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Marine Electronics & Communications

Marine Electronics & Communications

ABB starts Ability and upgrades remote diagnostics

Thu 16 Mar 2017 by Martyn Wingrove

ABB starts Ability and upgrades remote diagnostics
ABB has set up integrated operations centres in Asia, Europe and the USA for monitoring ship data

ABB has launched a new platform for its digital solutions, including remote monitoring and diagnostics and controls, to maritime and offshore industries. ABB Ability will offer more than 180 solutions and services to various sectors including shipping, offshore oil and renewables, maritime research and naval. The platform will deliver insights to help optimise planning and controls for real-time operations, ABB said. ABB Ability will also improve the way data is fed into control units to reduce system up-time, while enhancing speed and performance. As part of the ABB Ability launch, ABB has upgraded its Remote Diagnostic Services (RDS) for analytical and predictive approaches to vessel maintenance.

ABB chief executive Ulrich Spiesshofer described ABB Ability as pioneering technology in digital solutions. “With ABB Ability, we are combining our entire portfolio of digital solutions and services,” he said. “We are creating additional customer value by bringing together ABB’s domain expertise, advanced connectivity and the latest digital technologies. With this, our customers can achieve unprecedented improvements in operational performance and productivity.”

Some of the main solutions in the platform for shipping and offshore are remote monitoring of onboard equipment, control solutions for offshore platforms and navigation optimisation for shipping fleets. Key customers that will be using some of these services include Royal Caribbean International, Cargill and Shell.

ABB Ability’s next-generation digital solutions and services are being developed and built on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. ABB chief digital officer Guido Jouret said this enables ABB to offer domain-specific services. He added: “In effect, we are turning our industrial expertise into software offerings that our customers can access through one of the world’s largest and most advanced digital platforms. We are becoming a partner for customers that are embarking on a digital transformation.” He explained that the platform will help vessel operators and offshore asset managers assess, automate, optimise and collaborate to improve performance.

ABB Ability includes:

  • the System 800xA automation platform and new Select I/O, a redundant, Ethernet-based, single-channel input/output system
  • remote diagnostics and integrated operations centres for shipping fleets
  • the new Asset Health Center for asset performance management with predictive and prescriptive analytics
  • collaborative operations for data processing and analytics
  • ABB's digital substation with fibre optic current sensors and predictive algorithms
  • the Smart Sensor solution that connects motors to the industrial internet
  • Asset Insight
  • Ellipse enterprise asset management software
  • the ABB Ability data centre automation infrastructure management software.

ABB has set up integrated operations centres in Asia, Europe and the USA for monitoring ship data. The recent RDS upgrade included an update to the software and functionalities used by these centres, so that shipping companies can deploy their own analytics.

ABB also developed dedicated hardware for monitoring large and small rotating machinery, that can be integrated with the RDS software. It also improved the graphical user interface to provide identical views of the detailed data on board and on shore. RDS combines the dedicated onboard software with an analytics engine in the operation centres.

Another improvement is for using RDS on fleets of ships that have limited bandwidth availability or large numbers of data points. ABB is able to customise the software and optimise the data transfer. ABB vice president for digital services in the marine and ports business Kenneth Nakken expects to be remotely monitoring 3,000 vessels by 2020 through ABB's integrated operations centres. He added: “We develop all our digital solutions with the vessel operator in mind, and we believe our new prediction service will strengthen the shoreside operations of all involved.”

He said there was evidence of improvements in maintenance and reductions in engineer visits to ships when using RDS. An internal study found shipowners can save up to 50 per cent on maintenance costs by monitoring equipment using RDS. There has also been a reduction by up to 70 per cent in visits by ABB engineers to vessels.

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