Antonio Torres López, founder and director of the company, in front of some Telmarkt devices to replace plastic labels with digital screens in vending machines.
Apply new technologies and the Internet to vending machines. That is the objective of the company Muxunav (‘muxu’ means kiss in Basque and ‘nav’ refers to Navarra). It is true that the new vending machines or self-vending machines that are currently coming onto the market can already include the technological innovations of the moment, as well as the use of the Internet. But, the technology developed by Muxunav is aimed at the fleet of machines whose time for renewal has not yet come. In Europe there is a park of 3.5 million old machines installed that are not going to be replaced in the short term, according to Antonio Torres López, promoter and managing director of this company. “Most of them don’t have internet and if they continue to work they don’t change. The replacement only comes when the machine breaks down, ”he adds.
This is the raison d’être of Telmarkt, the technology developed by Muxunav, which is already patented. It is a device that has a small computer that is placed inside the vending machines. The device can be installed by the person in charge of the machine, so it does not require specific technical knowledge, it takes a few minutes to install and it costs 150 euros.
With this device, all the information that is collected in the machine can be controlled remotely. So, without having to travel, the operator or owner of the machine can know in real time if the machine has enough changes for refunds in the payment, how many and how many coins it has, the sales produced, if there is stock, detect faults… So this technology saves trips that would be necessary to obtain this data.
In addition, Telmarkt allows you to remotely change the labels with the names of the products offered by the machines or their prices. Also in this case it eliminates the need to scroll every time there is a need to make a change. It is achieved that the relevant information is changed on the screen of the machine instead of having to replace the plastic labels with others with different names. “25 million plastic labels are thrown away every year. We place digital screens that allow remote change. With this system we provide the old fleet of machines with new features, such as digital labels”, adds the promoter of the initiative.
THE OPERATORS, THE CUSTOMERS
The clients of this technology are the operators, who are the owners of the machines, who buy them from the manufacturers and place them in the different points. And they are the ones who are supposed to save transport and cost.
The Muxunav company was born in 2008 with three partners: Rafael Moya Echeverría, as investment partner; María Gloria Muruzábal Zudaire, and Antonio Torres López. The last two work in it, together with the engineer Javier Vela. The company designs the circuit and subcontracts production to manufacturers under its direction.
At this time, the Telmarkt technology is in the testing phase and is beginning to be marketed in Germany and Austria, where there are already devices in operation. “Because these two countries add more than three times as many machines as in Spain. Furthermore, an operator in Germany may have 20,000 machines, while in Spain ownership is more dispersed. But we hope to be in our country soon”, explains the businessman. “We believe that we can sell 150,000 units in the next four years in Europe, in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Spain. At the same time, we will try to enter the Japanese market, because it has a high number of vending machines and many of them are old”, he points out.
Before launching this Telmarkt, Muxunav manufactured another product as the first version, of which 50,000 units were sold. “Technologically, it is a long way from the current one”, explains Antonio Torres.
Telmarkt has received the seal of excellence from the European Commission four months ago. “It has placed us among the best European projects within the Horizon 2020 program, a distinction that only 7% of projects receive,” he explains. To attend this call, the company had the support of the Navarre consulting firm Bantec.
The company, which has invested 470,000 euros in its project, has entered the R&D grants of the Government of Navarra in 2017 (with the award of 98,000 euros) and has had the support of Sodena and Sonagar. “Sodena is an essential player for the economic development of R&D projects. If our project had been developed elsewhere, we would have had a more difficult time. Now there is a very favorable breeding ground for R&D projects and there are many types of support”, comments the promoter of Telmarkt.