ABB donates software licensing and automation expertise to Sappi Skills Centre in South Africa

Support and materials will help develop skillsets of employees at Sappi’s Project Vulindlela and the local community.

Technology leader ABB is donating software solutions and pulp and paper automation expertise to the Sappi Skills Centre, based in Umkomaas, South Africa near Sappi’s Saiccor Mill—the largest single site dedicated to dissolving wood pulp. The donation supports the Skills Centre, which was established by Sappi in 2018 to equip local youth with the basic technical skills needed to prepare them for meaningful employment.

The automation training system at the Sappi Skills Centre will be comprised of an Ability™ System 800xA distributed control system (DCS), which will enable employees and members of the local community to receive training on a simulated version of the production control system. It will include a fully functional 800xA DCS, as well as field instruments, I/O cabinets and I.T. equipment.

The ABB contribution to this system includes licensing for ABB Pulp and Paper Libraries and Field Information Manager as well as a training cabinet for Select I/O, ABB’s ethernet-based single channel I/O solution for ABB Ability™ System 800xA. ABB will also assist with design, engineering and configuration of the system and provision the basic simulation software and automation training services.

“We are honored to help Sappi address skills gaps in the community and work together to train the next generation of South African pulp and paper technicians,” said John Manuell, Local Business Line Manager for South Africa, ABB Process Industries. “Skills development will lead to safer operations and higher productivity as well as providing the local community with greater employment opportunities.”

“Our goal with the Sappi Skills Centre is to develop a learning campus that empowers the Umkomaas community with skills that will enable them to find meaningful employment or build their own enterprises,” said Krish Naidu, Saiccor Mill General Manager, Sappi. “ABB’s donation enables us to expand our training offer to encompass the digital skills required for the modern pulp and paper industry and helps us fulfill our vision of sustainable community development.”

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a technology leader that is driving the digital transformation of industries. With a history of innovation spanning more than 130 years, ABB has four customer-focused, globally leading businesses: Electrification, Industrial Automation, Motion, and Robotics & Discrete Automation, supported by the ABB Ability™ digital platform. ABB’s Power Grids business will be divested to Hitachi in 2020. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 147,000 employees. www.abb.com

Sappi Limited is a global leader in paper, paper pulp and dissolving wood pulp solutions, Sappi Limited (SAP - listed on the JSE), is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa; has over 12,000 employees; manufacturing operations on three continents, in seven countries (nine mills in Europe, three mills in America and four mills in South Africa) and customers in over 150 countries worldwide.

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