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CLIENT CASE STUDY


ABB: Making Machinery Speak Volumes

What if the machinery in your factory could speak? What would it tell you? It sounds like a chapter out of science fiction, but, today, assets can tell you about their condition and performance. And Accenture can help them communicate valuable insights for industrial customers. Working with the industrial manufacturer ABB, Accenture helped build an innovative Industrial Internet of Things solution that generates tangible value for ABB and its customers.

MOTORING AHEAD

ABB wants to help customers use the power of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to translate machinery asset data into actionable insights. ABB’s Motors & Generators business developed an IIoT device called “Smart Sensor,” which can be used to retrofit almost any low-voltage electric motor to help monitor its condition. The device’s sensors measure vibration, temperature, electro-magnetic field strength, and other parameters to help reduce downtime, increase the product lifecycle and reduce energy costs.

This was an exciting industry advance, but ABB now needed an interface that would connect the sensor to its customers—and help customers analyze and consume the data. ABB collaborated with Accenture to develop this innovative solution quickly—and in time for its unveiling at Hannover Messe in 2018, the world’s largest trade fair for industrial technology and IIoT which takes place annually in Hannover, Germany.

EVOLVING THE SOLUTION

To prepare for Hannover Messe, ABB and Accenture developed the customer journey and mobile app demo in only six weeks. The solution has become a central part of ABB Ability, the company’s unified, cross-industry digital capability.

Solution components:


Mobile app: Accenture applied design thinking to yield an exceptional user experience. The mobile app serves as an offline-capable IIoT gateway in addition to allowing service personnel to commission the sensors and monitor the motors on the shop floor in order to react quickly in emergencies.


Portal: The portal collects asset data to help ABB customers manage plants, teams, relationships between teams, assets and organizations. APIs integrate customers and their service providers into the Smart Sensor portal and cloud ecosystem.


Common sensor platform: Built on Microsoft .NET technology, the common sensor platform now integrates three types of sensors with ABB’s systems that can continue to scale.


ABB Ability Digital Powertrain platform and dashboard: The platform helps customers monitor large parts of their shop floor and group assets using different sensors. This allows customers to monitor the whole turbine, not just one small piece of it.


Mobile app: Accenture applied design thinking to yield an exceptional user experience. The mobile app serves as an offline-capable IIoT gateway in addition to allowing service personnel to commission the sensors and monitor the motors on the shop floor in order to react quickly in emergencies.

Portal: The portal collects asset data to help ABB customers manage plants, teams, relationships between teams, assets and organizations. APIs integrate customers and their service providers into the Smart Sensor portal and cloud ecosystem.

Common sensor platform: Built on Microsoft .NET technology, the common sensor platform now integrates three types of sensors with ABB’s systems that can continue to scale.

ABB Ability Digital Powertrain platform and dashboard: The platform helps customers monitor large parts of their shop floor and group assets using different sensors. This allows customers to monitor the whole turbine, not just one small piece of it.

The team, including Accenture’s Industrial Software Center of Excellence in Romania, used an agile development approach to create new features and functionalities as ABB’s Smart Sensor device and solution evolved. It also maintains the overall solution, providing updates and upgrades in the ABB cloud.

SELLING PRODUCTS + SERVICES

With its new capabilities, ABB can better compete in a digital world. Improving time to market, differentiating its products, creating new opportunities to provide services, and generating value for customers with actionable insights and a state-of-the-art customer experience.

  • ABB can gather data from its sensors to benchmark its own motors, improving product lines and saving on manufacturing costs without reducing quality.

  • Since the sensors can be retrofitted onto ABB competitor motors, the insights can identify strengths and weaknesses in the equipment and help ABB gain insights into new industry verticals.

  • ABB can work with other industrial asset manufacturers to sell its sensor as part of their offering to their customers, increasing sensor sales indirectly.

  • Powertrain monitoring encourages customers to use sensors across different types of equipment, enabling ABB to cross-sell and upsell its sensors and services.

  • The new tools are helping to improve ABB’s relationship with ecosystem members like service providers, offering them the insights to do their jobs better.

The new IIoT capabilities are only the beginning. ABB now has the foundation to apply more advanced analytics that deepen its knowledge about its motors’ performance, competitor assets and customer needs.

DELIVERING SUPERIOR SERVICES

On average, only 10 percent of a factory’s equipment is monitored. Customers now have affordable tools to monitor the other 90 percent, not just critical assets.

Not only can the assets communicate, they can speak volumes. With these data insights, factory managers can monitor their motors’ health, status, history and other details within and across factories. They can even access this data from their home. Over time, the insights can help them work motors harder to improve production bandwidth, for instance. Or they can hold off on routinely replacing a motor that still has more life left in it. In both cases, these insights help to extend a motor’s lifecycle while mitigating the risk of disrupting production. The continuous insights and alerts are also helping ABB’s customers reduce costs and improve efficiencies. Service contracts are more affordable since technicians need only come on an as-needed basis.

With the Powertrain dashboard, customers can monitor the condition of whole fleets of assets—not just motors—including bearings, drives and pumps. This allows management to gain insights into the interdependencies of their assets and how these relationships affect breakdowns. With the condition of their essential equipment at their fingertips, they can focus their attention on decision making and achieving their business goals.


"Accenture is a truly agile development partner; it’s a pleasure to see how the team is committed to our common goal to develop a solution bringing value to ABB’s customers and partners."

BERND HEISTERKAMP, DIGITAL LEADER, BUSINESS UNIT MOTORS & GENERATORS AT ABB


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