CHICAGO — On display at the upcoming National Automatic Merchandising Association's OneShow will be an indoor-outdoor automated convenience store from B+ Equipment (Gémenos, France). The machine can accommodate up to 800 items, and allows patrons to select several items for purchase in a single transaction.
B+ Equipment, which specializes in automated packaging and picking machines, applied this expertise to the design of a large vending machine that can address the unattended retail sales needs of a variety of market segments, from snacks and fresh food through consumer electronics and office supplies to health and wellness items.
The 24RoboMart features a display case for products, and a touchscreen user interface that processes item selection and payment and issues a receipt. Products are selected by browsing the images or typing the product name on the touchscreen. An order may be changed at any time during the process; only when the selection is completed is the patron prompted to pay.
The payment system supports banknotes and coins as well as cashless media; the point-of-sale system can be integrated with a customer loyalty program card.
After payment has been made, the products are collected in a "basket" that moves through the product shelves behind the display case, under computer control, and completes its excursion in less than 30 seconds. The order is then transported to the delivery station, with all items upright, for retrieval by the customer. The machine includes a provision for allowing the patron to request a paper bag with the order.
The machine can operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week; the manufacturer points out that this makes it well-suited to public locations like gas stations and malls, railroad stations and airports, hospitals -- or even as a standalone amenity in town squares. It is equipped with a Safety Analysis System for security, including anti-theft and anti-intrusion devices.
Offering modular configuration for ready adaptation to the specific needs of the location, 24RoboMart offers high capacity in a small footprint. The control system keeps track of all the items in inventory, and products approaching their expiration are automatically removed. The machine can be restocked rapidly, even while it's in operation. Sales and inventory reports can be monitored remotely; information and fault alarms are transmitted by e-mail, SMS (short messaging service) or telephone.
B+ Equipment develops automated industrial solutions for logistics and distribution, including robotics for bulk picking and automated packaging for order fulfillment. The new 24RoboMart will be shown in action through video presentations in booth 1951 at the NAMA OneShow in Chicago, April 28-30. The company is seeking U.S. partners. Go to YouTube to watch the machine in action.