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Vision building blocks available today

Oct. 31, 2022
ABB’s process automation portfolio already supports important elements of its future vision.

As the world’s leading DCS supplier, ABB has always aimed to provide the best balance between new technology introductions and production stability, demonstrating to its customers a sustained commitment to protecting their investments while providing a path forward for their systems. Customers investing in the control system and technology provided by ABB at a particular point in time will always have the best foundation to evolve their plant toward future needs with minimal disruption and without loss of intellectual investments.

“To achieve this, ABB is continuously introducing concepts from its Process Automation System Vision into its current and future system offerings,” says Bernhard Eschermann, Chief Technology Officer, Process Automation at ABB Group. “The future process automation offering will be a system of building blocks with standards-based interfaces that can be flexibly assembled at a much higher level. Pre-validated modular libraries will include everything you need for process control, plus the extended capabilities to integrate with higher-level digital solutions. This will greatly reduce engineering, commissioning and maintenance efforts and allow the engineer to focus on activities that add real value.”

Many technologies in use today involve smart commissioning, virtual control and communications, and network-centric I/O that provide much financial benefit when executing automation projects. ABB Ability System 800xA’s Ethernet-based, single-channel Select I/O combined with the Ethernet I/O Field Kit, enables smart, automated commissioning of intelligent devices without the need for controller hardware. This allows the adaptation and efficient execution of various methodologies to remove risk of late changes and delays from large projects and enable ABB’s Adaptive Execution approach for project execution.

ABB’s Field Information Manager uses OPC UA and PA-DIM information models to transport data to cloud-based condition monitoring solutions without requiring tunneling of non-critical control digital device information through the system core. Also, the ABB Ability Edgenius Operations Data Manager allows for OPC UA and MODBUS sources to be mined, providing valuable information to applications on the edge or in the cloud.

Considered an extension to the core automation platform, this innovative environment provides for agile deployment of a growing set of ABB applications. The ABB Ability Edgenius and ABB Ability Genix Industrial Analytics and AI Suite applications are now accessible to ABB systems such as Freelance, ABB Ability Symphony Plus and ABB Ability System 800xA for deployment in the cloud or on premise. Meanwhile, remote operations, monitoring and service applications are keeping personnel out of harm’s way and providing experts with remote access to increase asset utilization and uptime.

Partner for the journey ahead

Sustainability, electrification and digitalization are the mandates of greatest urgency for process industries today. On the one hand, they must find ways to maintain efficient production of life’s necessities while reducing the impact of their operations on the environment. On the other, it is widely acknowledged that only through the thorough application of new and emerging digital technologies can such advances be realized. As a market leader with deep and wide domain expertise in delivering world-class integrated automation, electrification and digital solutions and services, ABB is uniquely qualified to help the process industries reach their process, business and societal goals.

While innovations described in the ABB Process Automation Systems Vision will help advance both operational efficiency and productivity, they’ll also be key to reducing greenhouse gases and other harmful emissions, demonstrating regulatory compliance and ensuring transparent engagement with employees, communities and other stakeholders.

As a product supplier, ABB has a keen focus on preserving resources and supporting carbon reduction, and has a target to be carbon-neutral in its own operations by 2030. To achieve these targets, ABB will deliver products that are more energy efficient, have lower cooling requirements and are made, packaged, and shipped using more sustainable materials. By taking advantage of virtualization and other technology, ABB looks to reduce the amount of hardware required.

Automation + electrification

Beyond incremental gains in energy efficiency, industry must truly drive the energy transition, moving from widespread reliance on fossil fuels to increasing the mix of low-carbon energy sources. For many industries, the more immediate impact will be the desire to electrify processes traditionally fueled by combustion, to take advantage of captive renewable generation and grid-supplied power from green sources.

Renewables, however, introduce the challenges of intermittency and the expense of energy storage. The optimization of process operations in the context of intermittent energy supply and limited electricity storage requires producers to marshal electricity consumption through flexible production schedules or by shedding non-critical loads. ABB is in a unique position to integrate automation and electrification, as the DCS market-share leader and a top global provider of electrification products and systems.

ABB has decades of experience combining electrical and process control in a single system, helping customers to make cross-domain decisions in milliseconds. ABB is today working with customers to identify efficiency improvement potentials, electrical system topologies and process buffer strategies to deal with renewable intermittencies.

Industry domain expertise

Building on rich domain expertise in many process industry verticals, ABB is helping to address future challenges. This expertise spans the globe, and begins with front-end engineering and design, continues with project execution and on through the services needed over the plant lifecycle. ABB works with its customers to solve industry-specific challenges through delivery of application-specific automation expertise.

In addition to being a noted global provider of electrification and automation, ABB is a significant systems integrator that brings together components and subsystems from a broad range of solution providers. Through collaboration with a selected network of partners, ABB takes multi-scope responsibility and delivers a comprehensive integrated solution for process automation, electrical control, safety, telecommunications and digital applications.

The need for continued lifecycle support of integrated, multi-supplier solutions will become more important in the future, with the advent of increasingly open, modular systems called for by the Open Process Automation movement—and is envisioned in ABB’s digitally enabled service solutions.

Over the past few decades, ABB built and continues to maintain its leadership position in the DCS market by preserving its customers’ automation investments while affording them new ways to benefit from emerging capabilities. The Process Automation System Vision is the company’s guide for simplifying and accelerating innovation with continuity on behalf of its current and future customers for decades to come.  

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