Welding Innovation Goes Global: Danish Firm's Cobots Revolutionize the Industry

The worldwide shortage of skilled welders has become a pressing concern in the manufacturing industry. The European Union alone needs an additional 300,000 welders to meet industry demands. Danish firm Smooth Robotics recognized this challenge and took action by introducing SmoothTool, a cobot welding solution that makes programming intuitive and easy for the welders to do themselves. Alusteel, the Danish manufacturing company, has experienced the benefits of this solution firsthand. Founder Mads Milling is enthusiastic about the resource-saving advantages that also make sound economic sense. "It's akin to having three workers when a welder collaborates with a cobot.

Odense, [13/09/2023] — The shortage of welders is a problem felt not only in Denmark but across Europe and beyond. Despite substantial investments in renewable energy infrastructure and increasing industry demands, the number of welders entering the field is insufficient to meet the growing need. In the past, Danish companies could rely on neighboring countries for skilled labor, but the changing labor market landscape has made this increasingly difficult.

Smooth Robotics recognized this challenge and took action. Founded in 2017, the company embarked on a mission to develop a solution that would empower welders to program robots to execute tasks repeatedly, without fatigue or errors. Erik Mønster, CEO of Smooth Robotics, explains, "The shortage of welders is becoming increasingly pronounced worldwide. I recognized that automation offers numerous advantages. I wanted a product that was user-friendly and leveraged the welders' expertise."

In 2019, Smooth Robotics introduced its first products to the market, and in 2021 the innovative "SmoothTool" was launched, a software solution that allows welders to program robots with just a few clicks. This revolutionary technology has been adopted by customers in over 35 countries and the company's software is now integrated with more than 500 cobots worldwide.

Ahmad Gheit, the lead software developer at Smooth Robotics, emphasizes the simplicity of their approach: "We've streamlined robot complexity and empowered welders, leveraging their expertise to program robots." These robots are collaborative robots, or "cobots," from the renowned Danish industry leader Universal Robots. Ahmad Gheit adds, "Welders need to excel in their craft, and our program ensures that cobots perform at the same skill level as the welder."

One of the major advantages of this solution is its compatibility with existing welding equipment, allowing welders to use their preferred tools. This flexibility provides a strong incentive for welders to embrace cobot technology.

Alusteel, a Danish manufacturing company, has experienced the benefits of this solution firsthand. Founder Mads Milling is enthusiastic about the resource-saving advantages that also make sound economic sense. "It's akin to having three workers when a welder collaborates with a cobot. They become colleagues, and it's effortless for the welder to set the robot in motion while focusing on other tasks. For us, incorporating more cobots is far more attractive than large industrial welders. The latter require more setup and have higher operational costs. In contrast, the compact and versatile cobots make sense, enabling us to take on more orders, particularly in a labor-scarce environment," says Mads Milling.

Close collaboration with end-users remains pivotal for further developing SmoothTool, the core of Smooth Robotics, exclusively designed for Universal Robots' cobots. This strategic partnership was a deliberate choice from the company's inception. Erik Mønster explains, "We immediately recognized the potential in basing our products on Universal Robots' technology. It made perfect sense. The opportunities to develop products for their cobots are immense."

The partnership with Universal Robots quickly solidified, with Smooth Robotics receiving certification as a UR+ partner in 2021. This collaboration is built on a fundamental understanding: Universal Robots excels in constructing robots, while partners excel in inventing applications that seamlessly integrate with Universal Robots' technology. Together, they create a dynamic blend of diversity and functionality that neither could achieve individually.

Openness and collaboration are principles that Erik Mønster highly values and it's evident that this ethos flows both ways. "We're constantly updated on the latest developments from Universal Robots, ensuring our products seamlessly adapt to new models. In turn, we offer invaluable insights into end-users' experiences. We understand what customers demand, and we share this knowledge with Universal Robots," says Erik Mønster.

The success story of Smooth Robotics is not just a Danish phenomenon but a global one. It addresses the pressing issue of welder shortages worldwide and introduces a transformative approach to robotics in the welding industry.

About Smooth Robotics:

Smooth Robotics, based in Denmark, is a leading innovator in collaborative robotic technology. Founded in 2017, the company's mission is to bridge the gap between skilled welders and robotic automation by offering user-friendly solutions that empower welders to program robots. Smooth Robotics' flagship product, SmoothTool, is designed to work seamlessly with Universal Robots' cobots and is gaining recognition worldwide for its transformative impact on the welding industry.

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