ABB Robotics
ABB’s expanded facility in Auburn Hills, Mich., is leveraging its engineering know-how and software, along with its partner ecosystem, to bolster a comprehensive AI-enabled product portfolio.

News Briefs: Coast-to-Coast Expansions Supporting Supply Chain

March 19, 2024
New training centers, upgraded facilities and expanded portfolios support investment in local supply chains.

Sourcing motion control components and robotics solutions that meet basic design specs can be complicated even in the most favorable scenarios. For their part, design engineers are trading off variables such as cost and delivery time to balance functionality and performance.

At the enterprise level, firms are responding by flexing strategic prowess in order to shape the direction of the supply chain while speeding up decision-making. A number of expansions across the United States support this narrative and call for long-term planning initiatives that will tighten the supply chain and address production delays head on.

U.S. Hub Develops and Manufactures AI-enabled Software and Hardware

ABB Robotics, for instance, announced a refitted U.S. robotics headquarters and manufacturing facility in Auburn Hills, Mich. in March 2024. The leader in electrification and automation said the expansion is part of a strategy to strengthen the company’s local-for-local footprint. The new facility marks the third global robotics factory expansion in three years across China, Europe and the Americas.

ABB said the $20 million investment will enhance its ability to serve as the leading strategic robotics partner for its growing customer base. The new Customer Experience Center spotlights the company’s hardware and software solutions, and is already pioneering the latest digital and AI-powered automation technologies for next generation robots. 

READ MORE: How PLM Can Improve Supply Chain and Design Synergy and Move Goods Faster

“Robotics and AI are essential tools for companies in addressing critical labor shortages, localized supply chains and the need to operate more sustainably,” noted Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s Robotics and Discrete Automation Business Area. “The advances in AI-driven software and hardware make our robots more accessible to a wider range of businesses, enabling them to increase resilience and become more competitive.”

Demonstration Lab Space Servicing OEI and OEM Partners

Heidenhain Corp. announced a new Silicon Valley headquarters in Fremont, Calif. The motion control technology leader said the 12,000-square-foot facility will serve double-duty for regional sales and support staff, as well as a 6,000-square-foot Manufacturing Innovation Hub.

The equipment demonstration lab space will be service collaborative projects with OEI/OEM partners seeking demonstration space in the Bay Area and focus on key market segments, including machine tool, semiconductor and automation equipment applications.

READ MORE: Reliability, Supply Chain Linked in New Survey

“As a foundation company, we promote the development of innovative applications within our core markets and we apply our motion control technologies to emerging high-growth application segments,” said David Doyle, president and CEO, Heidenhain Corp. “We represent 10 brands of products from within the Heidenhain Corporate Group and each brand offers unique strengths.”

Doyle noted the company will work closely with industry associations (including SEMI, AMT and A3) and will collaborate with industry partners in an effort to expand its involvement in workforce development across targeted industries.

“We hope to educate and train the future industry workforce in the use of linear, rotary and angle encoder technology, control electronics technology and related system integration,” Doyle said. “Our CNC programming software and integrated digital manufacturing technology, sold in conjunction with our OEM partner systems to the machine tool industry, is critical for expanding 5 Axis machining applications and supporting a growing user-base at Silicon Valley companies, where precision and accuracy are in high demand.”

Space, Medical Devices, Lab Automation, Digital Manufacturing and More

Beckhoff Automation has expanded its presence in the West Coast. The 4,100-square-foot office located in Greater Los Angeles will serve as a hub for events, seminars and customer meetings. 

Located four miles from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the Beckhoff office in El Segundo opens opportunities for providing cutting-edge automation solutions to the region’s high-tech industries. 

READ MORE: A Dynamic, Connected Supply Chain

“The Southern California territory has become one of the fastest growing areas for Beckhoff USA, with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) going from 22.5% to 69% in just the last two years,” said Joe Martin, regional director, Sales & Strategy, Beckhoff Automation LLC. “The predominant markets of entertainment, space, medical devices, lab automation and digital manufacturing fit perfectly with Beckhoff’s advanced automation technology. It was truly a no-brainer to open a new office in Los Angeles to keep accelerating our sales growth.” 

Plans are in the offing to relocate other U.S. facilities in 2024 in Austin and Chicago. Beckhoff’s U.S. headquarters is in the Minneapolis area.

About the Author

Rehana Begg | Editor-in-Chief, Machine Design

As Machine Design’s content lead, Rehana Begg is tasked with elevating the voice of the design and multi-disciplinary engineer in the face of digital transformation and engineering innovation. Begg has more than 24 years of editorial experience and has spent the past decade in the trenches of industrial manufacturing, focusing on new technologies, manufacturing innovation and business. Her B2B career has taken her from corporate boardrooms to plant floors and underground mining stopes, covering everything from automation & IIoT, robotics, mechanical design and additive manufacturing to plant operations, maintenance, reliability and continuous improvement. Begg holds an MBA, a Master of Journalism degree, and a BA (Hons.) in Political Science. She is committed to lifelong learning and feeds her passion for innovation in publishing, transparent science and clear communication by attending relevant conferences and seminars/workshops. 

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