Case Studies - Successful Robotics Companies; Part One
Some successful robotics companies include ABB Robotics (ASEA Brown Boveri), Milacron, and Yaskawa. Milacron and ABB Robotics (ASEA Brown Boveri) pioneered advances in robotics and are among the world's first manufacturers of microcomputer-controlled robots. Both of them designed microcomputer-controlled robots for the industrial segment as far back as 1974, and several decades later, they are still pioneering innovations in the robotics sector. Research and development have been a "cornerstone of ABB's business model." Yaskawa Motoman leverages the "highest level of component development," as well as small series production and prototype construction, as a decisive competitive advantage to stay unbeaten/successful and adapt to changes in the robotic industry.
- The website of ABB is accessible via this link.
- ABB Robotics (ASEA Brown Boveri) is one of the most successful robotics companies based on revenue, innovative robots created, and the duration of its operation. Insights uncovered from its website reveals that it has been operational for over 40 years. The IRB 6 robot, is an innovative product of ABB that "kick-started the modern industrial robotics era." Several decades later, (in 2015), ABB made history again by producing YuMi, the "world's first truly" collaborative robot that operates with dual-arms.
- ABB reported revenue of US$9.14 billion under the Robotics and Motion division in 2019.
- A 2019 publication of the University of Udine on advances in historical studies reveals that, in 1974, a Swedish company ASEA (now known as ABB) commenced the production of "robots of the famous and successful IRB series." These robots were well "known worldwide" and had a typical orange color. The first robot of the IRB series was issued for over 20 years (the IRB-6) and was primarily employed on productive sites to handle complex tasks such as machining, arc-welding, among other tasks.
- IRB-6 was well-known for its ability to maneuver its way smoothly along continuous paths.
- Today, ABB is still operating its robotics line of business and is a leading supplier of industrial robots as well as equipment, robot software, and complete application solutions. ABB is currently present in 53 countries and has installed over 400,000 robots. ABB provides a broad network of services and solutions for the robotics industry.
- In 2002, ABB became the first company in the world, to sell up to 100,000 robots. In 2005, ABB launched 55 new products as well as robot functions, and four new robots (IRB 660, IRB 4450S, IRB 1600 and IRB 260).
- Apart from manufacturing robots that serve verticals/companies in welding and fabrication (companies that use robots for "machining, arc-welding," among other tasks), ABB provides robotic products and solutions for the "food and beverage" verticals.
- Fleet assessment companies, mining companies (coal mining companies), and transport companies are also among the consumers of ABB robotic products and services.
How ABB Has Stayed Successful/How it Adapts to Changes in the Robotic Industry
- ABB revealed that it leverages research and development projects in robotics/the use of AI in robotics for a while to stay unbeaten/successful and adapt to changes in the industry. Research and development have been a "cornerstone of ABB's business model." However, its research projects don't get much visibility until they get announced as new product releases/fully-baked products.
- ABB uses innovation to stay competitive, relevant, and successful amidst changes that have occurred in the robotic industry. ABB used innovations such as the IRB 6 robot, which was an innovative product to kick-start "the modern industrial robotics era." Several decades later, (in 2015), ABB made history again by producing YuMi, the "world's first truly" collaborative robot that operates with dual-arms.
- ABB has stayed successful and adapted to changes in the robotics industry by staying at the forefront and pioneering innovations in the robotics sector. Recently, ABB emerged winner on the list of the top ten most competitive as well as innovative products in the robot industry. ABB was acknowledged for its leading automation products as well as solutions for fully demonstrating technologies that portray its "market leadership in the automation field."
- ABB produces trusted products to stay successful and beat the competition in the robotics industry that is continuously changing. Its locally developed ACS580MV was recently awarded the "top 10 most trusted products." In 1998, ABB launched the FlexPicker robot, which was at that time, the "world's fastest pick and place robot." The company has stayed ahead of several other innovations in the robotic segment since its inception.
- One of ABB's innovations is making its robots safe and careful when working near humans. ABB has innovated a mode for its robots, which makes them safer "to work together with" and calls this innovative technology as SafeMove2 (second edition). Safe Move is usually installed on the robot controller and linked to sensors that continuously records the position of any present operators.
- Depending on an operator's position, ABB robots that have SafeMove2 function at different speeds. They function slower when a human is closer to them. The zones around the robots are supervised by sensors that control the speed of the robot.
- To stay competitive and successful, ABB is currently leading the way with innovations that are vital to an autonomous industrial future. Today's world has unprecedented technological changes, and digitalization and ABB is striving to write the future with investments and innovations in autonomous industrial systems that can adapt as well as "learn in changing situations." These new systems aim to improve productivity, energy efficiency, as well as safety.
- ABB also focuses on innovative solutions that are cost-effective, thereby appealing to consumers. ABB's single intuitive interface provides preventive, proactive, as well as timely supports for ABB customers and covers robot condition monitoring as well as diagnostics. The interface also offers back-up management, remote access, fleet assessment as well as asset optimization and helps customers to reduce the incident rate by as much as 25% while improving the speed of response and issue recovery by 60%.
- ABB covers a broad sector of the market and offers a broad category of robotic solutions to leverage the economies of scale and has about 147,000 employees. ABB Robotics is active in nearly 53 countries as well as over 100 locations and has shipped more than 400,000 robot solutions for a wide range of applications. ABB Robotics helps its customers to improve flexibility, efficiency, safety, and reliability, as it moves towards the connected and "collaborative factory of the future."
- The website of Milacron is accessible via this link.
- A brief 20th-century history of industrial robotics by the University of Udine reveals that Milacron is one of the successful robotics companies that has operated since 1974. Milacron developed/produced an innovative robot for the future that was called T3, "The Tomorrow Tool." This robot was installed across several automotive plants, especially Volvo plants within Sweden. Milacron's robot, the T3, was the "first commercially available minicomputer-controlled" robot to serve the industrial segment.
- Several decades later (after the production of the innovative T3 robot in 1974), Milacron is still among the robotic industry leaders in the supply of industrial robotic systems for plastics processing industries.
- Milacron produces robots for plastics processing verticals/industries.
- Milacron robots also serve companies in other verticals such as automotive, medical, food & beverage, consumer goods, electronics & telecom, aerospace, construction, and the packaging industry.
How Milacron Has Stayed Successful/How it Adapts to Changes in the Robotic Industry
- Milacron uses innovation to stay competitive, relevant, and successful amidst changes that have occurred in the robotic industry. In 1974, Milacron developed/produced an innovative robot for the future that was called T3, "The Tomorrow Tool.
- According to the book titled Robotics and Automation Handbook edited by Thomas R. Kurfess, Milacron was successful in 1973 by adapting to anticipated changes in the robotic sector through innovation. The company produced the first robotic arm that was controlled by a microcomputer known as the T3. A recent article by Milacron reveals that it leverages superior manufacturing techniques, "innovative engineering," and design as well as continuous improvement stay successful and also keep up with the demands of its customer base.
- Milacron offers a broad line of robotic solutions that span a wide range of applications, including pneumatic sprue pickers. It also provides servo sprue pickers for parts and runner separation, three-axis and five-axis servo traversing robotic systems, up to six-axis articulating robotic cells that have complete integration between processing machinery and their robotic cells.
- Milacron leverages research work to remain unbeaten/successful and also adapted to changes in the industry. According to the Institute for Research and Technology Transfer, research work on automation has "proven to enhance industrial competitiveness"; this process has also made it possible for several companies to operate more profitably. Companies/systems that have benefited from such research work include Milacron.
- The MILACRON TALON 208 Turning Center, the MILACRON SABRE 750 Vertical Machining Center, and the MILACRON T3-7776 Industrial Robot have benefited from innovative research work which has helped the parent company Milacron to implement changes/innovations relative to the "introduction of automation" in manufacturing.
- The website of Yaskawa is accessible via this link.
- A 2018 article of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Asia reveals that the region is known as the land of the rising robots. Sony and the Yaskawa Electric Corporation have led innovations in Japan in robotic development during the country's economic rise. Japan has remained the leader in robot production as well as the industrial use of robots for a long time.
- Yaskawa claims to have led the world's industrial robot market by releasing the first "all-electric industrial robot." The robot was known as "MOTOMAN" and was manufactured in Japan since 1977.
- Yaskawa has successfully commercialized and marketed robots that have various uses, ranging from arc welding (one area of its expertise) and spot welding. It has also produced material/goods handling robots, assembly robots, painting robots, robots used in the transfer of liquid crystal panels, as well as robots used in the "transfer of semiconductor wafers."
- Currently, Yaskawa has over 300,000 Motoman robots operational globally. The jobs of these robots vary widely based on the extent/areas of operations of the companies using them.
- Yaskawa provides robots that serve the vertical segment of various industries in the automobile markets and various other fields. The company is known to offer arc and spot welding robots, painting robots, handling robots, clean/vacuum transfer robots used in the semiconductor industry, and LCD- manufacturing sectors.
How Yaskawa Has Stayed Successful/How it Adapts to Changes in the Robotic Industry
- According to the Wiley Online Library, Yaskawa Motoman MC2000II leverages the "highest level of component development," prototype construction as well as small series production as a decisive competitive advantage to stay unbeaten/successful and adapt to changes in the robotic industry.
- According to Yaskawa, robotics keep evolving by "taking up new challenges." The company adapted in 1977 by leading the world's industrial robot market through an innovative release of the world's first "all-electric industrial robot," known as MOTOMAN in Japan.
- In response to changes that transformed "the robotics industry" in the 1990s, such as advances in computing power, Yaskawa released the Motoman MRC that could "synchronize motions between two robots." The Motoman MRC features had an impressive ability and controlled 21 axes at once.
- Yaskawa produces highly affordable robots to stay unbeaten/successful in the robotic industry. An Industrial Robotics Handbook by V. Daniel Hunt (recently rated 5-stars by two users) reveal that Yaskawa has dominated the "arc welding robots applications" market by leveraging low-priced playback robots.
- Yaskawa leverages a broad range (an extensive "product lineup") of optimum robots that are centered on arc welding, one of its areas of expertise to prepare for/cater to "new challenges" caused by evolution in the robotics sector. Various robots designed by Yaskawa cater for arc welding, spot welding, and different other functions in the industrial automotive and other segments.
- Recently, Yaskawa has been enhancing its efforts in robotics across "the food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and biomedical markets." It has also taken on new challenges by expanding into several other fields where robots are applied.
- To stay successful, Yaskawa Robotics leverages research and development. It currently operates the Yaskawa Motoman Robotics Lab in collaboration with the University of Dayton, Ohio. The laboratory seeks to make advancements in visual servoing, metrology, and calibration, real-time control as well as other topics relevant within industrial robotics.
The research investigates case studies of successful robotics companies. The study has reviewed several academic, scholarly, and other documents. It has also included the websites of the manufacturers of robots. The study considers the length of operation (several decades for ABB and Milacron), innovations in robotics, and revenue as some factors used in determining successful robotics companies.