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ABB buys digital inspection specialist Nub3D


ABB has acquired Spanish startup Nub3D, which specialises in 3D inspection and quality-control solutions.

The company says the acquisition expands the group’s portfolio of ABB Ability solutions that connect customers to the industrial Internet of Things.

ABB Ability builds on the intelligent cloud, using connected devices to generate actionable digital information for a broad range of customers.

The financial value of the transaction has not been disclosed. 

Nub3D is a privately owned company headquartered in Barcelona. It supplies 3D white-light scanning sensor technologies, using digital scans to optimize inspection and quality assurance in manufacturing.

The sensors can detect defects on a manufactured part with an “extremely high level of accuracy”, claims the company.

By combining Nub3D’s expertise in 3D vision and metrology with ABB’s global reach, ABB says it will be able to create automated inspection and quality-control systems for sectors and companies including:

  • automotive original equipment manufacturers;
  • aerospace companies;
  • metals; and
  • plastics.

Nub3D already boasts customers which include Seat, Airbus, Toyota, and ZF, among others.

ABB says Nub3D’s technology represents the future of flexible manufacturing, enabling a high level of automation with advanced data analysis that can be used to optimize production processes.

Nub3D will become part of the Robotics business of ABB’s robotics and motion division and the new global application center for 3D metrology in ABB.

Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s robotics and motion division, says: “With this acquisition we are moving a step closer to the factory of the future.

“As our customers’ automation processes become more advanced and production cycles shorten, the ability to efficiently automate quality inspections becomes a compelling competitive advantage.

“Combining robotics and software is pivotal in implementing digitalization and expanding ABB Ability as a key driver of our ‘Next Level’ strategy.”

Manufacturers increasingly have to improve quality and productivity while accommodating greater product variation and customization in smaller lots.

According to the company, Nub3D’s 3D sensor technology rapidly records and compares highly detailed geometric and surface data with digital CAD models, enabling the automation of inspection of manufactured parts and pieces, helping factories to reduce cycle times while raising quality and reducing the risk of quality control errors.

Jorge Rodriguez, CEO of Nub3D, says: “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.”

ABB and Nub3D say they have already successfully introduced two “fully robotized state-of-the-art automatic quality inspection solutions” for off- and in-line inspection using Nub3D’s 3D white-light sensors, which are being marketed under the names FlexInspect and InspectPack.