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Symphony Plus: Meeting the challenge

ABB continues to strengthen the Symphony Plus platform with features and functionalities that meet the needs of a varied and changing power and water market.

The market response to Symphony™ Plus since its introduction 24 months ago has been phenomenal. In that time, ABB has delivered or is delivering Symphony Plus solutions that control more than 25,000 MW of new power generation and the new processing or distribution of more than three million cubic meters of water a day. These solutions range in complexity from the simplest to the most challenging of automation requirements, and for power plants and water facilities of all sizes.

Over that same period, many of our existing customers have selected Symphony Plus hardware and software to address their current and future system requirements – protecting their installed investments while adding new technology and functionalities to meet their business needs. Throughout, Symphony Plus continues to demonstrate its flexibility and inherent suitability for customer requirements of all types and in all regions of the world.

Flexible distributed automation

The latest additions to S+ Operations, the powerful and ergonomic Symphony Plus human machine interface (HMI), build on the control and communications offering that was introduced in March 2012. They address the geographically distributed automation challenges of incorporating large numbers of small modular units such as solar trackers, remote terminal units and pipeline sensors into a common operations hierarchy.

S+ Operations’ unique system architecture easily adapts to any application - from server-less to multisystem or multi-server redundant architectures. This scalability - from the very small to the very large, from local to wide area networks – fits perfectly the SCADA requirements of geographically distributed applications.

For instance, the automation system for a photovoltaic power plant has to coordinate control with hundreds or thousands of solar panels, often over several square kilometers. This requires remote data collection from the trackers, meteorological stations, inverters, string boxes, transformation center and substations. S+ Operations does this effectively with a hierarchical system of front end servers for data acquisition and concentration servers for storing and forwarding the data to the remote operations center using firewall-friendly Ethernet TCP/IP.

Complete view of operations

S+ Operations provides users with a complete view of operations by seamlessly integrating into the HMI all areas and systems of the plant or network. These include both locally and geographically distributed process control units, remote terminal units, programmable logic controllers, and intelligent electronic devices that use standard communication protocols such as OPC, Modbus TCP, DNP 3.0, IEC 870-5-101/103/104, and IEC 61850.

Recently, S+ Operations added several features to expand and enhance the operator’s view of the process. For instance, S+ Operations now offers a comprehensive set of connectivity options with ABB’s AC500 programmable logic controller to ensure fast and easy operation and engineering. This is of particular importance in renewable power and water distribution applications, where small capacity controllers are located close to remote assets such as solar panels or pumping stations and are interconnected through a wide area network.

S+ Operations’ newly integrated geographic information system (GIS) enables the user to surf and navigate over a map of the entire plant or network. By zooming in on a specific module or unit in the process, the user can obtain real-time and historic data on that particular asset. This improves the supervision, operation and management of the process by providing faster and easier access to the operating values of each asset, regardless of its location.

Visibility of non-revenue water losses

The most pressing issue facing water utilities today is non-revenue water losses. In 2012 ABB made a strategic investment in TaKaDu, a provider of advanced monitoring solutions for water distribution networks. TaKaDu supplies a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that can detect and alert in real time on water network faults, leaks, bursts, network breaches, faulty meters and other inefficiencies. The solution is based on sophisticated cloud-based data analysis and requires no network changes, additional devices or capital expenditure.

S+ Operations integrates the TaKaDu solution to provide operators with information and alarms on network inefficiencies and water losses as well as greater visibility on the overall performance of the water network.

Advanced alarm management

With the growing trend of fewer operators controlling ever-larger power, water and process areas, it is essential for companies to have an effective alarm management strategy. As EEMUA 191 states, “each alarm should alert, inform and guide, every alarm presented should be useful and relevant to the operator, and every alarm should have a defined response.”

With its latest enhancements, the Symphony Plus EEMUA 191-compliant advanced alarm management system helps users to categorize occurring alarms, while the operators focus on what matters most: protecting the plant, its workers and the surrounding environment from harm.

Streamlined maintenance

Maintenance is the largest controllable cost in the power, water and process industries today. S+ Operations’ integration with SAP PM computer maintenance management systems (CMMS) allows for easy communication with, and navigation to, asset-specific maintenance activities. From S+ Operations, operators can directly submit work requests to, and view active work orders in, the SAP PM system. Together with ABB Shift Book and electronic log integration, which captures and transfers open shift actions from one shift to another, these features reduce costs by streamlining operation and maintenance work interactions.
In addition to these enhancements, ABB continues to expand the Symphony Plus portfolio with new products and functionality at all levels of the system - delivering great system performance while meeting our customers’ most pressing needs for plant productivity, energy and water efficiency, operational security, plant safety, and lowest possible cost of ownership.

To learn more about Symphony Plus, contact your local ABB sales office or download a brochure at: www.abb.com/powergeneration

New Symphony Plus solutions for distributed automation


From the smallest micro-plants to the largest multi-turbine installations, Symphony Plus solutions incorporate the following components and features:

– Unit control (turbine, generator, power transformer and unit auxiliaries)
– Plant control (common plant auxiliaries, HV switchyard, spillway, intake and other hydraulic systems)
– Complex control functions, such as joint control, cascade control, flood and river control, plant frequency control, reactive and active power control
– Remote control and dispatch center connectivity
– Integrated electrical and mechanical protection throughout the plant

Water distribution

For all types of water distribution networks from small applications to large, multi-site distributed SCADA architectures:

– Integration of standard communication protocols and local and geographically distributed devices including process control units, remote terminal units, PLCs and IEDs
– Intuitive navigation and access to context and situation sensitive data and information
– Visualization of temporal and spatial data through high-performance network schematics, trends, alarm listsand integrated GIS
– Cross navigation from various system interfaces such as the operator graphic display, GIS, and trend and alarm management
– Water network monitoring solution that detects and alerts in real time on all types of water loss and network inefficiencies


Provides flexible and scalable distributed automation for all sizes and complexity of PV power plants:

– Integration of PLC data from the solar field
– Integration of ABB and third party electrical equipment in accordance with IEC 61850
– Advanced tracking system that optimizes tracker movement and eliminates shadow on the panels
– Data collection system that collects operational input from the trackers, inverters, string boxes, transformation center and substation
– Remote operation and maintenance from dedicated ABB remote control centers

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