ABB’s first Industrial IT factory now online in Poland

New technology at distribution transformer factory in Lodz increases speed and efficiency, doubles production

Zürich, Switzerland, May 22, 2003 - ABB has officially launched its first fully Industrial IT-driven manufacturing plant - the distribution transformer factory in the Polish city of Lodz. The introduction of Industrial IT is increasing ABB's speed and efficiency, leading to shorter delivery times and consistently high quality products.

Industrial IT is ABB's patented technology for providing users of power and automation products with fast access to all the information needed to install, operate and maintain them. In Lodz, Industrial IT links the transformer configurator, all the different systems and machinery in the plant, and provides real-time information.

The benefits in Lodz include:

  • Total cycle time for all products cut from 16 weeks to two weeks
  • Production increased by 100 percent
  • Consistent quality with reduced "cost of poor quality" by 50 percent

"Industrial IT is highly beneficial and profitable for customers. We radically increase speed. We cut the total cycle time from months to weeks and ensure a consistently high-quality product," said Peter Smits, head of ABB's Power Technologies division.

The usual delivery time for a distribution transformer in the industry is five weeks. However, the actual production time is only five days. Having many interfaces leads to additional waiting time and the need to double-check information. Real-time applications and the integration of all systems within the factory cut that time drastically.

The ABB site in Lodz is a focused factory - the only European factory for medium-sized distribution transformers. It supplies distribution transformers between 250 and 2000 KVA to industrial, commercial and utility customers throughout Europe.

Orders and delivery dates online
Customer benefits begin at the start of the process: ordering a distribution transformer is carried out by "CollaborateIT Quotation and Pricing System - Trafonet", an online configurator, which provides rapid and highly accurate information for the customer. It has replaced the traditional, slower approach in which quotations and offers were produced from "hard copy" catalogs and price lists quoting standard lead times for delivery.

With the latest technology, a salesperson meeting a customer can immediately configure the technical data for a transformer on a laptop, quote a price, verify the factory's production capacity and schedule, place the order in the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system at the factory, and confirm the delivery date.

Mass customization made possible
"Changes to order planning, caused for instance by machine constraints, are executed in real-time," says Brice Koch, head of ABB's Distribution Transformers business area. "We have mass customization, and thus meet all the specific needs of individual customers."

The system allows management to monitor all parts of the process, and provides instant access to a wide range of user-defined reports. It is the first time in ABB and the industry as a whole that control and business information has been accessible on the same interface.

Apart from improving cycle times and machine use, the transfer of electronic information ensures accuracy and consistency in manufacturing, and leads to quality improvements.

"One global factory"
In future, the new system will also be able to check the capacities of other ABB factories around the world, and provide an online answer about which factory can carry out an order quickest; work can either be done in a single factory, or spread across multiple factories within a region or globally.

"We are in the process of implementing the 'virtual' global factory concept. Once completed, it will be an important breakthrough for ABB in the drive for increased speed and the full utilization of capital resources," says Koch.

"It doesn't matter to the customer whether the transformer has been manufactured in Poland, Germany, China or the United States. It will always be a top quality 'made by ABB' product. As the world's largest manufacturer of distribution transformers, it is appropriate that ABB is leading the way with such innovations and reinforcing its market leadership position."

The Industrial IT system in Lodz means all asset information for finished transformers is automatically organized in an "Aspect-Object" format, providing customers with a detailed, electronic record for managing their investment. The ABB transformers can easily be integrated into larger power systems. The technical data can be copied in other plants by "cutting and pasting" the information already available in a consistent electronic format.

Lodz is the first ABB factory that can automatically generate full technical documentation for every product based on the technical data located in the company management information systems. Drawings, technical data, test results and other necessary data can be delivered to the customer in electronic form with every ordered transformer.

The Lodz model is scheduled to be copied at other ABB distribution transformer factories around the globe.

ABB ( is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 135,000 people.

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