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."
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.
It's a pretty interesting machine and there are certainly some airports that I've been to where this would have been a great option. There seems to be a fair amount of waste, though, since each item is individually wrapped.
really, this is the best thing ive heard about in a long time.
i do like the idea of a window so you can see it being made, though. about ten years ago, i was at a Kinko's that had a coffee vending machine. you selected what you wanted, and in a window, you saw it grind whole coffee beans, dump in onto a filter that was part of a large roll, and then hot water poured right through it into your cup at the bottom. i never would have known this thing was brewing fresh-gound coffee, id have guessed it was instant. it was totally worth it just for the experience, but it was good coffee tooo.
This is a great idea and application. I could see these being located next to the Redbox machines that seem to be in every shopping plaza all of a sudden. You could get a movie and a pizza any time you want.
George Leopold's talk at last week's Design & Manufacturing Minneapolis helped restore astronaut and engineer Gus Grissom's role in the beginnings of NASA, and outlined how Grissom played a pivotal role in winning the Space Race.
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