Weigh and Vend- The First Steps

Between 25th March and 20th October 2004  , The Post Office commenced the first trials of an “automated postal kiosk” in three branches – known as  ‘Weigh and Vend’  (Badged Automated Postal Service)  and manufactured by the Korean company Samkyung Hitech Co., Ltd.

The machines were installed in Luton, Beds; Broadgate, City of London and Alfreton, Derbyshire and were capable of accepting many different types of mail including Priority Services (Special Delivery, International Signed For) and ordinary mail including BFPO.

However, because of their extended range of products,  the machines were of a sophisticated design,  resulting in their use by customers to be disappointingly low.  The conclusion was that many people had been deterred by their complexity and relative slowness.

The Samkyung catalogue description provides the following description of how the machine operated : (The model designation “PASS” standing for Postal Automatic Service System).

“PASS is a 365-day self-service machine which accepts and stores mail pieces from postcards to small parcels.

Customer selects a postal service on the menu screen and puts in his mail piece through the mail input door which is opened automatically.

After a mail piece is put in by the customer, the door is closed and the postage is determined and displayed to the customer automatically by measuring the weight and size of the mail piece without illegal intervention by the customer.

The customer pays the postage by card, coins or bank notes, and then the postage label or stamp of precise amount is printed out to the customer and the mail input door is opened. The customer takes out the mail piece and attaches the postage label on the mail piece and put in the mail piece again through the mail input window.

PASS finally verifies the mail piece and stores it into the internal storage area.

If the customer wants a receipt, it is printed out to him.

All the transaction data is saved in the internal computer and can be transmitted to external postal server by a network communication.”

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