James McKew, Regional Director – APAC, Universal Robots

Universal Robots was founded in 2005. The first robot was sold in 2008 while the first cobot was sold in 2016 in India.

Apr 05, 2021 08:04 IST India Infoline News Service

In an interaction with Shweta Papriwal, Editor, indiainfoline.com, Mr. James McKew, Regional Director – APAC, Universal Robots said, "India lags in robot adoption, with just three robots per 10,000 employees compared to a global average of 74. The India has been slow in this sphere, but adopting a human-robot approach can be particularly helpful for the manufacturing sector".

Brief us on Universal Robots

Universal Robots is the pioneer of lightweight robotics as well as human-robot collaboration. We’re a Danish company that develops and manufactures collaborative robots or cobots with the goal of making automation accessible to everybody. Our products are easy to program, flexible and cost-effective.
 
When did you introduce collaborative robots in the Indian market?

Universal Robots was founded in 2005. The first robot was sold in 2008 while the first cobot was sold in 2016 in India.
 
Where does India stand in terms of robot use on the global map?

India ranks 11th worldwide in terms of annual installation of industrial robots, shows International Federation of Robotics (IFR) data. According to IFR, the average deployment of robots in automotive in India is only 99 robots per 10,000 employees. In manufacturing sector, it's 4 robots per 10,000 employees, which is 25 times behind the global average. There is a pretty good reason for that. In India, cost of labour is low and available easily, at least before the covid-19 crisis it was. On the other hand, cobot (collaborative robots) adoption is relatively new.
 
In what sectors and geography, do you see the demand coming from? (Globally, in Asia or in India?

India lags in robot adoption, with just three robots per 10,000 employees compared to a global average of 74. The India has been slow in this sphere, but adopting a human-robot approach can be particularly helpful for the manufacturing sector.
 
The electronics & technology, food & beverages, automotive, medical/pharma, and the plastics/polymer sectors have a great potential. These are the sectors that can highly benefit with robots.
 
How would you look at the market potential for cobots, when compared to the traditional robotics market?

There is a high demand for bringing down production costs across industries for market growth. Thus, there is huge market potential for cobots, which can aid everyone right from farmers to factory workers by making their tasks easier and injury-free. To achieve that, innovative cobots are being developed in a bid to bolster operations worldwide.
 
Universal Robots has put a lot of work into creating awareness, influencing standards, and changing customers’ perceptions influenced by their experience of traditional robots.
 
Are you planning on expanding your production outside Denmark?

Denmark is and always will be our robot-stronghold. Although we do not plan to have any production facility outside of the country, we are constantly expanding our operations to develop an entirely new market segment with a mission to enable even the small and medium sized companies to automate tasks they thought were too costly or complex.
 
What are the company's future growth plans?

Cobots are tools of the future. They do much more than just repetitive tasks; they are like the acrobats or contortionists of robots—they can do anything, anywhere, in utmost safety to their environment and the humans that work alongside it.
 
We are constantly innovating and updating our technology to ensure that we produce the best in class machines that reduce burden on humans and empower businesses to thrive.

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