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Modelica and FMI offer crucial technology for ABB’s complex systems and real-time control

Modelon June 19, 2014

Global leader for power, electronics and automation technologies ABB faces the steady challenge of increasing complexity for its IT, energy and control systems. Dr. Rüdiger Franke, who is Head of Optimization Technology for Power Generation Business Unit, reveals how at ABB “we really want to get it to a last bit in the real-time control”.

ABB is a company with a history of 120 years and with about 150.000 employees all around the world. Meanwhile ABB has a pioneering role in new development for higher voltage direct current systems. According to Dr. Franke model-based system engineering has been in preoccupation of the power generation unit for really many decades. To handle the complexity of systems, one has to find ways to effectively deal with really many possible types of failures for such systems. And open standards “are the best kind of interface one can have”.

The first contacts with Modelica technology started for Dr. Franke already in 1995. Regarding FMI, this came into life at ABB about 10 years ago, and since then the aim has been to put it into use in real-time control. With FMI the company has well-defined standards “where one can just expect that what the modeling tool exports just runs as it is in [own] control systems”.

The seven ABB corporate research centers use Dymola and Modelica on quite a number of applications, based mainly on Thermal and Electrical Modelica Libraries. While MATLAB/ Simulink is still a major software environment at ABB, the clear advantage of Modelica is that it helps to generate better runtime code with higher quality. This enables engineers “to go beyond research prototypes and really get something reliably running.”

Dr. Franke looks forward to the evolution of Modelica Standard Libraries, and hopes that companies like Modelon can build and sell advanced libraries and provide engineering services based on advanced libraries.

This 4:55 interview is another in a series conducted by Modelon at the 10th International Modelica Conference in Lund, Sweden in March 2014.

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