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ABB - Abb News Story

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Last Trade - 16/04/21

Sector
Industrials
Size
Large Cap
Market Cap £48.98bn
Enterprise Value £49.53bn
Revenue £18.90bn
Position in Universe 187th / 6850

ABB's robots to meet post pandemic demand for workforce that never gets sick

Wed 24th February, 2021 12:08pm
By John Revill
    ZURICH, Feb 24 (Reuters) - ABB  ABBN.S  unveiled two
additions to its robot family on Wednesday which the Swiss
engineering company expects will tap into increased demand for
automated production after the COVID-19 crisis.
    More companies in pharmaceuticals, logistics, electronics
and food and beverage manufacturing want to use robots, ABB
said, with investment set to increase as companies emerge from
lockdowns.
    ABB, which saw a 90% surge in robot sales in China at the
end of 2020, hopes the GoFa and SWIFTI collaborative robots - or
cobots - can win orders from customers who have been forced to
shut down during lockdowns or have struggled with ill workers.
    "Customers want to be independent of these fluctuations in
future," said Sami Atiya, head of ABB's Robotics & Discrete
Automation business.
    "The question of resilience has become fundamental," he told
Reuters. "The pandemic has accelerated the mind-shift."
    The big advantage of robots - they don't catch coronavirus -
has led to ABB supplying Singapore with robots from its existing
product line to carry out 50,000 coronavirus tests per day. 
    Atiya said: "You cannot do this with humans, and with robots
you are not exposing them to health hazards."
    ABB expects robot demand to pick up after the pandemic,
citing its survey which showed 84% of 1,650 businesses intending
to introduce or increase their use of robots in the next decade.
    Atiya said companies were looking to spend more to raise
productivity levels after pausing investments last year.
    The demand for collaborative robots is estimated to grow 17%
per year, nearly double the rate for conventional robots,
according to analysis by ABB and Interact Analysis, a market
researcher.
    ABB, which competes with Japan's Fanuc Corp  6954.T  and
Germany's Kuka  KU2G.DE , also wants to reduce its reliance on
the automotive industry, where it generates around 40% of its
sales in robotics.
    It hopes the new machines will be attractive to faster
growing sectors like food and beverage, and balance the ups and
downs of carmaker demand which caused its overall robot sales to
drop 12% in 2020.
    The new GoFa and SWIFTI cobots, which cost $25,000 to
$35,000 each, are packed with sensors to prevent accidents and
so do away with the need for protective cages. Both robots are
faster than previous models, with the Swifti able to move its
arm at up to 5 meters per second while carrying a load of 5 kg. 
    They could be used by smaller companies like bakeries which
have never had a robot before, Atiya said, although they will
never totally replace humans.
    "I see our customers actually increasing their hiring," he
said. "The companies get more productive and have more work to
do, so people will do more rewarding and creative work while the
robots do the dirty and dull jobs."

 (Reporting by John Revill;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)
 ((John.Revill@thomsonreuters.com; +41 58306 7022; Reuters
Messaging: john.revill.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))
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