ABB unveils model to transform big data into actionable insights

New approach resolves problems quicker and increases productivity by improving the interaction between people, information, and operations – first installations show up to 55 percent maintenance reduction and 30 percent reduction in operational expenditures.
Houston, United States, March 16, 2017 - ABB introduces a new model for its process industries customers to increase productivity and profitability by applying new, and faster ways of finding and implementing improvements. While many have benefited from step-changes by automating processes and enterprise resource planning software in recent decades, companies now realize this is no longer enough. To improve performance, they need to use the vast amount of data they are now sitting on more efficiently, deploying new types of software, and working together with other experts to optimize results.

At the heart of the Collaborative Operations concept are the many different people and job functions involved in all aspects of keeping a plant, process or facility operational. Until now the deluge of data that comes from integrating field instrumentation, DCS, intelligent motor control systems, safety systems and telecoms, is often available to the wrong person or shared late to the right individual.

“Nowadays having good quality data is not the real challenge,” explains Richard Windischhofer, ABB’s manager of the collaborative operations model. “The issue is we don’t have the right people working with that data. Companies need to move from just collecting data and operating software on their own to having actionable information by letting the best minds work together. Collaborative Operations makes that happen.”

This approach will lead to increased availability, improved productivity and operational excellence by turning passive data into action. Working more closely and more easily with suppliers will also further unlock profitability while reducing risk.

In this context ABB offers digital solutions customers can deploy entirely by themselves. However, more transformative benefits will be delivered through collaborative operations centers provided by ABB to connect to directly with its customers’ daily operations. The centers gather data from assets across production sites and translate this into intelligence, together with customers and by using modern digital communication infrastructure, from edge computing on premises to cloud solutions. Information will be easily available in a secure manner to plant operators and headquarter managers, wherever and whenever needed.

Utilizing the cloud, based on Microsoft’s Azure integrated with ABB AbilityTM, data from instrumentation, switchgear, motors, drives and other smart sensors is channeled through analytics which undertake condition monitoring, remote diagnostics, performance monitoring, cybersecurity and condition-based maintenance. A full suite of ABB experts can man the center 24/7 meaning crisis management teams can be quickly assembled.

The ultimate goal of analytics and intelligence is total financial control. This means moving analysis from basic time- and usage-based towards condition-based and predictive. The move from proactive to predictive analytics cuts costs while ensuring the monetary effect of actions are visible.

Powered by analytics Collaborative Operations helps users focus on outcomes such as improving productivity, reducing shutdowns and equipment failure, lowering the cost of asset maintenance or transforming overall business performance at a macro level. This is done while emphasizing and maximizing security to ensure that data, people and assets are protected at every level of integration. Early adopter results include:

  • 30 percent reduction in operational expenditures and improved safety at an offshore platform in the North Sea where Collaborative Operations improved operating risk transparency and facilitated real-time decision-making
  • Average $350,000 savings per vessel in a marine fleet through optimized fuel management as well as a 20 percent reduction in maintenance costs
  • 55 percent maintenance reduction at a fine paper mill, as well as improved process availability and throughput by deploying digital service tools to guide engineers on maintenance procedures
  • Annual operational savings of $5 million and up to 50 percent energy savings by using digital technologies to unite previously segregated islands of information in an underground mine.

Additionally, Collaborative Operations are scalable and can empower customers to solve problems at an asset, process and system level, plant-wide or globally, with direct intervention, onsite or remotely, with as much expert guidance from ABB as customers require.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in electrification products, robotics and motion, industrial automation and power grids, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing more than a 125-year history of innovation, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization and driving the Energy and Fourth Industrial Revolutions. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 132,000 employees.