MooBella’s Revamped Ice Cream Machines Debut at MIT After $18M Financing Deal
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Idex, a Northbrook, IL, company that has expertise in fluid management systems. The relationship began after an Idex engineer named Sam Ford saw a story about MooBella in a national magazine in 2007. Idex has engineered machines used in retail stores such as Home Depot and Lowes that automatically mix colors into paints to provide customers with the exact tints that they want. Ford was convinced that this expertise in fluid management could help MooBella clear some hurdles that it had faced.
Moysey and his engineering team, including fluid management experts at Idex, replaced the pneumatic control systems and air cylinders in the old design with electric stepper motors, making the machines much less noisy than previous versions, which he says sounded like vacuum cleaners. They also switched from Linux to Windows in the computer that runs the machines; adopted a modular design that enables easier production and maintenance; and replaced a corrosive coolant with a non-corrosive coolant in the refrigeration system, according to Moysey. But the firm has kept the proprietary freezing system for turning the ingredients in the machine into ice cream.
MooBella has contracted with Idex to manufacture the machines and provide technical support for the units once they are in the field. The new capital the company recently raised will pay for the deployment of 100 machines in locations around New England. The plan is to lease the machines to food services vendors for $400 per month and sell them all of the ingredients for making the ice cream, according to David Peters, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing. A scoop of the ice cream will cost customers about $2.85. The machines do not have a vending component, so customers pay for the ice cream like any other food item they purchase in venues such as cafeterias.
At least at MIT last week, people were flocking around the MooBella machines to catch a glimpse and even sample the product. If the company is right about people wanting to use the machines to make their own ice cream, it could claim a nice share the $60 billion annual market for ice cream around the globe.
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