10 years ago, Universal Robots’ (UR) Co-Founder and CTO, Esben Østergaard, delivered the company’s first cobot to Linatex after leading a small team through three years of development in a basement at the University of Southern Denmark.
10 years later, he was awarded the Engelberger Award, the “Nobel Prize” of robotics, for his pioneering role in developing cobots. Regarding this, Østergaard has said, “10 years might seem like a long time, and it’s definitely been quite a journey; but we’ve only just started to scratch the surface,” he added that, “I continue to see our cobots power new applications that we never imagined when we first launched.”
Lowering The Automation Barrier
In 2016 UR launched Universal Robots+, a new platform that leverages the company’s innovative global ecosystem by enabling 3rd party developers to create products – such as grippers, vision systems, software, and other accessories – that are certified to work seamlessly with UR cobots. The UR+ showroom now includes around 130 certified UR+ products and 390+ approved commercial developer companies in the UR+ developer program.
A year later, in 2017, Universal Robots Academy was launched to raise robot literacy. It consists of nine free-of-charge interactive modules of online training in mastering programming, set-up and operation of UR cobots. The program has been widely adopted worldwide, with more than 45,000 users from over 130 countries signed up as modules have become available in eight languages including English, Spanish, German, French, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai. To date, UR is the only cobot vendor offering robotics training of this caliber for free.
“We are facing a looming skills gap in the manufacturing industry that we need to bridge by all means possible. Facilitating knowledge creation and access to our robots is an important step in that direction,” said Esben Østergaard, UR’s co-founder and CTO.
Innovation Is Imperative
Cobots are now the fastest-growing segment of industrial automation and growth is expected to jump ten-fold to reach 34 percent of all industrial robot sales by 2025, according to the Robotic Industries Association (RIA). As a first mover Universal Robots (UR) has kept its market leader position with a 60 percent global share of the cobot market according to BIS Research, selling more cobots than all competitors combined.
However, as the cobot market is experiencing an increasing number of competitors – both from the established industrial players and start-ups – it is vital, to keep ahead of the curve and in June, UR launched a brand-new generation of its cobots, the e-Series, which is a platform that raises the standard for collaborative robots, and enables even faster solution development and deployment of a wider variety of applications.
Last year the company grew 72 percent and earlier in 2018, the company marked its 25,000th cobot sale by delivering a limited edition in gold. To date, the company has sold more than 27,000 cobots around the world.
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