ABB Robotics’ proactive Connected Services in action at South African Pioneer Foods’ bakeries

2016-09-06 - Take Pioneer Foods’ cutting-edge bakeries, then add a service agreement with Connected Services from ABB Robotics and you have a recipe for success in world-class proactive service.

Pioneer Foods Group is a leading South Africa food and beverage producer which also exports its products all over the world. The largest of its bakeries operates in Shakaskraal, near the city of Durban, South Africa and mainly serves the Portugal-sized South-Eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal.

At Shakaskraal’s state-of-the-art bakery, cutting edge technology ensures the highest product quality, while also supporting sustainable operations. Reflective white roof sheets reduce the need for electrical lighting and internal cooling while simultaneously harvesting rain water for truck washing and irrigation. In addition the bakery uses renewable resource-fired boilers and heat recovery on refrigeration equipment for the pre-heating of water.

Not surprisingly in this high tech environment, we find a large number of ABB robots doing everything from pan handling, bread de-panning, lidding, de-lidding and lid storage. Nearly all of these robots are supported by ABB’s Connected Services.

ABB has signed a service agreement with Pioneer Foods’ Bakeries division, including Connected Services Condition Monitoring & Diagnostics for 27 robots, preventive maintenance, technical service, training and back-up response for faster recovery. ABB’s Connected Services were chosen for their unique ability to help maintain Pioneer Foods’ large investment in ABB robots.

ABB’s Condition Monitoring & Diagnostics is a secure 24/7 monitoring and diagnostics service that ensures faster reaction time, higher efficiency and better service technician preparation for on-site calls and technical support. This ultimately helps to keep robot systems running at optimal performance.

ABB’s robot solutions are part of an interconnected 24/7 ecosystem we call the Internet of Things, Services and People. All ABB robots are ready to be connected, wirelessly or hard wired, unlocking a world of possibilities in predictive, proactive and immediate support. The Connected Services suite consists of five services that can be tailored via ABB’s flexible Robot Care service agreements to meet the unique needs of a plant: Condition Monitoring & Diagnostics, Backup Management, Remote Access, Fleet Assessment, and Asset Optimization. Connected Services all leverage actionable data transferred via sophisticated software from connected robots worldwide.

“Our relationship with ABB started in 2014. They make sure we stay informed on current technology, new updates and upgrades and helps us with critical spare parts onsite. We have high expectations on ABB’s service professionalism and ABB always delivers,” says Ivan Padayachee, Engineering Manager at Pioneer Foods’ Shakaskraal bakery.


“Pioneer Foods believe in being proactive, not reactive,” says Trevin Chetty, Service Engineer, ABB Robotics, South Africa.


“ABB works closely with the Shakaskraal team to make sure preventative maintenance is done on the right robots and at the right times. With close to all of their robots having Connected Services, we were for instance able to use Condition Monitoring & Diagnostics to save a drive unit by picking up fan failures in advance.”


ABB supplied Pioneer Foods´ first robots in 2008 to the Olifantsfontein bakery in South Africa, and more robots were ordered on a steady basis during the following years. With the latest four ABB robots being commissioned this year and more robots to come, the future looks promising for continued collaboration with Pioneer Foods. The secret ingredients are proactive and professional service with Connected Services.

About Pioneer Foods Group
Pioneer Foods is a leader in the food and beverages industries in Southern Africa. The Group operates in South Africa and two other African countries and sells its products around the world. The Group’s core business is the production, distribution, marketing and selling of a diverse range of food, beverages and related products.

Connected Services benefits

  • Up to 25% fewer incidents, 60% faster response time and issue resolution.
  • Increased efficiency
  • Reduced service costs
  • Secured uptime
  • Extended equipment lifetime

Condition Monitoring & Diagnostics benefits
  • Faster reaction time
  • Higher efficiency and better service preparation for on-site calls and technical support
  • Fast notification and proactive support in case of trouble
  • Information and statistics via MyRobot
  • Identification of most frequent failures




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