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Smartphone apps help to install and maintain VSDs

06 May, 2015

At the recent Hannover Fair, ABB announced a pair of smartphone apps that, it says, will save time, ease troubleshooting and help improve the performance of its VSDs (variable-speed drives).

The first app, called Drivetune, runs on Apple, Android and Windows devices and connects to a VSD via a wireless Bluetooth link. It helps installers to commission and tune the drive, allowing quick resolution of any initial issues without needing to take the drive offline.

The second app, called Drivebase, is an improved version of an app launched in 2014 that allows plant personnel to scan a dynamic QR code generated by a VSD on its control panel. The code provides information for registering the drive and allows the app to offer remedies for potential problems without needing to refer to maintenance manuals. If further help is needed, the app can tap into ABB’s drive knowledge base via the cloud.

“You can now locate a drive in a factory and check its health and performance with your smartphone just as easily as scanning a QR code or connecting a device via Bluetooth similar to those that consumers use every day,” says Barbara Frei, managing director of ABB’s Drives and Controls business. “There’s going to be a sharp increase in the adoption of these technologies in both discrete and process automation as customers seek new ways to unlock the performance benefits of big data while lowering their total cost of ownership.”

ABB says that the Drivetune app will speed and ease the work of engineers, installers and systems integrators whne they are commissioning drives on site. Because it can connect wirelessly, it can avoid the need for engineers to enter hazardous or difficult-to-reach work areas to access information needed to commission and tune a drive.

ABB's Drivebase app can scan a QR code on a VSD display to help solve potential problems

The updated Drivebase app – which will be launched later this year – will help plant operators to track and maintain their drives. From the moment the drive has been installed and on through its lifecycle, the app can maintain a historical record that will help ABB service personnel to make recommendations that ensure reliability and cut downtime.

“In the past, having access to such rich data meant a lot of engineering and complexity,” remarks Adrian Guggisberg, head of product portfolio management in ABB’s Drives and Controls business. “Today’s cloud-based apps like Drivebase and Drivetune are breaking that link in very exciting ways. This is just the beginning.”

ABB plans to update the apps continually and to expand the range of drives that can connect to them.

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