The Egro Next is blending Android technology with classic espresso machine style to provide operators and customers a truly unique experience.
In the rapidly evolving world of super-automation, Swiss manufacturer Egro is using advanced technology to drive intuitiveness, useability, and quality in its product range.Its latest addition is Next. Launched in 2018, Next is built to engage its consumers and create an easy, low-maintenance approach to coffee production. It is available in three versions and has Android technology integrated into the interface to maximise personalisation and ease of operation.
“The key feature of the Egro Next is usability, which comes from the intuitive Android system, which everyone knows from the mobile world,” says Christian Muheim, Research and Development Manager at Egro.
The 10-inch touchscreen is app-controlled and can be programmed to display detailed information, such the calorie count of each beverage and the origin of the beans.
Android technology allows easy programming for owners and the ability to customise settings. This includes the option to program the machine’s operating mode by remote, meaning it is able to switch between manual and self-service at chosen times.
“This special switch mode can prepare the machine to switch between different operation modes at different occasions. For example, it can be set to change from manual operation during the day to automatic, self-service at night,” Muheim says.
The option to adjust the machine quickly and easily means cheaper running costs and less maintenance.
“Before a service technician would need to come down and reprogram the machine so this is far easier to switch between modes, which is a huge benefit,” Muheim says.
Technology is what separates Next from Egro’s previous designs. In addition to the Android interface, Egro has vastly improved pre-existing features and added new technology to enhance the overall experience.
“You have the automated spout, which is much faster than previously. Then the Connect telemetry system, which allows the operator to connect to the device with a remote control. With the received data, you can create great benefits for the operator, marketing managers, and service managers. We also have a really fast combined milk and coffee cleaning process. It takes eight minutes, so we are one of the fastest in the market,” Muheim says.
Egro Next is fitted with a unique algorithm-based self-adjusting grinder that acts as if it was barista-controlled. As beans get older and temperature changes, extraction time can vary on what is required for a perfect espresso shot. The self-adjusting grinder reads the most important factors and delivers a smaller or coarser grind to maintain consistency in every cup.
“This is just another automated feature that a person is usually required to do,” Muheim says.
Milk is automatically heated and frothed by the iSteam, a device which can adjust the foam and the temperature of each coffee by using the touchscreen interface. Coffee, milk, and powder products can also be adjusted for personal preference.
“The temperature and the foaming level can be programmed so it does everything automatically over time. You can adjust different levels so that you can change the smoothness of the foam, depending what you prefer,” Muheim says.
The three versions of the Next each have their own benefits. The Pure Coffee acts as more of a traditional machine which makes espresso and other black coffee varieties. It doesn’t come with a milk frothing device, but there is the option to purchase and use the iSteam.
The Quick-Milk is the most economical option for operators. The machine is almost entirely automated via its texturing ability functionality. Cleaning is an exception as the machine requires daily manual replenishment of water and cleaning agent.
Top-Milk is Next’s fully automated premium model. It can be used with iSteam as an option and a milk line rinsing feature. It is the highest performing model and is low maintenance, capable of self-cleaning once the operator provides a cleaning tablet.
Next is predominately designed for use in hotels, restaurants, service stations, cafés, convenience stores, and self-service facilities. All versions of Next are designed to balance style and performance in a model that is flexible and compact.
“What we were looking for in the Egro Next is compactness. Finding the balance of footprint versus performance was really important and we have found the perfect ratio,” Muheim says.
According to Muheim, the machine was designed to capture a super-automated feel without losing a classic, personal touch.
“The machine must be a little bit emotional, but not too much because it’s automatic. There is an attraction to that,” he says.
“There is a theatre to a traditional coffee machine with a barista. On the Egro Next, the theatre is on the user interface and how the coffee looks at the spout and tastes, because the customer can see that, not only the final product.”
Muheim believes telemetry, robotics, integrated systems, and low-cost ownership are factors shaping the future of super-automation. The market demand is trending towards products that are intuitive and low maintenance, with more self-adjusting systems and less manual work required.
“The future is the Internet of Things, machines controlling a machine. This is becoming possible with our machines, as you can use the telemetry or serial connection to operate some of the functions remotely. I think this will continue to increase and Egro Next will be an important piece of the puzzle,” Muheim says.
For more information, visit www.ranciliogroupna.com/egro-next