In December, Universal Robots sold its 50,000th cobot, which was purchased by a German manufacturer to increase productivity and improve employee safety.

The 50,000th cobot came in a special delivery as Jürgen von Hollen, president of Universal Robots, personally handed over the cobot to VEMA Technische Kunststoffteile GmbH and VEMA Werkzeug und Formenbau GmbH. Located in Krauchenwies-Göggingen, Germany, the companies make plastic parts, die-cast metal parts, and the tools and molds for making them.

“We have worked very hard in the past 15 years to develop an entirely new market segment with a mission to enable especially small- and medium sized companies to automate tasks they thought were too costly or complex,” says von Hollen. “As a pioneer in this market, we put a lot of work into creating awareness, influencing standards, and changing customers’ perceptions influenced by their experience of traditional robots.

VEMA’s new collaborative robot will join a fleet of three other UR cobots already deployed in pick-and-place tasks in end-of-line applications at the company.

“VEMA was looking for a cost-effective, flexible, easy-to-use automation solution they could implement, program and manage on their own. They found exactly that in the UR cobot,” adds Von Hollen.

Christian Veser, managing director at VEMA, is thrilled to be the recipient of the milestone cobot and explains how the cobots have enabled the company to add a third shift, now operating around the clock. “We have enhanced our productivity remarkably and also achieved better quality,” he says. “Our employees are freed from ergonomically straining work to focus on quality testing. In navigating COVID-19 challenges, it has also been a great advantage that the cobots don’t need to keep a safety distance or undergo quarantine. They can always work.”

VEMA appreciates the cobots so much that they even gave them names. “The first three cobots are named Elfriede, Günther and Bruno,” says Veser. “We will name our new cobot Jürgen to honor the fact that UR’s president came here in person to deliver it.”

Collaborative robots are the fastest growing segment of industrial automation. Global sales of cobots are projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of more than 30 percent from 2020 to 2025.