Europe-wide drives and motors network

04 April 2014

Andy Love, service channel manager at ABB, explains the rationale behind the company’s new Authorised Value Provider programme and what this initiative means to industry across Europe.

Global standardisation is making the world, metaphorically, smaller. Barring the occasional local legislation, throughout Europe we are all governed by the same regulations and directives. We have, for example, ATEX, EU MEPS, the Machinery Directive and similar energy efficiency measures embodied within the Energy Efficiency Directive. All of which means that industrial products such as drives and motors are harmonised to work in whatever country they turn up. 

Another area of commonality for industrial products is customer demand for higher efficiencies, greater reliability and improved productivity. Across Europe end-users of drives and motors, for example, seek the same goals such as enhanced end-product quality, increased production throughput, maximised process up-time, minimised maintenance, less energy waste, reduced electricity costs and lower CO2 emissions. The only way to ensure that these demands can be met every day is to protect your investment in drives and motors at each step of their life cycle.

Then there is the challenge presented by OEMs who export their end-products. Today, they expect the same levels of back up and support for the drives and motors that are used in their products, regardless of the country of use.

This places pressure on drives and motor manufacturers to ensure that they can provide consistent levels of service, wherever in the world their products find themselves. Traditionally, service was about limiting damage and today it is about maximising productivity and therefore optimising return on investment.

To address these challenges, ABB has created a global service and support programme called the Authorized Value Providers network. The independent companies chosen to join the network need to have a proven pedigree - at least five years - working with drives and motors at a technical level. These companies then need to make a commitment to employ internal and field engineers, stock ABB products (in ratings up to 500 kW for both drives and motors), open workshop and training facilities. Company personnel must undertake intensive and on-going training, to ensure that they keep abreast of product technology as well as legislation, regulations and directives – both nationally and internationally. This selection and on-going training is the same for all companies across the globe.

The result is that the Authorized Value Providers get access to ABB’s entire portfolio of life cycle services. Some of the services they can offer direct, while others require them to call  upon the expertise of the local ABB service team and the global ABB manufacturing facilities.

ABB has defined six life cycle stages for its drives and motors. These cover pre-purchase, order & delivery, installation & commissioning, operation & maintenance, retrofit & upgrade and replacement & recycling.

Across all of these stages there are over 30 services available such as energy and productivity appraisals, rapid delivery, preventive maintenance, spare parts, remote support, retrofit kits and exchange units. 

Spare parts service, for example, uses genuine parts backed by a global one year warranty. ABB, together with its Authorized Value Providers, provide fast delivery locally. Customers can even let ABB manage the spare parts stock on their behalf, either on the customer site or at ABB’s own facilities. This highly cost-efficient service means that the required part is always available. For unusual items, emergency shipping from several global locations is available using ABB’s emergency logistics support network. This effectively gives end users local access to ABB’s global spares holdings.

Exchange of drive modules
Another service is exchange drive modules. These are drives that are factory reconditioned, come with a warranty and are stocked in a range of sizes. They can be drawn upon in emergency situations to replace a failed drive. Our Authorized Value Providers have full 24/7 access to this stock, meaning that in the event of a critical drive failure, a replacement unit is only a phone call away. This service covers a wide range of drive power ratings and can also be used in the event of a non-ABB drive failure.

Historically, ABB has offered bespoke life-cycle support contracts to customers, which are designed to protect their investments and maximise uptime of critical assets. Such contracts offer full materials coverage in the event of any breakdown and help manage maintenance budgets. These contracts are now being offered via the Authorized Value Providers and can even include non-ABB drives. Having a contract agreement ensures priority support and engagement to ensure drive assets are properly managed throughout their life.

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