15 years ago Denmark didn't have a robotics industry. Now the cobot capital of the world is being built there
An early mock-up of the new Cobot Hub in Odense, Denmark.
With financial backing from their joint U.S. parent company Teradyne, Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) and Universal Robots (UR) have acquired a 50,000-m2 building site in Odense, Denmark, where $36 million will be invested in the construction of a major cobot hub in the "cobot capital" of the world.
Collaborative robots (or cobots) are now the fastest growing segment of industrial automation. Cobots are a type of user-friendly robots that can work closely with humans without the need for safety guarding, enhancing both work environment and productivity.
VIDEO: Introducing the UR16e cobot from Universal Robots, which delivers a 16-kg payload for your heavy-duty applications.
The Danish robotics industry is currently booming; the 2019 annual survey from trade association Odense Robotics shows that 8,500 people now work for Danish robotics companies, with 3,900 of them in and around Odense, which is Denmark's third largest city.
If the industry follows the growth forecasts, the Danish robot industry will employ 25,000 people in 2025, according to the Danish analyst firm Damvad.
And it's not just the number of employees that's growing. Danish robotics companies' total revenue rose by 18 percent in 2018, reaching $995 million, with exports increasing 26 percent. These figures are particularly significant in that just 15 years ago Denmark did not have any robotics industry to speak of.
The new cobot hub supports Teradyne's mission to further strengthen the significant leads that both MiR and UR have established worldwide.
"We have found something very special in Denmark," said Mark Jagiela, president and CEO of Teradyne. "The Danes' combination of innovative industrial design, combined with a practical business sense, have created a perfect combination for this emerging industry. The ability to make robots work in collaboration with humans in a user-friendly manner is something we have not encountered to this degree anywhere else in the world, and we're very excited to expand our capabilities in Odense."
Thomas Visti (left), CEO of Mobile Industrial Robots, with Jürgen von Hollen, president of Universal Robots.
This is not the first time the MiR and UR owner has provided cash support for robot development in Denmark. To date, Teradyne has invested more than half a billion USD in the two young Danish robotic companies, both of which are growing rapidly.
The building site is in Odense's industrial district close to UR's current headquarters, which will also become part of the new cobot hub. The two companies will continue as separate entities with the aim to create an attractive environment that will help attract new employees to facilitate the continued growth expected in the coming years.
MiR has hired 100 new employees the past year, with UR adding 280 new staff members during the past two years. Today, the two companies have 160 and 450 employees, respectively, based in Denmark. UR employs almost 700 employees worldwide, while MiR's staff counts a total of around 220 globally.
Jürgen von Hollen, president of Universal Robots, sees enormous potential in the cobot market. "This is a market expected to grow to a total value of almost $12 billion in 2030, according to ABI Research. Demand for Danish cobots already means that we are growing out of our current offices in Odense, both at UR and MiR," he said. "Odense has a strong ecosystem of talent, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to invest long-term in the unique robotics environment that we have been building here over the last 10 years."