It terms of distributed control systems, ABB has two offerings,” explains Elmar Vogt. “These are categorized as “Essential Automation” and “Extended Automation.”
The Extended Automation System 800xA was launched about ten years ago and is well introduced to the market. It is ABB’s solution for “extended” process applications, mainly for large-scale plants focusing on operator effectiveness and featuring high level of integration of control, safety, asset and information management, as well as electrical equipment.
Whereas Essential Automation downsizes the complexity. Along with the Freelance DCS, the Essential Automation offering also includes the Compact Product Suite, a set of Process automation products such as process controllers, safety controllers, field interfaces, process recorders and HMIs. These products can be used in combination or standalone.
There are two customer types: value-centric and control-centric. Each of them has specific characteristics. ABB’s value-centric customers for example have large engineering and maintenance department and are also willing to pay for a premium system, which also considers optimized strategies for the entire enterprise.
In terms of sales channel, the relationship is mostly directly with ABB,” explains Elmar Vogt. “System 800xA is ideal for this type of customer, for example a large oil & gas company”.
However, the control-centric customers feature characteristics such as being price-sensitive, preferring an easy-to-use system rather than a comprehensive, integrated client/server solution. He often doesn’t have huge engineering and maintenance resources available. The project sponsor more likely comes from engineering or plant operations than from executive management. Very often, system integrators act as the sales channel. Hence, ABB’s Essential Automation offering perfectly fits for control-centric users.
Typically, a systems integrator acts as the sales channel, rather than ABB. “Accordingly, our Essential Automation offerings are the right fit for the Control Centric customer,” notes Elmar Vogt. “There are training classes at ABB Universities, but we also provide self-learning tutorial to get a quick and easy start into the system.”
Meanwhile, through the range of available controllers, the system gives customers a very useful degree of scalability.