Not surprisingly, the biggest challenge was building a hygienic machine. "All of the parts come in contact with the elements," Torghele said. "We had to find technical solutions to guarantee" that the food would be safe.
The patented solutions include a dough mixer that prevents accumulation of material in its drum and in adjoining metering chambers. "He thought of everything," Rammers said. "If the machine doesn't sell a pizza for 24 hours, the timer tells it to mix the dough, and then the machine throws it away in a trash bin."
Like most current day vending machines, the Let's Pizza is Internet-enabled. Using a microcontroller and a multitude of specialized software algorithms, it can read information from its 40 onboard sensors and communicate with the outside world. "When it's almost empty, the machine sends a signal to your phone or your laptop that it needs to be refilled," Rammers said. Each machine holds enough ingredients for about 200 pizzas.
The machine has been available in Europe since 2009. A1 Concepts will set up its first US Let's Pizza in Atlanta in late August. The company is working on a plan for machines to be assembled by an American partner.
Competing machines have used microwaves to heat up frozen pizzas, but Rammers said he wouldn't be surprised if the Let's Pizza's success spawns imitators. "Other people are sure to try to build one after they see this. But right now, this is the only one of its kind."
I'm not much of a pizza fan, but if I eat it it's got to be fresh. So I agree with your comments about cardboard-tasting frozen pizza. Except lots of people are buying and eating frozen pizza, based on the doubling and tripling of that section in all my local grocery stores' freezer sections over the last few years.
"fresh" pizza in 3 minutes when the ingredients have sat for week? Also, pizza takes 20 minutes to bake properly in a clay oven, not IR. This is disgusting.
It might work on college campus with the drunk college kids late at night who don't care what they eat or even compete with frozen pizzas, but come on, who actually eats a frozen or chain-store made pizza? None of this is pizza in the sense. Only a true hand-made pizza with fresh ingredients and baked properly is pizza, the rest are nothing more than cardboard with ketchup!
I agree this would be a killer app for college campuses but I hope they have a thorough maintenance schedule. Definitely not as clean of an environment inside compared to most vending machines especially if college students keep it running all night.
Really, good frozen pizza can be done much quiker, and it comes out quite good. The secret is that after the thawing and heating in the microwave oven, it has to have the bottom heated for a short while on an oild griddle surface. Just enough to brown the bottom a bit. The hard part is even defrosting and thawing in the microwave oven. That takes some effort. But the heating the bottom makes such a great improvement that it can't be left out.
So if somebody uses my idea they do need to give me credit for it. And some free pizza. Royalty payments are negotiable.
My thoughts exactly. You put one of these things in a dorm lobby, or better still, each dorm floor and you will make back your investment is a heartbeat. As long as it is maintained properly; i.e. refilled, cleaned, repaired, etc .on a regular basis, you will have a real winner. I have no idea as to the most popular pizzas but I suspect cheese, pepperoni and veggie pizzas are the most often purchased. At 2:00 A.M. in the morning with a mechanics final at 8:00, you can bet those all-nighters will at least investigate the possibilities. Also, how about laundry mats, hospital waiting rooms, bus stations, train stations? I can think of several places that would be good candidates for machines such as this. Any place where a person has to wait would be a great candidate. The only downer-we have such a lawless country there would be damage and repairs necessary so the selection of location would be critical to staying in business.
Excellent idea Dave! "Cook" it in the container the eggs are served in and used prepackaged whole eggs, egg whites or egg beaters. Santition issues always loom large but with good design it can be minimized. Fabulous! When do we start our market research?
I saw a similar machine called Wonder Pizza a few years ago. It was a somewhat sleeker looking and had a smaller footprint. We even were given sample freshly made pizzas to eat at a demo. The taste was about the same as a frozen pizza. Not especially good for bad but novelty of a hot fresh pizza in a couple of minutes was the concept. No match for a pizzeria pizza. Initial cost seemed high and there was no leasing arrangement. The company provided all raw ingredients weekly and maintained the machine for a fee. We liked the idea and planned to sell the pizza on at cost to employees. Our management didn't go for it in the end. The biggest design problem was the preparation time. It's OK if one to three people queue up for pizza. The last person gets their pizza in 7.5 minutes later and that's acceptable in my opinion. When 5 or 10 people are queued up its a different story. I think name brand high quality frozen pizza kept in an appropriate storage/display unit with a nearby bank of specialized preprogrammed microwave (with browning elements or whatever) would cost the same and solve the production and wait time issue in the same footprint with a lower initial cost, much much lower maintenence fees, lower operating costs and equivalent food cost.
We just love vending machines. Look at the gumball and sticker machines.They exist for 50-80 years.Look at the success of Redbox! What was wrong with Blockbusters? I actually preferred Blockbusters.But we need vending machines.It is in genes.LOL. As far as pizza goes , unless you go to "classic" Italian run pizzerias in Chicago , or New York , you don't really know what a real pizza is. All the others are pretty much the same , although some have really nasty crust and sauces.Other than that there is not much to a pizza.I have many Italian friends, so there are no chances for me to taste a pizza from a new machine.I also have very serious doubts about hygene....but after seeing an inside of some food plants ,I think that this one can be cleaner.Let me know when you try it.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.