Recycling Ageing Robots

Sending old bots to rehab can add new capabilities like simulation, collaboration, Swiss robot vendor ABB says.

Industrial robotics vendor ABB is offering to buy inactive or legacy robots from users and refurbish them. The program can reduce maintenance costs and maximize return on investment for users.

Zurich, Switzerland-based ABB will recycle or remanufacture the old bots, extending their useful life and maximizing return on investment (ROI) for end-users.

Recycling Ageing Robots with ABB

ABB design and manufacture robots that perform a variety of tasks. Vertical packing and high speed sorting robots, to on-demand picking robots. On-demand picking robots that act as a robot to human interface, collecting items and bringing them to the human operator are very popular in warehouses these days. Both Amazon and Alibaba invested heavily in these technologies. The company has also partnered with artificial intelligence (AI) company Covariant and logistics systems supplier Knapp

Robotics for use in warehouse automation was once considered to be cutting edge technology, but have become more mainstream in recent years. There is now a market for second-hand warehouse robotics and refurbished units can be re-sold. Over the last 25 years, ABB has refurbished and upgraded thousands of pre-owned robots, returning or reselling the equipment in “like new” condition.

“Unlike third-party refurbishes who only fix faulty parts, we completely remanufacture our robots using original ABB design plans, specifications and dimensional data. This guarantees that the robots offer the same levels of quality, performance, durability, and safety as a new ABB robot,” Jan Borsky, sales manager of ABB’s Global Remanufacture & Workshop Repair Centers, said in a release. “We have one of the largest inventories of pre-owned and reconditioned robots across the world, with 400 robots of various types in stock for sale, and currently the demand for second life robots is so high that we have more than one robot leaving our Ostrava facility every working day.”

ABB have a worldwide network of remanufacturing facilities with locations in Ostrava – Czech Republic, Auburn Hills – Michigan, Shanghai – China. They also operate local remanufacturing facilities in Brazil, Mexico, Germany and Vietnam.

As well as refurbishing the robots, ABB can also upgrade most models, adding the latest controller to unlock new functionalities such as ABB Ability Connected services or the latest version of RobotStudio, the company’s simulation and offline programming software. Upgrades can also enable collaborative robotics, with the company’s SafeMove software equipping robots to work alongside operators without the need for extensive guarding.

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