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Vending: boom of innovations in the year of Covid-19

New features: contactless apps, smart keys, sanitation systems for vending machines

Many of these technologies will be visible at Venditalia, the international vending event to be held from 25 to 28 May 2022 at Fiera Milano Rho.

Contactless payment apps that allow contactless purchase with the vending machine, integrated UV-ray lamps that sanitize the cup removal compartment, advanced "coffee keys" that connect to the web and alert the manager in case of breakdowns, vending machines that turn into real wine shops or automatic canteens, vending machines equipped with screens that can transmit any video content, small office coffee machines that can be controlled from the smartphone and large indestructible vending machines for public spaces. In the worst year for the economy, all-Italian vending technologies have focused on innovation as a “vaccine” for the economic crisis that has hit the vending sector.

"In the automatic distribution sector", explains Massimo Trapletti , president of Confida (Italian Association of Automatic Distribution), "Italy is a European leader with over 820 thousand vending machines installed in companies, public offices, schools, universities, airports and stations, followed by France and Germany with 611,000 and 593,000 vending machines respectively. This Italian leadership stems from the fact that vending machine technologies are mainly Italian and exported all over the world. The Covd-19 epidemic has also hit the vending sector hard: sales of food products through vending machines have reached peaks of -60%. However, the crisis itself, highlighting new needs, has also stimulated the development of new technologies”.

Vending companies have developed Apps to choose and pay for products from the vending machine in a completely "contactless" way, via your smartphone. Some of these Apps were designed directly by the machine manufacturers, such as Bianchi Industry, Evoca Group, Fas. But also the traditional “coffee key” has evolved: Coges, in fact, has launched on the market a key that connects to the web and allows you to manage credit, send feedback on products, on the machine or on the service; while QSave Elkey proposes a system that generates a QR Code readable by smartphones through which to authorize the payment. For those who are fond of traditional coin payments, Cpi has developed a system that promises speed and security and, for cashless payments, a solution with a large touchscreen and a customizable user interface. The Venpay App connects to the vending machine making it "online" and allowing you to pay by credit card or an e-wallet or, if the vending machine has an interactive touch screen, you can install the BiTX "gatewaymanager" and thus enable the machine to telemetry and cashless payments. Finally, Coges also proposes a credit card reader for vending machines that allows you to obtain State cashback even on vending machines.

Manufacturers of technologies for vending, such as Bianchi Industry and Magex, are integrating sanitation systems to the vending machines that protect against viruses and bacteria such as UV-C ray lamps that allow the extraction compartment to be sanitized in coffee machines. glasses at each dispensing. The same technology, with the irradiation of ultraviolet rays that is also proposed by Bwt, and is used to disinfect and sterilize the water of the new "automatic water dispensers": connected to the water network, produced by Bianchi Industry, Gpe Vendors and Manea Vending. Finally, with regard to refrigerated machines, Epta has designed a new range of R290 propane gas vending machines, more efficient and environmentally friendly than traditional refrigerants, for a reduction in the carbon footprint and better energy savings.

Some manufacturers have recently developed and launched innovative vending machines on the market such as, for example, the Magex “automatic wine shop”: a real vending machine that can dispense glass bottles of different sizes and formats, including magnums. On the other hand, for Rhea's 60th anniversary, the company collaborated with director Davide Livermore and created a multimedia vending machine, with a 49-inch screen which, via the App, involves the 32 seconds of waiting for coffee dispensing, in an event that combines art, theater and music. Fas has created an integrated system for the management of catering from a technological and logistical point of view that allows you to automate the canteen service: a software allows you to choose your menu online which is then processed by a technologically advanced vending machine. For high-traffic public areas, Bianchi has designed a new extra large vending machine for snacks and cold drinks equipped with an anti-vandal system with tempered glass; while for small offices Evoca offers a tabletop machine, with the Saeco brand, with provision for Bluetooth connectivity.

Many of these technologies will be visible at Venditalia, the international vending event to be held from 25 to 28 May 2022 at Fiera Milano Rho.

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EFA News - European Food Agency