19. June 2017 / By Universal Robots / 0 Comments
The Universal Robots+ ecosystem is a unique online platform that is making UR robots even easier to implement, with exciting new opportunities for developers and more powerful capabilities for end users and distributors. UR+ consists of two critical elements:
Aggressive growth of the UR+ ecosystem demonstrates the demand for this concept. The UR+ showroom featured 22 products at the end of 2016, and is expected to reach 100 by the end of 2017. Meanwhile, 260 developers have registered for the UR+ Developer Program so far, and their number is estimated to grow to 400 by the end of the year. Since its launch in June 2016, the Universal Robots+ ecosystem has become an industry game-changer. But don’t just take our word for it - see what UR+ developers have to say about the benefits for them, for end users, and the industry as a whole:
The program continues to earn praise from the industry as well, including a prestigious award by the expert jury of the INDUSTRIEPREIS 2017, which rated the ecosystem BEST OF 2017 in the Services category. With this distinction, the independent panel of judges – consisting of industry experts, professors, and trade journalists – honors groundbreaking industrial solutions that combine economic and technological uses with high societal or environmental benefits.
The UR teach pendant already makes robot programming easy and intuitive for integrators and end users, but UR+ developers can add even more capabilities that integrate directly with the robot’s software and are accessible through the same teach pendant, simplifying the programming of accessories and end-effectors. “Before the whole UR+ program was initiated, end users had to be able to learn how to script code and make basic sub-programs, which made everything a little more complicated,” says Tyler Berryman, Integration Coach at Robotiq whose grippers, force/torque sensors and wrist cameras are now part of the UR+ platform. ”Now, with the UR+ program, we get to put our own interface on [the teach pendant], so we can adjust the speed, the force and the positioning of the gripper, all through really easy-to-understand icons. That makes the entire programming part of the job for the end users really easy to understand.”
Programming is simplified for more than just individual implementations. UR+ also ensures that software can be easily rolled out across product lines. Whether it’s used on a UR3, UR5, or UR10—or any certified developer product—the software and user interface are consistent. Costas Charalambous, Regional Sales Manager of automation specialist Zimmer Group, explains: “Now that we’ve developed the software, we really don’t have to develop it again for any one of our other electric products. They can be plug-and-play right into your interface without any change of software, and any updates we can push through are easily installed through the USB interface on the robot teach pendant.”
Costas Charalambous, Regional Sales Manager with Zimmer Group, explains how the same UR+ software can be used across Zimmer’s line of grippers
Another advantage for end users is the ability to combine multiple UR+ products for a fully integrated, proven automation solution. “End users can see what combinations of products in the UR+ ecosystem can be combined, in which manner, for which kinds of applications,” explains Sven Schmidt-Rohr, CEO of robotic software company Artiminds. “They see proof that this setup works for someone else and integrated well because it’s certified. I think it’s a lot about trust and seeing everything playing out well together.”
Kristine Castle, Force/Torque Sensor Specialist for ATI, which makes a range of robotic tooling and end-effectors, agrees. She adds, “We pride ourselves on as complete solutions as possible, and Universal Robots allowing us to be in your development program, it’s allowing us to give our customers a very complete, easy-to-use package, something that’s plug-and-play for them, which makes the whole integration process go a lot more smoothly.”
Sven Schmidt-Rohr, CEO of Artiminds, with a UR3 robot equipped with OnRobot gripper, Optoforce torque/sensor and Artiminds software – all certified UR+ products.
Ultimately, a huge advantage for end users—especially those who are new to automation—is confidence. Akos Domotor, CEO of force/torque sensor manufacturer Optoforce, states, “I think it’s really great that there is a place where people can go and see that this part is certified by UR, or there is actually software support for this accessory. It also gives people trust so they can see that this is something that will surely work with my UR robot if I buy this.”
Carl Vause, CEO of gripper manufacturer SoftRobotics agrees. “[Users] want to know that it’s an endorsed product, it’s approved, it’s something that they can buy off the shelf—that Universal Robots is standing behind it as a plug-and-play solution for the UR3, the UR5, the UR10.”
Carl Vause, CEO of Soft Robotics, is integrating his company’s grippers on the UR+ platform. “We want end users to go out of the box to testing or running actual applications as fast as possible. That’s how you get a very satisfied customer.”
Beyond the many advantages for end users, developers are also excited to gain the advantage of Universal Robots’ marketing support and lead generation. CEO of OnRobot, Torben Ekevall explains: “A big advantage is that we are being displayed and promoted on the webpage of Universal Robots; leads are being generated to us because the customer can click in there and the leads end up for us to continue with.” Robotiq’s Berryman adds, “It gives us exposure with UR since UR is one of the most well-known collaborative robot companies, so obviously to be able to partner with UR, to be able to show our products is a big help.”
Those marketing benefits reach out to distributors as well, according to Zimmer Group’s Charalambous. “Being integrated in the UR+ program is a great benefit to not just us but our distributors, who are Universal Robot distributors and integrators as well, and it allows us to become more visible to a different group of end users.”
Caption: Having UR+ products featured in the UR+ online showroom is free of charge for the product developers.
Networking Ecosystem Boosts All Participants
For developers, end users, distributors, and integrators, UR+ is more than just a showroom. Artiminds’ Schmidt-Rohr states, “We are a happy UR+ partner because we have better access to develop our resources. We can reach out to the UR ecosystem, to other UR+ partners, to the UR customers, to the distributor landscape, and so it’s really a very good way to network, to share information, and to present comprehensive offerings together—software, peripherals, and UR robots.”
Find out more about how to become part of the UR+ ecosystem -> Become a Universal Robots + partner
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