As part of a process to “streamline” its research and development operations, ABB, the Zurich, Switzerland-based automation technology group recently announced a net reduction in R&D personnel by 135 scientists at its European, U.S., and Asian centers. The cuts include the elimination of 210 jobs in Europe and an increase of 75 jobs in the United States and Asia.
According to ABB President and CEO Jörgen Centerman, the cuts are part of a desire to shift the company’s focus to technologies that increase productivity and sustainability for utility and industry customers, especially growth areas linked to ABB’s initiative called industrial information technology, or Industrial IT.
The shift will involve moving research initiatives into technologies like wireless communications in industrial plants and software developments. At a technology presentation held in front of members of the media at the company’s R&D laboratory in Dättwil, Switzerland, Centerman and chief technology officer Markus Bayegan outlined ABB’s the cuts and the company’s new strategy.
“With Industrial IT, we are developing a common architecture allowing customers to link our generic and branch-specific offerings—and third-party products—into more efficient manufacturing and business operations,” Centerman said.
ABB spent nearly 3% of its revenues, or $700 million, on R&D in 2000.