10 Sep How Vending Machines Work
Most of us know what a vending machine is, but have you ever stopped to think while you were inserting your cash into the machine, how it works, or where the product comes from? We have, and the answer to that question is pretty interesting.
Most places you find vending machines do not operate the machines themselves. They have companies such as Total Café & Vending bring the machine and stock it with product. In our warehouse, our staff picks the product and loads it onto one of our trucks. It is then driven to different locations for re-stocking.
After the product is stocked and ready to be purchased, the vending machine does most of the work. First it reads your paper money or coupon and measures coins that are inserted for payment. Each machine differs slightly, but in general they use an electromagnetic field which can determine thickness and diameter. Dollar bills and coupons are scanned with a laser that tells the machine the denomination on the bill, and calculates a balance allowing for certain items to be selected. Once the customer chooses a product, another signal is sent to a motor in the machine that permits the turning of the spiral dispenser of the selected product.
Lastly to ensure the product has been properly dispensed, there is a laser beam at the bottom of the vending machine. When the product falls and breaks the lasers path, it informs the machine that the transaction was successfully complete.