Sustainability at the touch of a button with the e-chain in Drop Water beverage vending machines

July 22, 2021

The new miniature filling system from California usesigus motion plastics to reduce transport and the use of plastic bottles


The Drop Station is a new sustainable beveragevending machine that fills compostable containers with customised beverages atthe touch of a button. The water for the vending machine does not need to betransported, since the kiosk can be connected to a water source on site. A linear robot with drylinlinear guides mixes the beverages and dispenses them. Harnessed e-chains ensureprotection for the chainflex energy and data cables.


You can find them in airports, supermarkets and train stations: beveragevending machines from Drop Water, based in California. Customers can use atouch display to select a beverage from the Drop Station. They then receive anindividually filled, compostable container filled with tap water filtered atthe point of sale and, according to the customer's wishes, may contain caffeineor be flavoured or heated or cooled to a certain temperature. The new vendingmachine allows Drop Water to decentralise the process of bottle filling byhaving the self-service kiosk function as a miniature filling system. Thecompany's approach is much more environmentally friendly than that ofconventional providers of bottled water. It eliminates the need fortransporting filled bottles. "The Drop Container is a large part of whatmakes our kiosks unique. Each Drop Station has a supply of empty, compostablecontainers that can be refilled as necessary. The customer can also use theirown bottles", says Scott Edwards, CEO of Drop Water. The heartof the vending machine is a linear robot that manufactures and dispensesbeverages. It is also supplied with energy and data. Although an energy chainwas used, there were cable failures in the prototypes. It was found that thecables rotated slowly during each cycle, so they were twisted after 1,000cycles.A second problem was harnessing. In order to avoid having to continuallybuy, cut, modify and assemble every single component, the company needed afunctioning, ready-to-connect solution.


A harnessed readychain safely guidesthe cables in the Drop Station. The project was awarded the green vector forits sustainability. (Source:igus GmbH)

Looking for a better system

Thanks to the right interior separation and a fullyharnessed readychain igus e-chain system, the vending machine now functionsperfectly. This saves the company a great deal of installation time and costs.Drop Water also turned to igus for the linear robot and the output unit. Themechanical system consists of maintenance-free drylin W and drylin N rails andcarriages. "We are proud to workwith a forward-looking, socially responsible company like Drop Water, and wewish them many years of success as we contribute to all the movements that willkeep our planet clean and free from pollution for the generations tocome", says Rick Abbate, Vice President of igus Inc. USA. The project convinced the judges for theseventh vector awards. The prize is awarded once every two years anddistinguishes creative energy chain applications from allover the world. Drop Water received the green vector award, which was awarded to twosustainable projects for the first time.

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