ABB has launched its first range of rebranded autonomous mobile robots, or AMRs, following its acquisition of ASTI Mobile Robotics in July 2021.
ASTI Mobile Robotics’ products have been rebranded and integrated into ABB’s portfolio, grouped under the Flexley name, indicating the flexibility of operations that the AMRs offer, the company said.
The first models to be released, Flexley Tug and Flexley Mover, cover applications including towing, trolley transportation up to 2,000 kg (4,409 lb.), as well as lifting and transporting racks, containers, and pallets of 1,500 kg (3,306 lb.).
“At a time when businesses are looking for a range of robotic solutions to help make them more efficient, flexible, and resilient, we are the only company supporting them with our integrated offering of AMRs, robots, and machine automation technologies,” said Marc Segura, president for ABB’s robotics division in a statement.
“This is a game changer for our customers, they can work with one partner offering everything they need to adapt to the opportunities and challenges driven by individualization, labor shortages, and disrupted supply chains and our rebranding underscores the simplicity and benefit of the integrated solutions we offer to our customers,” Segura added.
ABB’s new AMRs will use Sevensense Robotics sensing technology
The newly rebranded AMRs will take advantage of technology made from one of the startups in ABB’s portfolio of partner companies. Sevensense Robotics visual simultaneous localization and mapping (VLASM) technology will be used in the autonomous mobile robots.
Its work builds on ASTI’s laser scanner-based 2D SLAM navigation and will help the AMRs navigate more complex and dynamic environments, according to ABB.
“This unique technology opens new possibilities for flexible manufacturing - AI that makes ABB’s AMRs as autonomous as its robotic arms, while making work more productive and safer for people,” the company said.
Expert Technologies Group using ABB's robots for tasks on the facility floor
Zurich, Switzerland-based ABB said it is shipping out its AMR systems to one of the newest members of its value provider network, Expert Technologies Group.
The company, which manufactures EV vehicle machinery and autonomous systems, is using the AMRs to transport products between robotic automation cells and manual assembly stations. ABB said Expert Technologies is also taking advantage of ABB’s other robots and vision function packages.
“The market for autonomous mobile robots is set to grow significantly, with an annual growth rate of approximately 24% between 2021 and 2028,” said Verónica Pascual, global head of AMR business at ABB Robotics.
“The integration of the ASTI AMR range and the creation of our global manufacturing and support network means we are well placed to address this growth, providing our customers with new ways to tackle their supply chain challenges and meet demands for greater flexibility and speed created by the continued rise in e-commerce,” she added.
ABB is trying to round out its product lineup with ASTI
At the time of the acquisition in the summer of 2021, ABB said it was purchasing the Burgos, Spain-based company as part of its plan to make its lineup of products more flexible to better meet customers’ needs.
“With their industry-leading portfolio, comprehensive suite of software, and deep domain expertise across growth segments, ASTI is the perfect choice for us as we support our customers with the next generation of flexible automation,” stated Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation business, at the time.
As part of the rebrand, ABB has also launched a new website: amr.robotics.abb.com. The ASTI Foundation, which offers educational technology courses for young people, continues to operate following ABB’s acquisition of the company.
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