In brief: Foxconn’s under-construction electronics manufacturing plant in Wisconsin has been beset with troubles, but that hasn’t stopped the Taiwanese giant from announcing one of the products that will be built there: automated coffee- and tea-dispensing kiosks.
Foxconn, best known for its Chinese factories that create many of the world’s electronic devices, has announced it is partnering with Texas-based Briggo, which describes itself as the “creator of the world’s first gourmet, robotic barista.” As reported by the Milwaukee Business Times, these kiosk-sized, automated Coffee Hauses are found in airports, convention centers, and the offices of large businesses. The app-based machines let customers order in advance and alert them when their beverage is ready via text message.
Giant robotic coffee machines appear far from the LCDs that Foxconn said it would be manufacturing at the plant, but they do have displays and other electronic parts.
“The Fii team is passionate about its commitment to produce made-in-America products,” said Fii USA President Foo-Ming Fu. “By adding Briggo to our customer portfolio, we now have the opportunity to produce a cutting-edge, cloud-based, robotic retail platform through smart manufacturing capabilities needed to support their aggressive growth plans.”
Back in 2017, Foxconn chose Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, for what was supposed to be a $10 billion facility that would bring 13,000 jobs to the area.
In July, it was revealed that the plant would open in 2020 with a workforce of just 1,500, or 320 short of what it needs to secure $4 billion in financial incentives from the state. The governor says the company remains committed to hiring 13,000 people, albeit in small increments, though both the factory and its American workforce are expected to much smaller than originally promised.
Precisely when manufacture of the automated coffee machines will begin is a mystery, as we still don’t know for certain when the factory will be up and running. Both Foxconn and Briggo say they have completed rapid prototyping for the product and established a supply chain that can easily be scaled up.