Source: eKapija | Wednesday, 23.10.2019.| 11:58
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Future of industry – Digital transformation with ABB

The demand for increased productivity, the increasingly short shelf life of products, the trend toward a mass individual adaptation of products and the increasingly precise environmental protection standards and harmonization with laws, coupled with the constant progress in performances in digital functionality for the purpose of upgrading the communication, data analysis and presentation, cause changes in global supply chains, along with essential structural changes in industries.

To the end of maintaining competitiveness in such a rapidly changing environment and offering small series of fully adapted products in a profitable and sustainable way, industries require an ecosystem based on highly connected digital solutions and services: the industry needs digitization.

Digital technology raises industrial processes to the next level. Digital technology increases connectedness, compatibility and cooperation, making industrial production and processing more flexible, productive and efficient than before. The digitization of the industry in each of its several forms, including the fourth industrial revolution, the industrial Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, China 2025 and so on, not only optimizes the individual steps in production or processing, but also leads to a revolution in global supply chains and ecosystems. ABB is the leading provider of solutions in this field, many of which are offered under the ABB Ability (TM) brand.

The pre-requirement for digitization is the possibility of connecting tools, machines, materials and employees into a supply chain. This creates a connection between the real, physical world and the connected, digital world. None of this, however, would be possible without standardized communication protocols and data formats, as well as hardware interfaces. ABB is present in the leading world organizations for the development of standards.

When machines and various equipment understand the meaning of information because they use the same terminology, they also understand the messages being exchanged and can react accordingly. This creates the conditions for their independent interactions and execution of certain tasks. The use of advanced technologies such as industrial AI is one of the fields of research and development that ABB focuses on in their efforts to introduce autonomy in the industry.

The Digital Twin, that is, a digital copy of a physical item, is one element of digitization. This is how industries are able to considerably shorten the time needed for the development, production and testing of prototypes and the reduction of production costs. Having consistent data throughout the life cycle of a device is a requirement for a successful implementation of digital technology. The device itself can be a product, a system or a factory. The Digital Twin can be used to upgrade the elements of the product or optimize specific areas in the supply chain.

Data integrity and cyber security measures ensure that the data in the supply chain remain complete and unchanged. This is the only way to gather the necessary information about data optimization.

The idea is to facilitate operations for workers, and not to make human employees obsolete. On the contrary, autonomous systems execute monotonous, dangerous or tedious tasks and make decision in fields where human intervention is not needed. Decisions are truly autonomous only when these systems are capable of reaching the right decisions in situations they are not programmed to solve.

Automation creates high quality jobs for people. However, according to a study carried out by ABB, in order to be better prepared for the jobs of tomorrow, even the well equipped states need to reconsider their concepts of education and training. ABB is already preparing for the future by creating “an environment of digital jobs” and providing the employees with intensive training courses for using tools for digital automation.

ABB is active in university education as well. For example, the company founded the Jurgen Dormann Foundation for Engineering Education in 2007. The foundation awards scholarships to students of electrical engineering who have excellent academic results and need financial resources to continue their education. The ABB research award in honor of Hubertus von Grunberg was established in 2016. The winners get a research scholarship of USD 300,000 and it is awarded every three years.

In Serbia, ABB established the annual award for the best student in the group of Electrical Drives courses at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Belgrade. The award entails a one-month paid internship in the seat of ABB in Belgrade and organized travel and training for ABB frequent regulators at the factory in Helsinki, Finland.

In addition to the mutual cooperation between various elements and the pronounced and growing process autonomy, digitization also aims for a higher level of sustainability. Digital technology can help reduce the harmful consequences of climate change. ABB created its slogan “Mission to Zero” in order to promote environmental protection and this mission has already led to important results. ABB currently generates over a half of its income through ecological products and systems and this trend is on the rise. Creating products which help implement automation in the private and the commercial sector helps optimize energy and facilitate the control of electrical equipment. Energy savings of up to 30% can be achieved thanks to digitization.

ABB has consolidated numerous solutions in the field of digitization for industries under the ABB Ability (TM) brand and is constantly expanding its offer of products and services on top-quality platforms. The portfolio currently consists of around 200 solutions which can be adapted to users' needs.
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