ABB and Ansaldo Energia present new turbine control system

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ABB and Ansaldo Energia recently introduced the first turbine control system based on Symphony Plus technology. The new control system, developed specifically for Ansaldo Energia gas and steam turbines, has many pluses: reduced global management costs when compared with previous versions, better safety (also in relation to cyber security) and improved plant reliability and availability, in addition to greater management flexibility.

Turbines are advanced technology components that represent the core of power generation plants, and the control system can be thought of as the power plant’s “thinking head,” which takes the form of highly sophisticated electronic equipment that uses algorithms to guarantee performance and safety, as well as compliance with the strictest international standards. The system, in fact, was designed to cover all the requirements of existing and upcoming steam and gas turbines manufactured by Ansaldo Energia, as well as to be integrated with plants’ control systems.

Another key asset of the new system is the possibility of SIL3 certification in accordance with international standards IEC 61508 and IEC 61511. The institutional framework outlined by these standards provides definitive guidelines and best practices for the development of safety systems, as well as offering customers an ideal benchmark to evaluate the extent to which the risks of a given system can be reduced. These standards are not yet mandatory for companies, but they represent the state-of-the-art in functional safety for power plants.


Control systems are a complex set of hardware and software and their evolution depends for the most part on developments in information technology. The latest solutions, while doing the same job as their predecessors, are more sophisticated and effective and achieve far higher levels of efficiency than before.  

High computation power, great flexibility

The Ansaldo Energia branded gas and steam turbine automation system presented recently is based on ABB’s Symphony Plus technology, which features high computation power, great flexibility and compatibility with the most advanced communication standards and devices. Symphony Plus is the starting point for Ansaldo Energia’s control system. It was launched in 2011 and represents the latest evolution of proprietary ABB technology that has been used for many years on global markets, building an installed base of about 6,000 applications.  

Scalability and standardization are two fundamental characteristics of this control system, which can be applied in various configurations to all existing models of gas and steam turbines as well as to those currently being developed by Ansaldo Energia. The control system provides the “intelligence” to exploit the huge potential of machinery/power plants, as well as to satisfy increasingly demanding flexibility criteria required by the customer and the environment.  

G.B. Ferrari, Head of the ABB Power Systems division in Italy said the result testifies to the company’s ability to develop skills locally that can be exported throughout the world. He said, “It confirms that Genoa is one of Italy’s leading centers of excellence in innovative energy technology and an incubator of ideas and solutions addressed increasingly to international markets.”

Ansaldo Energia CEO Giuseppe Zampini said this joint development “aims to develop increasingly flexible systems, working side by side with all the major local companies.”