ABB Releases New I/O Solution to Bridge Gap Between Brownfield and Greenfield Operations

July 28, 2020 by Stephanie Leonida

ABB introduces the XIO solution to enable fast and efficient brownfield site expansion.

ABB specializes in the delivery of a comprehensive range of products, services, and systems for electrification, industrial automation, motion, and robotic, and discrete automation. Recently the company introduced a new digital innovation targeting the upgrade of oil and gas brownfield facilities.


The Difference Between Brownfield and Greenfield Sites

A brownfield facility is an area, commonly in manufacturing, that has been previously used or left derelict. Repurposing and revamping some of the technology used in these facilities can involve decontamination, clearing, and planning costs.

With this regard, it is considered much more economically viable for companies to utilize greenfield sites. Greenfield sites are areas that have not previously been built upon, which allows prospective developers to start fresh and avoid costs associated with the redevelopment of brownfield sites. 


ABB’s XIO Solution 

Brownfield sites with wellheads (structures situated above oil or gas wells) tend to be hindered by expansion due to the lack of flexibility and efficiency of current technological systems. To address this issue, ABB created its new I/O solution enabling easy expansion of wellheads in brownfield areas using enhanced connectivity.


ABB’s XIO Solution. Image courtesy of ABB.


The new advanced system avoids excessive redevelopment or system upgrade costs and saves oil and gas producers time.


New Scalability and Interoperability

ABB's new I/O solution offers a variety of new features that allow it to be built for use in oil and gas facilities. The I/O solution itself is cost-effective and built with fewer materials than before. This allows the solution to be integrated and installed a lot quicker into the facility, whether it's a greenfield or brownfield facility. The modular design of the solution allows for new scalability as well. The solution offers interoperability with any controller and connectivity for seamless integration and operations. 


More key features of this product include the following:

  • 12 and 24 VDC (volts direct current) external power 
  • Four Ethernet ports allowing for multiple network configurations
  • Ethernet-serial options, and TCP/IP (transmission control protocol/internet protocol) to RMC100 or any controller
  • Eight serial communication ports with RS232/RS485 and multiple field interfacing providing the greatest serial capacity for any ABB upstream product
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for remote communication and USB port for local access 
  • 22 hot-pluggable I/O modules designed to allow for the addition or replacement of modules without power interruption, one-step activation, and user-configurable fail-safe options
  • Simple user configuration and daisy chain connections to field instrumentation 


Screenshot of multiple XIO modules connected by daisy chain to RMC in the same network. Image courtesy of ABB.

The solution also features a new app, which is a remote XIO interface App enabling auto-discovery and seamless data transfer. The easy-to-install XIO solution can also integrate with existing devices via Modbus.

The XIO will be integral for any oil and gas producer looking to initiate remote expansion for both brownfield and greenfield flow computers and RTUs (remote terminal units). Oil and gas operators can expect to reduce expansion downtime and operational expenses and increase communication expansion across the field. 

By increasing the extent of monitoring to covering process variables, the XIO solution greater safety across all areas of multiple sites. Not only is the solution compatible with ABB’s RMC-100 controller and XSeries controllers, but it is also compatible with a wide range of controllers across the market. Operators do not need to worry about addressing skill shortages with the XIO, as the central point of monitoring it affords negates the need for learning how to use and apply several tools.

By providing strong connection capabilities the XIO enables efficient brownfield facility upgrades, scalable digitization, and expands the digital future of greenfield operations.