While automakers are already heavy users of robotics, they need new systems to stay competitive. Huayu Automotive Systems Co., which does business as HASCO, and ABB Group today announced that they have created a joint venture building on their existing relationship “to drive the next generation of smart manufacturing.” The companies said the joint venture will lead to the development of flexible and sustainable automotive parts manufacturing within HASCO’s China-based operations.
“With the automotive industry facing its greatest transformation since its inception and sales of electric vehicles set to overtake combustion vehicles in many parts of the world by 2035, there is a clear need to support the transition of the industry,” stated Sami Atiya, president of ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation.
“This joint venture will enable us to further develop HASCO’s leading position with automated solutions that benefit customers in China, which – as one of the largest automotive manufacturing marketplaces – will play a pivotal role in delivering a sustainable transport future,” he said.
HASCO Group, a member of SAIC Group, is a systems integrator and a leading supplier of automotive parts and services. The company said it has supported major OEMs worldwide for more than 30 years, covering more than 40 business fields.
EVs prompt modernization, says HASCO
As the automotive industry makes the transition to electric vehicles (EVs), parts suppliers must invest in flexible factories that can respond to rapidly changing demands and trends, said ABB Robotics and HASCO. The companies said their partnership will expand the use of smart technologies and artificial intelligence within the industry.
ABB has taken a 40% stake in the joint venture, and both parties declined to disclose any further details about the investment.
HASCO and ABB said they expect the joint venture to begin operating in the second quarter of 2022. Companies that make parts ranging from vehicle bodies and electronics to electrical drive systems will benefit from new, efficient, and environmentally sustainable manufacturing methods, said the partners.
Rui Liang, local division manager for ABB Robotics in China (front left) and Linhua Xu, deputy general manager of Huayu Automotive Systems Co. (HASCO; front right) sign the joint venture agreement on Dec. 30, 2021. Source: ABB
ABB continues China expansion
ABB claimed that it was “the first multinational robot supplier in China to localize its full value chain, from R&D, manufacturing, sales, engineering, and system integration.”
ABB's Robotics & Discrete Automation unit said it has shipped more than 500,000 robots.
The Zurich-based company plans to open “the world’s most advanced robotics factory” in Shanghai later this year. It will host an onsite research and development center to accelerate innovation in AI, product development, and customer collaboration for automation solutions, said ABB.
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