Swiss power and automation technology group ABB has announced that it will invest $150m to build the most advanced, automated and flexible robotics factory in Shanghai, China.
The investment is expected to combine connected digital technologies, including ABB Ability solutions, modern collaborative robotics and latest artificial intelligence (AI) research to create the sophisticated, automated and flexible ‘Factory of the Future’.
The Shanghai facility is expected to begin operations by the end of 2020.
It will feature machine learning, digital and collaborative solutions to make it the advanced factory in the robotics industry, as well as an onsite R&D centre that will help accelerate the company’s innovations in AI.
ABB will use its global design approach to enable the factory to increase the type of robots and variants of each type of robots that can be manufactured onsite.
The Shanghai factory will allow managers, engineers, operators and maintenance experts to monitor and assess real time operations through latest tools.
Users will be able to gather and analyse intelligence through ABB Ability Connected Services on the health and performance of ABB robots in the factory.
As the new facility will use a flexible floorplan, which will be based on interlinked islands of automation, production can be adapted to changes in the robot market without additional capacity expansions.
ABB will also use its SafeMove2 software, which will allow people and robots to work safely in close proximity. The company’s YuMi robots will allow collaboration on the small parts assembly tasks to manufacture an ABB robot.
The Shanghai factory will be part of ABB’s global robotics supply system. Recently, the company upgraded its factory in Västerås, Sweden, and its factory in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
ABB has been a major manufacturer of robots in China, with one of every three robots sold in the world going to China in 2017. ABB has invested $2.4bn in China since 1992.
Image: A rendering of the robotics factory planned to be established in Shanghai, China. Photo: Courtesy of ABB.