The Have A Vend LED kit also comes with an optional speaker that plays prerecorded messages either from the location or an advertiser. The recording can be sold to a manufacturer to sell a specific product or an operator can highlight a healthy product selection, said Schultz. The recording can record messages from one to five minutes.
But probably the most important feature of the LED kit is the merchandising improvements: both environmental associations and product presentations.
One of the first questions locations ask is how much the machine will cost to operate. There are a few locations Have A Vend serves, such as nursing homes, which don’t have another light in the same room as the vending machine, in order to save money.
But the visual presentation is just as compelling. The LEDs bring out the color of the products, said Schultz. They are bolder, more easily seen and more dramatic. People also react positively to the smart sensor. People come up to the machine and it lights up. “They really like it,” he said.
Operators need to be aware that not all LEDs are the same quality. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is. They should purchase products with guarantees (see sidebar on page 22).
“This (LED) is a win-win for customers and vendors,” said Schultz, “It opens up so many ways for vendors to save money.” LED lighting is the new way to draw attention to products in order to sell more, promote the company as green, and save some money in the long term on servicing the bulbs. Many companies offer retrofit kits and the lighting is available on new machines.
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INSIDE A LIGHT-EMITTING DIODE
LEDs are semiconductors which produce a single wavelength of light/color from electricity passing through a contained chemical compound. Although first invented in the 1960s, the colors were limited. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the invention of the blue LED made it possible to create an LED that appears white to the naked eye.
The LED’s brightness, life span and amount
of heat given off are all related to the electricity it takes to produce the light. Some LEDs are hot, but don’t last very long. Other LEDs can last indefinitely, but without being very bright. Brent Garson of VEII has made a study of this new technology. He warns operators not to be swayed by the price of LEDs alone. Light is measured in lumens, said Garson. When an LED’s lumens decreases to 70 percent, the human eye will notice the light is dimmer. This is considered the LED’s lifespan. The LED lifespan is influenced by the amount of current and temperature (both the temperature of the LED and the environment). The more energy consumption and hotter an LED, the quicker it will fade. Operators should be certain to get a good balance that will last long enough to recoup the investment, Garson said.
- LEDs save money by lasting longer without problematic electrical spikes.
- LEDs use less electricity, a selling point to a location and a way to market the vending operation as environmentally friendly.
- LEDs highlight products inside the machine — raising sales.
FOR THE ENVIRONMENT:
CHOOSE LEDS, NOT FLUORESCENTS
“Fluorescent lights are super efficient — up to 80 percent more than incandescent bulbs — which is great for the environment, but they do have to be handled properly once they burn out,” said Alan J. Steinberg, regional administrator, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in a prepared statement. “Most people don’t realize that every time they toss a fluorescent bulb into the regular trash, they are releasing mercury into the environment. Though these bulbs only contain a very small amount of mercury, it can add up fast.”
The EPA finds LEDs to be a positive technology overall. The LEDs do not use mercury, eliminating the danger inherent in improperly disposed of fluorescent bulbs, which release mercury when broken. LEDs use less energy, reducing carbon emissions and last longer, reducing the amount of lighting related waste thrown away. Other environmental concerns may arise, but have not
yet been researched.