Modular automation is the cornerstone of future process plants and crucial in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, enabling reduced time to market, increased automation efficiency and higher flexibility.
The process industry is facing a harsh global competition and changing market requirements such as more customised products, shorter delivery times and smaller batch series down to batch size 1. This goes in hand with an accelerating pace of innovation. ABB has developed a modular automation technology to help module vendors and plant owners meet these demands.
Modularisation simplifies plant level engineering, makes the production more flexible and thus improves the overall competitiveness. ABB has developed a solution for cost-effective modularisation with plug and produce capabilities and a pilot is currently ongoing with one of the major life science companies, Bayer AG.
Several so called Module Type Package (MTP) control sub systems and a modular configuration tool have been delivered and are currently running with a modular enabled ABB Ability System 800xA for the orchestration.
Dr. Torsten Knohl, Senior Project Manager, Bayer AG: “Modular Automation is very important for future production plants and the corner stone for IoT and Industry 4.0. We have chosen ABB as a technology provider because we have a long lasting good cooperation and it is a strong partner in automation systems with solutions from few automation loops up to big package units.”
“We will move from monolithic automation systems for a complete production plant to a more flexible and service oriented plug and produce solution. We will gain fast implementation of production, be able to scale the capacity by numbering up and down the production according to the market, and also improve the capability and speed of product changes.
In life sciences the production is now more focused on the patient and the given problem with personalised medicine. The products are no longer a commodity and we move towards very small batches. With the technology and early adoption of the idea of modular automation ABB is the right partner in this area,” Torsten Knohl continues.
Modular process plants will have pre-automated modular units that can be easily added, arranged and adjusted according to the production needs. Distributed Control Systems (DCS) will evolve to orchestration systems that manage the operation of the modular units. This is achieved through the Module Type Package (MTP), a standardised methodology enabling interoperability between any module and orchestration system developed within the MTP framework.
ABB is leading the implementation of the Modular Automation Technology and holds an important role in the NAMUR* study groups “Automating Modular Plants” and “Modular Automation”.
* NAMUR is an international user association of automation technology in process industries. The association represents the interests of, and supports the experience exchange among over 140 member companies and with other associations and organisations. Work results are published in the form of NAMUR recommendations and submitted to national and international standardisation bodies as proposed standards.