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New collaborative robotics hub opens in Barcelona

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Universal Robots and Mobile Industrial Robots have opened a major robotics hub in Barcelona, Spain, with a focus on collaborative robots.

The 1,500 sqm site includes offices for each company, as well as a joint showroom where the latest technology and applications for collaborative robot arms and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) will be demonstrated. About 30 people work in the hub.

Conceived as an inspirational space to innovate in co-bots and mobile robotics, the new site will also host training sessions and meetings for developers, distributors, and manufacturers, said the companies.

Universal Robots (UR) and Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) are the two largest and leading robotics companies in Odense, Denmark. Odense is home to the robotic cluster and is well known for its expertise in collaborative robots.

Both companies are owned by Teradyne, and they are now expanding their presence in Barcelona. Ford Spain recently deployed AMRs from MiR.

Collaborative robotics across Europe

In recent years, the Catalan capital has become a focal point in automation. According to ACCIÓ, the Agency for Competitiveness of the Government of Catalonia, there are about 1,000 foreign companies in technology sectors in Catalonia.

“Catalonia has the qualities that foreign companies value to invest in: a dynamic, diversified, and internationalised economy with excellent infrastructure and an innovative business environment,” says General Director of Industry of the Government of Catalonia, Matilde Villarroya.

“The project of UR and MiR is very relevant for the Catalan economy. Industrial robotics is a key factor in the transition to Industry 4.0 and plays a very important role for the development of society.”Universal_Barcelona

Universal Robot President Jürgen von Hollen said: “It was a strategic decision to open the robotics hub in Barcelona’s 22@ district. “We have chosen Barcelona because it gives us access to qualified resources, (and it has) ability to attract talent from around the world, a vibrant business activity, and good infrastructure.”

MiR Chief Executive, Thomas Visti adds: “This collaborative robot hub will bring us even closer to the Southern European market and to letting us share the latest technologies. This is a great opportunity for us, as this is a market of high potential where we see continuously more companies in all types of industries that are interested in optimising processes with collaborative robots to stay competitive.”

Southern influence

MiR is also making its mark on the Australian market. It is currently in partnership with technology company Konica Minolta to increase the level of automation for its Australian clients.

Universal Robots has seven partnerships with Australian and New Zealand robotics distributors including Foodmach, Visy Automation, Mobile Automation and Products for Industry.

It intends to continue making an impact on the Australian and New Zealand markets, having identified a growing demand for collaborative robots.

“Cobot demand is growing in the region as automation is increasingly becoming a necessity for businesses to achieve greater production efficiencies amid rising operational costs, labour shortages and increasing competition,” says Universal Robots, General Manager, Southeast Asia and Oceania, Shermine Gotfredsen. 

“We’ve seen strong uptake of our technology in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), with customers ranging from multinational brands like AstraZeneca to small and mid-size businesses like Prysm industries in Melbourne. We’re confident our new range will see more uptake in the region, to help boost competitiveness and productivity,” says Gotfredsen.

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