ABB introduces its tried and trusted ABB Ability™ Advanced Process Control solution to the metals industry, promising accurate modelling of process behaviours to achieve greater process stability, bringing improved product quality, output and cost savings.

The solution uses straightforward design and deployment of model predictive control (MPC) and analytics to enable a high level of automation and optimisation.

ABB Ability™ Advanced Process Control for metals employs Model Predictive Control (MPC) to create digital twins of many key steel production processes, using process data to predict behaviour over time. Acting as an ‘autopilot’, the solution drives the process towards more profitable operation via modelling and optimisation techniques. In addition to increased output, improved quality and reduced input costs, the solution also reduces the need for operators to continuously monitor and modify processes around the clock.

“The introduction of ABB Ability™ Advanced Process Control for metals is a momentous development for steel producers, but also a well-established solution demonstrating value for over 20 years in other process industries such as mining, cement, oil and gas,” said Tarun Mathur, Global Product Manager, Metals Digital at ABB. “As one of the very few companies currently providing MPC-based modelling and optimisation solutions to the steel industry, we look forward to bringing the benefits of improved resource efficiency, output and quality to our metals customers.”

Part of the ABB Ability™ digitalisation portfolio, Advanced Process Control for metals utilises real-time data from control systems such as ABB Ability™ System 800xA or third-party alternatives using open communications protocols such as OPC (OLE for Process Control).

The solution offers metals producers a customisable toolbox that can be applied to a variety of process applications, which can be developed in line with customer needs. At launch, three powerful APC applications are currently available for metals customers aimed at optimising performance of:

- Pellet plant indurating machine burners

- Pellet plant dryer

- Raw material grinding mills

Two of these applications have already been deployed at a steel plant in India, demonstrating significant benefits. At the pellet plant indurating machine burner, the customer reports a 15 percent reduction in standard deviation for indurating machine temperature profile, resulting in improved pellet quality and reduced fuel consumption. At the pellet plant dryer, the customer is able to control the outlet temperature more precisely even with large process delays and disturbances in feed rate.

Customers using ABB’s APC solutions in other process industries such as mining and cement, report significant advantages, with data from more than 300 installations indicating typical benefits of 2-3 percent increased output; 1-2 percent decreased fuel consumption; 2-3 percent reduced electricity consumption and reduction in quality variability of between 10- and 20 percent.