BARCELONA — Universal Robots A/S and Mobile Industrial Robots ApS have opened a new center here to promote collaborative automation in Southern Europe. The two companies said it is the world’s first worldwide hub focusing on collaborative robotics.
More than 150 people attended the grand opening of a 1,500-square-meter (4,921 sq. ft.) facility in Barcelona’s 22@ district. It 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 cobots and mobile robotics, the new site will also host training sessions and meetings for developers, distributors, and manufacturers, said the companies.
Collaborative robots spread from Denmark to Spain
Universal Robots (UR) and Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) are the two largest and leading robotics companies in Odense, Denmark. Both companies are owned by Teradyne, and they are now expanding their presence in Barcelona. Ford Spain recently deployed AMRs from MiR.
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 internationalized economy with excellent infrastructure and an innovative business environment,” said Matilde Villarroya, general director of industry of the government of Catalonia, at the opening. “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.”
A strategic decision to locate in Catalonia
According to Universal Robot President Jürgen von Hollen the choice of Barcelona’s 22@ district of Barcelona for the hub was a strategic decision. “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,” he said.
“This collaborative robot hub will bring us even closer to the Southern European market and to letting us share the latest technologies,” stated Thomas Visti, CEO of MiR. “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 optimizing processes with collaborative robots to stay competitive.”
“The alliance between companies, academic institutions, and the public sector developed a high-level technological center in Odense,” concluded Jens Kisling, Danish ambassador for Spain and Andorra, citing UR and MiR as examples. “Now the model has been exported to Barcelona, creating a collaborative robotics center for Southern Europe.”