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ABB launches new products and partner programme in the UK and Ireland
As part of a global programme, ABB in the UK and Ireland has announced the local launch of several new products as part of its comprehensive automation portfolio. Previously ABB control system products were used almost exclusively by ABB's own engineering groups; however the development of new products delivering high value both in terms of functionality and price has allowed ABB to rethink its method of delivering these products to the market. Under its Solution Provider programme ABB is now working with a selected group of Channel Partners to broaden the availability of these automation products.
ABB's portfolio of control system products ranges from a very small hybrid controller through to its flagship System 800xA Extended Automation system, with the key middle ground being populated with the Freelance DCS and Compact 800 products. The new approach allows well proven DCS functionality to be available for smaller applications than those that would typically be undertaken with the 800xA DCS system.
Great care has been taken to ensure that both pricing and functionality make the middle ground or hybrid products span applications that previously would have attracted a SCADA/PLC solution. There are a huge range of systems and applications that don't fall neatly into the categories of continuous processes or discrete automation. ABB's portfolio provides a complete seamless set of solutions across the board - breaking down the conventional but artificial definitions of system types.
In addition to scalability of its solutions, the other key development is ABB's move to a flexible delivery model. This allows customer for medium sized and smaller systems to choose a delivery model that they consider best suited to their needs: experienced system integrator, engineering by ABB or a product only purchase supported by training and coaching. Regardless of the method of procurement, its end customers can be constantly reassured by ABB quality and high quality support services. The system integrator channel partners key to this strategy are already in place with 25 of the premier names in the UK and Ireland now in the ABB Solution Provider programme.
Two featured offerings are the Freelance AC700F controller and the Compact 800 family of products. The AC700F is a new addition to the ABB Freelance family that takes DCS technology directly to process OEMs and others that prefer configuring solutions rather than programming them. The AC700F is an award winning product that breaks conventional barriers, being equally applicable in the loop control world of process automation and in digital only applications. In contrast Compact 800 utilises the same product components as the 800xA DCS in standalone configurations. This surprisingly cost-competitive approach enables many stand alone applications to potentially be an integral part of a traditional DCS system.
Martin Grady, manager of ABB's OCS (Open Control Systems) business in the UK & Ireland said, "These are exciting times. We can offer a new and better way to develop and deliver automation solutions across the board, bringing ABB's well known DCS expertise and ease of use to all automation tasks. We already have projects delivered and underway with our chosen Channel Partners. We have strategically selected our Channel Partners in order to ensure that they all have access to the full range of support that backs up ABB's reputation for quality. This programme follows the proven success of our drives and instruments businesses in the UK."
This partnership provides proven functionality for small and medium sized automation systems from the global leader in process automation. In principle, it is easy to produce smaller products from ABB's core DCS technology. The key to this approach is scalability, of technology, of price and of delivery options. This makes key elements of the DCS experience available at a competitive price. Having done this, the cost savings from easier integration and added technical options mean that these mid range products will suit a huge variety of applications, creating a breakthrough to a new and better way of meeting automation needs.
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