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ABB Enhances Automation Platform

Enhancements target engineering efficiency, information access and secure evolution of installed systems.

Swiss-based automation vendor ABB has released the newest version of its Industrial IT Extended Automation System 800xA. Major system enhancements include features designed to help customers add applications to running processes without requiring system downtime, and to integrate multiple 800xA systems in diverse geographic locations into one control room for visibility into and control of globally dispersed manufacturing operations. 

"As many of our customers must run their operations continuously, 24/7, to remain profitable and meet their targets, system downtime is not an option. These enhancements allow them to add programs, modify configurations, and implement software upgrades while production is running, and then simulate the impact these changes will have on running production before they are executed. This capability greatly reduces the risks commonly associated with system modifications and additions," says Alicia Bauer, Director of Systems Marketing, ABB Inc., in Wickliffe, Ohio. "System 800xA also provides even more visibility and control throughout the entire manufacturing operation with enhanced multiple system integration, so that various manufacturing sites can be viewed and accessed from one place, bringing multiple sites into a single operations and engineering environment. With these enhancements, System 800xA sets the new standard for corporate-wide productivity and efficiency."

Combine data 

System 800xA's integration capability allows customers to combine data from traditionally disparate automation-related applications into a single integrated information view in real-time to facilitate business decisions and actions to maximize productivity, ABB says. It provides the capability to tailor information content and format to the user's job function, facilitating faster navigation, assimilation and decision-making. 

Load-Evaluate-Go lets customers modify, download and evaluate a new or "revised" application, without interfering with the running "current" application. They can see how the new application will work with their controllers and input/output (I/O) devices and how it will affect the production process, while continuing the run the current application. After evaluation, the customer may choose to put the new application online, modify it, or discard it. The capability significantly reduces the risks associated with making application changes in the running process, ABB says, and improves overall efficiency by avoiding production stops, missed or delayed product deliveries, and costly downtime. Load-Evaluate-Go is a result of the ongoing collaboration between ABB and The Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Mich. 

Multi-System Integration makes it possible to supervise and operate several 800xA systems from one central operating room, regardless of system location. Customers can access and view objects configured in one system from another system, further expanding the reach and capability of System 800xA. Multi-System Integration enables the linking of geographically separate 800xA Systems with local control rooms into one common control room. It also promotes the sectioning of multiple line processes to simplify their maintenance and increase their integrity, and also makes it possible to stage system commissioning without interfering with running processes, ABB says. 

Engineering sandbox 

Multi-User and Distributed Engineering provides an even more flexible engineering environment to move, copy and reuse configuration data between different systems, and to make engineering changes in an environment that is separate from running production. In this collaborative "engineering sandbox," engineering teams from multiple locations can work together on a project, and synchronize their results for implementation when appropriate after completion. These engineering changes do not immediately impact the version of the application running the process, says ABB; when the customer is ready to make these changes, they are deployed to the production environment in one single transaction. 

System 800xA is designed to significantly extend process control and enterprise visibility well beyond the realm of essential process control to include production management, safety, smart instrumentation, smart drives and motor control, information management, asset optimization, simulation and documentation. System 800xA integrates these areas so that information can be viewed, accessed, and appropriately modified from its single operations environment so that plants/mills can run more efficiently and achieve substantial cost savings. Its engineering environment manages one set of consistent data, for single-point entry, single-point change and re-use across the plant to help users extend and repeat their most successful engineering strategies and best practices.


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