In the past, the electrical systems that provide the power for industrial processes have tended to exist in their own world. They were run from their own control rooms, separate from operating plants, and these rooms were staffed by engineers and technicians who were concerned only with what their drives and motors were doing, and whether they were providing enough power to keep the show on the road.
These days, it’s recognized that things work better if they are integrated. The obvious benefit is that it’s easier to manage a single system. No matter how important the electrical side is, it’s still just another factor in the production process, and optimization algorithms can cope with it along with all the other raw materials to get the most output from the least input. In this way, asset management and information management can use the same database and present the results on the same screen.
The key technology that enables this integration is ABB Ability™ System 800xA distributed control system, which uses the IEC 61850 standard to communicate with electrical substations. This can align process and power to get the most product from every watt consumed. Effectiveness is maximized by using high-bandwidth fiber-optic cables rather than the copper wire usually fitted with electrical control systems, and smart-design templates can automatically configure intelligent electrical devices, which slashes the time and cost of installation.