No more beer and noodles… robots on the golf course

“There’s a robot, so I came to watch. It’s interesting to see how it tilts the cup when pouring a draft beer.”

On the third day of the KLPGA Doosan Match Play Championship golf tournament at Ladena Golf Club in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province. A gallery member who approached after noticing the cluster of robotic arms installed in the gallery plaza laughed in front of the beer robot.

Beer robots installed at the Doosan Ladena GC robotic food court./Reporter Park Jung-yup

Doosan Robotics organized a ROKEY food town utilizing its collaborative robots at the event, which was hosted by Doosan and Doosan Energy. The collaborative robots served five food and beverage (F&B) menus, including beer, ice cream, noodles, chicken, and coffee.

With the sun shining and temperatures reaching 26℃, 2pm was the time when the results of each group match, which started at 10:30am, began to be revealed. Visitors who were nervously watching the KLPGA’s only Doosan Matchplay (a tournament where two players play each other to determine the winner) championship match formed a long line in front of the beer robot and ice cream robot.

“The robot pours draft beer.”

“When my kids are old enough to drink beer, I want to come and show them.”

Expectant voices were heard while waiting for the beer, which takes just over 40 seconds to pour a 14-ounce cup (414 mL). The draft beer robot BB BEER BOX was created by Dongwon Tech, a system integration (SI) partner in Daegu. After placing an order on the touchscreen, the robot arm picks up the cups on the conveyor belt, fills them with the right amount of foamy beer from the draft beer tap, and places them on the coasters. Below, a refrigerator holds up to eight kegs (40 liters) of draft beer.

While there was no disagreement on the taste of the local craft beer, which has been in business for 20 years, some people said that the speed of the beer robot “doesn’t seem to suit the Korean personality.” “The speed at which the robot pours the beer is not slower than when a person pours it,” said Park Ki-tae, CEO of Dongwon Tech, who got the idea ahead of the Daegu Chimack Festival in August last year and completed the first model in six weeks. “The robot arm doesn’t speak and doesn’t have a face, so people seem to think it takes more time,” he said.

Dongwon Tech has been exhibiting at various food and beverage-related exhibitions and has secured nearly a dozen customers, and has also begun collaborating with a large rental company.

Aris, an ice cream solution launched by Doosan Robotics in collaboration with Lounge Lab, was also popular. Aris helps collaborative robots serve ice cream in various flavors packaged in individually sealed containers in cups to customers, and it also disposes of the sealed containers after squeezing the ice cream.

The reason for using single-serving sealed containers is to maintain hygiene and make inventory management easier. “The ice cream can be prepared and served with only one employee serving customers at the counter,” explains an official from Doosan Robotics.

Due to the hot weather, the noodle robot was not popular. The noodle cooking solution, developed by Doosan Robotics in collaboration with CJ Group, has been piloted at 15 VIPS stores nationwide. It has the ability to serve more than 10 types of noodle dishes such as udon and rice noodles with various garnishes according to customers’ preferences, and can make up to 40 to 50 bowls per hour.

The noodle robot on display was an early model built by Doosan Robotics before it was used in VIPS, and it still had its clunky noodles. One gallery member who chose the robot-made noodles to satisfy his hunger commented after a short meal, “The noodles are still a bit incomplete. The noodles are a bit undercooked and the soup is not hot.”

Roboarte’s chicken robot, which accompanied President Yoon on his visit, was also popular. Dr. Presso, which can make 18 types of drinks but always makes Americano, was also popular.

A noodle robot at Doosan’s RADENA GC robot food court안전놀이터. / Reporter Park Jung-yup

The food and beverage (F&B) sector is a special focus for Doosan Robotics, which is about to go public. As industries cut back on investment due to the economic downturn, demand for robots at large production sites has slowed. Instead, the relatively small food and beverage industry has begun to turn to collaborative robots to address labor costs.

Doosan is targeting the food and beverage market with the E Series, which is cheaper than its existing lineup and meets hygiene standards. Global robotics companies are less dominant in the F&B sector than in the industrial sector. This means that there are still opportunities to capture the market.

The key is not the ‘robot arm’, which is a collaborative robot, but the parts that are attached to the lower part of the robot’s wrist. These parts, called end-effectors and grippers, and the software that controls them are what make the robots useful. For this reason, the collaborative robot industry, including Doosan, is strengthening its cooperation system with solution providers that can build various menus.

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