Shake it, Toni! – A KUKA robot mixes drinks and cocktails

Precise, fast, reliable – in the ‘TONI’ fully automatic bar system from the Italian company Makr Shakr, a KR AGILUS provides a taste of the ‘dolce vita’. With the robot bartender, visitors can order their drinks via app – and then enjoy their freshly mixed beverages a short time later.

Cocktail robot mixes drinks in prestige hotel in Milan

At the rooftop bar of the TownHouse Duomo Hotel in Milan, visitors can enjoy the view of the world-famous Milan Cathedral as well as creative drinks. The special aspect: a bartending robot mixes the drinks there. ‘Toni’, the fully automatic bar system, was developed by Makr Shakr – a Turin-based company founded in 2014. It all began with the idea of bringing bar patrons closer to the possibilities of digitalization and automation. “We wanted to combine our passion for cocktails and design with modern technology,” explains Alessandro Incisa, Chief Technology Officer at Makr Shakr.

Milan, city of trends: the bartending robot is located near the world-famous cathedral.

The fully automatic bar system is fully equipped

‘Toni’ is a fully automatic robot bartender in which state-of-the-art components based on the Internet of Things (IoT) are combined with automation components. Two KUKA type KR 10 R1100 and KR 6 R900-2 robots from the KR AGILUS series are mounted on a counter: one robot mixes the drinks and cocktails while the other supports during the pouring process. Above them, holders for roughly 150 bottles are mounted. The bartending robot then selects which of these to tap for ingredients. Besides an ice dispenser, the rear wall of the robot cell also has a tap for beer, wine and soda. A sink in which the cocktail robot rinses out the shaker after each completed order is also installed.

While mixing the drinks, the cocktail robot chooses the right ingredients from the more than 150 bottles.

Simple and easy: ordering from the bartending robot via app

The bar system is controlled via the KUKA KR C4 controller as well as via a PLC. However, the ordering process is very easy for guests: they simply select their drink via the app. The information is then sent to the bartending robot. The guest is then informed as soon as the drink is ready to be picked up. It is also possible to create your own drink using the app. “We invite visitors to play with the robots in a simple manner,” says Alessandro Incisa.

Intuitive: guests send their orders to the robot bartender via app.
In the fully automatic bar system from Makr Shakr, a KUKA robot mixes the drinks.

Fully automatic bar system combines various technologies

Makr Shakr developed the robot controller and the app for the fully automatic bar system. At the same time, a connection to the Kubernetes cloud platform operated by Google was also established. The movements presented a challenge. The robot replacing the bartender in the system could not spill any drinks – even at full speed. Factors which spoke in favor of the use of KUKA robots were their speed, intuitive operation and reliability. But aesthetics also played a role. “KUKA introduced our company to the world of automation and was a central partner for us during development,” notes Alessandro Incisa.

Fast, reliable and precise – the bartending robot is an extravagant eye-catcher.
Through ‘Toni’, Makr Shakr is expanding the boundaries of interaction between humans and robots. However, Alessandro Incisa assures: “It is not our goal to have the robot replace human bartenders. With ‘Toni’, the focus is on having the guests experience a technology that is otherwise not a part of their daily lives.”

Playing with digitalization: Makr Shakr uses two KUKA robots as bartenders.

Ordering from ‘Toni’, the bartending robot, also provides users with an opportunity for social interaction. They can use the app to share recipes or post photos on social networks.

Alessandro Incisa, Chief Technology Officer at Makr Shakr
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