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How to choose the vending machine

In order to choose the vending machine, let’s try to orient ourselves in the world of vending machines, increasingly common elements in work spaces and public places such as stations, airports, hospitals, shopping centers and more.

The first commercial coin-operated vending machine seems to have been invented in London in the early 1880s by a certain Percival Everitt, who used to distribute postcards.

But the first patent dates back to 1884 and belongs to William Henry Fruen, inventor of a fresh water vending machine, installed in the lobby of a luxury hotel in Minneapolis.

Since then, vending machines have evolved and developed to meet various needs, and there is no workplace or public space that does not host at least one.

From the “Study about the automatic distribution sector in Italy” carried out by the Italian Automatic Distribution Association (CONFIDA) in collaboration with Ipsos, it emerges that in 2020, despite the closures imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic caused the loss of more than 31% of turnover of the sector, automatic distribution closed the year with a turnover of 1.6 billion euros, for a total of 4.4 billion consumption in Italy.

The numbers of 2021 already mark a recovery, proven by the fact that vending machines are now an integral part of our professional and urban scenery.


The criteria to choose among the various types of vending machines are articulated on different levels.

The first factor is the transit of people in the place where the vending machine is positioned. First of all, it affects the amount of monthly sales.

For example: a small company with about ten employees may choose a vending machine model that can guarantee 400 or 500 dispenses per month.

A larger company, with more people, will certainly need more performing vending machines, which guarantee at least 1,000 to 2,000 drinks per month, and will probably choose to add alongside a vending machine for snacks, hot or cold drink dispensers.

The most common types of vending machine are the one for beverages:

  • hot drinks;
  • cold drinks.

The main difference between the two types concerns the mode of operation.

A vending machine for hot drinks must:

  • mixe the powder product with water drawn and heated very quickly;
  • dispense cup and spoon;
  • dispense the amount of sugar chosen by the user.

A cold drink vending machine dispenses a ready-made and packaged product. The main task of the machine is to maintain the correct temperature storage of cans and PET bottles, and then proceed with dispensing when required.

The two types of vending machines for beverages also require a different attention regarding the conservation of the products.

For cold drinks it is important to respect the expiration date indicated on the products, as well as to maintain the right refrigerant temperature (perhaps paying attention to the energy class of the dispenser). Instead for hot drinks, it is necessary to pay attention to the preservation of the blends, with the correct levels of humidity and temperature.

Among the other types of vending machines, it is also worth mentioning vending machines of:

  • snacks;
  • cigarettes and tobacco.

Similar in operation to cold drink vending machines, these types also require more or less the same attention regarding the dispensed product.

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The advantages

The advantages offered by a vending machine, both for those who decide to install one and for those who use it as a consumer, are many.

One of the main advantages is the adaptability of vending machines to the most various contexts, both private and public.

A vending machine is particularly advantageous in all places that are active 24 hours a day, such as train stations or airports, since there are no time constraints on the delivery of products.

Anyone who desires to start managing a business related to vending machines has the advantage of being able to make a profit without all the obligations that a traditional shop entails.

The cost of a vending machine can be quite high (it can range from 1000 to 8000 euros), and its management requires regular maintenance and frequent product insertion. However, most vending machines benefit from the rental and loan for use formula, which also guarantees related services such as:

  • consultation for vending machine choice;
  • installation;
  • maintenance;
  • refilling of products.

Innovative vending machines

From their origins, vending machines seem to have changed little. Instead, innovative vending machines guarantee a continuous improvement of their performance, and an ever greater user satisfaction.

The innovation has made it possible to place on the market vending machines that consume less energy and less water for their operation.

The methods to pay for the products have undergone particular innovations. In most vending machines, coins, small bills or a compatible key are required to consume a product. An Italian tech company has introduced an innovative system that simplifies payment, thanks to the connection with a smartphone app. The idea was awarded the Innovation Award 2019 at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas.

Automation is an indispensable factor in the management of a vending machine, especially those installed in places that can remain empty for part of the time (for example, some offices during the weekend). Being able to control consumption, and possibly stop the flow of water that feeds the vending machine, can be crucial to prevent waste, unexpected costs in the bill and any damage to the vending machine itself and to the environment in which it is installed.

ELTEK Appliance is the ideal partner for those who are looking for automation solutions related to vending machines, thanks to the systemic control of the equipment and the monitoring of the water flow guaranteed by its WATERBLOCK and E-WATERBLOCK devices.

WATERBLOCK and E-WATERBLOCK allow you to detect water anomalies and, if necessary, block the flow as quickly and efficiently as possible, avoiding excessive consumption and indirectly preventing possible damage from water.

In particular, the possibility of accessing information on the water flow via APP (which works when bluetooth is activated, near the device) makes E-WATERBLOCK ideal for installation in vending machines, especially in those installed in environments that can remain empty for shorter or longer periods of time (for example during weekends).


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