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Universal Robots shares automation trends predictions for 2023


January 13, 2023  by Manufacturing AUTOMATION


Universal Robots (UR) recently shared its predictions on automation trends for 2023 that would impact manufacturers going forward. In a press statement released by the company, it noted that turnkey robotic solutions, complete with all hardware, software, sensors and interfaces, will be powerful automation drivers in 2023.

“In 2023, cobot automation will become more sophisticated yet more straightforward to use,” predicts Joe Campbell, senior manager of applications development and strategic marketing at UR. “We are going to continue seeing phenomenal growth within complete robotic systems for applications such as welding, palletizing and machine tending, propelled by UR partners creating full solutions powered by our collaborative robot arms.”

Sales of UR cobots for integration in OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) solutions grew by about 50 percent in 2022. UR enters the new year with more than 80 OEM partners integrating UR cobots in turnkey systems, and over 300 UR+ partners launching application kits and components certified to work with the UR cobots.

UR shares in its statement that cobot welders are a key growth driver. A significant share of new cobot-powered turnkey systems now handle welding applications, according to UR. The company’s welding channel grew over 80 percent in 2022 as new cobot welders hit factory floors.

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Campbell explains that UR declared January as “National Cobot Awareness Month,” prompting more manufacturers to discover cobots. “We want to give businesses a head-start by sharing these inspiring ‘aha moments’ on how cobots can help them solve business challenges, offering them the opportunity to find a local UR partner and try a cobot firsthand,” he says.

Another automation trend according to UR is that there will be more modular production with higher payload and longer reach cobots. In 2023, UR’s new UR20 cobot becomes available to customers. The UR20 is built for 20-kilogram payloads, with high speeds and superior motion control all within a lightweight, small-footprint system. “The 20 kg payload capacity will transform industries such as palletizing, while its 1750 mm reach is eagerly anticipated for use in welding and machine tending,” says Campbell, explaining that the new robot is light enough to be unbolted and relocated or attached to a heavy base with wheels. “Modular automation is another key trend in 2023, I expect us to see more reconfigurable robotic work cells than ever before.”

Customers will be found at the heart of product development, adds UR in the statement. Although UR targets robot collaboration in the workplace, human collaboration is what drives innovation. The company recently reorganized its product creation teams to focus heavily on understanding the problems customers are facing before designing solutions.

“Customers understand their own needs better than anyone else, and we will increasingly involve end-users in product development,” says Campbell, predicting that co-development projects where UR and customers work together in developing specific solutions are bound to expand in 2023 and beyond.

“Ultimately these collaborations allow customers to directly influence the product they are buying, while at the same time delivering valuable feedback – meaning we will be able to launch a product to the benefit of the whole market.”


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