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ABB launches the latest version of its distributed control system

June 29, 2021
ABB Ability System 800xA 6.1.1 offers increased I/O capabilities, agility of commissioning and enhanced security as a foundation for digital transformation

ABB Ability System 800xA 6.1.1 represents an evolution for automated control and plant operations of tomorrow, consolidating the company's leadership position in the DCS market, it says. By increasing industry collaboration, the latest version of ABB’s flagship DCS enables decision makers to future proof their plants, it adds. 

The System 800xA 6.1.1 enhances collaboration via a number of new features including simplified, faster commissioning of greenfield projects and brownfield expansions with a new and improved Ethernet I/O Field Kit, now with xStream Commissioning. This allows users to configure and test I/O in the field without the need for the control application software or process controller hardware, all from a single laptop. This means Field I&C technicians can simultaneously perform automated loop checks of multiple smart devices, documenting all final results.

System 800xA 6.1.1 also makes it easier to implement digital solutions. With the 800xA Publisher system extension, users can securely and easily choose which data to stream to ABB Ability Genix Industrial Analytics and AI Suite, both on the edge or in the cloud. 

"ABB Ability System 800xA 6.1.1 makes a powerful and world-leading DCS even better. Besides being a process control system, an electrical control system and a safety system, it is a collaboration enabler, allowing further improvement of engineering efficiency, operator performance and asset utilization," said Bernhard Eschermann, Chief Technology Officer, ABB Process Automation. "For example, the xStream commissioning capabilities take risk and delays out of large projects and enable ABB's Adaptive Execution approach for project execution. In addition, standard interfaces support customers to make better use of operational data in their digitalization journey, keeping cyber security in check." 

Faster and more cost-efficient project execution is made possible thanks to the inclusion of Select I/O enhancements in the new version. I/O cabinet standardization reduces the effects of late changes and keeps the footprint to a minimum. To lessen the amount of ancillary hardware that needs to be added to I/O cabinetry, the Select I/O now includes Ethernet adapters with native single-mode fiber-optic connectivity and individual signal conditioning modules with built-in intrinsi­cally safe barriers.

This latest version of ABB’s DCS flagship has many additional extended capabilities, including increased OPC UA connectivity options, which, in turn, facilitate IT/OT convergence. A wide range of OPC UA communication levels, such as an OPC UA client and server at the system level, are made available. The further addition of OPC UA connectivity into the AC 800M controller, and more OPC UA features in the 800xA History mean that the ABB Ability System 800xA 6.1.1 increases secure collaboration between systems and applications.  

Cybersecurity is an essential focus for any plant owner.  The ABB Ability System 800xA 6.1.1 increases cybersecurity through the latest patches and security updates that come with MS Windows 2019. Additionally, ISA secure compliance has been achieved for System 800xA's most popular process and safety controllers (PM866 & PM867).

Agility and collaboration are increased even further with the new version opening the door to Modular Orchestration.  ABB Ability System 800xA 6.1.1 provides the option to seamlessly import Modular Type Packages (MTPs), regardless of vendor’s automation platform used. It does so by providing the ancillary coordinated control logic to perform superior supervisory control. It is standard compliant and has plug and produce capabilities that improve production flexibility and competitiveness.