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Abb Survey Reveals Need for Global Automotive Supply Chain to Embrace Automation

  • Global ABB Automotive Manufacturing Outlook Survey confirms automation and robotics are crucial to the future of the industry
  • New OEMs and start-ups lead the charge, while suppliers are lagging behind
  • ABB’s flexible and smart solutions make automation viable for companies of all sizes

A new global survey commissioned by ABB Robotics and conducted by Automotive Manufacturing Solutions (AMS) concludes that while automation is considered critical to the future of the automotive industry, many companies in the supply chain have yet to take advantage of the benefits offered by robotics and digitalization.

Almost all respondents (97%) believe that automation and robotics will transform the automotive industry over the next five years, with a similar number (96%) predicting that software, digitalization and data management will be equally significant. When asked about the pace of investment, most believed that new OEMs and start-ups were well ahead of the curve, investing either ‘very well’ (38%) or ‘quite well’ (28%), followed by legacy OEMs who were thought to be embracing automation ‘very well’ by 31%. However, only 7% believed that Tier 2 suppliers were making the necessary investment, with Tier 3 suppliers further behind with only 3%.

Automation has traditionally been seen as the preserve of only the very largest manufacturers.

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Joerg Reger, Managing Director of ABB Robotics Automotive Business Line

But the reality is that ABB’s comprehensive portfolio, spanning everything from collaborative robots (cobots), large industrial robots and AI-powered Autonomous Mobile Robots, all powered by leading software solutions, can address the challenges faced by even the smallest producers. Automation can make smaller companies more resilient, flexible and efficient.

Joerg Reger, Managing Director of ABB Robotics Automotive Business Line

For example, ABB’s dual-armed YuMi® cobots have recently helped Japan’s SUS Corporation, a supplier of die-cast aluminum components, to reduce assembly time and increase productivity by 20 percent. Introducing this much-needed flexibility enables the company to respond to fluctuations in demand, with payback on the company’s investment expected within two years.

While both new and established manufacturers are making key investments, the essential upstream supply chain supporting them is not moving as quickly. This could prove problematic in terms of costs and also the speed new and increasingly complex components for EVs and connected cars are delivered to the factory. Affordable and practical automation and robotics needs to be available to the entire industry.

Daniel Harrison, Automotive Analyst from Automotive Manufacturing Solutions (AMS)

The ABB survey gathered opinions on a range of topics from a comprehensive mix of nearly 400 industry experts from vehicle manufacturers and suppliers at all levels of management and engineering as well as other key professionals throughout the automotive world.

Further insights from the ABB AMS Automotive Manufacturing Outlook Survey can be found here: LINK


(ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) ABB is a technology leader in electrification and automation, enabling a more sustainable and resource-efficient future. The company’s solutions connect engineering know-how and software to optimize how things are manufactured, moved, powered and operated. Building on more than 130 years of excellence, ABB’s ~105,000 employees are committed to driving innovations that accelerate industrial transformation.

ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation

As one of the world’s leading robotics and machine automation suppliers, is the only company with a comprehensive and integrated portfolio covering robots, Autonomous Mobile Robots and machine automation solutions, designed and orchestrated by our value-creating software. We help companies of all sizes and sectors – from automotive to electronics and logistics – become more resilient, flexible and efficient. ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation supports customers in the transition towards the connected and collaborative factory of the future. The business area employs approximately 11,000 people at over 100 locations in approximately 53 countries. go.abb/robotics

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