Expansion for ABB with €100 million Austrian innovation facility

Digital technology group ABB is investing €100 million in its recently acquired business, B&R (Bernecker and Rainer Industrie-Elektronik), for a major new innovation campus.

Investment in the site at Eggelsberg, Austria, reportedly represents the largest single project in industrial automation within the company’s history of over 130 years.

It is expected to create around 1,000 new job, and is part of the company’s broader expansion strategy, which presently totals $1.4 billion in annual research and development.

As the business, which produces a number of systems used within confectionery and bakery, explained, the new innovation and training campus will develop technologies for the factory of the future, based on ABB AbilityTM. This will be undertaken autonomously by smart and cloud-connected machines and robots.

The new research and development campus will cover 35,000 m² and be home to a significant number of state-of-the-art facilities. Alongside ultra-modern R&D laboratories.

Its new facilities will develop and test new automation technologies, from industrial control systems up to machine learning and artificial intelligence, there will be an Automation Academy to train and educate customers, partners and employees.

The ground-breaking ceremony is planned for this summer, and the new campus is expected to be up and running in the course of 2020. Once complete, the Eggelsberg site will be one of ABB’s largest research and development centers.

“B&R has had an excellent start within ABB and has exceeded our expectations. We are well on track to achieve our goal of revenues of more than $1 billion soon,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer, at a press conference in Linz with the Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz.

He added: “With our €100 million investment, we are strengthening this dynamic and the pillars of this success story: innovation and people. In addition to the new research and development capacity, our investment will expand B&R’s automation academy, offering customers, partners and employees globally unique education and training programmes.

“With this clear commitment to the Eggelsberg location, ABB has established itself as the market leader in automation in Austria.”

Hans Wimmer, Managing Director of B&R added that there will also be benefits to the country’s education sector. He explained that it would further strengthen its relationship with universities and higher technical institutes.

“This is a great day for B&R,” added Josef Rainer, co-founder of Bernecker & Rainer Industrie-Elektronik. “The smooth integration shows that the company Erwin Bernecker and I founded 39 years ago is in excellent hands. I am delighted that ABB continues to write and accelerate our success story with this historic investment.”

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