ABB, the global leader in power and automation technologies, announced that it has recently inaugurated an R&D center for railway systems in Guangzhou. Setting up its first R&D center focusing on the Chinese rail transport market will bring ABB closer to the local market and allow ABB to more quickly respond to customers’ needs for innovative railway traction systems.
In terms of rail transport, China is presently the world leader both in terms of scale of construction and pace of development. Take high-speed rail (HSR) as an example. China has the world’s half HSR network with over 10,000 km of track in service as of December 2013, and the figure is expected to increase to 19,000 km by 2015 under the Medium- and Long-Term Plan for Railway Network developed by the Chinese government. Additionally, the construction of urban mass transit networks have also witnessed rapid growth. China has defined rail equipment manufacturing as an important part of high-end equipment manufacturing which is identified as one of the country’s seven strategic emerging industries.
Along with the rapid development of the rail market, ABB has enhanced its local R&D and production capacity, seeking strategic cooperation with local vehicle manufacturers to boost its China business. At the end of 2010, ABB set up a joint venture, namely ABB Microunion Traction Equipment Ltd. with a local partner to provide traction equipment solutions for mainline railway and urban mass transit networks through a range of business activities including R&D, manufacturing and services. In 2012, ABB established its first integrated Train Control & Monitoring System (TCMS) R&D platform, thereby further building up R&D resources in China.
As an important part of ABB’s global R&D system for railway technologies, the R&D center will focus on design and development of traction system solutions, component selection, testing, qualification, and localisation of traction converters and development of TCMS software.
The set-up of the R&D center is a milestone in the history of strategic cooperation between ABB and Guangdong. In 2013, ABB China and the Guangdong Provincial Development and Reform Commission signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Strategic Cooperation, which stipulates that ABB will set up an R&D center for rail systems in the Guangzhou Economic and Technological Development Zone, bringing ABB’s leading R&D resources to Guangdong and boosting the province’s industry upgrading strategy.
ABB has been engaged in railway projects in Guangdong since 1997, when the company provided low voltage power equipment for Guangzhou Metro’s Line 1. Since then it has rapidly expanded its business scope and participated in various railway projects including Shenzhen Metro’s Longhua Line and Guangzhou Metro’s Line 9.
Guangdong is just an example of ABB’s dedication to development of rail transport in China. ABB’s cutting-edge power and automation technologies are applied to every high-speed rail line in China to enable safe and convenient travels for local residents. Also, ABB’s state-of-the-art products and technologies are widely used in rail projects in other cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Nanjing.