Collaborative robots will be collaborating together at a new "cobot hub" in Odense, Denmark, for Universal Robots and Mobile Industrial Robots.
With $36 million in backing from their U.S. parent company, Teradyne Inc., MiR and UR have acquired land to build a 334,000-square-foot building in Odense. The Danish city is billed as the "cobot capital" of the world. Company officials say it will be the world's largest hub for collaborative robots.
Cobots, a fast-growing sector of the automation industry, can work side by side with human employees without the need for safety guarding.
Simon Kollerup, Denmark's minister of industry, business and financial affairs, announced the news Feb. 4. The site is in Odense's industrial district, near Universal Robots' current headquarters, which will be part of the new cobot hub.
UL and MiR will remain independent entities but can work together — collaborate, so to speak — in the new cobot hub, company officials said. Together, they employ more than 600 people in Denmark and more than 900 people globally. The new site will have space for up to 1,100 employees between the two companies.
"MiR and UR are leading the world in the collaborative robot revolution that's making automation solutions available to companies of all sizes," said Mark Jagiela, president and CEO of Teradyne, based in North Reading, Mass.
"Teradyne continues to invest aggressively in the development of new products, solutions and sales channels, and this new facility is a key part of our growth strategy," he said.
Danish engineers founded Universal Robots in Odense in 2005. They wanted to make robotics more accessible to small- and mid-sized businesses. Teradyne bought Universal Robots in 2015.
In 2018, Teradyne acquired Mobile Industrial Robots, also based in Odense.
"Denmark has a significant lead in the global market for cobots," MiR CEO Thomas Visti said. "Investing ambitiously in building the world's industrial cobot hub right here in Odense makes a lot of sense." The area has a lot of skilled talent.
Teradyne's Jagliea said: "We have found something very special in Denmark. The Danes' combination of innovative industrial design, combined with a practical business sense, have created a perfect combination for this emerging industry."
Denmark has its own trade association for automation. In its 2019 survey, Odense Robotics found that 8,500 people now work for Danish robotics companies — 3,900 of them in and around Odense, which is the country's third-largest city. Danish analyst firm Damvad Analytics projects that total employment could triple by 2025.