Joe Hogan, ABB Group CEO, delivered his trademark high-energy, information-filled keynote to more than 4,800 attendees of the 5th ABB Automation and Power World (APW). [Note: Prior to that, there were separate Automation and Power conferences.]

Hogan stated that there is more optimism about the business in North America than last 5 years. The entire ABB Group delivered growth and optimism over the past year.

Hogan presented the company’s “2015 Strategy”:

  • Drive competitiveness
  • Capitalize on megatrends
  • Aggessively expand core business
  • Disciplined merger and acquisition
  • Exploit disruptive opportunities

Drilling into the details, he mentioned a few specific examples of disruptive. “The DC Breaker changes the Whole dynamic the of DC grid,” he stated, “while the acquisition of Ventyx shows the way to IT/OT convergence.”

Controls Technologies leader, Tobias Becker, led a tour of the exhibition space discussing many of the new products reported below. Some specific points included a new editor in 800xA making things easier to engineer, operator effectiveness work, and the new independent High Integrity safety controller for those who have not upgraded to 800xA but who might and need a solution today that will integrate tomorrow.

The tour included a look at some technologies beginning to come out of research that included use of augmented reality with mobile devices (such as Apple’s iPad) and an eye-tracking/gesture controlled HMI. The pictured device is a 3D Collaboration Board that one plant is using for daily shift meetings. I could see this as a great add for Lean Manufacturing daily stand ups to get the team up and running effectively and quickly.


The System 800xA feature pack 4 update emphasizes total plant collaboration. Feature Pack 4 continues to enhance collaboration between people, systems and equipment focusing on increasing operator effectiveness and visualization, inside the control room and out.

The Feature Pack concept is a different way to release new additions to the already feature rich 800xA. Instead of releasing a full revision every 18 months, users with an Automation Sentinel software maintenance subscription can obtain features as they become available. This allows for end-users to customize their road forward with 800xA, fitting their approach to specific projects, upgrades, and applications.

The Protection Library for AC 800M High Integrity controller is an advanced library for machine safety. This library contains the components required for efficient engineering of functions normally handled by a separate machine safety PLC. These library objects have been designed in compliance with the EC machinery directives and IEC standards. This integrated solution will enable users to achieve savings in training, engineering and improve visibility into their systems as well as comply with the standards (laws) and ensure a safe workplace.

Essential Automation portfolio for OEMs and system integrators includes established solutions and products to improve efficiency of small to medium processes in all industries. Essential Automation is comprised of two main offerings: Freelance, the user-friendly, reliable and cost-effective distributed control system (DCS) currently running thousands of applications ranging from water to chemical processes worldwide; and Compact Product Suite, a collection of products from ABB’s former Compact 800 family, process and safety controllers, human machine interface (HMI), field interfaces or I/Os, and process recorders.

Panel 800 human-machine interface (HMI), part of ABB’s Essential Automation Compact Product Suite, adds enhanced graphics and expanded functionality. The release includes three new touch panels, and also includes a new configuration tool, Panel Builder 800 Version 6.

Forming the core of Freelance Version 2013 is the AC 900F — a new controller with features and capabilities to meet the process industries’ ever-increasing demands for flexibility, reliability and performance. A single AC 900F controller supports up to 1,500 I/O, and up to 10 direct I/O modules. This makes AC 900F suitable for expanding existing systems, without incurring a large footprint.

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