HOW about a DIY ice cream dispenser next to the water machine in the office? Judging by the reaction of the office worker in our picture: Yum.

Is that just a vision? A case of putting the sigh into sci fi? No, it's here. It's now. And the machine is being manufactured in its thousands at Knaresborough for Nestl Ice Cream in time for this summer.

GSPK Engineering Ltd, in Manse Lane, is assembling 120 of these devices a day to keep pace with what is expected to be a huge demand this summer and not just in offices.

The Nestl Ice Creamery is also likely to be seen in shops, hospitals, staff canteens, schools and entertainment outlets throughout North and East Yorkshire.

That is the prediction of bosses at Richmond Ice Cream of Leeming Bar, which manufactures Nestl Ice Cream. They believe that the device will put an end to dwindling sales of hand-held soft ice cream cones and tubs, for years the number one family treat during days out.

Matthew Wilson, category marketing manager for the ice cream group, said: "There has been no true innovation specifically for soft ice cream cones and tubs for years. The addition of different sauces or a flake has been as exciting as it gets. Our research shows the demand for soft ice cream is there, if only people had a greater choice and wider availability."

The difference between the Nestl Ice Creamery and other traditional soft ice cream dispensers is that almost anyone will be able to use it quickly and without mess. It is cheap and easy to install and automatically measures out the perfect portion in a variety of flavours.

Want a triple toffee? Mint choc explosion? Raspberry Ripple? It all adds to the hum - and yum - of office life...

Updated: 09:00 Tuesday, May 20, 2003