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Reshoring prompts ABB robotics expansion
- March 29, 2023
- William Payne
Reshoring pressures from US manufacturers moving production back to the United States has prompted ABB to begin construction of a highly automated new plant at its existing Auburn Hills facility in Michigan. The new plant will incorporate the latest in automated and advanced manufacturing processes, and will open in November 2023.
The new plant represents an investment of $20 million, and will create 72 skilled new jobs in the area. The expansion is supported by a $450,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.
The plant, which will significantly increase Auburn Hill’s production capacity, is a response to increased demand for automation from 70 percent of US businesses looking to bring production closer to home, as revealed by ABB Robotics’ survey of 1,610 executives in the US and Europe in June 2022.
Close to 90 percent of robots delivered to customers in the US, Canada, Mexico and South America will soon be made in Auburn Hills. The plant will utilise flexible, modular production cells that are digitally connected and networked, and served by intelligent autonomous mobile robots. AI-powered robotic systems will take on tasks such as screw driving, assembling and material handling.
“Our investment is a significant step in accelerating ABB Robotics’ global leadership in developing and manufacturing cutting-edge robotic solutions in the US, for the Americas,” said Sami Atiya, President of ABB Robotics and Discrete Automation. “As the global mega trends of labor shortages, uncertainty, the near and reshoring of production, and a desire to operate more sustainably accelerate, more businesses are turning to automation to build resilience while improving efficiency and flexibility. Our expanded facility will help us to better serve customers in the US and across the Americas, giving them access to innovative automated solutions.”
“ABB’s $20 million investment creating 72 jobs will build on our economic momentum and help us continue leading the future of robotics and automation,” said Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Thanks to companies like ABB Robotics and the support of our local partners, we can keep bringing jobs and investment to every region of our state, revitalising communities, and building an economy of the future.”
ABB Robotics moved into the 538,000-square-foot building in 1993 and opened the manufacturing plant in 2015, becoming the first global industrial robotics company to fully commit to a North American robotics production footprint. The expansion and increased use of automation in the factory will create new jobs, supporting the ABB Robotics Packaging & Logistics Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia and the Robotics Lifesciences and Healthcare Hub located at the Texas Medical Centre in Houston, Texas. ABB already has a workforce of approximately 350 employees at Auburn Hills. The company has more than 20,000 employees over more than 40 sites across the United States.
“The expanded facility will feature the most advanced technology available, with AI-enabled robots and smart digital manufacturing systems supporting the production and manufacture of state-of-the-art customer solutions,” said John Bubnikovich, ABB United States Robotics Division President. “Almost every aspect of the site will be upgraded to enrich our efforts to attract, retain and nurture the best automation talent, while creating a US manufacturing hub and headquarters befitting of a global leader in automation.”