Aillio is launching a pair of upgrades to its core product, the compact, 1-kilo Bullet R1 roaster. The unique induction-heated drum roaster now comes equipped with an improved infrared temperature sensor that is useful for setting preheat temperatures, but also for effective and precise real-time readings of the bean mass.
The Taipei City, Taiwan-based company is also rolling out an upgraded power PCB for the Bullet, while preparing to launch its next machine, the 2-kilo-capacity Bullseye, later this year.
The new infrared bean temperature sensing (IBTS) system will be mounted in the same location within the machine where the old one was. The sensor is housed within an Aillio-patent-pending assembly that provides a “low-flow, high-pressure air barrier” that makes it possible to read the bean mass temperature from inside the roaster with no thermometric lag. Aillio said the accuracy and precision of its IBTS remains consistent between batches of varying sizes, and alleviates vague roast profile data artifacts such as the “turning point” that roasters grapple with using other types of sensors.
From its vantage point in the top left corner on the front plate of the machine, aimed downward at the bean mass at a 12-degree angle, the IR sensor samples the temperature of a 10×10-cm area inside the drum roughly 10 times per second, according to the company. Interference from the three drum vanes that support the drum wall to the shaft is taken into account by a digital filter that continually removes this wrong-data “noise,” yielding a new value visible to the user every second.
“For now, this technology only works in the Bullet, but there is no reason it could not be adapted in other [larger, traditional commercial] roasters in the future,” Aillio CEO Jonas Lillie told Daily Coffee News. “We are looking into this as well.”
Following a roughly 10-month development period, Aillio’s new power PCB is intended to deliver a variety of improvements, including: a more stable power output that facilitates more consistent back-to-back roasts even if input voltages vary; its wiring is simplified for durability and ease of maintenance; and it maintains cooler internal temperatures while also sending more power to the induction module, making the Bullet R1v2 slightly more powerful than its predecessor.
“All the parts are also sourced by us, and we are buying the best components we can possibly source,” said Lillie. “The caps we use are rated at 5,000-10,000 hours and are beefed up from the previous version, which means the board should last for a very long time.”
It also allows for firmware upgrades, and unlike the original PCB, this one’s paperwork is in order for all safety certifications to be stamped by March 2019, according to Aillio. Plus, it looks cool all dressed in black.
Lillie said that after these two items consumed most of Aillio’s attention in 2018, behind-the-scenes work in the coming year will be all about the Bullseye, which Aillio revealed in June 2018 at the World of Coffee expo in Amsterdam. The new 2-kilo countertop roasting machine will include a robust set of automation features, aimed at entering the rapidly crowding easy-entry shop roaster category.
Bullseye automation options will include handling all actions from a loaded hopper of greens through to the external release of finished, cooled beans. In league with the Bellwether and the Roastery, the machine will allow users to download roast profiles designed by anyone, including offsite roasting professionals or even hobbyists, via the internet.
Execution of a roast can be hands-on with real-time tweaks, or automated with one-touch operation through an integrated interface on the machine itself or else via Aillio’s Roastime OSX or Windows software OSX. Roastime for IOS and Android will be ready by the time Bullseye launches, according to the company.
A built-in electrostatic precipitator will handle smoke suppression in the Bullseye, removing particulate but not aroma.
“First goal is to make the roaster compliant so that it can be used without any external filter, but if the smell has to be removed, we can add an extra filter to do this,” said Lillie. “We are just getting started testing all these new things we have been working on, and there will be a whole lot of optimization that needs to be done. From our calculations, it looks very promising, and it has been designed larger that needed for the application, so we believe it will perform well.”
The machine is centered on an induction-heated drum like the Bullet, with the addition of variable inlet air temperature. It will be equipped with the IBTS, as well as other innovative proprietary sensors still in development. Said Lillie, “I can’t talk much about the sensors, but they will include sensing of different gasses, and also sensors that look at how the beans change in the drum.”
“All you have to do is weigh the beans and load them into the funnel,” added Lillie. “When the roaster is ready, they will be charged into the roasting drum, and when done, they will be moved to the cooling drum, which is under the roasting drum. When cool, they are released out of the front of the roaster.”
Aillio has yet to announce an official launch date or pricing for the Bullseye, but will fully focused on its development from here on in. Said Lillie, “We have hired more engineers to get things rolling faster.”
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.