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Playing a vital part

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Playing a vital part

Integrate spoke to three leading firms whose components have not only stood the test of time, but have adapted and evolved over the years to provide mechanical solutions for the coin-opponent industry.

Astrosystems

Astrosystems’ main and continuing objective is to promote its range of GBA note validators and Microcoin coin acceptors into key market sectors.  This poker strategic play of gambling has proven to be very successful, resulting in record sales figures for the first quarter.  Astrosys International will shortly release its latest note validator product, the GBA ST 1.  this unit includes an integrated stacker and has received ‘impressive feedback’ during customer field trials.  “Coupled with this we have also introduced RoHS versions of all our products, including an evolution of the Microcoin QL coin validator,” said the company’s Steve Priest.


      “The QL has enjoyed great success in a number of markets, “Particularly within the gaming industry, as it offers up to 10cps acceptance of truce coins while ensuring extremely high levels of discrimination against fraud coins.”  Priest has worked for Astrosystemsince leaving college grow.  Initially working as part of the production team, he has progressed through the technical side of the company, learning about and developing the products, and in 2005 joined the sales team in a technical sales capacity.  His technical background has helped him to work more effectively in the sales role, allowing him to assist customers with the integration of Astrosystems’ products into their machines. 
      “We sell our products based upon the benefits that they offer our customers and these vary depending upon the market we are selling in to,” he revealed.

  Astrosystems, together with its sister companies within the Astrosys International Group, focuses upon delivering cost effective, reliable and high quality products to its customers, with a flexible ‘can do’ attitude.  The firm prides itself upon strong after sales, customer service and technical support and it is this focus that has led to ‘long lasting relationships’ with its clients.  Priest added: “In the cash handling business, you need to be incredibly reactive to a problem, since frauds and slugs cannot be foreseen, yet customers will demand immediate solutions to a situation which may arise.  Technical teams that are able to instantly address and resolve this type of issue back up both Microcoin and GBA products.
      Similarly, the latest evolution of the current GBA note reader platform, the GBA HR1, is a result of small detail enhancements that, through ever increasing sales volumes, underlines Astrosys International’s product performance and reliability.  In Priest’s opinion, the broad appeal of coin-opponent entertainment has to keep up with the quality and delivery of content available with the likes of, say, Play station technology.  “This has placed the coin-opponent industry on notice that tomorrow’s generation’s desire and expectations for entertainment will be far more advanced than those of today,” he said.

     

As a currency validation specialist, Astrosystems continues to evolve its GBA and Microcoin brands to maintain their respective positions at the forefront of note and coin validation technology.  Although there are emerging cashless technologies, such as TITO in gaming.  Priest believes that there will be a place for coin and note acceptors in to the foreseeable future.  They offer immediate credit-free and fee-free payments.  Astrosystem has been in business since 1994 and over this time, the most obvious change has been the advancement and use to technology.  “We have moved from ‘Space Invader’ style screens to high resolution graphics.”
      Coin acceptors have advanced from single coin, microswitch activated devices to fully electronic multi-coin product.  Note validators now have high levels of sophistication to deal with frauds that were not possible ten years ago.  Priest believes that another significant change has been the quality of products being produced.  “From the outward presentation of machines to the components which are being used, manufacturers must focus on all aspects of their product and we are able to work with them by continuing to provide high quality and leading edge technology solutions.”
      The most important quality of Astrosystems’ products is the ability to  provide consistent, high levels of note and coin discrimination while protecting against known frauds.  However, this quality goes hand in hand with the delivery package, which must offer long-term operational reliability and security. Therefore, a lot of effort  has been put into the mechanical design poker game of GBA and Microcoin validators in order to support the various validation technologies that have been developed.  Priest told us: “We have an on-going product development programme, which addresses evolving technologies for out current platforms and new product design and development initiatives.”


      For more complex products, a development from concept to product release could take upwards of two years.  Priest admitted: “At the end of the day, we are searching for ways to develop a better mousetrap!  The concept of note and coin validation does not change, just the way in which we can deliver the solution.  The target application, more often than not, will define the mechanical package that must be designed.  Our technology development programme determines the validation technology that we will employ.”
      His firm’s new GBA ST1 note validator is a case in point.  The note discrimination is based upon a style of validation that Astrosystem has coined ‘sense technology’.  The originality of sense technology provides Astrosystems with a wide scope for assessing and validating notes and dealing with frauds.  The form and fit of the mechanical package is based broadly upon the requirements of the vending industry, where the note acceptor has a defined space in which to be located.


      “However, the originally of the ST1 design provides a product which is easy to service and support, with particular focus on cashbox and note path design and reliability,”  Priest  pointed out.  Astrosystems covers the group’s European poker operations.  “Our reason for targeting markets within our sphere of operation would be one of product demand and flowing from that, product support.  As a group, Astroys International covers many of the territories around the world and continually assesses the global markets, as there is always room to focus more intently on the hot spots.”
      The gaming market in Russia is one area where Astrosystems is looking to increase its sales efforts with its new GBA ST1 note reader, whereas Spain is a candidate for its GBA HR1 stacker less note reader.  South America, on the other hand, has gaming applications “Which cry out for the high performance of our Microcoin QL coin validator.”  Priest believes that Astrosystems can deliver cost effective, reliable and high quality products to its customers, with strong after sales service and technical support, all with a flexible ;can-do’ attitude.

Suzo

Suzo International is the European gaming distributor for FuturelLogic’s GEN2 ticket printer.  Winner of six industry awards over the past two years, FutureLogic is a manufacturer of ticker printers for cashless gaming, serving virtually every gaming machine manufacturer as the default, preferred or approved supplier.  Engineering, training and technical support for FutuerLogic products is provided through FutureLogic Europe, a 7,000sq.ft.facility near London.  An exclusive distribution agreement with Suzo UK helps the company identify and meet customer expectations based on local requirements.  FutureLogic’s GEN2 Universal printers anticipate new standards for downloadable games, are IGT- compliant and are compatible with existing platforms as well as the next generation of USB games.


      The GEN2 Universal printers also include a promotional printing port to connect with the promotional server and implement the ProMatrix couponing and trigger system included with all GEN2 printers.  The GEN2 Universal connection architecture is available in both the standard GEN2 device and the GEN2-VST vertical format printer, which is designed for use with space saving slim-top machines and kiosk applications.  GEN2 pioneering Intelligence Ticket Handling technology was developed for the gaming industry to eliminate player interference and ticket jamming.  By completely printing and bursting the ticket internally before it is presented to the player the GEN2 printer eliminates tom, smeared and crumpled tickers and ensures a clear, readable image.  GEN2 holds up to 900 tickets to minimize machine downtime and costs associated with frequent paper restocking.  The printer also features easy access to the paper path and a one-step restocking process.

echnological improvements include firmware upgrades made quickly with an easily accessible firmware port, hot-swap capability and an 8MB memory option for storage of up to 1,000 coupon templates.  The GEN2 VST Ultra-Slim Vertical Format Printer is described as a ‘compact, feature-rich device.’  It’s a new vertical configuration of the firm’s GEN2 thermal printer is designed specifically for use with slim top machines, a rapidly growing segment of the cashless gaming machine market. 
      Its rugged design and high-performance characteristics also make it an ‘ideal device’ for kiosk applications.  The printer measures 6-1/4ins D x 5-1/8ins W x 9ins H, and weights 5lbs.  Like the standard GEN2 configuration, the GEN2-VST features FutureLogic’s intelligent ticket handling technology and  ProMatrix promotional couponing and triggering system.  Finally, the ProMatrix  couponing and triggering system is an integrated solution that turns slot ticket into colorful coupons and “helps casino marketing departments  deliver real time targeted promotions from any GEN2 printer equipped gaming system.” The ProMatrix system provides a practical printer solution for all types of casinos.  Available with any GEN2, GEN2 VST or  GEN2  Universal printer, ProMatrix helps casinos implement dynamic promotional coupon campaigns for customers.

            

Eurocoin

Eurocoin, which lists continued successful development in Europe as its number one priority, has enjoyed success across the UK and Europe with its ‘unique’ offering of ticket in, ticket out hardware and consumables to both OEMs and casinos.  Its distribution partners Slot tickets poker and Transact Technology have both recently extended their exclusive distribution agreements on the basis of Eurocoin’s management of product lines in Europe.  Colin Veitch, who has co-directed  Eurocoin with his brother Nick since 1985, disclosed: “We have further supply agreements being finalized you can expect some significant news from Eurocoin in the next four to six weeks.”  Veitch pointed towards his firm’s longevity as testament to what it is capable of.  “Over the past 35 years, we have proved that we have something unique to offer our marketplace and we are very grateful for the long-term support of our client base over this period of time.”
      He added: “Europe, by adopting the euro coin set, has provided a high value coin that can be used extensively in the ‘pay to play’ or ‘pay to vend’ markets; advances in bill acceptor technology and reductions in hardware costs likewise have ensured that note based transactions will be on going, but for how long?  Is the mobile phone going to be the payment method of the future, will it be the smart card or some others transaction that we have not yet envisaged?”

 

 

 

 
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