Teradyne has embarked on a project to build what it says will be “the world’s largest collaborative robotics hub” when it is finished.
The facility (main illustration) is located in Denmark and its eventual cost is estimated at approximately $36 million.
Denmark’s minister of industry, business and financial affairs, Simon Kollerup, unveiled what will become the new home of Teradyne’s robotics business units, Mobile Industrial Robots and Universal Robots, both of which it acquired in the past year or so.
Teradyne, which is based in Boston, Massachusetts, is a developer and supplier of automatic test equipment, mostly for semiconductor manufacturing. It has more than 5,000 employees worldwide and its market capitalisation is approximately $11.7 billion.
Universal Robots, which makes collaborative robotic arms, and MiR, which builds warehouse robots, are leaders in their respective markets, and are the main drivers of a thriving Danish robotics industry – both companies started in Denmark.
The companies will share 32,000 sq m in a new “cobot hub” in the city of Odense, the heart of Denmark’s rapidly expanding robotics cluster.
With financial backing from Teradyne, MiR and Universal Robots have acquired a 50,000 sq m building site in Odense, where $36 million will be invested in the construction of a major cobot hub in what some call “the cobot capital of the world”.
Collaborative robots – or cobots – are now the fastest growing segment of the industrial automation market.
Cobots are a type of user-friendly robots that can work closely with humans without the need for safety guarding, enhancing both work environment and productivity.
Teradyne says the new cobot hub supports the company’s mission to further strengthen the significant leads that both MiR and UR have established worldwide.
Mark Jagiela, president and CEO of Teradyne, says: “MiR and UR are leading the world in the collaborative robot revolution that’s making automation solutions available to companies of all sizes.
“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.
“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.
“The ability to make robots work in collaboration with humans in a user-friendly manner is something we have not encountered to this degree anywhere else in the world and we’re very excited to expand our capabilities in Odense.”
This is not the first time the MiR and UR owner has provided cash support for robot development in Denmark. To-date, Teradyne has invested more than half a billion US dollars in the two young Danish robotic companies, both of which are growing rapidly.
The building site is in Odense’s industrial district close to UR’s current headquarters, which will also become part of the new cobot hub.
The two companies will continue as separate entities with the aim to create an attractive environment that will help attract new employees to facilitate the continued growth expected by the two companies in the coming years.
Thomas Visti, CEO of MiR, says: “Denmark has a significant lead in the global market for cobots. Investing ambitiously in building the world’s largest cobot hub right here in Odense makes a lot of sense.
“Offering a strong, professional environment with superb facilities enables us to attract talent from all over the world.”
MiR has hired 100 new employees the past year, with UR adding 280 new staff members during the past two years.
Today, the two companies have 160 and 450 employees respectively based in Denmark. UR employs almost 700 employees worldwide while MiR’s staff counts a total of around 220 globally.
Unique talent base in Denmark
Jürgen von Hollen, president of Universal Robots, sees enormous potential in the cobot market.
He says: “This is a market expected to grow to a total value of almost $12 billion in 2030, according to ABI Research. Demand for Danish cobots already means that we are growing out of our current offices in Odense, both at UR and MiR.
“Odense has a strong ecosystem of talent and we are pleased to have the opportunity to invest long-term in the unique robotics environment that we have been building here over the last 10 years.”
Danish robotics cluster on the rise
The Danish robotics industry is currently booming; the 2019 annual survey from trade association Odense Robotics shows that 8,500 people now work for Danish robotics companies, 3,900 of them in and around Odense, Denmark’s third largest city.
If the industry follows the growth forecasts, the Danish robot industry will employ 25,000 employees in 2025 according to the Danish analyst firm Damvad.
And it’s not just the number of employees that’s growing. Danish robotics companies’ total revenue rose by 18 per cent in 2018, reaching $995 million, with exports increasing 26 percent.
These figures are particularly significant in that just 15 years ago Denmark did not have any robotics industry to speak of.