ABB: Digitalization fuels innovative development of Chongqing PFTZ

Chongqing, September 24, 2017 – Digital technologies will support the innovative development of Chongqing’s newly established Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ). Head of ABB’s Power Grids division Claudio Facchin made the remarks and shared ABB’s global experience at the Twelfth Annual Meeting of Chongqing Mayor’s International Economic Advisory Council (CMIA).

In a report titled Differentiated Development of the Chongqing Pilot FTZ in an Era of Exploration, Openness and Innovation, Facchin said the new Pilot FTZ, which was launched on April 1, 2017, provides a good opportunity for Chongqing to enhance its economic status, to strengthen its geographical significance and to dig out its innovative potential as a key city along the Belt & Road and in the Yangtze River Economic Zone.

However, to differentiate itself from other FTZs in China, Chongqing needs to make efforts to upgrade its existing utility and industrial facilities by leveraging the power brought by digital technologies.

“The Chongqing Pilot FTZ should capitalize on the learning, experiences, and solutions already made available by leading technology providers. To create and open, reliable and secure interconnected environment will be the basis for Chongqing’s advancement and development in this era of exploration, openness and innovation. As a pioneering technology leader, ABB can support the Pilot FTZ to upgrade itself and stand out among China’s FTZs by deploying our digital ABB Ability™ solutions,” said Facchin.

ABB Ability™ builds on the company’s four-plus decades of industrial digital leadership and combines ABB’s pioneering technology in sensors, software, communications network and industrial internet of things. It creates additional customer values by sensing, analyzing, and acting.

Rising costs, increasing competition and a saturated market are now challenging Chongqing’s manufacutring industries, which are regarded as the backbone of the real economy. When digital technologies are used for manufacturing, companies can achieve significant performance improvements, realize technological innnovation and adapt new business models.

Facchin pointed out that the Manufacturing Execution System (MES) can respond to customer orders in real time, enabling manufacutring system configuration to be set automatically according to customer needs. Automated assembly lines then assemble and test products with workers and machines. This seamlessly connects customer demand and manufacturing. Surveys indicate that once the MES is fully operation, the production cycle is shortented by 30 percent, operational costs lowered by 30 percent, and productivity is increased by 20 percent.

Meanwhile, companies within the Pilot FTZ need a reliable power supply. ABB Ability™ Asset Health Center and connected devices provide actionable data that helps prioritize maintenance needs, assess risks, manage assets and mitigates environmental impact. Facchin added that a secure power supply is closely linked to a reliable communications network. With the increase of the number of connected devices, robust communications networks with unparalleled performance based on special technology, protocols and software, become increasingly essential to maintian today’s dynamic and complex digital electrical grids.

The Guoyuan Port of the Pilot FTZ is now China’s largest pivotal port, combining shipping with rail and highway transport, with a harbor capacity of 193 million tons of cargo and 4.1 million containers. Industrial robots can effectively help the port enhance its logistics handling capability, according to Facchin. He shared ABB’s experience in supporting Cainiao, Alibaba’s big data logistics company, to cover 80% of its warehouse and logistics workflow across three major functions: storage, sorting and distribution. This fully automated and flexible sorting system enabled the Cainiao distribution center to double handling speed and enhance handling capacity by 40%, while reducing costs by 35-50%.

Chongqing has long been an important R&D and manufacturing base for ABB in China. Now ABB has two factories, a regional service centre, a branch office, and an engineering centre in Chongqing, with nearly 900 employees. In December 2016, ABB announced to set up a new robot application centre in Chongqing to meet the fast-growing need for industrial robots in automotive, 3C electronics, equipment manufacutring and consumer goods manufacturing in southwest China.

To better support Chongqing’s development in China’s western region under the 13th Five-Year Plan, the Belt and Road Initiative and the Yangtze River Economic Zone, ABB signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the city. The MoU aims to boost mutual cooperation in industry, energy, transport and infrastructure. ABB is able to assist Chongqing in its efforts to build up a smart city and the upgrade of its manufacturing with its ABB Ability™ digital solutions.

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. ABB has a full range of business activities in China, including R&D, manufacturing, sales and services, with 17,000 employees located in 139 cities, 40 local companies, and online and offline channels across over 300 cities.

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  • Grace Nan