ABB cooperates with Copa-Data Another step towards networked production
As a framework for automation projects, ABB’s Automation Builder enables the configuration, programming and troubleshooting of machines and installations - first virtually and then in reality. In order to make data analyticsoptimization of real installations possible, ABB now cooperates with Copa-Data.
Last year ABB included the independent operations data management software zenon by Copa-Data into their portfolio under the name ABB zenon. The software is intended to expand networking, machine-to-machine connectivity, data acquisition and visualization options for machine builders. MM Maschinenmarkt talked to Morten Wierod, Head of BU Drives at ABB, and Thomas Punzenberger, CEO of Copa-Data, about the opportunities this cooperation offers users and how zenon will develop further in future.
ABB now offers the Scada software zenon within their own portfolio. What were the reasons for this decision?
Wierod: We regard zenon as an operations data management software the customer can use as data collector and IoT connectivity for our drives, but also for his machine controller. The high level of connectivity strengthens our position in machine building. It is a very important market for ABB - especially for our drives and motors business. In this field, we see that customers increasingly require solutions, not just components. They also request monitoring of the whole powertrain – that means the whole process. We believe that the zenon software is really the right tool to collect data from the most diverse sources, do the visualization and provide our customers with a complete overview of their process in a simple way.
ABB already has a simulation tool for automation – the Automation Builder. How do Automation Builder and zenon interact?
Wierod: Zenon and Automation Builder are seamlessly integrated in terms of engineering. Both software tools use the same database. The Automation Builder is used for automation and zenon for visualization and monitoring. With these two tools, you can cover the complete engineering process. Moreover, zenon can import tags online from most kinds of PLC and of course also from our PLC AC500. The new technology of virtual devices we presented also enables the configuration of a virtual system, against which zenon can be tested.
Punzenberger: Using the combination of Automation Builder and zenon allows you to prepare commissioning perfectly. The integration of both products and usage of a common database saves time, increases the quality and avoids errors during the engineering process. That's a huge advantage.
In Automation Builder, whole process lines can be simulated and tested. Can the simulated data be integrated in zenon?
Punzenberger: You can read all data in zenon from sensors and PLCs all the way to drives and motors. Data are collected, stored, analyzed and then forwarded to other systems for simulation and analysis. We can read data from almost all systems – from devices, databases or external systems.
Wierod: Automation Builder generates virtual field data during simulation, which can then be recorded and processed by zenon. 3D simulation with ABB Robotstudio and the interaction of sensors and actuators with the simulated reality will generate realistic signals. Thereby, we really offer a system that starts from the customers‘ needs. Here we ask, „What do you need?“ instead of demonstrating what else we can do.
Which data is included in such an evaluation and what data can be analyzed by zenon?
Punzenberger: In addition to machine and production data, zenon can also record other data from the field, such as energy and other consumption data. It is also possible to read data from the MES or ERP systems or send it there. As soon as data is available in digital form it can be collected, analyzed and interpreted, patterns can be identified and probable developments be calculated. Then production can learn from previous processes and events to prevent machine failure, for instance.
Wierod: All operational data of the machine is recorded completely and perhaps can be enriched with other production data. Data can be pre-processed and aggregated as desired. Then the data may be transferred to the cloud, to the MES or to the ERP.
What information will the user receive from data analysis with zenon?
Punzenberger: Depending onthe application and the implementation, the user will be provided with information and instructions either directly by zenon or by higher-level systems. The information includes for example OEE analyses, energy consumption statistics, alarms or information about the optimization of production and consumption.
Wierod: For our drives customers it is important that zenon enables the management of data flows. Analysis can be performed either locally, in the customer's production systems, the customer's cloud or the ABB Ability cloud. This enables the concentrated and selective transmission of diagnostic data from our devices into the ABB cloud, whereas process-sensitive data may remain with the customer.
All the devices networked in zenon form a layer. If you want to conduct a special analysis of drives you will collect the data in zenon. Using algorithms, it will be possible in the future to conduct specific analyses such as the ageing of IGBTs or capacitors in the drives. This drives condition monitoring will be done in the ABB cloud. The results will be displayed on the machine HMI designed by means of zenon, the operator’s web browser or, if requested by the customer, in the ABB Remote Service Centre for monitoring by ABB experts.
Instead of Copa-Data, now ABB is in contact with its zenon customers. How does ABB integrate the software into their service offering?
Wierod: We treat ABB zenon like an ABB product. Therefore, we assume full responsibility for support and the entire life cycle service. In this way, we are involved in the product life cycle - from product introduction to the active phase and subsequent support. This also means that there will be an annual regular update and several small-scale updates or language packages. Customers with a service agreement will receive these updates free of charge. This procedure is similar to that for many other ABB products, too.
Punzenberger: Of course, we will continue to support our own zenon customers actively. On demand, we will provide ABB with full, integrated factory support. For example, if there are questions about the software that only Copa-Data staff can answer.
Do Copa-Data have their own data analysts or will customers receive information what data are important or significant from ABB?
Wierod: In the complex world we are talking about, nobody knows everything. We will need application specialists at the machine builder and operator, experts for data management and visualization and experts for components and devices. For us at ABB this means, we supply the know-how for the drivetrain and its monitoring and optimization. How production data will be evaluated and the information be used finally depends on the individual case and therefore on the customer. Regarding the drivetrain, however, we would like to be the preferred partner from design and monitoring all the way to service.
Punzenberger: We can provide KPIs, but for drive details ABB is the expert. There they know exactly how this drive should be operated, what maintenance it requires and what consequences an incident may have.
Has ABB gained own experience with zenon?
Wierod: ABB already has a lot of experience with zenon from automotive projects as well as projects in machine building and renewable energies. There is a pilot project running in an ABB factory in Germany, in which one production line with lot size one is being implemented. Currently introduction into other areas is underway. We are in the process of introducing zenon into our drives production at a global scale.
How will Copa-Data develop the zenon software in the next years? In cooperation with ABB?
Punzenberger: We have a clear vision and we synchronize this vision also with ABB. The vision is clearly to receive a data analysis package to be able to offer all possibilities: record field data from machines and energy data, carry out condition monitoring and then do further computer-based analyzis on it. For high-end computation, data will be sent to the cloud and the results be returned to the field and displayed to the customer so that he has an overview of his production. A big part of the application will be predictive analytics – i.e. information will be forwarded before something happens.
The interview was conducted by Stefanie Michel, editor drive engineering at MM Maschinenmarkt