ABB Expands XIO Controller Series To Aid Petroleum Industry

August 05, 2023 by Seth Price

ABB has added new products with enhanced capabilities to the XIO series of controllers with the aim of improving upstream efficiency in the oil and gas industries.

ABB has announced that they have added several new models to the XIO series of controllers. These newer controllers are specifically designed from the feedback and customer demands in the petroleum industry, particularly for upstream operations. The newest models (XIO-08, XIO-04, and XIO-00) add I/O channel capacity to the Remote Module Controller (RMC) line, which has been tested in service for the oil and gas industries.


Upstream Operation Challenges

Upstream operations can be particularly challenging, as they involve exploring for oil reserves, drilling operations, and other functions vital to that ‘first step’ in the gas and oil production process. Based on the demands in the field, control systems must be highly customizable, since they will often vary from site to site, depending on the environment and product characteristics of the particular location. While offshore oil rigs and land-based drilling rigs are standardized in terms of construction, their specific variables and control parameters will vary from site to site.


ABB's new XIO controller

The ABB XIO-08 Series controller. Image used courtesy of ABB


The XIO Controller Series

The XIO controllers are modular, equipped with an array of different ports, making them versatile and scalable. Each controller has 4x Ethernet and 8x serial ports, for multiple network gateway connections and to enable RS-232/RS-485 protocols, respectively. This simplifies interfacing with modern and legacy devices.

Ethernet, Wifi, and Bluetooth connections are also possible for transferring data to servers and control centers, making them easier to access remotely, as well as a USB port for local access. Each controller uses a standard 9-30 V DC power source.


XIO Input/Output Capabilities

Aside from the necessary communication ports, The XIO line is capable of handling an additional 22 hot-pluggable I/O modules. This means that modules can be changed without powering down the controller, saving downtime. To further expand the system, multiple controllers can be daisy-chained together, making it one of the most versatile systems on the market. New modules and controllers can be auto-discovered by the firmware, and data transmission between them is optimized for the lowest possible latency.


XIO controller and I/O lineup

ABB XIO Series controller with additional I/O modules. Image used courtesy of ABB


Failsafe Control Mode

The controllers also have a user-configurable failsafe mode. This is incredibly important for process safety in all aspects of chemical processing. For example, suppose there is a cooling water loop that services several booster pumps for oil extraction. Without this failsafe, pumps risk overheating and may become a fire hazard. If there is a power interruption at the controller, the cooling water should continue to run. The controller’s failsafe mode would be to keep the cooling water valves open, and not send a shutdown signal as soon as power is lost, or reboot and shut the valves. Combined with “fail open” valves, this control system can improve safety and surety of workers and process equipment alike.


Control for Challenging Environments

ABB has developed a controller that can handle sensor data and control signals more efficiently than previous models.

In the challenging environment of upstream oil and gas production, where exploration and initial drilling operations are becoming increasingly expensive, improvements in efficiency, data collection and transmission, and rapid control decisions will create a safer, more profitable operation.