Collaborative robots – or cobots – remain the fastest growing segment of industrial automation, projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 30.37 per cent between 2020 to 2025. Cobot market pioneer Universal Robots (UR) solidified its frontrunner position by selling the 50,000th UR cobot, which was purchased by a German manufacturer to enable higher productivity and improved employee safety.
The 50,000th cobot was specially 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.
James McKew, regional director of Universal Robots Asia-Pacific, comments that this momentous occasion showcases Universal Robots commitment to the market. “COVID-19 has certainly accelerated the need to automate and we have seen an increased demand for cobots in the ANZ market” said McKew.
He attributes this increase to a number of influences as a result of the pandemic. “The change in labour availability due to borders being shut has certainly a played a part in this uptick. Further we have seen so many customers pivoting their production to adapt to new consumer demands. The flexibility of cobots to move from one application to another makes them very well suited for quick changeovers.”
According to James other factors such as the ease and affordability of adding a cobot to the production has seen companies who need to increase productivity in the same footprint with a smaller workforce (due to social distancing requirements), embrace cobots as a cost-effective solution.
Over the past 15 years, the company has worked hard 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.
This further emphasises 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, Universal Robots has put a lot of work into creating awareness, influencing standards, and changing customers’ perceptions influenced by their experience of traditional robots.
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 cobot 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 always work!” said Veser.