Thursday, March 24, 2011

You Have to See It To Believe It: The Automatic Coke Machine

I was sitting in a McDonald's (OK I admit it, for lunch) and had a good view of the employee working the drive through window. Next to the cash register was a whirligig, merry-go-round, circusy type machine. It looked quite complex, seemed to be accomplishing something important, but I couldn't tell for sure exactly how it worked. So I asked the employee to explain it to me.

When a drink order is entered on the cash register/computer a signal is automatically sent to this Ferris Wheel of a machine. The cup holder spins to the correct size stack of cups and deposits one on a conveyor. The cup then travels in line towards a single nozzle.

When the cup gets under the nozzle, the correct flavor drink, as entered on the computer, is filled with the correct quantity of beverage, as entered on the computer. A medium Diet-Coke. A small ice tea. A large Sprite.

Finally the filled cup continues down the conveyor, waiting in line for its turn to be capped, picked up, and delivered to the customer with the rest of their order.

I wonder what the Hamburger Flipper, Mustard and Catsup Spritzer, and French Fry Salting Machines look like.

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