ABB technologies that changed the world: the industrial robot

ABB pioneered the world’s first electrically powered industrial robot, and 40 years later they now touch our everyday lives in so very many different ways.

ABB pioneered the world’s first electrically powered industrial robot and the world’s first industrial paint robot almost 40 years ago. To this day, ABB remains a market and technology leader in robotics with more than 230,000 robots delivered all over the world – one of the largest installed base of any robotics manufacturer.

The impact of these robots on manufacturing processes and industrial productivity has been nothing short of revolutionary. Their ability to perform the same sequence of tasks at a speed and precision that human beings cannot match has brought enormous benefits to manufacturers and elevated the nature of work for their employees.

ABB has literally thousands of customer installations where robotics solutions have achieved huge increases in output and product quality and similarly huge reductions in downtime, operating costs and floorspace requirements.

Dull, dirty, dangerous tasks like lifting heavy objects and grinding in foundries, have been eliminated and high rates of labor turnover reduced. The benefits are as widespread as they are significant.

Hardly a moment goes by without our using a product that was manufactured or handled by an ABB robot.

ABB robots play a significant albeit invisible role in daily life. From the moment we wake until the moment we go to bed, hardly a moment goes by without our using a product, appliance or piece of equipment that was manufactured by an ABB robot. For instance:

ABB robots pick, package and palletize the food and snacks we eat and the beverages we drink (see image above) for companies like Nestlé, Unilever and Cadbury.

They sand, finish, paint, package and palletize the furniture and flooring in our homes for two of the biggest names in the business – IKEA and Tarkett.

They weld, grind, polish and paint our PCs, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, cameras and game consoles for the world’s leading brands and manufacturers – Apple, Dell, Foxconn, Hewlett Packard, Motorola, Nokia and many more.

They make the solar panels on our roofs, the glassware on our tables, the building materials that made our homes, the ceramics in our bathrooms, and the cookers, dishwashers, plastic containers, wood cupboards and metal sinks in our kitchens.

And when we are ill, the tablets and other medications we take are picked, packaged and palletized by ABB robots on behalf of companies like AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson and Schering-Plough.

Above all, the cars, buses and trucks we drive are manufactured – either entirely or in part – by ABB robots. Most automotive manufacturers and their tier-1 suppliers use ABB robotics solutions for some or all of their manufacturing processes – in powertrain assembly, welding, press automation, body-in-white assembly and painting the final product.

Complete robotics solutions

ABB offers a complete capability in robotics solutions – including robots and controllers, application equipment and software, standardized manufacturing cells, and global service and support – and supports its customers with manufacturing facilities in Asia, Europe and North America, and dedicated sales and service operations in 53 countries and in more than 100 locations.

Please share your experience of how ABB robots touch our everyday lives in the comments section below.

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About the author

David Marshall

I am Head of Marketing Communications for ABB Robotics. I am a marketing communications specialist with in-depth knowledge of industrial robotics gained in over 30 years working in the industry. I have a passion for industrial robotics and a mission to communicate the benefits to all manufacturers.
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