Ford SA creates ‘braai legend’ robot: Grills 120 items at once
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Ford South Africa’s Silverton Assembly Plant has taken braaing to the next level – and it’s pretty futuristic. While the usual braai masters might get cheeky during family gatherings, the TCF BBQ is nothing less than a robot.
Capable of braaing 120 pieces of meat in 12 minutes, the amazing robot calmly goes about its business with mechanical speed and precision.
Braai master forged using scrap materials
The robot is the result of an internal competition hosted by Ford South Africa. Apparently, departments had been asked to design something unique using scrap materials and decommissioned tools they could salvage at the plant. This followed a massive upgrade of the assembly line earlier this year.
Claude Roux, Area Manager for the Trim and Chassis and Final Line, is credited with the ambitious concept of transforming one of the robots into a braai expert.
“This was when the innovation and curiosity of that ‘small child’ inside all of us came to life. We took our knowledge of braaing and our understanding of manufacturing vehicles and married the two to create a machine with the ability to pick up and manipulate the meat on a grill.”
The team behind the incredible machine included a qualified electrician, fitter, PLC programmer, and a controls specialist. Furthermore, the project took around four weeks to complete.
Robotic braai master hasn’t missed a beat – or dropped a thing
The robot is programmed to place the grill on one of three braai stations, then expertly turn it. Additionally, the robot can offload the grill from the braai onto a nearby station.
The TCF BBQ has yet to drop a single piece of meat, a record most traditional braai masters probably won’t be able to brag about with a straight face. Other abilities include pouring drinks and serving a full tray to people.
Naturally, the robot can also flash headlights, indicate, beep its horn and flash its park lights. Furthermore, the team opted to finish the design off with the national flag.
Bigger, better version on the cards
Ockert Berry, VP Operations at Ford SA, says that the robot has become a celebrity at the company that is extremely proud of the ‘creativity and ingenuity’ it defines for the brand.
Sadly, the robot has been dismantled (probably by jealous rivals) but Berry hasn’t ruled out the possibility of another version.
“This competition brought out a strong yet friendly rivalry that saw various teams working together in secrecy until the reveal date. Now TCF BBQ has hung up his apron and has been dismantled, but a next-generation version can’t be ruled out. Maybe we will see a new version to coincide with the launch of the next-generation Ranger,”