Scalable Robotics Gets ABB Investment to Enhance Welding System Portfolio

Scalable Robotics says its technology allows customers to easily program welding robots without any prior robotics experience.

ABB Robotics

Scalable Robotics' robot instruction platform works with ABB's RobotStudio.

ABB today said it is entering into a strategic partnership with Scalable Robotics to enhance its portfolio of user-friendly robotic welding systems. Scalable Robotics' technology uses 3D vision and embedded process understanding to enable customers to easily program welding robots without the need for coding.

“We founded Scalable Robotics on the premise that industrial robots are tools that should be available to enterprises of all sizes and levels of technical sophistication,” said Tom Fuhlbrigge, founder and CEO of Scalable Robotics. “Our novel human-robot interaction techniques enable people who know the arc-welding process to intuitively show the robot what needs to be done with no robot experience required.”

Ellington, Conn.-based Scalable Robotics said its “code-free, CAD-free, point-and-click programming interface” allows manufacturers to quickly and easily program robots. The company, which Robotics 24/7 named as one of “10 MassRobotics resident startups to watch,” claimed that its system can reduce automation expenses by reducing the time for welders to train robots from weeks to hours without specialized knowledge.

Scalable Robotics works to ease robot instruction

In addition, Scalable Robotics said its technology can make automation more adaptable and cost-effective in today's highly competitive marketplace. A welder to teach a robot by pointing to where a weld should be applied, and the robot learns the path on its own, the company said.

The platform includes a 3D camera in a protective box attached to the robot end-of-arm tooling (EOAT). It uses a touchscreen interface to guide the welder through the scanning, teaching, validation, and tuning steps. 

The welder teaches the robot the positions of the welds by clicking a handheld stylus to indicate the desired approach, path, and departure points of the weld. Scalable's platform automatically generates a weld path that is validated within RobotStudio, ABB’s simulation and programming software.

The operator makes any final modifications before the robot auto-tunes the program and sends it to the robot controller so the weld can be performed, explained Scalable Robotics.

ABB recognizes need for robotic welding

ABB Technology Ventures (ATV), the venture capital unit of ABB, will be the lead investor in Scalable Robotics’s seed funding round. ABB did not disclose the level or the terms of the investment.

ABB said the investment is another milestone in its ecosystem strategy of collaborating with partners that provide easy-to-use systems for a variety of applications and industries.

“Businesses are looking to robotics to help build resilience, flexibility, and efficiency in the face of global challenges including labor shortages, disrupted supply chains, and uncertainty,” said Marc Segura, president of ABB's robotics division. “In the U.S. alone, it is estimated there will be a shortage of 400,000 welders by 2024.”

“To tackle this, we need to aid the adoption of robots by providing technology that is simple to use and easy to program, enabling manufacturers to easily introduce automated solutions that can weld more parts in less time while minimizing scrap and maximizing quality,” he said.

With more than 130 years of experience, ABB Group has connected software to its robotics, electrification, automation, and motion portfolio. The company said it has over 105,000 employees in over 100 countries.

ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation provides robots, industrial automation, and digital services to industries ranging from automotive and electronics to logistics. The ABB unit said it has shipped more than 500,000 systems. ABB Robotics employs more than 11,000 people at over 100 locations in more than 53 countries.

“We are very excited to join forces with ABB—they are the ideal partner to help bring this technology to the market on a global scale,” added Fuhlbrigge.


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ABB Robotics

Scalable Robotics' robot instruction platform works with ABB's RobotStudio.


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