ABB opens new service centre in Aberdeen

On Monday 18 September, Fergus Ewing, Scottish Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism officially opens ABB’s new facility in Aberdeen, Scotland following a GBP3.5m upgrade. The Altens site is the headquarters for the power and automation technology company’s UK service businesses, bringing together its oil & gas and marine services, spare parts and logistics, turbocharging and consulting activities.

The move to the 27,000 sqft bespoke facility, from the city centre’s Commerce Street, accommodates an advanced learning centre for employees and customers, an automation build and test staging area and upgraded turbocharger workshop. The site also houses ABB’s consulting services team.  Consulting helps customers to improve the performance of their total operation in the areas of process safety, integrity management and reliability. Typical services include asset life extension, decommissioning, process safety risk assessment and management, alarm management, technical training and specialist technical engineering.

Increased capacity has enabled a 30% growth in staffing levels. This provides the resources to achieve ABB’s goal to penetrate its own installed base and grow revenues from around 17 to 25% of group revenues by 2015. ABB in Aberdeen now has 140 employees comprising 100 engineers, consultants (on- and off-shore) and support staff. It also continues to grow its graduate programme, developing its engineers for the future. The company will continue to recruit engineers in 2014.

Mike Crawford, Regional Service Manager, Northern Europe and head of the Aberdeen facility says: “We are now building the capacity and technology to support our customer base with advanced services across a more comprehensive portfolio of local services. This enables us to deliver more and new value to our customers, recognising the different requirements for supporting new and ageing assets.”

The learning centre supports the development of the skills required now and into the future to operate, maintain and extend the life of automation systems. The centre includes ergonomically designed interactive control room screens which aim to improve the safety and efficiency of operators by providing detailed and timely plant information. The centre also focuses on specific technologies such as instrumentation, electrical equipment including motors, drives, intelligent switchgear and advanced protection systems. ABB’s D3 collaboration desk, also in the learning centre, allows users to see real-time process data and key performance indicators, alongside other documents from various sources. Demonstrations running on the desk illustrate how the different functions in an operating company can collaborate to improve performance or manage process excursions or incidents. The desk shows how the wide range of ABB’s offerings are brought together to help its customers improve their operating effectiveness.

ABB’s staging area continues to grow and now houses several scale replicas of the actual control and safety systems in use on specific customer assets. This allows ABB to perform thorough testing of software and its integrity prior to its release to site. This provides the confidence that design specifications and safety standards have been met thus reducing the work required to install and commission onshore. The facility also enhances preparation for planned offshore visits and improves the level of operational support provided from base to facilitate technical troubleshooting and maintenance.

“Having our operations close to the majority of clients, helps ABB engage more efficiently with its customers to ensure our portfolio of services from the supporting units meet their current and future needs,” explains Crawford. “The wide variety of products and technology installed offshore and the difficulty in gaining access for training purposes requires us to train our engineers in a controlled environment. The staging and learning facilities are ideally suited for this purpose and helps strengthen the resource pool of competent and highly skilled engineers to better serve the customer base.”

Some 80% of the turbocharger population, in the supply and offshore specialist vessels, have ABB turbochargers. To support the growing demand and the new advanced turbochargers, ABB has also expanded the capacity of its turbocharger workshop. The 5,800 sqft turbocharger workshop now accommodates the most advanced testing and repair facilities to support a highly responsive service to ABB customers.

The site also provides a third location for ABB’s consulting services, following on from Billingham and Daresbury. Consulting specializes in customer process improvement, aging and life extension, alarm handling and functional safety management.

Left to Right, Mike Crawford of ABB, Fergus Ewing MSP, Ian Rennie and Bill McLaughlin of ABB

Left to Right, Mike Crawford of ABB, Fergus Ewing MSP, Ian Rennie and Bill McLaughlin of ABB

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