FILE PHOTO: Humanoider Robot YuMi conducts the Lucca Philharmonic Orchestra at a concert with the Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli (unseen) at the Verdi Theater in Pisa, Italy September 12, 2017. REUTERS / Remo Casilli / Archiv Photo
ZURICH (Reuters) – Robots will build robots in a new ABB plant ( ABBN.S ) in China. The Swiss engineering group said on Saturday that it wants to build $ 1
The factory near ABB's Chinese robot campus is expected to be operational by the end of 2020, producing robots for China and for export to other Asian countries. China is ABB's second largest market after the United States.
"Shanghai has become an important center of advanced technology leadership – for ABB and the world," said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer in a statement announcing the project.
With the expansion, ABB relies on Chinese robot sales that defy worries about trade tensions with the United States. Some fears may dampen demand for electronics, auto parts and other items that require automated manufacturing and robots.
China is expanding its robot labor force, where wages for human labor are rising and the country wants to compete with low-wage countries through greater automation. In 2017, one out of three robots sold worldwide went to China, where nearly 138,000 units were purchased.
ABB's new 75,000-square-foot factory will use software that will allow people and robots to work safely in close proximity, the company added, adding that its YuMi robots are also suitable for working with people are used in many small component assemblies for the production of an ABB robot.
Rival Kuka ( KU2G.DE ), which was taken over by China's Midea ( 000333.SZ ) two years ago, also expanded in the country, including through construction Robot park in Shunde near Hong Kong.
ABB, whose industrial robots are used for automotive and electronic equipment assembly, among others, is building robots for numerous industries at the Shanghai plant, a spokesman said.
There was no new employee for the factory, but said that it is increasing the robotics work that now sits with more than 2,000 ABB workers in China.
Reporting by John Miller; Edited by Alison Williams