Protecting Your Vending Machine Investments Through Maintenance

Protecting Your Vending Machine Investments Through Maintenance.

Whether you are a multimillion dollar vending machine operator, a very small Vending business operator or an individual who owns one Vending machine, proper maintenance will determine how long and how well your vending machine will perform. It will also dictate the level of satisfaction your customers will derive from the machines.

Many vending machine owners may be of the opinion or share the philosophy that “If it is not broken 
don’t fix it”. Can you imagine if this sort of attitude and philosophy were applied to Aero planes? What a disaster that would be.

Unfortunately, many people will purchase vending equipment and place them on a site only to clean the exterior once in a while. However, some of these operators seem to forget that depending on the type of machine, that there are other components such as Coin Mechanisms and Coin Changers, Dollar Bill Recyclers, Dollar Bill Acceptors, Credit and Debit Card Readers, Refrigeration units and other moving parts within vending machines which may require occasional cleaning and lubrication of one sort or another. Coffee Vending Machines in particular require a wide range of maintenance on a regular basis in order to dispense a consistently good quality hot beverage from a well maintained and sanitized machine.

Here are some basic and simple maintenance activities which operators may perform on their vending machines on a regular and consistent basis. These simple steps could keep the above mentioned components functioning trouble free for an extended period of time way beyond the manufacturer’s warranty and expiration date. Most products are very well built and such component longevity should not  come as a great surprise when coupled with good maintenance practices.

Coin Changers and Coin Mechanisms all come in a wide range of makes and models such as CoinCo, MEI,  Conlux, Currenza, Jofemar and more. Some designs will stand up better to the dirt and dust particles, lint and other small foreign objects which find their way into the coin paths of these mechanisms. If these are left unchecked, they will eventually accumulate and cause a coin jam which will result in a service call, lost sales, customer dissatisfaction and a special trip to resolve the problem. Every few weeks of visits to the machine, simply open the coin acceptor and using a compressed air can you may blow a burst of air into the coin paths to rid it of a variety of accumulated dust and dirt particles. Every six months or so clean the visible pathways with some denatured alcohol placed on a piece of cleaning cloth or paper towel in order to get some of the hard dirt which has attached itself to the inner works of the coin paths, some of which may have more solid flat surface areas than others.

The very same applies to Dollar Bill Acceptors and Debit/Credit Card Readers such as CoinCo, MEI,  Rowe, ICT, Pyramid, Currenza, Conlux, Hamilton, Jofemar and more.  Just simply blowing a burst of air into the insertion opening of the component will remove much of the dust and lint which has accumulated within a few days’ worth of business. You may also open any other part of the component which is easily accessible such as the bill stacker and blow a burst of air into those compartments as well. It will be easy to see the dust that comes out of the unit after just a few days of usage. If left unchecked, these particles of dust and lint accumulate on a variety of sensors and may result in a high rejection rate of bills or problems with the scanning/reading of Credit/Debit Cards. Every three to six months and/or depending on the volume of transactions the unit is processing, it will be critical to use the proper cleaning cards in the unit as directed.  You may use some of the most popular cleaning cards such as the JCM Waffletechnology Cleaning cards mostly used for dollar bill acceptors. Also popular is the Lucky Stripe Waffletechnology cleaning card and the Lucky Stripe Cleaning Card. The Waffletechnology Smart Card cleaning card is also excellent for the Credit/Debit card readers. All of the cleaning cards above have their own specific cleaning features and capabilities. For more information you may refer to the following link http://www.onlinevending.com/catindex/C115-48.html

For those machines that have refrigeration systems which come in a multitude of sizes, shapes,   makes and models all have some basic things in common. Keeping the condenser grill clean at all times will help extend the life of the compressor. Because the condenser fan is constantly pulling air flow in through the condenser, it pulls in with it dust and dirt in the air. Use a soft none wire bristle brush or standard plastic comb to comb out the lint which builds up in order to keep a good clean air flow. This will help keep the compressor from working overtime which will extend its life. One must also watch out for water backing up on the floor of the evaporator compartment. There is usually a hole at the lowest point in that floor and attached to it is a rubber or plastic tube which leads the water to a drain pan where it evaporates. Some of these drain pans may even have a heating element in them to help with the evaporation process. Sometimes the hole gets clogged up from rust, flaking paint, alga and product spills and perhaps even foreign objects such as a piece of plastic from a package. When water begins to accumulate in the evaporator section with no place to drain, the water will find its way out through some other path and usually ends up on the floor under and around the vending machine.

The evaporator is an area which should be checked periodically to insure that it does not get to that point. Once you detect that water is accumulating and not draining, take action and get the drain hole and tube unclogged. Sometimes if water is left to accumulate in that area, it may actually freeze  which in turn may damage the evaporator fans and even bring them to a standstill, this in turn will  make the inside of the machine warm leaving the products warm and even resulting in bad food or  melted Ice-cream depending on the type of machine.

Coffee Vending Machines is one of those machines which require maintenance and sanitizing at every service. It is really important to take the time to make sure that the mixing bowls are flushed and rinsed at each service. Most coffee machines have a flush feature as well as service water hoses with sprayer heads which operate with a handle type valve. This helps the service personnel to clean and rinse various parts in the machine including the excess water and spill bucket. The spill bucket should be emptied and rinsed thoroughly at each service. If the machine is a fresh brew type vendor, then the grounds bucket should be emptied before it fills to the top and jams the brew unit.
The brew unit should be washed and cleaned regularly. Some machine brew units are easier to wash and maintain than others. Another area which needs constant care is the cup station. This area gets  quite a bit of splashing and spilling of a variety of hot beverages and must therefore be cleaned  inside and out at every service.

Whatever the vending machine happens to be that you may purchase, always read the service manual to see what type of maintenance and care it should receive, or, contact you distributor or the manufacturer for more information on what type of maintenance is required. Maintenance pays off in more ways than one and actually adds $$$ to the bottom line.