ABB is to make a US$150 million investment in Shanghai, China, which will fund what it calls the world’s most advanced, automated and flexible robotics factory.
It describes it as a cutting-edge centre where robots will make robots.
The new Kangqiao manufacturing center, near ABB’s expansive China robotics campus, will combine the company’s connected digital technologies, including ABB Ability solutions, state-of-the-art collaborative robotics and innovative artificial intelligence research. The idea, said ABB, is to create the most sophisticated and environmentally sustainable “factory of the future.” It is expected to begin operating by the end of 2020.
The company said in a statement: “The concept behind this factory is the same advice we give our customers every day: invest in automation solutions that provide flexibility and agility to grow in whichever direction the market goes”
ABB is China’s leading robotics manufacturer; in 2017, one of every three robots sold in the world went to China, which purchased nearly 138,000 units. ABB employs approximately 5,000 people in Shanghai. The company’s robotics businesses in China employs more than 2,000 engineers, technology experts and operational leaders in 20 locations across the country. It has invested more than US$2.4 billion in China since 1992, creating over 18,000 jobs in total.
ABB and the Shanghai municipal government also signed a comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement focused on supporting industry, energy, transport and infrastructure in the region, and to support the “Made in Shanghai” manufacturing initiative. The agreement was signed by Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong and ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer.
“China’s commitment to transform its manufacturing is a torchlight for the rest of the world,” said Spiesshofer. “Its strategic embrace of the latest technologies for artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and cloud-based computing present a playbook for every country that wishes to have a globally competitive manufacturing base. Shanghai has become a vital center for advanced technology leadership – for ABB and the world. We look forward to working with Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong, other community leaders and our customers as we launch this major expansion of ABB’s substantial presence in China, building on our journey to become China’s leading Robotics manufacturer that started in Shanghai over two decades ago.”