8 fun things you didn't know about vending machines

February 7, 2019

Vending machines can chill certain products at different times

It’s called zone cooling. By chilling only those products likely to be sold next, vending machines consume far less energy. Using historical sales data, the machine knowns which products will be sold and at what time. Smart! Most of the can and bottled beverage vending machines you see today use this smart vending technology. 

Vending is a $30 billion-a-year industry

In total, vending employs 700,000 people who work at 13,500 different companies. Another staggering fact: 100 million Americans will use one of 7 million vending machines every day.

5.52 million vending machines in Japan

The number of vending machines in Japan is impossible to ignore. In Tokyo alone, there’s one just about every block. Japan definitely takes the prize for highest density of vending machines worldwide. There’s one machine to every 23 people. Some suggest Japan’s unusual safety record as one reason why. There is very little vandalism, so machines rarely get broken into.

Vending happiness

At IVM, we’ve always said if you can dream it we can make it. In 2010, a Coca-Cola vending machine delivered doses of happiness in the form of pizza and fresh flowers to surprised students on a college campus in New York. These unexpected moments went viral and set off similar stunts around the globe. With people wondering, where will happiness strike next?

AI in vending machines

Speaking of Coca-Cola, they’re using artificial intelligence in a vending machine app at U.S. universities and also in Australia and New Zealand. The app lets you order a Coke for you and a buddy, then go pick it up at the vending machine. The style of the vending machine and the app will change by product. A college campus might have a fun, vibrant look while a vending machine in a hospital will be less about the fun and more about the functionality.

How vending machines are made  

Vending machines are constructed primarily from four major raw materials: galvanized steel, Lexan or a similar plastic, acrylic powder coatings and polyurethane insulation. Lexan is a touch polycarbonate plastic used in the front panels of vending machines. It’s a difficult material to break and resists flames, yet it’s relatively easy to shape.

Vending gold bars

First of all, how mad would you be if your gold bar got stuck? In the United Arab Emirates, there’s a tradition of gifting gold on holidays and special occasions. Hence the need for a vending machine that sells 24-carat gold bars and gold coins in a gift box. How do you control pricing with the fluctuating gold market? The prices are updated on the hour via a link to the online shop.

Machines that vend office supplies 

IVM Smart Stations® were the first of their kind and deliver office supplies on-the-spot to employees, eliminating costly downtime. They’re smart because they also relieve back office managers from the distribution of supplies, and Smart Stations make reorders automatic.

What other product do you know that has had the longevity that vending machines have enjoyed, with such interesting innovations along the way?

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