Universal Robots added the UR16e collaborative robot to its e-Series line-up that was first introduced in June 2018. The UR16e features a 16 kg (35 lbs) payload, which is the company’s strongest cobot ever. The UR16e also has a 900 mm reach and ± 0.05 mm repeatability.
The UR3e, UR5e and UR10e, the other cobots in UR’s e-Series, offer 3 kg (6.6 lbs), 5 kg (11 lbs) and 10 kg (22 lbs) payloads, respectively. Check out the comparison chart below to see how the UR16e stacks up to the rest of UR’s e-Series. UR told The Robot Report the UR16e is designed for tasks such as heavy-duty material handling, heavy-part handling and machine tending. Like the rest of the e-Series, the UR16e includes:
- Built-in force sensing
- 17 configurable safety functions, including customizable stopping time and stopping distance
- Intuitive programming flow
- Meets compliance and safety standards EN ISO 13849-1, PLd, Category 3, and full EN ISO 10218-1.
UR has sold 37,000-plus cobots and is, by far, the leader in the space. Jürgen von Hollen, President of Universal Robots, told The Robot Report the UR16e is a milestone release for UR, which was founded in 2015 and acquired by Teradyne in 2015 for $285 million.
“The UR16e is the first step changing UR from a company that’s been pushing technology into a market to UR being more of a product management organization,” he said. “We’ve been listening to the market and customer needs.”
Better EOATs create need for increased payload
von Hollen said customers asked about higher payloads partly because end-of-arm tools are getting heavier and taking up more payload. “Customers want to get more out of their investments,” von Hollen said. “And the more you get the cobot to do, the better it is from an ROI perspective. Grippers have become more so cobots can do multiple functions, which increases the payload.”
von Hollen also said that with today’s economic climate, manufacturers are looking for more flexible solutions to remain competitive. “With UR16e, we meet the need for a collaborative robot that can tackle heavy-duty tasks reliably and efficiently. This launch significantly expands the versatility of our product portfolio and gives manufacturers even more ways to improve performance, overcome labor challenges, and grow their business.”
Focusing on applications
von Hollen said UR is investing significant time and effort focusing on customer applications. The UR16e, he said, opens new heavy-duty applications for UR’s cobots. “It’s a payload we couldn’t get before,” he said. “Going forward, we will be much more understanding of end-user requirements. It’s essential for us to invest in the right areas. An application focus becomes a key driver.”
ABI Research is forecasting the collaborative robotics market to exceed US$11 Billion by 2030, representing 29% of the total industrial robotics market. As of 2018, according to ABI, UR owned 59% of global cobot shipments. There are many new players coming after UR, but von Hollen said only a few are developing strong technologies that are competitive.
“I’m pretty positive we’re maintaining or growing our marketplace. One thing I’m proud of as a company is that we have not dropped our prices since I’ve been with the company,” said von Hollen, who joined UR in October 2016. “Despite volatility and increased competition, we’ve kept strong about the price. It’s about added value and bringing value to the overall business case for the company. This new product will open up new applications and larger accounts for us. The complete product portfolio will excite customers.”