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Fanless Arm-based Box PC for Intelligent Vending Machines

Date: 7/6/2018 12:00:00 AM

Introduction

With the increase in rent and labor costs, there’s an increasing demand for vending machines. A recent Research and Markets report predicts that the global intelligent vending machines market is expected to reach US$ 11.84 billion by 2025. This includes intelligent/ connected vending machines that feature real-time inventory tracking, touchscreen capabilities, and cashless transactions.

Customer Challenges

One vending machine system integrator in China asked for a low power consumption PC controller with multi USB and UART ports for connecting to various kinds of peripherals, and wireless Internet access in order to reduce the cost of intelligent vending machine installation.

Advantech Solutions

Advantech provided an ARM-based EPC-R6410 embedded box PC that used an NXP ARM Cortex-A9 i.MX6 Dual/Quad core processer with VGA+HDMI 1080p dual display and dual audio output. Supporting WIFI/BT and 3G/4G wireless connection via internal M.2 and Mini-PCIe interface, the vending machine connected to the Internet for e-Payments, remote control, administration and management, recovery and updates. EPC-R6410’s industrial quality and ultra-low power consumption design ensures it works stably under 24/7 operation and provides plentiful I/O such as 6 x USB, 5 x UART, and 8 x GPIO, making the system highly expandable and future proof.

S/W customization & longevity Android upgrade support

Advantech not only provided specialized HW solutions, but also provided excellent software services. We helped the customer develop many customized features for their vending machines such as boot screens, timing switch, screen rotation functions and more. We also offered Android OS 4.2.2 with longevity support, with the option for the customer to upgrade to the latest version Android in the future.

WiFi and 4G module integration

For connectivity, the vending machine needed WiFi and 4G to access the Internet reliably. However, it took more effort to find drivers for the wireless modules. To solve this problem, we integrated an IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless LAN and Bluetooth combo module, and a FDD-LTE\TDD-LTE\WCDMA\GSMA network module with a mini-PCIE interface. Both WiFi and 4G modules are integrated with antennas, RF cables, and an antenna base on EPC-R6410, so the customer could choose wireless connectivity as necessary.

WISE-PaaS/RMM remote management integration 

To fulfill the requirements of remote management, we suggested the customer integrates our Advantech WISE-Paas/RMM cloud service. With WISE-PaaS/RMM, the customer could easily monitor each vending machine’s status and remotely control and diagnose each device independently or collectively.