For the third consecutive year, ABB integrated all of its power and automation businesses’ resources to put on its annual customer conference and exhibition. This year’s event, ABB Automation & Power World 2011 – held this year at the Marriott World Center in Orlando with record-breaking attendance of more than 4,200 participants – carried a more optimistic tone and reflected the increasing optimism from the ongoing economic worldwide recovery.

ABB Group CEO Joe Hogan, ABB Region Manager in North America Enrique Santacana, and other ABB leadership figures all pointed to signs of strong long-term growth as the power industry continues to transform itself through smart grid innovations, renewable energy advances and other breakthroughs.

Hogan, who spoke candidly at the event’s General Session, in a special Town Hall Meeting for ABB’s customers and at a Press Conference, reiterated ABB’s increased attention and commitment to North America’s power industry.

“We’re not just committed to North America, we are truly excited about it,” Joe said. “We poured in more than $5.5 billion into the region last year alone.”

He pointed to signs of strong long-term growth as the power industry continues to transform itself through smart grid innovations, renewable energy advances and other breakthroughs.

ABB has invested more than $6 billion into the United States market in the last two years. This includes the $1 billion acquisition last year of Atlanta-based Ventyx, the market leader for energy management software, and a $4 billion acquisition of Fort Smith, Arkansas-based Baldor Electric Company, a highly-respected maker of industrial NEMA motors and drives.

Hogan also pointed to new investments ABB has made in the U.S. to better position itself to meet its customers’ needs. ABB’s new Technology Ventures arm has made more than $60 million in investments in the last year, including investments in leading U.S. power-related companies, including:

• Trilliant, smart grid radio mesh communications
• Industrial Defender, cyber-security and physical security for the power grid
• Power Assure, data center energy efficiency software
• ECOtality, fast charging for electric vehicles
• Pentalum Technologies, LIDAR for wind turbine efficiency

ABB has also invested $90 million into building a brand new high voltage (and extra high-voltage) transmission cable factory in the U.S., located in Huntersville, NC, for both AC and DC cables to be used in upcoming major American transmission buildouts. The plant is scheduled to open in mid-late 2012.

ABB launches new Symphony Plus control system

In a special ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Power Generation booth at Automation & World, ABB used the occasion to unveil its new Symphony™ Plus distributed control system (DCS). Symphony Plus is a total plant automation solution for the power generation and water utility sectors. Key customer benefits include improved plant productivity and energy efficiency, as well as enhanced operational security, plant safety, and a lower total cost of ownership.

Symphony Plus is the latest generation of ABB’s Symphony family of control systems. With more than 6,000 systems installed worldwide, over the past 30 years, Symphony represents one of the largest installed bases of distributed control systems (DCS) in the world. Many of them are operating in the power generation and water sectors.

“With the launch of Symphony Plus, we take the Symphony success story to the next level, ushering in a new era of total plant automation that is simple, scalable, seamless and secure,” said Franz-Josef Mengede, head of ABB’s power generation business. “It helps balance performance objectives like asset availability, operational reliability and production efficiency with business goals like asset life extension, carbon reduction and regulatory compliance, thereby providing plant owners with an essential tool for achieving sustainable and profitable growth.”

In other news, ABB partner ECOtality showcased in its EV Solutions booth the company’s three styles of intelligent Blink chargers, along with its new cell phone application for the Blink charging stations and ABB’s capabilities and involvement in this market, spanning from the many components inside the charging station to balancing the grid. Attendees also were able to test drive smart cars and check out the Nissan Leaf in the booth.

2012 date, venue announced
ABB also announced the dates and venue for ABB Automation & Power World 2012. The event will return to the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, on April 23-25, 2012.

To read more about highlights from the show, please visit the Automation & Power World 2011 show blog or www.abb.us.