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ABB is the product of many acquisitions and mergers, but primarily the 1988 coming together of ASEA and BBC, formerly known as Brown Boveri, two of the proudest and best known names in European electrical engineering history.
Learn more about some of the companies that have contributed to shaping ABB.
Learn more about ABB's long history and a rich heritage of technology innovation.
ABB launches ABB Ability™ , its our unified, cross-industry digital offering — extending from device to edge to cloud — with devices, systems, solutions, services and a platform that enable our customers to know more, do more, do better, together
ABB unveils the future of human-robot collaboration: YuMi®. The innovative human-friendly dual arm robot with breakthrough functionality unlocks vast global additional automation potential in industry.
ABB successfully designs and develops a hybrid DC breaker suitable for the creation of large inter-regional DC grids. This breakthrough solves a technical challenge that has been left unresolved for over a hundred years and was perhaps one of the main influencers in the 'war of currents'.
NorNed, the longest submarine HVDC cable in the world at 580 km, links the power networks of Norway and the Netherlands with a transmission capacity of 700 MW.
ABB developed an awarding winning technology for the comprehensive recycling of contaminated sulphur hexafluoride (SF6 ) gas. The new technology was implemented at a dedicated gas recycling centre in Australia. The purity of recycled gas enables it to be reused again and again.
ABB delivers electricity through a DC (direct current) link originating 70 km away on land to a gas platform in the North Sea, helping avoid annual emissions of 230,000 tons of CO2 and 230 tons of NOX.
ABB launches its Extended Automation System 800xA providing a process automation system that has since been installed at thousands of medium to large process plants in the Oil & Gas, Chemical, Pulp & Paper, Metals, Mining and Life Sciences industries delivering continuous productivity improvements.
ABB links the AC (alternating current) networks of South Australia and Victoria with the world’s longest underground transmission, a 177 km HVDC Light cable with a capacity of 220 MW. ABB also linked Conneticut and Long Island with the world’s first extruded HVDC submarine transmission, a 40 km HVDC Light cable with a power rating of 330 MW.
ABB delivers world’s first commercial high-voltage shore-to-ship electric power, helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships berthed at the Swedish port of Gothenburg.
ASEA and BBC merge to form the new company, with headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. The new group, which started operations on Jan. 5, 1988, had revenues of $17 billion and employed 160,000 people around the world.
ASEA employs 71,000 people and reported revenues of $6.8 billion and income after financial items of $370 million.
BBC employs 97,000 people and reported revenues of $8.5 billion and an income after financial items of $132 million.
BBC builds the most powerful transformer in the world at 1,300 MVA (megavolt ampere)
ASEA launches one of the first industrial robots.
BBC builds the first 110 kV GIS (gas-insulated switchgear) allowing circuit breakers to operate safely in a confined space.
BBC develops the first gearless cement drive in the world.
ASEA installs the world’s first HVDC transmission line, providing 20 MW, 100 kV to the Isle of Gotland over a distance of 96 km.
The first MBB motor is produced at ASEA's Tottenham factory in Victoria, Australia
ASEA achieves a major technological breakthrough with the introduction of an improved thyristor able to handle substantially more electrical current than existing devices.
The first data transmission at carrier frequency is performed by BBC over a 735 kV high-voltage line to the power station control unit.
ASEA receives an order for 2 x 80MW generators for the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme (an order for two additional 80MW generators is received a year later) in New South Wales, Australia
ASEA designs and installs the first 400 kV AC cable – a 70 m low pressure oil-filled (LPOF) cable connecting an underground power station (built to withstand an atomic bomb) to the Swedish grid.
ASEA is the first company in the world to manufacture synthetic diamonds.
ASEA builds the world's first 120 MVA, 220 kV transformer in the Stockholm Elverks Värtanstation
BBC builds the first 110 kV high-speed air blast circuit breaker.
BBC obtains the patent for turbine rotors constructed from individual steel disks that are welded together.
The first turbo-alternator to be installed in Melbourne, Australia is order by the Melbourne City Council from ASEA Electric.
BBC builds the first combustion gas turbine for generating electricity.
BBC builds the first steam turbine in Europe.
ASEA builds the world's largest self-cooling transformer rated at 2,500 kVA (kilovolt ampere).
ASEA builds the first three-phase transmission system in Sweden
Brown Boveri supplies Europe’s first large-scale combined heat and power plant producing alternating current.
Elektriska Aktiebolaget merges with Wenströms & Granströms Elektriska Kraftbolag to form Allmänna Svenska Elektriska Aktiebolaget, later shortened to ASEA.
Charles E. L. Brown and Walter Boveri establish Brown, Boveri & Cie in Baden, Switzerland. Shortly afterward, Brown, Boveri is the first company to transmit high-voltage power.
Jonas Wenström invents the three phase system for generators, transformers and motors.
Ludvig Fredholm establishes Elektriska Aktiebolaget in Stockholm as manufacturers of electrical lighting and generators.