ABB buys Spanish robot maker in automation push

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    <p>By John Revill</p> <p>ZURICH, July 20 (Reuters) – ABB has bought Spanish robot maker ASTI Mobile Robotics Group in the Swiss engineering company’s latest move to diversify its robotics business beyond its traditional automotive base.</p> <p>ABB’s robotics business has been targeting other industrial sectors amid a downturn in the auto sector, its biggest customer.</p> <p>It announced on Tuesday the acquisition of ASTI, which makes autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), which can freely move around factory floors at up to 2 metres per second without following pre-installed tracks.</p> <p>It gave no financial terms.</p> <p>ASTI’s robots can tow and move boxes, and deliver components with payloads up to 2,000 kg.</p> <p>”AMRs are the ultimate, flexible robots,” said Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation business.

    “They are enabling the factory of the future.”</p> <p>”With the rise of e-commerce and 24-hour delivery from logistics centres there are many businesses which simply would not be able to operate without these machines,” ASTI CEO Veronica Pascual Boe told Reuters.</p> <p>Customers include Nestle, L’Oreal and Procter & Gamble.</p> <p>The global AMR market is growing at around 20% per year, according to ABB, and Judi Online is expected to reach $14 billion by 2025.</p> <p>”Our goal is to exceed the market growth,” Atiya said, adding further ABB acquisitions in robotics were possible.</p> <p>ABB, which competes with Japan’s FANUC and Germany’s Kuka in the robots market, said it used ASTI’s robots at its own factories before it decided to buy the privately held company.</p> <p>ASTI employs 300 and has seen sales grow 30% per year since 2015.

    The company targets sales of around $50 million this year. (Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Michael Shields)</p></div>
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