The Inari-zushi Robot by Suzumo can make anywhere from 1,200 to 2,500 pieces of Inarizushi in one hour. Productivity and quality of the food product is improved because the individual pieces are handled less and more quickly. First the operator places the rice in the hopper and then arranges the fried tofu skins on the turntable. Once the two main ingredients are in place, the robot can take over.
A mini linear actuator helps position the tofu section in the right place. Other linear actuators assist the robot in opening the tofu skin so that the rice can be inserted. When the sushi rolls are filled, they are pushed by the robot into the center of the turntable. The Inari-zushi Robot places the rice inside the fried tofu skin in much the same way a syringe is used to fill pastry shells. More air is utilized so the rice can be inserted smoothly and gently. A double air-nozzle system allows the machine to open the tofu skin without human contact and to fill all corners of the sushi pocket with rice.
The number of Inarizushi rolls the robot can produce depends on the size and shape of the individual tofu pieces. There are many different types of fried tofu. Popular sizes for these sushi rolls include standard triangle, mini triangle and mini square. It stands to reason that each different size or type require corresponding amounts of rice. The touch panel allows the settings to be easily configured. With previous robotic versions, to accommodate the varying sizes of rolls, parts had to be replaced manually.
The newest Inari-zushi robot can be used for making all kinds of sushi with the same machine simply by undoing a single screw to switch parts. Of course, innovation doesn’t come cheap – this sushi-making robot sells for $50,000 US.