Zytronic and Amtek, a leading Italian manufacturer of self-service vending machines, have been able to double the capacity and increase the internal space in its range of condom vending machines, by switching to a user interface based on a Zytronic projected capacitive touch sensor. The new electronic vending machines can also hold a much wider range of product, and deliver detailed sales reports in real time allowing stock to be tuned to local demand.
Amtek is one of Italy’s leading vending machine designers and manufacturers, with a range of units selling products including tobacco and condoms. It has thousands of machines installed throughout Italy. Its condom machines are sold to brands who install them outside pharmacies, greatly increasing the sales of these products, especially outside store opening hours. In traditional machine designs, the mechanical selection and dispensing mechanism is very bulky, increasing the size of the machine and reducing the amount of space available to store product. For this reason, Matteo Ruggieri, Owner and CEO at Amtek, decided to investigate the use of touchscreens, to save space and make the machines more attractive and easier to use.
“A major challenge was security,” he said. “Unsupervised vending machines are very attractive targets to attack, to steal both the money and the product. A traditional all-metal machine can be made secure against attack – but we were concerned about the level of protection available in a machine with a glass front.”
Amtek turned to touchscreen specialist Patrice Romano of Camax for advice. He recommended Zytronic 21.5” touch sensor, operating through an overlaying toughened 8mm thick vandal resistant cover glass that provides a considerable barrier to any would-be attacker. As a result, Amtek was able to create a 1m high, small footprint vending machine, which is also able to stock a range of 14 different products. The digital user interface gave other advantages too. The machine is now able to monitor sales and manage stock levels. It can report back in real time the demand for specific products in specific locations at specific times. Furthermore, the additional capacity of the new vending machines also mean that they need restocking less frequently. Camax worked with Zytronic to design the customised touch sensors and integrates them with the industrial-grade monitors and anti-vandal protective cover glass before supplying to Amtek.
Matteo Ruggieri commented, “The new touchscreen vending machines can comfortably hold one or two month’s stock, greatly reducing costly visits from a technician for replenishment. They also report when stock levels are getting low, virtually eliminating the risk of loss of sales through lack of stock.”
The space savings are considerable. The new CP14 Touch machine is 72cm wide by 97cm high by 40cm deep, and weighs just 145kg, making it easy to accommodate. The CP14 Touch also has over double the capacity for product, and offers 14 different ranges as opposed to 6 in the old mechanical design. Camax specified an ultra-bright LED HD monitor to attract attention and make the machine as easy to read as possible in all light levels including strong sunlight, and provides improved visibility at night-time which is when the machines are most popular. The touch sensor is constructed from thermally tempered anti-glare etched glass which reduces reflections and further improves readability. This also provides protection against year-round weather conditions, for continued reliability.
Amtek is now standardising on electronic vending machines incorporating Zytronic touch screens. Matteo Ruggieri says, “Our customers like the very detailed and specific sales reports available, allowing them to see quickly in real time which products sell best in specific locations. They can then adjust the stock profile accordingly. It is very easy to update the screens as the product mix in each individual machine changes. We are also identifying opportunities to market our innovative machines internationally. The digital user interface makes it very easy to localise machines in terms of language, presentation and regulatory requirements.”
Patrice Romano of Camax added, “Zytronic touch sensors were the ideal solution for this application. They are very high performance, and work very reliably behind the protective glass overlay. Zytronic is also extremely flexible, allowing us to call off exactly the required number of touch sensors we need for each new deployment of vending machines. Furthermore, the complete, low volume design flexibility we have with Zytronic ZYBRID touch sensors frees us and our clients from the risk of specification changes which are frequent in the display industry.”