The key to digitalization is collaboration

Manufacturing and production in the digital age require a new way of working based on collaboration - one that allows people to know more, do more and do better, together


What are collaborative operations?

ABB Ability™ Collaborative Operations links your plants, processes and people with ABB in real time.

It makes the right data available to the right people in your company, enabling them to collaborate more effectively and work hand-in-glove with ABB to make operations and service more efficient.

It turns big data into actionable information that improves availability, increases productivity and raises operator efficiency, while reducing risk, safety incidents and downtime.

Collaboration makes your operations faster, safer and more profitable.

What is an ABB Collaborative Operations Center?

ABB Ability™ Collaborative Operations Center is a remote operations and maintenance center that helps power generation and water companies reap the full benefits of digitalization to improve plant performance and operator efficiency.

Through a high-speed, cyber-secure connection to the plant’s distributed control system, the center continuously monitors key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure that the plant is operating within regulatory, load, environmental and cyber security requirements, automatically notifying the operator if a KPI is underperforming or a reference limit is broken.

The center continuously retrieves and analyzes plant performance data, turning it into easy-to-use dashboards that make the data actionable for plant personnel and management.

When responding to queries, the center provides immediate access to ABB experts with deep knowledge of the plant’s process, systems and equipment. Each query is ticketed, tracked and closed in a case management system to ensure transparency and efficiency.

Uniquely, everything is housed in one center of competence – remote monitoring, ABB process and technology expertise, data analysis, dashboard creation and case management – and operated through a single cyber-secure platform.

ABB Collaborative Operations Center is part of ABB’s portfolio of digital solutions, ABB Ability™, which helps customers turn the potential of digitalization and the Industrial Internet of Things, Services and People into real, tangible value.

Located in Genoa, Italy, the center is part of a global network of ABB Collaborative Operations Centers that serve a broad range of industries, including cement, chemicals, manufacturing, marine, metals, mining, oil and gas, ports, and pulp and paper.

ABB asked some of its biggest power generation customers for their thoughts on collaborative operations in the digital era


Collaboration centers are the future

“Collaborative operations add value and are the way forward,” is a common response from the customers we questioned. Having experienced the benefits of ABB Collaborative Operations Centers, some are even thinking of starting their own collaborative operations centers and are looking to ABB as a partner with the expertise to help them do that.

It is, they say, all about protecting their plant assets. And, the best way to do that is with advanced machine learning applications that collect, analyze and learn from plant data to predict future behavior and enable predictive maintenance.

Machine learning requires powerful computing capacity. ABB provides that capacity through its global partnership with Microsoft and use of the Azure cloud-computing platform. Customers do not need to build their own data centers, but they do need to manage their machine learning applications from a collaborative operations center like ABB’s.

You decide where the data is stored

Thanks to our global partnership with Microsoft, our collaborative operations customers can store their data in enterprise-grade, cyber-secure cloud infrastructure, one that benefits from billions of dollars of annual investment. Alternatively, the data can be stored in a server at your plant(s) or corporate HQ. The choice is yours.

Data ownership and security

Data integrity, data ownership and data accessibility are key issues for our customers.

With ABB, the data is always owned by the customer - it is their intellectual property. Data integrity follows ABB cyber security rules and standards; as does data accessibility, but with the option that ABB will integrate any additional requirements the customer may have.

Deep domain expertise within minutes, 24/7

Customers appreciate the speed at which ABB Collaborative Operations provides access to a specialist with deep domain expertise. Our objective is to provide access to that expertise within 15 minutes of receiving the request, worldwide and round the clock.

“This is much more than phone or online support,” said one customer. “On the occasions we have asked for support, a highly experienced and knowledgeable ABB expert has been helping us within minutes.”

To make the service even better, we are enhancing our portfolio of support technologies with virtual and augmented reality devices, which will enable a plant technician and ABB specialist to see and work on the same faulty component in real time, regardless of their respective location.

Machine learning makes the difference

For customers, the key valued-added of ABB Ability™ Collaborative Operations is the powerful machine learning algorithms that learn from past and current equipment behavior to predict the performance of the asset. This enables the plant to reap the benefits of predictive maintenance by catching the first symptoms of faulty behavior and - by learning from and following that behavior - predict when the optimal time for repair will be. 

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