Texas Medical Center and ABB Set to Bring Collaborative Robotics to Largest Medical City in the World

TMC Innovation
Jul 10 · 4 min read

HOUSTON, TX — Texas Medical Center (TMC), its Innovation Institute, and ABB, one of the world’s leading robotics companies, have announced a partnership that will introduce robotics expertise to the healthcare sector when it opens a new facility at the TMC Innovation Institute in October 2019.

The facility will be ABB’s first dedicated healthcare center which is strategically placed in the largest medical city in the world. The ABB team will work alongside medical staff, scientists, engineers, researchers, and investors from TMC member hospitals, blue-chip technology companies, and start-ups on the TMC Innovation campus to develop non-surgical medical robotics systems, including logistics and next-generation automated laboratory technologies.

Sami Atiya, President of ABB’s Robotics and Discrete Automation business said, “The next-generation laboratory processes developed in Houston will speed manual medical laboratory processes, reducing and eliminating bottlenecks in laboratory work and enhancing safety and consistency. This is especially applicable for new high-tech treatments, such as the cancer therapies pioneered at the Texas Medical Center, which today require manual and time-consuming test processes.”

“We are proud to co-develop collaborative robotics systems for the Hospital of the Future with one of the world’s most advanced partners and to test them in real-world laboratories to ensure they add value to healthcare professionals, driving innovation and transforming how medical laboratories operate worldwide,” added Atiya. “A key element of ABB’s long-term growth strategy is to continue to invest and innovate in service robotics, bringing our automation expertise to new areas such as healthcare and building on our automotive and electronics sectors business.”

With TMC — the largest medical city in the world — leading the way as the third coast for life sciences, the totality of the campus serves as a global focal point for medical technology research. Specifically, the TMC Innovation ecosystem represents the ideal location for ABB’s new healthcare hub.

“The Texas Medical Center continues to push the boundaries of innovation with cutting-edge industry partners by establishing TMC as the epicenter for ABB Robotics’ entry into the healthcare space,” emphasized Bill McKeon, President & CEO of Texas Medical Center. He added, “We continually strive for opportunities to accelerate research and enhance clinical care through key strategic partnerships­­­­­. ABB’s move into the heart of the Texas Medical Center campus with this first-of-its-kind R&D facility for creating robotics solutions in healthcare will set a new course for advancements in medicine.”

The TMC Innovation Institute has become a powerhouse for all facets of the entrepreneurial maturation process for startup companies in the health care space. The 251 companies entering the sphere of TMC Innovation have experienced a multitude of successes, including $900 million in total raised or committed funding across all companies, 371 customer engagements, and 10 investments from the TMC Venture Fund, a $25M fund that aims to help fill the early-stage funding gap in Houston.

A 20-strong team from ABB Robotics will work in the new 5,300-square-foot TMC Innovation-located facility, which includes an automation laboratory and robot training facilities, as well as meeting spaces for co-developing solutions with innovation partners.

ABB’s collaborative robots, which already operate in food and beverage laboratories worldwide, are well-suited to working in medical facilities as they do not require safety fences to operate safely and efficiently alongside people. The robots will undertake a range of repetitive, delicate, and time-consuming activities, including dosing, mixing, and pipetting tasks, as well as sterile instrument kitting and centrifuge loading and unloading.

“We are proud to co-develop collaborative robotics systems for the Hospital of the Future with one of the world’s most advanced partners and to test them in real-world laboratories to ensure they add value to healthcare professionals, driving innovation and transforming how medical laboratories operate worldwide,” added Atiya. “A key element of ABB’s long-term growth strategy is to continue to invest and innovate in service robotics, bringing our automation expertise to new areas such as healthcare and building on our automotive and electronics sectors business.”

ABOUT TMC INNOVATION

Texas Medical Center (TMC) — the largest medical city in the world — is at the forefront of advancing life sciences. Home to the brightest minds in medicine, TMC nurtures cross-institutional collaboration, creativity, and innovation among its 106,000-plus employees. With a campus of more than 50 million square feet, TMC annually hosts 10 million patients, performs over 180,000 surgeries, conducts over 750,000 ER visits, performs close to 14,000 heart surgeries, and delivers over 25,000 babies. Beyond patient care, TMC is pushing the boundaries of clinical research across its extensive network of partner institutions on a daily basis, pioneering effective health policy solutions to address the complex health care issues of today, and cultivating cutting-edge digital health applications and medical devices. For more information, please visit www.tmc.edu.

ABOUT ABB & ABB ROBOTICS

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader with a comprehensive offering for digital industries. With a history of innovation spanning more than 130 years, ABB is today a leader in digital industries with four customer-focused, globally leading businesses: Electrification, Industrial Automation, Motion, and Robotics & Discrete Automation, supported by its common ABB Ability™ digital platform. ABB’s market‑leading Power Grids business will be divested to Hitachi in 2020. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 147,000 employees.

ABB Robotics is a pioneer in industrial and collaborative robots and advanced digital services. As one of the world’s leading robotics suppliers, we are active in 53 countries and over 100 locations and have shipped over 400,000 robot solutions for a diverse range of industries and applications. We help our customers to improve flexibility, efficiency, safety and reliability, while moving towards the connected and collaborative factory of the future. www.abb.com/robotics

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TMC Innovation

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A blog from the Texas Medical Center’s Innovation Institute, where we help health care startups access the world’s largest medical complex.

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