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ABB makes digital services free to help maintain production

01 April, 2020

ABB’s Robotics and Discrete Automation business has announced that it will make key software services available free-of-charge to its customers until the end of 2020, to help them keep production lines going and to continue to function while many of their staff are working from home.

It says that many organisations can benefit from digital technologies that allow them to manage their production lines remotely and keep robotic systems running optimally with less human interaction – particularly given the current need for social distancing and remote working. Digital tools can also help them continue to work and prepare for projects that will be ready-to-go when employees return to the workplace.

The software that ABB is offering includes:

ABB Ability Connected Services - Condition Monitoring & Diagnostics This platform monitors the health and performance of single robots or entire fleets, helping to monitor and run robot systems remotely. It also allows service experts to address issues that could lead to costly unplanned stoppages before they occur.

RobotStudio ABB's simulation and offline programming software offers a digital replica (digital twin) of physical assets or systems so you can see what’s happening on production lines remotely. The offline programming tool allows users to create, simulate and test complete robot installations in virtual 3D environments without having to visit or disturb the production line. All RobotStudio functions, including Powerpacks and CAD convertors, digital twin and Virtual Reality meetings, will be available free-of-change.

Virtual Technical Support ABB is also offering free virtual technical support enabled via video (Skype, Zoom, Teams).

ABB's RobotStudio allows users to create, simulate and test robot installations in virtual 3D environments

ABB’s Electrification business has also announced that it will waive fees for 12 months for new subscriptions for its iUPSGuard software for hospitals, and for all new or renewed subscriptions for its ABB Ability Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) capabilities. The offer runs until the end of 2020.

ABB says that although it is not yet possible to determine the exact impact of Covid-19 on its first-quarter results, it expects revenues to decline in all its businesses relative to a year ago, while orders are less impacted. The Robotics & Discrete Automation business, which was already facing significant end-market headwinds from the automotive sector, remains “challenged”, with first-quarter orders and revenues both expected to decline by more than 20% year-on-year.

ABB adds that its three main production hubs in China – in Shanghai, Beijing and Xiamen – have largely returned to normal operation. While weakened demand in China, its second-largest market, will affect its first-quarter results, the Chinese business has been improving recently.

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