ABB Ability™ SmartMaster: How industrial operators can make better service decisions for field devices and instrumentation

Interview | April 17, 2023

The global installed base of field devices that perform sensing duties is enormous. ABB’s Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya explains how ABB Ability™ SmartMaster connects the physical and digital world to help industrial players better manage their instrumentation base. Read the interview.  

Regular product verification is an important way to ensure processes continuously operate at their peak. How does ABB Ability™ SmartMaster fit into ABB’s digital suite of verification solutions?

For some time, our focus has been on developing a comprehensive asset performance management platform. This is a digital suite of solutions that enable on-premise, on-cloud, remote-access, and predictive maintenance. The suite comprises three key solutions, each addressing a specific challenge. Together, they ensure optimized plant operations.

The first of these solutions was the ABB Ability™ Smart Device Manager, a product configurator that takes care of the installation and commissioning of a product in a simple and secure way. 

The second solution is the ABB Ability™ SmartMaster, which we launched recently. It is a next generation condition-monitoring platform that can be used with a range of ABB and other devices. SmartMaster collects data remotely from field devices and presents an overview of the installed instrumentation base. Basically, it comes in as a fleet level overview application which gives customers condition monitoring information and health check at an installed base level.

When the SmartMaster identifies an issue, the ABB Ability™ Verification for measurement devices – our third solution – is on-hand to provide on-site, deep dive into an individual device, a hardware health check. For this, we use the on-site service tool SRV500 which can give detailed verification, including hardware simulation checks. 

What are the main challenges for industrial operators when it comes to managing field devices and how does ABB Ability™ SmartMaster solve them?

Managing field devices and instrumentation such as flow meters, level meters, temperature sensors, pressure sensors and valve positioners can be very challenging for industrial operators.   

When it comes to measurement accuracy, regulatory compliance, operational status, and failure diagnosis and prediction, each field device is expected to perform optimally. This is absolutely critical for industrial processes.  

And since we are talking about vast numbers of devices, it is hard to manage them without a comprehensive asset performance management platform. 

The ABB Ability™ SmartMaster is just that. It’s designed specifically to cater to large installed bases of field devices.  

It connects the physical and digital world and sends valuable information from the field straight to the customer's phone, tablet or other device. 

Based on a prescribed schedule, SmartMaster collects data for condition monitoring purposes. Device health is verified, and the NAMUR status is provided to help the customer obtain an overview.  

Plant operators need this knowledge to plan service operations, spare part orders and device replacement. If there is a pattern of device failures, they need more insights into the failure. SmartMaster provides this as calendar view analysis and an analytical report of the failure scenarios. 

What operational set-ups does the ABB Ability™ SmartMaster cater for? 

We developed the SmartMaster as a three-tier solution specifically to cater to different operational set-ups.  

The on-premise solution provides remote monitoring support. With this solution, collected data is managed within the customer network. 

The cloud-based solution provides a dedicated link to each customer for monitoring. In this case, collected data is managed securely in ABB’s customer-exclusive infrastructure. 

The shared cloud solution – the third solution, gives a global link to all customers for monitoring. Collected data is managed securely in ABB’s common cloud infrastructure for all customers. 

With remote access, costs are lowered as remote experts can carry out pre-compliance activities and, later, routine visits to site by an engineer are reduced. Often, measurement devices are deployed in places where connection is difficult. In such cases, field device integration (FDI) technology connects the devices without additional wiring or disturbing operations. SmartMaster can also connect via 3G/4G and NB-IoT. 

Who is ABB Ability™ SmartMaster for? 

It is becoming essential for operators of large and small plants with a big installed instrumentation base.  

Market requirements are constantly changing, and we see new operating standards and regulations come into force every day. This impacts plant management in terms of environment and economics.  

Plant operators are expected to increase efficiency as well as become more sustainable. To do this, they rely on smart technology. But applications and data running in silos limit insights and efficiency.  

The future belongs to connecting the physical and digital world and unlocking the power of data. To get the in-depth insight into their devices and instrumentation, industry players need to connect operations, engineering and management in a single platform. 


To find out how ABB Ability™ SmartMaster can support you, please contact us.

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