ABB Automation is a leading global technology company whose vision for the future is to make society and industry more sustainable and productive. ABB’s product portfolio spans electrification, motion control, automation and robotics with software. With some of its product lines, ABB has pushed the boundaries of what is technologically possible in its 130-year history. The company sees its talented and highly skilled 105,000 employees, who work in locations in more than 100 countries, as the core of its success.
In 1891, the BBC company was founded by Charles E. Brown and Walter Boveri. As early as 1890, ASEA (Almänna Svenska Elektriska Aktiebolaget) is founded with headquarters in Västeras, Sweden. Ten years later, BBC builds the first steam turbine in Europe, and in 1923 it develops the first STOTZ automatic circuit breakers. This is followed in 1932 by the construction of the largest three-phase transformer capable of cooling itself, and in 1963 the company succeeds in making the first ever data transmission by carrier frequency.
Several other milestones in technological development follow in the coming decades. For example, BBC builds the first 110 kV gas-insulated switchgear in 1965 and develops the world’s first gearless cement mill drive in 1969, resulting in significantly improved safety and reliability.
In addition to extremely powerful transformers and the first all-electric industrial robots, ASEA and BBC launch Procontrol P, a new type of digital power plant control system, in 1977. The two companies merge in 1988 to form ABB. The newly formed group has annual sales of $17 billion and is headquartered in Zurich.
ABB Automation stands for safety and reliability
ABB Automation continues to shape technological progress from the turn of the millennium. In 2002, for example, the company connected Murraylink in South Australia to Sunraysia in the state of Victoria with the world’s longest underground high-voltage power line. In the same year, the 220-megawatt, 177-kilometer line wins ABB the Case EARTH Award for Environmental Excellence for the best innovation in environmental management of construction projects.
More innovations follow: in 2004, the first fully integrated 800xA automation system; in 2005, the Troll A gas platform, the first offshore platform to be supplied with power from the mainland via a DC line, avoiding 230,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually.
In 2008, ABB commissions the HVDC undersea line, which is the longest and most powerful in the world. This is followed in 2010 by the world’s first ultra-high voltage direct current transmission between Shanghai and the Xiangjiaba hydropower plant. The electricity highway is longer than 2000 kilometers and meets the energy needs of 24 million people with minimal losses.
ABB Corporate Culture
ABB Automation sees its most important value in its strict quality characteristics. The company also values integrity on the part of its employees and a culture of integrity. ABB owes the loyalty of its customers to personal responsibility and ethical behavior, which, like the company’s management, values and respects the needs of individuals as well as society and the environment.
At the heart of ABB’s Code of Conduct are certain rules that are set out in writing and expected of every employee. Of particular importance is the commitment of each individual to take responsibility for his or her own actions and to always act with integrity. ABB is not one of those companies that follows the motto "the end justifies all means", but also measures its successes by how they were achieved. The company’s stakeholders should be able to rely on the fact that all services and activities are based on ethical business conduct.
ABB therefore promotes a culture of mutual respect and values open dialogue at all levels of the organization. Every employee should feel and have the opportunity to actively participate in the community and contribute ideas.
ABB develops and manufactures products for industrial customers in the fields of power supply, transport and infrastructure. The tremendous variety of products is divided into four business areas:
The company’s electrification business offers digital products and services, for example switchgear or sockets, which make intelligent and sustainable electrification possible. The portfolio includes networked solutions for low and medium voltage, for example:
With its Robotics and Factory Automation division, ABB is setting an example in flexible manufacturing and machine and factory automation. The company is researching intensively in the field of artificial intelligence and is making heavy investments here, for example with a $150 million investment in a robot factory in Shanghai. All solutions bring direct added value to customers, to which the high application expertise of the relevant employees also contributes.
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The Process Automation division is number 2 on the market and offers numerous products for the process and hybrid industries. These products are adapted to the needs of each industry:
The Drive Technology business unit serves customers in the transportation, infrastructure, process and discrete manufacturing industries. ABB manufactures a wide range of products:
Collaborative Robot (2015)
YuMi is the first collaborative two-arm robot capable of performing small parts assembly work. The robot offers numerous new automation possibilities and enables close collaboration between humans and robots. YuMi also features a sophisticated design and high safety that eliminates the need for safety fences.
DC circuit breaker (2012)
In 2012, ABB commissioned the first ever ultra-high voltage direct current (UHVDC) link, which runs between the Xiangjiaba hydropower plant in southwest China and Shanghai, some 2,000 kilometers away. Electricity is transmitted at a capacity of 7200 megawatts over a link of 800 kilovolts. The transmission line covers the needs of around 24 million people in the country’s industrial and economic center.
Ultra-high voltage direct current transmission (2010)
In 2010, ABB launches the first circuit breaker for high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission. The switch is capable of "breaking" direct current at the power level of a large power plant in just five milliseconds. The switch thus combines power electronics with the fastest mechanics.
Fully automated harbor crane (2009)
In 2009, ABB launches the first grab ship unloader that operates fully automatically and is used in the first unmanned bulk terminal.
Ultra-high voltage switchgear (2009)
ABB is setting new records for long-distance transmission with a gas-insulated ultra-high-voltage switchgear that delivers 1100 kilovolts of power.
High-voltage direct-current underwater transmission line (2008)
ABB is connecting a 580-kilometer stretch between Norway and Holland with the longest and most powerful high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission to date. The transmission capacity is 700 megawatts and can be used in both directions.
Terra HP high-power charging station
The Terra HP achieves very high charging powers of up to 350 kilowatts, making it ideal for powering state-of-the-art electric vehicles. Vehicles are able to achieve a range of 200 kilometers with this ABB solution. At the same time, it is easy to use and can be flexibly adapted and scaled thanks to the touchscreen display. The charging station operates with a redundantly designed power supply, so the probability of failure is very low.
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