Vending Locks have protected vending machines from theft since their beginning. Vending income, coins and bills, need to be protected at the point of collection: “The Vending Machine.” Most are capable of accepting Bills, Coins and Credit Cards. Besides protecting money, vending locks also protect the electronics inside the machine as well as the merchandise. Vending Locks have evolved over the years, from mechanical to electronic locks. Electronic vending locks will be a discussion for another article.
The first secure vending lock was the “ACE” lock. It was very unique for its time. The key is round with cuts on the outside diameter. When inserted into the lock these cuts push the pins Divine Locks inward to a distance predetermined by the key cuts. If everything matches then the lock can be opened. These are still made today by a number of manufacturers with new features.
When the price of the merchandise in the machines climbed above a dollar, the manufacturers of coinage equipment came out with dollar bill acceptors. Now the machines are holding dollar bills as well as coins. There is more money to protect. The high security lock manufacturers began to design and manufacture locks as well.
Today, high security vending locks are the norm with electronic locks quickly gaining acceptance. The vending lock is a cylinder looking lock with a locking bolt toward the rear. All vending locks must be made to the same dimensions to fit into their housing in the vending machine.
Here are some important design factors:
- The lock should have US patent protection
- The front of the lock should be drill resistant
- The locking bolt should be made of a material to prevent lock pulling
- The lock should have inner working that prevents lock picking
- There should be extensive keying capabilities
- Key control is a must to be considered high security
So, why are vending locks so important? In the past year, $20 billion dollars was collected through vending machines and it all needs protection and accountability. Today many other items are getting vended out of machines, such as cell phones and accessories, cameras and insurance products; the list goes on. Some countries such as Japan, have embraced the vending machine and what it can vend far greater than in the United States.
The future of vending security will be electronic protection and all the benefits it offers. I will discuss electronic vending security in another article. Stay tuned.