ABB breaks ground on robotics manufacturing facility in China

WCN Editorial Team 13 Sep 2019 ASIA BUILDINGS

Swiss electrical equipment manufacturer ABB has broken ground on its new manufacturing and research facility in Kangqiao near Shanghai, China.

Expected to open in 2021, the 67,000m² facility is claimed to be an advanced, automated and flexible factory for robotics across the world, where the latest manufacturing process will be employed.

The new facility will also be a research and development centre, which is expected to accelerate innovations in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). The facility will act as an open innovation hub where ABB will collaborate with its customers to co-develop automation solutions tailored to their individual needs.

The facility will serve a diverse customer base in Asia, including automotive manufacturers, particularly in e-mobility, as well as manufacturers in the electronics, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, logistics automation and general industries.

As per ABB’s prediction, global robot sales will grow from the present $80bn to $130bn by 2025. China is the world’s largest robotics market, as one in three robots sold globally went to China in 2017.

ABB chairman and CEO Peter Voser said: “Since the project announcement last October, we have been provided with tremendous support from the local government.

“It has been listed among the Top 10 projects of the ‘Manufacturing in Shanghai’ initiative in 2019, a great honor for ABB. The establishment of the new factory is another milestone in ABB’s development in China and will further strengthen our leadership in the world’s largest robotics market.”

Production at the automated facility will be based on cells of automation, with robots moving from station to station, providing greater customisation and more flexibility, compared to traditional, linear production systems.

The new factory will have a complete digital manufacturing ecosystem, using a ‘digital twin’ that will give everyone from managers and engineers to operators and maintenance teams data insights and machine learning capabilities to improve performance and maximise productivity.

The company will use a machine learning-based system to inspect robots as they are being assembled, to ensure highest quality standards.

ABB robotics and discrete automation business president Sami Atiya said: “As the market leader in industrial robotics in China, we are proud to support the Chinese industry in strengthening its manufacturing sector.”

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Image: Rendering of ABB’s new robotics manufacturing facility. Photo: Courtesy of ABB.

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