How can a series of mirrors contribute to the discovery of new planets? How is electricity generated at 3,000 meters below sea level?  And what does the monitoring of industrial motors have in common with a conventional fitness tracker? Here, we take you through some of the most interesting facts and trivia of our company’s portfolio – with short, easy to understand explanations. Click on the + to learn more. 

Research with bees 

Did you know…


…ABB’s Corporate Research Center in Krakow, Poland, uses bees raised on its roof to support the en-vironment – and test computer algorithms? 

Between 50,000 to 100,000 bees occupy a mini-apiary on the roof of the building. Besides honey, the bees provide a great deal of very useful test data. The beehives enable researchers to test all aspects of data analysis – sensors, data acquisition, data analysis and data visualization. An application like bee identification, bee detection and bee tracking could directly translate into tracking objects on the factory floor or tracking shipping containers. 


The resulting data streams are used to test sensor techniques as well as analytical algorithms. For instance, the image from a camera directed at the hive’s entrance is useful in the development of an image detection system and counting objects based on video transmission. A lot of bees fly out of the hive at the same time, and the scientists try to find a method of counting them, taking into account their speed, small size and background. A large amount of quite exotic data allows the researchers to experiment. 

Azipod® electric propulsion 

Did you know…


…that the Azipod® electric propulsion system can turn 360°, allowing ships far greater maneuverability?


Azipod® is a gearless 360° steerable propulsion system, where the electric motor is located in a submerged pod outside the ship hull. By utilizing the Azipod® system’s maneuverability, marine vessels can direct thrust in any direction with incredible precision, saving time and fuel.


Launched in 1990, Azipod® technology marked a new era in ship propulsion. Since then, ABB’s Azipod® system has inspired naval architects to create more efficient and sustainable vessel designs. Azipod® propulsion has enabled vessels of all types, including passenger ships, cargo vessels and ice-breaking tankers to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20 percent compared to traditional shaftline systems over the last three decades, translating into over 1,000,000 tons of saved fuel and lower emissions for a more sustainable future.

Smart Sensors

Did you know…

… that a smart sensor, about the size of a smartphone, can convert traditional electric motors into smart, wirelessly connected devices?


The sensor can easily be installed on new and old motors from many manufacturers. Similar to a fitness tracker on your wrist, the smart sensor collects data, which is then analyzed in the cloud and displayed in an easy-to-use app, enabling technicians to monitor the condition of their industrial motors at a glance and plan required maintenance in advance. Smart sensors can reduce unplanned downtime by up to 70 percent and extend the lifetime of devices by 30 percent, significantly increasing energy efficiency by up to 10 percent.

Carbon-neutral production site

Did you know…

…ABB’s first CO2-neutral production site, located in Luedenscheid, Germany, saves more than 680 tons of CO2 a year?

The project is a proof-of-concept that it is possible to create and run a zero emissions factory. On sunny days, ABB products generate enough power to run the entire factory and even feed energy into the grid. Whenever the on-site solutions can’t cover a peak in energy demand, additional green energy is sourced from a provider, which guarantees 100% CO2-neutral production.

ABB’s Luedenscheid factory, which produces state-of-the art equipment for smart buildings, is powered by photovoltaic solar panels that cover approx. 7,300 square meters, installed on the on-site car park roof. After operating 12 months, the combination of solar power, smart energy management and a highly efficient energy network at the factory generated 1,190 MWh of energy – which equates to a carbon saving of 681 tons, and about as much as the annual demand from 360 private households.

The technical centerpiece of the system is the scalable energy management system OPTIMAX® from the ABB AbilityTM Energy Management for Sites suite. The digital solution provides for the constant surveillance and optimum control of energy production, consumption and storage and operates largely autonomously. This learning system calculates the optimum energy flow on the basis of predictive data and compensates for deviations in real time.