Denmark-based Universal Robots (UR), the world's leading maker of collaborative robots, is estimated to score revenues of DKK1 billion (US$160 million) for 2017, meeting its annual growth projection of 50%, with revenues from the Asian market to see an even higher increase, according to company sources.
After seeing its revenues shoot up 62% from 2015 to around US$106 million in 2016 on strong global market demand, UR shipped 17,000 collaborative robots in the first eight months of 2017, commanding a 60% share of the global market for such robots, according to the sources. The company is optimistic it will see impressive sales growth potentials for the next few years, given the estimate by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) that the annual global market scale for collaborative robots would reach US$2 billion in 2020, the sources said.
At the moment, UR's revenues are equally sourced from North America, Europe and Asia, despite the company penetrating the Asian market later than the former two markets, with a Singapore branch set up in April 2015 and a Northeast Asia branch founded in 2016. This has indicated the robust growth momentum shown in Asia, now a major global manufacturing hub where collaborative robots can be best applied, said Tsuyoshi Yamane, general manager of UR's Northeast Asia branch.
Competition conducive to market expansion
Yamane said he is quite confident about UR's sales performance in the Asian market, and revenues from the market are very likely to exceed the firm's global average growth of 50% in 2017, with sales in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan showing almost the same level of growth momentum. He welcomed the competition from other makers of collaborative robots in the three countries, saying that the competition will serve to expand the market scale.
The company launched a UR+ platform in 2016 in a bid to build a collaborative robot ecosystem, and has so far attracted over 170 developers from around the world to join the platform, with over 40 peripheral products such as gripping jaws, visual recognition systems and torque sensors associated with collaborative robots already certified by UR, according to Yamane.
As long as developers have their products officially certified by UR, they can display and promote the products on the UR+ platform. In addition, during their development process, developers can also join the +YOU online forum run by UR to seek free technical support and access the robot rental service, Yamane disclosed.