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Volvo Cars is deploying more than 1,300 industrial robots from ABB to help build its next generation of electric vehicles. Volvo will use ABB’s new IRB 6710, 6720, and 6730 industrial robots for a variety of tasks, including spot welding, riveting, dispensing flow drilling, and more.
The aforementioned robots will be used at Volvo’s facilities in Torslanda, Sweden and Daqing, China. The robots are part of ABB’s new line of modular industrial robots that feature interchangeable links that enable users to easily change the size and reach of each model. The robots are suitable for payloads ranging from 150kg to 310kg, with a reach from 2.5m to 3.2m
We discussed the modular robotics innovation at length with Marc Segura, president of ABB Robotics, in July 2023 on The Robot Report Podcast. Along with the hardware and functional packages, ABB’s latest range of OmniCore robot controllers will help to deliver energy savings of up to 20% at these sites.
“The automotive industry’s historic transformation, driven by increasing consumer demand for electric vehicles and a desire to operate more sustainably, is creating new opportunities as well as challenges for global manufacturers,” said Segura. “This latest commitment from our partner Volvo Cars demonstrates our shared focus of delivering more sustainable manufacturing. Through our new, energy-efficient large robot family and OmniCore controllers, we will help to deliver energy savings of up to 20 percent at sites around the world.”
The first deployment of these robots will take place in early 2024.
ABB’s 2023 year in review
As usual, it was a busy year for ABB’s robotics group. One of its major announcements was a new European robotics hub that will cost nearly $300 million. Based in Västerås, Sweden, the facility will increase ABB’s manufacturing capacity for its collaborative and industrial robot arms by 50% and enable it to better serve the European market. Segura recently told The Robot Report ABB will max out its production capacity at its current facilities by 2026. Construction on the new campus is expected to start in the first quarter of 2024 and be completed by the end of 2026.
ABB also opened in June 2023 its Robotics Packaging and Logistics Headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia. The facility serves as ABB‘s dedicated center for robotic automation solutions in the logistics and packaging industries.
In addition to the new IRB modular industrial robots, here’s a look at some of the robots ABB introduced this year:
- Robotic Item Picker – AI and vision-based system that detects and picks items in unstructured environments
- IRB 1090 – an industrial robot for educational purposes
- GoFa 10 and GoFa 12 cobots – new cobot arms handle payloads of up to 10 and 12 kg, respectively
- AMRs with VSLAM – The autonomous mobile robots ABB acquired from ASTI Mobile Robotics now use Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (VLSAM) for navigation and obstacle avoidance.
- IRB 9030 SCARA – a robot arm that handles payloads weighing 12 and 22 kg for pick-and-place and assembly tasks
ABB also spent millions to upgrade its existing North American robotics headquarters and manufacturing facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan. ABB said this investment will benefit customers in the Americas, particularly those in growth sectors including electric vehicles, healthcare, packaging and logistics.
And just last week, we got our first glimpse of a mobile manipulator that uses ABB’s GoFa cobots and AMRs. XtalPi and ABB teamed up to produce a range of automated laboratory workstations in China. The companies said ABB’s GoFa cobots and XtalPi’s software will boost research and development productivity in biopharmaceuticals, chemical engineering and chemistry, and new-energy materials.