At Universal Robots (UR) we have launched UR+, the world’s first ecosystem of third-party end-effector solutions and other add-ons for our collaborative robot (cobot) arms, allowing us and our partners to focus on what each does best, encouraging collaboration and creativity that benefits customers.
While other manufacturers opt to make their own end-effectors rather than involving third parties, UR has chosen an ecosystem business model for a variety of reasons:
- It acknowledges that nobody’s an expert in everything and couldn’t do it all
- We believe the ecosystem we have created with our partners benefits customers in multiple ways
- The ecosystem helps UR’s partners increase sales and inspires creativity
- This approach ensures the highest possible quality of UR cobot end-effectors and add-on
A great robotic arm is exceedingly difficult to engineer. So, the idea that UR could excel at this plus also produce end-effectors that live up to its standards was not an approach we wanted to pursue. End-effectors are industry- and application-specific, and the companies that make them possess highly specialized knowledge of exactly how their products are used and must function.
These companies are experts in the minute details. As experts in collaboration, we thought it only natural that we should facilitate the collaboration between end-users and end-effector suppliers. At UR, we’ve found that the ecosystem we’ve created with our partners benefits customers in four ways: Utility, choice, security, and ease.
Creating healthy, dynamic competition
Because of the size and diversity of the UR+ portfolio of products certified to work well with UR cobots from day 1, any given customer is more likely to find just the right tool for their application than with other suppliers. This means more companies can benefit from robotic automation, and those that do can maximize the productivity, quality, and cost-saving benefits that cobots provide. It goes without saying that an ecosystem approach, with multiple suppliers producing the same types of end-effectors, gives customers more choice than if they only had one option available to them. For the individual customer, choice means a more exact match to specific needs. In a broader sense, it means a more-dynamic ecosystem, with partners jostling to outdo each other or find underserviced niches that keep pushing quality higher as it broadens the offering as a whole.