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A cup of coffee to wake tired eyes, a snack after a deadline, or a cool drink on the go – vending machines provide convenient access to energising snacks, around the clock. From schools and hospitals, to office buildings and public places, these machines have become a handy presence in our daily lives, growing more and more popular thanks to their convenience and accessibility.

Due to their low maintenance, vending machines have gained significant popularity in recent years, particularly in office spaces. They’re easy to install, operate and refill making them ideal for busy workspaces and replacing traditional canteens with innovative micro markets. Their wide variety of healthy snack options can also contribute to your employees’ overall well-being by promoting healthy eating habits and energy levels, all while increasing productivity levels.

In this blog, we will explore the components of vending machines, how to use one, and how they work so you can understand why more and more businesses are investing in vending machines as a smart business move.

What components make a vending machine work?

Vending machines are complex machines that are made up of several key components that make it possible for them to dispense a wide variety of snacks and drinks, to electronics and stationery – depending on the industry they are used in.



First up is the keypad to indicate which snack you want from the machine. Once the selection is registered, the computer is notified of which product to select.


Payment System

Next up is the payment system, responsible for accepting different types of payments including cash, credit cards, and digital payments. With contactless vending machines becoming more popular, you no longer have to worry about carrying change around to get a snack. The RFID chip in your contactless card simply communicates with the contactless receiver on the machine, waits for validation of acceptance before vending the product, and charging the correct payment to the card.



Once your product has been selected and the payment has been taken it’s up to the refrigeration unit that’s been keeping the snacks or drinks fresh and at the right temperature, to take action. Typically vending machines use coils to hold the products in place, controlled by electric motors that are activated once your payment has been approved to drop the product into the tray.



You’ve almost got your snack! Last up is the tray which is considered as the most complex piece of equipment in the vending machine. With a line of infrared beams at the bottom, the machine will innovatively detect whether or not your chosen product has been dropped from its shelf into the tray. Once the product falls through the beam the machine is aware of a successfully vended transaction. However, if payment has been taken and the beams have not been broken through, the machine knows that the product is still stuck on the shelf so will spin the coils again.


Together, these components work seamlessly to ensure that the vending machine operates smoothly and efficiently, providing customers with quick and convenient access to a wide range of snacks and beverages. Take a look at the components that make up our Merchant Combo Media2 cashless vending machine that dispenses snacks and drinks while benefiting the environment with its energy-saving features.

How a vending machine works

Example: How do credit card coffee vending machines work?

Let’s take a look at credit card coffee vending machines as an example of how they work. Credit card coffee vending machines are designed to accept credit card payments and dispense freshly brewed coffee. To use a credit card coffee vending machine, customers simply tap or insert their credit card on the payment validator and select the type and size of coffee that they want. The machine will then grind and brew the coffee on demand according to the selected settings and dispense it into a cup. Some coffee vending machines may offer a range of customisable options from dual milk to cater to different dietary requirements, to the strength of the coffee itself.

Temperature control is an important factor in brewing the perfect coffee for drinking. Therefore, these machines need to be regularly serviced and cleaned to avoid potential contamination and allergen information should be clearly displayed so that customers with allergies can make informed and safe decisions.

Once the transaction is complete the customer can enjoy their energy boost with a fresh cup of coffee. Credit card coffee vending machines are the perfect addition to any workplace that wants high-quality coffee without the hassle of having to go to a traditional coffee shop.

How to use a vending machine: maintenance & servicing

With so many different types of vending machines out there, each used for a different purpose and sector, there are multiple processes and maintenance procedures for each. Have a read of our latest blog to find out which vending machine would meet your workplace’s needs.

Overall,  vending machines is crucial. Not only will it ensure that they are at their optimal performance, but it will provide a positive experience for customers. Regular cleaning and maintenance will help to prevent malfunctions, reduce the risk of contamination, and extend the lifespan of the machine. Servicing should include regular checks and replacements of the parts that may be prone to wear and tear, such as the payment terminal, coils, and refrigeration system. Investing in regular maintenance and servicing means a business can ensure its machines are always in good condition to continue to meet the needs of its customers in a safe and effective manner.

Here at Vending Sense, we offer a fully managed service for our vending machines, meaning that we will stock, clean and maintain your machines throughout the entire rental agreement. So you can just sit back and relax knowing that your machines are in good hands.

Now that you have a better understanding of how vending machines work, we know that choosing the right vending machine for your business can be tricky. That’s where talking to a member of our vending solutions team can help.

Not only will we help you choose the right machine for your business, but we will keep it stocked, serviced, and maintained so you can enjoy fast and reliable access to your favourite snacks and drinks.

Simply get in touch with our team to find your perfect machine.