Career and Job Highlights
Coin, Vending and Amusement Machine Repair Career Overviews
One may have noticed that coin, vending, and amusement machines are everywhere, including businesses, arcades, casinos, and even convenience shops. These machines, triggered by coins typically, provide a variety of services, including food and drinks, entertainment, and lottery tickets. Servicers take care of these machines, taking of necessary installations and repairs, as well stocking them.
Servicers of vending machines, known as router drivers, care for and stock the machines on their router with food, snacks, and drinks. They also gather the money from the machines, replace item labels as necessary, and ensure that the vending machine is always well stocked. It is their job to maintain the cleanliness and attractive nature of these machines.
Repairers of vending machines, otherwise known as technicians or mechanics, keep the machine functioning. When dealing with more complex machines that incorporate electrical and electronic components, repairers must ensure the devices are mixing the drink correctly or that the substance is being heated or cooled as needed. When problems are present repairers fix them. On less complex machines which rely on the law of gravity, repairers make sure parts like the motor and keypad are operating correctly. Repairers might also ensure that money insertion components are working correctly.
During installation, workers must see to it that water and electricity are connected properly and that the machine distributes product as desired. It is also their responsibility to ensure that that everything is installed in tune with the local plumbing and electrical regulations. Since most vending machines contain food or drink, vending machine repairers, installers, and services must follow all state and local health and sanitation guidelines.
Arcade games like pinball machines, video games, as well jukeboxes and slot machines are serviced by amusement machine servicers and repairers. They ensure that all parts are functioning properly, including buttons, levers, and joysticks, so as to make sure games are played fairly and jukeboxes make the correct selection. Technicians might replace or fix old and worn parts, keep selections up to date, or even work on rebuilding the machine. Workers who deal with lottery ticket dispensers or slot machines must comply with federal and state regulations regarding the gaming industry.
One of the biggest jobs is to preventing any malfunctions. For instance, from time to time refrigeration condensers must be cleaned, mechanical parts have to be lubricated, and machines must be adjusted so that run as desired.
When a machine malfunctions repairers will check for conspicuous problems like disconnected wires, problems with the coin/bill acceptor, or leaks in the system. Repairers rely on the help of hand held devices that can be used to analyze and identify any problems. Sometimes the problem is as simple as putting a new circuit board. If a malfunction can’t be identified easily, a repairer must then rely on tech manuals and diagrams of the wires, as well as testing equipment like circuit testers to find bad components. Typically a repairer will determine if a certain malfunctioning component can be repaired immediately or is should be taken back to the service shop.
Larger and more complicated tools like grinding wheels, saws, drills, voltmeters, ohmmeters, oscilloscopes, etc. will be used by repairers back at the shop. Hand tools like screwdrivers, pliers, and wrenches are also utilized.
Smaller businesses may use the same person to service and stock vending machines. These combo workers fill the machines, gather money, and make repairs when needed.
Traditionally workers have also done a little bit of paperwork related to reports for machines, cost estimates for repairs, parts that need to be ordered, and a daily tracking of inventory sold and the amount of currency collected. Now, many newer machines use computers to track inventory which has helped to limit the paperwork done by a servicer.
Career Training and Qualifications
Normally one can learn this job through work experience. Beginners receive hands on experience by working under the direction of experienced employees as they stock and repair machines. Most companies look to bring on applicants with a high school diploma. It also helpful it one has taken high school or vocational school courses in electricity, refrigeration, and machine repair. Normally employers administer tests to applicants to determine who has the necessary mechanical skills.
Honesty is a necessity since workers can handle hundreds or thousands of dollars in the form of inventory or as cash collected from machines. Workers also must be able to interact with customers professionally and politely, as they are provide the link between the customers and their wants and the vending machine company. As most servicers or repairers have routes, a valid driver’s licenses and clean driving record are important. A few employers call servicers that are bonded.
Vending and amusement machines are increasing in technological advancements and improvements, and thus employers now more than ever look for those with some electronic training. Some of the newest and most advanced vending machines utilize options like multilevel pricing, inventory control, and scrolling messages which require the use of electronics and microchip computer. Some schools, be it vocational high schools or junior colleges, provide one or two year programs catered to teaching basic electronics.
Entry level employees begin with mundane tasks like cleaning and filling machines. Eventually they advance to learning how machines work working on machines with broken parts, installing new components, and making adjustments to machines. The next step is work with a more experienced employee as they go out on service calls and then ultimately the worker is allowed to make visits on his own. This can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years and it all depends on skilled the worker is, how much prior training one has had, and what sort of machines are being worked on.
There is an independent study program offered to repairers by the National Automatic Merchandising Association. One can be educated in various fields, including safety, electronics, customer relations, and reading schematics. After the program is finished, a written exam must be taken to achieve certification as a tech or journeyman.
Often times manufacturers and distributors will sponsor short training programs, lasting anywhere from a day or two to a few weeks, to educated technicians on new products. All workers, experienced or not, frequently take classes that teach the principles of electricity, electronics, microwave ovens, refrigeration etc. so that they can keep up with new methods and appliances. Especially skillful workers may become supervisors or start their own company.
Job and Employment Opportunities for Coin, Vending and Amusement Machine Repairers
Work for servicers and repairers of coin, vending, and amusement machine is projected to increase on pace with the average for all jobs through 2012, thanks in part to the growth in use of these types of machines. Positions will become available from growth in the industry, retirements, and those who voluntarily leave the industry.
More and more vending machines are expected to be installed in factories, hospitals, schools, and stores to keep up with publics’ demand for cheap fast snacks. There is a growing demand for the installation of vending machines in businesses with only a few employees as well. The variety of goods distributed by these machines is projected to grow as well as improvements in machines will include microwaves, small refrigerators, and freezers. Additionally, amusement centers, arcades, and casinos are growing in popularity as forms of entertainment. Also more and more state lotteries are utilized coin-operated devices to dispense scratch tickets in supermarkets and various public locations.
Those with a basic understanding of electronics will have the good chances for jobs since electronics is becoming a vital part of these machines. If there are no qualified workers to fill these jobs, companies will begin to train their own route drivers or bring on applicants with little or no experience who possess some mechanical and electrical ability thanks to course taught in their high school or vocational schools.
Increases in employment will be tempered by new and improved machines which are designed to require less attention than older models. Newer models will not require constant stocking and repairs, and their computers will track sales and inventory data, thereby lessoning the time spent on paperwork. Advances in technology also have allowed the role of the internet increase, as it can be use to track the vending machines remotely. Other companies take advantage of wireless communication devices which allow them to transmit data from machines to the company when a problem persists or restocking is required. This lets companies send servicers or repairs on visits only when necessary.
Historical Earnings Information
In 2002, the average wage for industrial machinery mechanics was $18.26. The middle 50 percent made anywhere from $14.62 to $22.95. The bottom 10 percent made below $11.91, and the top 10 percent earned more than $27.48.
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