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For more than a decade, ABB Robotics has hosted and participated in seminars to cultivate a deeper understanding of its customers and business partners, and to exchange technical ideas and opinions. This type of forum, ABB has found, creates a stronger bond with customers and partners – for the benefit of all parties.

One such partner is the 3M Abrasive Systems Division. The division’s expertise in abrasives, along with its engineers specializing in robotics applications, has opened up opportunities for the two companies to learn from each other for optimizing grinding, finishing and polishing systems that benefit 3M and ABB’s shared industrial customers.

In fact, 3M’s 30,000-sq.-ft Customer Abrasives Methods (CAM) Center is the site of an ABB IRB 7600 with IRC5 controller, on loan from ABB. Engineers use the robot to demonstrate the benefits of robotics, help customer’s spec-in abrasive robotic cells, and assist in developing improved customer surface modification methods.

The ABB cell at the CAM Center performs the primary task of teaching. It teaches visitors about the power of modern robotics, teaches end users the breadth of options and technology they have at their disposal, and teaches integrators how to apply abrasives effectively in material removal and/or surface modification applications. It provides a powerful communication tool between the technical process owner, the stakeholders and integrator.

“The customer-oriented solutions offered by the partnership of 3M and ABB are truly on the cutting edge of surface modification technologies. The CAM Center and ABB’s customer center provide the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of the new manufacturing technologies available today. Companies with foresight know that the current economic downturn will end with an upturn. Taking advantage of the time that is now available to prepare for the inevitable upswing prepares them for a burst out of the starting blocks when it happens,” said Ted Wodoslawsky, vice president of marketing at ABB Robotics North America.

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