Editor’s brief: Collaborative robots (cobots) are a whole emerging paradigm of industrial and B2C automation that transcends the myth that automation and industrial robots must be big and must be fenced up. These smaller and more agile cobots are close albeit much smaller cousins of larger industrial robots. The stalwart of the cobots arena, Univeral Robots (UR), recently announced their foray into passing the 50,000 cobots adoption mark. Read more below.
SINGAPORE – Collaborative robots – or cobots – remain the fastest growing segment of industrial automation, projected to grow during 2021 – 2026 at a CAGR of 45.45 percent in Asia Pacific. Cobot market pioneer Universal Robots (UR) solidified its frontrunner position today by selling the 50,000th UR cobot, which was purchased by a German manufacturer to enable higher productivity and better employee safety.
The 50,000th cobot came in a special delivery as Jürgen von Hollen, president of Universal Robots, personally handed over the cobot to VEMA technische Kunststoffteile GmbH and VEMA Werkzeug- und Formenbau GmbH located in Krauchenwies-Göggingen, Germany, at a ceremony held at VEMA.
“We have worked very hard in the past 15 years to develop an entirely new market segment with a mission to enable especially small- and medium sized companies to automate tasks they thought were too costly or complex,“ says von Hollen, emphasizing how UR has created a new global distribution network, a new ecosystem of developers, and ultimately a completely new business model. “As a pioneer in this market, we put a lot of work into creating awareness, influencing standards, and changing customers’ perceptions influenced by their experience of traditional robots.”
Von Hollen noted that VEMA GmbH is a great example of UR’s mission realised: “VEMA was looking for a cost-effective, flexible, easy-to-use automation solution they could implement, program and manage on their own. They found exactly that in the UR cobot.”
Cobots enhance both productivity and quality
VEMA’s new collaborative robot will join a fleet of three other UR cobots already deployed in pick and place tasks in end-of-line applications at the company.
Christian Veser, managing director at VEMA GmbH, is thrilled to be the recipient of the milestone cobot and explains how the cobots have enabled the company to add a third shift, now operating around the clock. “We have enhanced our productivity remarkably and also achieved better quality,” he says. “Our employees are freed from ergonomically straining work to focus on quality testing. In navigating Covid-19 challenges, it has also been a great advantage that the cobots don’t need to keep a safety distance or undergo quarantine. They can always work,” says Veser, adding that his company appreciates the cobots so much that they gave them names.
“The first three cobots are named Elfriede, Günther and Bruno. We will name our new cobot Jürgen to honor the fact that UR’s president came here in person to deliver it.”
“15 years ago, Universal Robots started with a vision of creating robots that are safe to work alongside human workers, and empowering people to get away from doing mundane, dirty, and dangerous jobs. Today, with the COVID-19 pandemic, collaborative robots have been rapidly adopted by both small and medium enterprises and large corporation around the world. During times that require a high level of flexibility and adaptability, cobots have become a sensible solution to maintaining factory footprint and promoting value creation for organisations like VEMA,” says James McKew, Regional Director of Asia-Pacific in Universal Robots.