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What ABB would like its customers to know

What ABB would like its customers to know
Given the projected rise in the use of industrial robots across the globe, solution providers in this sector are keen to ensure that their customers remain informed of the best practices. According to Allied Market Research, the industrial automation market is expected to grow at over 9 percent between 2017 and 2023. Factors such as rising labor costs and difficulty in finding skilled personnel could contribute to this.

One of the major players in this industry, ABB, has a few points to share with its customers regarding this. Speaking to recently, Hui Zhang, Product Manager for Robotics at the company, elaborated on this, while acknowledging that ABB’s customers are generally well aware of the business and its challenges.

“The best synergies come when we combine our customer’s knowledge with our application expertise, Zhang said. “This is much more than just selecting robots – it’s about answering questions together like ‘What is possible?’ and ‘What can we do better?’. Some countries and some industries are really leading in innovation and doing exciting new things in terms of human/robot collaboration and digitalization.”

According to him, a great example of this is the automotive industry, which uses everything from smart gloves to augmented reality to help people be more productive.

“We like to use examples from these innovators to help other countries and industries learn and unlock equal benefits,” Zhang added.  “ABB also works with a network of Value Providers, who are well-named as this is exactly what they do. They provide our customers with automation solutions that create value. Manufacturers and ABB would certainly benefit from more value providers, especially ones that understand the possibilities of collaborative automation and are fluent in digital.”

Increased need to digitize

The digital revolution that began a couple of decades ago has reached almost every market these days, including both consumer and industrial. Security solutions, for instance, are increasingly becoming IP-based, paving way for better integration and more possibilities.

Zhang suggests that companies would benefit from a stronger commitment to digitization. Although many businesses recognize the need to digitize, there is a lack of clear strategy.

“Embracing new technologies and the new opportunities while ensuring a smooth transition for analog to digital manufacturing,” he said. “This includes programs to ensure workers have access to lifelong learning, so they have the critical skills to help manufacturers adapt and thrive under the ‘new normal’ of mass customization.”

Need to collaborate more

Customizing automation solutions with a clear understanding of the requirements is crucial to ensuring that the robots are optimized to boost productivity. To this end, Zhang suggests that customers should work closely with ABB from the initial stages.

“Increased collaboration – involving our experts early in the process so we can co-create tailored solutions together rather than just supplying robots to a specification,” Zhang said. “The pace of innovation is so fast these days that it is difficult for manufacturers and even some system integrators to stay current on the latest capabilities of our robots. The best results come from a collaborative approach with a mix of experts.”

Collaboration also applies to policymakers, NGOs, and the academic community as well as private business, he concluded. The countries that are leading the world in manufacturing today are ones with specific initiatives to support smarter factories, from incentives and training initiatives to favorable innovation policies and sensible regulation.

Bottom line

For companies that are considering automating their industrial processes, ABB’s suggestions would come as helpful. The key takeaway here is that companies should be able to rethink the possibilities and work alongside experts to get the solution that is optimized best to their requirements.

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