Universal Robots, the Danish pioneer of human-robot collaboration, has announced the launch of Universal Robots+, a showroom of plug & play applications, offering a new level of simplicity for Universal Robot customers when installing a new robot application.
Universal Robots+ offers accessories, end-effectors and software solutions meaning both distributors and end users can save weeks and even months in the integration process from concept to operation of the UR cobots. URCaps, accessory components that extend the UR robots’ capabilities, can be customised hardware components, software plug-ins or a combination of both.
The aim of Universal Robots+ is to reduce costs and implementation periods, as well as increase user satisfaction and experience.
As part of the new solution, Universal Robots is also launching +YOU, a free developer programme, offering a marketing and support platform for UR-robot application developers. “With Universal Robots+, everyone can benefit, including our developer community, our distribution partners and our end customers,” explains Esben H. Østergaard, CTO and co-founder of Universal Robots.
“Participants in our developer programme +YOU will receive free support when developing URCaps. By integrating the accessory components showcased at the Universal Robots+ showroom, our distribution partners and end users reduce spending on application development and testing when they deploy the URCaps as simple plug & play solutions.”
How developers and distributors will benefit
“When developers have received our approval for designing within Universal Robots+, we will support them via our local subsidiaries by providing robots for testing and optimising URCaps. On request, robots can also be purchased at a reduced price, given that they will be used exclusively for the development and testing of new UR-related components,” says Stefan Tøndering Stubgaard, Manager of Universal Robots’ Corporate Technical Support.
After completion of a URCaps prototype, the developer will send it to Universal Robots for examination. Tøndering Stubgaard explains, “Before a new product can be presented in our showroom, we verify its quality. In comprehensive functionality tests, we test whether the URCap can be implemented and operated easily and if the product conforms to Universal Robots’ quality requirements.”
In addition, developers can also get their URCaps certified by Universal Robots. In order to receive this additional quality certificate, developers must document that their solution is already operating in a real application and used successfully by a customer.
Having capabilities featured in the Universal Robots+ showroom is free of charge for developers. In providing this, Universal Robots offers all developers a professional marketing platform granting them access to an ever expanding, global customer network. Sales of all products and capabilities revolving around the UR-robots’ universe will continue to be provided through Universal Robots’ established network of distribution partners. In this way, distributors also benefit from this central platform, where they can both offer and access applications developed specifically for the use with UR robots. Universal Robots+ is the toolbox that tailors optimal solutions for their individual customer needs.
Entering the Universal Robots+ Community
To have their application solutions featured in the Universal Robots+ showroom, developers must complete a free registration in the +YOU community forum where developers can submit their application ideas.
After meeting registration criteria, the developers will receive access to the +YOU online forum, where they can exchange questions and ideas. In addition, all members of the community will receive access to the company-internal developer support, which will assist (if necessary) in developing a market mature application. Additionally, the URCaps Software Development Kit can be downloaded free-of-charge.
Software release reduces implementation time
Coinciding with the launch of Universal Robots+, a new update for the robot arms’ operating software has been published. The new release (Software Version 3.3) includes updates such as the Profinet IO device functionality. The new compatibility with Profinet protocols opens up numerous additional areas of deployment and activities for robots. “A key feature of the update supporting the Universal Robots+ platform is the ability for providers to now offer solutions that interface seamlessly with the UR software,” says Østergaard.
Until now, the software enabling communication between developer applications and the UR robot arms had to be implemented by using relatively complex script code, which is time consuming and a difficult task for the majority of end users to handle. As the Software Version 3.3 now consists in parts of open source software, the developers can implement their software as an add-on, reducing the time needed for implementation at the end customer’s premises significantly, thus reducing both price and potential risks.