On the opposite end of the employee spectrum, of course, is the skills gap. Solving that problem is beyond the scope of collaborative robotics, right? Not according to UR.
UR believes that cobots can play a vital role in bridging the skills gap, both by designing a user-friendly robot that can help fill the gap, but also by teaching people with no robotics experience how to quickly program and operate them and, thus, give employees access to more value-added jobs. Its UR Academy features nine interactive online modules where users can learn the basics of robot programming and set-up, and it's available for free.
“This is a long-term investment for us,” explained Esben Østergaard, Chief Technical Officer and co-founder of UR. “We want to raise robot literacy, and the reason for speeding up the entry of cobots is not only to optimize production here and now. We are facing a looming skills gap in the manufacturing industry that we need to bridge by all means possible. Facilitating knowledge creation and access to our robots is an important step in that direction,” said Østergaard.
UR announced this month the introduction of its e-Series cobots, which includes technology advances that enable accelerated development for a broader array of applications, said the company. The control panel has been redesigned, and new programming and control software make deployment and programming easier than ever, regardless of application, according to UR. It is taking orders for the new cobots now for shipment beginning on Aug. 1, 2018.
Universal Robots sold its first UR5 cobots in 2008 in Denmark and Germany. Since then, it has established deep footprints in China and other locations around the world, and has operated a subsidiary in Garden City, NY, since 2012. It opened a repair center offering overnight delivery of spare parts in North America in 2017, and set up a regional office in Boston this year.
Universal Robots has received numerous awards and accolades over the years. Most recently, Østergaard was named this year’s recipient of the Engelberger Robotics Award, which has been called the Nobel prize of robotics.