ABB Begins Expansion of North American Robotics Headquarters

March 23, 2023 by Seth Price

ABB has begun the expansion to its North American robotics headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, strengthening its commitment to the Americas market and accelerating the development of the "next generation" of robots.

Construction began on a 20 million USD expansion of ABB Robotics' Auburn Hills, MI, robotics headquarters and factory. This latest expansion is expected to be completed by November 2023 and will produce robots that will likely serve in the electronic vehicle (EV), healthcare, packaging, and logistics markets. The new expansion is expected to bring 72 new high-tech jobs to the area. 

ABB recently received a performance-based $450,000 grant through the Michigan Business Development Program to expand this facility. 


ABB's latest expansion expected to bring 72 new high-tech jobs to Michigan area

ABB's latest expansion is expected to bring 72 new high-tech jobs to the area. Image used courtesy of ABB


Auburn Hills Robotics Factory

The Auburn Hills robotics factory and headquarters is currently a 538,000 ft2 facility that employs 350 people. With the coming expansion, virtually all parts of the facility will be upgraded to include flexible, modular cells to allow for rapid switching of product lines, artificial intelligence (AI) robots, autonomous robots, and many other state-of-the-art features. The upgrades will also include digital connectivity for control, data collection, and analysis. The result of the upgrades is that once the dust settles, the Auburn Hill Plant is expected to produce 90% of the robots for the Americas, including forecasted growth. 

Besides its growth, this facility will also support other ABB facilities in the United States, such as the ABB Robotics and Logistics Headquarters in Atlanta and the ABB Robotics and Lifesciences Healthcare Hub in Houston. 

Technician working with a Foundry 2 robot

Technician working with a Foundry 2 robot. Image used courtesy of ABB


The focus of this plant will also include recruiting and keeping top robotics talent. While many facilities turn to ABB to meet their automation needs, ABB also exists in the same world, looking for engineers and technicians to build the robots that everyone else needs. Therefore, management at the Auburn Hills plant is recruiting and learning what it takes to retain highly-skilled workers. With ABB's continuous expansion of facilities and forecasted growth, the organization has plenty of career opportunities. 


The Need for Expansion

As most industries suffer from a labor shortage, the need for more automation has become apparent. Labor costs have risen based on this shortage, and the improvements in computing have increased the Return on Investment (ROI). Now, more than ever, there is an economic driver for increasing the level of automation. According to a recent ABB survey, 70% of US and European manufacturing businesses are looking to expand automation capabilities due to labor shortages, reshoring efforts, or other such causes.


ABB's expansion is expected to be complete by November

ABB’s expansion is expected to be complete by November. Image used courtesy of ABB


Sami Atiya, president of ABB Robotics and Discrete Automation, said, "As the global mega trends of labor shortages, uncertainty, the near and reshoring of production, and a desire to operate more sustainably accelerate, more businesses are turning to automation to build resilience while improving efficiency and flexibility. Our expanded facility will help us better serve customers in the US and across the Americas, giving them access to innovative automated solutions." 


Accelerating Robotic Solutions

One of the striking parts of this particular upgrade is the speed at which it is occurring. By November of this year, the expansion is expected to be fully operational. It demonstrates the dire need for automation products and ABB's commitment to fill those needs, particularly in the US market.