Touch-Screen Maker Zytronic Wins PharmaShop24 Tough-Screen Contract

Newcastle-based Zytronic is to supply rugged 55inch custom touch screens to Italian vending machine maker PharmaShop24. These are huge machines, that vend 255 over-the-counter medicines from what amounts to a small robot-automated warehouse.

That was then… Pharma Shop’s look prior to the arrival of Zytronic screens

To fit more product into a fixed space, PharmaShop realised that the traditional vending mechanism, where customers view products directly, was no longer appropriate. Instead, it added a thin display to the front of the machine to free up space inside. Making this a touch screen allowed the company to offer users a more intuitive interface, with swipe and touch replacing traditional letters buttons and numbers buttons.

PharmaShop had already tried this with a 120 item unit, which only needed a 21.5inch screen to display the wares inside. This time it needed a much larger screen. The question was: could such a large touch screen be as vandal-resistant as the thick toughened glass that fronts standard vending machines?

PharmaShop called in display firm Camax, and Camex specialist Patrice Romano recommended a customised version of the Zytronic ZyBrid 55inch projected capacitive touch sensor built on 6mm thermally toughened anti-glare glass.

And the rest is history.

The 55 inch screen has 128 way touch and responds to simple gesture controls such as swipes. Its controller is also from Zytronic: a single-touch ZXY100 which will work through glass up to 22mm thick. It uses a custom asic to implement analogue multiplexing of the touch channels, plus a 32bit Arm processor running proprietary firmware. Drivers are available for operating systems including Linux and Windows 7, 8 or 10.

Taking further advantage of having a  Zytronic screen, PharmaShop offer an option that allows remote pharmacist consultations to be set-up through the vending machine. A further option is virtual ‘lockers’ for prescription drugs that only allow vending after a security code is touched in.

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The Editor

Planet Vending’s Editor is Ian Reynolds-Young and it’s Ian’s unique writing talent that has made PV what it is today – the best read (red) vending blog in the world, and vending’s best read (reed). Ian ‘tripped and fell into vending’, in the capacity of PR executive, before launching a specialist agency, ‘reynoldscopy’, dedicated to the UK Vending business. The company continues to represent the interests of many of the sector’s leading brands.

‘It’s all about telling stories’, he says. ‘We want to make every visit to PV a rewarding experience. By celebrating the achievements of the UK’s operating companies, we’re on a mission to debunk the idea that vending is retailing’s poor relation.’

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