THE RIGHT KIND OF AUTOMATION

Spain 2020 | GREEN ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

ABB is leading the international evolution toward more sustainable transportation models.

Marc Gómez Ferret
BIOGRAPHY

Marc Gómez Ferret is an industrial engineer from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and holds an Executive MBA from EADA (School of Senior Management and Administration). He joined ABB in 1995 as a service engineer in the area of automation. Since 2001, he has developed various leadership positions in the Spanish part of the business line, including motors, power electronics, and robotics. In 2010, he was appointed local manager of the robotics and motion business of ABB in Spain, and in 2013 he was appointed regional manager of the same business for the Mediterranean region. In 2015, he became global manager of solar business within ABB Group, and in 2018 he became CEO & Country Managing Director of ABB in Spain.

How has the company evolved since its founding?
The presence of ABB in Spain well reflects how the industry has evolved. ABB began its activity in Spain more than 100 years ago, with technologies that helped in the development of electrification. Since then, we have also accompanied industries that as large consumers of energy also needed these technologies, albeit having automated different processes to make them more efficient. We are currently undergoing two major revolutions that affect these two areas: the energy revolution and the fourth industrial revolution. At ABB, we are still pioneers in responding with our technologies to the challenges that both revolutions bring in utilities, production, infrastructure, and transport. In transportation, although ABB does not manufacture vehicles, its technologies are behind most of the means by which we move or transport goods, and we are leading the international evolution toward more sustainable transportation models. We are the world leader in charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, in addition to the railway sector, with technologies for both railway infrastructures and rolling stock (equipment for trains). We are also pioneers in ultra-fast charging technology for electric buses and are currently leading in developing technologies for autonomous vessel navigation. Another segment in which we are at the forefront in Spain are automation technologies, such as home automation equipment like our brand Niessen, which started working more than 100 years ago, in 1914, in Rentería, and whose factory is in Oiartzun. We are also pioneers in solar energy in Spain, collaborating in the first developments of the Plataforma Solar de Almería in the 80s, and now remotely managing the automation technologies of more than 400MW of solar thermal plants in Spain. Nowadays, we are still leaders in solar energy and large-scale PV solar plants, where we deliver the complete electric balance of plant, as well as the systems needed to integrate this energy to the grid in a reliable and efficient way.

How can your products increase companies' productivity?
Trends such as automation or the increase in the adoption of industrial robotics are based on a greater demand for flexibility, agility, and productivity of production processes to be more competitive and maintaining the same or better levels of quality and safety. An example of this greater productivity and efficiency that we talk about can be found in how we manage energy consumption within industries. For example, being aware that 60% of energy in industry is consumed by electric motors, we can make decisions about what type of motors to install in production processes and how to accompany them with systems such as drives, which can achieve savings up to 40% of energy consumption in certain infrastructures or processes. This not only benefits the owners of these industries, improving their cost competitiveness, but also has great environmental benefits, reducing the amount of emissions. ABB is also one of the few companies in the world whose portfolio and technical and market expertise close the circle of productivity and efficiency, from collecting and analyzing data to implementing solutions with the best equipment.

What role does innovation and R&D have for ABB?
We have been innovating for more than 130 years, so it is part of our DNA. Nowadays, we are aware that the innovation paradigm has dramatically changed, and no one in this age can successfully innovate on their own in the industrial world. Therefore, we have started relevant partnerships with companies such as IBM, HPE, and Microsoft.