Services are more valuable when they’re digitalized and connected. That’s the philosophy behind the ABB portfolio of offerings for robotic reliability and optimization. “Connected Services is an improved way to manage and monitor your ABB robots,” said David Quevedo, technical support manager, discrete automation and motion division, in ABB’s robotics business unit. “We have a 24/7/365 operation, so we’re always there.”
Quevedo explained how market trends have pushed the evolution of robotic services during his presentation at ABB Customer World this week in Houston.
“We are moving from cost-based to value-based service enabled by digitalization,” he said. “We used to be cost-focused, time-based and reactive. We’ve moved to value creation, where we want to tell you how everything’s working and be able to predict failures with remote monitoring that’s condition-based and predictive.”
With new tools and service offerings, ABB’s next directive is to help customers to get to increased productivity, increased mean time between failure (MTBF) and reduced mean time to repair (MTTR). Digitalization is but a means to providing its customers with better peace of mind.
“Digitalization enhances our capabilities to support and add value,” explained Quevedo. “We are moving into the digitalization market. We’re increasing uptime, reliability and efficiency throughout the lifecycle. In 2007, we were already a pioneer in robot remote services, with optional hardware allowing for reduced time to fix. Today, we are Connected Services, the HTML5 customer interface and the Internet of Things, Services and People. We’re looking to move into the application-monitoring service, and we want to move into the cloud with ABB Ability Cloud Services.”
Five service options
ABB Connected Services, formerly known as remote services, is broken down into five different solutions because not everyone needs the same things. The services are offered cafeteria-style with separate costs per solution. The five solution offerings include condition monitoring & diagnostics, backup management, fleet assessment, asset optimization, and remote access.
Condition monitoring & diagnostics features access to the robot user interface, which includes an alarm and diagnostics dashboard with statistics. It’s free during the factory warranty period, if the customer connects, and then $250/robot/year after that.
“Even when the robot is working fine, we are doing diagnostics,” said Quevedo. “Connected Services scans the controller and the arm, so we can trend the data. When there’s an alarm, we can tell you what’s happened and how to prevent it in the future.” Through ABB’s MyRobot interface, alarms and other data can be monitored by the customer.
“Every time we run these scans, we take those measurements, and we trend them,” explained Quevedo. The MyRobot dashboard includes indicator lights based on the findings of an internal prediction analyzer. “When the indicator changes from green to yellow, we know there’s a problem. It’s not a failure, but there’s something there to look at. We can monitor fans, belts, memory and processors. We know how they’re supposed to work and can tell when they’re not. Torque, deceleration and speed are monitored on all axes, and we use mechanical condition change to predict failures,” said Quevedo.
Backup management is another offering that costs $150/robot/year. “We have a way to automatically schedule backups,” Quevedo explained. “Even if the machine is running, we’re connected to your network.” A customer can see all of the backups from the MyRobot website. It can be restored on the server or from the cloud. “There is not a single day we don’t get a call from a customer who needs to restore from a backup,” he said.
Fleet assessment is a means to lifecycle management for gearboxes and motors. Released last year, its cost is $100/robot/year. “To be able to find out if your system is working as optimally as it could be and how long it will continue running, we compare the robots at your site to all of the robots we have connected,” explained Quevedo. “We compare how much the robot is working, how much torque. We look at the deviation of estimated lifetime for compact gearboxes. This allows us to identify issues with the way the robot is integrated. Also, if you have key robots, it allows you to monitor the normal average usage, so it predicts how long the motor or the gearbox will last if you continue to run the robot the way you’re running it. The algorithm we have for torque, deceleration and speed is used.”
For $250/robot/year, asset optimization can help to make the most efficient use of your robots. “Our team in India monitors every single event, including alarms, failures and the way the robot is working,” Quevedo said. “You get a report once a quarter.”
Finally, remote access is available. “It’s a way for us to have full access to the robot even when we are remote,” explained Quevedo. “We can connect to the robot remotely and help you to do things like load software. The remote access gateway box includes a physical switch that the user must switch on to allow access.” The service costs $600 for units in which the gateway is already installed and $2,000 if the gateway box is necessary.
“When a new robot is sold today, it comes with embedded Connected Services,” concluded Quevedo. “The old solution was a 3G box that talked to the Internet. Now, with our embedded solution, all of the software for Connected Services comes with the robot. If you are connected, we can see.”