Brexit and set-up simplicity add to universal lure of cobots

In the space of 10 years Universal Robots has sold over 21,000 cobots, the Danish company’s automated solution that puts a robot alongside a human to work safely and efficiently.


In the past decade, Universal Robots’ cobots have been utilised in industries ranging from food production to scientific research, taking on tasks that include industrial assembly, pick-and-place and quality inspections.

The UK has always lagged behind its European neighbours in the uptake of robots and wider automation systems, but this is likely to change and one of the reasons for this is Brexit.

Leaving the EU will give a number of employers something of a headache if they can’t guarantee the staff available to do repetitive, manual shop floor tasks.

According to Andrew Mason, automation sales manager of RARUK Automation, this is one of reasons why UK manufacturers are starting to reconsider the use of cobots.

RARUK Automation is an R. A. Rodriguez company that specialises in the supply of products with a ‘unique edge’, including cobots from Universal Robots. They were on stand H19-238 at MACH 2018.

Mason showed The Engineer how a UR5 cobot from Universal Robots can be quickly configured for a pick-and-place application, either through inputting a few waypoints on a graphic interface or by manually pointing the UR5 to where it should do its work.

“The robot fills a hole in the market in that it is easy to use by people who aren’t robotic programmers,” he said. “You can put it where you want, so they’re great for flexible production facilities. It can be redeployed very easily.”

Peripherals can be added to the range too, which Mason said come from an ‘app store’ style arrangement where partner companies develop plug-and-play interfaces that are as easy to set us as the cobot itself.

Universal Robots aren’t, of course, the only makers of cobots but Mason is unequivocal about why they are ahead of the market.

He said: “Universal brought the cobot to the market…[and] they’ve got a massive R&D facility. They are continuously developing products and moving it forward. It’s taken the third generation to arrive before other products started to hit the market…so we think we’re a few steps ahead. Also, if you’re a customer you’ve got the security of knowing you’ve got a tried and tested product. Sales are through distribution – they have specialist distribution partners across the world.”

To celebrate the sale of 25,000 cobots worldwide, Universal Robots is giving away its first and only Gold Edition cobot, shipped free of cost, to a customer who orders the 25,000th cobot. To stand a chance to win the world’s only Gold Edition Universal Robots’ cobot, place an order at