IT in Manufacturing


Making a world of difference with process automation

September 2023 IT in Manufacturing

Across societies and economies, many of us take it for granted that we have reliable power at the flip of a switch, that water flows at the turn of a tap, or that goods are available at our fingertips. What we rarely think about are the sophisticated, interconnected processes, systems, technologies and operations working around the clock to enable everyday life as many of us know it.

ABB’s ‘Making a World of Difference’ programme demonstrates how its automating, electrifying and digital technologies are making a world of difference by enabling industries to become more efficient and sustainable, from hydrogen and mining to water, shipping, emissions monitoring, and automation. ABB’s involvement also extends to hydrocarbons, pulp and paper, ports, food and beverage, and metals. “Our technologies and experts orchestrate industrial processes, machinery and systems to operate seamlessly and efficiently to enable our everyday,” says John Manuell, ABB’s local division manager.

At the heart of this seeming magic, in the background is process automation. For nearly 50 years, automated measurement and control of plants and processes has been central to empowering the industries that provide the basic building blocks of our everyday lives – power, water, metals, minerals, chemicals and transportation.

Today, fuelled by economic and population growth, these industries are working hard to meet one of their greatest challenges: reducing emissions and increasing the share of low-carbon sources in their energy mix. ABB’s integrated automation and electrical systems are essential to supporting industries on their sustainability journey, helping control production, while optimising the use of power and navigating the energy transition.

For more than a century, automation systems have been enabling industries that provide the basic building blocks of our everyday lives. And for over 40 years, ABB has built and maintained a leadership position in DCSs, which are at the heart of some of the largest and most critical operations on our planet. For many producers, a key action is to electrify processes formerly powered by combustion and fossil fuels to enable a transition to greener energy sources. Integrated process and electrical control and power management increase energy efficiency of operations, and reliably incorporate renewable energy sources. Digital technologies furthermore allow experts to cost-effectively design and deploy such integrated systems for efficiency, ease of use, and energy optimisation.

To maximise economies of scale, many plants today produce single commodities. At the same time, demand for customisation drives smaller, specialised plants that are close to the customer. Automation must scale to address these varying needs. Automation is a significant asset base for producers, and often the digital core of the business. As digitalisation progresses, operational and information technology will converge, allowing value-adding applications to run on the ‘edge’ of the process, or in the cloud.

“The control system of tomorrow will leverage new business models that facilitate change, while conforming to workplace expectations. ‘Automation-as-a-service’, with readily accessible and selectable applications, will provide options alongside traditional business models,” predicts Manuell.

Without the energy, materials and commodities that underpin our lives, and the technologies, systems and people that automate, electrify and digitalise the infrastructures that provide them, our world would not be the same. ABB is proud to contribute to orchestrating industries and society to run safer, smarter and more sustainably, and help make the magic behind our everyday lives – through process automation.

For more information contact Ofentse Dijoe, ABB South Africa, +27 10 202 5105, [email protected], www.abb.com/za


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