Swiss-based robotics manufacturer, ABB has recently opened a fully automated robotics facility in Kangqiao, Shanghai after a few years of construction. The giant facility, occupying an area of 67,000 sq. meters will combine both production and research to manufacture next-generation robots with a total investment of US$150 million.
According to the latest report, the factory is clustered into multiple sectors from a research laboratory to automated warehouses and production lines. The new state-of-the-art plant is installed with large, neat-looking workshops, modular production cells and ‘robot-making robots’.
The factory is expected to produce 41 of the company’s robotics products and 31 robot models including six-axis robots and painting robots. The products will serve a wide range of industries ranging from automotives and food industries among others. The factory is expected to supply 90% of China domestic sales order from ABB.
The new facility brings together the physical and digital worlds of manufacturing. There are no traditional, fixed assembly lines; instead flexible, modular production cells are digitally connected and networked, and served by intelligent autonomous mobile robots. AI-powered robotic systems take on tasks such as screwdriving, assembling and material handling, relieving people from these tasks and enabling more rewarding work.
Meanwhile, its R&D center, covering an area of 8,000 sq.metre, will create new innovations in artificial Intelligence (AI), digitalization and software, such as autonomous mobility, digital twin, machine vision and low-code programming software. In simpler words, it will make robots more intelligent, flexible, safer and easier to use.
ABB is one of the few industrial giants that have expanded its investment in China despite the pandemic challenges. Sami Atiya, President of the Robotics and Discrete Automation Business said, “China is undergoing a transformation in industrial automation and is at the heart of a global market that we predict will be worth US$130 billion by 2025.”
ABB projects that the global robot market will grow from US$80 billion currently to US$130 billion in 2025. Meanwhile, China is the world’s largest robotics market accounting for 51% of global robot installations in 2021. This data surpassed the one-million-unit mark of operational robots in 2021.
Atiya added that robotic transformation is happening as businesses are looking to generate resilience against uncertainties and searching for solutions to labour and skill shortages.
China’s 14th Five-Year Plan featured a focus on transforming the country into an advanced manufacturing superpower. China has also unveiled an ambitious plan for its robotics industry, as it aims to become a global center of technology innovation, high-end manufacturing and integrated applications by 2025.
ABB employs more than 15,000 people in over 130 cities in China, and China remains one of ABB’s most important R&D and manufacturing centers. As one of 3 ABB Robotics factories worldwide, the new facility in Shanghai will also support customers in Asia.