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Are the robots really coming?

At Intelligent Vending we are always really excited at the prospect of new technology. Having designed our own innovative control platform we have a great respect for the time and imagination and precision it takes to produce something truly cutting edge. People in the Western world, on the whole, have a remarkable fascination with technology, the latest phones are always sold out within the first 24 hours, the latest tablets and drones are always on top of Santa’s wish list and the advances in virtual reality and video consoles always leave us mind blown and wanting more. As much as we love our gadgets and crave the leaps, year on year, that technology makes there is also a slight unrest when it comes to views on technology. Dealing with a lot of technical enquiries through our Intelligent Vending switchboard, people are genuinely blown away with the functionalities that they can potentially harness with our SiriuS™ and Juno™ end to end solutions, but talking to people on a more day to day level, as much as they like technology to play with, there are slight misgivings that the more advanced we become, the more likely we are to become redundant as a race. It is the time old concern (film, literature and media fuelled!) that “The robots are coming” . We already use robots and machines in place of people for a large number of fields; the service sector, the entertainment sector, the industrial and auto-mobile sectors, these are all programmable and fully automated. From 2018- 2019, the robotics industry grew as a whole and it has been reported by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) that the global robotics market rose to US$16.5 billion [1] in that time.

So how does a country like Japan, a pioneer in the technological world feel in regards to the slight nervousness we seem to possess in the West? In Japan, automation isn’t regarded as a threat to peoples jobs but more about the countries survival economically.  In 2014 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled reforms with hopes that the robot market would reach $21 billion by 2020 [2] and looking at the stats published by the IFR, that seems well on track.  Reading a recent article by CNBC [3], their reporters explored different areas of the service industry in Japan and watched the interaction between the robot world and the human one. It seems that in Tokyo, the public enjoyed the novelty that the robots provided, but in regards to their suitability to assist with their practical needs this didn’t seem particularly harnessed. Which raises the question, are they actually a source of entertainment? Could this be a more accurate interpretation of their function? Are we merely fearful of fear itself? Reporters from CNBC could witness robots being utilised whilst consumers were queuing, to pass the time while they waited to engage with a person.

The Japanese, on the whole, are renowned for being truly fascinated by technology and love the gimmicks and interaction that it provides. For me, this gave me a little sense of reflection and comfort. In the West, creating life inevitably leads to destruction of the creator (Frankenstein, The Terminator, The book of Exodus) it is suggested that human vanity is constantly met by rebellion by its creation [4]. There are many philosophies, predictions and conspiracy theories concerning the fate of our world, in films, literature and media and whether, with our thirst for and advancement in technology, we are actually pushing ourselves into economic and social extinction in an ‘End of Days’ scenario.

I never look upon technology as anything other than exciting and pioneering and I suppose that is also how the designers and manufacturers also view their robotic creations. Do I think “The robots are coming”? Yes, absolutely, in fact I think they are already here, but does that mean I think they are taking over? Hmmm… no…. not just yet, anyway.

 

Footnotes

[1] https://ifr.org/ifr-press-releases/news/presidents-report-03-2019

[2] https://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/09/heres-why-japan-is-obsessed-with-robots.html

[3] https://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/09/heres-why-japan-is-obsessed-with-robots.html

[4] https://s/421187/why-japanese-love-robots-and-americans-fear-them

 

References

1. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/09/heres-why-japan-is-obsessed-with-robots.htm

2. https://ifr-press-releases/news/presidents-report-03-2019

3. https:///23-reasons-why-japan-is-already-living-in-the-future

4. https://2017/11/16/asia/cea-tec-on-japan/index.html

5. https://s/421187/why-japanese-love-robots-and-americans-fear-them

 

The Magic of the Face

Facial recognition, also referred to as Biometric Artificial Intelligence, is regarded now as one of the top ways of identifying and verifying a person. It is so common place that we probably even have it in our homes, either through our consoles, phones or security systems. Growing up in the 80’s face recognition was something only for the James Bonds’ of this world, but the advances in the last decade alone have catapulted this incredible technology into the lives of us all. Facial recognition is already being harnessed by several industries; Law enforcement use it to serve and protect, retailers use it for crime prevention, Airports use it for security (and we even have the technology to use it on our Intelligent Vending machines, if clients desire it to deliver their project objectives! Wow!).

So where did all this catapulted technology come from? It’s true the last decade has really thrown facial recognition into the spotlight, but where did it start? Many believe that the 1960’s is where it all began with the work from Woodrow Wilson Bledsoe.  Bledsoe was an American mathematician, computer scientist and prominent educator. Born in 1921, he is regarded as one of the founders of artificial intelligence, making early contributions in pattern recognition and automated theorem proving. His work in the 1960’s included developing a system that could classify photos of faces manually, known as the RAND tablet (considered the predecessor of the iPad, in many circles). The RAND could be used to input horizontal and vertical coordinates on a grid, using a stylus that emitted electromagnetic pulses, this in turn could manually record the coordinate locations of various facial features; these could then be added to a database and when the system was given a new photo of an individual it could retrieve the image that most resembled it. [1] The technology of the era being so limited meant that the advancement in facial recognition were restricted but never the less it is seen as an important step in proving that face recognition was a viable biometric.

In the 1970’s a more well known milestone in facial recognition, “21 facial markers” was devised by Goldstein, Harmon and Lesk. Using 21 specific subjective markers such as hair line, lip thickness and eye width they were able to increase accuracy to the (still manual) facial recognition system.

The 1980’s saw linear algebra being applied to the problem of facial recognition, this became known as the Eigenface approach.  Scientists discovered they could accurately code a ‘normalised face’ in less than 100 values.

In the 1990’s the Eigenface approach was developed further and had been advanced to recognise faces within images. This was the first use of automatic facial recognition.

The following 20 years, has involved a lot of practical research and field tests including the Feret programme (creating a large database of facial images) and The Super Bowl, in the USA in 2002 where law enforcement trialed the technology, but were limited by its functionality in crowds. Facebook started using facial recognition in 2010 and continue to utilise it today along with Apple, Military and retail sectors.

So with all this incredible biometric technology all around us, should we be concerned at all? Is our privacy being compromised by the gathering of our own data through surveillance techniques or our phones when we are sometimes not even aware of it? Privacy campaigners express concern about governments and other authorities having access to the whereabouts, and activities of citizens 24/7, some of these concerns arise from biometric artificial intelligence being so advanced, it can be used to not just identify a person but show them other existing personal data like blog articles, photos, social networking profiles, internet searches etc.  This can make the public vulnerable on a number of levels for example; your facial signature could end up in a lot of places, hackers may track down images of you (or your face) online, this data may be sold, people can be left open to online harassment, stalking and trolling. It is also becoming less and less impossible to remain anonymous. [2] As the digital age advances and the need for identification and authentication of a person continues to elevate, is it our face that is going to be the key to the future? To action the opening of a bank account we would use our face, or going through customs at an airport we would use our face, access and unlock technology (including cars!) with our face, even the potential of paying for goods, withdrawing your money from ATM’s and verifying your age (therefore completely abandoning the need for a wallet at all!) all because of the magic of your face! It seems there can be no denying this technology, despite any concerns we might have as it seems to be the top way to verify and authenticate. I guess there is nothing left to do except put our very best face forward.

 

Footnotes

[1] /blog/brief-history-of-face-recognition-software/

[2] internetsecurity-iot-how-facial-recognition-software-works.html

 

References

1. /internetsecurity-iot-how-facial-recognition-software-works.html

2. /innovation/facial-recognition-works.html

3. /blog/brief-history-of-face-recognition-software/

4. /wiki/Woody_Bledsoe

5. /wiki/Facial_recognition_system

6. /govt/biometrics/facial-recognition

7. /blog/rand-review/2018/09/the-rand-tablet-ipad-predecessor.html

 

Always safety first at Intelligent Wholesale!

A very exciting, very safety conscious area of our website has been developed to give you guys the very best access to safety equipment or Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) as it is known in the field.

PPE is an essential requirement for many companies, and is an important component of industrial vending as it provides staff with safety equipment to reduce the risk of occupational injury or harm.

Controlling the use of PPE within an industrial environment can prove to be a challenging task for companies. On the one hand, the potentially high volumes of kit required to meet the needs of a large workforce provide significant incentive to employers to manage stock as efficiently as possible, including reducing wastage. On the other, it is essential that employers do not expose their staff to unnecessary risk or deny access to equipment that provides employees the necessary protection for their day to day working environment.

The level of health and safety regulation covering such responsibilities means that in a typical workplace most companies ‘play safe’ by providing open and unsupervised access to items routinely used on the shop floor, e.g. gloves, goggles, ear protection etc. However, such arrangements create precisely the conditions where excessive usage is likely to occur.

The introduction of a PPE management system using vending equipment and sophisticated control software offers a cost effective and reliable solution to this problem; especially if the level of wastage is high and items needed for a particular work setting are expensive. Intelligent Vending offer a range of PPE vending machines, from retail only to standalone to fully integrated PPE management systems which can dramatically reduce or fully eliminate routine waste, while providing a detailed audit trail linked to individual users, including a full usage history.  This means that every transaction with the machine is tracked 24/7 and reports can either by pre-scheduled or accessed manually on the fly.

For entry level PPE solutions we can provide hardware from our standard Intelligent Wholesale catalogue.  However, standard machines offer a limited functionality, so most clients would opt for our advanced fully PC controlled Intelligent Vending machines (Juno™ 8 inch touch or SiriuS™ 46 inch touch) which are packed full of features and capabilities. We also supply MRiYA™ electronic cabinets that can be slaved and controlled from Juno™ and SiriuS™ machines.  These are perfect for larger items not suited for physical dispense from Juno™ or SiriuS™ solutions. They also offer the potential for items to be loaned and returned.

Our rapid development platform also promotes comprehensive and coherent integration with client preferred hardware, software or peripherals and creates new ‘tailored’ solutions with significantly reduced R&D costs and in reduced timescales. The benefits to choosing our control platform are vast; the platform is a fully Internet of Things (IoT) based solution, providing two-way communication 24/7 in real time between our Juno™ or SiriuS™ machines and our VendHive™ cloud. This enables live transaction reporting and control of a wide variety of machine functions and settings, clients are provided with detailed logging in real time for immediate identification and diagnosis of faults, any software issues are usually rectifiable remotely and for mechanical issues, an engineer would be alerted to the nature of any mechanical fault before leaving base, avoiding the need for re-visits and saving time and money.

The intelligence of our PC controlled PPE solutions reduce downtime, as many issues that would cause out of order scenarios can be adapted to automatically. Our system can also identify under-usage of equipment as well as potential overuse, a further element of support to employers who need to be made aware if workers are not taking advantage of measures in place to ensure their own safety. Touch screens coming as standard on Juno™ and SiriuS™ also enables the display of detailed product information and videos. This could easily be adapted to include showing staff how equipment should be used, whilst providing an efficient audit trail to show the information has been viewed through user confirmation, this feature is also applicable to any new H&S procedures; thereby providing evidence for employers that they are meeting their responsibilities.

Our user interfaces are intuitive and easy to use, both by the users requiring access to items and staff responsible for day to day management of the equipment and even the ‘standard’ generic interfaces offer a high degree of customisation, while for more demanding or sophisticated applications we can supply a fully bespoke solution. This includes a user journey that is tailored to our clients’ specific requirements, displaying all information as appropriate for their organisation. The potential is huge and the list goes on! If PPE is something you need managing effectively in your business, there is only one intelligent choice!

Guest Feature Article by Vending One: When Were Vending Machines Invented?

Today, you are likely to see a vending machine in any physical store that you enter. Whether it’s the supermarket or a local restaurant, there’s always a designated vending machine that’s meant to serve you whenever you feel like buying. You actually don’t have to worry about the time of shopping or who’ll serve you as vending machines have you covered. From foods and beverages to cigarettes and newspapers, there’s virtually a vending machine for everything.

You just need to insert money or a credit card and the vending machine will automatically sell to you. Because of this, they are often referred to as automatic retailers. But, as you continue to marvel at these masterpieces, do you really know when the machines were invented? We try to break down the history of the machines for you so as you can understand their origin much better.

The First-Ever Vending Machine Invention (215 BC)

The first vending machine dates back in Ancient Greek in 215 BC. It was a piece of work by mathematician Hero of Alexandria. The idea behind the invention is very interesting. You were required to feed the machine with coins so as it can give you ‘holy water’. Once you insert a coin into it, it would fall on an empty pan that was linked to a lever. So, the weight of the inserted coin will pull the attached lever resulting in the flow of ‘holy water’. The water was called ‘holy’ because it was tantamount to a ‘Greek god’. Later in 1615, the tobacco vending machine was invented in the UK. The machine was a portable one.

The First Modern Vending Machine (the 1880s)

The first-ever commercial (coin-operated) automatic retailer was invented in London early in 1880. The whole idea was to help busy and money-hungry entrepreneurs sell quickly and in bulk. The automatic retailer was designed to dispense postcards. The man behind the idea was Percival Everitt. This machine not only became an important dispensing point at the post offices but also at the railway stations. Later, the vending machine would dispense envelopes and notepapers in addition to postcards.

In 1893, the first vending machine company was founded in England. The company going by the name Sweetmeat Delivery was established to facilitate installation as well as maintenance of commercial vending machines. In 8893, a German entrepreneur who was selling chocolate set up his own company for building vending machines for chocolate dispensing. The machine will later be used to dispense soaps and matches.

The First-Ever Vending Machine in the US (1888)

The US is never left behind when it comes to inventions. Though the first modern vending machine was invented outside the US in the early 1880s, a similar design was built in the US in 1888. The company responsible was Thomas Adams Gums. The vending machine was meant to sell fruity gums in New York City, especially around the railway area. In 1887, the company added a gaming incentive to their invention. This prompted people to refer to the machine as a ‘trade stimulator’ as it encourages more people to buy the gums.

The Evolution of the Vending Machine

So much has changed since the first invention of the vending machine. So many vending machines companies have been founded over the years. So, technology has vastly changed. Here’s a breakdown of the evolution:

  • 1890 – The First Vending Machine for Drinks

From dispensing postcards and gums came vending machines for beverages. At around 1930, the first vending machine for dispensing sodas was invented. The only available dispensed soda drinks at the time were Pepsi and Coke. As expected, Coca Cola made the way for Pepsi. In 1946, the vending machine for dispensing coffee was invented for institutions. Later on, vending machines for canned soda were invented. The machines were also used to dispense water in restaurants and supermarkets. Surprisingly, a majority of the earlier designs are still in operation to date.

  • 1926 – The First Vending Machine for Cigarettes

The need to have a quick way of selling cigarettes prompted American inventor and innovator William Rowe to come up with the first vending machine for dispensing cigarettes. However, the invention has been marred with concerns about underage buyers and this messed up their popularity. Actually, they are more popular in Japan and Europe as opposed to the US as the countries have better ways to ensure age verification before selling.

  • 1950 – The First Vending Machine for Life Insurance

In 1950, American airports saw the need to sell life insurance via automatic selling points. So, they started using vending machines to sell policies to travelers that would assure them death coverage in case their flight crashed. Unfortunately, these machines were short-lived. They barely lasted two decades.

  • 1950 – The First Vending Machine for Schools

As you already know, the first coin-operated vending machine was invented in the 1880s. However, the machine was only redesigned for school use in 1950. This is the year that students and teachers would buy drinks and candies from automatic retailers. However, there were and still, are restrictions pertaining to what sugary consumables should be dispensed in schools and which ones shouldn’t.

  • 1965 – The First Vending Machine to Accept Paper Bills

Early in 1965, a man by the name John Greenwick decided to build a vending machine that uses paper bills instead of coins. This was a great shift from the original coin-operated vending machine. Now, people don’t have to carry coins anymore because of this invention.

  • 1972 – The First Vending Machine for Snacks

In 1972, a company by the name Polyvend saw the need to dispense snacks. So, they invented the first glass-front vending machine for shops. The machine would entice kids and adults with candy cravings to grab a bite. Such designs are quite popular around the shopping malls and in the streets.

  • 1987 – The First Vending Machine for Frozen Foods

The invention of vending machines for beverages and snacks opened the door for options that dispense frozen foods. Actually, the manufacturer saw the need to hold foods within the vending machine for long without risking them going bad. So, 1987 saw the origin of some of the world’s best vending machines for frozen food products.

Closing Thought:

The vending machines have come a long way and there is no doubt about it. From using coins to now using credit cards, it has been a story for the ages. These automatic retailers make things really interesting for the modern consumer. They not only get to save time but labor too. They are truly the future of the retail business.

 

 

Thank you to Vending One for allowing us use of such an informative article www.vendingone.com/when-were-the-vending-machines-invented/

Follow the link to see more articles by Vending One www.vendingone.com

Want to see your article published here? Please contact sales@intelligentvending.co.uk or head over to our Intelligent Vending website for more information.

The Vendo Company & The Sanden Corporation merger – Feature Article (3 of 3)

With the Oil Crisis in America hitting the people and businesses hard, it was a turbulent time for the United States. Having faced financial loses, The Vendo Company chose to streamline and concentrate solely on its drinks vending machine distribution division. This was one the most lucrative and sturdy pockets of business held by The Vendo Company and they had much previous success in the sector. Even though the site held in Kansas was closed, the company still kept plants functioning in Fresno, California and Corinth, Mississippi [1] In 1982, Elmer F Pierson, the founder of The Vendo Company, died aged 85. Elmer was praised for having been “One of the first business executives to express that there should be an interconnection between the corporate world and the art world” [2]

The 1980’s brought together two incredibly influential and successful companies that had mutually reflective qualities and had similar histories, despite being on different continents, with no relationship, and no affiliations to this point. Both had innovative ideas and developed iconic models that changed development, designs and productions within their fields, both made pursuits in varied areas of business and both made significant impact on the war effort for their alliance. These unique characteristics created a sort of symmetry and connection between the two companies even before their merger in 1988. Potentially, their relationship was laden with barriers such as, language, culture and social differences to name a few; but maybe all barriers are there to be overcome or perhaps they were never there to begin with; wherever the reality lies, the outcome was that the Japanese Sanden Corporation (who had experience of their own vending products, already released on the market) acquired the Vendo Company. The company received technical and financial support from its new parent company [3] and many saw The Vendo Company revitalised by the input and nurture that Sanden Corporation bestowed upon it. It wasn’t long before The Vendo Company began introducing innovations to the automated goods distribution market again. Showing that the support had truly helped rejuvenate the company.

In 1996 the Sanden Company was awarded an EPA prize (contribution to ozone layer preservation) by the US Environment Protection Agency. [4] The welfare of the environment became a pioneering drive behind The Sanden Corporation and Mr. Kaihei Ushikubo is reputable for being, amongst other things, environmentally conscious. This is still a core value in the company today. In 1999, Mr. Kaihei Ushikubo died aged 94. The Vendo Company continued to expand and in the early 2000’s moved its headquarters to Dallas, Texas and not long after changed its name, as a mark of thanks, loyalty and respect to its parent company. SandenVendo was born.

Today SandenVendo is a global enterprise that needs no introduction. It has, as a company, been integral in pushing the markets technology boundaries and in 2004 revealed the first vending machine equipped with C02. The company has flourished. The factory in Italy has expanded and there are now offices in Japan, Spain, Germany, France and Belgium. Keeping up with the rapidly growing market, SandenVendo have also started a Coffee sector of the business and in 2015 developed a new coffee machine; the company continues to advance the vending industry into a new era.

It seems lamentable, on reflection that neither the founder of The Vendo Company, Mr. Elmer F. Pierson, or the founder of The Sanden Corporation, Mr. Kaihei Ushikubo, would live to see their companies names stand side-by-side, as they sleekly merged and blossomed into the universal giant it is today; arguably, dominating the worlds vending stage. The consistent correlation and commonality between these two corporations seems, looking through their history, to have transcended any obstacles, barriers and complications with ease and with equal, mutual respect. Perhaps this relationship expertly highlights the Sanden company creed, bestowed upon the company by the late Mr. Kaihei Ushikubo,

“Let us Develop with Wisdom and Prosper in Harmony.”

With all the honour and respect that comes with a mission statement such as this, it seems that this is exactly how it was for both The Sanden Corporation and SandenVendo, and how it continues to be today.

 

ご興味頂きありがとうございました。

 

 

 

 

Footnotes:

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org
[2] https://kchistory.org Daniel Coleman “Elmer F. Pierson, Founder of the Vendo Company”
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org
[4] https://www.sanden.co.jp

Sources:

https://www.japantimes.co.jp “When industry works in step with nature” by C.W. Nicol

https://www.sandenvendo.it/en/history/

https://www.wasabi-jpn.com

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vendo

https://www.sanden.co.jp

https://www.vendingtimes.com

https://kchistory.org Daniel Coleman “Elmer F. Pierson, Founder of the Vendo Company”

https://kchistory.org Jason Roe, Digital History Specialist

https://pendergastkc.org Jason Roe, Digital History Specialist

The beginning of Sanden – Feature Article (2 of 3)

Mr. Kaihei Ushikubo started it all for Sanden. He was 34 and managing a textile mill when World War II broke out. At this time, private sector manufacturing plants were enforced to either shift into the sector of ammunition producing plants or close their business. [1] This is how the predecessor of The Sanden Corporation was created, in 1943, with 198,000 Yen, which in today’s terms is round about £1,400; it was named The Sankyo Electric Company. (The original site the company was built on, is where the present Head Office of Sanden is still currently located today!)  Mr. Ushikubo’s company showed great aptitude for flexibility and was able to adapt quickly to the changes happening in the world around it.  The company was very electronically minded, and technology driven and specialised in mica-condensers, wireless communication devices and paper-condensers, to name a few. These were developed using synthetic resin molding.

In 1948, after the war was over, Mr. Ushikubo set about developing dynamo lighting bicycle sets. Throughout the war, most of his task force had been riding to work on bicycles and they had been his inspiration for the product.  A sales campaign was run on dynamo bicycle lamps with a trademark “Owl” shining in the darkness, with slogans “Second sight in the night” and “A thousand times brighter than a full moon” [2] By 1953, it was producing 30,000 units a month, securely establishing itself as a permanent fixture in the dynamo bicycle lamp business sector [3]

JIS (Japanese Industrial Standards) were launched for the dynamo bicycle lamps in the early 1950’s. The low-voltage method designed by Sankyo Electric Company became fundamental criteria for the JIS; following this, in 1953, the company started exporting the dynamos. The company also began moving into the electric home-appliance market and the refrigeration market for business users. The staff at Sankyo were able to pioneer and develop a refrigeration product that was an open-type showcase which had never been seen in the industry. The design was a unique selling point putting the product into high demand, and the pioneering, innovative technology undoubtedly helped to revolutionise the sector. The company didn’t stop there, it was constantly developing new products for the sector, including mini-motors, electric washers, and other home electrical appliances. The company was growing fast and the main business offices were moved to Tokyo and shortly after Sankyo Electric started producing ice-cream freezers and more refined open refrigeration showcases.

As the company continued to grow with the start of the 1960’s, and with healthy sales of their electric freezers and refrigerators, the company branched off in a new direction and developed an original bubbler juice vending machine (also known as the ‘fountain juice machine’) and then went on to develop, down a slightly different avenue, oil heaters. The breadth of products available by Sankyo Electric seemed unbound and the technology seemed unrivalled. By 1964 the Sankyo Sales Company was established, spinning off the sales division from Sankyo Electric Company. [4] Not long after the oil heaters were on the market, the innovators at Sankyo Electric were able to manufacture a clean, forced-ventilation type heater that didn’t pollute the air in the room. This was an outstanding piece of technology that no-one had ever accomplished before. The company consistently acquired technologies, both in the cooling and heating areas of business. [5]

The Bubbler Juice Machine - Sankyo Electric (Sanden Corporation) - 1961

As the company was clearly a global leader on the refrigeration and ventilation front and were continuing to develop these technologies, in 1970, it caught the eye of the American, Mitchell Corporation. Sankyo Electric received an offer for technical collaboration for small-scale compressors. With this opportunity Sankyo Electric entered into an alliance with Mitchell Corporation and embraced its (still current) role as a manufacturer of compressors for air conditioning systems used in the automotive industry; the company continued to grow and establish itself in more countries and today parts it supplies are used in a quarter of all the cars produced world-wide. [6] In 1973 the “Sanden” tradename was established, and the company’s stocks were listed on the first page of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. [7] The company also launched affiliate branches around the globe in America, Singapore, Australia and the U.K.

The 1980’s brought with them a lot of progression for Sankyo Electric. 1981 saw the invention of a scroll-type compressor for automotive air-conditioning systems. Once again, this was a product that had never been seen before. One of the most noteworthy changes came in 1982 when the company changed its name to match its trademark; Sankyo Electric Company became Sanden Corporation and in 1984 the company expanded its global presence even more with joint ventures in India, Malaysia and Mexico. Sanden are clearly a very insightful, forward thinking and progressive company who don’t shy away from opportunity and in 1988 they came across a vending company in America. One who, like themselves had taken the world a bit by storm and who, like themselves, had pioneered and developed some spectacular products that arguably revolutionised their own market sectors. The company had been started by two brothers in Kansas and was called The Vendo Company.  The journey that followed changed and shaped the vending world forever.

Footnotes:

[1] https://www.sandenvendo.it
[2] https://www.sanden.co.jp
[3] https://www.sanden.co.jp
[4] https://www.sanden.co.jp
[5] https://www.sanden.co.jp
[6] http://www.manufacturing-journal.net
[7] https://www.revolvy.com

Sources:

https://www.sandenvendo.it

https://www.sanden.co.jp

http://www.manufacturing-journal.net

https://www.revolvy.com

Elmer F. Pierson Founder of the Vendo Company by Daniel Coleman https://www.hbs.edu

Jason Roe ‘Cool Operator’ Digital History Specialist https://kchistory.org

https://en.wikipedia.org

https://www.vendoco.com

https://en.wikipedia.org

https://www.sanden-europe.com

Bugs off

The hot weather might have dissapated, for now, but we are all still struggling with the onslaught of our little flying friends. However, don’t dispair! Intelligent Wholesale has a range of products for commercial and domestic use that will help fight the problems associated with flying bugs. Check out the full range of pest control products and accessories on our website.

Elmer F. Pierson and the beginning of Vendo – Feature Article (1 of 3)

The story of SandenVendo begins on August 27th, 1896 when Elmer F. Pierson was born. Elmer, along with his brother, John, would go on to become the world renowned ‘Vendo Brothers’.

The Pierson brothers worked from an early age, delivering goods for the family grocery business. The boys’ father was the proprietor of several neighbourhood grocery stores. Here, Elmer grew increasingly curious of the world and envied the travelling salesmen, who visited the stores, as they had the opportunity to see the nation and seemed to make a good living [1]. Elmer was eager to explore for himself and took a job as a clerk for a wholesale grocery company, rather than going to college. Whilst this job enabled him to travel over a couple of states, these weren’t quite the glamourous and exciting sights that he had in mind! With strong desires and ambitions, he decided to head in a new direction.

With the outbreak of World War I, Elmer served his country as a second lieutenant in an Army machine gun unit and in 1919, after taking night classes, he graduated from Kansas City Law School and was admitted to the bar. Taking a bit of a different turn, as opportunity presented itself, he headed into property sales. He had a very unsuccessful first attempt but quickly picked himself up, with the help of his brother John, and made better headway on his subsequent ventures. No doubt he used his vast sales knowledge and experience to generate good profits that enabled him to finance the opening of his own firm.

Elmer had many strings to his bow (including being president of the Kansas City Real Estate Board) before he even embarked upon the journey into vending machines with his brother John in 1937, when ‘The Vendo Company’ was born.

Vending machines during the 1930’s were notoriously unreliable and the most effective way of getting a cold drink seemed to be digging your way into a chest freezer full of ice and finding it. They were also mainly outside making them seasonal in colder climates and hard for shopkeepers to manage their stock effectively as they relied heavily on customer honesty. The mechanical vending machines also seemed to falter when it came to distinguishing between real and counterfeit coins. The other popular shortcoming was machines jamming, particularly when trying to extract bottles from icy water.

Vending machines were perhaps seen as a bit of a risky, rather obscure challenge to be taking on in 1937, but after-all, isn’t that a sign of a great entrepreneur? Spotting the need and the potential in something before anyone else does. The Vendo brothers endeavoured to improve the state of vending machines, with focus on making the machines indoor, more reliable and tackling the problem of counterfeit coins.

The brothers purchased a patent for a lid that could be attached to coolers. With insightful innovation they designed a product that was more practical than anything else on the market. ‘The Red Top’ was born and is arguably the most iconic vending machine in history. The design had the vending lid moving the bottle towards the opening, rather than moving the opening to the bottle. It was essentially a lid with mechanical underpinnings that could be fitted onto a standard cooler. The design had the advantage of storing the bottles away from the ice, which lessened the potential for mechanical failure [2]. The innovative team that Elmer and John worked with were able to develop a shrewd ‘sound wave detection technology’, this sensor could determine whether coins put into the machines by patrons were real or counterfeit, based solely on the sound waves that were emitted when the coins dropped into the machine. Ingenious! Now that’s not to say that the machines all worked seamlessly from this point, there were redesigns and upgrades, just like we would strive for today; a modern refrigeration unit was added so ice was no longer an essential element, but by 1940 the reliability had caught the eye of Coca-Cola who officially endorsed them.

The Red Top Vendo Machine - Article 1938

During World War II, The Vendo Brothers, landed a massive sales contract from the War Department, which considered soft drinks ‘essential for soldier morale’ [3]. This was not the only military contract won by the company; the sensor technology that had been developed for coins was utilised and the same principle was applied to test the quality control of artillery shells for the U.S military [4]. Elmer was very proactive in the war effort and also volunteered The Vendo Company resources to help develop a portable antenna, for use in conjunction with radar to detect German Submarines. After 3 months of development Vendo went into production of 300,000 antennas [5]. After the war The Vendo Company went on to experiment with other technology devices that also operated through sound waves. The main business remained vending machines and it continued to grow geographically. By the 1960s, Vendo was the largest vending machine company in the world and had merged with a competitor to add Pepsi-Cola and Royal Crown drinks to its machines and it even sustained its global lead when glass bottles were replaced by aluminium cans.

In the 1970’s the oil crisis rocked the nation and businesses everywhere, including Vendo were affected. Facing financial losses, the company sold off its assets and kept only their drinks vending machine distribution division. This was merely the beginning for The Vendo Company. The 1980’s were going to bring exciting new developments, from exciting areas of the world.

Footnotes:

[1] Jason Roe, COOL OPERATOR. Digital History Specialist
[2] Jason Roe, COOL OPERATOR. Digital History Specialist
[3] Jason Roe, COOL OPERATOR. Digital History Specialist
[4] Daniel Coleman, ELMER F. PIERSON, FOUNDER OF THE VENDO COMPANY.
[5] Jason Roe, COOL OPERATOR. Digital History Specialist

Sources:

https://www.hbs.edu

https://kchistory.org

https://https://kchistory.org

https://www.ancestry.com

https://www.vendoco.com

https://www.kshs.org

https://en.wikipedia.org

The History is Coming

SandenVendo probably needs no introduction as one of the leading technology companies in the world, with offices and factories in Europe, Japan, America and more. Our working relationship with SandenVendo has always been a strong one and the company itself has such an interesting history that we have decided to run a series of feature articles on the history and merger of 2 entirely independent companies (The Vendo Company and Sanden Corporation) on entirely different continents; who came together to form one of the largest global vending companies of our time. As pioneers of technology and innovation ourselves we feel there are parallels that both of our organisations reflect.  If you have any interesting information you think we should include in these future articles, please let us know and we will be happy to credit you.

Period Poverty Initiatives

Period poverty is still one of the most prominent topics of today, with more and more companies approaching us for period poverty machines. Not only do we supply machines, we also supply branded sanitary products too; (we can also offer unbranded sanitary product packaging to clients when they buy in pallet quantities.)  All the packaging provided is specifically designed for vending equipment and made from both biodegradable and recyclable cardboard. We are currently pushing ourselves even further into ‘green’ mode and researching the possibility of offering an organic range of products. For companies that are interested in taking this initiative up for their organization, Intelligent Vending could provide them with the knowledge, machines and insight to reflect their own business needs.

 

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