CINCINNATI--A vending machine dispenses drill bits and welding supplies as easily as other machines dispense candy bars and Cokes.

Developed by Vertex Technologies, the Supply Bay vending machine can stock everything from safety gloves to office supplies. When it runs low on an item, the Supply Bay logs on to the Internet, contacts the supplier, and orders its own refill. It tracks inventory and generates reports on how and when items are being used.

"When you think about a storeroom, it's a very inefficient transaction," says Kent Savage, CEO of Vertex. "You've got one person standing in line, away from his job, waiting to get a part from another person who's standing behind a counter. They just pick it from a shelf and hand it to the other person. They're not altering it or doing anything to add value to it. [So] why can't we let a computer run this for us?"

Lease prices range from $99 to $189 per month, depending on the model. Sale prices range from $4,999 to $7,999.

For more information, call 513-671-4933 or visit