Universal Robots

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Universal Robots
HeadquartersOdense, Denmark
Key people
Jürgen von Hollen (CEO), Esben H. Østergaard (CTO & co founder)
ProductsIndustrial robots
RevenueUSD 170 million (2017)
Number of employees
520+ (2018)

Universal Robots is a Danish manufacturer of smaller flexible industrial collaborative robot arms (cobots), based in Odense, Denmark. The business volume in 2017 was USD 170 million. The company has 520+ employees (2018) and distributors in 50 countries worldwide.[1]


Universal Robots was founded in 2005 by the engineers Esben Østergaard, Kasper Støy, and Kristian Kassow.[2][3] 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 businesses.[4] In 2008 the first UR5 cobots were available on the Danish and German market. In 2012 the second cobot, UR10, was launched.[5] At Automatica 2014 in Munich the company launched a totally revised version of its cobots.[6] One year later, in spring 2015 the table-top cobot UR3 was launched.[7] At Automatica 2018 in Munich a brand new generation of Universal Robots' cobots called e-Series was launched raising the standard for collaborative robots.

UR was purchased by Teradyne for US$285 million in 2015.[8][9]


The three main products are the compact table-top cobot UR3,[10] the flexible cobot UR5,[11] and the biggest one, the UR 10.[12] 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.[13]

The safety settings of the latest generation of Universal Robots’ lightweight cobots can be adjusted for each specific solution.[14] 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.[15]

Due to their low weight and size, UR's cobots are mainly used within medium-sized businesses[16] within industries such as packaging, automotive, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, metal working, and manufacturing.

In 2016, the company launched its online ecosystem Universal Robots+, and in early 2017 it launched a new online digital learning platform called Universal Robots Academy. Through this platform, users go through nine learning modules, learning how to program the UR collaborative robots.

In 2018, a brand new generation of Universal Robots' cobots called e-Series was launched raising the standard for collaborative robots. The 'e' in e-Series stands for empowering, ease of use, everyone and evolution.[17] The new family has 3 members, like the first CB-series, with an 'e' in the end, the UR3e, UR5e and UR10e. In comparison to the CB Series, they have a higher accuracy for both position repeatability (± 0.03, ± 0.03 and ± 0.05 mm) and force (± 3.5, ± 4.0 and ± 5.5 N) and torque (± 0.10, ± 0.30 and ± 0.60 Nm), since they have a built-in Force/Torque sensor.[18] With the e-Series, they also added a few more safety features, re-designed the Teach Pendant to be more intuitive and simplified the programming flow with more wizards.


  1. ^ "Distributors of Universal Robots". universal-robots.com. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  2. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  3. ^ "Our history | Universal Robots". www.universal-robots.com. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  4. ^ "Danish Firm Develops Light-Weight Robotic Arm". roboticstrends.com. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  5. ^ "Robotic Solutions for Small and Medium-Sized Applications". automationworld.com. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  6. ^ "Universal Robots presents the next generation of lightweight robots". ifr.org. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  7. ^ "UR3-Roboter". Universal Robots. Archived from the original on 25 March 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  8. ^ Godske, Bjørn. "Universal Robots solgt for 1,9 mia. kroner" Ingeniøren, 13 May 2015. Accessed: 13 May 2015.
  9. ^ "Collaborative robots open new fronts in automation". The Business Times. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  10. ^ "Technical specifications UR3" (PDF). Universal Robots. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  11. ^ "Technical specifications UR5" (PDF). Universal Robots. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  12. ^ "Technical specifications UR10" (PDF). Universal Robots. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  13. ^ "ISO/TS 15066:2016 Robots and robotic devices -- Collaborative robots"
  14. ^ "Universal Robots' tablet-controlled factory robots work safely with humans". newatlas.com. Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  15. ^ "Universal Robots Develops Lightweight Robots". ceasiamag.com. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  16. ^ "Cheaper robots can help SMEs become more flexible". emtworld.com. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  17. ^ "e-Series Brochure" (PDF). Universal Robots. 2018-07-23. Retrieved 2018-07-23.
  18. ^ "e-Series Technical Introduction". Universal Robots. Retrieved 2018-07-23.

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