Universal Robots Unveils New Cobot, Expands Portfolio

The new model prioritizes flexibility and usability as industries increasingly turn to collaborative automation technologies

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

November 30, 2023

3 Min Read
The U30 cobot
Universal Robots

Danish robotics manufacturer, Universal Robots, has expanded its portfolio of collaborative robots (cobots), with a new 66-pound-payload robotic arm.

The UR30 is designed for manufacturing and industrial use cases and can take on tasks such as machine tending, material handling and high torque screw driving.

The new design was unveiled at the iREX trade fair in Tokyo.

Universal Robots said the latest iteration of its cobot differs from previous models with its compact size and high payload capabilities.

The U30 weighs 138 pounds and can carry payloads of up to 66 pounds. It’s designed to be compact and easily installed so companies can leverage it even in tight spaces.

“Besides payload, flexibility is essential when you think of a collaborative robot,” said Anders Billesø Beck, vice president of strategy and innovation at Universal Robots at a media briefing. “The U30 is compact in size, it’s faster, it’s smaller and it’s stronger than other cobots. This flexibility really sets a new autonomy standard and a whole new era of automation.

“Globally, we’re seeing more and more manufacturing becoming agile. It’s increasing modularity, so these days you can’t rely on a static manufacturing line producing the same goods over and over again. The U30 is a perfect answer to creating much more flexibility across manufacturing.” 

Related:Collaborative Robots Bring Next-Gen Automation to Manufacturing

The Evolving Cobot Industry

The new cobot release is just the beginning of a predicted ramp-up from Universal Robots as the cobot industry sees increased popularity.

“Globally, we see automation booming,” said Kim Povlsen, Universal Robots’ president. “The global market for cobots – a technology that was created just 18 years ago – has crossed the $1 billion mark with respect to annual turnover.
“We're looking at at least doubling this number at a global market level by 2027. So it's an exciting time for us to be at the forefront of this industry.” 

The demand for cobots and automation tech more generally, according to Povlsen, comes from companies needing to stay productive and competitive in an environment of labor and skills shortages, as well as ongoing geopolitical uncertainties destabilizing global markets.

“What we're seeing is that industrial companies are investing, pretty smartly, into automation,” said Povlsen. “In the next five years, there's an expectation that at least a quarter of all the capital expenditure will go into automation. 

“There’s so many application opportunities now. In the next couple of years, there are more than 20 million automatable jobs out there that can be transformed by this corporate technology. So what I mean here is that we’re just getting started.”

While industries such as automotive and electronics have seen steady growth in automation, Povlsen also highlighted other industries such as logistics as beginning to invest heavily in automation technologies – something that is expected to increase further in the coming years.

“Certain applications have really benefited from collaborative automation technologies, such as welding, palletizing and machine turning,” said Povlsen. “It’s not all about helping businesses to become more productive. What we're focusing on is simply to create better workplaces as well. Places where the dangerous and dirty tasks are managed by collaborative automation, and human beings can do what they're good at, like creative thinking, etc.”

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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