At the 30th edition of SPS Nuremberg we had the pleasure to meet Morten Wierod, President ABB’s Motion business and Sebastian Linko, Head of Communications for ABB Motion. With them, we talked about Energy Efficiency, Industry 4.0, Predictive Maintenance and Motion Control.
EEBI: Mr. Wierod, when did you start working for ABB?
M. Wierod: The beginning of my career in ABB dates back in 1998, when I started as Area Sales Manager for ABB Norway. Two years later I was appointed Export Manager and then Local Business Unit Manager for Breakers & Switches, first for Norway division and later for ABB China. In 2011 I moved to Switzerland and became Managing Director Business Unit Control Products and then Unit Drives. Since April 2019 I am President Motion business and Member of the Group Executive Committee.
EEBI: Mr. Linko, what’s your background and what is like to work in ABB?
S. Linko: My background is in Communication and Investor Relations. Before joining ABB, I worked for an IT service company, then for Vacon, an AC drives company, later acquired by Danfoss, and for the past 4 years I was with Wirepas, a startup that focuses on IoT connectivity. When I joined ABB, I returned to the motor and drives business. It is so motivating for several reasons: one is the energy efficiency message that we have, especially as the leader in the market.
EEBI: What are the innovations you are showing here at SPS Nuremberg?
M. Wierod: Showcasing our industry-leading drives and motors at SPS is important. However, it’s our digital solutions that are really taking center stage. For example, we are talking to customers about our ABB Ability™ Condition Monitoring for powertrains. This is an intelligent system equipped with smart sensors and cloud connectivity that collects data from drives, motors, bearings, gearing and pumps. This data is analyzed and presented to customers in one single portal, so they can view all the key parameters of individual assets as one unified system. By combining data analytics with our expertise, we can help customers optimize the performance and efficiency of rotating equipment. Data also identifies any potential issues, so customers can take prompt action before failures occur to prevent unplanned downtime and extend equipment life.
Recently, we extended the scope of our ABB Ability™ Digital Powertrain concept with a new Condition-Based Maintenance service option for drives. This new option provides the earliest possible warning of any abnormal conditions that might cause a drive to fail prematurely. The service is targeted for drives in critical applications in the oil and gas, metals, water and wastewater, and pulp and paper industries, where it is essential to avoid costly unplanned plant shutdowns.
The Condition-Based Maintenance service continuously monitors key components in a variable speed drive (VSD) – the fans, the semiconductors, and capacitors. Thermal, voltage, and power sensors collect data on the ambient temperature and load variations of the components and measure the daily impact on their lifetime. Cloud-based algorithms and statistical analysis estimate the level of stress on components and calculate their remaining life. If failure is predicted before the next planned maintenance operation, management can make a fully informed decision to take action and prevent an unplanned shutdown. In some cases, the Condition-Based Maintenance service could indicate that the drive components are under less stress than normal and will last longer than expected. Therefore, regular preventive maintenance intervals can be extended to increase productivity and reduce costs.
EEBI: What about ABB Motion in the future?
M. Wierod: I think you will see the expansion of the changes we have seen over the last few years. More and more investment in applications, software, digital solutions is a trend that is going to continue. I still believe in solid reliable hardware like motors and drives. We will surely pay more and more attention to the customer user experience; we will also make access to data simpler to provide more flexible and faster solutions for our industrial customers.
EEBI: Do you think Industry 4.0 is still the future or is ABB are already going into Industry “5.0”?
S. Linko: Industry 4.0 partly reality today and partly still work in progress. We are in the middle of that execution phase, but at ABB Motion we are already thinking about the next wave to come. That’s the same as if we talk about 4G and 5G. 5G is coming but it’s still going to take a few years before it stands as a real standard. Travelling around the world, you see that most of it is dominated by 4G. Too often we talk about revolutions where actually it’s all evolution and gradual improvement.