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AI: Artificial… Licorice Maker?

Post: May. 22, 2017

Sometimes new technology opens new doors of thought previously beyond our imaginations, and other times it helps perfect a really mundane task that most of us never even thought about. Such is the case of the Microsoft AI that has helped Hershey make the perfect Twizzler. Ensuring that each package of Twizzlers has weighed the same has traditionally been unusually difficult because slight variations in temperature can cause its weight to shift. Employees have traditionally had to weigh the licorice constantly to keep track. Microsoft may have found a better way:

Hershey’s set up a line to transmit data directly back and forth to Microsoft’s Azure cloud, collecting more than 60 million data points from 23 sensors over two months. The system tracks pressure, temperature, rotations per minute, and other factors across the licorice-making process.

After Lenhart was able to use the program to track which data points affected the final weight of the licorice, the machine learned to adjust itself about 240 times a day, reducing weight variability by 50 percent. Along the way, Lenhart also found other fixes across the factory.

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