ZURICH, SWITZERLAND: (World View Media, Reuters)
Swiss engineering company ABB is putting its robots to work on construction sites to help the company’s robotics business recover after it was badly hit by the downturn in the automotive market in recent years.
ABB currently uses robots to install elevators, automate the production of components for prefabricated homes, or weld together steel reinforcement baskets to strengthen buildings.
Sami Atiya is the President of Robotics & Discrete Automation at ABB.
“We are developing new solutions for the construction industry because there is a perfect storm of high demand and the need for sustainable solutions and also lack of people who want or who are willing to work in this in this dangerous and dull work.”
While the company’s sales in the automotive market are estimated to grow by 3% to 5% in the coming years, Atiya told Reuters that the company’s pivot to construction looks to be a stronger bet.
”This is a high, high growth area for us. It is, I would say, where automotive was 40 to 50 years ago. So low density of automation. So we expect 20 to 30 percent growth. It’s still on a small base, but the industry will have a high demand for rapid automation to improve their quality and waste in this industry.”
ABB surveyed nearly 2,000 construction companies in Europe, China, and the U.S and 81% of them said they would start using or increase their use of construction robots in the next 10 years.
“Many customers are telling us there will be a renaissance of the type of work in construction, it’s going to be more automation, more software driven and so on. So it’s part of also revolutionising this industry’s type of work towards more software based skills.”
Selling robots systems can cost from $100,000 up to $1 million.
Atiya said he expected a recovery in the Americas and Europe, after orders fell in the first quarter and the “fantastic growth” in China to continue.
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