ABB targets construction with tech solutions
By Mike Hayes27 May 2021
Technology giant aims to drive uptake of automation and robotics, address skills shortage
Global technology giant ABB has announced a formal move into the construction industry.
The shift in strategy follows the publication of an ABB-commissioned survey of 1900 construction businesses, with 9 out of 10 predicting a skills crisis by 2030.
The company also reports that 81% of respondents expect to be utilising robotic technology within the next 10 years.
The Zurich-based technology company aims to drive the uptake of automation and robotics in a construction industry that has seen almost no productivity growth in the past 20 years. This compares less than favourably with manufacturing, which is reported to have approximately doubled its productivity over the same period.
ABB currently has robotic equipment operating on a number of pilot projects, including the production of prefabricated modular homes, a project which it says has increased in efficiency by 15%. Speed of delivery on the project was also increased by 38%, while waste was reduced by 30%.
Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation Business Area, said, “With so few construction businesses using automation today, there’s huge potential for us to transform the industry through robotics. Unlike building cars or assembling electronics, many techniques used in construction haven’t changed for generations, so we are developing new solutions to address key industry challenges.
“This new customer segment,” Atiya added, “will broaden our portfolio as part of a wider strategy to accelerate expansion in high-growth segments including electronics, healthcare, consumer goods, logistics and food and beverage, to meet the growing demand for automation across multiple industries.”
ABB will introduce products and solutions into the market, including robotic welding, 3D printing and digital logistics solutions, and is also working with several universities to develop new automated construction technologies.
A video describing ABB’s plans for increasing automation in construction is available to download below.
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