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Cobots, or robots that collaborate directly with humans, were a true milestone in the development of mechanical assistants not so long ago. Prior to that, robots were confined behind massive protective fences like wild animals, where they performed their work strictly separated from humans. But with the development of ever more sensitive and, above all, faster sensors and increasingly sophisticated control programs, this barrier began to dissolve - and today direct cooperation between man and machine is almost part of everyday life. But of course, this progress does not mean that development has come to a standstill; after the revolution comes evolution.

Everyone starts small

In 2008, the Danish company Universal Robots (UR) launched the world's first commercially viable cobot. Since then, the company has built an ecosystem of more than 1,100 integrators, distributors and independent partners who develop components and applications around the robots. To date, Universal Robots has sold more than 50,000 Cobots and is drawing on the experience of an established customer base to develop its latest product.

The next step

Now, Universal Robots recently announced the addition of the UR20, a cobot with a 20-kilogram payload and a reach of 1,750 millimeters, to its product portfolio. "This is not just a bigger, but a completely redefined version of our cobot. The UR20 is the most innovative cobot we've ever built and the latest advancement from 17 years of technical experience in the robotics industry," explains Kim Povlsen, president of Universal Robots.

Detail improvements with a big impact

The UR20 is thus the latest addition to Universal Robots' proven product portfolio. Thanks to a new articulated design, it achieves shorter cycle times and handles heavy loads reliably. The increased reach also enables the cobot to stack parts up to the full height of a standard euro pallet of two meters. This noticeably expands the potential for companies that want to automate tasks such as packaging and palletizing. It is worth noting that the UR20 takes up little space despite its larger work area; it still manages with a footprint of just 245 millimeters in diameter.

Ready for new tasks

Beyond palletizing, Universal Robots sees the UR20 continuing to grow in its range of applications, from welding to machine tending. It is anticipated that the company's extensive partner network will continue to test and develop new applications. "Our commitment to each customer's success is reflected in the demands we place on our newly developed products. The UR20 is the best example of this," said Kim Povlsen.

For Universal Robots, however, the UR20 is just the starting gun for a new series of powerful next-generation cobots to complement the company's highly successful e-Series. "The UR20 is just the beginning. We're launching our next generation first with this high payload model because it will enable our customers to automate new tasks end-to-end. The next step will be to bring the same features to a new family of cobots."


Universal Robots (Germany) GmbH (D-81379 München)