Vending Machine Links


If SupplyPointTM Vending Machines are in use on the Shop Floor, ATMS provides a very useful interface between the two systems, particularly when there is more than one Vending Machine on site.
This feature works exclusively and only with SupplyPointTM Vending Machines.

Setup #

Vending Machines as Points of Issue

Each Vending Machine is defined as a Point of Issue in ATMS and it behaves as such. Points of Issue are created in References and one should be added for each Vending Machine. The Point of Issue data is the one that defines them as Vending Machines.

In “Location Type” enter “Vending Machine”.

Select the Database Type from the drop-down list. Options are Microsoft Access and SQL Server. Database details to be filled in will be displayed accordingly.
If the database type is Microsoft Access a “Path” to the SPS.mdb will be enough to identify the Vending Machine. If it is a Microsoft SQL Server database then Server and Database Names need to be specified. If Trusted Authentication is not enabled then User Name and Password to the SQL Server will have to be specified as well.
If the Vending Machine database happens to have more than one Vending Machine defined, you should specify which one you are referring to in “VM ID”.
“Last transfer from VM” is an automatic field that will save the last Date-Time that data has been transferred from the Vending Machine into ATMS.
Finally, click on the Transfer Agent Settings button to specify the details for the Vending Machine to transfer data back to ATMS (e.g. Transactions). .

Enter the ATMS database settings under “Connection Settings”. You can use “Import Connection Settings from ATMS” button to get the settings you defined in ATMS Config, making the process easier.
Specify “Launch Program on Transaction” settings if you want the Transfer Agent in the corresponding Vending Machine to be launched automatically every time a transaction is carried out. The Transfer Agent will then save the transaction details into ATMS in real time and does not need to be running on the background.
Timeout (seconds 0=no timeout): This setting indicates how long the process should attempt to complete its task before giving up.
Window Mode (1=Normal, 2=Minimized 3=Hidden): This setting indicates whether the process will be visible to Vending Machine users.

Once these settings have been set, we strongly recommend carrying out a transaction on the Vending Machines checking that it has been transferred across to ATMS.

System Configuration – Vending Machine #

The Vending Machine section, from the System Configuration, explains how you can configure your link to the Vending Machines.

The System Administration > System Configuration > Vending Machine section in ATMS holds the global parameters regarding Vending Machine interfacing.

From this screen you can choose to Hide non vending machine fields in References, making Vending Machine maintenance easier.

You can also choose the way data is being transferred from ATMS to the Vending Machines: in real time or as a batch. This is defined in the Transfer Items, Transfer Suppliers, Transfer Users, Transfer User Groups, Transfer Jobs, Transfer Jobs Groups, Transfer Machines, Transfer Machines Groups, Transfer Kits and Transfer Purchase Orders settings.

Transferring Data to Vending Machines #

The Vending Machine details that can be transferred/maintained from ATMS are the so called “static” data, in this case:

Items, Suppliers, Users, User Groups, Jobs, Jobs Groups, Machines, Machines Groups, Kits and Purchase Orders.

ATMS can update all Vending Machine fields related to these details.

Real Time Transfer


If your System Configuration has been set up to do so (see above), the system will transfer or update data every time you add or update a record that is assigned to one or more Vending Machines.

Consider using Batch Transfer if you have a large number of Vending Machines and each data transfer takes a considerable amount of time.

If you create a new Item, User or Kit and you assign them to one or more Vending Machines you will be presented with a warning telling you that any matching records will be OVERWRITTEN on the Vending Machines.

The same applies if you:
Update an Item, User or Kit that is assigned to one or more Vending Machines (you might have assigned it to one or more Vending Machines during editing).

Update a Supplier, User Group, Job, Job Group, Machine or Machine Group that have previously being assigned to one or more Vending Machines.

If you hit “Next” the update will be attempted and a summary will be display showing the results.

If there are any errors, such as no network connection, an alert will be saved against the record/s to be updated and shown clearly on the Summary screen.

If this happens proceed to the Vending Machine Control tab in References, select the Category Items, select Alerts Details and click on the “Load Details…” button. A list of all records that failed to be transferred will be displayed.

The lower part of the screen will show the details. The Action Flag column specifies the action that has to be performed. At this point you can click on the “Update Vending Machines” button to execute the actions.

When a large number of vending machines are being managed, each data update can take some time, so you can choose to select “Cancel” when you are at the warning stage until you have made all relevant changes in ATMS.

Then you can proceed to the Vending Machines Control screen to commit all changes in the Vending Machines in one go.

If you have a large number of Vending Machines, then you can disable Transfer settings from System Configuration > Vending Machines. This way you won’t be shown any warnings each time you make any changes and you will know you will have to proceed to the Vending Machine Control screen to update the Vending Machines. This is explained in the Batch Transfer section below.

When a new Supplier, User Group, Job, Job Group, Machine or Machine Group is created in ATMS the system will prompt you with a dialog box, for you to assign it to one or more Vending Machines if desired. Clicking “Next” will commit the changes.

If the Summary screen displays any Alerts proceed in the same way as explained above. The same applies if you choose to click on “Cancel” to transfer the details in one go at a later stage.

As before when a Supplier, User Group, Job, Job Group, Machine or Machine Group that belongs to one or more Vending Machines is being updated, then the system will display the a warning, proceed in the same way as in Transfer Items.

Batch Transfer #

ATMS allows the transfer of multiple records in one go from the Data Management > References > Vending Machine screen.

You can transfer data this way if:
Your System Configuration > Vending Machine “Transfer” flags are not selected.
Your System Configuration > Vending Machine “Transfer” flags are selected, but you proceed to “Cancel” when presented with the warning or want to assign records to a Vending Machine not selected previously.

You might want to proceed this way if:
You have a large number of Vending Machines on site and each record transfer takes a considerable amount of time.
You have been working with ATMS for a while and you are linking to Vending Machines for the first time.
You are installing a new Vending Machine.

If, for example, you want to assign a group of Users to a Vending Machine do the following:
Select Category “Users” and Detail “All Details”.
Click on Load Details.
Multi-select the Users to be transferred.
On the Vending Machines list select the desired one/s.
Click on the “Set Save Flag” button.
An Action Flag **Save** will be presented.
Finally click on the “Update Vending Machines” button to finish with the process.

To transfer the Users assigned to VM1 to VM2 select the “Assigned to VM1” option from the Select Detail drop-down list.
When the details are loaded, only the Users assigned to VM1 will be populated on the list. Right-click on the list to Select All. Set the Save Flag to VM2 and update Vending Machines details as before to finish.

Transferring Data from Vending Machines #

When ATMS is available, a Transfer Agent program is provided with the SupplyPointTM Vending Machines.

In the ATMS screen Data Management > References > Points of Issue, each Vending Machine is mapped to an individual ATMS Point of Issue. The Transfer Agent will run each time a transaction is carried out on the Vending Machines transferring the transaction details to ATMS and updating the stock quantities.

The Vending Machine’s transactions are recorded in the ATMS TransactionLog table and the stock quantities are updated with those in the Vending Machine. This enables ATMS users to run various consolidated reports for all Vending Machines in the shop floor.

Also “static” data such as items, families, suppliers, users, machines and jobs can be transferred manually whenever any changes to this data are carried out on the Vending Machine database needs to be reflected in the ATMS database.

It is recommended to update all “static” data from ATMS, so this transfer from Vending Machines to ATMS should only be carried out when ATMS is introduced into a site already operating Vending Machines.

Import Mode #

The Import Mode also allows the importing of “static” data from Vending Machines into ATMS, such as Users, Jobs, Machines, Suppliers, Items, Families and Kits.

This is usually carried out when ATMS is installed for the first time in a company already running Vending Machines.

It can also be used to transfer data from a new Vending Machine that has been configured using the Supply Point Machine Setup program.

Once ATMS is in place and running, it is recommended to update all Vending Machine “static” data from this system. So the Import Mode should not have to be used again.

To transfer “static” data into ATMS, go to Data Management > References > Vending Machine Control.
Click on the “Switch to Import Mode” button.
Select one or more Vending Machines from the list and select the records to be transferred. Some advanced options are available, contact Support if in doubt.

Records will be assigned to the corresponding POI in ATMS.

To learn more about the process read the “TMS Interface” section from the Software Utilities Chapter of the SupplyPointTM User’s Manual.