At a significant press conference this morning, ABB announced it will acquire ASTI Mobile Robotics Group (ASTI), a global autonomous mobile robot (AMR) manufacturer. This will expand ABB’s robotics and automation offering, making it the only company to offer a complete portfolio of flexible automation.
Founded in 1982, ASTI is headquartered in Burgos, Spain and employs over 300 people in Spain, France and Germany. It is majority-owned by Veronica Pascual Boé, who is also CEO. Today it supports one of Europe’s largest installed fleets of AMRs and has a customer base in automotive, logistics, food & beverage and pharmaceuticals in 20 countries. Since 2015, the company has enjoyed close to 30 per cent growth on an annual basis and is targeting approximately $50 million in revenue in 2021.
“With their industry-leading portfolio, comprehensive suite of software and deep domain expertise across growth segments, ASTI is the perfect choice for us as we support our customers with the next generation of flexible automation”, said Sami Atiya, President of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation business.
“With this acquisition, ABB will be the only company to offer a full automation portfolio of AMRs, robots and machine automation solutions, from production to logistics to point of consumption. This is a gamechanger for our customers as they adapt to the individualized consumer and seize opportunities presented by significant changes in consumer demand”.
ASTI’s AMR portfolio includes autonomous towing vehicles, goods-to-person solutions, unit carriers and box movers as well as a software offering, ranging from vehicle navigation and control, fleet and order management and cloud-based traceability systems. These technologies will be integrated with ABB’s portfolio of robots, machine automation, modular solutions and software suite including RobotStudio®, ABB Robotics’ simulation and programming tool.
ASTI’s headquarters in Burgos, Spain will become ABB’s AMR business headquarters, led by Pascual Boé, with core functions, including R&D, engineering, product and project value chain, continuing at ASTI’s facilities. ABB will also expand production capacity at the AMR business headquarters to support the planned sales expansion in Europe and the Americas.
To facilitate the growth potential for AMRs in China and Asia, ABB will also establish an Asia AMR hub, including full value chain and manufacturing, at its new robotics factory, which will open in Shanghai in 2022. China, the world’s largest robotics market, is projected to account for $1.8 billion of AMR sales annually by 2025.
Veronica Pascual Boé, ASTI CEO said: “ABB’s vision is a perfect match for us, as we both support our customers’ flexibility and competitiveness through accelerating automation in the workplace. This is the next exciting stage of our journey and together we will accelerate our innovation plans, expand our global customer service, partner network, production and execution capacity and leverage ABB’s market access globally and particularly in China. I am delighted to join the extended Robotics management team and lead the AMR business to deliver this ambitious growth plan.”
ABB Robotics’ acquisition comes shortly after the company’s announcements to expand robotics automation for new sectors and first-time users, including the launch of its new GoFa™ and SWIFTI™ collaborative robot families and its announcement that it will advance automation in the construction industry.
The acquisition, a key part of ABB’s external growth strategy, was signed on July 19 and is expected to close in mid-summer 2021. Both parties agreed not to disclose any details regarding the purchase price.
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