ABB Ability: industry-leading portfolio of digital solutions
04 April 2017
With the commercial launch of more than 180 solutions and services, ABB is unlocking value for customers in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
By combining ABB’s deep domain expertise with network connectivity and the latest digital technologies and innovations, ABB Ability creates powerful solutions and services that solve real business problems and produce tangible business opportunities.
ABB Ability helps customers in utilities, industry, transport and infrastructure develop new processes and advance existing ones by providing insights and optimising planning and controls for real-time operations. The results can then be fed into control systems to improve key metrics such as factory uptime, speed and yield.
The offering builds on ABB’s pioneering technology and more than four decades of industrial digital leadership. It will enhance customers’ ability to innovate and compete in the emerging digital-industrial marketplace.
“As a pioneering technology leader in digital solutions, with an installed base of more than 70 million connected devices and 70,000 control systems, ABB is uniquely positioned to support its customers’ digital transformation,” says ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “With ABB Ability, we are combining ABB’s entire portfolio of digital solutions and services. We are creating additional customer value by bringing together ABB’s domain expertise, advanced connectivity and the latest digital technologies. With this, our customers can achieve unprecedented improvements in operational performance and productivity.”
Digital offerings provided by ABB Ability include performance management solutions for asset-intensive industries; control systems for process industries; remote monitoring services for robots, motors and machinery; and control solutions for buildings, electric-vehicle charging networks and offshore platforms. Some of the more specialised offerings address energy management for data centres and navigation optimisation for maritime shipping fleets, among many others.
Customers who are already using the portfolio of digital solutions that are now part of ABB Ability include some of the world’s leading utilities, manufacturers and service providers, among them Shell Oil, CenterPoint Energy, Con Edison, BASF, Royal Caribbean, Cargill, Volvo, BMW and many others.
ABB Ability’s next-generation digital solutions and services are being developed and built on Microsoft’s leading Azure cloud platform, based on a strategic partnership with the software company.
“Building our solutions on the Azure platform means we can take advantage of all of its capabilities and add value with our domain-specific offering,” says ABB Chief Digital Officer Guido Jouret. “In effect, we are turning ABB’s decades of industrial domain expertise into software offerings that our customers can access through the world’s largest and most advanced digital platform. From being a hidden digital champion, we are becoming the partner of choice for customers embarking on a digital transformation. They can now know more, do more, do better, together. We can help them assess, automate, optimise and collaborate.”
Among the new ABB Ability innovations are:
• ABB Ability System 800xA – One of the solutions provided by ABB Ability builds on the automation platform System 800xA. Select I/O, a new addition to System 800xA, is a redundant, Ethernet-based, single-channel I/O system. It supports ABB’s next-generation project execution model, Intelligent Projects, which offers a range of efficiency improvements for automation projects. With Select I/O, customers can undertake major projects on a faster schedule with fewer cost overruns. It uses standardised cabinets that allow installers to digitally marshal signals instead of using labour-intensive marshalling panels. Loop checks can be done before the rest of the system is delivered, minimising the impact of late changes and allowing for project tasks to be executed in parallel.
• ABB Ability Asset Health Centre – Among the first ABB Ability solutions to be launched on Azure is ABB’s next-generation asset performance management solution, Asset Health Centre 3.0. Available since January 2017, it uses predictive and prescriptive analytics and customised models to identify and prioritise emerging maintenance needs based on probability of failure and asset criticality.
• ABB Ability Collaborative Operations – This powerful solution, now being brought to scale across industries, helps customers collaborate more effectively. It allows experts to work together across organisation boundaries, using the same data and analytics platforms. It focuses on such outcomes as improving productivity, reducing equipment failures, lowering the cost of asset maintenance and transforming overall business performance. This is done while maximising security and protecting data, people and assets at every level of integration. The solution has been delivering sustainable, long-term results to early adopters.
• ABB Ability Digital Substation – ABB’s digital substation provides customers in the utility sector with unmatched control and efficiency. The digital substation incorporates fibre optic current sensors and disconnecting circuit breakers to reduce maintenance requirements and the need for miles of conventional cabling. ABB Ability takes these advances several steps further by combining the latest electrical gear with digital sensors and cloud computing. The result is that grid operators can make decisions based on comprehensive, up-to-the-moment information, while predictive algorithms can improve maintenance practices and asset management.
• ABB Ability Smart Sensor for motors – This smart sensor solution, unveiled last year, connects low-voltage electric motors to the Industrial Internet, allowing them to be monitored continuously. The solution, which can be easily affixed to a motor, transmits data on vibration, temperature, loads and power consumption to the cloud. Alerts are generated as soon as any of the parameters deviate from the norm, allowing the operator to take preventive action before the motor malfunctions. Early indications are that the smart sensor solution leads to a reduction in downtime of motors by up to 70 percent and extends their lifespan by up to 30 percent. Acting on the data to optimise the motor’s performance reduces energy consumption by as much as 10 percent.
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