Making a world of difference

Making a world of difference

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Making a world of difference: orchestrating the ‘magic’ behind our everyday life


Across societies and economies, many of us take it for granted that we have reliable power at the flip of a switch, that water flows at the turn of a knob, or that goods are available at our fingertips. What we rarely think about are the sophisticated, interconnected processes, systems, technologies and operations working around the clock to enable everyday life as many of us know it.





Making a world of difference

Automation at the core

At the heart of this seeming ‘magic’ in the background is process automation – orchestrating production and enabling safe and efficient operations of some of the most complex and vast infrastructures on our planet. For nearly 50 years, automated measurement and control of plants and processes have been central to empowering the industries that provide the basic building blocks of our everyday lives – power, water, metals, minerals, chemicals, transportation – to reliably meet our needs.

Today, fueled by economic and population growth, these industries are working hard to meet one of their greatest challenges: reducing emissions and increasing the share of low-carbon sources in their energy mix.

ABB’s integrated automation and electrical systems are essential to supporting industries on their sustainability journey, helping control production while optimizing the use of power and navigating the energy transition.
Making a world of difference

The story behind everyday items

Every item we own and use tells a story of where it came from. Take our smartphones, for example, perhaps the most common device on earth with 6.3 billion in use . The metals and minerals that go into each phone need to be responsibly sourced. By automating, electrify-ing and increasingly digitalizing mines, ABB is playing a vital role to ensure working condi-tions are safe, and environmental impacts are addressed. For example, by making it possible for vehicles to be powered with electricity rather than diesel, by ventilating underground shafts to ensure fresh air where it is needed, or by optimizing production processes and en-abling autonomous operations so that machinery can be controlled reliably from a distance.

Cruise ship equiped with Azipod propulsion

Once produced, our smartphones are packaged. ABB systems help the pulp and paper industry to produce at optimal quality, continuously monitoring the process so that the least amount of raw material is used for this packaging. The journey continues – our smartphones are shipped. Cargo vessels are the most efficient way to move goods in terms of energy use per ton transported. ABB’s power, propulsion, instruments, analyzers and software allow ships to cross the seas more efficiently, optimize their route to increase safety of crew and cargo, and reduce the fuel needed. Once at port, the cargo is discharged, through automated and often unmanned cranes, enabled by ABB’s systems, making it a safer place to work.

Then the phone enters our daily lives, needing to be charged, with power generated from a range of sources. ABB helps energy producers provide reliable and affordable energy by au-tomating their plants, by helping them monitor, manage and reduce emissions through ana-lytical equipment, and by supporting the transition to more renewable sources.

Icebreaker navigrating through ice

Enabling our most basic daily needs

No matter where we live, clean water is a fundamental necessity. Bringing this vital element to people requires a vast network of reservoirs, collectors, purifiers, desalination equipment and other technologies. Automation helps control water flows, while sensing equipment detects when fresh water becomes tainted, or leakages need to be fixed. It doesn’t stop there: water is too precious to waste, and ABB’s systems help control the decontamination and neutralization of wastewater, allowing it to be reused.

From keeping our homes heated to having a warm meal on the table, natural gas is an essential resource. Safe, efficient production and transportation of gas is controlled by ABB’s integrated automation, electrical and digital systems that help the hydrocarbons industry to extract it and get it to where it’s needed, and as energy and resource efficiently as possible. Unseen leakages that are a threat to both the environment and our communities’ safety can be identified and mitigated faster and more effectively through ABB’s gas leakage detection solutions, protecting lives while ensuring regulatory compliance for producers and suppliers.

Getting there for you

Without the energy, materials and commodities that underpin our lives, and the technologies, systems, and people that automate, electrify, and digitalize the infrastructures that provide them, our world would not be the same.

We are proud to contribute to orchestrating industries and society to run safer, smarter and more sustainably, and help conduct the magic behind our everyday lives – through process automation.
Distributed Control Systems

“We want to enable industries to operate more sustainably by applying the best automation to their production processes.’’

Read more

Peter Terwiesch

President of ABB Process Automation

How we make a world of difference

Making a world of difference
Engineer inspecting azipod engine
Azipod propulsion for cruise

The Process Automation Podcast

This series takes you behind the scenes of the largest, most complex industrial operations on the planet. Presenter and engineer Fran Scott explores the often unseen magic of process automation that enables our daily lives.