Recent User Experience and Quality improvements drive customer’s feedback to new heights

2016-08-17 - ABB recently conducted a global survey of active users of its Substation Automation (SA) engineering tools from 14 different companies. The survey gave users the opportunity to have their say on the usability and benefits as well as acting as a forum for ideas for improvements. ABB’s Protection and Control IED Manager, PCM600, led the way with the most feedback and endorsements from those surveyed.

The primary objective of the survey was to ensure that ABB Grid Automation Products engineering tools today are performing in line with or above our users’ needs. The opportunity also provides ABB Grid Automation Products with the chance to build a benchmark for future developments. The survey results assist ABB in knowing more about our customer’s perception of the product quality, user experience and the benefits experienced because of them. Numerous ‘Ideas for improvement’ were also submitted and shared across the ABB Grid Automation Product family, ensuring the knowledge and feedback generated from our customers can be passed on to other teams across the product group.

The interviewees were mainly employed at system integrators (SI) and engineering procurement constructors (EPC) within the power and automation business worldwide. Some wished to stay anonymous while others gave their approval for publishing their company information.

PCM600 recognized as “user friendly, intuitive and flexible”

Following the recent improvements to PCM600, ABB’s Protection and Control IED Manager, many interviewees noted the work that ABB has done to develop the user experience of the software tool.

“PCM600 has become very user friendly, in terms of customers being able to install it on their PCs without computer issues. They don’t even need to have the relay in front of them connected and energized to work with the software and configuration”, commented a user from Canada. “Update Manager is very useful for them to check on latest versions; Signal Matrix is appreciated for the capability of matching existing wiring and mapping functions, and for assisting in commissioning. On line de-bug is also very useful for those who are doing their own configurations”, he lists the key benefits.

A user based in Switzerland added, “I most appreciate the possibility to draw graphic function diagrams with PCM600. The software tools from ABB are very intuitively built with graphical surfaces which simplifies the learning of the software. It’s very pleasant to work with PCM600”.

An engineer at Electrum, Poland, who uses PCM600 during commissioning to program Relion® relays for HV and MV applications stated “I have dealt with commissioning for over 6 years. In my opinion, PCM600 software is one of the most user-friendly. One tool gives you possibility to totally configure a relay (display, logic, settings and communication with SCADA systems). Disturbance recorder and event viewer are easy to operate and very useful in maintenance works. I am in contact with customers and subcontractors with whom I speak about technical solutions, and usually the conclusion about ABB’s products is that they are the best choice.” An interviewee in Vietnam who frequently uses PCM600 for parameter setting and the IEC 61850 configuration of IEDs said “I think PCM600 is a great tool to configure the IED. It is very flexible and fully integrating with what we need. I find it easier to use than the other tools in the market. Flexibility and ease of use have made our job easier and faster.”

Less time spent on problem solving with ABB’s tools

In addition to PCM600, most of the interviewees were using Integrated Engineering Tool IET600, and some Integrated Testing Tool ITT600.

Training opportunities were of interest for many, especially regarding IET600. “More training only makes us more efficient in the use of the tools when doing demonstrations to customers,” one interviewee noted.

One respondent acknowledged, “It looks like IET600 will become a real winner”. Earlier this year (2016), IET600 was awarded with IEC 61850 tool conformance testing certification, making it the first system configuration tool in the world to receive independently-verified certification.

An engineer at Swissgrid, the national grid company in Switzerland, would recommend ITT600 for their contacts. “The feature for analyzing the IEC 61850 data communication is very useful”. Another interviewee also selected the functionality of ITT600 as their top pick, “We value the feature of IEC 61850 MMS testing”. In general, users agreed on ITT600’s efficiency and user experience, “With ITT600, we spend less time for problem solving”.

Across the ABB Substation Automation tool family, the latest updates have been well received by the interviewees. “ABB SA tools increase reusability, standardization and lead to significant reduction of engineering time” says a user from Switzerland. “ABB’s SA tools are more configurable and applicable than the others in the market,” says an engineer at Kontrolmatik, Turkey. “ABB’s tools are comfortable for engineers. We appreciate the flexibility and use of visual methods”, concludes an interviewee from Russia.

ABB Grid Automation Products wishes to thank all users taking part in the interview.

Please feel free to submit your own personal feedback via the survey form here.

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