CARY, NC (July 2007) — New Concept Vending has developed a coin mechanism engineered to deter theft. It is designed to replace the common molded-plastic rotary mechs widely used on countertop mechanical vending machines typically sold through business-opportunity channels. The mechanism was developed by company founder Richard A. Santilli Jr., who was operating a number of these machines. He discovered that many potentially lucrative accounts for equipment of this type are frequented by patrons who, increasingly, know a simple method for defeating the factory coin mechs.
“We originally purchased eight new machines, and then expanded to 16 through the purchase of some lightly used machines,” Santilli told VT. “We found what we thought were great accounts at the local airport, open 24 hours, seven days a week, with ‘captive’ employees.” One such account required several machines to accommodate the volume.
“Within a week, these accounts went from great to miserable; we were getting robbed daily and did not know how,” he reported. “We were forced to move the machines home, and begin the search for new locations.”
Those new accounts turned out to be automobile repair shops and towing services. “The same thing happened here – good accounts for a while, then suddenly we were being robbed again,” Santilli explained. “Then we had our breakthrough: a manager at one site saw a delivery-truck person demonstrating to the employees how to empty the machine without money, using a paper clip. The owner demonstrated the technique to me, and I immediately began thinking of how to save this business (that’s the engineer in me).”
Santilli also recognized that he was not the only one encountering this problem. “I realized that there were millions of these devices in use, and that word of mouth from random sources was killing my business,” he emphasized. “It would not be long before lots more people knew of this technique, rendering my machines worthless.”
After familiarizing himself with the paperclip method, he conceived a mechanism that would defeat it. “I worked with a local mechanical engineering company to come up with a backward-compatible design – it had to fit onto existing machines and work exactly as the original,” he reported. “It took about a year and several thousand dollars to come up with an acceptable design.”
The finished product requires some modification to existing parts, and an additional part. It has been granted U.S. Patent 6,964,328, and is described in the patent application. A link to that description is online at newconceptvending.biz.
Santilli determined to patent the coin mechanism, and found that this is not as straightforward a process as some might think. A do-it-yourself book persuaded him that he could not do it himself. “I contacted a local patent attorney, and it was obvious that having them do the patent was financially unreasonable,” he recalled. “The middle ground was the patent attorney directing me in the requirements, with me doing all of the typing.”
He finally received practical and effective advice from The Eclipse Group LLP, an intellectual property law firm with offices in Durham, NC. “I must really commend the attorney at the Eclipse Group,” Santilli said. “I was a small account for them, yet I received excellent guidance and help whenever required.”
Information on the availability and pricing of the New Concept rotary coin mechanism may be had by emailing Santilli at firstname.lastname@example.org.