Fast food prep robots have been right on the horizon for years, and some, such as Flippy and Chippy, are already hard at work at a quick service restaurant near you. Now, see the Autocado, Chipotle’s new guacamole maker.
Autocado can’t actually make guacamole from start to finish, but it can cut, peel, core, and slice the fruit and get it ready for the humans to mash and mix into the tangy green delicacy. The robot can manipulate 25 pounds of avocados at a time, cutting the time required to get the guacamole made in half. Since Chipotle gets through 100 million pounds of avocados each year, the robot is poised to save the restaurant chain $50 million.
What automation is for
Fast food jobs are practically the definition of the 3-D requirements for automation: dull, dirty, dangerous work. Prepping avocados is a particularly tough example. It’s tedious, and humans can’t speed it up without increasing the chances of cuts.
Cutting up avocados is one of the restaurants’ workers least favorite tasks, a Chipotle spokesperson says. The company also says that they know this robot will reduce food waste. These benefits, along with the cost savings, make automation worthwhile.
However, the restaurant acknowledges that the new technology will probably increase the cost of the guacamole, or at least the price.
Almost market ready
The Autocado prototype is being tested in Irvine, California. The collaborative robot is almost ready to be rolled out to the rest of the Chipotle locations, according to its maker, but it is a proprietary device. It will not be offered outside of the Chipotle franchise.
Autocado may take some human jobs, but your Indramat motion control systems probably make your job possible.
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