ABB, experts in automation and logistics technology, has announced that it has begun building a new robotics manufacturing and research facility in China, the largest robotics market in the world.
According to a statement, the facility is expected to open in 2021 and will cost approximately US$150 million.
The new 67,000 m (squared) factory in Kanqiao, near Shanghai, will deploy the latest manufacturing processes, including machine learning, digital and collaborative solutions.
It will be the most advanced automated and flexible factory in the robotics industry worldwide – a center where robots make robots.
The new factory will also host an one site research and development center, which will help accelerate innovations in Artificial Intelligence (AI).
It will also serve as an open innovation hub where ABB closely collaborates with its customers to co-develop automation solutions that are tailored to their individual needs.
ABB’s robotics solutions serve a diverse customer base in Asia, supporting automotive manufacturers, particularly in e-mobility, as well as manufacturers on the electronics, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, logistics automation and general industries, among others.
ABB predicts that global robot sales will grow from $80 billion today to $130 billion in 2025, with China leading the way.
Peter Vosser, Chairman and CEO, ABB, said: “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.
“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.”
Production in the highly automated factory will be based on cells of automation rather than on a fixed assembly line, which will allow robots to move from station to station for greater customization and flexibility.
Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) will deliver parts to the production robots just in time, while the latest collaborative technologies will ensure that humans and robots work safely together.
Furthermore, the factory will be a complete digital manufacturing ecosystem, employing a digital twin that will give everyone from managers and engineers to operators and maintenance teams data insights and machine learning capabilities.