Case Study

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) bespoke vending with cellular M2M connectivity keeps London’s tube safely on track

GPRS airtime solution from Wireless Logic delivers no-fail connectivity


Tube Lines is a busy operation – they maintain, renew and upgrade over 320km of track, 254 points and crossings, 255 trains, 100 stations, 4,314 bridges and structures, 80km of embankments and cuttings, 231 escalators and 110 lifts… that’s a  massive 41% of the entire London Tube network. And to ensure that everything they do is performed safely, the organisation has turned to Sell a Vend with the introduction of self-service Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) vending machines across all of their sites. Known as ‘Audit Stations’, the vending machines dispense a range of equipment tailored to each aspect of Tube Lines’ engineering processes.

PPE provision is a vital part to protecting Tube Lines workforces in industrial situations. Placing accessible PPE equipment close to the production line with availability 24/7 is an essential ‘must-have’ so that every procedure performed is carried out utilising the correct equipment.

The general use of such vending facilities follows the lead from the US where there are now in excess of 80,000 ‘point of use’ PPE vending machines. The benefits are many; reduced PPE spend as stock control is fully controlled, increased employee protection, health and safety standards improved, operational efficiency and a better understanding of precise PPE usage.  The old adage of ‘it all happens by the office coffee machine’ has now permeated to the production floor.

The Solution

Sell a Vend are one of the UK’s leading PPE Vending operators providing a bespoke PPE vending solution. One of their USP’s includes giving their customers freedom to purchase PPE stock from a variety of sources and not being tied to any one PPE equipment supply chain. The clever technology behind each vending operation is courtesy of Circum Tec. Already established as the market leader in the Southern Hemisphere, Circum Tec have brought their data telemetry, vending management systems, cashless and credit card payment solutions to the vending market, and have made significant inroads into both the UK and European vending sectors.

Within the vending machine’s operating platform Circum Tec technology creates the conduit between machine and client control delivering a number of key remote reporting lines including inventory tracking, cash accountability, dynamic scheduling, stock/machine alerts, cashless systems, detailed financial/sales reporting and integrated Google mapping. With real-time data via secure GPRS, the entire vending process has made the PPE stock and retail management highly efficient and more responsive to the users’ needs.

Core to the connectivity is the embedded SIM from which M2M managed services provider Wireless Logic becomes involved. In a fast-moving market, and with increasing amounts of data traffic transferring from machine to client control, Circum Tec partner with Wireless Logic to maximise on data aggregation and the ability to utilise multiple networks across a single management platform. ‘SIMPro’ is a purpose-built M2M monitoring, provisioning and control window where clients can access an entire asset base and maintain complete usage and cost control on a per SIM basis. Within vending machines such as the Sell a Vend’s Audit Station, Circum Tec maximise network effectiveness by using Vodafone, O2 and Everything Everywhere Data SIMs dependent upon locational use and appropriate tariff. Additionally, Wireless Logic are now providing a number of global SIMs where vending machines are located in areas where no particular mobile network is strong.

The connectivity aspect over the mobile networks is fundamental to technology customers like Circum Tec. Its partnership with the managed services of Wireless Logic enables it to focus on the operational aspects of its telemetry boxes – “the connectivity over multiple networks simply works,”continues Chad Heinemann. Justin Godfrey Cass, Business Development Manager, Wireless Logic comments: “Circum Tec and clients such as Sell a Vend realise the benefits of working with a world-class M2M connectivity aggregator. The SIMPro platform has enabled each embedded SIM to be fully monitored, with no nasty shocks re over usage of data traffic. With end users such as Tube Lines, it is clear to see why a resilient M2M Managed Services platform is critical in ensuring 24/7 production with safety.”

Wireless Logic’s SIMPro platform enables Circum Tec to provision each SIM utilised on a ‘just in time’ basis. Vending machines are only connected once in the field with tariffs tailored to the expected data traffic for each unit.

“Circum Tec can monitor each and every one of their SIM estate through SIMPro’s one window. And whilst data aggregation is vital to make the connectivity of the estate efficient, the window can also alert the team to any unusual patterns of data activity and respond as necessary. Tariffs can be changed according to the data need,” continues Wireless Logic’s Godfrey-Cass.

With hundreds of SIMs performing business critical 24/7 vending procedures for Circum Tec, Wireless Logic is helping to connect applications beyond the world of PPE. Circum Tec technology and connected Wireless Logic data SIMs are now dispensing hot food, personal hygiene products and traditional vending products throughout the UK. Final word to Chad Heinemann: “The relationship with Wireless Logic gives us access to the world’s mobile networks through one point of contact. They understand our business needs, give us best-in-class connectivity and managed services solutions, and support this with service levels that make our lives easy. This is the way that partnerships should work.

Working with operators such as Sell a Vend, the Circum Tec vending platform delivers total control in real-time to create a super-efficient platform for vending delivery and satisfaction. Market areas such as PPE are clearly redefining the profile of office vending – today, the machine has replaced the store cupboard to become a fully-controlled asset management and distribution tool, always on, always monitored. And with operations such as Tube Lines, real-time visibility on personal equipment being used by individuals is proving vital for audits and inspections that track safe working procedures.

Chad Heinemann,
Account Manager, Circum
Wireless Logic

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