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Universal Robots Celebrates 10th Anniversary
Published:  03 January, 2019

Universal Robots has celebrated its 10th Anniversary of selling the world’s first commercially viable collaborative robot.

When Linatex, a Danish supplier of technical plastics and rubber for industrial applications, bought a UR5 robot arm from Universal Robots (UR) to automate CNC machine tending in December 2008, instead of installing the robot behind safety caging, fenced off from people as was the norm for all industrial robots, it deployed it right alongside its employees. And instead of bringing in external programmers to master complex scripting, Linatex was able to program the robot on its own with no prior programming experience. Today, ten years later, Linatex still uses a cobot from Universal Robots.

UR’s co-founder and CTO, Esben Østergaard, delivered the first robot himself after having led a small team through three years of development in a basement at University of Southern Denmark. For his pioneering role in developing cobots, he was awarded the Engelberger Award, the “Nobel Prize” of robotics, earlier this year.

Østergaard commented: “10 years might seem like a long time, and it’s definitely been quite a journey; but we’ve only just started to scratch the surface…I continue to see our cobots power new applications that we never imagined when we first launched.”

Esben Østergaard and the growing UR team launched the larger model, UR10, in 2012 and the table-top model, UR3, in 2015 – the same year Teradyne saw the company’s potential and acquired UR for USD 285 million.

Last year the company grew 72% and earlier this year the company marked its 25,000th cobot sale by delivering a limited edition in gold. To date, the company has sold more than 27,000 cobots around the world.

Cobots are now the fastest-growing segment of industrial automation, expected to jump ten-fold to 34% of all industrial robot sales by 2025, according to the Robotic Industries Association (RIA).