ABB Robotics is making a $20-million capital improvement effort to increase manufacturing capacity at its Auburn Hills, Mich., plant. “Our investment is a significant step in accelerating ABB Robotics’ global leadership in developing and manufacturing cutting-edge robotic solutions in the U.S., for the Americas,” stated Sami Atiya, president of ABB Robotics and Discrete Automation.
ABB did not offer any projection on its future production volume.
It noted that the expansion is a response to increased demand for automation from 70% of U.S. businesses seeking to relocate production closer to home, as reported by ABB Robotics in a June 2022 survey of 1,610 executives in the U.S. and Europe. Upon the completion of the expansion, nearly 90% of ABB robots delivered to customers in Western Hemisphere be made in Auburn Hills.
“As the global mega trends of labor shortages, uncertainty, the near and reshoring of production, and a desire to operate more sustainably accelerate, more businesses are turning to automation to build resilience while improving efficiency and flexibility,” Atiya continued. “Our expanded facility will help U.S. to better serve customers in the U.S. and across the Americas, giving them access to innovative automated solutions.”
The project will involve installing new digital and automation technologies for manufacturing robots, “streamlining the delivery process and reducing lead times,” according to ABB. The expanded plant will use flexible production cells that are digitally connected and networked, and served by autonomous mobile robots. AI-powered robotic systems will perform tasks like screw driving, assembling, and material handling.
“Almost every aspect of the site will be upgraded to enrich our efforts to attract, retain, and nurture the best automation talent, while creating a U.S. manufacturing hub and headquarters befitting of a global leader in automation,” noted ABB United States Robotics Division President John Bubnikovich,.
The expansion will be completed by November and will result in 72 new jobs at the suburban Detroit location, which ABB opened in 1993. It has been manufacturing robots there since 2015.