Sally the Salad Robot

Sally the Salad Robot

August 26, 2020

Are you missing your self-serve salad bar because of the pandemic?  Maybe technology can get you the salad of your dreams.

Chowbotics has created a self-serve salad robot called Sally The Salad Robot.   Sally can be filled with 22 canisters of various items, with over 150 ingredients that are approved for the containers.   Through a touch screen, the user can combine these 22 ingredients into a variety of feature salads, grain bowls, yogurt bowls, and snacks.  Over 1,000 possible bowls can be made by combining these 22 items in different ways with Sally.  You can select a predetermined recipe, or combine the items to make your own unique creation.

Sally the Salad Robot has an expanded appeal with the presence of Covid-19.  Many locations have eliminated their self-serve salad bars for safety reasons. But, the demand for customized salad remains.  As a result, Sally the Salad Robot is very attractive for several industries, including the food department in supermarkets like ShopRite, in hospitals, and in higher education.


Video Spotlight: The Salad Station’s rapid brand expansion through the 24/7 salad robot. (Nov 27, 2019, chowbotics)


This post is based on the Continue reading

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Aluminum Can Shortage

Aluminum Can Shortage

August 24, 2020

Is trouble brewing for users of aluminum cans?  Some beer and soda manufacturers fear that the existing shortage of cans will grow worse in upcoming months.

Some consumers already report difficulty finding specialty flavors of canned beverages like Cherry Coke Zero or niche brews, as producers focus on making the most popular flavors and brands instead.

Additional can manufacturing capacity is in the works, but it will be up to a year before the new facilities are ready.


Video Spotlight: Low Coca-Cola supply blamed on aluminum can shortage  (July 23, 2020, 11Alive)


This post is based on the Syracuse article, The national beer and soda can shortage: How is it affecting supplies in Central New York?, by Don Cazentre, July 29, 2020; the CNN article, Why America is running out of aluminum cans, by Alicia Wallace, July 22, 2020; and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: belchonock/123RF

Discussion Questions:

1.   What issues are causing demand for aluminum cans to spike, and what types of time-series forecasting variations are these?

Guidance: One of the obvious issues is the COVID-19 pandemic.  As more Americans consume their beer and soda at home, Continue reading

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Swimming Pool Shortage Stymies Aggregate Planners

Swimming Pool Shortage Stymies Aggregate Planners

August 19, 2020

Those looking for an above ground pool to keep the family swimming during the pandemic may be left high and dry till at least March of 2021.

Companies like Doughboy, whose above ground pools retail for between $5,000 to $19,000, faced production stoppages and materials shortages during the early months of the COVID-19 lockdown.  Now they are racing to keep up as more Americans than ever want the convenience of a backyard pool to stay cool and entertain the kids, and retailers have waitlists that stretch till spring of 2020.

Outdoor patio furniture companies have faced similar challenges.


Video Spotlight: Pool Shortage  (June 16, 2020, WCIA News)


This post is based on the Fox Business article, Swimming pool buyers beached by back orders through 2021, by Jeanette Settembre, August 1, 2020, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Ingram Publishing/SuperStock

Discussion Questions:

1.   In forecasting terms, what type of variation does the COVID-19 pandemic represent?

Guidance: No one could have envisioned the COVID-19 pandemic that hit in early 2020 or the lockdown that would follow.  As such, these are called “irregular variations” in time series analysis forecasting, Irregular variations Continue reading

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