Cheese-flipping robot patiently rotates gruyere

K0re on YouTube had a genuinely wonderful day in Switzerland that included the HR Giger museum, lashings of absinthe, and a good deal of time in the company of a machine that patiently rotates wheels of cheese.

I wanted to see the Giger Museum and Bar in Gruyeres about an hour away from Montreux.

The driver Pascal suggested the cheese factory and took me on a mini-tour of how they make gruyere and how the cows are treated, etc. after an afternoon of absinthe and grotesquerie.

Cheese Robot (via Kottke)


  1. What does this have to do with Giger? I was expecting more vaginas and biomechanics.

    *yea, we’re joking here

  2. I’ve developed an unhealthy obsession with food handling and medical packaging robots since my husband started working with them. They are so nifty! Little bits of the future, in places where no one but a very few ever sees them.

  3. This looks a lot like the aging room with billions of dollars worth of cheese that was destroyed by the Italian earthquake a couple months ago.

    1. I find your mocking of the common man losing their livelihood and ability to support themselves and their family entertaining. 

  4. The robot patiently turns the cheese? Unlike its co-robots which are snarky and surly, constantly needing lost production down time for programming readjustments. 

    Reminiscent of the Luddite movement. Wonder how many humans the robots replaced?

    1. Wonder how many more people can afford to eat gruyere now that the cost of making  it fell?

      1. It seems they’ve flooded the market with mild Gruyère-like cheese. Perhaps this is to please the masses, but I’m stuck hunting down and paying a premium for cave aged Gruyère. 

        Edit: Horay for google chrome spellcheck adding accents :P

  5. Employment matters, but I don’t see why it has to be the same employment forevermore.  The nature of work changes all the time, and a lot of jobs that currently exist would not have been remotely possible without a lot of automation and generalized cost reductions.

    30 years ago my company would have needed a secretary, accountants, a librarian, an office and all the rest- and therefore would not have existed (especially in the starting phase).  Now it does, and it employs people in jobs that would not have existed then either.

  6. could somebody please remix this with “Giant murderous half-ton car-part junkbot will hold 32 bottles of wine for you” for the perfect Teacher-Parent cheese and wine and robots night?

    1. What you’re missing is the great length of time the cheese is sitting in that warehouse.  The robot isn’t just flipping them, it’s also moving them down the line as it goes, so the cheese is slowly slowly migrating through on each pass.
      But cheese takes time.  If they made a robot that flipped two wheels at once, it would be spending half its time idle.  Less efficient!

      Even if they double the warehouse capacity and need two robots (I suspect they might already have several), I think parallel serial robots will lead to more regular flipping distribution, as well as the benefits from reduced spares.  Cheese waits for no robot needing repairs, so having 2 expensive robots and 1 spare is less good than 4 cheaper robots and 1 spare.

      Or we both might be overthinking the problem :)

      (HAH!  Saved my comment from destruction!  Suck it Disqus!)

  7. This actually was one of my summer jobs as a student in 1977, at Crump Way Cheese Factors in Wells in Somerset, no longer with us.

    We had to turn 60lb truckles of farmhouse Cheddar; this is the sort of thing, though our truckles were less mouldy than these items ageing in Wookey Hole caves, which are only about two miles from where my Cheese Factors warehouse was, btw. For those who recognise it – yes, Wookey Hole has been used as a location for Dr Who and Harry Potter, but I am pretty sure my warehouse wasn’t.

  8. As a bonus, do not activate the video, but look at the picture as you scroll up or down on your screen. If you see what I  see, an amazing optical illusion occurs as you scroll the image higher or lower on the screen.

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