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GlobalData Predicts Future Robotics Unicorns

GlobalData Predicts Future Robotics Unicorns

Right from healthcare, customer service, security patrols, and education & entertainment, startups are offering robotics-enabled solutions ranging from last-mile delivery to industrial automation. Against this backdrop, the Unicorn Prediction Model of GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, has released a list of 50 robotics startups that have the potential to become unicorns (valuation > US$1bn).

By Ashwini Balan, Eastern Trade Media


“Unicorn” is a term used in the venture capital industry to describe a privately held startup company with a value of over $1 billion. The term was first popularized by venture capitalist Aileen Lee, founder of Cowboy Ventures, a seed-stage venture capital fund based in Palo Alto, California.

Apoorva Bajaj, Practice Head of Financial Markets at GlobalData, says: “Advances in AI have enabled the development of robots, allowing them to become highly complex products rather than being the stand-alone, fixed-function machines they used to be. With the expansion of the roles that robots can perform, deep-pocketed venture capital (VC) firms are attracted to invest in the high-growth opportunity.”

GlobalData’s recent report, Future Robotics Unicorns – 09 September 2021, in Q2 2021, Asia-Pacific accounted for over 44% of VC deal volume valued at a total of US$ 2.7bn, followed by North America (primarily the US.) accounting for 31% of the total deal volume. Some of the robotics startups in GlobalData’s list of potential unicorns include Gecko Robotics, Covariant, Superpedestrian, and Sphero.

Gecko Robotics builds and operates robots to automate infrastructure inspections across power, gas, oil, and manufacturing industries. Gecko’s software portal allows clients to review all their assets in 3D, ensuring a holistic view of the equipment and prioritizing areas that needs urgent attention. 

Covariant designed a universal AI to enable robots to see, reason, and act in the real world. Based on research in deep imitation learning, deep reinforcement learning and meta-learning, the company has built Covariant Brain, a universal AI for robots that can be applied to any use case or customer environment.

Superpedestrian is a US-based transportation robotics company that develops technologies for micro-electric vehicles to optimize safety, reliability, and performance. Recently, it acquired micromobility-safety startup Navmatic and launched an active safety system, Pedestrian Defense.

Sphero builds smartphone-controlled robots by combining robotic and digital technology into immersive entertainment experiences. Sphero robots allow kids to learn fundamental STEM concepts through play-based learning and educational STEAM activities.

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References of the content:

  1. Quotes are provided by Apoorva Bajaj, Practice Head of Financial Markets at GlobalData
  2. The information is based on GlobalData’s report ‘Future Robotics Unicorns – 09 September 2021′
  3. GlobalData’s Startup Scorecard ranks startups relatively using quantifiable data on three pillars: Investments, Innovation and Market Presence to ensure that it is objective and can be comparatively measured across different sectors and themes.
  4. This press release was written using data and information sourced from proprietary databases, primary and secondary research, and in-house analysis conducted by GlobalData’s team of industry experts
  5. “Unicorn” Definition: Investopedia, 2021

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Cobots Continue To Gain Interest For Flexible Automation, Tipping The Market Over US$600 Million In 2021

Cobots Continue To Gain Interest For Flexible Automation, Tipping The Market Over US$600 Million In 2021

Despite the challenges facing the wider manufacturing industry during the coronavirus pandemic, collaborative robots continue to attract attention and investment, due to their ease of use, redeployability, and convenience to end-users who struggle to afford more traditional forms of automation.

According to a new report from global tech market advisory firm ABI Research, the cobot market is set to grow substantially over the coming decade. The market had a global valuation of US$475 million in 2020, which will expand to US$600 million in 2021 and US$8 billion in 2030, with a projected CAGR of 32.5 percent.

“The most direct benefit of cobots is not in their ability to collaborate with humans”, said Rian Whitton, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. “Rather, it is in their relative ease of use, improved interface, and the ability of end-users to redeploy them for different tasks”. This has made cobots popular with small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) which value flexibility and incremental automation where the maintenance cost is not prohibitive.

Universal Robots is currently the dominant player in the market, with 50 percent of the total shipments and posting US$219 revenue for 2020, but challengers like FANUC, ABB, and others are beginning to catch up after initially lagging in the space. They have done this by improving user interface and the usability of their systems

“The barriers between cobots and standard industrial robots are beginning to breakdown, as many vendors are experimenting with dual-mode robots that can have a cobot and industrial mode. What is more, cobots are beginning to develop heavier payloads, in line with evolving regulations” said Whitton. ABI Research projects that cobots are going to significantly expand the potential for automation for SMEs, while also enabling large vendors to develop a more flexible production line based on movable platforms and no need for fencing. The major industrial automation vendors will enjoy a greater share of the market as they utilise their existing partnerships and pour more resources into new cobot products.

 

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Reducing Costs And Scrappage From Porosity Through Robotic Vacuum Impregnation

Reducing Costs And Scrappage From Porosity Through Robotic Vacuum Impregnation

For automotive manufacturers, cost control and quality are vital when it comes to high volume and critical engine components. Bob Remler, Technical Sales Manager in North America at Ultraseal International, discusses how one manufacturer managed to reduce costs and improve operational performance by using robotic vacuum impregnation to seal porosity, minimise scrappage and increase throughput.  

Trends and challenges

It is no surprise to learn that the automotive industry in the US is the single largest sector for metal die casting. In today’s vehicles, a high proportion of components – including cylinder heads, engine blocks, transmission cases, e-motor housings, and structural parts – are produced using high pressure die casting processes. 

As the industry faces the ongoing challenge of reducing environmental emissions, increasing fuel economy and delivering better performance, manufacturers are seeking methods to reduce vehicle weight and improve overall efficiency. As a result, many are turning to a combination of thinner walled castings and using lighter weight metals such as aluminium and magnesium. 

Hand in hand with the move to new production methods and significant research into new casting processes and techniques, comes the shift towards automation. Industry 4.0 is defining the competitive landscape of the industry, with many automotive manufacturers and OEMs turning to digital transformation initiatives to drive efficiencies through their manufacturing processes. This includes smart factories to ‘cobotics’ (the name given to the collaboration between a person and a robot), digital supply networks, artificial intelligence and automation of repetitive processes. 

However, while some industry pain points are removed as manufacturing technology and processes evolve, one legacy challenge remains – that of porosity. Porosity is one of the defects most frequently encountered in aluminium die casting. These microscopic voids reduce the density of components, leading to leaks. For parts that go into applications which need to be air or fluid-tight – for example in fuel or cooling systems – this can be an especially critical issue. 

Untreated, casting porosity leads to costly scrappage, creating waste inefficiencies in materials, energy and production time. 

Specific Challenges Faced by a Respected Engine Manufacturer

For a leading US based manufacturer of engines, off-road vehicles and motorbikes, creating best-in-class vehicles and achieving operational excellence is key to its operating ethos and continued success. 

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168 Motion Plastics Innovations From The Home Office

168 Motion Plastics Innovations From The Home Office

In a difficult environment, more innovations than last year – from the integrated robot drive up to the ball bearing with 21 times the service life

igus increases the pace of innovation despite the pandemic: high investments in digitalisation, logistics and remote consulting increased online sales by 30 per cent in 2020 and mitigated the decline in sales by 4.8 per cent. The motion plastics specialist is also breaking new ground in terms of sustainability and product innovation, and will be presenting more innovations than ever before with 168 tribo-polymer products in spring 2021.

Last year, the turnover of the motion plastics specialist igus fell by 4.8 per cent to 727 million euros in the wake of the Corona crisis. The company is optimistic for the current year, thanks to a significant increase in incoming orders. In addition, the pandemic period has led to a surge in innovation when working from home. The result is 168 new products, product extensions and digital offers this spring, more than ever before. igus will be giving a first preview at the Hannover Messe Digital Edition. The company will also be presenting all its spring news at its own physical-virtual trade show. It has just been awarded the “iF Design Award” and will be completely renewed for visitors from 5th May.

ReBeL accelerates cost-effective automation

After two years of development, the ReBeL, a new robot drive element, can be seen at the igus exhibition. Customers can construct their own robot arms quickly and cost-effectively from the modular kit. The core of the ReBeL is a greatly improved plastic gearbox. An integrated BLDC electric motor with power electronics can be connected to various controls. In addition, a suitable low-cost control system from igus is available free of charge as a download, so that the automation can be simulated in advance. In the field of “large” industrial robotics, igus is launching the TRX energy supply system, a solution that rethinks the subject of robot hose packs. The energy supply system twists, lengthens and shortens in a spiral, and cables are inserted in the form of a spiral. This enables a weight saving of 83 per cent on the 3rd axis, in less than half the space.

Dry-operating ball bearings with 21 times the service life

igus will also be presenting news in all areas of lubrication-free and maintenance-free bearing technology. In the case of ball bearings, the engineers at igus achieved a breakthrough in service life. In the application cases of low loads and high speeds, this was increased by a factor of 21. “What used to last a month now lasts almost two years”, explains Lena Woelke, the Development Manager for xiros ball bearings. Applications are found especially in fans or centrifuges

Plastic becomes a sustainable resource

How these lubrication-free plastic products not only have less impact on the environment during use, but are also produced in a CO2 neutral manner and recycled afterwards is part of the igus mission. The new factory building currently under construction will be climate neutral from the outset, and this will apply to the entire igus factory by 2025. To further reduce emissions, igus invests in modern technologies, for example, in extraction systems and filters; injection moulding machines that save up to 40 per cent energy and are barely audible have been purchased in large numbers. In addition to mechanical recycling in the chainge product range, igus also relies on new types of chemical recycling. Thus, igus increased its investment in Mura Technology to 5 million euros. Mura’s HydroPRS technology converts plastic waste back into oil. Investments increased by 29 per cent overall in 2020.

Investments in digitalisation and capacities bring customers forward

A significant part of the investments went into online shops and online tools. All webshops were renewed and made more informative for customers. New online tools for the configuration and calculation of gears, rollers, linear modules and stepper motors are accessible on the Internet free of charge and without registration. At the same time, igus expanded its stock at every location in the world. In addition to the USA with 23,000 individual parts and Europe with 88,000, 21,000 parts are now available in China in 24 to 48 hours and are assembled by igus in millions of models. The offer of easy online configuration and ordering together with the short delivery time was welcomed by many customers. Online sales increased by 30 per cent worldwide. The early expansion of machine and raw material warehouse capacities from the 3rd quarter of 2020 still ensures fast delivery times in the phase of a rapid economic recovery now.

Change as a duty and an opportunity

“Politics, technology, mobility, entertainment, climate and health – the world is changing rapidly at the moment”, says igus CEO Frank Blase. “We want to be active shapers. So I am proud of the igus colleagues for how they have applied themselves, changed and improved during these times.” The teams have been working predominantly from home since 13th March 2020. The offer for a self-determined quota of home office days with few rules and precise measurability is provided by igus until the end of 2022. At the same time, the company is experimenting with new work spaces and forms of on-site collaboration. “For our industry, the fact that everything is changing, absolutely everything, means everyone is making new products, and everyone needs new machines. This can trigger an enormous boom for our customers and us in the next few years.”

 

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Fully Automated Material Flow

Fully Automated Material Flow

A look at how a steel company was able to press ahead with automation and enable unmanned operation in its facility. Article by KASTO Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG.

Steel is one of the most frequently used materials in industry. Examples are power generation, automotive manufacturing, food production and construction. It is also applied in many different ways and different forms because, as we know, steel is not just steel. Today more than 2,500 standard grades of steel are in use throughout the world, from simple construction steel to special high-quality alloys. These, in turn, are available in a wide range of dimensions and geometries. All of these factors make the steel trade very challenging. Companies that want to succeed in the increasingly competitive international environment must be able to supply their customers at all times with the materials they need, cut to their requirements.

This situation is all too familiar to Weser Stahl. The company has specialised for many years in the sale of hot-rolled and forged steel bars, steel tubes and bright steel. It is part of Westfälische Stahlgesellschaft, an owner-managed group of companies with four locations in Germany. Steel distribution, production of bright steel and material testing are combined here under one roof. Weser Stahl delivers mainly to customers in northern Germany and Scandinavia. The group as a whole sells some 250,000 tonnes of material each year, and Weser Stahl accounts for about 30,000 tonnes.

Increasing Numbers of Orders and Declining Batch Sizes

A large percentage of the company’s products are partially finished. More than half of the items shipped from the storage and production facilities in Stuhr have already been cut to size. The figure is rising, as Dr. Markus Krummenerl, Managing Director of Weser Stahl, points out, “Our customers are outsourcing more and more machining steps in order to save capacity. For this reason we’ve been continually expanding our portfolio in this area in order to fulfil as many of their wishes as possible.”

But this has also led to increasing customisation. “Our order numbers have been rising, while batch sizes have been shrinking. This of course poses a big challenge to us in manufacturing and logistics,” he says.

Weser Stahl relies on state-of-the-art machinery and equipment to meet this challenge. It has a number of band saws and circular saws for cutting various materials to size. These have been supplied for many years by KASTO, a group of companies based in the southern German town of Achern and known for its high-quality, high-performance machines.

“We appreciate KASTO’s ability to provide solutions even when we have special requirements,” says Krummenerl. This is why Weser Stahl also turned to the saw and storage equipment manufacturer when it decided to launch another ambitious project.

Unattended Operation Reduces the Burden on Employees

The goal was to automate the provisioning of the saws so that they could run largely unattended, enabling Weser Stahl to handle the increasing numbers of orders and meet the growing customer demand for partially finished products.

“Another important aspect for us was work safety,” adds Krummenerl. “We wanted to make our employees’ work environment more ergonomic and their daily tasks easier, in this way preventing accidents and injuries.”

Previously, material had been conveyed to the saws by an indoor crane—a laborious and not entirely hazard-free process involving bars and tubes weighing a tonne or more. “We therefore went to KASTO and asked them to suggest some solutions,” he says.

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Cobots Lead The Future Of The Global Industrial Robots Market

Cobots Lead the Future Of The Global Industrial Robots Market

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis finds that the global industrial robotics market will reach revenues of $38.3 billion in 2024 from $22.2 billion in 2020 at a CAGR of 12.2 percent. Although the industry was curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty in the automotive business, rising demand from other high-growth sectors is expected to propel it over the next five years. Pharmaceuticals will be the fastest-growing segment, with a CAGR of 17.2 percent from 2019 to 2024, reaching $3.33 million by the end of the forecasted period, followed by food & beverage (F&B) and electrical and electronics, expanding at 15.8 percent and 15.1 percent, respectively.

Asia-Pacific continues to dominate the global industrial robotics market, and revenues are estimated to top $25.08 billion by 2024, with China, Japan and South Korea driving progress. The European region is the second most important, propelled by the automotive industry and Germany—the fifth-largest country globally for industrial robotics. North America’s ongoing trend of production automation and keeping all manufacturing operations in-house puts it in the third position, with forecasted revenues of $6.19 billion by 2024.

“The global battle against the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a strong use case for industrial robots, which helped assure business continuity,” said Nandini Natarajan, Industry Analyst, Frost & Sullivan. “While 2020 witnessed reduced investments in robotics, the demand for industrial robots will rise sharply from 2021 on. The introduction of low-cost robots and innovative business models such as Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS) are expected to drive demand from small and medium enterprises (SMEs).”

Natarajan added: “Collaborative robots (cobots) are experiencing rapid market growth thanks to their utility, ease of installation, and consistently decreasing price, making them an affordable and viable solution for a wide range of applications. It will be the fastest-growing segment by 2024, recording a CAGR of 32.8 percent (2019-2024) and reaching $1.78 million in global revenues. Advances in 5G and edge computing will be instrumental in equipping cobots with improved flexibility and easier implementation.”

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  • Smart Robot Grippers for Safe Collaboration with Human Workers: Robots have become more collaborative with human workforces instead of replacing them, as was the case before. Therefore, there is a need to design robot grippers that are more collaborative and safer. End-of-arm tooling (EOAT) providers will need to develop robot prototypes with advanced sensors that can detect human workers’ presence and movement.
  • 5G and Edge AI for Robotic Independence and Flexibility of Real-time Applications: While 5G will provide benefits such as low latency and on-the-go decision-making, edge-based AI will enable robots to carry out data processing on the machine without data traveling to and from the cloud. There will be a huge demand for secure local data processing closer to the robot.

 

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The Top 3 Applications Of Cobots

The Top 3 Applications Of Cobots

Automation has seen massive growth over the last decade where a variety of industries have unleashed the vast potential of robots. Amongst various implementations, collaborative robots (cobots) have seen an accelerating growth in adoption over the years even though they are relatively new.

According to Loup Ventures, cobots contributed to about three percent of robot sales in 2018, but are expected to increase significantly to 34 percent by 2025. Why?

Compared to the large and bulky industrial machines, cobots are designed to safely operate in close proximity to humans to complete tasks. Traditional industrial robots are often mammoth-sized machines that are static and difficult to repurpose and reprogram. By contrast, cobots are compact and flexible and can operate without safety cages or fencing directly alongside people (upon risk assessment), thereby reducing footprint and space usage.

Cobots can be deployed on a wide variety of tasks and are easily redeployed when there is a change in the tasks required.

Cobots, unlike humans, do not suffer from fatigue and can work 24/7/365, repeating each task in exactly the same way. Therefore, with none of the human errors caused by fatigue, cobots provide higher business productivity, efficiency, and product quality.

Most industrial robots offer a payback period that is too long to justify the investment. Whereas for cobots, the average payback period is as short as twelve months, making them more accessible to growing enterprises.

Cobots are highly flexible, allowing them to be reprogrammed for different tasks if manufacturing processes change, making them more investment-worthy.

What are the applications of cobots?

There are many collaborative robot applications across all industries.

Cobots, in general, are able to improve efficiency and safety of many industries by assuming dull, dirty, and dangerous work. These include assembly, dispensing, finishing, machine tending, material handling, welding, material removal, quality inspections, and more. The three common classes of cobot deployments are material handling, assembly and quality assurance, and material removal.

Material handling

In manufacturing, material handling refers to the movement, protection, storage and control of materials and products throughout manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, consumption, and disposal. This is often one of the most dangerous jobs in manufacturing as materials such as metals, plastics, and other substances can pose a great risk to human workers. Additionally, many material handling tasks are repetitive, which can give rise to repetitive strain injury and errors due to fatigue. Manufacturing plants that use robots see significantly fewer workplace injuries.

In JVC Electronics Indonesia (JEIN), workers were performing menial and repetitive tasks such as soldering, separating cut pieces of Printed Circuit Board (PCB), and attaching a glass display on the car stereo units. JEIN manufactures over 400,000 products each month to serve global customers and this requires a fast turnaround time with minimal defects, to consistently meet production targets. The adoption of UR3 cobots relieved workers from handling these repetitive and high risk tasks, which emit hazardous fumes and dust particles.

“One of the key features of the UR3 robot is its force control for adaptive safety; it senses external forces and stops immediately when a collision is detected. Our workers are able to work in close proximity with the cobots with no safety guarding after an initial risk assessment,” said Sukijan, Plant Supervisor at JEIN.

Assembly and quality assurance

Universal Robots’ cobots are specifically designed to work alongside human employees and relieve them from tedious and difficult assembly jobs. This includes welding small pieces together, drilling screws, and similar assembly tasks.

Cobots can also be used to assist with quality assurance during the production process. Unlike humans, cobots perform the same task the same way, every time, without growing tired or suffering any loss in performance. For example, cobots can place a vision device in the same location for as many measurements and positions on as many workpieces as needed – all without optical recalibration.

Blue Star Limited is a leading manufacturer of air conditioning and commercial refrigeration products in India. A vital task in the plant is the copper tube expansion, which was done manually. The repetitive task is mentally and physically stressful, and as a result the plant faced issues of quality rejection. This is a task which requires human intervention and heavy industrial robots may be unsafe. Blue Star needed a solution where robots and humans can work together to complete the task safely, and hence chose to work with cobots. The company increased their production by 10 percent and eradicated quality rejects, delivering their vision of high-quality products.

Material Removal

Other tasks that are also crucial to production can be handled by cobots. For example, material removal by robots is needed for any process that involves filling moulds. These cobots can assess the moulded piece and take care of trimming any excess metal or plastic without damaging the part or subjecting human workers to the risk of injury.

Meanwhile, cobots fitted with dispensing tools and hardware can be used to add glue or other adhesives, while cobots fitted with a sanding kit from the UR+ platform can be used to polish pieces for a bright, smooth finish.

Cobots are growing in presence and popularity mostly due to an increasingly budget-friendly price tag, easier programming which reduces implementation and training time, and safety qualities. With these factors in place, cobots are expected to be major contributors to the growth of manufacturing, assembly and other industries.

Article by James McKew, Regional Director Asia-Pacific, Universal Robots

 

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Teradyne Appoints New President Of Universal Robots

Teradyne Appoints New President Of Universal Robots

Teradyne, Inc. has announced that Kim Povlsen has been appointed President of Universal Robots. Povlsen, brings global executive leadership from a high-tech and commercial perspective and will lead Universal Robots’ next stage of growth and innovation. Kim begins his new role at Universal Robots on March 1, 2021.

“I am delighted to introduce Kim Povlsen as the new President of Universal Robots” said Greg Smith, President of Teradyne’s Industrial Automation Group, and acting President of Universal Robots.

“Kim combines a fantastic track record as a dynamic executive with a background in and a tremendous passion for robotics. With Kim on board, Universal Robots is poised to strengthen its leadership in the global market for collaborative robotics. With Kim’s leadership, we can accelerate the growth in new applications and market growth for cobots.”

Kim has held various executive business and technology leadership roles at Schneider Electric, a global energy management and automation company. Most recently, he served as Vice President, Strategy & Technology, responsible for the technology strategy and execution within a multi-billion dollar global organization. Kim lives in Aarhus, Denmark, and holds a master’s degree in Computer Science & Embedded Engineering from the University of Southern Denmark.

“I have been impressed with Universal Robots for some time” said Kim. “To me, the company represents the pinnacle of innovation and potential and I was thrilled to be approached for this unique leadership role. The company not only pioneered the category of collaborative robots, created an ecosystem of partner technology solutions and a vast global distribution network to serve customers in their varied industrial automation needs, it also has the potential to fundamentally reshape automation across the global economy. I really look forward to working with, learning from and being part of the great people at Universal Robots.”

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Cobots Set To Benefit Businesses In Asia

Cobots Set To Benefit Businesses In Asia

Strong growth for cobot projected from 2020 to 2026 with Asia expected to surpass Europe by 2021

In a report by the World Robotics 2020 Industrial Report, it shows a record of 2.7 million industrial robots operating in factories globally, with 373,000 units shipped in 2019. In fact, Singapore has the highest density of industrial robots with 918 industrial robots used per 10,000 employees. In Singapore, top installations of industrial robots are found in electrical & electronics industry, followed by rubber and plastics, metal and machinery, food and others in no specific order of installation numbers. Increasing move towards automation in the production of electronic devices will continue to push robot installations in Singapore, and other Asian countries, including Republic of Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

Amongst industrial robots, collaborative robots (cobots) continues to be fastest growing segment of industrial automation, projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 41.8 percent globally during 2020 to 2026, in a report by MarketsandMarkets. Asia Pacific cobot market is projected to become the largest cobot market worldwide, growing at a CAGR of 45.46 percent, with an addressable cumulative market value of $13.17 billion over the next 7 years in terms of cobot hardware.

The growth of collaborative robots is fuelled mainly by the advantages it offers, such as effective employee utilisation, higher productivity and flexibility in redeployment. One of the most significant difference between industrial robots and cobots, is the ability of cobots to interact safely with humans in a shared workspace. Manufacturing and assembly plants, especially in developed countries, are expected to adopt cobots quickly.

“With the world battling COVID-19, 2020 delivered some ingenious cobot implementations. From personal protective equipment manufacturing to swab testing, collaborative robots (cobots) are improving the efficiency, safety, and quality of countless processes. The vast majority of cobot implementations are found in electronics and automotive manufacturing and industrial environments, but cobots have the flexibility to be used in a wide variety of sectors from agriculture and medical to pharma,” said James McKew, Regional Director of Asia-Pacific in Universal Robots.

“The experience of 2020 and the uncertainty that we are facing in 2021, are driving companies to review their business strategies and workspace transformation. The pandemic is accelerating interest in cobots as it enables safe distancing in manufacturing and assembly plants to minimise the potential spread of infections, while fully engaging workers productively and efficiently,” he added.

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Universal Robots Reaches Industry Milestone With 50,000 Collaborative Robots Sold

Universal Robots Reaches Industry Milestone With 50,000 Collaborative Robots Sold

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.

For other exclusive articles, visit www.equipment-news.com.

 

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