The need for innovation and ingenuity in industry is greater than ever before. The last year has seen mergers and consolidation proliferate as companies seek new synergies and strive to obtain greater productivity and efficiency in their operations. The same drive for higher performance is also seen in the utilities sector, where providers of electricity, water and gas face new competitive pressures.
No matter what the sector – utilities, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, mining, consumer goods, automotive, shipping or energy recovery and refining – ABB has a solution, called Industrial IT.
Industrial IT is an ABB concept, and it will profoundly change the way businesses operate. On one level, it is a way to integrate all of a company’s business processes – supply, production, control, management, sales and distribution – into a single system that can be accessed and controlled in real-time onsite or via the Internet. It provides structured information to managers who need to make decisions now, not at the end of the month.
But that is only the beginning. Industrial IT is also a way to link the company with its suppliers and customers to form a seamless web of real-time communication in which information essential to their relations with one another is exchanged freely and immediately. It creates a kind of community of purpose that allows them to achieve an entirely new level of partnership and collaboration along the whole value chain.
With the launch of our Industrial IT concept, ABB aims to provide its customers with this capability.
Plug-and-produce industrial systems
One of ABB’s goals is to have all its offerings Industrial IT-enabled. The new designation is a guarantee that each product can be integrated with other Industrial IT-enabled products on a plug-and-produce basis to form an Industrial IT solution. ABB’s growing portfolio of Industrial IT building blocks ensures that all the components for new enterprise systems are compatible and available from one source.
Industrial IT across the entire value chain
In many respects, Industrial IT is a vision, a concept that describes in one term ABB’s business model and strategy for the future. It is also a solution – hardware, software and services – that can be integrated into a common platform for the customer’s automation, management and sales systems.
Earlier in the year, ABB launched a series of software systems that cover the entire value chain and that link up to form a seamless whole integrating the manufacturer with suppliers and customers. These systems range from design and engineering to procurement, production and order fulfillment. Each system is part of the ABB Industrial IT concept and bears the “IT” mark in its name. They are open and compatible with all major standards and can be accessed and controlled via the Internet.
A fully automated papermill in Australia
One of the world’s first Industrial IT plants is currently under construction at Tumut, in New South Wales, Australia. The plant, a pulp and paper mill owned by Visy Paper of Melbourne, will contain a complete process automation system that will link up with the company’s other software systems as well as those of its customers and suppliers.
ABB was awarded the US$ 35-million contract in November 1999, with completion scheduled for the first half of 2001. ABB is responsible for the automation and control systems which, when operative, will allow the customer to monitor all aspects of production in real-time. The system will also enable Visy Paper to meet strict environmental regulations by monitoring its air and water emissions.
The order is the largest ever for ABB’s SmartPlant™ system which monitors the plant and automatically recommends changes to keep it running optimally. The mill will have a production capacity of 250,000 tons of pulp and paper a year.
Industrial IT solution for wastewater treatment plant
An order worth more than US$ 4 million was awarded to ABB in November by StoraEnso for a new wastewater treatment plant at its newsprint mill at Hyltebruk in Sweden. The mill is one of the largest in the world and is located in an environmentally sensitive area immediately adjacent to a river.
The solution integrates components from three Industrial IT product families – OperateIT, ControlIT and EngineerIT – into a single system that will provide information on the wastewater plant in real-time to operators and employees at the mill. The OperateIT human interface is a command center for the process operators, giving them a complete overview of the process plant at all times; ControlIT components handle process control and integrate production data with open information systems; and EngineerIT provides user-friendly tools for system design and configuration.
ABB is also supplying the instrumentation and electrical system including the delivery and installation of all electrical equipment. StoraEnso has been using ABB software systems for many years.
Joint venture enhances ABB’s Industrial IT leadership
ABB’s Industrial IT vision includes the seamless, real-time integration of business transactions with the production processes of an enterprise. To achieve this vision, ABB formed a joint venture with SKYVA International, a leading provider of fourth generation business software for the networked economy.
The joint venture will develop, market and, through ABB channels, deliver domain-specific, Web-enabled solutions for the real-time integration of business and manufacturing processes.
In addition, the SKYVA software enables ABB to fulfill the vision of Industrial IT by providing collaborative solutions for the networked economy, seamlessly linking the business processes of suppliers, manufacturers and customers. The alliance enhances ABB’s position in Industrial IT while leveraging ABB’s domain competence and the innovative Web-enabled technology of SKYVA International.
Industrial IT and automation center to open in Singapore
ABB plans to open an information technology and automation center in Singapore. The center will allow ABB to adapt its solutions to the Asian market more effectively and get them to customers faster. It will also enable ABB to develop new solutions jointly with regional customers.
The center was announced in November and will be completed by late 2001. It will include an eBusiness support center for Asia, a customer call center, a central logistics center, an R&D hub and a training facility.
The Asian automation market makes up some 20 percent of the global market in areas related to ABB’s businesses, and is currently growing at about double the world average.
Acquisition of strategic pharmaceutical software technologies
In October, ABB made an important acquisition of strategic pharmaceutical software technologies from Base Ten Systems of the United States.
The acquisition will enable ABB to deliver a complete IT solution that covers the entire value chain in the pharmaceuticals industry. ABB is already the leading supplier of industrial automation systems for chemical synthesis, which is the opening stage of pharmaceutical production. The acquisition of Base Ten’s Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) software and its international project services team enables ABB to extend its offering to the final stage in the value chain of pharmaceutical production.
Acquisition of French automation group broadens market coverage
ABB announced in September that it had acquired the French process automation group, Cellier Group S.A., from Groupe ICBT of France. The acquisition provides ABB with additional IT expertise to bolster its automation offering in a number of important markets and industries.
Cellier designs and installs complete production units and process and control systems for the paper, lubricants, paint, oil and chemical industries. It also delivers software that makes it possible for control systems developed by different companies to communicate with one another. Open communication between systems is a key element of ABB’s Industrial IT concept of the fully integrated enterprise in which all systems are linked together, can communicate with each other, and can be easily monitored and controlled from a single workstation.
Cellier is based in Aix-les-Bains and employs about 175 people.
Swedish IT company acquired
ABB has acquired Prevas Engineering from Prevas, the Swedish IT company. The acquisition brings considerable expertise to ABB in the fields of eBusiness, telecommunications and Industrial IT. Prevas Engineering delivers complete solutions for production systems, thereby complementing ABB’s overall Industrial IT strategy. The company has 60 employees and is based in Gothenburg and Västerås.
New industrial drives and high-speed motors
ABB expanded its ACS 6000 industrial drive product line in 2000 with a new set of high-speed alternating current (AC) drives for use in compressors, pumps and other equipment in the chemicals and oil and gas industries.
New high-speed motors use an innovative magnetic bearing system to replace oil bearings used in conventional gas turbine drives. They reduce costs and improve safety and environmental performance. Just as important, the magnetic bearings are easier to monitor and control. Capable of operating at speeds as high as 15,000 revolutions per minute, the new drives have an electrical efficiency of 98.5 percent.
The automated warehouse
The rapid growth in eBusiness is fuelling demand for fast and efficient logistical systems that allow Web-based companies to meet rapidly growing delivery demands. ABB’s SattStore system is a full-function warehouse management and control system that covers everything from cranes, conveyors and monorail systems to order processing, quality control and labelling. The whole system can be linked with standard Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. For example, ABB has built a standard interface between SattStore and the BAAN ERP system.
The most advanced car-safety center in the world
Volvo cars have built their name on safety. Their reputation is based on designing vehicles that can protect the people in them from injury in an accident.
In the summer, Volvo opened a new car-safety facility in Gothenburg, Sweden. The facility enables Volvo to stage various types of collision between vehicles and a variety of objects, and to collect and analyze large amounts of data relating to the effects of a collision.
ABB designed and installed two control systems as well as an 800-metric-ton collision barrier that is moved around the facility on air cushions.
Giant robot-like cranes bound for Hamburg
An order worth approximately US$ 16 million was received in the summer for 22 automatic, remote-controlled container cranes for a new container terminal in Hamburg, Germany.
The cranes are 40 meters wide and 25 meters high and can be likened to giant, unmanned robots, each of which can cover an area containing up to 1,500 containers. They are equipped with advanced information systems which enable the cranes to load and unload trucks by remote control. The new concept is based on laser technology and has previously been sold to Singapore, the largest container port in the world.