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ABB opens hi-tech learning facility for industry, launches safety systems software

19 May 2016

A multi-functional collaboration and learning facility has been opened by ABB at its UK oil, gas and chemicals projects centre in St. Neots, Cambridgeshire. The facility is designed to help face the challenges affecting the oil and gas sector, from safety and production efficiency to cost reduction and ageing assets. It targets an audience including engineers, operations staff, managers, graduates, apprentices and students. 

The St. Neots facility is designed to train ABB and customers' oil and gas sector staff
The St. Neots facility is designed to train ABB and customers' oil and gas sector staff

The aim is to take the audience as near as possible to real-life situations, within a safe environment, thereby ensuring they are fully conversant with their systems when they return to their businesses.

At the opening, ABB also launched a new software support tool that evaluates an organisation’s safety instrumented system (SIS) inspection and proof testing management practices so as to meet the expected good practice compliance demanded in the process industries.

Called Proof Test Benchmark (PTB) tool, it identifies gaps in compliance to the IEC functional safety standards, compares against industry good practice and evaluates the actions needed for effective maintenance of the safety system during proof testing.

“The PTB tool identifies where problems may lie within an existing operations and maintenance process to enable improvement to be focussed on the specific areas where they are needed,“ said ABB’s John Walkington, principal safety consultant and TÜV Rheinland FS expert. “As today’s dynamic markets impact on operational profitability, there is less revenue for capital investments but more stringent demands on end-users to ensure their protective layers are demonstrably in an ‘as new’ condition“.

The publication of IEC 61511, Edition 2 further strengthens this mandate regarding the end-user’s continuous improvement requirements for operations and maintenance of SIS. Proof test benchmarking demonstrates to internal and external stakeholders that action is being taken in a proactive way and supports company risk management arguments and traceability to industry good practices.

ABB is also bringing out a new project engineering and execution model to create predictable costs and schedules. Dubbed ABB Edge, it aims to shorten the installation and commissioning time of instrumentation and control systems while removing cost over-runs, often experienced by today’s large infrastructure projects.

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