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Universal Robots keen to expand in Vietnam

Released at: 10:08, 09/08/2018

Universal Robots keen to expand in Vietnam

Photo: UR

Cobot pioneer eyes country's booming automation market.

by Thanh Thanh

Universal Robots (UR), the pioneer in and market leader of collaborative robots (cobots), is optimistic about expanding its presence in Vietnam in line with the government’s increasing focus on Industry 4.0 and with researchers Frost & Sullivan having found that the total automation and control market in Vietnam will be worth $184.5 million by 2021.

“Cobot demand is rising in Vietnam as businesses are recognizing the importance of employing advanced technology and robotics to maintain a competitive advantage,” said Ms. Shermine Gotfredsen, General Manager, Southeast Asia and Oceania, at UR. “Furthermore, the government has made Industry 4.0 a top priority, developing action plans to accelerate the adoption of new automated technology and attract more foreign investors.”

Cobots provide endless benefits for businesses of all sizes, as they increase productivity, improve output quality, and enhance workers’ well-being. Early adoption of such automation will allow manufacturers to stay ahead of the curve, equipping them to tackle various issues such as rising operational costs, delivering a working environment that is more sympathetic to workers’ health and safety and human rights issues, and meeting the need for businesses to expand globally to remain competitive, she added.

UR is participating at the Vietnam Manufacturing Expo 2018 (VME) - the country’s leading exhibition on machinery and technology for manufacturing and supporting industries - from August 8 to 10 at I.C.E. Hanoi.

It recently unveiled its new flagship “e-Series” cobots, which offer wider application reach, increased usability and faster deployment.

More than 25,000 UR cobots are deployed globally, benefiting businesses across various industries. In Vietnam, UR cobots are improving production efficiency and worker safety at the Meiko Trading and Engineering Co., Ltd Vietnam, a PCB board manufacturer. “The cobots’ small footprint, flexibility and safety relieved our operators from repetitive and strenuous tasks, providing ease of use and raising the level of work satisfaction in the company,” said Mr. Tuan Anh Tran, Deputy Manager, Automation & Sales, at Meiko Trading and Engineering Co., Ltd, Vietnam.

Deployment of robots in Vietnam is still low compared to the region. In Southeast Asia, robot density is led by Singapore, with 488 units per 10,000 employees, followed by Thailand and Malaysia with 45 units and 34 units each.

Early this year, Vietnam was named among the countries least prepared for the era of Industry 4.0 in a World Economic Forum report, ranking low in terms of innovation and technology. Refuting this claim, the government has been aggressively focusing on developing initiatives and legislation to speed up its progress in the era.

Among such efforts include the 2011-2020 Strategy for Science and Technology Development, to enhance economic competitiveness and speed up industrialization, prioritizing the importance of industrial robots and hi-tech automation.

Vietnam’s economy is one of the fastest growing in the world, with a 6.8 per cent increase in GDP last year on the back of its humming manufacturing sector. The economy in 2017 was worth $223 billion.

The global surge in demand for robots across industries is reflective of UR’s business growth. The company is the world’s leader in cobots, with a global market share of 58 per cent according to BIS Research and has sold more cobots than all of its competitors combined. The company has been widening its distribution channels in multiple markets.

It currently has 300 distributors in more than 50 countries worldwide. Globally, UR generated $170 million in revenue in 2017, a 72 per cent increase from 2016.

UR was co-founded in 2005 by the company’s CTO, Esben Østergaard, who wanted to make robot technology accessible to all by developing small, user-friendly, reasonably priced, and flexible industrial robots that are safe to work with and on their own can be used to streamline processes in industry.

Its product portfolio includes the collaborative UR3, UR5 and UR10 robot arms, named after their payload in kilos. Since the launch of the first UR robot in 2008, the company has experienced considerable growth, with its user-friendly robots now sold in more than 50 countries worldwide.

At within 12 months, the average payback period for UR robots is the fastest in the industry. The company, part of the US-based Teradyne Inc., is headquartered in Odense, Denmark and has subsidiaries and regional offices in the US, Mexico, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Czech Republic, Turkey, India, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.

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