Smart Grid

November 26, 2012

Coke's New Peak-Shift Vending Machines 'Chill Out' at Night

Coke’s New Peak-Shift Vending Machines ‘Chill Out’ at Night

It has been 50 years since Coca-Cola (Japan) Co., Ltd., based in Tokyo, first introduced vending machines to the market, but they are still coming up with cool ideas.

Next year, the beverage company will spend more than 10 billion yen (US$121 million) to install 25,000 innovative “peak shift vending machines” throughout the island nation—which, interesting enough, boasts the highest number of machine dispensers per capita, with about one for every 23 people.

The newly designed machines will "shift" the use of power for cooling from the general daytime "peak demand period"—during which electric utilities impose their highest rates—to nighttime, when less strain is placed on power supply.

In summer, these machines can provide cooled products for 16 hours, while reducing daytime power consumption by 95 percent. Power consumption also will be reduced during the winter, by 20 percent compared to legacy vending machines.

What’s more, the time required to cool products filled at room temperature has been reduced by approximately 25 percent, compared to conventional machines.

The polar bear character that has appeared in Coca-Cola brand promotions worldwide since 1922 has been incorporated into the design of the peak shift machines. Company marketers said, “In recent years, concerns have arisen regarding reduced numbers of polar bears caused by the progress in global warming. Therefore, while also reminding consumers that the products are chilled, polar bears transmit the image of these peak shift vending machines [as] friendly to the environment.”

Coke designed the breakthrough, eco-friendly vending machines in collaboration with Fuji Electric, also based in Tokyo, starting last May. Field testing was conducted over the two months from July through September 2012. The new machines also incorporate more effective insulation and are more air-tight than those used by competitors.

Tomoya Otani, director of Vending Strategy & Solution Development, Franchise Operations & Commercial Leadership, explained, "The history of vending machines at Coca-Cola Japan is a history of revolutionary innovation. With the three features of being quiet during the daytime, being able to dispense cool products for a maximum of 16 hours even when the compressor has been switched off, and greatly reducing power consumption throughout the year, these peak shift vending machines are set to completely change how people think about vending machines. These revolutionary vending machines can be seen as creating new history."

Representative Director and President of Coca-Cola West Company, Limited, Tamio Yoshimatsu commented, "As a corporation in close contact with local communities and as Japan's largest bottling company, we have actively led the industry by implementing power conservation measures given the unstable power supply following last year's earthquake disaster. As environmental awareness and peoples' power conservation stance increase, we are proud to present these 'peak shift vending machines' as an answer to the needs of consumers."

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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli