‘Low-energy’ vending machine innovation by Coca-Cola Co Japan
A partnership in using “peak shift vending machines” has been announced in Japan by Coca-Cola Co Japan and Fuji Electric. The new machines will reduce daytime power consumption by 95 per cent by shifting power use from peak-demand periods.
The initiative has been instigated by concerns in the aftermath of power shortages experienced after the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster following the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
The innovative new machines shift the use of power from peak-demand time in the day to night time, when less strain is placed on the power supply. The time required to cool products filled at room temperature has been reduced by approximately 25 per cent according to Coca-Cola Co Japan, compared to conventional vending machines, making it possible to cool products.
The so-called “peak shift vending machines” have been jointly developed by Coca-Cola Japan and Fuji Electric. They were tested over the winter of 2012 which verified that if cooling was conducted at night, when there is relatively little power consumption, and turned off during the day, then cold products could be sold for a maximum of 16 hours. The new vending machines also reduce power consumption in winter by 20 per cent and are estimated by Coca-Cola Co Japan to reduce overall power consumption by 68 per cent.
It is predicted that for the first year of peak shift vending machines’ introduction from January 2013, more than 10 billion yen in related savings will be made from the 25,000 machines to be installed in Japan. Other countries are expected to follow suit.
Executive Vice President, General Manager, Franchise Operations & Commercial Leadership, Tim Brett said that after the earthquake in Japan last year, there was an immediate need to reduce energy consumption.
Koji Sugimoto, General Manager of the Food & Beverage Distribution Business Group, Engineering Department at Mie Factory from Fuji Electric Company said that the company had to change the overview of cooling in general, by cooling at night and not allowing the air to escape in the day.
“This was realized with improvements to thermal insulation and airtightness. The use of large amounts of vacuum insulation materials, which boast 10 times greater thermal insulation performance than conventional urethane materials, successfully resulted in the cooled products themselves maintaining the cool air environment within the machines,” Mr Brett said.
Coca-Cola Co vending machines were first introduced to Japan fifty years ago. Since then, many machines have incorporated the image of the Coca-Cola polar bear on the side. Coca-Cola Co Japan is bringing back the polar bear image for the new vending machines to “remind consumers that peak shift vending machines are also being friendly to the environment.”