Can you give specific examples of how these initiatives in digital technology create benefits for customers?
There are three, very good examples, which show different directions in digitally empowered technology, but which share the common theme of using smart data to empower our customers.
On the engine performance level, our Tekomar XPERT software offers guidance on where engine optimizations and fuel-savings might be made – specifically for two-stroke and auxiliary engines in merchant marine applications. We have recently upgraded this software to operate at a fleet-wide level, providing fleet managers and technical directors in the easy-to-access web application with the ability to benchmark engine health, potentially creating savings on the fleet and vessel levels. Going forward, we’re going to build on this platform to extend the scope beyond these applications, as well as make it more practical for people – whether they are onshore or onboard – to have a consistent, easy-to-read view of operations.
We have also launched the Digital SIKO exposure-based maintenance concept which analyses the remaining lifecycle for rotating parts using actual operational data. Historically, the recommendation to exchange components came from a static model, based on test data and assumptions about how parts would degrade over time. Now, however, we can look at the latest information from the installation, and the recommendation is adjusted dynamically according to that data. It’s also possible for us to make recommendations on load, to allow operators to extend the lifecycle of components and simplify scheduling work on the engine.
Today, this is for two-stroke turbochargers, but naturally we’re looking to extend the envelope to include also four-stroke, medium speed, and maybe also turbochargers in high speed engines.
We have also announced a new turbocharger model, MXP, which dramatically increases the possibilities for self-service by operators. Using a companion digital app, crew members can complete service procedures, troubleshoot problems, and seamlessly order replacement parts. We’ve discussed self-servicing with OEMs and end-users, and this feels like very welcome move in the market. We very much want to enable self-servicing in the field, empowered by digital.
Back in the company’s own offices and workshops, how has ABB Turbocharging improved its own product design and production processes through digitalization?
There are multiple aspects to product design engineering that have very much benefited from digitalization – such as finite element calculations and CFD calculations. Also, we are now able to bring the CAD process closer to the NC programming and the actual manufacturing process. We’re pretty far ahead with that work. This means we can reduce the time to market for new technologies and new product versions.
Those are important, but they’re more the traditional backbone of digitalization in product creation. It needs another aspect to create a business advantage for us.
Where that extra aspect lies is in using the information we obtain from the field to, first, improve our digital products. And that’s what we do already. Second, we’re able to use real operational data to refine and optimize our products. That’s something we announced with the A200-H turbocharger at CIMAC Congress.
This enables a virtuous circle between design and operation as we go forward: the A200 itself is built specifically to allow the collection of operational data for analysis, to allow us to optimize and improve that specific installation, to make the best use of its capabilities and reduce Total Cost of Ownership. Second, that information from actual usage also goes back into our own design cycle, allowing us to iterate effectively on products, based on factual observations of how they behave.