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ABB opens innovation, training campus for machine automation at B&R Austria

July 11, 2022

ABB opens new global innovation and training campus for machine automation at B&R, Austria. Source: ABB/B&R

ABB opened a new global innovation and training campus at the headquarters of B&R in Eggelsberg, Austria, its global center for machine and factory automation. The new campus will create as many as 1,000 additional jobs and includes research and development laboratories, as well as global training facilities for as many as 4,000 people per year in collaboration with universities. ABB invested $100.7 million in the expansion of the B&R headquarters.

ABB CEO Björn Rosengren said: "Innovation has been in ABB’s DNA for more than 130 years, and our division, B&R, is a true innovation hot-spot for the transformation towards more automated manufacturing. The official opening of this campus is a proud moment for our ABB as we create highly-skilled jobs while shaping the machines and factories of the future together with our customers.”

A hub for integrated production, research, and training in central Europe

The new campus expands the total area of B&R's headquarters to more than 100,000 square meters, making B&R one of the largest sites for integrated production, research and training in central Europe, with currently around 2,400 employees. The expansion will also free up space to serve as additional production capacity to meet increasing demand for B&R products.

Austria's Chancellor Karl Nehammer said: “Investments in our business location are always also investments in the future of Austria. The corona pandemic, disruptions in global supply chains and now the war in Ukraine clearly remind us that we need to become more independent if we want to be better prepared for future challenges. I am therefore pleased that ABB is taking an important step in bringing manufacturing back home with the opening of its new innovation and training campus. The new campus will not only be a driver for digitalization and automation, but also will create jobs and contribute to prosperity in Austria.

"In a rapidly changing world, facilities such as the new ABB global campus are of utmost importance to Austria’s role in the global economy and generate growth as a center for innovation and investment," Nehammer continued. "The ever-growing digitalization and automation of our industries will be key for the re-industrialization of Europe and also for bringing manufacturing back to Austria. By homeshoring industry, we are creating new jobs, securing Europe's supply chain and seizing the opportunities for a more sustainable future.”

Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation business area, added: “This is a decade of transformation towards robotics and automation as our customers respond to global labor and supply shortages, accelerating consumer demand for personalized products and the need to operate more sustainably. ABB’s new campus will serve as a customer collaboration center where we work with customers around the globe, helping them to respond to these trends and supporting B&R in becoming the partner of choice for the world’s most ambitious industrial automation projects.”

According to ABB research, eight out of 10 companies in Europe and the U.S. are planning to further automate, and seven out of 10 plan to near- or re-shore their production. The global addressable market volume for machine and factory automation is currently estimated at $20 billion p.a. and is expected to increase to $31 billion p.a. by the year 2030.

Open innovation and education hub to develop and train together

The ABB innovation and training campus will serve as an open innovation hub, where B&R will collaborate with international customers, companies and start-ups, as well as research and educational institutions to co-develop automation solutions and train the talents needed for the factories of the future.

"We are currently experiencing a record number of job vacancies in Austria. At the same time, more people are currently employed than ever before," said Austria's Minister of Labor Martin Kocher. "This makes it all the more important to counteract the skills gap that can be felt in Europe in order to keep pace with the digital transformation and seize the chances it provides. B&R's new campus with its dual training program is an important example of how to bring European manufacturing companies to the forefront of the world with skilling initiatives and innovation in order to successfully meet current economic and societal challenges."

Jörg Theis, president of B&R, added: “Education will be given highest priority at the campus. Our Automation Academy will offer inspiration and training opportunities for up to 4,000 students, apprentices, customers’ experts and employees from all around the world every year.”

Theis added that B&R plans to offer dual education at the university level in collaboration with higher education institutions.

B&R unveils new brand identity

With the new campus, B&R has also unveiled a new brand identity, creating a visual connection between B&R and ABB.

“Our new visual design underscores ABB’s strong commitment to B&R as a category brand and shows the strength of B&R and ABB as we grow together and work together. Being part of that bigger family creates many new possibilities for every employee to proactively shape their career,” said Theis.

Sustainable campus with one of the largest self-consumption PV systems in Austria

As part of its sustainability strategy 2030, ABB expects to achieve carbon neutrality across its own operations by the end of the decade. At B&R, ABB has installed a self-consumption photovoltaic (PV) system. Additional PV modules on the campus will now increase the total output to 1.8 MW. The self-consumption rate is approximately 98%.

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