Commercial Equipment

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Commercial Equipment


the equipment (machinery, automatic apparatus, flow lines) used in enterprises of retail trade, wholesale trade, and the food service industry and in warehouses and supply depots. Commercial equipment is classified according to the type of products handled; there is general-purpose equipment, equipment used with foodstuffs, and equipment used with industrial goods. Another classification depends on whether the equipment is used in conventional or progressive (self-service, credit sales) types of commerce. The functions of commercial equipment include the transport, loading, unloading, storage, display, sale, processing, and weighing of commodities, as well as the registration of sales and the keeping of accounts. Vending machines constitute a special group.

Trailer trains are used for transporting goods between cities. Highly perishable products are usually shipped in refrigerated trucks, and frozen products are shipped in insulated trucks. Small consignments of goods are hauled in such vehicles as pickup trucks, three-wheel motorcycles, and semitrailers. Liquids and bulk materials, as well as live fish, are carried in tank trucks and tank trailers. Container transport is now in wide use.

Goods are loaded and unloaded at commercial enterprises with loaders equipped with load-gripping devices. Stackers are also used for this purpose, and because they are narrower than loaders, they are well suited for the aisleways of warehouses. Goods are hauled over short distances using trackless transport (tractors, trucks) and stationary or mobile conveyers (belt, apron, and roller). Goods are hoisted with the aid of, for example, freight elevators and lifts. Single-rail devices for freight handling include electric tackles and traveling shelf-stacking cranes of suspended and supported types. Sets of equipment have been developed that automatically unload packed goods from transport vehicles, route the goods along the conveyers to the elevators, hoist and pile the goods in the proper section of the warehouse, and place the goods on the shelves.

The equipment used in the storage, display, and sale of goods includes fixed and movable shelves, cabinets, counters, display cases, clothing racks, removable bins, and refrigeration equipment. Mechanized and automated warehouses are equipped with multitier storage units, handling facilities, and bag-packing and bag-filling machines. There are also devices that move packaged goods from storage areas to the store proper, automatically select and place the goods on the free shelf, and collect and remove the empty packages to the storage area. In self-service stores selling such items as baked goods and vegetables, use is made of counters and display cases fitted with removable bins. The bins are filled at the place of production, thereby reducing the amount of handling required.

Highly perishable foodstuffs are stored and displayed with the aid of such refrigeration equipment as freezers, coolers, and refrigerated display cases. Refrigeration equipment is classified as low-temperature (- 8° to - 15°C) or medium-temperature (0° to 10°C). In self-service stores, open-type coolers are used. Here, the food is protected by an air curtain, that is, a current of cooled air created by a fan. Large stores are equipped with centralized refrigeration systems.

The processing of foodstuffs during preparation for sale is carried out on flow lines for the cleaning, washing, sorting, and packaging of vegetables and fruits, on machines for bagging and packaging loose goods, and on lines and machines for cutting and packaging delicatessen food and butter. These processing operations require polymeric film welders and automatic tight-packing systems. The packaging may be done under a vacuum or in an atmosphere of inert gas. Various types of equipment are used in preparing industrial commodities for sale, among them special units for rolling and unrolling fabrics, machinery for printing and affixing trademarks and prices, and measuring instruments for checking radio equipment.

The weighing of goods is carried out on electrotensometric, electronic, and mechanical-type beam scales. For goods weighing more than several dozen kilograms use is made of mobile and stationary platform scales (scale-weight, scale, and dial-face types); readings are taken visually or are registered with the aid of special apparatus. Stationary scales are usually designed to weigh the freight together with the means of transport, in which case they are referred to as motor-vehicle or track scales. The electronic and bench beam scales used in stores are able to simultaneously determine both the weight and price.

Various types of machines are used for recording transactions. Electromechanical cash registers can have one or more mechanical totals or departments. The mechanical totals in the registers in self-service stores are able to determine the value of several purchases. Automatic cash registers are used when payments are made for certain services or for sets of products. Transactions are also recorded with electronic cash registers and with special systems that automatically record transactions, keep accounts, and take inventory; these systems incorporate electronic cash registers, memory banks, computers, and control panels.

There is also special equipment for preparing and selling beverages, for example, coffee machines and units for preparing mixed drinks. The equipment used in street trade includes icecream carts and the shops mounted in motor vehicles. Auxiliary equipment includes sorting and counting machines and automatic coin changers. Although not considered commercial equipment, such items as flasks, price lists, stands, and tools for opening containers are also used in commerce.

The improvement of commercial equipment is linked with the dissemination of advanced methods of trade and the use of new technical means, for example, electronic apparatus for selling goods on credit and computers for controlling trade enterprises.


Torgovye mashiny i apparaty. Moscow, 1964.
Torgovo-tekhnologicheskoe oborudovanie: Spravochnik. Moscow, 1969.
Torgovye i kholodil’nye mashiny i apparaty, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1970.
Voronkov, B. G., S. Ia. Lapidus, and A. F. Chulkova. Organizalsüa i tekhnika torgovliprodovol’stvennymi tovarami. Moscow, 1970.
Torgovaia tekhnika. Moscow, 1975.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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