For some reason, I keep getting requests for information and analysis on robotics. The standard models of robots have remained pretty much the same for years. The market has not grown much. The association magazine devoted to robots folded years ago. Yet, there remains some interest in the market.
Given that, ABB had a robot technology day May 20. It was on my calendar to drive up to the Detroit area and attend. A sudden business meeting relating to one of my angel investments interfered. Here is the big news from the event.
ABB announced it is to start producing robots in the United States. Production is to commence immediately. ABB claims it is the only major international robotics player to actually manufacture in the US.
The new plant is ABB’s third robotics production facility, alongside Shanghai, China, and Västerås, Sweden, and will manufacture ABB robots and related equipment for the North American market.
The United States is ABB’s largest market with US$7.5 billion in sales. The company has invested more than US$10 billion in local R&D, capital expenditure and acquisitions since 2010, taking local employment from 11,500 to 26,300. Continued investment in the North American value chain and manufacturing constitutes a significant part of ABB’s global growth plans reflecting the company’s Next Level strategy.
“Today, we are marking and celebrating the next stage of our commitment and growth in North America with the start of local robot manufacturing in Auburn Hills, US,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “ABB is the first global automation company to open a robot manufacturing facility in the United States. Robotics is a fundamental enabler of the next level of North American industrial growth in an increasingly competitive world. With our continued commitment and investment, our local team is well positioned to support our customers with robotics solutions made in the United States. Our leading technology of web-enabled, collaborative and safe robots will contribute to job security and quality of work.”
“The new North American manufacturing presence elevates our offering and service to robotics customers in the United States, Mexico and Canada, allowing us to achieve best-in-class delivery schedules and technical support in North America,” said Per Vegard Nerseth, Managing Director of ABB Robotics. “The expansion is consistent with our global strategy, which is to establish a local presence in key robotics growth markets to provide our leading technology to our customers.”
The portfolio of products manufactured at the new facility will expand in phases, with the goal that most ABB robots and robot controllers delivered in the United States, Canada and Mexico will be manufactured in Auburn Hills. Localized manufacturing streamlines the delivery process and results in significantly reduced robot lead times for customers.