The two main factors that helped ABB achieve this recognition
A newly published survey of leading Swiss decision-makers has recognized ABB as the country’s top innovator in industrial goods manufacturing, and one of its most innovative companies overall.
I think two things amongst many others earned us this incredible honor:
We have a tradition of being untraditional.
ABB employs around 8,000 people in research and development, and invests about 1.5 billion US dollars annually. This means that we have been innovating as a core competency for decades, serving as a pioneering technology leader for the industries and customers we serve.
For instance, while automation and robotics are hot these days, we were literally inventing that technology back in 1974, when we introduced the world’s first fully electric robot (the IR 6 was controlled using Intel’s first chipset). So it’s not surprising that we continue to innovate with YUMI, the world’s first collaborative dual arm robot, which is also the first robot able to safely share tasks with humans in small parts assembly environments (we introduced YUMI in 2015).
That same year, ABB was the first major industrial robot company to fully commit to an American manufacturing footprint; two years later, in March, 2017, we sold our first US-made robot, the IRB 2600.
We’re innovating digital.
Because we have been early and then gone deep in many industrial segments, we are uniquely able to help our customers navigate innovation; this encompasses not only bringing them the latest and best technology, but supporting it with integration and operational management.
Nowhere is ABB’s innovation leadership more apparent than in the digital platform we introduced in 2016, ABB AbilityTM, which is built on our expertise enabling our customers to optimize each new industrial development epoch.
Our offering takes the promise of big data and “closes the loop” by bringing it to the factory floor, ship at sea, even to each individual electrical transformer. ABB extended the Industrial Internet of Things to almost any low-voltage motor with the introduction of the ABB Ability Smart Sensor, a first-ever pocket-sized performance-measuring device.
Being recognized as an innovation leader is very important to us, because it’s core to who we are, and our customers value it.
So our marketing and communications colleagues get involved in the innovation process at a very early stage, and work collaboratively with those teams on messaging.
We bring media to visit customers and learn of their successes, and have expanded the opportunities for customers to showcase their innovations at major events; more than 10,000 joined us earlier this year in the US, and a similar event in China this week will feature about 5,000.
The ABB Review, which has been a leading technical journal for over 100 years, was recently redesigned for a broader public audience, in which we share our innovations so others can learn and build upon them.
Ultimately, I believe we earned the innovation honor because we continue to innovate ourselves.