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Chemical Manufacturer Achieves Vertical Integration with OPC

ABB’s use of OPC DA in its Enterprise Connectivity Solutions (ECS) provides connection with automation equipment from ABB and other manufacturers, and provides data from business systems in the OPC layer.

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In the process industries, OPC provides open connectivity through a series of specifications based on open standards. OPC’s open communication architecture, focused on data access, provides information in a consistent manner to a variety of plant floor and business applications. ABB’s Industrial ECS Enterprise Connectivity Solutions utilize OPC Data Access (DA) technology to provide real-time vertical integration between the plant and enterprise business systems. This solution has been installed at OMG Kokkola Chemicals, a producer of cobalt chemicals in Kokkola, Finland.

OMG Kokkola Chemicals Oy is part of the international OM Group, Inc., which is one of the world’s leading producers and marketers of metal-based organic and inorganic specialty chemicals, powders and metals. Finished alloy product from OMG’s cobalt smelter in the Congo and cobalt solution from OMG’s nickel refinery are sent to the Kokkola, Finland, facility to be used in the manufacturing of cobalt-based products.

OMG Kokkola Chemicals (Kokkola) has been actively developing its production processes by increasing the manufacturing capability of value-added products. For many years it has been the world’s leading producer of cobalt products. Kokkola has achieved rapid growth and managed change, thanks to advanced technology and know-how, identification of customers’ needs, emphasis on research and development of new products and processes.

When Kokkola needed to integrate its production systems with its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, it chose ABB’s ECS Enterprise Connectivity Solutions to provide this link. At Kokkola, ABB’s solution, utilizing OPC as an internal communication mechanism, integrates the ABB 800xA control system with an SAP PI-PCS interface. Kokkola uses the PI-PCS interface to automatically report recorded material consumption and production (input and output) values to SAP.

ABB’s ECS Enterprise Connectivity Solutions utilize OPC DA technology in a unique way to provide real-time vertical integration between the plant and enterprise business systems. OMG Kokkola relies upon ECS, with OPC technology, to periodically measure material consumption and produced quantities and to report these values to the Enterprise ERP system in real time.

ECS Enterprise Connectivity Solutions are a recent addition to ABB’s Industrial IT family, for development of vertical integration solutions that establish model-based integration between business and manufacturing processes. They provide a data model (based on the ISA 95 standard) that tightly couples with the OPC standard, thus enabling easy definition of various integration scenarios that can move live OPC data directly from the plant to various business systems. Built on top of ABB’s System 800xA Extended Automation core control system platform, the task of ECS is to interpret the particular integration process definition, and based on this, to drive the OPC communication channels that link the entire platform with external hardware systems and synchronize the work of these hardware systems with external software applications.

Implementation of the OPC standard within ABB’s solution brings unique capabilities to vertical integration, not only by providing connection with automation equipment from ABB and other manufacturers, but also by providing data from business systems in the OPC layer, where tools for building process graphics can transparently bring process and business data to the same operator screen.

“This solution offers Kokkola many benefits,” said Markus Lindfors, production manager for OMG Kokkola Chemicals. “It enables greater data accuracy, reliability, security and confidentiality, improved product costing and inventory accuracy and allows for less manual entry of data. Our excess inventory has been reduced. The accuracy and timeliness of our financial information is improved. Our ability to meet statutory requirements for SOX, GAAP and FAS, for example, is improved.”

ABB provides a comprehensive range of control system products and solutions that enable utility and industry customers to improve their overall productivity. To find out more, visit

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