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Extended Automation

ABB pioneered one of the world’s first distributed control systems in the early 1980s and remains to this day the global market leader and the company with the largest installed base of process automation systems worldwide.

Of all the innovations that ABB has brought to the automation industry in the past three decades, few have been as world-changing as the concept of extended automation. 

When ABB launched its Extended Automation System 800xA in 2004, the platform quickly gained widespread acceptance and won numerous awards for its ability to extend the reach of distributed control systems into a completely new dimension.

No longer was data tied up in incompatible systems; with System 800xA it could be accessed, managed and redeployed throughout the system with a single click of the mouse. It provided – for the first time – a single environment and a common platform for a plant’s entire operations, from engineering to process optimization and asset management.

And, it had the capability not only to integrate the automation and information management systems in a single plant, but to link the systems of plants at different sites, and in different countries, into a single, integrated entity.

Over the past five years, ABB has developed System 800xA into an automation platform with a uniquely broad and integrative capability that addresses industry's need to continually improve productivity. 

For instance, for industries such as oil and gas, where safety is a primary concern, ABB has developed System 800xA HI (High Integrity), which integrates two previously independent automation platforms - safety, and process control - into a single (yet functionally separate) system. 

In pharmaceuticals, ABB has combined its technology leadership in process automation and process analytics to develop a comprehensive and scalable PAT (process analytical technology) solution. This ensures that pharma products are manufactured to consistent levels of quality and safety.

And for energy-intensive industries like pulp and paper, cement, mining and power generation, ABB has utilized the new IEC 61850 international standard for substation automation and plant electrification to integrate process control, plant electrification and information management systems on a single platform.

Some of the largest production facilities in the world are monitored, controlled and managed by System 800xA.

The improvements in productivity and energy efficiency achieved by System 800xA are well documented. More than 5,000 System 800xA installations are now in operation worldwide. They include some of the largest and most complex production facilities in the world:

The world’s largest alumina refinery
System 800xA controls the seven production lines, material handling systems and harbor at Vale’s Alunorte alumina refinery in Brazil, the world’s largest with a production capacity of 6.3 million tons of alumina a year. 

The refinery is linked to the Paragominas bauxite mine by a 244-kilometer pipeline – the first of its kind in the world - through which up to 14.4 million tons of bauxite a year is delivered for processing into alumina.

System 800xA controls both the mine and the pipeline, making the entire Alunorte–pipeline–Parogominas chain one of the largest upstream automation projects ever undertaken.

The world’s largest container ship
Launched in 2006 and with a capacity to carry around 11,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), Emma Maersk is the world’s largest container ship and is powered by the world’s largest single-unit diesel engine, which generates 82 megawatts of power. 

The entire ship is controlled by System 800xA. ABB also supplied the ship’s power distribution system, thrusters, motors, turbochargers and a Cylmate® continuous monitoring system, which measures all the vital parameters during each cylinder stroke in the huge diesel engine.

The world’s longest oil pipeline
A System 800xA integrated control and safety system controls the offshore oil platforms, onshore oil terminal and 1,768 kilometer Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline that runs from the Caspian Sea to the Turkish Mediterranean. 

System 800xA also controls the offshore platform, onshore terminal and 692-km South Caucasus gas pipeline, which follows the route of the BTC from the Caspian Sea as far as the Georgia-Turkey border. 

BP selected System 800xA for its unique ability to provide a common solution for all applications.

Chinese wonder of the pulp and paper world
Dubbed China’s most advanced, most automated and biggest single investment in the pulp and paper industry, the Hunan Juntai pulp mill is one of China’s ten landmark industrial development projects in the current five-year plan (2006-2010). 

The plant is equipped with a comprehensive mill-wide ABB process automation solution that recently won - along with another ABB solution for a calcined soda plant - the 2008 Science and Technology Achievement Award of the China Instrumentation and Control Society.

System 800xA controls the manufacturing process of the entire mill and includes quality control systems, advanced optimized control, instrumentation and intelligent motor control centers. The plant produces up to 400,000 tons of high-quality pulp a year.

Learn more about System 800XA