Measurement and instrumentation specialists JWF Process Solutions discusses the benefits of being an ABB Value Provider through their 20-year relationship

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Can you stell us a bit about JWF Process Solutions?

JWF Process Solutions is celebrating this year as we mark 60 years of service to the Scottish process industry. The company has come a long way since James Wilder Fairbairn started JW Fairbairn Ltd in 1962, providing sales and servicing for industrial boilers, with 1971 seeing us shift our focus to specialize in instrument servicing.

Our long experience as a supplier to the instrumentation users of Scotland led to us being appointed an Instrumentation Alliance Partner (IAP) of ABB in 2001 and in 2019, we were proud to be appointed ABB’s very first ABB Value Provider (AVP).

How did you become an ABB Value Provider?

The award of the status of AVP recognises JWF as a highly skilled company, one where 60 percent of our staff are qualified engineers. It acknowledges the competence we have built up and makes us a stronger organisation.

Of course, gaining such a prestigious mark of trust doesn’t come easily and JWF had to prove that we were the right company to help ABB grow its instrumentation business in Scotland and also in the North of England through our site in Billingham. During detailed discussions with the ABB team, we demonstrated how our business plans could help contribute to ABB achieving their goals.

How do you work with ABB to meet your customers’ needs?

As an AVP, we work as a true partner with ABB and provide ongoing product and application feedback from the customer to ensure continuous improvement.

Above all, achieving AVP status validates the years of application experience JWF has built up. Application experience is the key to a growing business in our industry, customers don’t want a company that can simply sell kit, they want someone who can apply the correct solution to their application.

An example is a recent project we undertook for Macallan, which was increasing production by building a completely new distillery with 36 stills. With the incumbent instrumentation supplier being a major competitor, we had to show more flexibility and applications knowledge to gain the customer’s trust.

Building on this success, JWF have collaborated with ABB on further projects within the Edrington group delivering the first ‘Power over Ethernet’ Coriolis flow meters on a project and also ABB Ability verification.

What services do you offer and to which industries?

JWF provide measurement and instrumentation solutions to the paper, chemical, petrochemical, distilleries, food and beverage industries and many others.

Over the years, we have refined our offer and now provide solutions to customers under three broad categories: Instrumentation – flow, pressure, temperature, level and analytical solutions; Commissioning & Calibration – managing the lifecycle of the solution through onsite commissioning, verification and calibration; and Data – our in-house software team supports data solutions for customers.

Although instrument development has remained a fairly static field over the years, what we can add to bring value to customers has changed and developed. This includes services like instrument verification, based on ABB Ability, the service does not require the customer to shut down the process and can verify a device within five minutes.

How do JWF see instrumentation developing and what will customers want in the future?

We see devices becoming increasingly smart, both in terms of communication and their capabilities. ABB Ability has started to change things and there is now an increasing drive now towards Ethernet communications because of the simplicity it brings, we expect it will eventually supersede analogue and ProfiBus. JWF have had great success with ABB Power over Ethernet flow meters.

Although wireless has its benefits, we expect that certain industries, chiefly oil and gas and petrochemicals, will never opt for remote communication networks for process and control due to concerns over security, though it will be used for monitoring processes.

Another trend is non-invasive techniques for temperature measurement as well as clamp-on ultrasonic flow measurement.

All these technologies are offered through us by our partner ABB, and we look forward to working with them closely for at least another 60 years.

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