Alfa Laval sees marine market growth in ballast and SOx

Readers of this blog will recall the Alfa Laval launch on their “PureBallast” water treatment system for marine vessels way back in 2007. The IMO international convention for the ‘control and management of ship’s ballast water and sediments’ was the legislation that would drive the adoption of such systems world-wide: at last this convention became legally binding on shipping and ship-owners worldwide on 8th September 2016. Inevitably there is a 12 month time lag before it will be legally enforced, and then, hopefully, tankers will not be allowed to ply their trade without having an approved ballast water treatment system fitted.

Ballast water treatment market

Peter Leifland, current president of the Marine & Diesel Division of Alfa Laval presented some interesting views of this market in support of the recent Alfa Laval Capital markets Day presentation to analysts and stockbrokers.

Leifland commented that “With the ratification in place, the market for retrofit installations is expected to start to move.”  Alfa Laval expects that 35 000 ships will install a ballast water treatment system between 2017 and 2025. This is split between 15 000 newly built ships and 20 000 retrofit installations. The average order value per ship for the Alfa Laval chemical-free solution is EUR 200,000 – 225,000.

The Alfa Laval system fully complies with IMO standards and requirements, but as ever different countries can impose further approval and performance requirements and testing, effectively policing their own waters so that only ships with their approved systems can trade in their waters. This means more approval testing, fees, and even design changes for suppliers like Alfa Laval. They have their PureBallast system nearing completion of the long testing procedure needed by the US Coast Guard to check that it meets with their USCG criteria.

Shipboard sulphur oxide emissions (SOx)

The IMO convention for the reduction of sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions from ships has been ratified and since 2015 it has been implemented in some Emission Control Areas (ECAs). This IMO regulation will become global by 2020, requiring that that emission levels will be cut to 0.5%.

Leifland commented that Alfa Laval estimates that 5 000 ships, new as well as existing, will install a scrubber solution in the period 2017-2025.” Given the continuing development of new solutions, Alfa Laval’s average order value per ship is expected to be EUR 1 million. Leifland sees these two developing markets as a useful opportunity, during a period where “falling ship contracting is impacting our order intake”.

P+F buys ecom to complete hazardous area capability with mobile devices

Ecom instruments from Assamstadt in Germany was established 30 years ago, and has specialised in portable equipment suitable for use in the most hazardous areas of a plant, ie Zone 1 rated explosion hazard areas on a petrochemical plant, etc. This extends from a torch, through to a mobile phone, PDA, laptop etc, as well as measuring instruments and calibration equipment. They recently developed into providing similar barcode scanner systems, plus intelligent software and applications.

At the end of October it was announced that Pepperl + Fuchs of Mannheim, also in Germany, a family-owned company well known for industrial sensor systems and explosion protection in general, had acquired the whole business of ecom instruments GmbH. In this way P+F adds to their existing (static) explosion protection portfolio and know-how offering by including mobile devices and solutions.

Dr Gunther Kegel, CEO of P+F, commented “In ecom instruments we found an industry pioneer with 15% growth rate lately who, for decades, proved and strengthened his technology leadership in mobile explosion protection and now complements our offering with a competitive portfolio reaching far into the future”.

“Besides the expanded product portfolio we can see new opportunities arising along the entire value added chain. With this we can not only strengthen our offering in the field of explosion protection, but we can achieve a much better market position – with a partner from our region – and consequently generate new solutions around the complex of Industrie 4.0”.

Rolf Neid, the Founder and Managing Partner of ecom Instruments, commented: “The expertise in explosion protection and the wide-spread international sales force of Pepperl+Fuchs made them our favourite partner from the very beginning. Our innovative devices do not only fill a gap in their portfolio, but allow ecom instruments and Pepperl+Fuchs to develop future business models and solutions at the Center of Competence at Assamstadt to gain access to the enormous growth potential of the ongoing digitalization of industry”.

P+F hazardous area business

The P+F Process Automation Division is world-market leader in the field of explosion protection in hazardous areas using intrinsic safety. Furthermore, the Division offers large varieties of application-oriented system solutions for process industries. The portfolio consists of analogue isolation barriers, fieldbus topology systems, remote I/O systems, HART interfaces, level control sensors, purge systems, HMI devices, as well as power supplies and signalling devices.

The P+F UK factory in Wednesbury, in the Midlands, produces Exd and Exe junction boxes, cabinets and control panels and switching systems for hazardous area use, plus accessories such as light fittings, floodlights and beacons for hazardous areas. The factory, originally known as Walsall Ltd, was acquired by P+F in 2009, and a visit to see the expanded operation in 2012 was reported on Processingtalk.info – see the story “P+F invests in factory for Exd, Exe housings

The latest Robots are Friendly

We all know what a robot is. But then it really does depend on whether you immediately think of them in ‘sci-fi’ films, or paint spray booths, or welding on automotive production lines, or stacking in automated warehouses. These have been the big applications, in big automated factories, with around 240,000 robots sold last year. The article below was for a column published in the November issue of South African Instrumentation & Control, see a digital copy on http://www.instrumentation.co.za/archives.aspx

The emergence of the cobot supplier

However, there is a new breed of robot now: collaborative robots, or cobots, have only really emerged as practical devices in the current decade. A cobot is a robot that is intended physically to interact with humans in a shared workspace, so the special pens and protective light curtains around the robot operating area are gone. The cobot is designed to work alongside a human operator, typically maybe lifting the heavier items involved in electronic device assembly operations: it has smooth surfaces with no sharp edges, and protected joints, so a human working alongside cannot trap their fingers, plus it stops at the slightest external touch.

Additionally, the cobot is flexible, it can be trained (taught) by the assembly operator, by guiding its arms and grippers to show it what to do. Currently the cobot market is around 5% of the total, $100 m last year. These robots are lower in cost, say $24,000 each, but are aimed at the small to medium sized companies that account for 70% of global manufacturing, where flexibility is essential. New international standards for their safe design and use are emerging, and there are many suppliers, as the market is forecast to be $1Bn by 2020.

ABB’s YuMi

yumi-robot

One such product is the ABB YuMi (‘you-me’) desk-top robot: a dual-arm small parts assembly robot that has flexible hands, incorporates parts feeding systems, camera-based part location and automated control: yet it has twice the reach and more strength than an operator. It can collaborate, side-by-side (or across the bench), with humans in a normal manufacturing environment, enabling companies to get the best of both humans and robots, working together.

In April, the ABB YuMi was recognised for outstanding achievements in commercialising innovative robot technology with the prestigious Invention and Entrepreneurship Award at the Automatica trade fair in Munich. There followed a Golden Finger award as ‘one of the best industrial robots of 2016’ at the China International Robot Show in Shanghai. One out of every four robots sold today is sold in China, which is the world’s leading robotics growth market: 68 000 units were sold there in 2015, 17% up on 2014.

YuMi was specifically designed to help consumer electronics meet the challenges produced by the need for customised personal electronics products, by enabling operators and cobots to share tasks, with easy training when the task changes. The YuMi appears to be targeted at the assembly operations common with electronic equipment, significantly in Southeast Asia.

Universal Robots – another successful start-up.

Universal Robots (UR) was formed in Odense, Denmark in 2005, with the goal of making robot technology accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises. It introduced its first cobot in 2008, and particularly focused on food industry applications, with 3,5 and 10 kg payload cobots. Their average payback period of 195 days for customers is claimed as the fastest in the industry.

Recently its cobot arms have been awarded certification for use in clean room applications, so UR robots can now be used in areas where purity and hygiene – such as particle emission, easy-to-clean surfaces and extreme reliability – are decisive criteria for precise automation processes. This opens up more applications in the food industry, in the production of microchips and semiconductors, and in the electrical and optoelectronic industries.

At the end of 2014, more than 3500 UR robots were installed worldwide: currently they claim the figure is 6000 – annual sales maybe growing x2,5 in just over a year. Mercedes-Benz has replaced old robots with humans on some lines, to better manage customised products. They are moving to having production workers guiding a part automatic robot. Scientists at MIT, working with BMW, have found that robot-human teams can be about 85% more productive than either of them, alone. Subsequently Universal Robots were rated #25 on the MIT Technology Review’s list of the world’s 50 smartest companies: Teradyne Inc then acquired UR for $285 m in 2015.

Emerson to work with Flexim

Emerson Automation Solutions and Flexim, the clamp-on ultrasonic flowmeter specialists, are to collaborate, to help process customers optimise their flow process design, flow meter selection and flow meter installation on capital projects. This will enable them to reduce execution risk and costs.

With customers under severe pressure to reduce schedule and cost targets on capital projects, Emerson project teams, using the Flexim clamp-on, ultrasonic flow metering portfolio in combination with the broader Emerson in-line flow meter products, are able to consult early and throughout the project cycle to reduce engineering, piping and installation costs as well as schedule risk.

Flexim non-intrusive flow meters are the market leaders in clamp-on, ultrasonic technology and provide the best reliability and the most advanced capability when addressing difficult applications with a non-intrusive flow solution. This co-operation will improve delivery of the exact flow solution needed by clients while supporting  ‘Project Certainty’ – the Emerson approach that is said to enable top-quartile performance in capital projects.

By empowering project teams with flow expertise to work with clients early in project phases, Emerson has consistently eliminated cost, accommodated change and reduced complexity on capital projects. The non-intrusive nature of the Flexim ultrasonic flow meters makes this product a powerful contributor to reduced engineering, piping and installation costs as well as schedule risk, given that it can be installed after piping is fabricated. Emerson and Flexim will collaborate to ensure less time is spent on engineering and installation by selecting the optimal flow solution for a given application and applying the most comprehensive flow portfolio available.

“In today’s market, we are seeing that our customers are looking for us to advise them early in their project cycle on technology to ensure streamlined and cost-effective project execution,” said Bret Shanahan, vice president of flow solutions, Emerson Automation Solutions. “We are pleased to be working with Flexim to provide our clients with the most appropriate flow solution that can be applied and support greater capital efficiency.”

“Flexim is excited to partner with Emerson on capital projects; our flexible, world-class, non-invasive meters are a perfect fit with the experienced Emerson project teams,” said Guido Schwanekamp, managing director for sales and marketing at Flexim. “Together we will be able to offer fully customised solutions that are tailor-made for a wide variety of capital projects, reducing capital expenditures while increasing efficiency for our clients and reducing total cost of ownership at the same time.”

GE and Baker Hughes combine

The Offshore Engineer reports that GE and Baker Hughes are teaming up to form the “new” Baker Hughes, a company that will be led by current GE Oil & Gas CEO Lorenzo Simonelli and have dual headquarters in Houston and London.

The agreement will combine GE’s oil and gas business (GE Oil & Gas) and Baker Hughes, in what the two hope will be a leading equipment, technology and services provider with US$32 billion of combined revenue and operations in more than 120 countries.

The deal has already been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies. At closing, which is expected in mid-2017, Baker Hughes shareholders will receive a special one-time cash dividend of $17.50 per share and 37.5% of the new company, with GE owning the remaining 62.5%. The deal is still subject to approval by Baker Hughes shareholders, regulatory approvals, and other customary closing conditions.

Both GE and Baker Hughes expect to generate “total run-rate synergies” of $1.6 billion by 2020, which has a net present value of $14 billion, that will primarily be driven by cost out, and positioned for growth as the industry rebounds.

“By drawing from GE technology expertise and Baker Hughes capabilities in oilfield services, the new company will provide best-in-class physical and digital technology solutions for customer productivity,” the two companies said in a joint statement.

The new company will combine the digital solutions, manufacturing expertise and technology from GE, in addition to the track record of success Baker Hughes has in the oilfield services sector.

“With combined revenue of over $32 billion, the product portfolio of GE Oil & Gas and Baker Hughes in drilling, completions, production and midstream / downstream equipment and services will create the second largest player in the oilfield equipment and services industry,” according to the statement from the two companies. “Customers should expect sustainable innovation and integration that will deliver valuable outcomes. Both companies have invested even in the downturn and have strong, complementary competitive scope across the industry. From GE’s fullstream oil and gas manufacturing and technology solutions spanning across subsea and drilling, rotating equipment, imaging and sensing, to the Baker Hughes portfolio in drilling and evaluation and completion and production, the combined company will be moving beyond oilfield services and into oil and gas productivity solutions.”

 

Upon closing, the new Baker Hughes board will consist of nine directors: five of whom, including Chairman Jeff Immelt will be appointed by GE and four, including Vice Chairman Martin Craighead will be appointed by Baker Hughes.

“This transaction creates an industry leader, one that is ideally positioned to grow in any market. Oil and gas customers demand more productive solutions. This can only be achieved through technical innovation and service execution, the hallmarks of GE and Baker Hughes,” said Jeff Immelt, GE chairman and CEO. “As we go forward, this transaction accelerates our capability to extend the digital framework to the oil and gas industry. An oilfield service platform is essential to deliver digitally enabled offerings to our customers. We expect Predix to become an industry standard and synonymous with improved customer outcomes.”

“This compelling combination brings together best-in-class oilfield equipment manufacturing and services, and digital technology offerings for the benefit of all customers and stakeholders,” Martin Craighead, Baker Hughes chairman and CEO said. “The combination of our complementary assets will create a platform capable of seamless integration while we enhance our ability to deliver optimized and integrated solutions and increase touch points with our customers.”

“This transformative transaction will create a powerful force in the oil and gas market as we continue to drive long-term value for our customers and shareholders,” Simonelli said. “Both companies’ employees will benefit significantly from being part of a larger, stronger company that is positioned for long-term growth. We look forward to combining the digital solutions and technology from the GE Store with the domain expertise of Baker Hughes and its culture of innovation in the oilfield services sector.”

The full release is available on http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20161031005488/en/

SolutionsPT adds SCADA and HMI – from Citect – to its Wonderware offering!

SolutionsPT have issued a press release covering an expansion of their Wonderware offering from Schneider, to add SCADA and HMI Solutions. This reads as follows:

Industrial IT solutions specialist SolutionsPT has become the UK and Ireland distributor for world-class automation solutions provider Citect, strengthening its SCADA product portfolio.

Renowned for the development and application of SCADA and HMI solutions, the Citect brand is owned by Schneider Electric, and its range of products includes CitectSCADA, CitectHMI and CitectHistorian.

Schneider Electric already has a longstanding relationship with SolutionsPT, which has been the sole UK and Ireland distributor for its Wonderware suite of products since 1991. As a result, SolutionsPT was seen as the logical choice to take on the distribution of Schneider Citect software in the UK and Ireland because of its existing focus on, and technical expertise in, the automation sector.

To support the new product offering, SolutionsPT has promoted Anne Fletcher to the role of Citect Product Manager. Anne has been with SolutionsPT for six years, most recently working as Channel Relationship Manager.  Anne will be responsible for championing the Citect product set amongst SolutionsPT end users, OEMs and System Integrators to enhance the profitability and penetration of Citect products.

Martin Walder, VP Industry UK & Ireland, Schneider Electric, said: “Collaborating on sales and utilising SolutionsPT to support our Citect product will allow us to improve the service to Citect customers and enhance the breadth of our software offering. This deal will allow us to offer Historian, Batch Management and MES functionality as well as our targeted SCADA and HMI offerings. SolutionsPT is a well-established distributor and the right partner to work with to develop the overall market for Schneider software products.”

The press release ends there.

The outsider view

It is interesting to consider the background to this release, which on the face of it, is a little confusing, when you try to see it from the Schneider viewpoint. SolutionsPT is a long term independent but major Wonderware distributor and installer into UK and Irish industry. The relationship with Schneider only commenced after Schneider acquired Invensys plc: the acquisition process started with the takeover offer made in July 2013. This deal was not finalised until later in the year, after September.

In September 2013, Invensys plc, already subject to the acquisition offer from Schneider, acquired US based InduSoft, which was quoted as “a provider of HMI and embedded intelligent device software for the automation market”. This did indeed seem surprising, since Schneider had acquired a major HMI/SCADA software supplier when it bought Citect, many years before, in 2006. So why would the fairly inevitable Schneider/Invensys combined operation require two such similar companies?

This exercised several reports and analysis presented in the Industrial Automation Insider in late 2013, and some similar blog posts on http://www.ProcessingTalk.info.

However, today, in 2016, the InduSoft website promotes their Web Studio 8.0 as SCADA/HMI software for Intuitive Dashboards, OEE and the Internet of Things, under the brand of Wonderware InduSoft. Their UK distribution is quoted as dealt with by the InduSoft office in Germany. The original UK agent for InduSoft prior to 2013 was a private company, AdProSys, run by Mike Bradshaw, an ex-Wonderware employee, who then joined InduSoft as an employee in September 2013 to promote direct and channel sales of InduSoft throughout Europe. He then left InduSoft in July 2104.

With the InduSoft product being Wonderware branded, surely SolutionsPT would be selling it, as a part of their Wonderware package:  but the SolutionsPT website solidly refuses to recognize InduSoft as a search term….

The logic of this suggest that SolutionsPT have done their homework rigorously, and have decided that the Wonderware-Citect combination is the best match, to meet their market requirement for HMI/SCADA in Wonderware based applications.

©Processingtalk.info

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABB 1.2 Million Volt Transformer

ABB has developed, manufactured and energized a 1,200-kilovolt (kV) ultra-high-voltage power transformer to support India’s plans to build a 1,200 kV transmission system, supplementing the existing 400 kV and 800 kV transmission grid as demand for electricity increases. The transformer was manufactured and tested at ABB’s state-of-the-art Vadodara facility in India.

Ultrahigh voltage (UHV) 1,200 kV alternating current (AC) power

Ultrahigh voltage (UHV) 1,200 kV alternating current (AC) power transformer installed at Bina site – Level 2

This 1.2 million volt transformer represents the highest alternating current voltage level in the world and is installed at the national test station at Bina, Madhya Pradesh in Central India, as part of a collaborative initiative by the country’s central transmission utility, Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID).

India’s geographic span means that resource-rich generation centers and urban and industrial load centers are often far apart therefore requiring efficient power transmission. Along with the country’s commitment to enhance the contribution of renewables, these factors are driving the development of an ultra-high-voltage transmission infrastructure.

The 1,200kV transmission system will help strengthen the grid and enhance load capacity up to 6,000 megawatts (MW). Transmission at higher voltages enables larger amounts of electricity to be transported across longer distances, while minimizing losses. At the same time, less space is needed for fewer transmission lines, which reduces the environmental impact and overall cost.

“ABB has a pioneering track record in India and this 1,200 kV achievement is another concrete example of our commitment to support the country in the ongoing development of its power infrastructure” said Claudio Facchin, President of ABB’s Power Grids division. “This project also underlines how ABB delivers differentiated value through innovation and customer collaboration, both key elements of our Next Level strategy.”

In addition to the transformer, ABB has also developed a 1,200 kV circuit breaker that was previously commissioned at the test station. This was the first hybrid gas insulated switchgear in the world to be energized at this voltage level. The uniquely designed circuit breaker is safely housed with the disconnector in a tank filled with insulating gas – resulting in a space saving potential of up to 60 percent compared with conventional designs.