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Gears key to ATM reliability

Gears key to ATM reliability

A global installed base of over 15,000 automated cash machines is testament to the success of Berkshire-based Banking Automation. Reliability is at the heart of this success, with not a single gear-related issue being reported since supply commenced of customised KHK spur gears.

Berkshire-based Banking Automation has pioneered the design, development and integration of automated self-service cash solutions for the past 35 years. Many of the world’s major financial institutions, airlines and cash-in-transit providers trust the company to deliver against their specific needs.

The 30-employee company designs and assembles machines at its Winnersh factory, which has an annual output capacity of around 1000 units. Banking Automation can include RBS and HSBC among its major UK customers, although 75% of output is exported and sold via distributors in around 30 countries worldwide.

There are three key variants of the company’s self-service deposit machines: free-standing; internal in-wall; and external through-wall for 24/7 operations. Business banking customers can bank cash and cheques quickly by feeding them into the machine in an envelope, avoiding the need to queue and wait at the counter. The machines are highly popular with retail business owners/managers who want a fast (20 second), reliable way of depositing cash from their tills, on demand.

For the mechanical operation of the deposit machines, Banking Automation relies on RA Rodriguez, which supplies KHK module 1 spur gears. Although a catalogue item, these feature some modifications to suit the specific applica-tion at Banking Automation. The gear is made from lightweight yet robust Duracon plastic and features 24 teeth. “Two of these gears are used on each chute as part of the gear train,” explains John Sparshott, technical consultant at Banking Automation. “The main horizontal chute is in effect a conveyor that accepts the envelope from the user. This conveyor is powered by the gear train.”

RA Rodriguez gears are also used on the cash-exchange machines (CEMs) produced by Banking Automation. After depositing cash from their tills, retail customers often require change for the next working day, benefiting from the use of the CEM. Banking Automation’s CEM is a self-service solution for the exchange of cash or account credit into rolled coins and low denomination banknotes. Here, two gears, again modified by RA Rodriguez to suit the application, are deployed, one on the motor and one on the picking device turned by the motor (1:1 ratio). There are six such configurations in each CEM.

The use of Duracon plastic as the gear material is perfectly adequate for the low-stress, low-load applications at Banking Automation, thus delivering a highly cost-effective solution. That said, the gears must deliver high levels of reliability to promote customer satisfaction and brand reputation in the field. “We have been using gears for our deposit machines since 2012 and for our CEMs since 2006, and I haven’t heard of a single gear-related issue,” says Sparshott. “Considering the amount of time and amount of machines in the field, we’re very happy. In addition, we’ve never had any supply issues with RA Rodriguez in all those years.”

The deposit machines produced by Banking Automation were subject to a design review in 2012, when the company decided to replace the chute operating mechanism. Previously, chute motion was facilitated by a drive belt, but due to the requirement for regular tension setting, was converted to a small gear train. This has benefited the serviceability of the deposit machines.

Banking Automation also offers a combination deposit and change dispensing machine. Named ‘Combo’, this machine is steadily gaining in popularity.

Ultimately, the use of RA Rodriguez gears is helping Banking Automation to underpin its reputation for innovative, reliable solutions. And while sales to banks are performing well, there are plenty of other important sales outlets, including airports (for airline staff to deposit

in-flight takings), magistrate courts (for immediate payment of fines), and local authorities (to pay rent and council tax). In total, across the three gear variants supplied by RA Rodriguez, Banking Automation uses around 5,000 gears per annum. However, with so many sales opportunities available, volumes look likely to rise even higher in the near future.

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