© Universal Robots Business | October 16, 2019
Specialisation kept Universal Robots agile through the years
Universal Robots, the Danish robotics company that many analysts credit with both creating and taking over the collaborative robot space.
In many ways we can attribute the shear amount of cobots in use throughout the world to Universal Robots. While UR might not have actually introduced cobots to the market, the company found the right recipe for making them not only an economically viable solution, but also a flexible one. In contrast to the larger, heavier and more static industrial robots that one might think of when talking about robotic arms – those supplied by the likes of ABB, KUKA, and Yaskawa – Universal Robots have stayed with one specific constant; be nimble. The company’s biggest and heaviest robot arm – which can handle a payload of 16kg – weighs only 33kg. If we look at an industrial equivalent in terms of payload management, the robot itself weighs closer to 380 kg. Clearly, the company has been able to offer an automation solution that is more manageable for companies both in terms of usability and footprint. Something that is also visible in the market share that UR is holding. Evertiq had the opportunity to chat with Jürgen von Hollen, president of Universal Robots, about how a seemingly small Danish startup has managed to not only create and dominate a new market, but is expanding in it too. One of the recurring themes in our conversation is the fact that – despite the company being almost 14 years old and having had its products out on the market for many years – it still moves and navigates the market with the agility of startup. “I believe this is one of the reasons to why we are in the position we are, that and our focus. Just the simple fact that we focus on what we’re good at, which is the robotic arm, and don’t venture out doing multiple things. Companies have wanted us to customise the arm throughout the years, but we have contentiously said no, and in the last 14 years, we haven’t really changed the product from its original form at all.” What UR did do however, was to allow others to build upon their solution. They knew the limit to their in-house expertise and, like Mr. von Hollen explains, realised that introducing their own add-ons to the arm would require a different business set up. Furthermore, it would pull away resources from their focus area. “We took a decision to focus on the robot arm. We’re not going to do anything else, the arm is what we do. Staying on top of just something like the hardware, that alone is tough but that’s what we do.” That being said, you can still listen to market demands and address those in your own way. So, instead of being the automation solutions supplier that will develop and produce everything, UR continues to focus on its arm. The rest is left to other companies; experts in their respective fields. “This is a far more powerful model than having one single company controlling everything. Now you have companies that have solutions based on our arm, adding a camera, gripper and whatever you want, and we not only allow this but also encourage it.” Back in 2017, Universal Robots was basically a company that “had invented one invention”, as Mr von Hollen explains. What followed was a transformation into a process enabling company – and now – (with feedback from its customers) – an applications management company via its open ecosystem. The business model of having an open ecosystem where anyone can participate in building upon UR’s robotic arms has allowed the Danish company to stay nimble and agile. Today, the company has more than 400 different developers working within the ecosystem. But what makes Universal Robots arm a successful cobot? The arm itself needs to tick several boxes: it needs to be lightweight, reliable, cost-efficient, provide longevity and – most of all – needs to be easy to use. If the programming becomes too complex, it’s appeal as a cobot is lost. So, the secret of success for UR is specialisation rather than being a “jack of all trades”. 37'000 sold cobots worldwide (report from ABI Research) has placed UR comfortably in the lead, ahead of Taiwanese provider Techman and Korea-based Doosan with 10'000 and 2'000 units sold respectively. “This is the reason why we are here. Not the numbers themselves, but the fact that we’re bringing people back into production with our robot arm. When you look at it, many other automation solutions have brought along the very opposite. But with the products that we supply, companies can keep production and bring it back as we don’t replace people, we empower them with the aid of a robotic arm,” says Mr. von Hollen.
Jenoptik is looking to accelerate growth with acquisition of TRIOPTICS Jenoptik is acquiring 100% of the shares in TRIOPTICS GmbH, a supplier of test equipment and manufacturing systems for optical components and sensors.
Global microelectronics market with overall stable development "Although the growth path of the global microelectronics market is intact, on a long-term trend-line, it declined by 12.1 percent to USD 412 billion in 2019," said Dr. Sven Baumann, ZVEI expert for microelectronics, sensors and actuators.
Jörg Doblaski takes on the role of X-FAB CTO X-FAB Silicon Foundries announced the appointment of Jörg Doblaski as its new Chief Technology Officer (CTO). He fills the role of former CTO Dr. Jens Kosch, who is becoming an X-FAB Fellow and will serve as an adviser to the company’s CEO Rudi De Winter.
GaN and SiC power semiconductor markets set to pass $1 billion mark in 2021 The emerging market for silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) power semiconductors is forecast to pass USD 1 billion in 2021, energised by demand from hybrid & electric vehicles, power supplies, and photovoltaic (PV) inverters.
POET and Sanan IC Inks LoI to form $50 million JV The proposed JV aims to disrupt the data center market using the POET Optical Interposer to achieve superior economics and scale.
SG Wireless designates Digi-Key as authorised distributor for the US SG Wireless, the IoT solutions arm of EMS provider Season Group, has added Digi-Key as an authorised distributor of its IoT products for the US.
Kioxia completes acquisition of LITE-ON Technology’s SSD business Kioxia Holdings Corporation says it expects to complete its acquisition of LITE-ON Technology Corporation’s Solid State Drive (SSD) business, Solid State Storage Technology Corporation and its affiliated companies on July 1, 2020.
II-VI licenses technology for SiC devices and modules for power electronic II‐VI Incorporated has singed an agreement with General Electric to license GE's technology to manufacture silicon carbide (SiC) devices and modules for power electronics.
Dialog Semi completes its acquisition of Adesto Dialog Semiconductor says it has completed the acquisition of Adesto Technologies Corporation (Adesto)), a provider of custom ICs and embedded systems for the IIoT market.
Changes in NAND Flash Prices to Be Limited in 3Q20 Despite the reduced demand for consumer electronics and smartphones as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NAND Flash market showed a short supply in 1H20, thanks to the corresponding rising demand for cloud services and distance education, as well as increased inventory procurement by some clients concerned with a possible breakage in the supply chain.
USI breaks ground on its new Huizhou manufacturing facility The electronics designer and manufacturer is looking to reinforce its foundation in Southern China and is doing so by adding a new manufacturing facility in Huizhou (Guangzhou, China).
R&M opens U.S. production facility The 10,000-square-foot facility in Elkridge, Maryland aims to services U.S. East Coast, Southern and Midwestern customers with consulting, production, support, and rapid delivery.
Osram: Slight recovery after weak 3rd quarter expected Osram Licht AG expects for the fiscal year 2020 a comparable revenue decline of -15 to -19 percent (previously:-3 and +3 percent), an adjusted EBITDA margin of 3 to 6 percent (previously: 9 to 11 percent) and a negative free cash flow in the mid double digit to lower triple digit million range.
Taiwan edges South Korea as largest base for IC wafer capacity China capacity expansion forecast to push the country into second place in the regional rankings in 2022, trailing only Taiwan in size.
Siemens acquires UltraSoC Siemens has signed an agreement to acquire Cambridge, UK-based UltraSoC Technologies Ltd., a provider of instrumentation and analytics solutions that put intelligent monitoring, cybersecurity and functional safety capabilities into the core hardware of system-on-chip (SoC).
BMW and Mercedes-Benz halt cooperation in automated driving The BMW Group and Mercedes-Benz AG are putting their cooperation on development of next-generation technology for automated driving temporarily on hold.
Olympus to divest Imaging Business Olympus Corporation and Japan Industrial Partners, Inc. signed a memorandum of understanding to carveout Olympus’s Imaging business to a new company and subsequently transfer its shares to a fund managed, operated or otherwise handled by JIP.
Dialog ups its outlook for Q2 Dialog Semiconductor says it is increasing its Q2 2020 revenue outlook due to a stronger than expected demand for tablets and notebooks.
Odyssey opens first European repair facility in Nijmegen Odyssey Technical Solutions is opening a new repair facility on Novio Tech Campus in Nijmegen. The company is focused on the repair and service of equipment in Radio Frequency (RF), DC and microwaves.
NOR Flash ASP to potentially drop in 2H20 NOR Flash buyers found that their inventories were low and stepped up their procurement efforts as they anticipated the growing risk of COVID-19 causing disruptions in the supply chain.
Globalfoundries acquires Land in U.S. Globalfoundries has secured a purchase option agreement for approximately 66 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to its most advanced manufacturing facility, Fab 8, in Malta, N.Y., near the Luther Forest Technology Campus (LFTC).
GF and SkyWater team up on technology development GlobalFoundries and SkyWater Technology have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to manufacture secure solutions for the U.S. defense industrial base and cooperate on development of emerging technologies.
EBV Elektronik to franchise Sequans in EMEA EBV Elektronik, an Avnet company, today announced that it will distribute the product portfolio of Sequans Communications S.A. in EMEA.
Volkswagen increases stake in QuantumScape The Volkswagen Group is increasing its stake in QuantumScape and making an additional investment of up to US$200 million in the US battery specialist.Load more news