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ABB this morning began construction on the expansion of its existing North American robotics headquarters and manufacturing facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The $20 million project is expected to be completed by November 2023 and will create 72 highly skilled new jobs in the area and is supported by a $450,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.
Adding to the $14 billion ABB has invested in the US since 2010, the latest investment in its headquarters and robotics factory will benefit customers in the Americas, particularly those in growth sectors including electric vehicles, health care, packaging and logistics. With the expansion set to increase the factory’s production capacity, it responds to increased demand for automation from the 70% of US businesses that want to bring production closer to home, as revealed by ABB Robotics’ survey of 1,610 executive in the US and Europe in June 2022.
“Our investment is a significant step in accelerating ABB Robotics’ global leadership in developing and manufacturing cutting-edge robotic solutions in the US, for the Americas,” said Sami Atiya, president of ABB Robotics and Discrete Automation. “As the global megatrends of labor shortages, uncertainty, the near-revolution of production, and the desire to operate more sustainably accelerate, more businesses are turning to automation to build resilience while improving efficiency and flexibility. Our expanded facility will help us to better serve customers in the US and across the Americas, giving them access to innovative automated solutions.”
ABB Robotics moved into the 538,000-square-foot building in 1993 and opened the manufacturing plant in 2015. The expansion and increased use of automation in the factory will create new jobs, supporting the ABB Robotics Packaging & Logistics Headquarters in Atlanta and the Robotics Lifesciences and Healthcare Hub located at the Texas Medical Center in Houston. ABB already has a workforce of about 350 employees in Auburn Hills.
“ABB’s $20 million investment creating 72 jobs will build on our economic momentum and help us continue to lead the future of robotics and automation,” said Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Thanks to companies like ABB Robotics and the support of our local partners, we can continue to deliver jobs and investment to every region of our state, revitalizing communities, and building a future economy. “
ABB said the investment will see the latest digital and automation technologies implemented to produce next-generation robots in the US, for the Americas, streamlining the delivery process and reducing lead times. Nearly 90% of the robots delivered to customers in the US, Canada, Mexico and South America will soon be manufactured in Auburn Hills. The plant will use flexible, modular production cells that are digitally connected and networked, and served by intelligent autonomous mobile robots. AI-powered robotic systems will perform tasks such as screw driving, assembling and material handling, removing humans from these tasks and enabling more rewarding work.
“The expanded facility will feature the most advanced technology available, with AI-enabled robots and intelligent digital manufacturing systems that support the production and manufacture of innovative customer solutions,” said John Bubnikovich, ABB United States robotics division president. “Virtually every aspect of the site will be upgraded to enhance our efforts to attract, retain and nurture the best talent in automation, while creating a US manufacturing hub and headquarters befitting a global leader in automation.
As a leading robotics company in the world, ABB has made several important announcements over the past few months. In December 2022, it launched the SWIFTI CRB 1300 robot arm and opened a robotics mega factory in Shanghai. In October, ABB has launched the IRB 1010which is the smallest industrial robot ever.
And in September 2022, it launched its first set of rebranded autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) following the acquisition of mobile robot leader ASTI Mobile Robotics in 2021 for $190M. ASTI Mobile Robotics solutions have now been modified and integrated into ABB’s portfolio, grouped together under the Flexley name, indicating the flexibility of operations offered by AMRs. The first rebranded models to be released, the Flexley Tug and Flexley Mover, cover applications including towing, trolley transport up to 5,350 lbs (2000 kg), as well as lifting and carrying racks, containers and pallet of 4,000 lbs (1,500 kg).