How can a series of mirrors contribute to the discovery of new planets? How is electricity generated at 3,000 meters below sea level?  And what does the monitoring of industrial motors have in common with a conventional fitness tracker? Here, we take you through some of the most interesting facts and trivia of our company’s portfolio – with short, easy to understand explanations. Click on the + to learn more. 

Uninterruptible power supply with MegaFlex 

Did you know…


... ABB provides the most compact uninterruptible power supply?


An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is an electrical device that provides quality power and protects from input power interruptions that could come from voltage surges and spikes, voltage sags, total power failure, and frequency differences.


With the amount of digital data growing faster than ever before, data centers are critical for the ingestion, computation, storage, and management of all this data. And therefore, every data center uses an UPS system to ensure the servers and all sensitive pieces of computing equipment are never susceptible to the slightest change in the electrical power flow.


ABB’s newest UPS, the MegaFlex DPA, has been designed to ensure the smooth operation of today’s data centers with their increasingly high-power demands. The MegaFlex DPA solution is sustainable and reaches (with 97.4 percent efficiency) the highest efficiency ratings available. It delivers 99.9999 percent availability and reliability, with the most compact footprint on the market, which is up to 45 percent smaller compared to competitor models of equal power rating.


Energy efficiency is of particular importance to large data centers, due to the vast amount of energy they consume. Therefore, every percentage point of improvement in efficiency brings significant savings on energy losses and represents a reduction in CO₂ emissions. MegaFlex DPA actually saves 30 percent on energy losses, day by day, year by year.

Sustainable switchgear

Did you know…


... that ABB’s eco-efficient gas-insulated switchgear are free of the greenhouse gas SF6?


Switchgear are composed of electrical switches, fuses or circuit breakers used to control, protect and isolate electrical equipment. Their reliability is directly linked to the reliability of the entire power supply system. Compared to air-insulated alternatives, gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) are compact, making them suitable to use in confined spaces, safer and more reliable thanks to its encapsulated design.


As an alternative to our traditional GIS with SF6, ABB’s sustainable switchgear solutions use AirPlus™, a groundbreaking, climate-friendly gas mixture.  As a pioneer in technology, ABB was the first company to introduce this green alternative gas in the GIS market. Since its introduction, ABB’s AirPlus solutions are successfully performing in several customer installations.

Hybrid ferry

Did you know…


... ABB powers a futuristic hybrid ferry on Norwegian fjords?   


The Vision of the Fjords ferry carries up to 400 tourists between Flåm and Gudvangen along the Nærøyfjord in the west of Norway, a distance of around 32 km. Once it has arrived in the most scenic part of the fjord, the ferry switches to battery power, allowing sightseers to enjoy the nature in almost complete silence at around 8 knots (approx. 15 km/h). The fjord is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List because it remains largely unspoiled by human development and the ferry is designed with the surroundings in mind.  


The ferry uses ABB’s Onboard DC Grid™ system that manages and controls the energy flow between the engine, propeller, batteries and the charging station, ensuring quiet and sustainable operation. The Onboard DC Grid™ transfers energy to the battery during charging at both ends of the voyage. 

Research with bees 

Did you know…


…ABB’s Corporate Research Center in Krakow, Poland, uses bees raised on its roof to support the en-vironment – and test computer algorithms? 

Between 50,000 to 100,000 bees occupy a mini-apiary on the roof of the building. Besides honey, the bees provide a great deal of very useful test data. The beehives enable researchers to test all aspects of data analysis – sensors, data acquisition, data analysis and data visualization. An application like bee identification, bee detection and bee tracking could directly translate into tracking objects on the factory floor or tracking shipping containers. 


The resulting data streams are used to test sensor techniques as well as analytical algorithms. For instance, the image from a camera directed at the hive’s entrance is useful in the development of an image detection system and counting objects based on video transmission. A lot of bees fly out of the hive at the same time, and the scientists try to find a method of counting them, taking into account their speed, small size and background. A large amount of quite exotic data allows the researchers to experiment. 

Azipod® electric propulsion 

Did you know…


…that the Azipod® electric propulsion system can turn 360°, allowing ships far greater maneuverability?


Azipod® is a gearless 360° steerable propulsion system, where the electric motor is located in a submerged pod outside the ship hull. By utilizing the Azipod® system’s maneuverability, marine vessels can direct thrust in any direction with incredible precision, saving time and fuel.


Launched in 1990, Azipod® technology marked a new era in ship propulsion. Since then, ABB’s Azipod® system has inspired naval architects to create more efficient and sustainable vessel designs. Azipod® propulsion has enabled vessels of all types, including passenger ships, cargo vessels and ice-breaking tankers to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20 percent compared to traditional shaftline systems over the last three decades, translating into over 1,000,000 tons of saved fuel and lower emissions for a more sustainable future.

Smart Sensors

Did you know…

… that a smart sensor, about the size of a smartphone, can convert traditional electric motors into smart, wirelessly connected devices?


The sensor can easily be installed on new and old motors from many manufacturers. Similar to a fitness tracker on your wrist, the smart sensor collects data, which is then analyzed in the cloud and displayed in an easy-to-use app, enabling technicians to monitor the condition of their industrial motors at a glance and plan required maintenance in advance. Smart sensors can reduce unplanned downtime by up to 70 percent and extend the lifetime of devices by 30 percent, significantly increasing energy efficiency by up to 10 percent.

Carbon-neutral production site

Did you know…

…ABB’s first CO2-neutral production site, located in Luedenscheid, Germany, saves more than 680 tons of CO2 a year?

The project is a proof-of-concept that it is possible to create and run a zero emissions factory. On sunny days, ABB products generate enough power to run the entire factory and even feed energy into the grid. Whenever the on-site solutions can’t cover a peak in energy demand, additional green energy is sourced from a provider, which guarantees 100% CO2-neutral production.

ABB’s Luedenscheid factory, which produces state-of-the art equipment for smart buildings, is powered by photovoltaic solar panels that cover approx. 7,300 square meters, installed on the on-site car park roof. After operating 12 months, the combination of solar power, smart energy management and a highly efficient energy network at the factory generated 1,190 MWh of energy – which equates to a carbon saving of 681 tons, and about as much as the annual demand from 360 private households.

The technical centerpiece of the system is the scalable energy management system OPTIMAX® from the ABB AbilityTM Energy Management for Sites suite. The digital solution provides for the constant surveillance and optimum control of energy production, consumption and storage and operates largely autonomously. This learning system calculates the optimum energy flow on the basis of predictive data and compensates for deviations in real time.