Industrial robot giant ABB Group (hereinafter referred to as ABB) no longer regards "control performance" as the kingly way, and has begun to expand toward new application industries such as logistics, catering, and consumer electronics.
At the "ABB Automation World and Power World" event held recently, Gu Chunyuan, Chairman and President of ABB (China) Co., Ltd. pointed out that for ABB, in the field of robotics, "manipulation performance" has developed to a certain extent and cannot be called Competitive advantage, "application" will become an advantage.
Five years ago, Amazon, the largest e-commerce site in the United States, won the storage robot company Kiva for $775 million. In the next two to three years, Kiva will be deployed in various warehouses on a large scale, successfully reducing the delivery cost of ordinary orders. Reduced by 20%-40%. Currently, there are a total of about 30,000 Kiva robots in Amazon warehouses around the world, which can save them about 20% of operating expenses.
Amazon's success has undoubtedly pushed "automated warehousing" into the air. Major global manufacturing, e-commerce, logistics and other companies have stepped up similar layouts, and various start-up warehousing robot companies have emerged first. According to Tractica's forecast, the global warehousing and logistics robot market will reach US$22.4 billion in 2021.
At this event, ABB also exhibited a new type of robot for logistics and warehousing-the combined application of "small robot (IRB1200) + large robot (IRB6700)". The big robot is responsible for picking up the material box from the upper conveyor belt and storing it in the corresponding position of the shelf according to the instructions. With the aid of 3D vision, the small robot picks up the items in the box and places them on the conveyor belt of the next process.
An Shiming, President of the Robotics and Motion Control Division of ABB Group, told the interface news reporter that ABB will actively expand into new markets such as logistics and warehousing while maintaining advantageous industries such as automobiles, consumer electronics, food and beverages, chemicals, and metallurgy.
"The demand for robots in many industries in China is on the rise, especially in service industries that emphasize flexible demand, such as logistics. Robots can cope with such fluctuations in demand." An Shiming said that logistics costs are in the e-commerce value chain. The proportion of the above is very high. Aiming at the volatility, small volume and multi-batch logistics characteristics, the robotic solution can increase processing capacity by 40% while reducing costs by 30%.
In addition to logistics warehousing robots, ABB is also very optimistic about the future development prospects of collaborative robots.
Two years ago, ABB introduced the first collaborative robot "YuMi" to the market. At this event, the dual-arm robot YuMi also made a high-profile appearance on the 3C production line. An Shiming said that YuMi can be applied in many different fields, and its performance after being introduced to the market has exceeded expectations. In the field of consumer electronics, YuMi is used for soldering and assembly processes, which can safely cooperate with manpower to complete some high-precision and high-repeatability operations.
In this huge "cake" in China, the "four big families" of robots, which account for more than 60% of the global industrial robot market share, have the absolute right to speak.
"Currently, China's robot market is growing at double digits, and it is expected that China will still be the world's largest robot market in the future." ABB Group CEO Shi Bifu said.
Last year, China Midea Group acquired 94.55% of the shares of German industrial robot manufacturer KukaAG, one of the "four big families" of robots, for 29.2 billion yuan. It is worth noting that logistics and transportation is a new business of KUKA in 2014, which is also one of its three current business segments.
In April of this year, ABB Group acquired B&R Industrial Automation Company (B&R, hereinafter referred to as B&R) in Austria for US$2 billion. This merger accelerated ABB Group’s business development in the field of overweight robots and industrial automation.
An Shiming told Jiemian News that the acquisition of B&R is expected to be completed this summer and is currently awaiting final approval. As far as ABB is concerned, the acquisition of B&R will narrow its gap in the field of machine and factory automation.
At this event, ABB launched the industrial Internet of Things platform ABB Ability to the Chinese market for the first time, as well as more than 180 solutions for different vertical fields, involving multiple industries such as industry, power, transportation and infrastructure. ABB Ability is a cross-industry, integrated digital capability from equipment to edge computing to cloud, including digital solutions and platforms on which these solutions can be built.
An Shiming said that at present, ABB has more than 6000 robots in the world to achieve interconnection and interoperability. In the future, the development, monitoring and analysis of digital products and systems can be realized through a unified platform.