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ABB pulp and paper – shift from the west to the east

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ABB pulp and paper – shift from the west to the east

May 16, 2010 - 23:23

SHANGHAI, May 17, 2010 (RISI) -ABB's fast expansion in the pulp and paper industry in China is no news to the market, but the full details were disclosed in the recently held ABB Automation World in Shanghai.

New Shanghai factory

"ABB will be transferring manufacturing of its Quality Control System (QCS) and Web Inspection Systems, WIS HDI800, to a new factory in Kangqiao in Pudong, Shanghai, and it is part of our strategy to shift the business from the west to the east," says William M. Dannelly, director of marketing, pulp and paper business unit, ABB. ABB's QCS used to be located in Dunbalk, Ireland and the Web Imaging System business used to be located in Helsinki, Finland.

William M. Dannelly, director of marketing, pulp and paper business unit, ABB and Chen Linfeng, sales director, pulp & paper, PA, ABB are interviewed by the press during ABB Automation World.

The new factory will be an extension to an existing ABB office and factory in Kangqiao. "Kangqiao is a multi-division engineering, production and service hub. It serves as global headquarters of our Robotics business and has the largest instrumentation test center in ABB. It is the only integrated analyzer systems unit, building complete houses," adds Dannelly.

Key data on the Kangqiao campus:

  • l 5 floor office building - 10,000 m²
  • l P 1 factory - Robotics, instrumentation, DCS/SCADA cabinets, 60,000 m²
  • l P 2 factory - Analyzer shelters, ehouses, 5,000+1,000 m²(floor+office)
  • l P 3 factory - QCS and WIS systems for pulp and paper, 6,500 m²

The new factory is planning to produce scanners, sensors, actuators, as well as WIS with 74 employees, while the current headcount is 53. The new facility, already under construction, will start up in the middle of this year and the products will start being delivered in the latter part of this year.

ABB displayed its latest models of commercially available all electric microprocessor controlled robots at the Shanghai Expo's Sweden Pavillion.

"Online paper web imaging systems have evolved over the past 40 years from simplistic hole detectors to sophisticated imaging systems capable of detecting and analyzing most visually objectionable defects commonly found in today's paper grades," explains Dannelly.

ABB's project delivery organization will remain unchanged and the new factory is purely a manufacturing base. All product support will continue to be supplied from regional organizations. And the QCS R&D team will remain in Dunbalk, Ireland.

Strategy movement

The movement was based on ABB's continuing strategy to align its footprint with the market demand. "In the past five years, ABB's staff in the west decreased by 41% while the number in the emerging countries grew by 44%," notes Dannelly.

"The people in China dedicated to ABB's pulp and paper unit grew from 32 about 10 years ago to the current 126, not mentioning other supporting teams," says Chen Linfeng, sales director, pulp and paper, PA, ABB. Emerging country centers for ABB include China, Singapore, India and Brazil.

"At the end of recession, ABB will be ready to support the pulp and paper industry into the next generation. The business is very Asia driven." says Dannelly.

Dannelly admits that there are also challenges in further tapping into the market, for example, service. "Western countries' service accounts for more than 70% of the revenue, while in Asia it is only 20%," says Dannelly.

"The service is not just a really simple idea, say to fix a problem when diagnosed," explains Dannelly. ABB provides Collaborative Production Management (CPM), Energy Management, Remote Diagnostic Optimization Services as well as Life Cycle services for the paper industry in China with an aim to reduce downtime, improve quality and production, extend the life of installed assets, and improve energy efficiency.

"Our aim is not just to sell products in the market, but to educate the market that service is equally important for energy and cost saving purposes," says Chen.