Universal Robots unveils faster cobot with greater payload

June 22, 2022
The UR20 has a payload of 44 pounds and a reach of 68.9 inches.

By Bruce Geiselman 

Universal Robots on June 21 introduced its new UR20 model, which offers a heavier payload and faster speed than previous UR cobots, according to the Danish manufacturer. 

The 44-pound-payload UR20 joins the company’s portfolio, alongside its e series of cobots: the UR16e, UR10e, UR5e and UR3e, which have payloads of about 35.3, 27.5, 11 and 6.6 pounds, respectively.  

The UR20 not only can handle a heavier payload, but it has been re-engineered from the ground up with a new joint design increasing all torques by 25 percent and joint speeds by as much as 65 percent, according to a statement released by the company. In spite of the faster speeds, UR has reduced joint complexity, using half as many parts. This results in greater reliability, according to the company. UR expects an overall 100 percent increase in tool center point speed, also known as TCP. 

The UR20’s 68.9-inch reach accommodates the full height of the standard Euro-pallet, while its small footprint allows it to operate within existing production space, according to the company. It is the longest reach offered in the company’s cobot line. The cobot weighs 141 pounds and can be mounted in any position or orientation, according to the company.

In addition to palletizing, the UR20 can be used for welding, material handling, machine loading and machine tending, Universal Robots said. 

“Our expert engineers have completely re-engineered the arm while retaining the same intuitive user interface we have long been celebrated for,” company President Kim Povlsen said in a prepared statement. “The benefits of the UR20 are significant, from faster cycle times and the ability to handle heavier loads, to greater reach with a small footprint. We’ve also incorporated advanced software enhancements, giving users unprecedented motion-control capabilities.” 

Universal Robots sees a demand in plastics processing for the features included in the UR20. 

“Something like plastics processing often requires a fair reach,” Anders Billesø Beck, VP for strategy and innovation at Universal Robots, said in a virtual news conference. “We do have our cobots today used in injection molding and so on. But often, the equipment used for picking parts out of injection molding machines moves the parts fairly far, and that, of course, is one of the capabilities of the UR20.  

“We see a good opportunity in plastics for the UR20. But where we've really been seeing the demand is [for] something like palletizing, where you need to stack and move boxes, but also in machine loading, machine tending, welding, even inspection where you actually need a very big work envelope to look at even fairly small parts from many angles.” 

The UR20’s unveiling marks the launch of a new series of cobots that will complement the company’s existing e series. 

“We’re launching our next generation with this high-payload model first to market because it will make end-to-end automation a reality for our customers, allowing them to use cobot automation to cover new tasks,” Povlsen said. “The next step in redefining automation will be to bring the same innovative features to a new family of cobots.” 

Universal Robots believes cobots will play an increasingly vital role in global manufacturing. 

“In fact, automation has never been more important than it is today,” Povlsen said during a virtual news conference during Automatica in Munich, where Universal Robots demonstrated the cobot’s palletizing capabilities. “Because we see across the world most countries facing real and actually growing labor shortages and skill shortages, too. Finding welders, finding people to work in production day to day, in palletizing, machine tending, all these repeatable types of jobs is really, really difficult. … It’s just going to get worse.” 

Universal Robots expects the UR20 to be available for pre-order late in the fourth quarter, and it will begin shipping the robots in the second quarter of 2023. 

Bruce Geiselman, senior staff reporter

[email protected]


Universal Robots USA Inc., Boston, 844-462-6268, www.universal-robots.com 

About the Author

Bruce Geiselman | Senior Staff Reporter

Senior Staff Reporter Bruce Geiselman covers extrusion, blow molding, additive manufacturing, automation and end markets including automotive and packaging. He also writes features, including In Other Words and Problem Solved, for Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing, Plastics Recycling and The Journal of Blow Molding. He has extensive experience in daily and magazine journalism.

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