Even though Mark Taft, ABB’s global vice president for systems, started out yesterday by rubbing in the defeat of my beloved White Sox by his for-some-unknown-reason-cared-about Cleveland Indians (which mathematically eliminated the southsiders from the ability to repeat their world championship), and even though Mark went so far as to actually wear an Indians necktie to the meeting, ABB had enough good stuff to talk about that I’m writing about it anyway.
Mark brought with him the indefatigable and always competent Laura Patrick, and in a new role, Alicia Bauer, who has taken over as global director of marketing for the systems business after Bob Hausler went over to the dark side (the former F&P business, field instrumentation). Also joining Mark on this press tour was Bruce Reierson, who is in charge of business development for the asset optimization systems and services ABB provides.
Alicia provided a good and mercifully quick recap of the System 800xA growth and wins over the past year…or actually over the past few months, since ABB Automation World in the spring. Alicia averred that they’ve sold and shipped 2280 System 800xA systems since January 2004. That’s a significant number, regardless of the size and dollar amount average per system. She went through a laundry list of functional enhancements ABB has released in the system architecture and features.
The most important of these was what she called “Load-Evaluate-GO”…which is one of the most important fruits of the Dow/ABB collaboration that has produced the System 800xA. Parenthetically, the third in the series of articles we’ve called “The Dow Learnings” will be published in Control in the November issue upcoming. Load-Evaluate-Go enables you to modify, download and evaluate a “revised” application without interfering with a running application, and see the new app running in the controller using the real world I/O!
There are limitations…for example, you can only modify one of the applications the controller is running at a time. This, according to Bauer, is a safety feature, and I am inclined to agree with her. It’s like running simulations and changing all the variables at once and trying to figure out what went wrongggggggg. You CAN revert until you have “Accepted” the change– after which there is no revert.Mark Taft commented, “We think this feature is unique to Dow, and now of course to us.”
Alicia Bauer went through a few featured projects, including BP’s Valhall Platform redevelopment in the North Sea; Yeochun NCC in Korea, which included a safety instrumented system and HART device management as part of the System 800xA; Gedeon Richter Ltd in Hungary, which included integration via FDT/DTM for calibration and etc., and Klabin SA in Brazil, a liquid packaging board application which integrated an existing MASTER system, with the electronics and drives, and HART-driven asset management system.