ABB Robot History

ABB robot history

ABB is the product of numerous acquisitions and mergers, yet has grown into becoming a leader in global power and automation technologies.  They are behind many innovations and technologies in modern society today. Everything ABB does focuses on improving quality, productivity, and efficiency while also minimizing the environmental impact. 

Although the head office is in Switzerland, ABB operates in more than 100 countries including the USA, Canada, and Mexico. The USA ABB Robotics headquarters is located in Auburn Hills, Michigan.


1987 - ASEA of Vasteras, Sweden (founded 1883) and BBC Brown Boveri Ltd of Baden, Switzerland, (founded 1891) announce plans to form ABB Asea Brown Boveri Ltd., headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. Each parent will hold 50 percent of the new company.

1988- Operations begin January 5, 1988. In the first year, some 15 acquisitions are made, amounting to US$ 544 million. Total employment worldwide at the end of the year is 169,500.

1989 - ABB purchases the worldwide power transmission and distribution operations of Westinghouse Electric Corp. of the U.S. and announces purchase of Stamford, Ct.-based Combustion Engineering Group for US $1.56 billion. In total, ABB purchases about 40 companies in 1989 for some US $3.09 billion. The number of employees in the Group rises to 189,500.

1990 - ABB begins an aggressive expansion in Eastern Europe and prepares for expansion into Asia. The rate of acquisition slows in the U.S. and Western Europe and a period of consolidation and restructuring in these regions begins. Acquisitions amount to US$ 700 million, while divestitures total approximately US $1.1 billion. Employment levels worldwide increase again to 215,150.

1991 - Investments in Eastern Germany continue and joint ventures or cooperative agreements are concluded in Czechoslovakia and Poland. At the end of the year, ABB employs about 10,000 people in Central and Eastern Europe. Acquisitions and divestitures each amounted to just over US $600 million in 1991. Employment fell to 214,400.

1992 - Recession management is accelerated. Employment in Central and Eastern Europe rises to 20,000 people in 30 companies. More than 20 new manufacturing and service units are created in the Asia-Pacific region through joint ventures, acquisitions, and greenfield investments. Acquisitions fall to US $253 million, while employment drops to 213,400.

1993 - The Group continues to expand in Europe (including the former Soviet Union), the Americas, and Asia Pacific. In April, ABB introduces the new GT24 and GT26 Advanced Cycle System gas turbines, which deliver up to 58 percent gross efficiency. Investment in acquisitions amount to US $211 million. Employment falls to 206,000.

1994 - Strong earnings growth in all industrial segments is fueled by demand recovery, especially in Western Europe and North America. Strategic acquisitions continue in Asia - including China, India, Vietnam, and Malaysia - and in Central and Eastern Europe. The Group continues to focus on improved large project management, technology transfer, and management training. Investment in acquisitions amounts to US $196 million. Overall employment rises to 208,000.

1995 -Both volume and profit rise in all segments and regions thanks to demand growth and continuing cost reductions. Demand for industrial products is strong in Europe, North America and Asia. While orders for new power generation equipment remain at low levels in Western Europe and North America, the profitable service and revamp business expands. ABB continues to expand its local presence in Asia and Central and Eastern Europe through internal growth, acquisitions and majority joint ventures.

1995-1996 - Contracts to build a gasification power plant in Italy, a combined-cycle power plant in Colombia, and coal-fired boilers in Indonesia are among the major orders. With an order announced in January 1996 for eight advanced high-efficiency GT24 gas turbines in South Korea, ABB is now selling this technology worldwide. In March, ABB announces the merger of its Transportation segment into a 50-50 joint venture with Daimler-Benz AG of Germany, effective January 1, 1996. ABB's worldwide employment rises to 210,000 from 208,000 in 1994.

1996 - Net income grew 16 percent on a comparable basis, excluding the one-time gain in 1995 from the merger of ABB's transportation activities into the joint venture with Daimler-Benz. Earnings were higher in the Industrial and Building Systems and Transmission and Distribution segments, driven mainly by a combination of demand growth and cost-cutting in the Industrial and Building Systems and Transmission and Distribution segments. Power Generation earnings are lower because of very competitive markets. Key acquisitions and joint ventures continue in strategic emerging and transition economies in Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Africa, as well as in traditional markets in Western Europe and North America.

1998- ABB launches a delta robot designed for picking and packing, called the FlexPicker.

2000- To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ABB delivered the first commercial high-voltage short-to-shop electric power.

2009 - ABB splits robotic division into two new groups called Discrete Low Voltage Products, and Automation and Motion.

2010-ABB links the Xiangjiaba hydropower plant in southwest China to Shanghai. 

2012- ABB helped to solve a technical challenge that has been left unresolved for over a hundred years. They designed and developed a hybrid DC breaker siutable for the creation of large inter-regional DC grids.  successfully designs and develops a hybrid DC breaker suitable for the creation of large inter-regional DC grids. 

We are really looking forward to seeing what other amazing innovations ABB will bring to this world! Contact RobotWorx today to start the integration of your ABB robot; 740-251-4312 or reach representatives online.

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