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ABB acquires Spanish 3D inspection pioneer, NUB3D

14 February, 2017

ABB has acquired a Spanish start-up company called NUB3D, which specialises in white-light 3D sensor technologies, which use digital scanning to optimise inspection and quality assurance in manufacturing. The sensors are said to detect defects in manufactured parts with high levels of accuracy.

NUB3D, which was founded in 1999, will join ABB’s robotics business, and become its new global application centre for 3D metrology.

The financial details of the deal have not been released. It follows an existing collaboration between the two companies which has resulted in a pair of robotised quality inspection systems for off- and in-line use, which are marketed under the names FlexInspect and InspectPack. 

ABB says that by combining NUB3D’s 3D vision and metrology with its own products and worldwide reach, it will be able to create automated turnkey inspection and quality-control systems.

The technology, it adds, represents the future of flexible manufacturing, enabling high levels of automation with advanced data analysis that can be used to optimise production processes.

NUB3D’s 3D sensor technology records detailed geometric and surface data and compares this with digital CAD models, thus automating the inspection of manufactured parts and pieces, and helping manufacturers to cut cycle times while raising quality and reducing the risk of quality control errors. It will help them to boost productivity while accommodating greater product variation and customisation in smaller batches. 

ABB and NUB3D have already collaborated to produce the Flexinspect robotic inspection system

“With this acquisition we are moving a step closer to the factory of the future,” says Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s Robotics and Motion division. “As our customers’ automation processes become more advanced and production cycles shorten, the ability to efficiently automate quality inspections becomes a compelling competitive advantage.”

The acquisition also expands the ABB Ability portfolio of cloud-based technologies that connect users to the industrial Internet of Things. “Combining robotics and software is pivotal in implementing digitalisation and expanding ABB Ability as a key driver of our Next Level strategy,” says Atiya.

Jorge Rodriguez, CEO of Barcelona-based NUB3D, adds that “this is the perfect time, and ABB is the perfect partner for us, to accelerate our expansion into the growing 3D metrology market. The ABB Ability platform perfectly complements our use of cutting-edge digital solutions, and ABB’s leading robotics portfolio and vast global footprint will ensure that we can make the most of our early-mover advantage in integrated robotic inspection solutions.”

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