AUBURN HILLS — The Zürich, Switzerland-based technology company ABB has sold its first robot manufactured in the United States.
The IRB 2600 robot is the first to be produced at the ABB Auburn Hills plant, and was sold by ABB reseller CIM Systems Inc., based in Milan, Italy, to Hitachi Powdered Metals USA Inc. of Greensburg, Ind.
The compact robot, painted with special commemorative red, white and blue paint, will be used for material handling of in-process engine component parts at the Hitachi plant. It is the 180th ABB robot at the Hitachi plant, which installed its first ABB robot in 2005.
“The sale of ABB’s first robot produced in the U.S. to Hitachi is a tremendous milestone in the development of our manufacturing presence in the Americas,” said Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s robotics and motion division. “It is a major step towards our goal of providing local customers with delivery schedules and technical support that are far superior to other robot manufacturers.”
Added James Adams, chief engineer of robots and automation at Hitachi: “Hitachi is honored to receive the U.S.-manufactured ABB robot. It will be prominently positioned on our plant floor to showcase the essential role ABB robots have in our operation, and our passion to keep production in the U.S. For a company of our size the volume of robots we have is unprecedented. I truly believe that if we didn’t have robots in our facility we wouldn’t be in business today.”
In May 2015, ABB announced that it would begin producing robots at its Auburn Hills plant, making it the first of the major industrial robot companies to fully commit to an American manufacturing footprint. The delivery of the first U.S.-manufactured robot is consistent with the production schedule announced at the factory opening. In addition to the IRB 2600, ABB will begin manufacturing other popular robot models in Auburn Hills this year. By 2018, the company plans to have 75 percent of the robots it sells to North American end users manufactured in the U.S. Previously ABB robots sold in the Americas were made in Sweden and in China.
ABB also recently expanded its commitment to customers in the region by opening a new packaging application center in Bloomfield, Conn., and an assembly and test application center in San Jose, Calif. Several years ago, ABB opened a handling and machining application center in Houston, Texas.
“We are proud to be involved in the placement of the first ABB robot manufactured in the United States,” said Dave Fox, president of CIM Systems Inc. “We have already seen a reduction in lead times since the Auburn Hills plant opened, and it has helped us get some business that was directly related to improved delivery turnaround.”
ABB Robotics provides robots, robot software, peripheral equipment, modular manufacturing cells, and service, for tasks such as welding, handling, assembly, painting and finishing, picking, packing, palletizing and machine tending. Markets include automotive, plastics, metal fabrication, foundry, electronics, machine tools, pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries. ABB has installed more than 300,000 robots worldwide.