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Industrial technology firm ABB opens customer innovation centre in Singapore

The Collaborative Operations Center in ABB's new Customer Innovation Center, showing how ABB's technology can be used to monitor plant operations.

The Digital Solutions Center in ABB's new Customer Innovation Center, where clients can work with ABB to co-develop solutions for their needs.

FIRMS seeking better ways to run their plants or facilities can try out ABB’s latest offerings and get solutions tailored to their needs at the industrial technology firm’s new Customer Innovation Center in its Ayer Rajah main office, which opened officially on Thursday.

“It’s more than just a showcase,” says ABB managing director for Singapore and South-east Asia Johan de Villiers. “It’s about enabling our customers to come and co-develop solutions with us.”

With the sheer volume of digital solutions available today, “the task of showing customers what is possible is becoming more of a challenge”, he adds. The company’s digital offering, ABB Ability, includes some 280 solutions, with new ones added regularly.

The new centre allows customers to explore firsthand what is possible with ABB’s technology. It includes the ABB Ability Collaborative Operations Center, with an array of screens on which customers can view dashboards of real-time data or investigate historical trends. Supported industries include power generation, water plants and networks, oil and gas, petrochemicals, pulp and paper, metals and mining.

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Clients can also try ABB’s remote guidance technology, in which clients’ maintenance or engineering staff in remote locations wear an augmented reality headset, allowing ABB staff to see their field of view. From the control room, ABB can guide users by pointing to objects in their field of view – showing up as virtual "hands" or a crosshair – or sending pictures to the headset screen.

The Customer Innovation Center also includes the Digital Solutions Center, where the ABB team and customers can develop solutions together. With screens and a command centre setup around a conference table, it allows for in-depth discussion and prototyping of solutions.

One of the solutions on show is the use of video analytics for control and safety. Using existing feeds from security cameras, the system can detect when a bare-headed employee enters an area where helmets should be worn, and alert the control centre accordingly.

Also part of the Customer Innovation Center is the updated Robotics Applications Center, comprising a public showcase as well as a separate testing area where clients can run trials with actual products.

Rounding off the facility is a training centre for both customers and staff, featuring real equipment for practical training.

Said Singapore Economic Development Board assistant managing director Lim Kok Kiang at the launch: “ABB’s expanded digital presence here will bolster this transformation by bringing innovative solutions to companies in Singapore, helping them produce faster and more cost-efficiently.”