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Interview with Ralph Muhm, Head of the Factory Automation Team from ABB

"Engineering tool with intuitive user interface for automation technology"

Ralph Muhm from ABB has published an article with the title „Drives, Control Systems, Safety, Robotics - Integrated from one Single Source“ in the Quest Trend Magazine’s current print edition. Integrated solutions are preferred by change-willing machine-builders also this year as the current change survey proves. Therefore Ralph Muhm is presenting the crucial points of this integrated solution for machine-builders in more detail in the interview with Thomas Quest.

Foto Ralph Muhm, ABB.
Ralph Muhm

Mr. Muhm, what is the hardware of this standardized platform for drives, control system, safety and robotics looking like?

August 13th, 2012 - An important request from the machine-builders is: The hardware has to be as much as possible customizable in regard to distinct requirements and costs in order to be able to react flexibly to customer requests.


At this point the specific strength of ABB is surely its comprehensive product portfolio. ABB covers the combination of suitable components up to the implementation of complete production plants.


As part of the large ABB family we can also rely on products and know-how of all divisions and subsidiary companies, e.g. the Jokab Safety Products for safety applications in order to meet customers’ request.

Keyword engineering tool: The current change survey has showed that two thirds of the machine-builders evaluate a standardized graphic application engineering of HMI, control system, drives and safety as important or even very important. How does ABB respond to these criteria?

Screen with engineering tool PS501 from ABB
PS501 engineering tool from ABB

For this purpose ABB offers the PS501 Control Builder Plus, an integrated engineering tool for control systems, frequency converters, operating panels, field buses, network and web services.


This framework combines all required tools for configuring, programming, fault diagnosis and maintenance of almost each automation project via only one, intuitive user interface.


PS501 Control Builder Plus enables the configuration of relevant intelligent automation devices from ABB for the machinery industry. The tool is very user-friendly, i.e. the user gets along fast.

If the machine-builder decides for the ABB solution, how will the implementation succeed at the machine?

It is, as already mentioned, a specific strength of ABB to offer a nearly complete range of products for the factory automation. All our components are coordinated with each other providing a unified platform.


Of course, the integration of external components is possible, simple prerequisites given. Those components must be able to communicate directly or indirectly via field bus or via gateways. Furthermore those devices must be able to execute standardized instructions according to IEC 61131-3, i.e. the interoperability must be ensured. That should be expected from each modern automation device nowadays. Then the integration into the ABB-based automation solution is absolutely possible.

Mr. Muhm, thank you for the interview.

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