StoriesFuji Electric DNA
Episode4. Expo '70 in Osaka: Supported by Vending Machines
It's no exaggeration to say that the two major events of the post-war Showa era were the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and Expo '70 held in Osaka. At Expo '70, the participants included 76 countries from overseas and 32 groups from inside Japan. On the roughly 330-ha site in the Senri Hills of Osaka Prefecture, 116 pavilions featured the very best of science, and there were 2880 events and performances at the various plazas and venues. The Expo also introduced innovations like moving walkways, linear motor cars, electric cars, and cordless phones, and amazed many people. Vending machines made by Fuji Electric were installed to serve beverages to visitors alongside these cutting-edge systems and services.
Fuji Electric first began full-scale development of food vending machines in 1969. Prior to that, we only produced vending machines for milk, but in anticipation of an era focused on labor-saving, we formed a technical tie-up with the Seeburg Corporation, the largest vending machine manufacturer in the U.S. Paper cup vending machines were the result of this collaboration, and 230 of these machines were installed at the various Expo venues to quench the thirst of visitors from countries all over the world. More than 64.2 million people visited the Expo during its roughly six-month run. That averages out to about 350,000 people a day. Even though vending machines were placed in inconspicuous locations like the shadows of buildings or along the walls of kiosks, each machine sold more than 500 cups a day, with some even reaching 800 cups a day. These would be incredible figures if the machines had been installed in an ordinary town. Incidentally, it is said that most people first learned about vending machines, and how to use them, at this time.
Despite the severe conditions—including dust, and the high heat and humidity of summer—vending machines offered consistent hospitality to visitors without taking a break. Their contribution was so great that we received a letter of appreciation from the Expo Association. Aside from the exceptional performance of the vending machines, we cannot forget the service personnel who kept the machines running in top condition. There were only about a dozen of these staff, and they worked day and night to conduct machine maintenance, inspection, and adjustment over the large event site. The Expo Association expressed its appreciation not only for the quality of the vending machines, but also for these service personnel.
The excellence of vending machines is due in large part to the technical skills and enthusiasm of the people who provide support. This idea has been passed down to the present time, and we are continually evolving by fusing integrating cutting-edge technology with human skill, in areas such as maintenance 365 days a year using mobile networks.