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Robot Serving Beer

Fun Innovations Friday: Beer-Bots Eliminate the Waiting Game at Events

Aug. 25, 2023
An automatic beer tapping system from One Two Beer uses a unique bottom-up filling approach to reduce worker labor, patron wait times, and that annoying foam head.

Wouldn't it be great if you could bring your own alcohol to a concert, festival, fair or anywhere with long concession lines? Even the thought of the prices you pay for just one beer or alcoholic beverage is usually enough to dissuade me from venturing to these events, but then throw in the crowded wait, and it's enough to make me decide my couch is a much better venue. I won't even get into the morally sugeestvie tipping culture that happens with bartenders either. Of course, I don't mean if you were sitting at a bar all night—you should definitely be tipping those guys.

To help out event-goers, a company in Germany called One Two Beer GmbH has found a possibly convenient and useful solution to shorten the lines so attendees don't miss any part of their event by waiting in line for a coveted beverage. 

The automated beer tapping system uses a mobile tap head, built using igus' dryspin spindle which is from a family line of dryspin lead screws, nuts, and assemblies. The spindle allows the tap to quickly drive to the bottom of the cups and fill them in just 5 seconds without foaming. And that doesn't seem significantly shorter than a human serving you up a drink, but when you take conversational transaction out of the equation, it's likely saving a decent amount of time overall. 

Festival or event staff can place cups side by side on the automated system, press a button, and the mobile tap heads do the rest, descending into the bottom of the cups to fill them from below. According to One Two Beer, "This bottom-up approach prevents foaming while pouring rapidly as well as reducing labor costs for vendors."

The design of this novel beer-bot was a particular challenge as Tamas Kozma, Chief Information Officer at One Two Beer explains. "In order to enable tapping within seconds, a fast and low-friction linear guide was essential. Since our machine works in the food sector, a 100% lubrication-free application with FDA compliance was crucial for us."

The system was supposed to work accurately to the tenth of a millimeter, be as compact as possible for fast transport, and be insensitive to the harsh festival environment, including dust, high temperatures, and condensation. To make this design a reality, the company turned to igus' linear guide unit consisting of a compact lead screw and lead nit from the dryspin series and a matching stepper motor.

The tap is mounted on a flange lead screw nut from the dryspin JFRM series. and then moves up or down when the NEMA 23 lead screw stepper motor rotates the lead screw. While relatively simple,  some unique features exist: the lead screw nut is made of FDA-compliant high-performance plastic, a self-lubricating material that allows for low-friction dry operation. This creates a polymer that will not become a magnet for dirt due to the lubrication or grease and it's easy to clean with regular old water or high pressure. The hygienic guide system, with its pairing of plastic and stainless steel, also prevents corrosion and requires no maintenance, since there's no need for lubriation.

So, next time you're at a festival or concert, cross your fingers for a beer robot to be of service—I know I'll be on the hopeful lookout. 

Fun Innovations Friday

Created by the editors of New Equipment Digest and Plant Services, Fun Innovations Friday is a feel-good blog that showcases how advances in science, math, engineering, and technology are making our world more whimsical. Here’s another post that is guaranteed to brighten your day.

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