The power of integration exemplified at ABB A&PW 2010

The power of integration exemplified at ABB Automation & Power World 2010

By Bill Lydon - Editor
May 18-20, 2010, George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston, TX
Tomorrow continued!
Mark Taft, Group Vice President, Process Automation, Global Control System Business, opened last year’s conference by stating, " is important for us to remember that tomorrow has not been canceled." Part of Mark’s message last year was to be prepared to take advantage of the future. Following Mark’s logic, this is the tomorrow he referred to last year and things are now better.   This year ABB Automation & Power World attendance was up 30% to more than 4,000 attendees who were more positive about the future.
Connect, Learn, Succeed
Taft punctuated this year’s theme of “Connect, Learn, Succeed” by describing how it applied to attendees at the event, noting the event is about users forming stronger working relationships with ABB. In addition, the event provided networking opportunities to connect with other users to share ideas and discuss problems. Taft emphasized, “One of the unique things that Automation & Power World brings to bear is the opportunity to connect across disciplines.” In particular are the connections between automation and power systems. Learning was accomplished with over 400 educational and hands-on sessions, with topics ranging from instrumentation to complex system applications. ABB and partner products were featured in the 100,000 square foot exhibit area. Mark summed up by suggesting we succeed by applying products and knowledge gained and focusing on the power of integration.
World View - Joe Hogan
Joe Hogan, ABB Chief Executive Officer, commented on the company and the economy. ABB has over 100,000 employees in 100 countries with 2009 revenue of $32 billion. The United States is ABB’s third largest market after China and Germany. Hogan noted, “ABB has global capability, we have strong, deep technology, but the part that always scares me is size can be a killer at times - the bigger you get the further you can move from your customer.” “That is the last thing I want.” Hogan reiterated his goal of being a large company with resources to make serious things happen while remaining focused on local customer needs. He went on to describe ABB’s commitment to forming customer partnerships and earning their trust. Hogan also stated ABB’s continuing commitment to develop technology illustrated by investing more than $1 billion annually in R&D with an increase of 7% last year even in the downturn.
While discussing the economy, Hogan commented that based on ABB analysis, “We are in a recovery…the world is in much better shape from an economic standpoint…we have to take advantage of that.” Hogan highlighted a number of economic indicators. The United Stated real GDP growth in the first quarter was up 3.2% and emerging markets never went negative during the downturn.   “That defied a lot of logic around the world that didn’t think the world could be decoupled from an economic standpoint,” said Hogan. “China, India, and the major emerging economies around the world proved that they can steer their own boat.  That was one of the biggest surprises in this downturn.” Hogan observed that economics is not a zero sum game where one economy grows others lose.  “History has always proven that a rising tide lifts all boats,” said Hogan. “Improving economies around the world increase business possibilities and you have to take advantage of it. China has brought 400 million people out of poverty in the last 15 years, more than the population of the United States.”
World energy demand along with the associated CO2 will create opportunities.  An International Energy Agency analysis showed that 57% of CO2 reductions need to come from energy efficiency, significantly more than alternative energy. Hogan stated, “Improving efficiency…is not glamorous, it is not sexy.” ABB will be focusing more on energy efficiency. For example, the application of drives for fan and pump control can cut industrial energy consumption by 10%.
Ventyx Acquisition
ABB agreed to acquire Ventyx for more than $1 billion from Vista Equity Partners to become a leading provider of software solutions for managing energy networks. Ventyx offers a range of solutions including: asset management, mobile workforce management, energy trading and risk management, energy operations and energy analytics. The company also provides software solutions for planning and forecasting electricity needs, including renewable energy. ABB will combine its related network management business within the Power Systems division, with Ventyx, to form a single unit for energy management software solutions.
Ventyx is a rollup of Indus International and MDSI, and the subsequent acquisitions of Global Energy Decisions, NewEnergy Associates, Tech-Assist, and the nMarket software business of The Structure Group. The acquisition is subject to customary regulatory approvals, and ABB expects the transaction to be completed in the second quarter. ABB intends to pay for the acquisition in cash.
ABB is moving to increase its stake from 52% to 75% in ABB Limited, its publicly-listed subsidiary in India to facilitate the long-term development of ABB’s business in India. Subject to regulatory clearance, the offer is expected to begin on July 8, 2010 and end on July 27, 2010. Payment for the shares is expected to take place on August 10, 2010. The shares are traded on the Bombay Stock Exchange Limited and the National Stock Exchange of India Limited.
New U.S. ABB Cable Factory
ABB announced that is will construct a new factory in the United States to manufacture high-voltage land cables for AC and DC power transmission that carry up to 400kV/1,500 MW DC. ABB will invest approximately $90 million in the new manufacturing facility, which is expected to employ around 100 people. The selection process for the site of the factory is well under way with the plant to open in 2012. This is driven by the opportunities to upgrade the existing transmission infrastructure in the United States, provide grid interconnections and integrate more renewable power into the grid.
The ABB XLPE cable is superior to power cables that rely on oil. The insulation system in an XLPE cable is based on a solid dielectric and, therefore, there is no risk of oil release to the environment. The power losses on a traditional HPFF cable circuit are significantly higher than for an XLPE cable circuit of the same rating – especially dielectric losses, charging current losses and losses in reactive power compensation equipment.
Products of Interest
ABB introduced and showcased a number of new products at ABB Automation & Power World 2010.
WirelessHART Adapter
ABB introduced its loop-powered FieldKey wireless adapter for existing HART devices. The adapters are compatible with 800xA asset management software or with the ABB Asset Vision Professional standalone product. The FieldKey wireless adapter is simple to commission and set up is done with a hand-held device or PC-based software. The ABB FieldKey wireless adapter mounts into an available cable gland on an instrument and can rotate almost completely around to achieve the best antenna direction. Initially, the adapter suits nonhazardous areas, but will be released for hazardous area applications later this year.
The Freelance product continues to expand in power and capability. Version 9.2 supports new direct I/O modules for AC 700F, PROFIBUS for AC 700F, S700 as remote I/O, and Excel Reporting. Other additions include:
  • Bulk Data Manager for easy configuration of repeated systems on a project.
  • CPU performance increased enabling applications to run with 10%-20% less CPU load than in V9.1.
  • A PROFIBUS master communication module, CM 772F.
  • Eight new S700 I/O modules types for PROFIBUS.
  • S700 hardware templates allow drag and drop of S700 remote I/O modules.
  • New OPC client supports Data Access and Alarms & Events based on OPC Tunnel Technology.
  • Create OPC function block types with faceplates.
  • OPC function block library to integrate an AC500 into Freelance operation.
System 800xA Extended Automation 5.1 Release
The new System 800xA 5.1 is based on Microsoft’s Windows 7 / 2008 Server and incorporates a number of new features.
AC800M controller
The latest version of System 800xA includes a new member of the AC800M controller family, the PM891. It has approximately 3 times the clock speed (450 MHz) and 4 times the memory of its predecessor.
The latest version of System 800xA uses virtualization to reduce the physical number of PCs required for installations by as much as 75%. This significantly reduced footprint also reduces energy consumption and maintenance requirements. In addition, the number of FOUNDATION Fieldbus High Speed Ethernet (HSE) of devices that can be connected to one node has increased by 400%.
Security Update Tool
The system 800xA includes a System Administration Console and a Security Update Tool to help keep the system running securely and at an optimum level. The Security Update Tool allows users to download Security Patches from Microsoft and cross match that to ABB’s qualified list. The user can then create a loadable set of supported, tested security updates that can be rolled out to System 800xA. This helps the user save valuable time and effort while providing a more robust, secure system.
New communication interfaces include PROFINET, DeviceNet via Ethernet IP, and WirelessHART. System 800xA’s WirelessHART solution integrates Pepperl+Fuchs WirelessHART Gateway, providing wireless connectivity to HART enabled devices. System 800xA’s FOUNDATION Fieldbus interfaces now supports EDDL.   The System 800xA’s IEC61850 Communications Interface capability has been enhanced by increasing the number of supported Intelligent Electrical Devices (IEDs) per communication interface card and by improving alarm and event support.
Alarm Shelving and Alarm Analysis
Alarm Shelving and Alarm Analysis features have been added in order to help keep alarms in check. In addition to traditional reporting of alarm statistics, the built-in Alarm Analysis displays are natively accessible to operators via graphics based on Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF).
Operator Point of Control
A new Point of Control feature of System 800xA allows an operator in a different area of a facility (in a remote locale) to request permission to control a plant area or unit from the currently responsible operator. Once approved, permission to operate that part of the facility is transferred to the requesting operator and captured in the audit trail log. The area or unit alarm and event messages are now routed to the new operator, thereby reducing the number of alarms sent to the original operator.
AC500-eCo PLC
ABB has expanded the AC500-eCo offering with three new CPUs and four new IO devices. For example, the new CPU versions offer integrated digital and analog inputs and outputs, along with relay outputs. CPUs can be provided in 24 V DC or 100-240 V AC power supply versions. Relay and triac output modules, together with a 100-240 V AC digital input module, were added to the S500-eCo I/O range.  The new DX571 I/O module combines digital inputs and relay outputs in one module. The AC500-eCo’s has 128kB user memory, and a program processing time of 0.1 μs/instruction.
The AC500-eCo’s CPU has integrated inputs and outputs (optional digital and digital / analog mixed) and can be configured with up to seven S500 I/O modules. Connection to the internal I/O bus is fail-safe via a side-positioned connector. Mounting of all modules is on DIN rail or via screw mounting. System configuration takes place using the integrated system software (PS501 Control Builder) for all the AC500 CPUs. This allows integrated programming of all CPUs in the AC500 family in accordance with the IEC 61131-3 standard. The AC500-eCo has an integrated serial interface configurable as MODBUS Master/Slave or CS31 Master.  The AC500-eCO accepts plug-in add-ons for a second serial port, real-time clock and SD card.
Thoughts & Comments
With over 400 educational sessions and workshops, the ABB Automation & Power World was a high value one stop educational opportunity to sharpen the mental saw and gain knowledge to improve productivity. I suspect many attendees went home with some new ideas after sharing thoughts and problems with other automation professionals.
Last year Joe Hogan stated that ABB had several “bolt-on” acquisitions in line with their focused strategy. The recent Jokab Safety acquisition allowed ABB to illustrate their machine safety applications and products at this event. The Ventyx acquisition just occurred and is subject to final approvals.
Ventyx gives ABB a platform to become a player in the smart grid and related areas that have greater growth potential than industrial and process markets.
ABB has a deep tangible long term commitment to technology that is evident in their products including high voltage cable, high power semiconductors, and others. ABB invests more than $1 billion annually in R&D with 6,000 scientists and engineers.
ABB is well positioned to take advantage of power industry growth in both developed and undeveloped countries. In addition to traditional ABB power products, the smart grid provides systems opportunities on the supply and demand side.
The data Joe Hogan reviewed indicating the importance of energy efficiency to achieve energy goals and CO2 reductions means automation professionals are more important then ever. Installing more efficient equipment is only part of the equation. Automation professionals need to creatively apply systems to improve operating efficiencies.