Taking a multidisciplinary approach to developing service solutions

Improved service can mean different things to different customers. The following three research projects highlight the importance of addressing different customer requirements

The reliability feedback system (RFS) 

ABB’s reliability feedback system project develops tools for generator circuit breakers (GCB) that can help facilitate the shift from traditional time-based monitoring to condition-based maintenance strategies.

In many working environments there are different kinds of safety-related equipment available to prevent or mitigate situations where human life is endangered. Naturally, such equipment has to be carefully and regularly maintained. However, in many cases this results in expensive scheduled downtime. Finding the right amount of maintenance to save costs without compromising safety is not always easy.

The reliability feedback system (RFS) project sets out to obtain reliability data such as residual life from the field in order to help ABB service personnel recommend the right overhaul intervals for GCBs. With life-spans of up to 40 years or more, and a failure implying critical situations in power plants, as close to 100 percent reliability must be strived for.

Stock pooling optimization

In many industries, motors form a crucial part of the production equipment. Due to the myriad of sizes and specifications, many customers end up having a broad range of motors types. The consequence is that the customer needs a large number of spare motors to cover against potential failures. The challenge is accentuated in older facilities, where many motors have surpassed their intended life span.

Buying spare motors means nonproductive spending and bound capital. On the other hand, too few spare motors pose a significant risk to the operability of the plant. ABB’s stock pooling optimization project presents a solution that can lower customers’ costs without increasing the risk of downtime.

For a single customer there is little room to maneuver. Either a spare is in stock or it isn’t. But by pooling between multiple plants, customers and even industries, the total stock of spares can be reduced while also decreasing the risk exposure of individual customers.

Workforce scheduling

With over 100,000 technicians using the system every day, Service Suite is the enterprise workforce management (EWFM) solution that provides a complete platform to efficiently plan, schedule and execute all types of field work.

Service Suite’s performance-enhancing optimizer assigns the right orders to the right technicians, based on skill and availability, and then routes them optimally between assignments to minimize travel time. This enables customers to realize significant increases in field productivity, decreased labor costs, reduced travel time and vehicle expenses, increased technician autonomy and accountability, and improved data quality.

ABB’s research centers are working with Ventyx, an ABB company, to improve the current scheduling algorithms. The goal is to introduce new scheduling algorithms to address the increasingly complex customer requirements in the field.

How much can this approach add to productivity, and what can ABB do to deliver even more value?

Read the full article on service solutions in the ABB Review

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About the author

Andreas Moglestue

I'm Chief Editor of the ABB Review magazine.
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