Post Delivery Checklist
  • It is important to give refrigeration room to breathe. Please position the machine at least 4 inches of space from the wall for proper ventilation. 
  • Serial Tag Number in the back upper hand left corner you need to keep for reference.
  • Write down products and prices against the corresponding selection number.
  • Loading Products
  • Ensure the trays are stacked into vend position properly by making sure of two bump stops
  • Do not miss loading any free space between the coils to avoid empty vends
  • The central row in the refrigerated section is only for 12 oz cans
  • Ensure the door remains open after loading for the software setup
  • Pricing
  • Load a bill and run a test at least once after setting prices.

Contact Us:

For questions regarding the setup of Futura Combo Model 3589 or any other model, please get in touch with a Vendnet associate by calling 1800-833-4411.

General Maintenance on Your Vending Equipment

General Maintenance on Your Vending Equipment

A vending machine is a substantial purchase and needs to be cared for to prevent major repairs or damages. Neglecting your machine will cause some of its parts to malfunction over time, leading to loss of sales and profits. Timely servicing and maintenance not only keep your machine from breaking down, but also extends its life.  At Vendnet, our experienced technicians have some handy tips to help you in this regard.

Refrigeration Deck

The refrigeration equipment is a critical component of your vending machine. When they are not performing their best, they can affect both the consumer and the machine owner. Consumers buying beverages do not want a tepid bottle, they want their drink served cold. Inefficient refrigeration equipment may consume more energy or may eventually fail. This will cost owners more to own and operate such machines, so timely maintenance of the refrigeration deck is in everybody’s interest.

Maintaining the refrigeration unit regularly is not as difficult as it sounds. With a brush, clean the air intake grill from the outside once a week to remove any dirt or dust that may be sticking on. You can watch how to do this HERE.

The air intake coils or condenser need to be cleaned once every two to four months. It is usually located at the bottom of the machine, and can be accessed from the front or back, depending on the model. You will see a metal plate with holes or slits for air intake. You first need to take this part off, either by lifting or by unscrewing. Remove accumulated lint with a medium to hard bristled brush. For a thorough cleaning of the finer particles of dust and dirt, use compressed air. Once you finish cleaning, place the kick-plate back to where it was.

Air Filter

Air filters are often underrated in their significance. If they are not cleaned regularly, they can clog up the airflow, resulting in poor efficiency. This can result in the overheating of your equipment. When the suction is strong enough to bypass the clogged-up air filter, it dirties the heat exchange coil making it less efficient. Periodic clean up of the air filter can help you avoid frequent repairs and downtime.

The air filter is in the lower right-hand corner of your machine. Open the door and gently pull out the filter. Hold it under running water to wash off the collected dust or grime. Hold it in the sink to let the water run off the filter, and then shake it vigorously to remove residual water. Once this is done, put the filter back in its place. This quick video explains how you can do it.

Bill Validator and Coin Unit

You need to clean the bill validator and coin unit every one or two months, depending on the frequency of use. First, shut off the power to the vending machine. Second, take out the cash tray, which is normally situated at the back. Use a dry cloth to wipe it thoroughly and clean it. After that, take out the sensor tray – it may be above or below the cash box. This can be released by pressing two buttons on either side of the tray. This may need to be wiped as well, and if it’s too dirty, moisten the cloth in soapy water and wipe. Make sure that the tray is completely dry before you put it back in the machine. To ensure optimal operation, fill the coin unit tubes up to 2/3 capacity. You can clean this every time you clean the cash tray.

The payment systems are the most important parts for the vending machine owner or operator. It is what a cash register is to a convenience store. When these parts are damaged, they may not be able to collect payments or dispense change properly. Regularly check these parts for breakage or cracks, so that you can get them replaced on time and avoid disruption of Different machines may have different designs for bill validators, but this video shows a common process you should follow to detach for inspection.

Replacing the Barrel Lock

To replace the barrel lock, unlock the door and pop out the handle – you may need a small screwdriver to do this. Turn the handle a couple of times to the left and insert the key. Twist it to the right, and with a screwdriver, press down on the lock on the inside of the handle, and pull it out completely. To install the new lock, open the machine, place the T handle in the correct position, and insert the key with the lock all the way in. Listen for the click; now you know it is in place. Test the handle to check if it’s working before closing the machine door by unlocking it.

Drink/Snack Vending Mechanism

Whenever you load new products, it’s a good idea to check that the machine is vending the items properly – so we recommend checking it once every 60-90 days. Enter the service mode by pressing the button on the front and do a test to check if it is vending properly. Normally, the problems happen with drinks because of the weight of the bottles or cans. It  would be wise to test with a couple of bottles and cans to make sure everything is working as it should. If it gets stuck, check the binding in the delivery mechanism. This will tell you whether the gears in the motor are faulty, if the product is loaded properly, or if the sold-out sensors are malfunctioning.

Watch this video on product loading best practices for more information.

Routine maintenance checks help you to extend the life of your It can help you identify issues before they happen and avoid spending money on service or repairs, which can prevent revenue loss from a machine outage. Most important of all is the reliability of the service you provide to the consumers. When your customers know they can depend on your machine to function properly, they will come back to you for repeat purchases. The effort invested in regular maintenance might be small, but the returns are significant.

In addition to this, it is best to always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on proper installation, use, and servicing – and if your machine is not functioning properly or has a breakdown, you can always call our expert technicians at 1-800-833-4411 to assist you.

Improving your machine’s payment system

Thanks to advances in technology, education, the global pandemic, and greater awareness about the spread of contagions, cashless payments are increasing in popularity across the world. Today, most companies prefer to pay their employees through direct bank transfers – though some still pay by check. This also makes it more convenient for consumers to use their cards or e-wallet/mobile wallet to make purchases. It is also safer because even if they lose the card, they can block the card to prevent usage, unlike losing cash or coins. This means that for any business to do well, you need to offer multiple payment options. This applies to vending machines as well. Here are some interesting statistics:

  • In 2020, contactless or mobile payment transactions in the US, crossed 180 billion dollars, and this is expected to more than double in 2023, to cross 370 billion dollars.
  • 44% of online shoppers used credit cards, followed by 32% people who used debit cards – meaning that card payment is still very popular
  • Sales from digital payments (cards, contactless cards, and mobile) in vending machines gradually increased during 2019, and finally surpassed cash purchases in April 2020.
  • A study conducted by Michigan State University said that vending operators who averaged $2000 a year in sales, experienced a jump of 110% after adding cashless technology, in the first 18 months. Interestingly, it also increased the cash sales in those machines.

Of course, this does not mean that cash transactions don’t take place at all, as not everyone has changed.  A lot of people still use cash – though it is more popular among the older generation and in smaller towns.

Today if you want to increase the sales in your vending machine, it is essential that you provide multiple payment options to your customers. At Vendnet, we are the one-stop shop for all of your vending parts, support, and service needs. We offer an integrated system for vending machines that combine both cash and cashless payments.  Vendnet provides the latest and most sophisticated card readers and near field communication (NFC) technologies that can accept a wide range of debit and credit cards, contactless cards, as well as mobile wallet payments, in addition to coins and cash.

Contactless cards and mobile payments are even safer than the magnetic strip cards, as it means you don’t have to touch the surface of the machine.

At Vendnet, we use the Conlux coin changing and dispensing system which has greater coin capacity so that you don’t face coin shortage and can sell more product. With auto programming, you don’t require a service technician; all you need to do is change the cassettes according to the price you set. It also makes multiple payouts if required, ensuring that the transaction goes through.

The Conlux bill validator accepts bills from $1 to $20, with 4-way acceptance. It is simple to program – you just need to enter the bill denominations you want to accept by pressing the blue button on the back.

Vendnet also offers you $50 off on a new Conlux Bill Acceptor or Coin Acceptor, if you ship us your old one. If you are ready for an upgrade, send in your old acceptor and receive a new one at a discounted rate.

When you offer multiple payment options to customers, you increase the chances of selling. With card and mobile wallet acceptance, you can even sell more premium products.

Don’t delay in taking steps to improve your machine’s payment systems. Act now – Contact us on our website or call us at 1.800.833.4411 and our representative will be happy to help you.