ABB today officially opened its Robotics Packaging and Logistics Headquarters in Alpharetta, Ga., north of Atlanta. The new facility will develop next-generation artificial intelligence and robotics to help U.S. customers remain competitive, said the company.
“We are delighted to open our new Robotics Packaging and Logistics Headquarters in Greater Atlanta, home to some of the world’s largest packaging and logistics companies,” stated Sami Atiya, president of ABB's Robotics and Discrete Automation division, in a press release.
“With global megatrends including direct-to-consumer commerce and labor shortages driving demand for robots as companies look to move their operations closer to home, there is a growing demand for dedicated support and expertise from our U.S. packaging and logistics customers,” he added. “Our new facility, supported by our manufacturing facility in Auburn Hills, Mich., will help us meet this need by providing our customers with the latest, AI-enabled robotic solutions that improve their flexibility and productivity, while strengthening their resilience and ability to operate more sustainably.”
Switzerland-based ABB said it is a leader in electrification and automation technology “to optimize how things are manufactured, moved, powered, and operated.” ABB Robotics claimed that it is the only company whose portfolio includes industrial automation, autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), and software. The unit employs approximately 11,000 people at more than 100 locations in about 53 countries.
Consumer demand accelerates automation
“The rising expectation of consumers for greater choice and faster delivery is causing companies to look at more flexible and efficient ways to produce and distribute their products,” noted Daniel Navarro, managing director for consumer segments and service robotics at ABB Robotics. “At the same time, a growing labor shortage is hampering their ability to make the necessary changes, particularly when it comes to meeting the demands of omnichannel distribution.”
“Smarter automation and AI-enabled robots can help to address this challenge and energize the changes society demands,” he said. “From collaborative solutions that are easy to program and deploy, to 3D vision technology that can recognize and sort objects or navigate warehouses autonomously, ABB’s robotic automation solutions provide a flexible end-to-end offering that can help companies to meet customer expectations while utilizing their existing workforces more effectively.”
According to ABB's 2023 Robotics Global Business Survey, 40% of U.S. transportation and logistics companies lack the staffers to carry out low-skilled manual tasks. ABB said its family of AMRs with visual simultaneous localization and mapping (vSLAM) technology and its AI-enabled Robotic Item Picker can help businesses overcome these shortages.
These systems are capable of making intelligent decisions in dynamic environments and “can take on dull, dirty, and sometimes dangerous tasks to free people to do more rewarding work,” ABB asserted.
An ABB mobile robot for logistics uses vSLAM. Source: ABB Robotics
ABB builds on Atlanta ecosystem
ABB said its new facility will develop new products and technologies, as well as serve as a hub for collaboration with its customers and integration partners in the Atlanta area.
“This ecosystem will design and develop the next generation of AI-enabled robots to transform the packaging and logistics industry and help U.S. companies meet new demand, build resilience, and remain competitive,” said ABB.
Training will also be available for ABB employees, customers, and integrators to help them develop skills needed to program, operate, and maintain robots in logistics and packaging applications. The company recently announced a new robotics education package that includes its GoFa collaborative robot, 56 hours of teaching materials, and globally recognized STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) certification.
ABB Robotics said the specialized center will create more than 70 jobs and is part of its $22 million investment in the U.S. It will operate alongside the company's expanded factory in Auburn Hills, its Lifesciences and Healthcare Lab in Houston, and its robotics research and development lab in San Jose, Calif.
“The investment furthers ABB’s commitment to addressing the increasing demand for automation in the U.S. as more companies seek to re-shore their manufacturing and distribution operations,” said ABB.
North America is already the second-largest market for new robot installations, with 41,000 robots installed across the U.S. last year, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). ABB Robotics said its investments are part of the approximately $170 million that ABB is investing across its businesses to accelerate its growth strategy in the U.S.
Email Sign Up
Get news, papers, media and research delivered
Stay up-to-date with news and resources you need to do your job.
Research industry trends, compare companies and get market intelligence every week with Robotics 24/7.
Subscribe to our robotics user email newsletter and we'll keep you informed and up-to-date.