ABB (5)

Tuesday, 21 February 2017 11:10

ABB Acquires NUB3D

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ABB announced that it has acquired the Spanish start-up company NUB3D, an innovator of digital, 3D inspection and quality-control solutions.

The acquisition expands the group’s portfolio of ABB Ability™ solutions that connect customers to the industrial Internet of Things. ABB Ability builds on the intelligent cloud, using connected devices to generate actionable digital information for a broad range of customers. The two companies have agreed not to disclose the value of the transaction.

NUB3D is a privately owned company headquartered in Barcelona. It supplies 3D white-light scanning sensor technologies, using digital scans to optimize inspection and quality assurance in manufacturing. The sensors can detect defects on a manufactured part with an extremely high level of accuracy.

By combining NUB3D’s proven world-class competence in 3D vision and metrology with ABB’s brand, worldwide reach, and offering and customer support, ABB will be able to create automated turnkey inspection and quality-control systems for automotive original equipment manufacturers, aerospace companies and customers in other sectors such as metals and plastics.

The technology represents the future of flexible manufacturing, enabling a high level of automation with advanced data analysis that can be used to optimize production processes. NUB3D will become part of the Robotics business of ABB’s Robotics and Motion division and the new global application center for 3D metrology in ABB.

“With this acquisition we are moving a step closer to the factory of the future. As our customers’ automation processes become more advanced and production cycles shorten, the ability to efficiently automate quality inspections becomes a compelling competitive advantage,” said Sami Atiya, President of ABB’s Robotics and Motion division. “Combining robotics and software is pivotal in implementing digitalization and expanding ABB Ability as a key driver of our Next Level strategy.”

Manufacturers increasingly have to improve quality and productivity while accommodating greater product variation and customization in smaller lots. NUB3D’s 3D sensor technology rapidly records and compares highly detailed geometric and surface data with digital CAD models, enabling the automation of inspection of manufactured parts and pieces, helping factories to reduce cycle times while raising quality and reducing the risk of quality control errors.

Jorge Rodriguez, CEO of NUB3D, added, “This is the perfect time and ABB is the perfect partner for us to accelerate our expansion into the growing 3D metrology market. The ABB Ability platform perfectly complements our use of cutting-edge digital solutions, and ABB’s leading robotics portfolio and vast global footprint will ensure that we can make the most of our early-mover advantage in integrated robotic inspection solutions.”

ABB and NUB3D have already successfully introduced two fully robotized state-of-the-art automatic quality inspection solutions for off- and in-line inspection using NUB3D’s 3D white-light sensors. They are marketed under the names FlexInspect and InspectPack.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016 14:17

Obama and Merkel Visit ABB at Hanover Fair

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama were the first to experience ABB's groundbreaking new smart sensor at Hanover Fair on Monday.

The two leaders were shown how ABB’s smart sensor can improve the productivity of hundreds of millions of electric motors by connecting them for the first time to cloud-based services."The smart sensor enables transcontinental industrial digitalization," said Spiesshofer.

"The sensor reduces the downtime of motors by up to 70 percent, extends their life span by up to 30 percent, and cuts energy consumption by as much as 10 percent. If all industrial electric motors worldwide were equipped with our smart sensors, the energy savings would be equivalent to the output of 100 large power plants."


Applications are now being accepted for the international ABB Research Award in Honor of Hubertus von Gruenberg. A call for applications to be submitted by January 31, 2016 has been issued to postgraduates in the fields of power and automation at universities or research institutions. The award carries a US$ 300,000 personal research grant.

With the grant money, ABB intends to provide the recipient with an opportunity to continue conducting advanced research in the chosen field, culminating in innovative results being presented to the international scientific and business communities. The award will be presented in mid-2016 at a gala awards ceremony in Switzerland.

“I’m looking forward to seeing a large number of applications,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, chief executive officer of the ABB Group. “At ABB, we want to facilitate the ability of young scientists to pursue their research and innovate in the fields of power and automation and, in doing so, give them a chance to enhance the performance of technologies used in the power, industry, transportation, and infrastructure sectors to improve productivity and reduce environmental impact.”

To be considered for the award, applicants must submit a letter of recommendation from their doctoral advisor in addition to their particulars including academic department, topic of the dissertation, an executive summary in English, and a brief description of the planned research project that the personal grant will be used to complete.

Outstanding dissertations in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, electronics, industrial software, artificial intelligence, robotics, process automation, or related disciplines which have been approved in the past three years — between 2013 and 2015 — can be submitted. Work in the fields mentioned above dealing with topics relevant to the utilities, industry, transportation, and infrastructure sectors will have good prospects for winning the award. ABB also values research that paves the way for pioneering industrial solutions through the creative use of software, electronics, or new materials.

A high-caliber international jury will select the best application. In addition to the fulfillment of all scientific and formal quality standards, the following criteria will inform the jury’s decision: potential for innovation, specific practical application, benefit to the environment and society, and a compelling presentation of the results.

ABB established the research award at the beginning of this year in honor of recent chairman of the Board of Directors Hubertus von Gruenberg. The grant will be awarded for the first time in 2016 and once every three years thereafter. Physicist Dr. Hubertus von Gruenberg has inspired the research award named after him by embodying the values it represents — dedication to science and commerce, a passion for research, business acumen, and the firm belief that innovation forms the foundation upon which sustainable growth and successful enterprises are built.

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ABB’s design concept for a small parts assembly robot, nicknamed FRIDA (Flexible Robot Industrial Dual Arm), has won the prestigious red dot "best of the best" product design award within the workplace category at this year's awards ceremony in Singapore.

The annual red dot award is a competition for design concepts and prototypes held annually in Singapore. The award is an internationally renowned seal of quality, judged by design industry heavyweights. The prestigious red dot "best of the best" award is presented to only the most outstanding design concepts.

This year, 3,536 projects from 54 countries were presented to the jury. After due deliberation, 252 concepts were awarded the red dot – 43 were honoured with the “red dot: best of the best” for outstanding design quality.

"Winning a red dot award is tremendously prestigious for us and we are honoured to receive this recognition of our work,” says Per-Vegard Nerseth, manager of ABB’s Robotics business unit. “ABB prides itself on developing leading edge and disruptive technologies. Our vision was to design a safe high-tech robot with innovative design features that allows it to work closely with humans. This global recognition of the ABB team's achievements fully endorses this approach and we will continue to work on developing this concept.”

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Manufacture of small precision castings for automotive industry with consistent quality and output requires specialized skill that can be provided only by industrial robots

Precision parts are what CIREX is all about. The company’s cast iron foundry makes the actual castings. The 14-step process starts with injection moulding, which creates a wax model of the product and an extension that allows them to be placed on a tree.

An IRB 2400 robot removes the moulds and creates the tree, each of which can carry up to about 80 moulds. These trees allow other robots to transport the moulds to the various parts of the manufacturing process, the first of which is to clean the wax patterns. Finished trees are dipped into a bath of molten ceramic, they are rotated in order to allow the excess liquid to fall back into the bath, and then the same robot takes them to a rainfall sander.

The trees are then left to dry, which takes around two hours. An ABB IRB 60 robot, in operation for over 100,000 hours, handles the moulds as this is a critical part of the process that requires strict quality control. Heating cannot be used to accelerate drying at this stage as the ceramic shell is very thin and could crack.

Dipping and sanding is repeated seven more times and heating is employed for this part of the process as it is less critical. The final result is a thick, protective covering that can withstand the 1000o C temperature of the furnace. However, before casting the wax has to be removed: this is done using high-pressure steam.

After casting there are various machining operations. The first involves degating - removing the part that attached the coated moulds to the tree and this is followed by a vibration process that removes the coating.

The final metallic castings are sand blasted, machined, visually inspected, ground, heat-treated and then they receive a final inspection. The whole process, from wax mould through to finished products takes around two weeks and involves seven robots. Throughput is one thousand castings a week.

The furnace and other parts of the plant are around 20 years old. Instead of being replaced, the company will implement a new production line in a brand-new building that is being built alongside the current plant. The new line is to increase capacity by 50%.

Two new heavy duty robots (IRB 7600) will be shortly be employed, one for picking and placing and the other for pouring the molten material. The robots have a lifting capacity of 500 kgs.

Director of CIREX, Jeroen Spoelder, says “The new production line will be state-of-the art, with the casting part being the only replacement. Right now it is the production bottleneck. The new 750 kW furnace will increase capacity by 50 percent and at the same time the use of heat exchangers means that it is environmentally friendly.”

CIREX is one of the world's largest investment casting foundries. CIREX produces high-grade components which are used worldwide by leading Original Equipment Manufacturers of automotive, process and machine construction industries.

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