First Dumpling-Making Robot Optimize Production, Entertain Guests
01 The short story
The Japanese theme park Huis Ten Bosch has introduced the "Takoyaki Robot OctoChef" to optimize the process of making Takoyaki - Japanese dumplings. Using AI and deep learning, the UR5 collaborative robot reproduces the delicate movements of a Takoyaki chef, pouring oil and ingredients followed by rotating the dumplings to desired doneness. The theme park realized an increase in productivity while also creating a highly entertaining attraction.
02 The challenge
One of Japan's most popular theme parks Huis Ten Bosch has different kingdoms, such as "Kingdom of Flowers” and "Kingdom of Light." When “Kingdom of Robot” opened, the park needed an attraction that would fulfill several needs:
"Huis Ten Bosch wanted to utilize robots to improve productivity. In our restaurants we wanted to enhance productivity by introducing robots and provide services that satisfy customers even with limited number of staff," says Yuko Nakano, Chief of Corporate Planning at Huis Ten Bosch.
Video — Huis Ten Bosch - Japan
03 The solution
When Huis Ten Bosch received a proposal from Connected Robotics, a System Integrator of Universal Robots, they decided to introduce the Takoyaki Robot OctoChef. The UR cobot was chosen for the solution due to its reliable and stable performance that also enables efficient operation in a limited, 13.2 square meter space inside the shop. "Usually robots are good at handling hard objects, but not soft things like meat and octopus. However, UR5 robot can copy the highly specialized and subtle movements of baking takoyaki dumplings like that of a professional chef, so we felt it was right for the solution," says Taiki Sato, Director of Connected Robotics.
The main job of the UR5 robot is to pour the oil, add the ingredients, and rotate the dumplings to bake until desired doneness. Utilizing an image recognition system and deep learning technology, AI works while checking the baking color in order to deliver 96 fully baked dumplings at once. The OctoChef works closely with its human counterparts that prepare the ingredients and put toppings on finished products.
"With one robot, we can bake two steel plates, enabling Huis Ten Bosch to manage the shop even with one person only. They can now utilize the freed up time to communicate with customers, so that is very effective," says the Connected Robotics Director.
Usually, it takes 2-3 months to master baking Takoyaki dumplings, but the UR5 learned this very quickly. The OctoChef is now very popular among customers that line up to witness its delicate moves.
“The big benefits we are realizing with the robot has spurred us to look at other food services that we could introduce robots in," says Yuko Nakano, Huis Ten Bosch’s Chief of Corporate Planning.
Human robot collaboration in the food industry
- Automated a series of processes from pouring oil and ingredients to baking and turning the Takoyaki
- Reproduced movement of a professional Takoyaki chef, handling the dumplings with delicate movements
- Delivered high productivity, enabling the baking of up to 96 dumplings at once
- Able to collaborate with humans in a limited space of 13.2 square meters
- Reduced the training of mastering Takoyaki baking from 2-3 months to only a few days
- Manipulation of complex and subtle movements
- Easy programming
- Small Footprint
- Flexible deployment
- Collaborative and safe
- Highly reliable and stable operation
- Food handling
- Pick and Place
Are you ready to automate your business?
Cost-effective, safe and flexible collaborative robots - or cobots- are making automation easier than ever, even for the small and mid-sizes companies.