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More efficient equipment and machine maintenance, as well as new data-driven business models, are also enabled by the IoT in catering and commercial kitchens. Hobart is a manufacturer of professional kitchen equipment. Its devices are connected to a global connectivity platform that enables machine control as well as monitoring.

The challenge: Better insight into the status data of kitchen machines

Ovens, refrigerators, iceboxes or dishwashers in the catering and mass catering industry are efficient and run around the clock. Part of the conglomerate ITW (Illinois Tool Works), the internationally active company Hobart from Offenburg supplies professional equipment that already have many smart functions. Examples include hygiene monitoring and notifications when machine cleaning is due. Especially in larger catering establishments, canteens and canteen kitchens in hospitals and nursing homes, there is a large pool of equipment. Employees operate and monitor a variety of different kitchen machines. Therefore, many users would like to have a better overview of the current status of the devices, of possible malfunctions and early reminders of maintenance processes.

Hobart was looking for a way to connect the smart features with a new global connectivity platform that encompasses all the equipment in the ITW Food Equipment portfolio. To do this, different machine data from different machine controls and data transmission paths must be combined, because ovens supply different data than dishwashers or refrigerators.

The solution: Networking the kitchen machines with a cloud application

Hobart worked with Materna Information & Communications SE for the initial consultation on the application areas of Industrial IoT and the subsequent implementation of the networking project. The IT service provider recommended that the company use data from all device categories across the board. This offers the opportunity to implement additional customer services .

The kitchen machines already have various sensors ex works that continuously monitor the operating status. The new solution uses a network gateway in the devices to transmit this data to the cloud application via the operator’s WLAN. It processes data from the company’s large kitchen equipment worldwide. For this, the machine data is stored in a Microsoft Azure-based cloud application. Data is accessed via web apps and mobile apps for iOS and Android.

The application transmits status data and error messages about the equipment, but also provides information about the consumption of electricity, water and cleaning agents as well as running costs. This data opens up the opportunity for long-term analysis for operators to act more sustainably in the long term. In addition, the app provides troubleshooting instructions: If a problem occurs with a machine, the software presents the operator with easy-to-understand images showing the steps to take to correct the problem.


The result: Status information and potential for further services

Operators receive data on equipment utilization as well as statistical evaluations on usage – for example, which programs are frequently used in dishwashers. In this way, operators can, for example, plan maintenance cycles more efficiently and stock consumables more selectively. In case of malfunctions, there are automatic error messages as well as a direct contact option to a service partner via the app. The automatic verification of compliance with hygiene regulations via hygiene check and log of the machines is convenient for catering businesses.

For Hobart, the IIoT solution offers additional opportunities to attract customers with new services. These include business analytics, risk analysis and electronic hygiene monitoring of processes and equipment. In addition, the application provides an overview of the total cost of ownership (TCO). In the future, it will offer predictive maintenance via analysis of the data, i.e., predictive maintenance based on device status. This eliminates the need for regular maintenance intervals: The device is only serviced when required, before a malfunction occurs. In addition, the mobile app facilitates the quick configuration of the machines.

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