A refrigerator from which employees can take drinks without being constantly monitored and still pay securely – a possibility that the market does not provide. Not yet. The Degree Programmes in Automation Technology at CAMPUS 02 has come one step closer.
Limonade Brantl GmbH has been successful in the beverage market for more than a hundred years. An important part of the business is the sale of dispensing systems and the support of drinks machines. For many office and club premises, however, a commercially available drinks machine is too expensive and not profitable. Providing the drinks in a classic refrigerator is difficult due to the confusion of removal, filling and billing.
The company approached the project team with this problem. The aim was to develop an extension module that can be easily mounted on standard refrigerators. In this way, removal of the drinks could be registered automatically on a personal basis. The project was funded by an innovation check and evaluated the possibilities of such a technical expansion. The removal detection was successfully implemented after a few tests with a load cell which measures the weight before and after unlocking the refrigerator and uses the difference to recognize which (PET or glass bottle) and how many bottles have been removed. In order to assign this data to the correct person, the door can only be opened after registration with a chip card. This process takes place with a project-specific software, which also supports the customer with the initial registration.
The electronics required for identification, for controlling the locking system and for reading out the weighing cell were assembled in a space saving way and packed in a housing that was manufactured using 3D printing. The mechanical components were installed on the refrigerator and individual optimisations were carried out. Finally, the function of the refrigerator extension module was tested and first field tests were carried out at CAMPUS 02.
The company used the prototype as basis for a new business model. In the meantime, the first small series has already been commissioned and manufactured by the Degree Programmes in Automation Technology. An important step in the company’s development and the chance for a real innovation on the market – a successful project for everyone involved.
For more information, please contact Matthias Primas, Research Assistant at the Degree Programmes Automation Technology at CAMPUS 02, University of Applied Sciences
Brantl Refrigerator- extension module