FUJI ELECTRIC JOURNAL Vol.85-No.5 (Sep/2012)

FUJI ELECTRIC JOURNAL Vol.85-No.5 (Sep/2012) Energy Saving Technology and New Functions for Vending Machines

Energy Saving Technology and New Functions for Vending Machines

Fuji Electric has engaged in automatic vending machine business to develop vending machines and food machines for contributing to society, with the intent to be a “street oasis creating company.” In the vending machine market, there is a great demand for power saving and energy conservation taking the occasion of the earthquake in the Tohoku region. Fuji Electric has already been engaged in efforts for energy saving, but in 2011, new technologies were initiated for developing highly energy efficient machines such as hybrid heat pump systems for can and bottle drink vending machines and heaterless paper drip extractors for cup-dispensing drink vending machines. Fuji is also pursuing ways to make the use of vending machines more comfortable and convenient, such as by deploying digital signage vending machines that have features not seen in conventional vending machines. This issue presents these energy-saving and new-function technologies for vending machine.
Energy Saving Technology and New Functions for Vending Machines: Current Status and Future Outlook
As for vending machines, various technological developments have been carried on for saving energy and protecting environment, with a focus on canned-drink vending machines which have been designated as special equipment under the Law Concerning the Rational Use of Energy (Energy Saving Law). Fuji Electric has conducted research in cooling and heating technologies for canned-drink vending machines and has developed a hybrid heat pump which is an ultimate energy-saving device. Through this and other technologies, such as heat insulation technology and peak-shifting technology, the annual energy consumption of canned-drink vending machines was reduced to less than 1/5 comparing 15 years ago. High energy efficiency has been achieved in cup-type vending machines through a heaterless paper drip system. Moreover, various approaches are being conducted in response to changes in society, such as designing and producing digital signage vending machines and sales promotion machines, with new features not previously seen.
Hybrid Heat Pump Beverage Vending Machines
In our pursuit of the ideal heat pump technology, which is the mainstream in energy-saving technology for beverage vending machines, we have developed the “hybrid heat pump beverage vending machine”, the ultimate energy-saving machine. Conventional heat pumps employed an internal heat-using system that only uses heat of the cooling compartment for the heating compartment. However, we have developed and installed a hybrid heat pump system that also uses external air heat and can switch between use of external heat and internal heat. We have also developed an inverter compressor that regulates the refrigerating capacity according to changes in the environment and a new electronic expansion valve that regulates the flow of refrigerant through each of the heat exchangers. Through optimal control of these functions, it is possible to greatly reduce power consumption throughout the year.
High Performance Heat Exchanger for Vending Machines
TSUCHIYA Toshiaki, KURA Kaoru
To reduce the environmental impact of vending machines, it is necessary to reduce their power consumption. In order to reduce power consumption, it is essential to improve the operating effi ciency of the cooling unit, so that we have developed a high-performance heat exchanger. To enhance the performance of the heat exchanger, we use louver fins and optimize the shape of the fins. For the pipe system, we use perforated pipes which have multiple tiny holes within the pipes, and we optimize their performance through analysis and experiment. From the results of experiments using our new heat exchanger in vending machines, we confirmed that annual power consumption can be reduced by 7%. Also, as the difference in electric potential speeds corrosion of connections between aluminum pipes and copper pipes, we implement intermediate materials in a new method of pipe connection to prevent corrosion.
Energy-Saving Technology for Cup-type Beverage Vending Machines
ERIKAWA Hajime, NAKAJIMA Norio, MAKINO Michihiko
We have developed component technologies of cup-type beverage vending machines, focusing on the system for preparing a regular coffee, with the intent of improving both energy efficiency and flavor. We have developed a heaterless paper drip extractor, and thereby manage to reduce the total amount of power consumption for the cup-type drink vending machine by 713 kWh per year, or 25%. In addition, by improving the sanitation of the extraction flow pass in combination with the improvement in energy efficiency, we can increase the quality of the coffee. Also, by halving the conveyance path for the ground coffee and reducing static electricity in the coffee mill, we achieve a 25% reduction in energy consumption per purchase, compared to conventional cup-type vending machines.
Use of Low-Global-Warming-Potential Refrigerant in Vending Machines
Amid efforts to build an environmentally friendly society, even greater emphasis has been placed on the environmental performance of vending machines. Fuji Electric has used HFO-1234yf, a refrigerant with low global warming potential (GWP), in its vending machines and assessed its performance and environmental impact in comparison to those of the HFC-134a refrigerant in current use. Converted annual power consumption was almost the same, with a 1% reduction for the vending machines using HFO-1234yf. As for environmental effects measured as total equivalent warming impact (TEWI) index, HFO-1234yf showed a massive 99% reduction in direct environmental impact. This clearly demonstrates that use of HFO-1234yf increases the environmental performance of vending machines.
Multi-Product-Capable Cold Drink Dispensers
ENDO Nobuyuki
Fuji Electric has developed cold drink dispensers capable of adapting to the needs of a variety of business types and conditions. To cater to diverse needs, we have developed a new type of nozzle capable of dispensing up to 6 types of beverage, enabling the sale of a variety of beverages from the industry’s most compact drink dispenser. The new type of nozzle employs Fiji Electric’s independently developed mid-air mixing system, whereby the syrup and diluting liquid are mixed in mid air for superior sanitation. Furthermore, the addition of a carbonated water nozzle cleaning function means that anyone can easily clean the nozzle routinely by the push of a button.
The General Food and Goods Vending Machine "FNX118NR"
We have developed the general-purpose type food and goods vending machine “FNX118NR” for the market of food and goods vending machines. In addition to advancing the energy efficiency of the machine, we have also expanded its product versatility. In order to achieve energy efficiency, we have combined quality engineering and flow simulation (FLUENT) to optimize the internal cooling capability of the vending machine, and thereby reducing 30% of consumption compared to conventional vending machines. Also, through structure simulation (I-deas), we have halved the size of the discharge gearbox and thus increase the number of product storage racks. Moreover, by enabling rack configuration setting, we can expand the versatility of the vending machine.
Digital Signage Vending Machine "JX34"
YOKOTA Yoshitake, MUTO Kenji, GOTO Tomohiro
In recent years, there has been a vigorous expansion in digital signage employing liquid crystal display and light-emitting diodes. Incorporating this technology, we have developed digital signage vending machines“ JX34” with unprecedented amenity and convenience. By allocating liquid crystal display with a touch-panel on the front face of vending machine which was used as a sample display case previously, we enable this area to be used not only for selection of products, but also for displaying advertising and product information. Through the installation of equipment such as a camera system, enabling distinguishing a user’s age group and sex, and network communication devices, we have achieved a level of communication with users never before possible for vending machines.
Sales Promotion Machines
In recent years, advertising using the digital media of the internet and mobile devices has become widespread, and digital signage has gained a lot of attention. Combining automatic vending machine technology and digital signage technology, we have developed a sales promotion machine that makes new forms of advertising and promotion possible. “Samplin”, which we developed in collaboration with Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. at the time of introduction to the market, is a permanent in-store fixture capable of interactive communication and can prompt consumers to visit stores by offering them advantageous opportunities.

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