Customer Success Stories

Streamlining In-house PCB Design with Sanden Vendo

According to engineer Yogesh Patel from Sanden Vendo, along with its reputation in the marketplace, Altium Designer had the unique combination of excellence in four key areas: quality, ease of use, price, and after-sales service.

Sanden Vendo America Inc. of Dallas, TX, has been designing, manufacturing and selling vending equipment for close to a century. The company designs, manufactures, and sells technically innovative products. Their expansive product line includes programmable electronic vending machines, high capacity machines that accommodate plastic bottles in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, and machines that accept debit cards and smart cards.

The first appearance of beverage vending machines dates back to the 1930s, when they were standard chest coolers with simple coin operated vending lids. Today’s vending machines are substantially more sophisticated, incorporating a variety of motor driven mechanisms, sensors and, perhaps most importantly, electronic control modules.

Sanden Vendo relied upon specialized vendors and contractors to design their machinery since their inception. To remain in a leading position, Sanden Vendo needed to move their electronic design process completely in house. They needed to find electronic design automation tools that would facilitate its innovative designs without introducing production delays or compromises in quality control. 

And so, the search was on for the best fit for the company’s needs.

With their new design software underway, Sanden Vendo’s engineers found Altium Designer to meet their expectations in all of the critical areas, without the need for technical support or additional training.

Dispensing with New User Concerns

Seeking an ideal software solution, Sanden Vendo evaluated several PCB software design packages, including Altium Designer.  As they were first-time users of electronic design software, Sanden Vendo’s requirements were particularly critical in the aspects of ease of use and customer support from the software vendor.

This issue was compounded by the decision to make the software available to Sanden Vendo’s engineering department staff, rather than introducing a dedicated PCB design specialist, so an intuitive, easy-to-use software package was imperative. Sanden Vendo found Altium Designer to be the clear winner amongst the evaluated packages, from all points of view.

According to engineer Yogesh Patel from Sanden Vendo, along with its reputation in the marketplace, Altium Designer had the unique combination of excellence in four key areas: quality, ease of use, price, and after-sales service.

Equipped with the latest version of Altium Designer, Sanden Vendo approached perhaps its most ambitious vending machine design, their Glass Front Vendor. Using Altium Designer, Sanden Vendo engineers were able to complete the design and produce it in about 18 months.

Getting Down to Business

With their new design software underway, Sanden Vendo’s engineers found Altium Designer to meet their expectations in all of the critical areas, without the need for technical support or additional training. 

Equipped with the latest version of Altium Designer, Sanden Vendo approached perhaps its most ambitious vending machine design, their Glass Front Vendor.

The Glass Front Vendor’s robotic product selection system and open display design helps it occupy a unique place in the market, as most machines in use today are based on decades- old technology and design. 

Based on four DC motors controlling its three-dimensional movement, the product delivery arm’s grabber hand can deal with any type and shape of product in any position in the machine. The fully programmable, microprocessor-controlled arm/hand system gently selects and delivers the product to the customer, unlike conventional machines that drop the product into the delivery tray – this avoids the undesirable effects of shaken soda bottles.

The machine’s complex electronics are contained in six circuit boards with the main 4-layer processor board controlling all aspects of the machine – future designs are likely to use an FPGA or ASIC solution, depending on sales volumes.
 

Using Altium Designer, Sanden Vendo engineers were able to complete the design and produce it in about 18 months. Following the successful release of the Glass Front Vendor, the engineering team began to use the tool for schematic layout and PCB design in all Sanden Vendo machines.