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Sanjeev Arora

President – Motion Business

ABB India

1 Rating

DIGITALISATION In future, an increasing number of services will move towards autonomous delivery

Sep 3, 2020

With pioneering drives, motors, generators and integrated digital powertrain solutions ABB has been writing the low-carbon, smart motion future of industries. Sanjeev Arora, President – Motion Business, ABB India, in this interview with Anvita Pillai, confers on the solutions by ABB to help solve the energy challenges, collaborative automation & digitalisation in the fourth industrial revolution, India’s future pertaining to well-equipping to digitalisation and more. Excerpts…

Today, the industry and market are facing pressure to reduce energy consumption, lower CO2 emissions & provide secure power supplies along with the strain of ever-rising energy prices & the dramatic effects of climate change. How are ABB’s drives & motors solutions helping solve the energy challenge?

Almost 70% of all industrial electrical energy goes into powering electric motors. Helping our customers save energy, improving operating performance and lowering the impact to the environment have always been at the core of our commitment for years. In motion business, we are achieving this by offering energy efficient motors and drives that improve the power quality. We were the pioneers in introducing the first IE4 induction motors in India prior to the introduction of IS standards; and globally we have already launched IE5 energy efficiency motors using synchronous reluctance technology.

Our wide portfolio of low and medium voltage AC and DC drives are designed to run the motors based on the actual demand of processes rather than running them at full speed. These drives help save significant energy in quadratic loads like centrifugal pumps and fans, as well as improve process efficiency in process industry. They use the latest generation Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) - besides providing better power quality to the motor and the grid.

Our customers have benefited from our technology which has helped them save energy and improve productivity - be it F&B plants, large integrated process industries or large water supply projects. Apart from this, we are also supporting them in their digital transformation. With remote monitoring of drives and motors, the downtime of the equipment is significantly reduced, thereby increasing the customer’s operating performance.

Collaborative automation and digitalisation of technologies are transforming the future of the industry. How will the research and development in autonomous systems and industrial Artificial Intelligence drive the digital transformation into the next phase of the fourth industrial and energy revolution?

Collaborative automation and digitalisation are bringing different enterprises together focusing to improve various KPIs like productivity, quality of output and OEE. Collaborative operation is helping customers make productive use of data to identify and address production, quality and cost issues that can inhibit peak performance as well as improve return on capital.

In the Factory of the Future, autonomous systems will support workers in making timely and informed decisions. It will release skilled staffs from repetitive jobs, enabling them to focus more on other tasks. In short term, people and autonomous systems will collaborate, with humans making the final decision. However, in the autonomous Factory of the Future, people will work side by side with collaborative robots. The combination of autonomous systems, industrial AI, and collaborative robots like ABB's YuMi® will enable customers to manufacture wider range of personalised and customised products. Due to the rapid changing demand, we can no longer predict with certainty and it makes a strong case for flexible manufacturing.

ABB has strengthened its role in India for the past few years and is working towards making digitalisation its core motif. Can you share with us the initiatives and innovations in this area to ensure maximum success to these developments?

In motion business, we have been investing heavily in new technology that will continue to provide our customers with vital products and services. Through our pioneering technology, we have been developing new solutions, which we like to call ‘intangible-tangible products’ that demonstrates clear value to our customers.

Our products can convert the advantages of digital solutions into clear offerings for our customers. For instance, at global level we have introduced Reliability-as-a-Service (RaaS) through 'Reliability care' for motors and drives. Reliability care service agreement, which provides users all the services necessary to keep equipment operational. It includes condition monitoring, data analytics, maintenance services and replacements. It is offered as a fixed cost so that maintenance budgets can be planned and optimised. Remote condition monitoring combined with domain expertise helps us stay ahead by focussing on increased process uptime for our customers.

Do you think Indian industries are well equipped to adapt to advanced technologies, especially in the digitalisation area? What challenges do you foresee in this regard?

Digitalisation is no longer an option for industries across the world and that includes India. Indian industries are embracing digitalisation technologies with a clear vision, seeing the benefits of ROI, productivity, safety and quality. Current times have also fast tracked the usage of remote technology for commissioning to troubleshooting with emerging business models like Platform as a Service (PaaS), etc. for digital, new software and AI based solutions with value added offerings for differentiation. In the current COVID-19 situation, at operation level, we are leveraging virtual tools for Factory Acceptance Test which is helping our customers save time.

In the future, an increasing number of services will move towards autonomous delivery. Similar to a self-driving car – that is the kind of background technology we are looking at and is one of the key building blocks of how we will develop our service products. We are looking at developing new service kits that showcase pioneering technology, supported with a suite of Smart Tools. For instance, creating a smart wrench that could monitor and register torques in our system, or using special cameras to check oil quality. Creating a connected service community is an important aspect of building our service ecosystem.

People, Process, and Technology go hand-in-hand and form the foundation of digital transformation. Apart from technological challenges, investing in pool of talents with strong prowess on technology and solutions would be key. Reskilling and upskilling personnel will help in bridging the digital skills gap.

ABB drives is enabling various industries like cement, F&B, marine water, oil & gas, etc. Which are the sectors contributing majorly to the growth of the company? What are the major challenges that you face in the Indian market while optimising the process and control?

ABB Drives cater to the heavy industries, transportation, and light industries. Despite the current challenges, we are well poised for growth in the segments such as water & wastewater, HVAC, F&B and Pharma. These industries today are as demanding as process industries in energy efficiency and uptime, where ABB has a proven track record.

Every industry has its unique challenge, for instance, in the HVAC sector many customers are setting requirements for efficiency. The traditional HVAC systems operate at 80% load or less, most of the time. However, nobody specifies the efficiency at part load. ABB is working with the community towards improving specifications to achieve the desired energy saving that the customers expect.

What are ABB’s short-term and long-term plans in India to ensure strong growth in the Indian market? How is the overall potential for ABB’s motion business in India?

Given the current scenario, there will be further changes in the market and economy as we go forward. It is apparent that the pandemic situation has accelerated the digital transformation, and I expect this to open new opportunities for us. At ABB, we aim to stay true to our commitment of offering products and solutions that will drive low-carbon future for industries, cities, infrastructure, and transportation with focus on sustainability.

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  • Sanjeev Arora, President – Motion Business, has been heading ABB’s motion business in India for the last two years. Over these years, he has been a strong proponent of promoting energy efficiency and sustainable solutions for various industrial applications. Currently, he is also driving the launch and transformation of the digital journey of various old era industrial products, like drives & motors.

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