ABB – a single brand for robotics and automation

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ABB is one of the leaders in technological solutions introducing digital transformation at industrial level. With a rich history of more than 130 years, ABB has four business lines, integrated into a platform called ABB Ability, explains Daniel Sirman – Executive Manager, ABB Romania.

‘ABB Power Grids has been given to Hitachi this year, since 1 June 2020, more precisely, but ABB continues to operate in 100 countries with 144.000 employees. What we offer are products, systems and maintenance for every product and system installed in all utility, transport and infrastructure segments around the world. ABB has four business lines: Electronics, comprising low and medium voltage products, Industrial Automation for process automation, Motion Division, with motors and converters, and Robotics & Discrete Automation, which is automation and industrial robots”, said Sirman, at the ABB Webinar “Automation and digitization solutions for the factory of the future”, organized by Energynomics.

”In the Robotics segment we have 6 business divisions. We have over 40 solution centers where we deploy modular, scalable solutions for each segment. ABB acquired a machine automation company which enables it to develop technical and development solutions for this segment. Productivity in processes such as laser welding is very high, enabled by high quality and precision. Transport systems have a high speed and precise braking and acceleration. The 3D video gets to 100% quality check of the end products, and the simplicity of the systems allows programming of robots even by people who are not experts in coding,” he added.

“We have a very large variety of robots, including piker robots and SCARA (Selective Compliance Articulated Robot Arm), which can palletize or lift loads from 4 to 1.000 kilos, or collaborative robots such as YuMI. With the purchase of B&R, in 2017, we added a powerful offer of automation, including control, movement, vision and transport systems. We are the only player offering robotics, but also automation under one roof,” said Sirman.

Complete solutions, not just products

“The second thing that sets us apart from competitors is that we sell not only individual products, but complete solutions based on advanced engineering tools. It’s very simple to log in, for example, to the Robot Studio, and watch programs online and offline. We perform integrated automation with many modular solutions, along with B&R, and we can build systems as well as plant automation. We’re a global player, but very close to local customers.”

The area of collaborative robots is growing, there is YuMI, in its complex version, but also with a single arm, and since last year the segment of hospital robots was launched.

“In 1970, we were the first company to launch the electric-operated robot; recently we discovered with surprise that there was one, in Romania, which continued to function in production,” Sirman said.

“Our offer includes all from robots to engineering solutions; starting from the welding and cutting area, we mostly cover all applications such as packaging, coating, welding, also assembly and testing, including the automotive area. In the industry we are present in most segments – agriculture, foundry, metallurgy, plastic; more recently we entered the textiles and shoes segments, but also household appliances, etc. In the area of Tier 1 we cover the entire value chain in car production, from bodywork, chassis, interior, exterior, electrical part, even the gearbox and engines”, says Sirman.

“Now there is a new business we have in mind, in the consumer area, where we can be present with modular robots. We have robots that can operate in e-commerce or hospitals – in Germany, for example, we have a robot that analyzes about 4.000 COVID/day in the hospital. In the distribution area we can enter the picking&packing, end-of-line, we can also go to the retail area, and to HoReCa.”

Service for 1.500 systems

ABB provides service support to all customers in Romania, with at least 1.500 systems at national level, for which preventive or reactive maintenance services are offered, fast support for commissioning and start-up, and also upgrades through its own team or local accredited partners, claims Mihai Ivan, Service Manager, ABB Romania.

”Service is at the heart of selling the product and many customers know of the services they may be offered during the use of the product. The local service team has the same training as anywhere in the world,” says Mihai Ivan.

The spare parts are delivered 24/7, they come from central warehouses, and the goal is to respond as quickly as possible to customers with the ambition to go below 24 hours. Spare parts have warranty, with packages configured according to customer needs. “We offer tailor made training services and dedicated instructor-led courses on the programming and operation”.

‘ABB has been providing the service of digitization, connected services for many years. ABB always considered itself a pioneer in digitization and it began connecting robots to servers as early as 2007. The service has evolved, we now have over 6.000 connected robots, in over 750 customer bases, in more than 40 countries. Robots are now supplied with the software included, and we already have over 40.000 robots delivered with the integrated product. Customers using the latest generations can also monitor them on the controller; a QR code is attached allowing access to such services – free of charge during the warranty period; one just needs to connect to the local network and to the Internet. The service aims to identify the critical points, to intervene early, proactively, so as to reduce the number of interruptions and robots downtime, thus optimizing the performance of equipment and production,” Ivan added.

“At present, digitalization allows a proactive approach; we work a lot on prevention, analyzes and predictions are made. It is also about managing data in the cloud,” he said, with details about packages offered through Connected Services.

The future is electrical and digital

“Our vision is that the future is electrical and digital, it is clear that the world is changing at a very fast pace. In addition to the inherent increase in population and urbanization, digitalization has been part of our lives for a very long time, and in this period – given all this we are going through – we need it more than ever. It is clear that the future is electric and it implies a significant role for electric drives, as at least one third of electricity consumption is determined by electric motors. Efficiency, automation, digitalization, electrical mobility are concepts that we hear most often and the demand for electric shareholders will double in the future”, claims Mihai Priboianu, product Manager, Motion, ABB Romania.

ABB’s Motion Division offers drive systems, from frequency converters, control and supply equipment, electric motors, mechanical transmission systems and components for smart detection – recently, all were included in ABB Ability, a service that covers the entire life of systems.

”Our products range from low power (1kW) to tens of thousands kW, from low voltage to medium voltage applications. We are thus addressing the entire industry. ABB was one of the pioneers of electrical drive solutions and we are now number one in investment in research and development. ABB’s products include now everything which is related to smart analysis and artificial intelligence,” he said.

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