ABB Process Automation: New I/O Solution now available

ABB Process automation projects have employed controller-centric distributed control system (DCS) architectures for decades. This approach creates dependencies between project tasks that complicate late changes. ABBs new I/O solution will make late and over budget ABB process automation projects a thing of the past.

For many years, controller-centric DCS architectures have been used in process automation projects. However, a controller-centric approach ties the multichannel I/O modules to a particular process controller, thus creating dependencies between project tasks, which complicates late changes. This aspect is known to be a primary cause of project cost overrun and schedule delay and is the reason why automation tasks are on the critical path in many capital projects.

ABBs new I/O solution and corresponding engineering software for the ABB AbilityTM System 800xA platform will make over budget or late ABB process automation projects a thing of the past.

ABB process automation:Freeze Over

Traditionally, most industrial technical projects feature a design freeze at a relatively early stage. After this point, automation engineers can finalize their design, order the required hardware such as controllers, I/O, etc. and start application programming. Changes made after the design freeze often results in rework and the later the changes are made, the higher the rework cost and the higher is the chance of a schedule delay. For companies that run many concurrent, there are large capital investment projects, each of which may be affected and they involve dozens of subcontractors and vendors for the project. The cumulative cost overruns and schedule delays can be significant. For this reason, these companies have long partnered with process automation providers to combine information stored in databases and spreadsheets with smart instrumentation and devices, digital fieldbus technologies and Ethernet-based I/O solutions to enable control systems to self-configure and validate, test, and provide documentation automatically. Adopting such an approach promotes the decoupling of ABB process automation project inter-dependencies and thus facilitates parallel execution. In particular, I/O commissioning can be done in parallel with the application engineering.

ABB process automation:System 800xAs Select IO to the rescue

To expedite the commissioning of I/O in parallel with other project engineering tasks and thus reduce the impact of hardwired signal changes, ABB developed an extension to the System 800xA family of I/O solutions called Select IO. Select IO is a single-channel I/O system for both process and safety applications that communicates with the system via a redundant industrial Ethernet I/O network 3. A redundant network has the characteristic that it is not tied to one particular controller.

Select IO has many benefits:

  • Terminations can be installed and wired in the field early on in the project, thus negating the need for bulky marshalling cabinets.
  • Many aspects of Select IO are standardized. This reduces testing overhead.
  • The hardware, I/O and the application can all be simulated in software.

Further, in the traditional approach to process automation projects, multichannel I/O modules were usually ordered from the supplier just after design freeze so that panel shops could start the assembly process. Any late changes would cause rework. With Select IO, the signal types (AI, AO, DI, DO) representing analog and digital inputs and outputs) can be defined much later by adding individual signal conditioning modules (SCMs), thus reducing the importance of the design freeze and the financial impact of any late changes. These factors allow standardized and compact Select IO cabinets to be built, pre-engineered, pretested and sent to site, where they can be installed and wired much earlier in the ABB process automation project than a traditional cabinet would be.

ABB process automation:new marshal in town

When I/O is made available on an Ethernet network, all the controllers can access it. Therefore, the I/O can be marshalled digitally, instead of physically with marshalling cabinets or cross-wiring. If a control application that requires connectivity to certain I/O signals is moved from one controller to another, no rework will be required as the I/O connectivity is marshalled automatically when the controller compiles its application software. This scheme minimizes the need for change orders to the end user or engineering contractor.

ABB process automation: xStream Engineering – configure, check, connect

The xStream Engineering concept encompasses the idea that, by using System 800xA, multiple (or x) work streams can occur simultaneously and autonomously (or decoupled) from each other. By reducing the dependencies of various project tasks and providing a means for them to converge later in the project, the risk of project delay is greatly reduced and the probability of on-time, or early, project completion is greatly increased. At the heart of this concept is the Ethernet I/O Wizard, which is part of the System 800xA engineering software. This can be used in any ABB process automation project but is best used to configure and functionally check Select IO in the field prior to, and separate from, the delivery of the application.

To illustrate how xStream engineering functions, consider two simple work streams. One stream comprises the tasks that can be performed in the field while the other is the application work done in another location (often at the offices of ABB or the system integrator). In the field, the I/O cabinets can be delivered early in the project and then later, just before commissioning occurs, the following steps are carried out:

  • Configure On a particular cluster of Select IO, the Select IO module base is populated with the SCM that matches the I/O type. Then a field kit comprising a controller and laptop with System 800xA engineering tools is connected to the Ethernet I/O field communications interface (FCI). The Select IO is automatically scanned and configured using data from the I/O list, including signal name, and supplemented with HART configuration data that resides within the field instrument. A test configuration is also automatically created based on the I/O type detected to help with functional loop checks.
  • Check with the I/O configured and a test configuration downloaded to the controller, smart and non-smart field equipment can be functionally checked in the field in parallel with the application engineering being done back at ABB process automation project center. Using System 800xAs documentation manager loop check templates, field testing and verification documentation is created and stored.
  • Connect: Once functionally checked, the I/O structure can be imported into the product application, which was engineered using the same signal names as the I/O configuration. Upon bringing the I/O configuration into the product system, the signals are soft marshalled automatically, no mapping is required. Any conflicts or missing I/O allocations are reported via the signal overview display and/or the Ethernet I/O Wizard and quickly corrected. The ABB process automation system is now ready for commissioning.

The steps above are performed in the field while the application code is being configured and checked by simulating hardware at ABBs or the system integrators premises. Select IO and System 800xAs engineering tools promote the decoupling of tasks and allow two independent teams to work in parallel and bound together with precision and efficiency.

The impact of changes during the ABB process automation project and commissioning time can thus be significantly reduced. Overall, Select IO, aided by System 800xAs engineering tools, helps meet the ultimate objective, which is to remove process automation from the critical path of capital projects. With this solution, there are fewer surprises, fewer change orders, earlier commissioning of projects and happier owner-operators.

Visit the ABB Website to learn more about ABB process automation projects and products. For ABB process automation engineering quotes, contact Precision Electric.


Article originally published by Alicia Dubay
ABB Industrial Automation, Control Tech.
in the ABB Tech Review publication
HMI Solutions

HMI Solutions

HMI solutions allowforinteractive operation and control between humans and machines. An HMI (human-machine interface) provides feedback from the industrial machine to the end user. This feedback allows the end user to make changes so that the machine is more effective in production. An HMI can also provide a way to control, manage, monitor and visually operate processes during production.HMI solutions are usedin robotics, process controls, ergonomics, PLC and other industrialapplications.

An industrial HMI systems processing power determines its usability and its ability torender complex screens. An HMI’s fastresponse time to user input and exibility tohandle multiple levels of operator interactions is also determined upon the processing power within the HMI.HMI’s require dynamically changing graphics that require a high-performance solution that can achieve the 60 frame per second refresh rate that’s required at the rightresolution. HMI’s also have to support multipleconnectivity and communications protocols tocommunicate between the operator and variousmachines and control systems.

HMI solutions range from simple displays to high resolution LCD panels. HMI solutions can be mounted on a user’smachine, portable handheld devices, or installed in centralized control cabinets. With HMI, users can process control to connect sensors, actuators and machines on the plant oor; to I/O control and PLC systems.

ABB HMI Solutions

Individual ABB HMI solutions provide operators with an overview on profitable production – coupled with the ability to manually intervene, if necessary. ABB HMI solutions makecommunication protocols possible these control panels the ideal complement to ABB PLCs, Drives and Robots.The control panel series CP600 provides HMI solutions with color touch screens from 4.3 to 15.

The ABBCP600 range is dedicated for machines and systems requiring visualization performance or representative design. The CP600-WEB range is similar to theCP600, while the visualization is based on the web server of the AC500 PLC platform. This provides the user with an advantage of less cost.

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Choosing the correct encoder or resolver for your application may seem tedious, but is an important decision that needs to be carefully examined before these devices are going to be used in your plant. Encoders and resolvers often are used to sense motor shaft speed in machines and robots. Resolvers have been around longer, but encoders are more widely used in modern designs because of higher accuracy and superior digital communication interfaces.

Incremental rotary encoders work on either of three technologies: optical, magnetic or capacitive. Each technology has its drawbacks and advantages, and the right choice typically is determined by the application.

“Optical encoders can be found in office applications such as copiers, and in industrial applications such as automated guided vehicles,” says Cory Mahn, senior specials engineer at Dynapar “Magnetic encoders typically are needed in harsh conditions where optical encoders could show significant performance decrease. These applications can be overhead cranes, paper mills and steel mills.”

The vulnerable component in optical encoders is the glass disk, and various designs are available to provide protection. “Our Safety-Lock bearing design incorporates two mechanically interlocked bearings that have the maximum possible distance between them,” says Tony Udelhoven, sensors division director at Turck “This design helps protect the internal optical disk system from shock and vibration that would damage traditionally designed encoder bearings.”

Some applications are too rugged for optical encoders, and others have inherent strong magnetic fields that preclude use of magnetic encoders. “Our capacitive encoders are designed and built to meet the challenges of difficult applications as they dont have bearings or optics, and are well-suited for direct-drive applications,” notes Joanna Suresh, product manager for motor feedback and absolute encoders at Sick.

Bearing design is critical for optical encoders because the bearings are subject to contact and wear. Magnetic encoders eliminate bearings from their design, and can also offer higher performance.No matter the type of encoder selected for a particular application, it requires an interface to other components in the automation system. As with many automation components, digital interfaces provide high-speed two-way communications, enabling high-resolution outputs and diagnostics.Although resolvers are not as widely used as encoders, they can be a good fit in certain applications.

If you are not certain of which product you should use, contact Precision Electric. You can reach us by email or telephone. Send the specifications for your application to me at the email address shown below. If you have a resolver or encoder that you would like quoted for either repair or replacement, let me know.

Ryan Chamberlin
Inside Sales, Customer Support
[email protected]
Call Toll Free: 1.877.625.2402


Delta Tau CNC Multi-Axis Automation Controls

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Quite often, on more complex moves, suchas moving a laser (2D Motion) in a circle or arobot arm (3D Motion) from picking up a boxto setting it down, more than one motor isrequired.A system is considered multi-axis when ituses multiple motors or feedback (axes)coordinated together (coordinate systems) toperform one or more specific tasks.

CNC (Computer Numerical Control) simplyillustrates the complexity of mathematicsrequired for a high precision system. Thesesystems often interface with an Industrial PC astheir HMI.

Unfortunately we find many multi-axis / CNCsystems utilize proprietary amplifiers (drives)and motor combinations. We pride ourselvesin using Delta Tau controllers, which can beused with virtually any 3rd party drive andmotor combination. This makes it the optimalcontroller to retrofit an already existing systemor building a new one from scratch.

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Industrial Control Cabinet Design & Manufacturing

We’ve Been Servicing the Industrial World Since 1983.

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For more than 27 years Precision Electric, Inc has been a recognized leader in the design and manufacture of custom control panels. We specialize in retro-fitting equipment for customers with obsolete and non-efficient equipment using the newest available technology.

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Precision Electric provides a comprehensive portfolio of engineering and technical support services to the industries we serve, including:
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Ryan Chamberlin
Inside Sales, Customer Support
[email protected]