November 10, 2022
Denmark-based Universal Robots has announced that it has reached 1,000 employees, one of only a few Danish companies founded in this century to hit the milestone. Since its first collaborative robot was launched in 2008, Universal Robots has become one of the leaders in the cobot space, with offices in more than 20 countries around the world.
The success of the company, a division of Teradyne, has also resulted in the growth of the robotics cluster in Odense, Denmark, now home to more than 400 robotics companies.
“This is a historic milestone for us, and we are proud of how we have evolved from being a local startup in the basement under the university to becoming a global pioneer and market leader,” said Kim Povlsen, president of Universal Robots. “Above all, it shows that we have a fantastic product and that many companies around the world can see the benefits of using our robots to develop their business.”
Universal Robots started in 2005, when three researchers – Esben Østergaard, Kasper Støy, and Kristian Kassow – from the University of Southern Denmark were frustrated by how the robots of the time were heavy, expensive and complicated to use. This gave them the idea to create a robot that is flexible, safe to work with, and easier to install and program.
Since then, Universal Robots has developed a range of cobot products, most recently adding the new UR20 to its portfolio, selling more than 50,000 cobots worldwide. In 2015, the company was acquired by Teradyne, but still operates under the Universal brand.
Universal said that Odense, a city of 200,000 people, has also thrived. The number of people employed by Danish robotics companies is forecast to reach 23,000 by 2025, while total revenues from the industry are already more than $2.79 billion. During the past year, Universal Robots said it hired more than 200 employees to help realize the enormous growth potential that lies ahead.
“From the outside there is, quite naturally, a lot of focus on the product and the technology,” said Povlsen. “But the tech does not just arise by itself. It’s about having the right people on board, and at UR we have some exceptionally skilled and innovative employees who are able to constantly push the boundaries of what can be automated and how easily it can be done. If people 10 years ago could have seen what cobots can do today, they would have been amazed. Looking forward, the same should be the case in another 10 years’ time. Making it easier to solve ever more complex automation tasks is a very motivating goal.”
Povlesen said there will be an increasing need for automation in the coming years, driven by several factors: a desire to protect employees from dangerous and monotonous tasks; reshoring, where companies move production closer to home in response to an uncertain world; and above all, a shortage of labor which will only get worse in the coming years:
“We have a new generation of cobots on the way, with the UR20 being the first model, and our own figures show that we have only reached approximately two per cent of all potential customers worldwide,” said Povlsen. “So the potential is enormous and while we celebrate the journey we’ve been on today, our eyes are firmly set on the future.”
For more details on Universal Robots and its offerings, visit its website here.