New panel harvests a world of drive data

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ABB’S new Drive Connectivity Panel taps the power of the latest Internet of Things (IoT) mobile technology to interact with drives in a spectrum of ­industrial environments. Thanks to the panel’s connectivity to ABB Ability cloud services, customers can remotely monitor the status of their ABB drives, ­operational KPIs and much more. This direct approach to the cloud is unique.

Roland Schmale ABB Drives, Digital Ladenburg, Germany, roland.schmale@de.abb.com; Pasi V. Karhinen ABB Drives Helsinki, Finland, pasi.v.karhinen@fi.abb.com

ABB, the leader in the standard and premium drive market, has developed the Drive Connectivity Panel →1, a unique plug&play device that was awarded the “Innovation Product 2018” prize in China by Modern Manufacturing Magazine. The new panel offers an array of features designed to make an extremely broad range of information from inside the drive easily readable and visualizable. Customers can tap into data such as motor behavior settings, control macros, diagnostics, energy efficiency and energy savings, to name just a few key areas.

01 ABB’s new drive connectivity panel allows customers to remotely monitor the status of their ABB drives and much more.
01 ABB’s new drive connectivity panel allows customers to remotely monitor the status of their ABB drives and much more.

Thanks to the latest Internet of Things (IoT) mobile technology available anywhere – including both narrowband (NB) IoT and Bluetooth – the panel can interact with drives in a spectrum of industrial environments. And thanks to the panel’s connectivity to ABB Ability cloud services →2, data encryption and resulting high level of cybersecurity, customers can remotely monitor the status of their ABB drives, operational KPIs, events, and real time and historical parameter trends through continuous data uploads. Remote assistance provides easy access to ABB expertise on-site to track down problems.

02 The Connectivity Panel transmits a drive’s data to the Ability Condition Monitoring for Drives cloud service. This in turn delivers accurate, real-time information about drive events, thus enhancing powertrain availability, reliability and maintenance.
02 The Connectivity Panel transmits a drive’s data to the Ability Condition Monitoring for Drives cloud service. This in turn delivers accurate, real-time information about drive events, thus enhancing powertrain availability, reliability and maintenance.

All of this adds up to substantial customer value in areas such as device and asset management, remote condition monitoring, predictive maintenance, powertrain insights, product use analysis and process optimization and customization. Indeed, data provided by this new platform can reveal the true potential of drives and help create new business models and customized services.

Close to the cloud
In many small to medium-sized companies, many of which are in remote locations in big countries such as China →3, application of drives can present a challenge because of the absence of an on-site Internet connection. Under such circumstances the customer typically needs to install and commission a gateway or edge device – a task that is not only time consuming but requires a connection to a fieldbus port, which may already be in use for programmable logic controller (PLC) signaling.

03 Chinese manufacturing – a major business area for ABB – has been characterized by steady growth in the IIoT.
03 Chinese manufacturing – a major business area for ABB – has been characterized by steady growth in the IIoT.

Even if this is possible, though, only a subset of drive data is communicated to the cloud gateway, meaning that data that is not accessed by a PLC will not be available. Furthermore, data communicated between a PLC and a drive is sometimes insuffiecient to support high level analytics such as deep learning, remote condition analysis and failure prediction.

Here, the Drive Connectivity Panel offers an answer: Installation and commissioning of the panel is a plug-and-play procedure that does not require the powertrain to be stopped. Data is collected through the drive’s panel bus via ABB’s internal protocol. As a result, operational data pertaining to the drive, together with logs and even black box data, can be sent to the cloud directly via cellular network using NB-IoT. A NB-IoT modem, SIM card and high-performance antenna are implemented together in the panel hardware as a complete offer. Even data traffic is covered. In addition, the Panel’s Bluetooth interface enables on-demand remote assistance services through its Drivetune Mobile App.

The Drive Connectivity Panel’s direct connection to the cloud is suitable for a vast number of customers who require a low-cost cloud solution →3. Such companies can ill afford the cost of stopping machinery during production in order to determine how efficiently a drive and the entire drivetrain are operating, whether there are any indications of an impending failure, and what they can do to minimize the possibility of a failure during production. To date, ABB’s direct approach to the cloud continues to be unique, thus profoundly differentiating ABB Drives from all other competitors.

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