ABB is building another state-of-the-art robotics campus to continue the expansion of its global robotics leadership. ABB will invest $280 million on a new robotics campus in Västerås, Sweden that will serve as the hub for ABB Robotics’ offerings in Europe.
Construction on the new campus is expected to start in the first quarter of 2024 and be completed by the end of 2026. This new facility will increase ABB’s manufacturing capacity for its collaborative and industrial robot arms by 50% and enable it to better serve the European market. Marc Segura, president of ABB Robotics, told The Robot Report ABB will max out its production capacity at its current facilities by 2026.
Products of ABB’s autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), a result of the company’s acquisition of ASTI Mobile Robotics in 2021, will remain in Spain, where ASTI was founded. Segura said R&D and manufacturing need to be in the same place. “With ASTI, we acquired the team as well as the technology,” he told The Robot Report. “So to separate that from production wouldn’t be feasible in our thinking.”
The 65,000 square meter campus will include a new factory, offices, a research and development center, an experience center and a training center for customers and visitors. The factory will also feature AMRs as a key component in transporting materials and products between the warehouse, assembly stations and assembly departments.
The new facility will replace the nine separate buildings that have grown organically since 1974 and currently constitute the robotics operations in Sweden. The new campus will also serve as an innovation hub for robotics startups, Segura told The Robot Report. Watch the video below to take a virtual tour of what the building will look like when complete.
“We have our own technology roadmap that we want to fill through organic development, acquisitions and investments,” he said. “This new campus will help us match the startup network with our tech roadmap. We will offer startups support to run proof of concepts, we’ll lend them products and technology expertise and potentially venture capital. We are designing the building in Sweden to be available for free to have startups trying things out with our technology stacks.”
When the campus is completed, ABB will have invested $450 million in its three robotics facilities since 2018. In late 2022, ABB opened a $150 million, 67,000-square-meter robotics mega factory in Shanghai, China. ABB also recently spent $20 million to expand its U.S. robotics factory in Auburn Hills, Mich. that will better serve its customers in the Americas.
“This is a great time to invest in robotics and automation,” said Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation Business Area. “This new Campus [in Sweden] is a significant part of our global growth story and key in supporting our European customers as they accelerate investment in robotics and AI due to the reshoring of industry, the move to more sustainable supply chains and long-term labor shortages. Our Robotics Campus will help us to serve our customers more efficiently and support new and existing sectors like automotive, electronics, logistics, healthcare, e-commerce and pharmaceuticals to unlock the full potential of automation.”
The campus in Sweden will be constructed in line with ABB’s 2030 Sustainability Targets that aim towards carbon neutrality within ABB’s operations by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the preservation of resources. To support this, consideration will be made in the selection of building materials and construction processes as well as in the use of solar panels on the roof.
Segura, who has worked at ABB for more than 25 years, joined The Robot Report Podcast in July 2023. He gave us his perspective on the current state of the robotics market, the roadmap for ABB products and the future of mobile robots. He also detailed the new lineup of ABB industrial robots with changeable link sizes. You can listen to that interview below starting at the 20:13 mark.