OEM Experts Offer Machine Maintenance Tips

David MelvinToday’s vending machines are more versatile than ever. But to get the most benefit and minimize service costs, operators and service techs need to conduct proper maintenance. Equipment manufacturer experts offered tips on this important subject during the Atlantic Coast Expo in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The presentation was part of the ACE Training School, sponsored by Southeastern Vending Services.

Luis Zinola, regional technical sales manager at U-Select-It International, discussed the maintenance of the Alpine Combi frozen machine, which has the same control board as the company’s ambient and refrigerated machines.

The service tech can review the machine’s temperature for the last 7-day period in the machine’s temperature log, Zinola said. Should the machine lose power, the tech will know if the power loss was caused by a machine malfunction. The machine’s event log will give the time and date that the machine lost power.

Oftentimes, locations shut off the power. Zinola said it is possible someone at the location unplugged the power cord to recharge their phone.

“It stinks to lose your product, but at least you know why it happened,” he said.

The event log will also reveal every time the machine door opens and closes.

If ice appears on the machine, moisture is getting inside, he said, which needs to be corrected. “You’ve got to find where the air leak is,” he said.

The tech can also program the machine not to vend a selection should the temperature exceed a health safety limit. “If it gets above your health safety temperature, it’ll stake out that one item,” Zinola said.

The tech can also test vend each selection to make sure all selections working. The compressor and the defrost heaters can also be checked.

Luiz Zinola

When replacing a condenser fan motor, it is important to use the proper unit.

“Keep the filters clean,” Zinola said. Otherwise, the motors will not function properly.

When installing the machine, it is important to leave four to six inches in the rear to be able to replace the back grill when necessary. “That’s the rule of thumb any piece of refrigerated equipment,” he said.

Zinola recommended using a wet rag to clean the evaporator coil and a small hand broom to clean the compressor.

The machine should be level at all times so that the door can open and close easily, he said. The six legs can be adjusted to ensure the unit is level.

David Melvin, southern region service manager at Crane Merchandising Systems, discussed the maintenance of the BevMax cup dispenser, the part of the machine that gets the most use. He took apart a rebuilt unit to demonstrate maintenance.

He recommended doing maintenance based on the amount of usage. For a high volume location, he recommended doing maintenance every three months.

“Inspect, clean and regrease,” Melvin said. “I think you would cut a lot of service calls.”

It is sometimes necessary to lubricate the metal parts to remove friction, he said. The company recommends using lithium grease both inside and outside the dispenser, but Melvin warned that the substance will turn to a peanut butter like texture in a cold temperature.

Wiring and harnessing around the motor should be avoided since it creates noise, he said.

When taking the dispenser apart, Melvin suggested taking pictures every step of the process so it is easy to remember how to reassemble it.

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