A tech company in Seattle is touting a new robotic pizza-making machine that, they say, can assemble up to 300 12-inch pizzas per hour.
Picnic, the company behind the mastermind pizza-spewing apparatus, has reportedly been working on its modular food assembly line for three years, according to GeekWire. And last week, the Picnic has finally unveiled a pizza-making prototype to the media.
The apparatus, which so far has no catchy, trademarkable name, is made out of a series of modules that can apply sauce, cheese, and toppings as the dough moves along a conveyor that is placed underneath each piece of equipment.
Right now the robot makes pizza; Picnic is hoping to expand those abilities to include any number of other dishes.
“Our modular machine system is the first of its kind,” says a message on Picnic’s website. “It can perform any number of food assembly tasks in any order, completely configurable to any of the restaurant’s processes. Starting with pizza, our system will soon be able to make a wide variety of foods including salads, sandwiches, bowls, and more.
The keywords in that statement are “food assembly tasks” — the robotic machines still depend on a human to make each individual component (dough, sauce, cheese, toppings) and to place the pizza on the conveyor, GeekWire notes. Once the pies come out from the other end, they have to be baked, too.
That said, the process can be programmed to be thoroughly automated. Ideally, when an order is placed, the machine will store that information — along with any subsequent orders — and perform the tasks in sequential order as soon as its sensors detect the dough on the conveyor.
The current design is also just a prototype that the company “Picnic” is testing at a few locations, including a restaurant in Redmond, Wash., called Zaucer, and at T-Mobile Park, where Centerplate, one of the stadium’s food vendors, has been beta-testing the machine.
The ultimate test, however, is taste. Are robotically-assembled pizzas distinguishable from hand-assembled pies?
“For the customers, they couldn’t tell a difference, which for me was a win,” Centerplate’s general manager Steve Dominguez told the Seattle Times.