EB at ABB:
Future Engineering Tool
ABB Ltd., with its head office in Zurich, is a globally leading combine in energy and automation technologies. At ABB Rolling Mills in Sweden, solutions for hot-rolling mills for sheets, wires and flat steel are developed. They comprise the entire spectrum from the electrical equipment via drives and motors to automation solutions or production control as well as the provision of corresponding services.
Be it one-man projects lasting only a few months or projects that occupy up to 20 engineers for years: in the past ABB used several different software products for this purpose. The engineering department needed a uniform tool environment, however, where tools such as Microsoft Excel or AutoCAD-based tools as well as ABB-specific programming tools were to be integrated.
Following a prolonged search, the company now views Engineering Base (EB) as its future engineering tool because EB's huge potential convinced the Swedes. Up to now it was very time-consuming to ensure data consistency within a project because the same information was distributed over several documents. With EB, all of the information is now stored in a database in an uncompromisingly object-oriented manner. It can be displayed and edited in the Explorer, graphically or in tabular form, each editing step automatically resulting in consistent data in every other view. In the early planning stage, the user can even work on objects that at this point cannot yet be represented graphically.
It was supposed to be a complete "toolbox" for most of our documents at ABB but should not require tool experts. This means that one of the most important prerequisites was the ability to productively use the familiar MS-Office environment with a minimum amount of training, a demand that is optimally met by EB's method of operation.
In ABB's view, the genuine client-server architecture of EB moreover offers a huge potential for the worldwide common use e.g. in joint projects with other ABB organizations.