Digitalization is ­making automation safer and greener

Digitalization is ­making automation safer and greener

It is often said that one should work smarter before working harder. Smarter operations are absolutely crucial in maximizing productivity, reducing production costs and mitigating environmental impact. Digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things are enabling safer and more sustainable operations.

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Rajesh Ramachandran Chief Digital Officer, ABB Industrial Automation Bangalore, India, rajesh.ramachandran@ch.abb.com, Bernhard Eschermann Chief Technology Officer, ABB Industrial Automation Zurich, Switzerland, bernhard.eschermann@ch.abb.com

In the process, hybrid, energy and transportation industries, energy is often the highest contributor to production costs – more than raw materials in some cases – along with the costs of complying with regulations on emissions and waste. Automation has already established itself as a significant contributor to production efficiency and environmental compliance. By now adding digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT), data can be analyzed and applied in ways never before possible, ushering significant improvements in productivity and environmental sustainability.

Since the ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2016, many governments have committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions [1]. In addition, in 2019, the United Nations released the “Envision 2030 framework for achieving affordable and clean energy while stimulating economic growth” [2,3]. Goals include increasing the share of renewable sources in the global energy mix, and doubling energy efficiency through investments in infrastructure and technology →01. Industry is called upon to help realize these goals.

01 By integrating industrial automation technologies with digitalization and electrification, global economic growth is projected to increase.
01 By integrating industrial automation technologies with digitalization and electrification, global economic growth is projected to increase.

Already today, 60 percent of ABB’s global revenues come from technologies that directly address environmental sustainability. These technologies increase energy efficiency, integrate renewables into the energy mix, and conserve raw materials. ABB’s technology is used in numerous projects all over the globe to keep operations running, supply chains open, the environment preserved and people safe. In cities around the world, ABB sensors and systems provide real-time information and control for utilities and transportation, enabling energy and water to be used wisely, and enhancing management processes and informed decisions by providing timely and actionable information.

“Producers in the process, hybrid, energy and transportation industries look to increase safety, productivity, and ­environmental sustainability of their ­operations. We help them achieve these goals, combining economic outcomes with a positive impact on society.”
Peter Terwiesch President, ABB Industrial Automation

Today, digitalization is evolving automation systems from “simply” reacting to the inputs received from operators and instruments, to predicting issues and prescribing actions in advance, preventing incidents that may impede production, impact costs or create operational or environmental risks.

The digitalization of automation
According to Fortune Business Insights [4], the global Internet of Things (IoT) market →02 for manufacturing was $27.76 billion in 2018, and is projected to reach $136.83 billion by 2026. Clearly, industries view digitalization as advantageous.

02 Terms such as the Internet of Things, the Industrial Internet of Things, the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Industry 4.0 are explained and examples are provided …
02 Terms such as the Internet of Things, the Industrial Internet of Things, the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Industry 4.0 are explained and examples are provided …

Having been involved in “digital” since the first use of microprocessors in automation offerings nearly 50 years ago, ABB has a long history of taking its industrial and automation experience, and developing – or acquiring – the technologies and competencies to further help industries improve production availability, process performance, safety, quality, energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.

Getting terms right – what is the Internet of Things and ­Industry 4.0 anyway?
There are so many terms circulating that have to do with the internet and its associated industrial advances that it is amazingly easy to become confused. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the networking of physical objects, including consumer-oriented devices, eg, smart watches, kitchen appliances, etc., to communicate with resources like servers or applications. The industrial IoT (IIoT) is a subset of the broader IoT that pertains to connected physical assets and data from the industrial sphere such as motors, pumps, or factory robots, in sectors like manufacturing, energy, and transportation.

Although frequently associated with the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution, a phrase coined by World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab, the term Industry 4.0 originated in 2010 in a strategic plan of the German government to boost manufacturing competitiveness. Where IIoT is primarily technical, Industry 4.0 is best thought of as managerial. As a vision for the future of manufacturing, it incorporates elements of IIoT, eg, machine-to-machine communication and data analytics, but also addresses ­higher-order strategic efforts necessary for advanced automation in industrial operations that span entire value chains, covering materials, machinery, and products. As such, Industry 4.0 encompasses a wide range of digital technologies such as sensors, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, augmented reality, advanced robotics, and additive manufacturing, and human domains eg, process change, organizational culture, business model innovation and public policy.

The term “digitalization” as it is used today refers to technologies that communicate faster, store and process data in the cloud, perform remote services, conduct instantaneous transactions, empower users in a mobile fashion, etc. While some industries, such as media and finance, lead in digitalization, other industries are still at an earlier point on this path. These include many of the sectors served by ABB.

03 The industrial operations digital ecosystem can be considered to have three main levels of technology. However, this ecosystem lacked enablers to unlock value across the layers of technology. ABB’s investment in industrial analytics and artificial intelligence builds on this digital base to continue improving industrial efficiencies.
03 The industrial operations digital ecosystem can be considered to have three main levels of technology. However, this ecosystem lacked enablers to unlock value across the layers of technology. ABB’s investment in industrial analytics and artificial intelligence builds on this digital base to continue improving industrial efficiencies.

The best way to support these industries in unlocking Industry 4.0 potential is to start from their existing digital investment, in other words, their existing automation base. By enhancing automation offerings (such as Distributed Control Systems (DCS), measurement devices, analytical equipment, specialized products and related services) with new digital products, systems and solutions, →03 ABB is helping customers reap the benefits of digitalization on their path toward a profitable and sustainable future. In the following, selected examples are discussed.1

The energy sector
When speaking of sustainability, a good place to start is the energy industry, especially considering the wild ride that the oil and gas market has been experiencing this year. For upstream producers, the ABB Ability™ Wellhead Manager is a predictive analytics platform that allows small and mid-size producers to gain remote insight into production assets through a cloud-based Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. By providing immediate access to data, alarms and notifications, producers reduce downtime, costs and risk while improving personal safety and avoiding environmental issues [5].

IACX Energy, a midstream producer in the United States, deployed this tool on 1,500 wells to collect and compile field information, export files, monitor transmission lines and set up alarms. When new equipment was being installed, the system was kept online, ensuring continued production and minimizing environmental risk. IACX reduced project execution costs by 57 percent, and hardware, services, administration and energy costs by 34 percent [6].

Moving on from production to processing, ABB’s Process Power Simulator (PPSim) uses digital twin technology to support operator training, electric control room testing, verification and validation of control strategies [7]. By replicating the plant’s electric control system, operators are exposed to non-routine situations in a secure environment, improving operator effectiveness, productivity and efficiency. Operators verify and validate possible control strategies and compliance procedures, thus reducing commissioning time, downtime, and energy costs. First employed for British Petroleum’s Tangguh Liquid Nitrogen Processing plant in Indonesia, PPSim simulated three generators, 25 transformers and 80 loads in real-time scenarios. By providing scenarios to determine the consequences of each operation, PPSim reduced commissioning time, lowered energy costs, improved personnel safety and mitigated environmental risk [8].2

04 A Virtual Power Plant is a collection of power generation sources, energy storage devices and demand-response participants located in a distributed energy grid.
04 A Virtual Power Plant is a collection of power generation sources, energy storage devices and demand-response participants located in a distributed energy grid.

Moving on to power generation, today’s mix of carbon, hydroelectric, wind and solar power transforms the traditionally centralized electricity grid into a decentralized one with energy and information flowing in both directions. This emerging mix of energy sources implies high variability in production levels and price points. These new dynamics demand a solution that addresses both consumer and producer needs. The energy management system, ABB OPTIMAX® [9], maps and controls these energy flows →04, 05. Easily integrated into existing infrastructures to improve energy efficiency at industrial sites, buildings, farms, transportation hubs and even entire cities, OPTIMAX reduces emissions by allowing more renewables in the energy mix without endangering reliability or grid stability, and lowers energy costs without impacting operations. With demand for electricity forecast to grow seven times faster than for other energy sources by 2050, de-carbonization of the electricity fuel mix is an important sustainability goal. OPTIMAX aggregates and optimizes decentralized energy resources into a virtual power plant, so that producers can buy or sell as energy availability and price dictate, maximizing sustainable sources without disrupting supply [10].

05 The energy sources in a Virtual Power Plant consist of almost any power generating technology, including biogas, biomass, combined heat and power (CHP), micro CHP, wind, solar, hydro, power- to-heat, diesel engines and fossil fuel. The photo shows Zurich airport. Photo: Ralph Bensberg
05 The energy sources in a Virtual Power Plant consist of almost any power generating technology, including biogas, biomass, combined heat and power (CHP), micro CHP, wind, solar, hydro, power- to-heat, diesel engines and fossil fuel. The photo shows Zurich airport. Photo: Ralph Bensberg

This issue of ABB Review presents a selection of technologies that are being deployed in the energy industries, including subsea transmission, distribution, and power conversion systems for underwater pumps and gas compressors. The journal also presents digital developments in the ABB Ability™ portfolio that support CO₂-free mining, such as the Stockyard Management System, Ventilation Optimizer and the Cyber Security Fingerprint. Transitioning from production to distribution, this issue also provides insight into how the company helps steward the world’s waterways with additional ABB Ability™ solutions, such as the Marine Advisory System and Marine Pilot Vision, as well as the engine analytics software Tekomar XPERT.

The next step to get more value from data
Up to now, ABB’s digital offerings typically extracted data from assets and systems of the kinds the company itself supplies, and used these to produce analytics or actions for the industrial processes that the company supports. This was typically achieved through local solutions, rather than a complete and comprehensive portfolio that can scale up or down per a producer’s line, plant, enterprise or business-wide process needs.

This has changed. July 2020 saw the launch of the ABB Ability™ Genix Industrial Analytics and AI Suite, a comprehensive and integrated collection of software, applications and services that help industrial producers unlock additional value from multiple data sources, by combining industrial domain knowledge, automation technology, and artificial intelligence. ABB Ability™ Genix helps asset-intensive producers to make better business decisions through deep data analytics and optimization across the plant and enterprise.

The key lies in collecting, combining and contextualizing diverse data sources, from engineering technology (ET), for instance, that incorporates regulatory compliance monitoring in plant design; operational technology (OT) data from, for example, analyzers that give indicators of actual emissions; and information technology (IT) data that may manage supply chains for spare parts for analyzers. When an operational anomaly is detected, better actions can be taken when design parameters, inventory levels, information on relevance of the asset for the overall process as well as on financial implications are included in the analysis. When artificial intelligence models are applied, post-facto fixes are replaced by predictive and prescriptive advice. In addition to environmental compliance, ABB Ability™ Genix supports capital planning, facility design, supply chain management, production, maintenance, inventory management and more. This new suite improves ABB’s ability to serve customers in their data utilization, digitalization and sustainability journeys.

06 The ABB Ability™ Genix Industrial Analytics and AI Suite collects data from heterogenous sources through purpose-built technologies such as the ABB Ability Edgenius Operations Data Manager.
06 The ABB Ability™ Genix Industrial Analytics and AI Suite collects data from heterogenous sources through purpose-built technologies such as the ABB Ability Edgenius Operations Data Manager.

Building on the initial digital investment – the DCS with its connected devices – this is a natural engagement point to address better data utilization. To this end, a key component of ABB Ability™ Genix is the ABB Ability™ Edgenius Operations Data Manager that connects, collects, and analyzes operational data at the point of production for near real-time mitigation. ABB Ability™ Edgenius pulls data from operational technology to produce analytics that help mitigate issues such as environmental risks immediately. ABB Ability™ Edgenius can be deployed on its own, or integrated with ABB Ability™ Genix as the delivery mechanism for the OT data that combines with ET and IT data for strategic business analytics [11] →06.

The digital future
Sustainability is embedded in ABB’s business model and has been for a long time. It is critical to the company’s license to operate. At ABB, we are committed to sustainability in our own operations. This affects the way we source and manage relationships with suppliers. It is also reflected through the impact of our products, services and solutions we provide to customers.

Inspired by the United Nations’ Envision 2030 framework, ABB created its own sustainability objectives that underpin the company’s commitment to establish itself as an exemplary sustainability practitioner; increase its impact where it has the greatest leverage (the company’s installed base); and by continuing to drive change in all dimensions where it can make a positive contribution to sustainability and prosperity around the world.

Humanity has a responsibility to build a world for future generations that is at least as healthy and prosperous as the one it inherited. For ABB, sustainability is both the right thing to do and a business opportunity. By supporting customers to become safer, smarter and more environmentally sustainable, the company will create new market opportunities, drive prosperity and build a sustainable future together [12]. 

Footnote
1) Please refer to “Efficiency and productivity for a sustainable future” on p. 16 of this issue of ABB Review for more information about this topic.
2) Please refer to “Automation brings safety and sustainability for oil and gas” on p. 32 of this issue of the ABB Review for more in-depth information.

References
[1] European Commission, “Paris agreement”, 2015, Available: https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/international/negotiatio n s/paris_en. [Accessed June 8, 2020].
[2] United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, “Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation” in Envision 2030 Industry Innovation and Infrastructure, Available: https://www.un.org/development/. [Accessed: June 8, 2020].
[3] United Nations Development Programme, Sustainable Development Goals, Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy, 2019, Available: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable- development-goals/goal-7-affordable-and-clean-energy.html. [Accessed June 8, 2020].
[4] Fortune Business Insight, Industry Report: Internet of Things in Manufacturing Market, No. 101677, [Online]. Available : https://www.fortunebusinessinsights.com/industry-reports/internet-of-things-iot-in-manu­facturing-market-101677 [Accessed August 8, 2020].
[5] ABB, “ABB AbilityTM Wellhead Manager, Insight to optimize your operation – now in the cloud”, Available: https://wellheadmanager.abb.com/. [Accessed June 10, 2020].
[6] D. Schultz, “Smaller operators benefit from cost-effective digital solution”, March 2020, in World Oil Magazine, p. 57.
[7] ABB, “ABB Process Power Simulator, Reduce unplanned downtime through simulation”, Available: https://new.abb.com/oil-and-gas/products/automation/process- power-simulator. [Accessed June 10, 2020].
[8] ABB, “Process Power Simulator”, in ABB Internal report, unpublished, p. 3, 2020.
[9] ABB, “ABB AbilityTM Energy Management Optimax® for industrials and commercials” July 2020. Available: https://library.e.abb.com/public/d906c533a7224f8ab57fffd090b 2 18ab/ABB%20Ability%20Energy%20Management%20-%20OPX%20for%20Smart%20Charging%20-%20customer%20presentation%20-%20external%20v3.pdf. [Accessed June 10, 2020].
[10] ABB, “Optimax® for virtual power plants, Available: https://new.abb.com/power-generation/service/advanced- services/energy-management/virtual-power-plants
[11] ABB, “ABB’s new analytics and AI software helps producers optimize operations in demanding market conditions” ABB press release, July 29, 2020, pp. 1–2.
[12] ABB, “Climate Actions: Committed to Reducing Emissions” ABB Sustainability report, 2019, Available: https://sustainabilityreport2019.abb.com/responsible-operations/climate-action.html. [Accessed June 8, 2020]

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