Industry Report

The Continuing Rise of Automation


The scope of automation is now extended to production management, safety systems and a range of application and industry specific offerings.
According to Madhav Vemuri, President, Process Automation division, ABB India, over the last decade, 2013 has seen the largest fall in the automation market. Leading market research companies have indicated as much as 20 – 25 per cent decline. Less than 1 per cent of manufacturing GDP comes from automation and instrumentation in India compared to 5 per cent in developed countries. However, he informs that the Indian automation industry has been growing at 12 per cent for the last few years.
Scope of automation has increasedThere has been a shift in the definition of automation market, which traditionally has been ‘Distributed Control System’ (DCS). The scope of automation is now extended to production management, safety systems and a range of application and industry specific offerings. Automation suppliers now offer far more services and solutions – collaborative production management (CPM), advanced control and real-time process optimisation (APC), plant asset management (PAM).
Given the prevalent mood in the economy, the industry will look more at lowering energy costs and boosting productivity. The traction on greenfield projects on account of the market is rather slow however to remain competitive, customers are making marginal investments in asset life cycle management, better monitoring and prediction based advanced service solutions, aimed at improving productivity, better inventory management, enhancing plant ROI and adapting to changing market dynamics. There is a shift in demand for different levels of automation. This shift will be accelerated by contemporary technologies like IoTSP, wireless, mobility, virtualisation and cyber security. Another perspective to keep in mind is thinning of the lines between IT and OT. Plant automation and IT systems are almost seamless today with great opportunities for the customer to leverage synergies.
There is clear visibility in renewable energy, like in solar power. The market has responded to government targets but the next level of growth will not be restricted to utility scale solar plants but will also be driven by smarter grids to accommodate unpredictable and fluctuating power sources. Be it utilities, industries or infrastructure and transportation – the push for technology including software driven products (that have self-diagnostics capability) and solutions, integration of multiple energy sources, and implementation of environment friendly and efficient solutions would entail a higher degree of integration between power and automation processes.
In recent times, investments were constrained by underutilised capacities on account for poor demand, once consumption accelerates most industries increase capacity utilisation and leverage benefits arising of investments made in improving energy efficiency process optimisation. With increased infrastructure spending one should see mining improving, steel is seeing some relief with the imposition of some favourable government policies while cement is likely to remain stagnant as the existing capacity is severely underutilised. The company has a strong base in the core industries and find food and beverage, chemicals, and the pharma segments interesting. Investments in the rail segment points to growth in that segment too.
Key offeringsThe Process Automation (PA) division of ABB provides fully engineered products, systems, and services for process control, safety, instrumentation, plant electrification, and energy management for core sectors such as steel, cement, oil and gas, power, pharmaceuticals, speciality chemicals, railways, marine, food and beverage among few other verticals. Industry-specific solutions offered, make operations safe, reliable and more efficient while improving productivity and enhancing return on investment through ‘integrated process and power automation’.
ABB covers the entire breadth of automation across diverse industries and applications – basic and batch automation to complex and integrated automation solutions including manufacturing execution systems (MES), collaborative production management (CPM), advanced process control (APC), asset optimisation and business enterprise integration. Some of the advanced services that ABB offers include condition-based and predictive maintenance, remote monitoring, control loop performance and optimisation of batch process services, cyber security and many more.
In power ABB offers all equipment and solutions that will make the transfer from source to the socket in your home reliable and efficient. Transmission and distribution solutions include engineered substations, compact and environment friendly switchgear and transformers, smart network management solutions, microgrids, etc. In renewable energy, over half the solar power generated in India is converted to useable format by ABB inverters; it offers everything in the solar value chain except for solar panels. ABB is the only entity to have a wind generator and convertor factory in India.
In automation, its range of automation products and solutions make industrial processes reliable and efficient. Motors and drives make India’s largest aluminium refinery efficient, reducing energy consumption and resource wastage. ABB asset management solutions manage India’s largest integrated oil and gas company. Several plants in the food and beverages and pharmaceutical segment use ABB automation and distribution control solutions to maintain quality and consistency, with no compromise on safety, hygiene and traceability. Additionally, the process knowledge and control systems from ABB ensures optimal performance of almost half the cement plants in India run with ABB systems.
In transportation and infrastructure ABB has the building blocks of smart cities already in place. For example, its solutions include:• Solutions for railways, metros comprising of traction transformer, motors and converters for rolling stock – power the metros in Delhi and Bangalore.• Intelligent building control KNX and wiring accessories – solutions make T3 of Delhi Airport use 25 per cent less electricity than any other airport of comparable size in the world.• ABB also offer Micro SCADA for distribution automation and water and energy management systems – all of which will be key building a sustainable ecosystem.
ABB’s latest introductionABB has been introducing several new concepts, products and improvements in technologies already deployed, some of which is based on IoT and wireless technology.
ABB’s AssetVista is the entry point to asset-related information and an efficient, proactive maintenance and service strategy. AssetVista breaks down existing information silos that exist between operation, automation and maintenance personnel. The solution helps increase predictive maintenance by analysing pieces of data from thousands of components and production assets installed in a plant.
ABB offers integrated rake and wagon tippler solutions to track and monitor these vital assets to better handle raw material in real time with level-1 and ERP integration capability.

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