Universal Robots' recently published financial statements leave no doubt as to the enormous growth potential of the robot industry. With revenue reaching 418 million Danish krone (almost $62 million) in 2015, the Odense-based company achieved 91% growth compared to 2014, and 223% increase compared to 2013, while delivering a profit of 65.4 million Danish krone (almost $10 million) before tax.
Massachusetts-based Teradyne paid more than $ 285 million for all the shares in the Universal Robots in the spring of 2015. The price of the company with 150 employees in Denmark reflected the expectations of significant growth rates in the robot industry, particularly, in the new market for collaborative robots, or “cobots”—low-cost, easy-to-deploy and simple-to-program robots that work side-by-side with human production workers.
Universal Robots’ first cobot was sold in December 2008, and, in 2015, the market was estimated at $100 million. The cobot market has been estimated by some analysts to reach as high as $3 billion by 2020.
Since 2012, Universal Robots annual sales have increased an average of approximately 75%. All production of robotic arms takes place in Odense, and the robots are sold through 200 distributors, with 45% of sales in Europe, 30% in Americas and 25% in Asia in 2015.
With the employment of additional robot developers in 2015, the staff at Universal Robots' development division in Odense has almost doubled. "In the coming years, we expect the market for collaborative robots to grow by at least 50% annually, not least due to the short payback period, often less than 12 months,” says Universal Robots CEO Enrico Krog Iversen.
“We are the clear market leader and have considerably increased investments in engineering, sales and customer support to expand that lead. Although I will be moving from CEO to a consultant capacity at Universal Robots later this year, I’m confident that Universal Robots will continue to thrive using our crystal clear strategy based on three key words: focus, simplicity and uncompromising execution.”
Universal Robots was established in 2005 by three researchers, Esben Østergaard, Kasper Støy and Kristian Kassow, who wanted to make robot technology accessible to all by developing small, user-friendly, reasonably priced, flexible industrial robots that are safe to collaborate with and that on their own can be used to automate and streamline processes in industry. The product portfolio includes the collaborative UR3, UR5 and UR10 robotic arms named after their payload in kilos. Universal Robots has more than 200 employees worldwide with subsidiaries and regional offices in the United States, Spain, Germany, Singapore, Czech Republic, India, and China.