UK’s newest robotic hub opens in Yorkshire

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Universal Robots, the world’s largest collaborative robot company, has opened its first UK hub in Sheffield. Taking advantage of the region’s rich industrial heritage, the new hub will help UK manufacturers unlock the benefits of collaborative robotics and automation.

Leveraging Yorkshire’s strong manufacturing links, the new robotics hub will house offices and a showroom where the latest technology and applications for cobots (collaborative robots) will be demonstrated.  

This new hub further strengthens Universal Robots’ existing ties with the North of England, building on the existing facilities and equipment at University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC). 

The new site will enable regional manufacturers to better understand and work more closely with collaborative robotics. It will also host training sessions and meetings to strengthen relationships between developers, distributors and manufacturers. 

Mark Gray, UK & Ireland manager Universal Robots, said: "Yorkshire has long been recognised for the pioneering role it played in the industrial revolution which made it the perfect location for our first UK hub.

"We’re excited to work even more closely with the AMRC, as well as the university R&D departments of Sheffield, York and Leeds. In the face of a growing manufacturing talent shortage in the UK, we hope that greater automation will make the industry more attractive for both future and lapsed workers. 

The benefits of robotics and autonomous systems are widely understood by the UK government with their uptake expected to deliver a boost of £6.4 billion in value added to the UK economy, by 2035. In an effort to secure this future economic boost, Universal Robots’ new hub will help train current and future workforces on how to work alongside and gain maximum benefits from collaborative robots. 

Gray, added: “We are helping to solidify the UK’s role in driving forward Industry 5.0, while also recognising the UK government’s Levelling Up strategy. This hub is open at a crucial time for the UK. We believe that increasing output in manufacturing, via robotics and automation, is key for boosting UK productivity. Something that is sorely needed in today’s economic climate. 

“In the UK we have the lowest productivity in the G7. Robotics are a solution here. It’s no coincidence that some of the countries with the highest rates of productivity have adopted robotics and automation as part of their industrial strategy.” 

Dr James Law, Senior Innovation Fellow, Sheffield Robotics, Department of Computer Science, and the AMRC Integrated Manufacturing Group, The University of Sheffield, comments: “We work very closely with industry so it's encouraging to see such a significant player in the world of robotics setting up a hub in Sheffield. Collaborative robots, or cobots, will transform the way we work.

"They will allow UK manufacturers to combine the unique perceptual and cognitive abilities of humans with the repeatability, precision, and lifting capabilities of robots. In this way, cobots can be used to augment the abilities of the human, removing them from dangerous, repetitive and strenuous activities. This new hub will help UK manufacturers to further unlock the potential value offered by robotics” 

This latest hub follows record annual revenues for Universal Robots of $326m, up 5% on 2021.