Surprisingly the acquisition by ABB did not play an important part in B&R’s Hanover Fair 2017 press conference. B&R explained that the portfolios of B&R and ABB complement each other perfectly, however some overlap exists in the servo technology.
The focus of the press conference was on the introduction of the B&R Orange Box for brownfield IIoT connectivity.
B&R's Orange Box enables machine operators to collect and analyze data from previously isolated machines and lines and get them fit for the smart factory.
An Orange Box consists of a controller and preconfigured software blocks from B&R’s mapp Technology – known as mapps. The controller collects operating data from any machine via its I/O channels or a fieldbus connection. With this data, the mapps generate and display OEE ratings and other KPIs, and can share the information with higher-level systems via OPC UA.
Installing the Orange Box requires no changes to existing hardware or software. Equipment owners can achieve a substantial boost in productivity with a remarkably small investment in time and cost. Thanks to the mapps, the Orange Box is as simple and intuitive to operate as a smartphone.
B&R had invited Ralf Hagen of NESTLE Germany who presented the successful and easy installation of the Orange Box into existing machines, which were not equipped with the latest state-of-art automation technology. The Orange Box makes it possible to monitor the OEE KPIs of these machines. The modular configuration of the Orange Box ensures the flexibility to adapt to future changes in the machine park.
B&R made a very smart move with the Orange Box, as it opens revenue streams directly from end users, whereas traditionally the machinery OEMs are the main customers. End users that have successfully installed the Orange Box on their shop floor will tend to request B&R equipment for future machine investments.