Weight-based dosing grinders are on the horizon - Page 2

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
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Postby signal15 » Apr 21, 2011, 10:15 am

I don't foresee anyone rolling that sort of technology into a < $600 grinder however.

I guarantee you that all of the grinders on the market cost *nowhere* near their selling price to manufacture. My MDX is close to $1000 new, and I can think of a ton of things that are more complex, required way more engineering, and cost much less:
- power tools like chainsaws or other things with engines
- precision power tools like jointer planers, certain types of saws, drill presses, micro-mills and lathes
- laptops and other electronics
- cellphones

Not including the doser, my MDX literally has less than 10 parts if you strip it down. And if you look back to early 2000's prices on all of these things, they were half the price of what they are now, sometimes less. Just look at the old reviews on grinders, many of them mention what they paid new for them.

So, as far as putting this "technology," which isn't complex, into a sub-$600 grinder.... it's completely possible. The problem is, anyone doing it is going to charge whatever the enthusiasts and commercial customers will pay.

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Randy G.
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Postby Randy G. » Apr 21, 2011, 11:33 am

signal15 wrote:I guarantee you that all of the grinders on the market cost *nowhere* near their selling price to manufacture. ..... So, as far as putting this "technology," which isn't complex, into a sub-$600 grinder.... it's completely possible.

This is more accurate when you think that one can purchase a digital scale that has .1 gram resolution for less than $10 (I just saw one for $8 shipped!). Add the electronic chip to stop the grinder at a predetermined weight (one chip and an SSR?) and what would be the total additional cost (after R+D and die making)? $5? $10? They just need the motivation to see it as a viable selling point.

Look at the inclusion of factory-installed SSRs in espresso machines. Something that was unheard of.. what? ..around six or seven years ago.
Espresso! My Espresso!

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Postby cafeIKE » Apr 21, 2011, 12:48 pm

Expect an $8 scale to last 10 years?
These cheap scales are not very stable.
See Scale Dynamic Instability

Go and buy the parts, hook 'em up and see how far you get.

Amortize $100K in R&D over 10,000 units over 5 years and that's about $15 per unit NRE, $100 @ MSRP.
Those that have never designed and built a sophisticated product from scratch have no business whatsoever commenting on what is a fair cost.

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Postby jammin » Apr 21, 2011, 1:17 pm

Ian... somebody had to say it;)

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Postby tekomino » Apr 21, 2011, 1:23 pm

+1 to Ian. And moving 10,000 units is definitely not child's play.
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Postby another_jim » Apr 21, 2011, 4:47 pm

One grinder, any coffee in the store, served as a shot, inside 1 minute. That should be the technological standard to shoot for on a 21st century commercial espresso grinder

On a grinder with near zero retention and single shot grinding, like the Versalab, one can weigh the dose going in, and get within 1 bean's worth, about 0.2 grams. If one knows the optimum grind setting and dose for each coffee, a slightly faster and more consistent grinder than the VL could hit this target.

Reconfiguring espresso grinders into the bulk grinder format with vertical burrs and a horizontal axle with a heavy duty feeding augur might allow the same accuracy in a more robust package. This system would also entirely eliminate the delays and slop associated with stopping a heavy motor and burr set to hit a target weight.

The other thing is to use a big conical burr whose grind setting doesn't change if the coffee is switched but the dose is kept the same. Then the grind setting could be dialed in based on dose alone (with only odd ball coffees being different, or changes for ristretto or lungo shots).

This would be a major piece of design work. But if you've ever prepared weighed doses of 5 cups of 5 different coffees each in about 8 minutes for a cupping using a big Bunn or Ditting, or you look at a supermarket with its one grinder and 30 different bean offerings, you'll know how a well designed grinder like this would make every roasted coffee available for espresso prep. The same grinder could be used for all made to order, single portion brewing methods ("espresso" coffee in the original sense of the word).

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