July 20, 2021
ABB has announced it will acquire ASTI Mobile Robotics Group, a global provider of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). The acquisition will expand ABB’s robotics and automation offerings, giving it a complete portfolio for the next generation of flexible automation, the company said in a statement. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, but the deal is expected to close in mid-summer 2021.
Founded in 1982, ASTI is headquartered in Burgos, Spain, and employs more than 300 people in Spain, France, and Germany. The company is majority owned by Veronica Pascual Boé, who is also the company’s CEO. The company supports one of Europe’s largest installed fleets of AMRs, with a broad customer base in automotive, logistics, food & beverage, and pharmaceuticals in 20 countries. The company has enjoyed close to 30% growth on an annual basis since 2015, 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 and 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 game-changer for our customers as they adapt to the individualized consumer and seize opportunities presented by significant changes in consumer demand.”
AMRs support flexibility, from production, logistics, intralogistics and fulfillment, across retail and healthcare environments. The functionality will support ABB’s and ASTI’s vision to help customers replace linear production lines with fully flexible networks, where intelligent AMRs autonomously navigate materials, parts and finished products between smart-connected workstations in factories, logistics centers, laboratories, shops, or hospitals, ABB said. ASTI’s AMR portfolio includes autonomous towing vehicles, goods-to person solutions, unit carriers, and box movers. Its software includes vehicle navigation and control, fled and order management, and cloud-based traceability systems.
“ABB’s vision is a perfect match for us, as we both support our customers’ flexibility and competitiveness through accelerating automation in the workplace,” said Boé. “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 globally, and particularly in China.”
ABB said the AMRs will be integrated with its portfolio of robots, machine automation, modular solutions and software suite, including RobotStudio (its simulation and programming tool), creating a unique and comprehensive automation portfolio for customers. Both companies offer expertise in manufacturing industries, including automotive, food & beverage, and consumer packaged goods, as well as new growth segments in logistics, eCommerce, retail and health care. The company added that it plans to expand AMR sales and service support globally to 53 countries.
ASTI’s headquarters in Burgos, Spain, will become ABB’s AMR business headquarters, led by Boé, with core functions, including R&D, engineering, product and project value chain, continuing at ASTI’s facilities. ABB said it will expand production capacity at the AMR business headquarters to support a planned sales expansion in Europe and the Americas. The companies will also establish an Asia AMR hub, including full value chain and manufacturing, at a new robotics factory to open in Shanghai in 2022.