Smart vending collaboration

09 Sep 2020

Engineering capacity news posted by Andy Sandford

PP Control & Automation is collaborating on a manufacturing project for smart industrial vending systems.

It has sealed a deal with Solihull-based Inventor-e that will extend its partnership to make the most of £multi-million global opportunities to supply SmartStores Secure cloud-based technological innovation to customers around the world.

The relationship has seen the two businesses collaborate to develop a secure industrial vending machine cabinet, specifically designed for unmanned/remote stores. These are accessed via an app to effectively manage and control the usage of expensive items.

It is the culmination of initial discussions that first took place in 2013, before a more formal agreement was entered into in 2019 that saw PP C&A support the design, development and manufacture of the systems at its world class facility in the West Midlands.

A dedicated production cell was established to cut lead times by 20% and help increase capacity to cope with new orders from high profile clients, such as Babcock International and Rexel.

“The company needed a manufacturing partner who can not only grow with it, but also contribute its own production knowledge to develop solutions that will improve the end service for the customer - something we have a proven track record of doing and have applied to this project.”

He continued: “It is a very exciting time for Inventor-e as Covid-19 has made firms consider how they minimise human contact but still operate effectively. SmartStores Secure delivers on an operational front and also on legal compliance, so sales are expected to accelerate quickly.”

As part of the ongoing agreement, PP Control & Automation has worked with Inventor-e to develop the products for the North American marketplace, ensuring all systems are fully approved to the relevant UL quality standards.

Tony went on to add: “We identified the need for additional support with overall design requirements and the development of the electronics element of the build so brought in trusted partners Grove Design and CMAC-SMT.

“This widened the working relationship further and their specialist expertise has been critical in helping us speed up production and deliver optimum performance for the end user. It really is a great tale of UK manufacturing collaboration.”

Andy Ingram, Sales Director at Inventor-e, added his support: “Strategic outsourcing with PP Control & Automation is allowing us to extend our global reach with a trusted partner, without the significant direct cost of setting up our own manufacturing facilities.

“We are very pleased with how the partnership has developed. By working together, we offer our rapidly growing customer base the best of both worlds, enabling them to benefit from both organisation’s respective strengths - it’s a win-win all around.”


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