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Connected workforce software solutions

Re-imagining work practices, training, remote expert support with the modern tech - mobile apps, voice, simulators, AR/VR, AI

Connected Workforce with ABB:  Our offering  |  Expert insights |  Your journey  |  Analyst views  |  Testimonials  |  Downloads  |  Cyber security  | Digital transformation

If you are looking to ensure safer working environment and continuity of operation:
  • reduce unscheduled downtime and environmental impact caused by human errors
  • minimize the need for the employees to go into potentially risky situations, avoiding injuries
  • protect expertise, capture tribal knowledge and speed up new employee on-boarding
  • enhance data visibility, collaboration and establish consistency no matter the personnel

Our offering

Make a step change in improving workforce safety, competency and knowledge retention

by solution type
by industry
  • Digital instructions and workflows on smartphones, tablets, HoloLens
  • Mobile digital procedure management
  • Integrated task management
  • Live, interactive human-to-human support, Augmented Reality (AR)
  • Remote expert assistance
  • Remote FAT
  • Remote training
  • 24/7 monitoring of risks, assets, processes by you and ABB experts
  • ABB advanced digital services delivered from many locations around the world
  • Train operators on plant operation, start-up, shutdown, response on malfunction, emergencies and safety in a 100% realistic environment
  • Verify / tune control logic

Expert Insights

Your Connected Workforce journey

Unlike the mass market, industrial companies typically need some time before they are ready to dive into disruptive technology. This is not because they dismiss the possibilities, but because workforce transformations can be hard, if not approached in the correct way.

To be able to present information in a new way via mobile, wearables, voice, video, augmented, virtual or mixed reality (AR/VR/XR) or simulation, it first needs to be made relevant, accurate and easy to consume for the manufacturing workforce. It needs to operate in a secure environment as well as being suitable for demanding industrial conditions, from extreme temperatures, noise or flying sparks, to helmets, gloves and other personal protective equipment that may interfere with voice or physical gesture commands.

But most importantly it needs to deliver value. Industrial facilities shouldn’t look at how to embed the latest technology into their facilities, instead they should start from the premise of ‘how can we make things faster, smarter, and safer’, and look to advancements in tech to support this.

Experienced manufacturing leaders who have previously scaled up advanced technologies from a proof of concept to proof of value and company-wide adoption know the fundamentals. The best chances to succeed are by providing much better alternatives for carrying out the tasks that employees are already familiar with, by relieving them from the ‘dull, dirty and dangerous’ and making them eager to switch to more value-adding activities – all in a standardized way to facilitate knowledge retention and continuous improvement cycles.

In time, connected-workforce approaches will be exploited to deliver value in almost all areas. But full potential will be reached when total integration with site, process, and client data is achieved, enhanced with Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning (AI/ML), and this reality isn’t as far off as you would think.

At ABB we continue to infuse our 130 years of industry knowledge with advanced digital technology to drive our next generation of connected workforce solutions. We can integrate multiple data sources and collaboration tools into the same mobile and augmented environment, and with our developments in mixed reality as well, teams can collaborate much more effectively, regardless of their location – getting ‘virtually’ hands on.

Tips for successful Connected Workforce solutions adoption

  1. Start with a business goal and engage end users early in the new ways of working

  2. Anticipate resistance and give workers a reason to change the process that have served them well in the past

  3. Don’t get distracted by cool technology, consider improving the underlying processes as part of Connected Workforce app roll-out

  4. Ensure internet access and adequate bandwidth everywhere you expect workers to have on-line access to the apps or synchronize data with the off-line version

  5. Introduce apps quickly, test new ideas, be ready to adapt to changing circumstances and move on

Analyst and ABB views

LNS Research
ARC Advisory Group
McKinsey

Develop a vision for your connected workforce

Reduced
maintenance process

~10-15%


Increase
OEE

~2-3%


Increased
productivity

~20-30%


Reduced
waste

~10%


Reduced
worker errors

~75%


Enhanced
ESG compliance

 




Testimonials

THE INSTITUTION OF CHEMICAL ENGINEERS


ABB earned the “Highly Commended” IChemE Award for the Connected Worker software

“Human error continues to be a significant contributing factor to safety issues, as well as production down time. With this solution, it enables collecting data from numerous disparate information sources/systems to enable an operator to be more informed so that they can perform the task more efficiently and safely”

Chris Flower, Digital Lead, Energy Industries UK

ABB shines at Virtual Global Awards by IChemE

Under the process safety category, ABB earned the “Highly Commended” title for the ABB Ability™ Connected  Worker software application. The award recognizes the project, process or the product that best demonstrates excellence in process safety.
A STEEL MILL

“The modernization and upgrades project at our Santander mill is well underway and ABB shares our vision for smart, efficient operations – this approach was demonstrated once again in the flexibility around the remote FAT, which we can describe as 100 percent successful."

Iago López García, Rolling Mill Electrical Maintenance Manager, Global Steel Wire

ABB enables modernization of steel rolling mill in Spain and deploys augmented reality for remote testing

Global technology company ABB is providing a package of metals industry-specific digital-ready solutions, including drives, controller and converter infrastructure, to enable Global Steel Wire (GSW), part of CELSA Group, to modernize operations at its Santander steel mill.

Teams from the two companies had the chance to incorporate the use of augmented reality (AR) during the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT), with representatives at the LCI factory in Switzerland collaborating with others in Spain. It encompassed audio, video, document-sharing and live annotations. This allowed progress to continue during the COVID-19 travel limitations.

AN OIL PLATFORM


“ABB’s Augmented Operator will help operators to grapple with and resolve abnormal plant situations. Successfully field-tested on data accessed from Norway’s OKEA oil platform, Draugen, ABB’s Augmented Operator meets the strenuous requirements of real-world industrial settings.”

Anne Lene Rømuld OKEA Kristiansund, Norway Hadil Abukwaik

Smooth Operation

Created to identify, unravel and demonstrate how to resolve potential problems with confidence, the Augmented Operator supports operators to achieve performance excellence by drawing on vast available data and artificial intelligence capabilities.



A MINERALS PROCESSING GROUP

“We were early to realize the advantages of simulation as a part of our work with improving processes. On the simulator, we can train operators and test changes to control systems and processes, free of interference. It saves time and raises the quality of daily processing in the plant."

Mats Renfors, automation engineer at LKAB Kiruna

System 800xA Simulator for LKAB minerals processing plant in Sweden

The benefits of the KA3/KK4 simulator were apparent fairly soon and there was an interest in LKAB to obtain more simulators.

A POWER PLANT


"Thanks for all the care and effort you put into ensuring all of this technology would work together seamlessly to conduct a successful FAT (Factory Acceptance Test). It was completely different from an “in-person” FAT, but as this project proved, it was effective."

Timothy Kleijn, Uniper’s Project Manager

Digital Service 4.0

A PULP MILL

"Among the final suppliers we were choosing from, ABB’s solution for the simulator was the best option. It gave us a very realistic simulation, as the functionality in the simulator is the same as in the real automation system, with additional simulation functions. Other alternatives, such as emulating the automation system by the model vendor, seemed far less suitable for us. Troubleshooting and development is easier when you have been involved in building the system. Choosing a realistic simulator also means that we can teach, train and develop in the same environment as the real system."

Lars-Åke Sundberg, system engineer at SCA Östrand

800xA Simulator for recovery boiler control at SCA pulp mill in Sweden

Simulation is gaining importance for the pulp and paper industry, as the simulators have become increasingly realistic and provide challenging training for the operators.





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Cyber security and data ownership

ABB's connected workforce solutions support all the deployment variants needed and enable secure, dynamic, ad hoc interactions regardless of whether the people, devices, networks, and resources are within or outside traditional security perimeters. You own your data. We ensure defense in depth cyber security, data protection, reliability, privacy, intellectual property.

The Cyber Security Reference Architecture is an ABB-developed design standard for industrial systems and associated security controls. ABB engineering teams use the architecture during system deployments, and ABB service units use it to update and modernize existing customer networks to bring them in line with current cyber security standards and best practices.

ABB Ability™ digital services have successfully improved the cyber security of industrial sites across the globe. Many customers have scheduled risk assessments as part of their ongoing annual service agreements, while others have implemented cyber security analytics dashboards to continuously monitor, diagnose and resolve security issues.

Compliance

ABB’s security measures in the Reference Architecture meet or exceed IEC 62443-3-3 security level 2 (SL2) as defined in foundational requirement section 5 (RE5). It also aligns with other common standards such as the NIST framework, ISO 27001 and NERC-CIP. Implementing the reference architecture does not guarantee passage of external certification audits; however, ABB can support compliance for specific security standards with additional recommendations.

Digital transformation partnership: you think big, we get practical.

For every industrial operation ambitious about Industry 4.0, ABB has built a framework to help drive and manage a complex change.

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