All in one: Crane Payment Solutions

It functions on any gaming machine in any location around the globe. It can be programmed to accept any type of currency in the world. It has four-way barcode recognition and acceptance that can read a ticket no matter how it is placed in the validator. It has a 98 percent first-time insertion acceptance rate. Its less than three-second transaction cycle is the fastest in the gaming industry. It is one validator for one world. Its name? No, it’s not Super-Validator. It’s the CashCode one™.

Though the all-in-one cash handling brilliance of the CashCode one™ touts the company’s namesake, it took much more than just one party to manufacture such an innovative and universal validator. While CashCode used to be a standalone manufacturing and engineering company for banknote validators and recycling devices for the gaming, retail and transportation industries, it is now a vital part of the specialized merchandising systems group that the Crane Company formed in 2006, Crane Payment Solutions.

The Doting Parent
With more than 12,000 employees in 25 different countries working in five vertical market segments, the Crane Company is an extremely large and financially successful manufacturing giant, generating nearly $2.6 billion in net sales for 2008. Serving five distinct industry segments—Aerospace & Electronics, Engineered Materials, Merchandising Systems, Fluid Handling and Controls—Crane Co. has divided its enterprise into five corresponding groups to support each market sector. It is this pioneering enterprise that acts as the doting parent of the three companies that make up Crane Payment Solutions. Comprised of sister companies NRI, Telequip and CashCode, Crane Payment Solutions is part of Crane Co.’s merchandising systems division, specializing in coin and bill handling solutions for the gaming, amusement, retail and transportation industries.

Although each of the three companies has retained its unique identity within Crane Payment Solutions, through the help of Crane Co.’s stability, guidance and its set of strategic business procedures, commonly referred to as the Crane Business System, they have collaborated in their processes and procedures to respond to the demands of vertical markets around the world.

Combining Talents 
From a manufacturing standpoint, Crane Co.’s business processes helped transition CashCode and its sister companies from batch processing to lean manufacturing, which Sim Bielak, vice president of sales and business development for Crane Payment Solution’s gaming division, said has helped CashCode immensely. “Crane Co. brought a business structure—processes to follow from the moment of product ideation to launch—to our operations that ensure our products align 100 percent with our target market. Crane Co.’s processes led to more involvement with our potential customers and their needs, and we use their feedback to determine the technology, features and functions to put into products.”

Although there was substantial value in the acquisition for all three sister companies, there were challenges. “Part of the price for forming Crane Payment Solutions was that its members had to adapt to a new sales and organization structure that emphasized vertical markets,” said Bielak. “Essentially, Crane Co. saw NRI, Telequip and CashCode as product brands instead of companies.” This new structure has changed the function of many of CashCode’s key members, including Bielak, who was previously the vice president of sales and marketing for CashCode.

“We now have sales leaders and teams that focus on each vertical market,” said Jim Gabriele, director of business development for Crane Payment Solutions’ North American Gaming division. “Those teams communicate directly to the Crane Payment Solutions businesses the requirements of their vertical customers from a new products standpoint, from a service level standpoint, and from quality, lead time, and on-time delivery standpoints. It’s these inputs, which we call the voice of the customer, that really drive our three businesses. The business leaders of the Crane Payment Solutions companies saw the logic to the vertical structure and adapted to it right away. It has already reaped operational benefits for the group, which, in turn, has allowed them to better service customers.”

For example, before Crane Payment Solutions was formed, NRI, Telequip and CashCode catered to different markets and manufactured different types of products for those markets. Now under the unified umbrella of Crane Payment Solutions, they co-produce new products for each market and their receptive business niches, as well as take advantage of each other’s various resources. CashCode has already benefited from the alliance by leveraging NRI’s sales and services offices in France, Spain, the U.K. and Germany to better support its customers in Europe. Equally, NRI has used CashCode’s established sales and engineering networks in Eastern Europe, Australia, South Africa, Canada and elsewhere to help maintain and endorse its product portfolio.

And through the strategic acquisitions that formed Crane Payment Solutions, Crane Co. has leveraged each comprising company’s expertise to create some dynamite products. The r2 recycler is a good example of the synergies between CashCode and NRI, a coin validation manufacturer. The r2 recycler combines a vending product (currenza) from Crane Merchandising Systems with NRI’s knowledge of the AWP market in Europe. “We now have an innovative solution for the market as a result of cooperating internally as Crane Payment Solutions, and externally with AWP operators and manufacturers,” said Boris Gitlin, the director of Crane Payment Solutions’ International Gaming division.

The r2 recycler not only validates bills inserted but also recycles the notes and provides customers with change or banknotes in 10- or 20-euro denominations. In markets such as Germany and Spain where hand payouts are not allowed, the refilling of coin hoppers for payouts has had quite a negative impact. The ability to pay out in bills is a cost-effective method that reduces or eliminates the hopper depletion that many operators experience today. In addition, the product saves on labor costs, as operators do not need to visit and replenish cash dispensers.

one™ for All 
That structured business process is also what helped drive the incredible innovation behind the CashCode one™. This extremely flexible product was developed through extensive voice of the customer sessions in which Crane Payment Solutions learned that operators and OEMs wanted to increase efficiencies in their peripherals while at the same time reducing costs. “Crane Payment Solutions knew the only way to do that was to design a truly universal product,” Gitlin said. “Operators keep one part in stock irrelevant of the manufacturer, or voltage, with just a software variation adapting the device to the local market. From an operator’s perspective, this drives efficiency from a service and support standpoint.”

“Four-way ticket acceptance ensures maximum throughput,” noted Gabriele. “Why would you treat barcodes any different than bills?”

This is a big turnaround for casino operators who had trouble with ticket validation in the past. Gabriele explained: “First, in countries where the currency is fixed, such as in Canada, most validators on the market had trouble scanning tickets since the ticket, being narrower than the bills, would skew as it was being inserted. If the ticket is skewed, the validator’s sensors may not pick up the critical barcode information and thus reject the ticket. This in turn may cause those customers to go to the redemption kiosk to cash out rather than playing their credit at a machine. We refer to this as ‘walk-aways.’ ”

In response to those operators’ needs, Crane Payment Solutions developed a patented way to turn walk-aways into stay-and-plays. “The CashCode one™ has patented self-centering guides regardless of the currency it is validating,” Gabriele said. “It will center each TITO ticket as it is inserted to ensure proper recognition and a 98 percent-plus acceptance rate.”

Another important feature for operators and OEMs is the one™’s four-way barcode acceptance. In the past, operators and OEMs would have to order a different validator model depending on the configuration of the machine, but with the CashCode one™, the OEM or operator can select the scanning acceptance direction with the flick of a switch. “This universal design further validates the value proposition of having a single universal platform product that is suited and customizable for individual needs,” Bielak added.

Since the one™ launched at G2E in November, customer feedback has been tremendous. Gitlin noted that with installations in North America, Eastern and Western Europe, customers have extended their field trials and are anxious to purchase the product for their floors. And while CashCode has experienced tremendous success with its front-note validators internationally, it also has its sites set on creating greater demand in North America. “A lot of the key operators from North America are starting to operate in other parts of the world,” Gabriele said. “As we focus on these regions, it is our intention to become certified with what have traditionally been the primary North American operators. We believe that will also leverage us then into North America.”

And when those operators request CashCode products in their OEM systems, Bill Nichols, the OEM director of global gaming, stands ready to deliver. According to Nichols, CashCode and gaming OEMs are already partnering to bring operators the best in cash handling.  “There are a number of OEMs in North America and across the world that currently use our products and many more will soon be offering CashCode bill validators with their equipment,” Nichols said. “CashCode’s high quality components make them attractive additions to OEM systems and many operators have requested their use.”

Crane Payment Solutions also focuses much of its attention on the Native American Gaming market. Daniel Bogdanov, a senior account manager for Crane Payment Solutions’ Native American Gaming division, said the company has a strong presence in tribal gaming throughout the country and hopes to continue servicing its Native American costumers’ special needs.

Future Endeavors 
CashCode works extremely hard to earn customer business and loyalty. “We do not wear our successes on our sleeves,” said Kurt Gallo, the general manager of Crane Payment Solutions. “Our motto is to deal fairly with both customers and competitors alike. We want to become the No. 1 provider of payment systems worldwide. Our goal is just to keep on moving.”

And keep on moving it has. With a demanding new product development schedule for the next year, Crane Payment Solutions has big plans for the future of its cash-handling products. “We have significant products in each of the vertical markets we service being developed,” Gallo explained. “We have recently added significant new resources in our engineering team to assist with the increased development requirements.”

So be on the lookout for some incredible new cash-handling products from Crane Co., and in the meantime, be sure to check out CashCode’s all-in-one™ validator at G2E Asia booth 941.


The oneTM that Counts
In the past, OEMs and operators had to inventory and support numerous models and parts for each country into which they sold their machines. Some countries required different power interfaces (12v/24v), as well as unique models depending on the width of currency being validated. CashCode has removed all the variances. With one™, a single model will handle any of the supported protocols, interfaces, currencies, etc. This newest solution is truly unique in the industry and will reduce OEM and operator logistical costs.

CashCode one™ Benefits 
•     At less than three seconds, the fastest validation speed in the industry.
•     Four-way barcode ticket acceptance. No special accessories are required, depending on upright or slant-top machine configurations.
•     Superior validation. CashCode utilizes four validation spectrums: Optical, Dielectric, Inductive and Ultraviolet. This is the most in the industry.
•     “Drop proof” cash box made from a metal/polycarbonate hybrid material.
•     Expandable memory to allow for increased bank note sets or future upgrades.
•     USB connectivity.
•     BlueChipTM Smart Stick updates. Operators can quickly and easily update software and/or firmware without additional hardware.

For more information on the CashCode one™, visit Crane Payment Solutions.

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