Automated chocolates
Technology + chocolate = crazy delicious.

Chocolate sales are likely to reach nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in the US alone this Valentine’s day. As we prepare to consume that mountain of confectionary bliss, we should think about the ones responsible for bringing us such delectable treats. I’m speaking, of course, about robots. As with nearly all other forms of modern food production, chocolate making is a robotic-man’s world. Even for the most gourmet of goodies, the truffle, there’s a horde of machines responsible for every step of the creation process from mixing to wrapping. Take a close look at the automated acrobatics of the machines in a New England factory as it creates gourmet chocolate truffles in the video below. Is it silly to want to install some of these robots in my home? Yes. Yes it is. …but I can’t think of any better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Most of the automated process shown in the video above is fairly typical for chocolate production, but it’s still pretty amazing to watch. I love the spinning racks at 0:34 (reminds me of a space satellite), and you probably can’t see it, but those truffles at 0:22 are being filled with nozzle inside nozzles to mix multiple fillings. Mmm…double the nozzles means double the delicious.

The footage is taken at Dan’s Chocolates, a New England based gourmet chocolate company with a modern vibe. The small factory shown still manages to produce 250 truffles a minute. The majority will be sold online. Dan’s Chocolates is a good example of how robotic advancements (paired with modern shipping) can allow a relatively small company to compete on a national scale successfully. They’ve already sold a million+ sweets while still keeping to some of their loftier environmental and social goals: they try to locate all of their supplies within 100 miles of their factory, they donate proceeds from every sale to charities of their customer’s choosing, etc, etc. You can learn more about their ideals and their chocolate factory on the Dan’s Chocolate’s website.

It seems like every week or two I’m showing you a new video about an automated factory. I’m pretty sure I could post a new video every day and still never run out. There’s simply so many industrial robots that the majority of us have never seen. And there’s going to be more. As machines become more sophisticated, and cheaper to build, they will continue to replace much of the traditional labor in manufacturing, even for small businesses. Whether you think that’s a positive or negative change for the world, it’s hard to ignore how few people and how many robots are making our everyday goods. Moving forward, those companies which are able to effectively expand their automated production lines are going to be the success stories of the 21st century.

So, this Valentine’s Day, do the smart thing. Skip the chocolates and buy your loved one a robot.

Why settle for one box of truffles when you can have a machine that could make you millions?

[screen capture and video credit: Dan’s Chocolates]
[source: Dan’s Chocolates]