ABB to introduce collaborative robots to medical laboratories at Texas healthcare hub | Automation.com

ABB to introduce collaborative robots to medical laboratories at Texas healthcare hub

ABB to introduce collaborative robots to medical laboratories at Texas healthcare hub

July 19, 2019 - ABB announced that it will introduce collaborative robots to medical laboratories as it opens a healthcare hub at the Texas Medical Center (TMC) innovation campus in Houston, Texas.

The facility will be ABB’s first dedicated healthcare research center when it opens in October 2019. ABB’s research teamwill work on the TMC campus with medical staff, scientists and engineers to develop non-surgical medical robotics systems, including logistics and next-generation automated laboratory technologies.

ABB has analyzed a range of current manual medical laboratory processes and estimates that 50% more tests could be carried out every year using automation, while training robots to undertake repetitive processes will reduce the need for people to do tasks which cause repetitive strain injury (RSI).

As the world population ages, countries are spending an increasingly larger proportion of their GDP on healthcare. In addition to improving the quality of patient care, increasing healthcare efficiency through automation can ease some of the societal, political and financial challenges that this will cause. The market for non-surgical medical robots is estimated to reach nearly 60,000 by 2025 with the market almost quadrupling vs. 2018, according to an internal ABB research.

ABB’s collaborative robots, which already operate in food and beverage laboratories worldwide, are suited to medical facilities as they don’t require safety fences to operate safely and efficiently alongside people. The robots will undertake a range of repetitive, delicate and time-consuming activities including dosing, mixing and pipetting tasks as well as sterile instrument kitting and centrifuge loading and unloading.

Houston is a focal point for medical technology research globally and the TMC innovation ecosystem is the location for ABB’s healthcare hub. A 20-strong team from ABB Robotics will work in the new 5,300 sq ft (500m2) research facility, which includes an automation laboratory and robot training facilities, as well as meeting spaces for co-developing solutions with innovation partners.

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