ABB has announced that it is to start producing robots in the United States. The company made the announcement at the opening of a new robotics plant at its facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
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 $7.5 billion in sales.
“ABB is the first global automation company to open a robot manufacturing facility in the United States,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, ABB CEO. “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 range 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. Officials stated that localized manufacturing will streamline the delivery process, resulting in reduced robot lead times for customers.
The new factory will assemble complete robotic systems, with robotic arms shipped in from manufacturing facilities in either China or Sweden and control cabinets built and assembled in the U.S. At the factory workers put the two together to form a complete robotic system, then test them before being packaged and shipped to customers.
On display at the factory opening, which coincided with the start of ABB’s Customer Days and Open House, were a number of new robotic offerings, including the dual-armed YuMi robot that was officially launched at Hannover Fair in April.
For industrial robots, the automotive industry has traditionally been a key customer, with more than 75% of business coming from the automotive sector at one time. Company officials yesterday indicated that the numbers have shifted recently, with about 50% of business being in the automotive sector and 50% coming from non-automotive applications, including strong growth in the electronics light assembly market.