Universal Robots Predicts 2023 Automation Trends Helping Manufacturers Meet New-Year Goals

Sales of UR cobots for integration in OEM solutions grew about 50% in 2022. UR enters the 2023 with more than 80 OEM partners integrating UR cobots in turnkey systems, and over 300 UR+ partners launching application kits and components certified to work seamlessly with the UR cobots. UR has announced January as “National Cobot Awareness Month,” spearheading new products and initiatives prompting manufacturers to address hiring woes and production challenges.

As more companies move towards cobot automation, many will want to handle heavier payloads. The UR20, becoming available in 2023, is built for 20kg payloads, with faster speeds and superior motion control all within a lightweight, small footprint system. “The 20 kg payload capacity will transform industries such as palletizing, while its 1750 mm reach is eagerly anticipated for use in welding and machine tending,” said Universal’s Joe Campbell, explaining that the new robot is light enough to be unbolted and relocated or attached to a heavy base with wheels.

UR’s welding channel grew over 80% in 2022 as new cobot welders hit factory floors in places such as Raymath, a sheet metal manufacturer in Ohio, where the company CEO was able to visit a local UR partner, THG Automation, offering cobot welding solutions. “Within the four hours that I was there, we programmed 20 weld points,” said Raymath CEO, Greg LeFevre. “I was actually practicing and sampling on the parts that I was going to make. It proved to me that if I can program this in four hours and actually have my parts running, there’s no doubt this can work in our shop. I wrote the purchase order that same night.”

Raymath deployed four UR cobot-powered welders that handle hard-to-staff processes with half the number of operators, welding at twice the speed, resulting in a 4X productivity improvement. “Customers understand their own needs better than anyone else, and we will increasingly involve end-users in product development,” said Campbell. Turnkey robotic solutions, complete with all hardware, software, sensors and interfaces, will be powerful automation drivers in 2023, according to Universal Robots.

To learn more, visit the UR website here.

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