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Application Note

Pizza oven production lines

Continuous oil debris monitoring ensures hungry ovens keep working


In the United Kingdom, pizza is now the most popular food purchased in restaurants, the 2nd most popular item bought in supermarkets for dinner and the 4th most popular dinner item purchased in fast food outlets.

The total market value in the UK is £3,285 million pounds and there are 5842 pizza stores.
(Infographic Journal, January 11 2018)

By any measure, this is a large food industry segment which requires sophisticated manufacturing facilities to keep the customer supplied with fresh, consistent, high-quality product in large volumes, seven days a week.


One of the country’s largest manufacturers of own label chilled pizza, with a 43% market share, relies on high production availability to meet the freshness and just-in-time delivery requirements of its customers. The costs – and reputational damage as a reliable supplier – of unplanned downtime and the consequent supply disruption are so significant that the company is willing to invest in protecting both its reputation and profits.

This need for reliable and predictable production output prompted the company to explore options to help monitor the condition of the heavy-duty gearboxes on the ovens, the most critical piece of equipment on the manufacturing line. Although they undertook predictive maintenance routines on these vital assets every 12 weeks, this did not provide them with the confidence that there would not be a failure and loss of production in the intervening period.

The company’s Condition Based Monitoring Engineer was introduced to WearDetect, the Gill oil condition sensor, as it provided them with that essential continuous real-time insight into the health of the oven gearboxes which their current procedures did not. The sensor’s ability to capture and analyse both ferrous fine wear debris and coarse failure particles provided them with continuous reporting of gearbox health. Additionally, they also wanted to monitor the temperature of the oil – another indicator of potential problems developing – which is another integrated measurement feature incorporated within the sensor. The sensor is also capable of detecting water in oil and whilst this parameter is useful re-assurance to the engineer, on this occasion, it is not a problem that they encounter.


By installing the sensor the company has been able to generate a continuous condition report focusing on the metal content and temperature of the oil. By specifying the optional display unit, they also have an instant, easy-to-see and understand indication of any developing issues that may result in bringing the production process to a halt.

The company has deployed the Gill sensor as an additional layer of insurance on top of their existing predictive maintenance procedures, giving them and their customers the confidence that they will be able to deliver on time and keep these popular products on their customers’ shelves.

The additional insight and reassurance gained from the sensor have prompted the company to purchase and install additional sensors and they plan to roll-out the sensor across their manufacturing sites.

wear detection on conveyor belts

Pizza oven production lines

WearDetect oil debris sensor