Universal Robots

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Universal Robots
Industry Automation
Founded 2005
Headquarters Odense, Denmark
Key people
Jürgen von Hollen (CEO), Esben H. Østergaard (CTO & co founder)
Products Industrial robots
Revenue DKK 662 million (2016)
Number of employees
Website www.universal-robots.com

Universal Robots is a Danish manufacturer of smaller flexible industrial collaborative robot arms (cobots), based in Odense, Denmark. The business volume in 2016 was DKK 662 million. The company has 350+ employees and distributors in 50 countries worldwide.[1]


Universal Robots was founded in 2005 by the engineers Esben Østergaard, Kasper Støy, and Kristian Kassow. [2]During joint research at the Syddansk Universitet Odense, they came to the conclusion that the robotics market was dominated by heavy, expensive, and unwieldy robots. As a consequence they developed the idea to make robot technology accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises.[3] In 2008 the first UR5 cobots were available on the Danish and German market. In 2012 the second cobot, UR10, was launched.[4] At Automatica 2014 in Munich the company launched a totally revised version of its cobots.[5] One year later, in spring 2015 the table-top cobot UR3 was launched.[6]

UR was purchased by Teradyne for US$285 million in 2015.[7]

The robot arms are used in production by companies such as Lear Corporation, Franke (company), Oticon, bridge metal industries, Johnson & Johnson,[8] Clamcleats, Kunshan Dongwei, VW[9] and BMW.[10] The company received the IERA award[11] (2012) that honors innovative achievements in the field of robotics and was named one of Denmark's 30 most important export companies and thus included in the "ExportCanon" in 2013.[12]


The three main products are the compact table-top cobot UR3,[13] the flexible cobot UR5,[14] and the biggest one, the UR 10.[15] All three are six-jointed robot arms with a very low weight of respectively 11 kilos, 18 kilos and 28 kilos. The UR3 and the UR5 have a lifting ability of 3 and 5 kilos and have a working radius of 500mm and 850mm (19.7 in; 33.5 in). In addition, the UR10 has a lifting ability of 10 kilos with a reach of 1300mm (51.2 in). Each of the cobots’ joints can rotate through +/- 360° and up to 180 degrees per second. Furthermore, the UR3 has also an infinite rotation on the end joint. The accuracy of the cobots’ repetitions is +/- 0.1mm (+/- 0.0039 in). Universal Robots collaborative robots (cobots) can work right alongside personnel with no safety guarding, based on the results of a mandatory risk assessment.[16]

The safety settings of the latest generation of Universal Robots’ lightweight cobots can be adjusted for each specific solution.[17] The robot arm can run in two operating modes of the safety functions; a normal and a reduced one. A switch between safety settings during the cobot’s operation is also possible. All these safety functions are safety rated PL d (EN ISO 13849:2008 ) and certified by TÜV NORD.[18]

Due to their low weight and size, UR's cobots are mainly used within medium-sized enterprises[19] within industries such as packaging, automotive, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, metal working, and manufacturing.

IERA-Award and ExportCanon[edit]

In 2012, Universal Robots received "the world's most innovative robot" Award for UR5 robotic arm[20], during the trade fair Automatica in Munich, Germany. Initiators of the prize are the international robot organisations; the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) and IEEE Robotics and Automation Society.[11][21]

Other awards include Good Design Award (Japan), Game Changer Award (RoboBusiness), DIRA Automation Award. Universal Robots was named one of Denmark's 30 most important export companies in 2013 and thus included in the "ExportCanon".[22] UR received the innovation prize at the Portuguese EMAF exhibition in Oporto in November 2014.[23] And few months later the company achieved rank #25 on MIT Technology Review’s list of the 50 Smartest Companies 2015.[24]

Universal Robots Academy[edit]

In early 2017, Universal Robots launched a new online digital learning platform called Universal Robots Academy. Through this platform, users go through six learning modules, learning how to program the UR collaborative robots. The launch of Universal Robots Academy received international press coverage because the platform is free to use for everyone. [25] The platform was developed in collaboration with Cadpeople A/S. [26]


  1. ^ "Distributors of Universal Robots". universal-robots.com. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 2017-09-15. 
  3. ^ "Danish Firm Develops Light-Weight Robotic Arm". roboticstrends.com. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  4. ^ "Robotic Solutions for Small and Medium-Sized Applications". automationworld.com. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "Universal Robots presents the next generation of lightweight robots". ifr.org. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  6. ^ "UR3-Roboter". Universal Robots. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  7. ^ Godske, Bjørn. "Universal Robots solgt for 1,9 mia. kroner" Ingeniøren, 13 May 2015. Accessed: 13 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Palletizing Solution – Universal Robot system in Athens Plant". robotics.youngester.com. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  9. ^ "Volkswagen Turns Robotic Arms Into Production Assistants". forbes.com. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  10. ^ "Universal Robots on BMW Assembly Line – ASME". Advanced Motion Systems, Inc. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "Two winners: Robocoaster and Universal Robots". ifr.org. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  12. ^ "Denmark’s Export Canon". Huset Monday Morning. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "Technical specifications UR3" (PDF). Universal Robots. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  14. ^ "Technical specifications UR5" (PDF). Universal Robots. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "Technical specifications UR10" (PDF). Universal Robots. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  16. ^ "ISO/TS 15066:2016 Robots and robotic devices -- Collaborative robots"
  17. ^ "Universal Robots' tablet-controlled factory robots work safely with humans". newatlas.com. Retrieved 2017-09-15. 
  18. ^ "Universal Robots Develops Lightweight Robots". ceasiamag.com. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  19. ^ "Cheaper robots can help SMEs become more flexible". emtworld.com. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  20. ^ "Force control introduced by Universal Robots: News from Universal Robots A/S". www.pandct.com. Retrieved 2017-09-15. 
  21. ^ "Universal Robots' tablet-controlled factory robots work safely with humans". newatlas.com. Retrieved 2017-09-15. 
  22. ^ "Danmarks Eksportkanon". Huset Mondag Morgan. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  23. ^ "Press Kit Universal Robots" (PDF). Universal Robots. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  24. ^ "50 Smartest Companies 2015". technologyreview.com. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  25. ^ [1], "finance.yahoo.com".
  26. ^ [2], "cadpeople.dk".

External links[edit]