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Universal Robots Expands Distribution in Eastern and Western United States

Since entering the North American market in 2012, Universal Robots has become the trailblazer of lightweight, user-friendly robots that can operate right alongside employees. The increase in demand for this new type of robot has led the robot manufacturer to increase distribution on both east and west coasts.

Ed Mullen, National Sales Manager of Universal Robots in North America, says that the distributors were carefully chosen in a competitive field of potential candidates:

“We were looking to add some pneumatic centric distributors. With this type of distributor, the level of penetration into small accounts is much higher. The typical pneumatic distributor has 2-3 times the end user customer base than an electro-mechanical distributor and we found that in both Numatic Engineering and Intek Systems,” says Mullen adding that the expansion will help address the recent surge in customer interest in Universal Robots within the small and medium sized segments:

“Not only have we been able to acquire large accounts, supplying the first collaborative robots to BMW and VW, we've also been able to get our robots on the shop floors of many smaller businesses that never thought they'd be able to employ a robot due to cost and complexity.”

Steve Leach, President of Numatic Engineering, says that adding Universal Robots to the line card fills a significant gap in the market:

“Our customers need a flexible robot that’s easy to operate and integrate into existing production. A robot they can quickly reprogram and move to a new production task. I predict that this will become our largest-selling robotic solution.”

Numatic Engineering’s core customers are within electronics, medical, and packaging industries.

“I’ve been in this business for 35 years, and have never before experienced our sales people calling in — before we even get the demo model — saying, ‘I want to be the first to take this robot out.’ There really is an unprecedented amount of interest in Universal Robots,” says Leach.

In Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Southern New Jersey, Intek Systems is seeing the industry demand for UR robots run the gamut from packaging, assembly, medical appliances to metal fabrication. The new Universal Robots distributor is holding a number of seminars and on sight customer presentations showcasing the robot arms throughout their territory.

“These seminars have resulted in immediate purchase commitment or budget allocations. This is one of the most exciting products we’ve offered as a company in a long time. The Universal Robot has generated a lot of interest and is a real door opener for our salesman. We’re expecting significant growth this year in our territory from Universal Robot,” says Intek president Bob Hailstone.

The UR robots

Universal Robots is a result of many years of intensive research in robotics. The product portfolio includes the UR5 and UR10 models that handle payloads of up to 11.3 lbs. and 22.6 lbs. respectively. The six-axis robot arms weigh as little as 40 lbs. with reach capabilities of up to 51 inches. Repeatability of +/- .004” allows quick precision handling of even microscopically small parts.

If the robots come into contact with an employee, the built-in force control limits the forces at contact and does not cause bodily harm, adhering to the current safety requirements on force and torque limitations. With Universal Robots it is easy to develop applications that can run without shielding. A thorough risk assessment must however always be made.

The collaborative robots can quickly be moved around the production sites and are easily integrated in all industries—from the small machine shop to the large auto assembly line. Payback period is typically 3-8 months.

Watch the robot in action:

The company:

Universal Robots is a first mover within a new segment of collaborative robots focusing on user friendliness and flexibility. Since the first UR robot entered the market in 2009, the company has seen substantial growth with the robotic arms now being sold in 50 countries worldwide. The company is headquartered in Odense, Denmark where all development and production is carried out.

Product photos, brochures, and videos:

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