UPDATED: October 6, 2013
Small and medium shops and factories (SMEs) are an untapped marketplace for robotics but direly in need of automation to remain competitive in this global economy. Two new start up companies: Rethink Robotics and Universal Robots have entered that marketplace. Both companies have U.S. sales in the hundreds of units; Universal has a head start internationally and has sold about 3,000 to-date, but Rethink is way ahead in the US. Both have similar 60-100/mo manufacturing run rates – so the future looks bright for selling flexible, lightweight, low-cost robots that are easily programmed, safe for humans to work alongside, don’t require a caged or roped off area, and perform at affordable metrics.