2021 ABB Cup Innovation Contest kicks off

  • Driving innovation, digitalization and the cultivation of talents for smart industry through contest plus mentoring
  • Expanding the open platform with a history of 16 years for young students to challenge themselves and explore new possibilities

The 2021 ABB Cup Innovation Contest, jointly hosted by ABB and the Chinese Association of Automation (CAA), officially kicked off today. With a vision that intelligent technologies create and lead the future, the contest aims to encourage innovation and to better support the cultivation of local digital technology talents. This year’s contest contains two groups: Challenge Group for RobotStudio®-based Tetris competition and Skillset Group focusing on cobot graphic programming and development, in an attempt to intertwine the amusing with the educational.

The wide application of smart and digital technologies is further accelerating the transformation of industry, energy, transportation and infrastructure, enhancing efficiency and quality and promoting sustainability. "China’s high-quality economic development depends on the high-level technical professionals. The country is attaching great importance to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, and fostering the cultivation path covering skilled workers, technical personnel, highly skilled talents, and high-level craftsmen. " said Dr. Chunyuan Gu, Chairman of ABB China, "In line with this trend, we hope the annual ABB Innovation Contest can build an open platform for young talents to exchange innovative ideas and explore new possibilities, supporting the cultivation of inter-disciplinary and innovative talents and promoting the deep integration of information technology and industry expertise. "

ABB invites students from universities and vocational schools in China including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan to join the contest in teams or individually. In context of the pandemic prevention and control, the contest will be held online and offline, last until the end of September 2021. A number of livestreaming Q&A sessions will be organized to provide training materials and answer inquiries from students. In addition to the awards, the winners will be invited to the final which will be held at China International Industrial Fair in Shanghai, and also win the “green cards” which give priority to internship and job opportunities at ABB.

As China accelerates the construction of "new infrastructure" and the development of intelligent manufacturing, the demand for industrial robots in this market continues to grow with more diversified industrial application scenarios. Digital technologies make robots smarter. For example, ABB's stimulation and offline programming software RobotStudio® and the new Wizard easy programming software have greatly improved the ease of use of robots, significantly shortened the learning curve for new users, and thus lowed the threshold of robot adoption. In the 2021 contest, contestants can select one of the two topics designed about robot software algorithm and graphical programming according to their specialties and interests.

Challenge Group: RobotStudio®-based Tetris competition

ABB’s simulation and offline programming software RobotStudio® allows programming and simulating the installation of robots in a virtual environment. By leveraging RobotStudio®, the contest topic of the Challenge Group matches the challenges of palletizing application in the real world to the classic game of Tetris which makes the competition more interesting. Contestants are expected to learn and use the robot programming software, to design the path of picking and palletizing with a focus on the rigor of algorithms and even the overall thinking in total solution’s design and optimization.

Skillset Group: Cobot graphic programming and development

Cobot is a new milestone in the development of robots. ABB is expanding its cobot portfolio with the new GoFa™ and SWIFTI™ cobot families which are easier to use and deploy. The new cobots are intuitively designed so users do not need to rely on in-house programming specialists, instead they can operate the cobots within minutes of installation with no specialized training. Contestants in the Skillset Group will complete two tasks, including offline programming and virtual simulation by using Wizard, and innovative applications of cobots in production and life together with graphical instructions.

With a history of 16 years, ABB Cup Innovation Contest combines the previous two annual contests – the ABB Cup National Automation System Engineer Thesis Contest which was co-organized by CAA and ABB in 2005 and the ABB University Innovation Contest, which was initiated in 2012. By now, the contest has attracted more than 20,000 contestants, accumulated a large number of outstanding works and innovations. The contest has also received great support from CAA, the Swiss Embassy in China as well as many industry experts and the media.

Dr. Nan Zhang, Secretary of CAA, the co-organizer of ABB Cup Innovation Contest said, "CAA has always attached great importance to China’s talent cultivation. By working with industry leaders, we are actively building bridges between industry and academia. As one of CAA’s most important events, the ABB Cup Innovation Contest has been developing and upgrading in the past sixteen years. We look forward to seeing more good works in the fields of human-machine cooperation and integration for high-end manufacturing and intelligent services. Along this process, we also hope the contest will benefit more young talents and contribute to the fast development of China’s intelligent industry."

The Contest is also one of the key projects that ABB supports Sino-Swiss innovative cooperation, getting long-term support from the Embassy of Switzerland in China. Mr. Thomas Staehli, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Switzerland in China sent his messages to the contest in which he said: “Innovation is a key area of cooperation between Switzerland and China, and talent cultivation builds the foundation of every country’s innovation capacity. I am very pleased to see that ABB’s state of the art solutions of promoting smart technology paired with its decisive focus on the cultivation of local talents will further accelerate the digital revolution and contribute to a sustainable development in the future.”

Innovation has been in ABB’s DNA since the company was founded more than 130 years ago, pushing the boundaries of technology to enable industrial transformation and sustainable development. ABB continues to invest in R&D innovation. In 2020, ABB has increased R&D and digital spend to 4.8 percent of Group revenues, corresponding to around $1.3 billion. The company employs some 7,000 researchers globally, of which more than 60 percent are focused on software development and digitalization. ABB also partners with more than 100 leading universities around the world. China is not only the second largest market for ABB, but also one of the most important manufacturing and R&D bases. Last year, the China local R&D team filed 11 percent more patent applications than in the previous year.

Please visit the official website of 2021 ABB Cup Innovation Contest for more details on the topics, schedule, registration, awards and evaluation criteria of the contest.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 105,000 talented employees in over 100 countries. www.abb.com

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