Roboshop as ABB proves star turn in Oxford Street
ABB Robotics has been showcasing one of its robots performing 3D printing in Selfridge’s Oxford Street store in London.
Throughout April the demonstration will feature in a window display with shoppers able to see an ABB robot 3D printing a variety of personalised designer objects made from Parley Ocean Plastic® – intercepted marine plastic debris collected from Parley’s Global Cleanup network.
The demo is part of Selfridges’ SUPERMARKET concept, which challenges consumers to think about how the goods they purchase are produced and the impact of this production on the environment.
Marc Segura, ABB’s Robotics Division President, said: “While expanded choice is great for consumers, it also comes at a cost to the environment, with products and packaging often being discarded with little thought about where they end up or whether they get recycled.
“By re-using plastic from the world’s oceans to print designer objects we help to highlight the important contribution of robots in creating the sustainable manufacturing processes central to a circular economy.”
Developed in partnership with environmental organisation and global network, Parley for the Oceans and innovative design brand, Nagami, the demonstration is using ABB’s simulation software, RobotStudio® and an IRB 6700 robot to create a variety of printed furniture, homeware, and other objects made from Parley Ocean Plastic®.
The robot is working with Nagami’s unique plastic extruder to print the objects which can be selected by customers on a screen and made to order on the premises.
As well as underlining the importance of eco-innovation, the demonstration will also help to highlight the wider potential of robotic automation in helping retailers attract customers into their stores.
Robots are already being used in increasing numbers in inventory and delivery management and in-store services, with research organisation Coherent Market Insights estimating a 30 per cent growth in the uptake of robots in retail by 2028.
“Robots are increasingly used to help draw customers back to the high street,” says Segura. “We believe that future adoption will be influenced by three main trends including micro-fulfilment, where robots are used in-store to enable order fulfilment and delivery; personalisation, where a robot makes a product to a customer’s specific requirements, with the added option of automatic personalisation where data on previous purchasing habits is used to offer new choices; and ‘retailtainment’, where the robot is used as part of an interactive display or show to inform or entertain customers.”
One example is ABB’s robotic demo at German fashion retailer Solebox’s store in Berlin, which picks shoes selected by customers using a screen. If the shoe doesn’t fit or the customer would like to try something else, the robot picks it up from the drawer and returns it to the shelf.
In China, a retail kiosk developed by Chinese mobile communications company, Huawei – strong in Cambridge – in conjunction with ABB, allows customers to collect a range of devices including smartphones and tablets.
Designed to be situated in high street locations, the kiosk uses ABB’s FlexBuffer system to select devices either ordered online or purchased onsite. Once selected, the products are placed into a collection drawer for the customer to take away.
ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation employs more than 11,000 people at over 100 locations including Milton Keynes in the East of England.