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Issue Date: Vol. 44, No. 12, December 2004, Posted On: 12/15/2004


American Changer Introduces Battery-Operated Change Machine: $299


Nick Montano
Nick@vendingtimes.net

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL - New from American Changer Corp. is the "AC300B" battery-operated dollar bill changer, an advance in change machine technology that the company expects to benefit both amusement and vending "street" locations. The new machine, which will begin shipping in January, will roll out with $299 price tag.

Powered by a 12-bolt rechargeable battery, the "AC300B" can support approximately 500 transactions that change $1 notes. The unit uses a tube-loaded vend mechanism, similar to the company's "AC300 Mini Changer," that can hold up to 320 quarters or tokens.

According American Changer's director of marketing, Michael Krippner, a fully charged battery should last approximately six weeks for 500 vends. "The machine functions using a combination of mechanical and battery-powered technology," he explained. "To preserve battery life, the dollar bill acceptor remains in 'sleep' mode until it senses a bill being inserted into the bill path. Once the bill is verified and accepted, it fires a solenoid that pushes out the vending button.  The customer then pushes the button back in to complete manually the vend cycle. The bill acceptor then goes back into 'sleep' mode awaiting the next transaction."

The battery-operated model employs some of the common components and features found on all of American Changer's bill changers. The bill passes through an acceptance and verification process and when validated the CPU authorizes the vend cycle. Unique to the "AC300B," however, is a proprietary bill acceptor that American Changer designed specifically for battery-operated applications. The unit measures approximately 21 ins. high x 7 ins. wide x 11 ins. deep and weighs about 21 lbs. The cabinet is constructed of galvanized steel finished with rough textured-black powder coat paint.

American Changer unveiled the new battery-operated system during this year's Amusement and Music Operators Association International Expo in Las Vegas and National Automatic Merchandising Association National Expo in Chicago. "The machine was met with great enthusiasm at both shows from those who see an immediate application within their business," Krippner reported. "Those who didn't believe they had a need for it were still impressed with its quality, price point and the novel idea of being able to make change without the need for an electrical outlet."

During a research and development period of more than two years, American Changer's engineers confronted several challenges in creating a location-dependable battery-operated change machine. The first was to achieve a satisfactory battery life, and it involved testing many types and designs. Note acceptance and validation for battery-operated functions posed another challenge.

"We had to combine a high acceptance ratio with a design that wouldn't draw too much power, thus putting too much strain on the battery," Krippner told VT. "And, of course, the biggest challenge was to bring this to market at an affordable price point that would allow it to be placed in a wide range of locations.  We think we have succeeded and this is why we at American Changer Corp. say, 'we're changing the industry!'"

The changer manufacturer expects the "AC300B" will be widely embraced by operators in all types of coin machine markets. In the bulk vending sector, Krippner pointed out, the new machine can be a powerful catalyst of the new $1 merchandise initiatives with which some operators are experimenting.

"Selling prices above 50 have always been difficult to achieve for this market segment," he noted, "but now operators can realize prices of $1 and even higher. The 'AC300B' can help revolutionize this market." Krippner reported that several bulk vending machine manufacturers have already expressed interest in adding the changer unit in their machine racks and display systems.

A kiddie ride operation is another application cited by the American Changer executive. "Usually any available electricity is used by the rides, with nothing left to power a bill changer," he observed. "In the amusements industry, consider how many older jukeboxes, pool tables, pinball machines, video games and crane machines are out there on locations without bill validators, and consider how a reliable change-making resource can improve their cashbox receipts."

And what about older vending equipment? Kripper believes there are many vending locations where snack, food and beverage equipment is operating without bill acceptance capabilities and the support of bill changers. "We also have some OCS operators waiting for this machine," he said, "as they see the potential to grow their business and their profits from their current customer base just by making change available.

"And a changer could now be installed that would only take up the space of one payphone," he continued. "There are newspaper boxes throughout the airport, but patrons need the correct change to purchase a paper. These mechanical machines are usually never placed near an electrical outlet."

In short, the "AC300B's" battery-powered versatility with its $299 price tag will change the way operators view the role of change machines, Krippner underscored, especially in those locations that were once believed not to merit changers. "Now change can be provided with a nominal investment, without the constraints of needing power in a specific location or having to run power cords across undesirable areas," he said. "We believe most of those who purchase this bill changer will realize a significant increase in their business'and they may begin using our different changer models throughout their business."

American Changer was founded in the late 1980s by Harry Steinbok, a vending equipment refurbisher who saw a need for service and repair improvements for different changer models. Non-interchangeable validators and parts required enormous inventory and created costly service delays when sending machines to manufacturers for repairs. Steinbok launched American Changer to manufacture bill changers that would support any nationally recognized bill validator and other components. The "AC1001" was the first changer to use this design concept, and remains the one of the company's most popular models to date. In 1992, Steinbok partnered with Jerry Vaughn, who brought an extensive background in marketing and sales management from Coca-Cola and American Thermoplastic Extrusion Corp. American Changer later partnered with Coinco, headquartered in St. Louis, which specializes in bill validation only, and Coin Controls, a manufacturer of "universal" coin hoppers. Today, the company markets more than 30 models of bill and currency dispensers, paystations and phone card venders for the vending, amusements and other industries, including laundry, car wash, gaming and transit.

American Changer Corp. is based at 1400 N. W. 65th Place, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309. Information on its products, including the new "AC300B," can be had by calling the company at (800) 741-9840 or (954) 917-3009. Corporate and product information also is available online at americanchanger.com.


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