10 ABB technologies that changed the world

ABB’s high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology has revolutionized how electrical energy is delivered to consumers around the world by dramatically reducing power losses and, potentially mitigating the environmental impact when electricity is transmitted over very long distances or in urban areas.

ABB’s devices control the speed of electric motors to match the task at hand, saving power and improving performance in factories, shops, offices and homes. Thanks to proprietary Direct Torque Control (DTC) technology, the drives can make the motors they control react rapidly to sudden changes in loads or processes, leading to dramatically lower power consumption.

ABB pioneered the world’s first electrically powered industrial robot and the world’s first industrial paint robot 40 years ago. Today, more than 160,000 ABB robots are in operation – perhaps the largest installed base in the world – conducting monotonous or dangerous tasks everywhere from car to can factories.

As the world's leading supplier of electrical substations, ABB has delivered crucial advances improving the reliability and flexibility of electricity transmission and distribution systems in environments as demanding as deserts and mountains, as well as offshore rigs and city centers.

ABB pioneered one of the world’s first distributed control systems in the early 1980s and remains a global market leader and the company with the largest installed base of process automation systems worldwide. Such systems provide a single common platform to control a plant’s entire operations in a range of heavy and process industries.

Ever wondered how that massive cruise ship inched into that tiny berth? Look below the waterline, and chances are you'll find ABB's revolutionary Azipod propulsion system under the hull. Azipod's swiveling external propellers have had a huge impact on the operating efficiency of ships and floating vessels, improving performance and cutting energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by up to a quarter.

Abbreviated to FACTS, this is the group of techniques pioneered by ABB in the 1950s that remain market and technology leaders to this day for transmitting AC power over long distances and dramatically increasing the capacity of existing transmission networks.

Helping to monitor, control, operate and protect electricity systems around the world, these enable utilities and independent system operators to manage transmission grids, distribution networks, power plants and energy trading markets in real time by collecting, transmitting, storing and analyzing data from potentially hundreds of thousands of points around a network and over large areas.

ABB supplies crane manufacturers with the brains in their cranes - the automation and electrical systems that power and automate the cranes that shift the hundreds of millions of containers and billions of tons of bulk cargo through the world’s ports. As a result, goods can be moved quickly, safely and energy efficiently, keeping ship berth times short and handling costs low.

ABB delivered one of the world’s first transformers in 1893. Today, we are global leader in this vital power technology found wherever electricity is generated, transported and consumed, from power plants and substations to skyscrapers and shopping malls, ships and oil platforms.