Universal Robots (UR, universal-robots.com ) pioneered the market by selling the first commercially viable cobot in December of 2008 and has kept its early front-runner position with a 60 percent global share of the cobot market, selling more cobots than all competitors combined. The Danish company is celebrating unprecedented sales, awarding Kay Manufacturing (kaymfg.com) from Chicago a golden cobot for purchasing its 25,000th unit.

Universal Robots announced the milestone this week at the IMTS manufacturing trade show in Chicago. Recipient of the Golden Edition Cobot, will be delivered with joints in a rich golden finish to Kay Manufacturing, a small precision machining company headquartered in Calumet City outside Chicago.

President of UR, Jürgen von Hollen, emphasized how the company couldn’t have reached this historic landmark without customers like Kay Manufacturing: “With this event, we celebrate not just the success of Universal Robots in empowering customers, but also the successes of our customers in innovating and changing their workplace with collaborative robots.”

Unlike conventional industrial robotic solutions that usually stay bolted down in cages dedicated to one task, the UR cobots are designed to work hand-in-hand with operators on a wide range of tasks, opening up more opportunities for human-robot collaboration. Kay Manufacturing is using Universal  Robots for end-of-line tasks, packaging and palletizing parts off a conveyor. The company started to look into automation after it received an order that doubled its production output to over a million pieces  per year. 

“A traditional cell would not justify our internal rate of return and would consume most of our facilities’ technical resources,” said Brian Pelke, president of Kay Manufacturing. “It was a non-starter.”

Instead, the company looked into cobots from Universal Robots that don’t require the same safety setup due to a built-in safety system in the robot arms that make them automatically stop once they encounter obstacles in their route.