Universal Robots's 1,000 Workforce A First in Danmark

A McKinsey & Company 2020 report found 50% of work time in Malaysia spent on repetitive activities that are highly automatable and Universal Robots can change the workspace

Universal Robots's 1,000 Workforce A First in Danmark
Universal Robots started in 2005, when three young researchers – Esben Østergaard, Kasper Støy, and Kristian Kassow - Pix Provided

MALAYSIA, 17 NOVEMBER 2022Universal Robots, the biggest company in a fast-growing Danish robotics hub, has become the cluster’s first organization to reach 1,000 employees – one of only a few Danish companies founded in this millennium to hit this milestone.

Since its first collaborative robot (cobot) was launched in 2008, Universal Robots has grown to be a global market leader in cobots with offices in more than 20 countries worldwide.

The company’s success is reflected in the growth of an entire robotics cluster, meaning Denmark is now home to more than 400 robotics companies and making the Danish city of Odense one of the leading robotics hubs in the world.

Kim Povlsen, President of Universal Robots, comments: "This is an historic milestone for us, and we are proud of how we have evolved from being a local startup in the basement under the university to becoming a global cobot pioneer and market leader. Above all, it shows that we have a fantastic product and that many companies around the world can see the benefits of using our robots to develop their business."

Helping Malaysian Industries Automate

All over the world there will be an increasing need for automation in the coming years, and it will be driven by several different things: a desire to protect employees from dangerous and monotonous tasks; reshoring, where companies move production closer to home in response to an uncertain world; and above all, a shortage of labor which will only get worse in the coming years.

In Future of Jobs 2020 report published by World Economic Forum, 73% of Malaysian companies will adopt the use of robots such as non-humanoid industrial automation and drones within the next five years.

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“According to McKinsey and Company report “Automation and adaptability: How Malaysia can navigate the future of work,” 50% of working time in Malaysia is spent on repetitive activities that are highly automatable.

“Universal Robots can help Malaysian industries automate and move towards higher value chain. Cobots can work 24 hours a day and reduce work time spent on repetitive tasks, thus helping to increase overall productivity. Moreover, the use of automation will generate new industries and produce more job opportunities,” says Ix Lee, Head of Southeast Asia and Oceania, Universal Robots.

Demand for the use of automation in end-user industries such as automotive, food and beverage, and consumer electronics is driving the growth of robotics market in Malaysia. Verified Market Research has projected Malaysia’s robotics market size to reach US$273.61 million by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 17.50% from 2020 to 2027.

A 17-year journey for Universal Robots

Universal Robots started in 2005, when three young researchers – Esben Østergaard, Kasper Støy, and Kristian Kassow – from the University of Southern Denmark were frustrated by how the robots of the time were heavy, expensive and complicated to use.

This gave them the idea to create a robot that is flexible, safe to work with and easier to install and program. Since then, Universal Robots has developed a range of cobot products, most recently adding the new UR20 to its portfolio, and has sold more than 50,000 cobots worldwide.

During the past year, Universal Robots has hired more than 200 employees to ensure the company is ready to realize the enormous growth potential that lies ahead.

Kim Povlsen adds: "From the outside there is, quite naturally, a lot of focus on the product and the technology. But the tech does not just arise by itself. It's about having the right people on board, and at UR we have some exceptionally skilled and innovative employees who are able to constantly push the boundaries of what can be automated and how easily it can be done.

Kim Povlsen is optimistic about the future. "We have a new generation of cobots on the way, with the UR20 being the first model, and our own figures show that we have only reached approximately two per cent of all potential customers worldwide. So the potential is enormous and while we celebrate the journey we have been on today, our eyes are firmly set on the future.”