Industry 4.0-capable thanks to DICU3

Absolutely nothing works in an ABP thyristor melting plant without the „Digital Inverter Control Unit“. If that’s not working, neither is the plant. A new version of the inverter control electronics, called DICU for short at ABP Induction, is now available. DICU2 becomes DICU3.

DICU2 has a long history: Developed in the early 90s, DICU2 was a real leap forward in terms of innovation: It replaced old analog controls from the 70s and 80s from 1991 onwards. The customer‘s systems were converted gradually step by step – to the first digital control system for systems of this type. At that time, this meant a significant simplification of work, both during commissioning and actual operation by the customer, as well as during servicing and maintenance.

From 1991 to the present day is a very long time. ABP components are known to be particularly reliable and durable, but the availability of spare parts has started to become an issue: The controller contains components that are no longer available on the market today. Consequently, ABP can only guarantee the usual full service by repairing or replacing the DICU2 and its components until the end of March 2020. Beyond this period, ABP can no longer offer the supply of spare parts or repairs. Service cases are then to be considered depending on hardware availability. Settings and parameter changes are still possible by ABP engineers, but when it comes to hardware, we are at the end of the DICU2‘s life cycle.

For this reason, ABP started early with the development of the DICU3. Since 2016, engineers have been working on the all-new development, since 2017 the DICU3 has been installed in new plants, and since 2018 it has also been available for modernization. ABP highly recommends that customers plan to modernize the plant, just to ensure plant availability. In addition, the DICU3 naturally also offers significant advantages over its predecessor model, which is getting on in years. Some of the things ABP mentions are the technological leap the new processor technology is making and the potential that the new remote maintenance system offers: The DICU3 is M2M-ready, so that error analysis via Remote Service is possible. This makes the customer‘s systems Industry 4.0-capable.

The DICU3 offers high operational reliability. Thanks to fast and improved controls, customers will be encountering fewer downtimes of the melting plant. Construction-related differences in replacement transformers would be compensated electronically, critical situations in the converter would be corrected more quickly and semiconductors protected from damage. Basically, the customers have three options: they could ignore the announced discontinuation of the DICU2 – which would however lead to a complete system failure should the control unit be damaged again. Of course, they could now also procure a replacement DICU2 and set it aside in the event of damage – but they must also be aware of the fact that this is only a temporary solution.

ABP therefore recommends only the third way – budgeting the acquisition of a new DICU3. Depending on the number of thyristor melting plants, a step-by-step conversion is of course also an option: Spreading this process over several years ensures continuous operation and is easy on the budget. ABP points out that the delivery time is about 12 weeks if one system fails.

Speaking of downtimes: Downtimes are reduced to a minimum even during the conversion phase. „The conversion time is short – and of course it can be scheduled so that it does not take place during regular operation. ABP generally schedules the long weekends for such cases – with the actual rebuild on the weekend and production monitoring by ABP experts on Monday. Why is this so fast? Thanks to a conversion kit that ABP developed with a gateway solution, the DICU3 is Plug&Play-capable for modernization – independent of the PLC of the plant control system.

With the DICU3, ABP wants to ensure that customers can use their melting plant economically and reliably for as long as possible: And to ensure production stability, ABP recommends that customers consider upgrading to the new DICU3 now.

For more informatiom:
Johann Konjer, ABP Induction Systems GmbH

Service Sales Engineer Modernization
Phone: +49 231 997 2739
Cell:     +49 171 7548129

Expert on Demand: The digital solution is that simple

Foundries generally make use of robust materials, machines and equipment which, provided they are regularly maintained, will perform their duties for a long time. Nevertheless, service cases can still occur – and here, as a plant operator, you naturally want to keep failures and downtimes as low as possible. Expert on Demand (EoD) is a digital service tool from ABP Induction that uses Augmented Reality (AR) to provide rapid remedy in service cases.

When does Augmented Reality become relevant as a tool? A typical case scenario: The digital tool ABP Intelligence has been set up at the customer’s premises to connect their machines and systems. In the event that the system detects a deviation from normal operation, it triggers an alarm and creates a ticket in the “” portal. The ticket contains all information concerning the case and the plant. Should the customer’s employee requires assistance, the ABP Expert on Demand (EoD) is just one click away. A service request is quickly set up and scheduled – if desired, at such short notice that the service case can also be resolved directly.

Request a demo video: Simply mail to Markus Fournell

During the scheduling process, a virtual connection is established between the employee on site and the ABP expert. The employee on site can use their smartphone, a tablet or even augmented reality glasses. It goes like this: On their monitor, the ABP expert can see what the employee on site sees – thanks to the camera in the smartphone, tablet or AR glasses. This means that he can take a direct look at the faulty system and identify where there could be a problem. ABP effectively guides the employee at the plant remotely, so to speak.

What are the interaction possibilities between employees and ABP experts?

How do employees and ABP experts interact? Since the ABP expert sees everything, he can guide the employee on site step by step through a repair or maintenance. The hands of the employee become the hands of the ABP expert. He can give him audio instructions or provide him with visual information on the display of the respective device. These can be warnings, work instructions (e.g. in which direction tools are to be turned) or affirmative remarks in the form of common symbols (e.g.  a thumbs-up), or text inserts such as operating instructions or schematic drawings.

The employee is relatively free to choose the device, but it should be noted that augmented reality glasses in particular allow employees to work hands-free – and this one of the biggest advantages of working with augmented reality in the technical service environment. We recommend testing various devices at the beginning in order to find the optimal working environment for employees. But regardless of whether customers choose smartphones, tablets or augmented reality glasses – they will definitely benefit from the advantages of the ABP digital solution “Expert on Demand”. And if reception at the foundry is not good enough, we have immediate help at hand with our repeater case solution. This solution makes it possible to set up a fast, local Wifi network immediately.

Keyword knowledge management

Keyword Knowledge Management: The ticket system ensures complete documentation of the service case, which is essential for similar service cases that may occur in the future. For the ABP technician, this means that there are no travel costs or CO2 emissions resulting from travel, and even the sometimes annoying VISA issue is no longer a concern. In addition, the user can choose different languages. Further benefits: Processing and resolution time is exceptionally fast, and production can be resumed much more quickly – all this saves time and is also better for the environment.

Request a Demo Video

See Expert on Demand in action! You can request free access to the video simply by sending an e-mail to
Markus Fournell, ABP Induction Systems GmbH 
VP Global Service & Digital Products
Phone: +49 231 997 2357
Cell: +49 172 9578531