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New sales team spearheads ABB’s servo drive

12 April, 2007

ABB has set up a sales team to spearhead its campaign to grab 10% of the UK servo drive market by 2010. The team, led by Graham Barlow and including Gary Busby and Steve Moore, will be targeting the market for high-performance machinery drives reckoned to be worth Ł47m and growing by an estimated 5% per year. It represents 37% of the total UK AC variable speed drives sales and is a market that ABB has not previously targeted.

"Defining the market can be a challenge," says Barlow. "Drives in this sector can be referred to as ‘intelligent’ drives, ‘smart’ drives or ‘servo’ drives. Intelligent drives are defined as having built-in motion control capability. They can be high-end drives featuring complex functions – such as synchronisation between multiple axes – or low-end drives used for basic positioning.

"Smart drives are defined as those having a built-in PLC. Then there is the servo drive which, while accurate and dynamic, may not necessarily be ‘smart’ or ‘intelligent’, depending on its function within a machine system.

"What we are bringing to the market is a new category called a machinery drive that attempts to combine all of the above." ABB’s new drives are designed to follow rapid changes in speed and direction accurately. As well as basic position control, they provide advanced motion control, including multi-axis synchronisation, and PLC functions. They will drive any type of AC motor and use a variety of feedback devices.

ABB servo drives sales team

"The approach for tackling this market is similar to the one we used when breaking into the HVAC and food & beverage sectors," says Steve Ruddell, ABB UK’s general manager for drives and motors (shown above, second left, with Barlow, far left, and Busby and Moore, right). "We put in a dedicated team of skilled and knowledgeable individuals, gave it the resources needed, and then went after the market. Within two years, we had achieved our targets.

"For high-performance machinery drives," he adds, "the target is to achieve 10% market share by the end of 2010. This market is currently dominated by companies such as Control Techniques and Lenze, who we are now planning to give a run for their money."

Complementing the ABB in-house team will be a network of approved system integrators who can provide ready-made solutions and support with all the ancillary components needed to make an effective servo system.

"With our new product we are offering the market something that is new and different," Ruddell concludes. "The servo drives market is the fastest growing segment of the drives market and the UK market is the third-largest in Europe, behind Germany and Italy. This is a market we want to be a part of."




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