Automation here to stay: ABB VP

Per Erik Holsten talks technology trends and expectations for 2015

Per Erik Holsten, senior VP, ABB
Per Erik Holsten, senior VP, ABB

Per Erik Holsten, senior vice president, ABB, talks technology trends and expectations for 2015.

What are the latest trends in automation?

The market is here to stay. We see some very interesting technology being developed. What we anticipate to be the facility of the future are boilers and remote oprations. We see better connectivity between all the different components of the plant, i.e. between electrification and automation. For these type of things we see clear trends to move forward in the market.

Are there any interesting projects that you would like to highlight?

I have seen an immense interest from customers in the region for this kind of technology. We are now delivering control and automation technology for the big Sadara project in Saudi Arabia. The size of that kind of petrochemical plant takes a lot of advanced control and advanced technology, which we have a diverse portfolio of. The first plant will start up in Q2 2015.

ABB will be supplying overall SCADA system comprising of 160 RTUs and 4 terminal management system for the SCADA and Telecom project in IRAQ – overall project scope 160 RTUs , four terminal management system, 800 km optical fibre, 800 km anti intrusion and leak detection system and all solar and radio systems.

What are some of the key considerations about automation?

The strength of execution is important. Of course the technology is here, but it is really how you configure the technology that is the important part. How to operate the system safely is obviously one key point; to take advantage of the automation system in order to increase productivity is another key consideration.

Safety is a big concern at the minute. How does ABB take this on board?

Cyber security is built into our automation systems. There is a huge base of cyber security and security measures in the technology itself. We haven’t experienced any type of intrusion into our systems. In terms of that it is very secure and I don’t see any reason why companies should stop investing into automation systems. Absolutely not. On the contrary. I think it is important that they continue to invest in automation.

What do you think about the Middle East as a region?

It is a very attractive region. The market is very interesting and customers are great to work with. There are some particular challenges on the safety and security side in some parts of the region, which we will have to combat but we haven’t met any such big barriers to go as far as saying that the region is unattractive.

Has the drop of oil price affected the automation industry?

I think there is still high need for automating oil and gas chemical plants. If you look at the oil price, we have seen those things before. It’s going up and down. If it’s going to stay low for a long time maybe we will see a slowdown [in process automation]. I would say that short term we won’t see any slowdown in investment. On the contrary, automation is getting more and more interesting, especially with all the new technology [shaping] the facilities of the future.

What are you expectations and plans for 2015?

We need to think about standardising, how to make our facilities more productive, more efficient, more green environmentally. These sort of things are here to stay and these considerations and the challenge is mainly going to be how to optimise your automation system.

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