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FT-sep17-eMag1 21 WOULD YOU LIKE FRIES WITH THAT?: When hamburger restaurants Wendy’s and McDonalds announced this year that they were installing self-service kiosks in more than 2500 locations in the United States, they ushered in a new revolution. It won’t be long, commentators say, before robots make up the lion’s share of fast food restaurant staff…given the rising minimum wages and new advances in technology that are pushing many fast food companies to look seriously at automation. New technologies are also being developed behind the counter to reduce the need for humans, with a number of manufacturers producing kitchen robots that can grill hamburgers, salt fries and do the work of traditional cooks. Chief executive of Yum Brands (Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut) Greg Creed told CNBC earlier this year that within a decade, machines will replace some human workers. “I don’t think it is going to happen next year or the year after, but I do believe that probably by the mid ‘20s to the late ‘20s, you’ll start to see a dramatic change in how machines run the world,” Creed says. A good example is Flippy, a small cart-on-wheels that features an arm with six axes that can attain many motions to perform multiple functions with detachable tools and artificial intelligence programming. Flippy can - as its name suggests - make hamburgers, fry chicken and even cut vegetables…and the CaliBurger chain will have them in at least 50 of its restaurants within two years. Creator David Zito of Miso Robotics says Flippy was created with input from and works alongside human chefs, and relies on technology, artificial intelligence, Intelligence of Things connectivity, cameras and sensors. CaliBurger was struggling with high kitchen staff turnover, with many leaving the store immediately after being trained, and needed consistent, longterm kitchen help. “When I met chairman John Miller and listened to what he needed, the sparks really started flying,” Zito says. “He was talking about a real problem he had, and we were really excited about how the technology could make an impact in multiple industries, but this one seemed like a really good fit.” So, the company started designing a robot that could flip patties on the grill. But while it’s a simple task for most chefs or line cooks in almost any restaurant kitchen, designing a robot that could work in the ever-changing conditions of a kitchen meant giving it the ability to see…accomplished through a combination of sensors and cameras. Flippy also needed to be able to learn and gain intelligence to adapt to the fast-paced — and sometimes high-stakes — atmosphere of a commercial kitchen. That took designing a “narrow” AI system, Zito said, which could use IoT connectivity to learn how to perfect tasks and acquire new skills. The company focused its efforts on designing that AI system, partnering with robotic arm manufacturers for the machine’s hardware while also trying to perfect the Intelligence of Things connectivity, automated learning and other smart technology software. Miller says the machines will work with CaliBurger employees to make faster, safer and more accurate food…and the investment Implement overheating technology to increase safety • Implement condition monitoring techniques • Replace/upgrade protection & switchgear • Develop predictive maintenance plans For more information, visit 77664_NZFOODTECHADV NHP ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING PRODUCTS 0800 NHP NHP | | 77664_NZFoodTechadv_v2.indd 1 29/08/2017 4:32 PM Who offers you customised robotic solutions for your end of line packaging? HMPS of course. FT370 is a broader vision for “creating a unified operating system.” Equipment manufacturers and fast food operators are sure that, with the falling prices of automation, they could quickly recoup their investments on labour savings. Nearly 2.3 million people work as cooks in the United States, earning an average of $10.99 per hour. Wendy’s believes the cost of kiosks could be recouped in less than two years, and is sure that some customers even prefer kiosks to human.

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