South Korean companies are aiming to increase their share in the collaborative robot market, which has been led by European companies.
Collaborative robots are characterized by working together with workers without safety fences unlike large industrial robots. In addition, collaborative robots can be flexibly used for different production plans as they are small and highly mobile. According to venture capital research firm Loup Ventures, the size of the global collaborative robot market is expected to increase from US$1.38 billion to US$9.21 billion from 2018 to 2025.
Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings recently decided to establish Hyundai Robotics by spinning off its robotics business unit in order to find more business opportunities in the service and industrial robot markets. The arm’s sales are planned to be increased from 266.7 billion won to at least one trillion won from 2018 to 2024.
The company’s mobile service robot UNI, developed in collaboration with KT, will be put into operation in hotels next month. In addition, the company is going to keep developing service robots for everyday use. The company and KT are currently working on AI-based collaborative robots capable of recognizing voices and utilizing intelligent image analysis.
Doosan Group established Doosan Robotics four years ago and the subsidiary developed eight collaborative robot models in its first and second years. Doosan Robotics built manufacturing facilities with an annual capacity of 20,000 units in Suwon, South Korea in December last year. The company is expanding its business base in China, too.
Hanwha Precision Machinery expanded its product portfolio to a large extent this year. The company released HCR-5 with a payload of 5 kg in March 2017, launched the Hanwha Robotics brand in October last year, and is currently supplying various products such as 3 kg and 12 kg models. Last year, the company established sales networks in the United States, China and Europe and set up a joint corporation in Singapore.
At present, Danish company Universal Robots has a share of approximately 60 percent in the global collaborative robot market. Leading companies such as Fanuc and ABB entered the market about two years ahead of South Korean companies.