APi introduced a vending machine that ground and brewed fresh coffee beans. Practically anything that can be vended, has been at one time or another. The first beverage vendor, dated to in Paris, France, offered beer, wine, and liquor. Items that have been found in vending machines include clothing, flowers, milk, cigars and cigarettes, postage stamps, condoms, cologne, baseball cards, books, live bait for fishermen, comic books, cassettes and CDs, lottery tickets, and cameras and film.
Some modern vending machines dispense hot foods such as pizza, popcorn, and even french fries. Vending machines are constructed primarily from four major raw materials: galvanized steel, Lexan or other plastic, acrylic powder coatings, and polyurethane insulation. The bulk of the machine is constructed from galvanized steel ranging from 10 gauge to 22 gauge in thickness.
The thicker gauges are used for the outside cabinet, external doors, and internal tank.
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Thinner gauges are used for internal doors and plates, can stacks, and mechanisms such as coin validators and product trays. Lexan, a tough polycarbonate plastic, is used in the front panels of the vending machine. Sheets of Lexan in vending machines usually range from 0. Lexan is very difficult to break, flame retardant, relatively easy to shape, and can be treated to restrict UV rays, light, and heat transmission. Product logos, names, and illustrations are silk-screened on Lexan sheets, which are installed in channels in the doors of the vending machines.
Acrylic powder coatings are colored powders used to "paint" the surfaces of vending machines.
The powder is applied in a uniform layer and baked on during the manufacturing process. Acrylic coatings withstand the rigors of weather and abuse better than paints that are applied wet. In addition, acrylic powders more readily meet governmental environmental standards.
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Polyurethane foam provides the insulation for the inside of the vending machine. The foam is blown between the outer cabinet and internal tank of the machine, where it cures into a very tough, rigid material. In addition to thermal insulation, the stiff foam adds structural stability to both the cabinet and tank of the machine.
Some manufacturers, such as Dixie-Narco, also make the complicated electronic devices used in vending machines, while others purchase them pre-made and install them as part of the manufacturing process. These components include bill and coin validators, computer control boards, refrigeration units, and lighting. The basic design of a vending machine begins with the cabinet, the steel outer shell that holds all internal components and which determines the machine's overall size and shape. Inside the cabinet is a steel inner lining called the tank. The tank and the cabinet fit closely together, leaving enough room in-between for a layer of polyurethane foam insulation.
In combination, the tank and the foam insulation help keep internal temperatures stable and protect products against temperature extremes outside the cabinet. Although all products and dispensing mechanisms are contained in the cabinet, in the strictest sense, they are actually installed within the tank. The outer surfaces of the cabinet are coated with an acrylic powder finish that is baked into place. Powder coatings enable the machine to withstand extreme temperatures, salt or sand, abuse by customers, and other conditions requiring high surface durability. To store and dispense products, can feeder stack columns or feeder trays are installed inside the machine.
Each tray is equipped with a large rotating wire spiral that holds the products. Feeder trays slide in and out of the machine for easy maintenance and restocking of merchandise. The feeder stacks and trays also contain the motor controls that physically push the products forward until they are released from the stack and fall to the access area. When a customer selects a product, a rotor turns and advances a single item, dropping cans or bottles one at a time. In the same way, spirals on snack food trays rotate and push products forward until they fall off the tray.
Some vending machines, especially cold drink vendors, have two doors. The internal door seals the inside of the machine and provides additional insulation. The, outer door contains the electronic controls that allow customers to purchase and receive goods. The outer door also includes signage and illustrations, generally silk-screened onto a panel of Lexan that fits into the front panel of the door.
Lighting for the front panel is generally installed behind the Lexan panels. The outer door includes heavy-duty hasps, locks, and hinges to deter theft and vandalism. Electronic components, such as coin and bill validators, test coins and scan dollar bills that have been inserted to ensure that the cash is genuine and in the proper amount. A panel of control buttons lets customers make their selections. These buttons are connected to the motor controls of the feeder stacks and trays, activating the rotors that release products to the bins.
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Change-makers hold quantities of coins and release the correct change after a selection has been made. More recent machines may also include card validators for accepting debit and credit cards, LCD panels with pricing details and machine status information, and speech chips that give transaction details to customers by voice. Design changes occur most frequently in the mechanisms for handling and dispensing the vast number of different types of bottles, cans, boxes, bags, and other packages available on the market.
When 20 oz ml plastic soda bottles were first introduced to vending, they tended to jam in the machine. Designers had to re-work the way those bottles were stored in the machine and delivered to the customer. Constant changes in product packaging have ensured that designers must always look for practical and more efficient ways to vend products.
The most popular type of vendor in the United States is the cold canned soft drink machine, which vends the traditional 12 oz ml aluminum can of sodas and soft drinks. The manufacture of a cold can drink vending machine is often accomplished on several automated, concurrently running assembly lines that make all the components simultaneously. Manufacturing processes for vending machines can be as varied as the products dispensed in them.
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At one time, the resin additives used to create the structure of foam insulation, called blowing agents, contained large amounts of CFCs, or chloroflurocarbons. However, environmental concerns over the use of CFCs led to the use of alternative blowing agents, including halocarbon HCFC substitutes and water. Finished machines are tested after assembly. Checks are made to ensure that all electronic components function properly, that the can stacks are fitted correctly, and that cans are dispensed accurately and safely. Packaging Tapes.
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