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Forging the Factory of the Future

Manufacturer signs three-year service agreement that will transition the operation from fixing one robot at a time after a failure to monitoring the performance of 30 robots individually and as a fleet.

ABB Robotics products come ready to be connected wirelessly or via cable to ABB Ability Connected Services, a multiple-module platform for monitoring the performance of single robots or entire fleets accessible via the MyRobot web application with alarm dashboard.
With 30 robots, Olofsfors owns one of the largest fleets in northern Sweden. Founded in 1762, Olofsfors AB makes and exports boron tracks for forestry equipment and cutting edges and wear bars for construction equipment. The manufacturer’s headquarters and sole factory are in the Swedish city of Nordmaling, 600 kilometers north of Stockholm.
After contracting ABB Robotics to conduct a lifecycle analysis, Olofsfors replaced four IRB 1400 arc-welding robots with four IRB 1600ID robots and signed a three-year proactive maintenance service contract.
ABB Robotics trained Olofsfors employees on how to use myABB to download documentation, check spare part availability and price, and buy parts online. The portal is a 24/7 digital tool for optimizing lifecycle management, improving asset performance, and boosting operational efficiency.
With ABB Ability, machine data is recorded and evaluated in real time during production for predictive maintenance. Maintenance can be planned based on the actual condition of the robot because, for example, the failure of motors and gears can be predicted.
ABB Ability Connected Services is accessible via the MyRobot web application with its alarm dashboard. MyRobot helps customers and ABB service technicians identify the failures that cause the most stoppages, providing trends, warnings, and, in the event of trouble, immediate notification and support.
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Founded in 1762, Olofsfors AB makes and exports boron tracks for forestry equipment and cutting edges and wear bars for construction equipment. The manufacturer’s headquarters and sole factory are in the Swedish city of Nordmaling, 600 kilometers north of Stockholm.

With 30 ABB Robotics robots performing material handling and arc welding, Olofsfors owns one of northern Sweden’s largest fleets. To support growth, the company must be able to rely on its service provider.

Olofsfors bought its first ABB robot, an IRB 2400, 15 years ago. Service had been handled internally or by non-ABB vendors, but in 2016 Olofsfors contracted ABB’s service team to conduct a lifecycle analysis of the fleet.

Four IRB 1400 arc-welding robots were in the obsolete lifecycle phase, which means neither that model nor spare parts are being manufactured. Following ABB’s performance-improvement advice, Olofsfors ordered four IRB 1600ID robots and positioners and signed a three-year service agreement for improved performance, availability, and extended fleet lifetime. The contract covers preventive maintenance, six-hour guaranteed onsite response time, lifecycle management, and four of ABB’s Ability Connected Services’ five services, all of which rely on data flowing from the equipment.

Multimodule Service Packages

ABB introduced data-driven servicing in 1998, and in 2017 consolidated all digital solutions under the ABB Ability cloud-based Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform.

Asset Optimization can reduce incidents up to 25% and resolve issues 60% faster by providing regular proactive-maintenance recommendations for robots, components, and software.

Backup Management avoids downtime by ensuring there’s always a full, up-to-date copy of a robot’s programming settings and operating values available in the cloud or on any server. Automatic backups are scheduled at the customer’s convenience.

Condition Monitoring & Diagnostics analyzes mechanical units and controller measurement data around the clock to notify customers via email or text message when an asset isn’t performing optimally.

Fleet Assessment enables customers to prioritize service needs by benchmarking the customer’s robots to ABB’s entire population of connected robots.

ABB began connecting robots to advanced services in 2007. Today, 7,000 robots at more than 750 customer sites in 40 countries are connected to the ABB Ability Connected Services platform. The data flowing from all these units enables ABB to identify highly utilized and stressed systems in a customer’s fleet. By limiting the risk of critical failures in gearboxes and motors, the service extends asset lifetime.

The fifth service is Remote Access, which gives ABB service technicians access to controllers and equipment at the customer’s request if need be.

The five services are delivered via the MyRobot web application. The interface’s dashboard helps identify frequent failures and alarms known to cause most stoppages, providing trends, warnings, and immediate notification and support in case of trouble.

All ABB Ability Connected Services can be tailored via ABB’s service agreements to meet a plant’s unique requirements. More than half the company’s business comes from software and digitally-enabled services.

“We set up a meeting between Olofsfors and one of our largest automotive Tier 1 customers that had connected their fleet and asked them to share their experiences,” says ABB Regional Sales Manager Anders Lundkvist. “Listening to another customer’s perception of the benefits helped Olofsfors see the platform’s value in optimizing performance.”

Moving Toward Zero Downtime

“The service agreement is perfect for us because we need to move from ‘break-and-fix’ maintenance on individual robots toward supervising our entire fleet,” says Olofsfors Maintenance Manager Leif Ake Holmlund. “We plan to mirror the MyRobot dashboard on screens throughout the factory to always be able to get a quick status overview. We also know we can depend on ABB to keep an extra eye on our robots remotely should anything unexpected occur.”

“Because Olofsfors was ready to get closer to the digital factory and had started to use the myABB portal, we set up a myABB training session with a group of employees on how to download documentation, check spare part availability and price, and buy parts online,” says Anders. myABB business portal is a 24/7 digital tool for optimizing lifecycle management, improving asset performance, and boosting operational efficiency.

“This makes sense with our increasing number of robots and makes it much easier to plan service,” says Holmlund. “The new robots’ built-in connection to the ABB Ability platform is a key enabler of this transition. We’ll continue to connect robots and register all other products via myABB.”

More immediately, ABB will partner with a local systems integrator to upgrade one cell with new robots and programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

Helping Customers Cope with COVID-19

Shops need to manage production lines with less human interaction and continue preparing for projects so they’re ready to go as social distancing requirements are lifted.

ABB is offering all ABB Ability Connected Services modules free until Dec. 31, 2020, so customers like Olofsfors can maintain production. Existing customers that want to add robots can also do so for free until the end of the year.

Customers that aren’t using the company’s digital tools can learn how with free advice, training, and virtual technical support via video (Skype, Zoom, Teams).

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