ABB announces that it plans to acquire ASTI Mobile Robotics Group (ASTI), and expand the ABB robotics product family beyond industrial and collaborative robot manipulators. The announcement follows the recent news earlier this month of the acquisition of Fetch Robotics by Zebra Technologies, however, these two respective acquisitions are vastly different in their intention and focus.
ABB is looking to extend its robotics portfolio, while leveraging its existing sales and partner channel. The Fetch acquisition was an opportunity for Zebra to quickly expand its reach within the warehouse automation market.
The race is on to marry existing industrial robotics with mobile robotics
This ABB acquisition is closer in structure to the 2016 acquisition of Adept Technology by OMRON. ABB is ranked number four in the world as a robotics provider, and they were one of the largest remaining robotics companies without any mobile robot products in their portfolio.
ASTI solutions are currently selling at a revenue of $50M per year with a 30% annual growth rate. With the ABB sales and partner network, ASTI will now expand their reach from 20 companies to 53 companies worldwide, including China.
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. 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 significantly 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.
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.
Atiya went on to say, “We bought a very successful company that we will enhance and grow even further, our target is to grow above the market. We will also look for innovative solutions that combine ASTI products with our (ABB) solutions.”
“On the R&D side, we will be connecting our full portfolio to (ABB) Robot Studio along with all of the current digital tools and the next generation tools that connect all robots”, commented ASTI CEO Veronica Pascual Boé.
The Robot Report will dive deeper into the acquisition details and the ABB portfolio in an upcoming story.