10 Most Innovative Collaborative Robot Companies in 2021

Share this article:

Collaborative robots, or “cobots”, form an industrial robotics market that is continuously on grow. As of now, cobots form approximately 5% of all industrial robots sold. According to Statzon’s data analysis, the emerging trend is expected to continue in the future with a CAGR of +37.8% until 2028.

In modern day industrial environment, automatization and robotics are becoming increasingly common. Cobots offer many beneficial advantages in these settings, safety being one of the most highlighted attributes. Working next to people means that the cobots work with more manageable speed to cause no harm. For this reason, cobots are also programmed to halt instantly if coming to contact with humans.

According to Statzon’s research, there are more than 50 cobot manufacturers in the world, but only a small number of companies have so far deployed cobots on any meaningful level of scale. The market is moderately competitive, and companies focus on innovation to remain competitive. Acquisitions and collaboration of large companies with start-ups are expected in the future. Universal Robots is the clear market leader with nearly half of the global market.

Statzon has collated the following list that features the top 10 most innovative cobot companies to watch in 2021:


1. Universal Robots

Founded: 2005
Based in: Odense, Denmark
Market share (estimated): 40% – 50%
Revenue: 263 million USD (2019)

The current market leader from Denmark had a great reason to celebrate in December 2020, when the company reached an industry milestone. This landmark celebrates the 50,000 units of cobots sold since the company’s establishment in the year 2005.

The company offers cobots in four different sizes: UR3 (small), UR5 (medium), UR10 (large), and UR16 (extra-large). The UR3 handles high precision and light assembly tasks, whereas the medium-sized sibling UR5 can handle more payload and reach. The bigger UR10 carries out packaging and palletizing, and finally, the UR16 is a real powerhouse cobot to execute heavy duty tasks.

The company’s turnover in 2019 reached approx. 263 million USD. Notably, the turnover has increased considerably from 2017 when it was approx. 177 million USD.



Founded: 1972
Based in: Oshino-mura, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan
Market share (estimated): 9% – 23%
Revenue: around 6.1 billion USD (2019)

FANUC is one of the leading global manufacturers of factory automation. The company is specialized in industrial robots, CNC systems, wire cut EDM, injection moulding machines and vertical machining centres. According to Statzon’s data, robots composed FANUC’s most generating sales category, which was worth around 2 billion USD (34% of sales) in 2019. Moreover, Asia is the leading region generating the most revenue (36% of sales) to FANUC. The company’s revenues are estimated to decrease by around -20% in 2020.

FANUC’s collaborative robot collection covers eight different models. The strongest of them all, CR-35iA is a heavy lifter in the world of collaborative robots. It can carry up to 35kg (the strongest on the market!), and it likes to buddy up with humans.


3. Techman Robot Inc.

Founded: 2016
Based in: Taoyuan, Taiwan
Market share (estimated): 9%

Techman Robot Inc. is a leading cobot and vision technologies company, dedicated to improving the world of work for businesses and their people through robotic technology applications. Their cobots are a functional combination of software-based solutions and embedded vision systems. Thus, their built-in vision recognizes colors, patterns, objects and even barcodes. Techman’s cobots also collaborate safely with people, and they are simple to hand-guide.

Despite being a new player in the field – and the only cobot company from Taiwan – Techman has achieved outstanding results after four years of entering the market. Aiding the process, Techman received the support of strong R&D team and mass global resources from its parent company Quanta Storage Inc. Since 2016, Techman has gained over a hundred distributors throughout China, Europe, Japan, South-Korea, and Southeast Asia.


4. Rethink Robotics GmbH

Established: 2018 (formerly Rethink Robotics Inc. & Heartland Robotics)
Based in: Bochum, Germany
Market share (estimated): 6%
Revenue: around 25 million USD

Rethink Robotics GmbH – formerly known as Rethink Robotics Inc. and founded as Heartland Robotics – was acquired by the HANH Group in 2018. The HAHN Group is a German automation specialist that has been further developing Rethink’s technology, “combining it with German engineering and know-how of industrial applications.” The company was formerly based in Boston, USA, where it shut down due to being short on cash.

Rethink Robotic GmbH’s mission of creating safe, affordable, and easily deployed solutions for the collaboration between human and robot was first materialized in 2012 with the Baxter cobot. Enabled by its dual arm automation and embedded vision, Baxter is impressively flexible. These features, combined with Baxter’s payload and reach, allow it to perform tasks varying from packaging, kitting to line loading and material handling.

The cobot model Sawyer then came as Baxter’s more superior successor in 2015. Besides shared embedded vision, Sawyer is more lightweight, more flexible with further arm reach and is able to endure heavier payload. It can execute Baxter’s tasks and more, like machine tending and circuit board testing, which require a higher degree of precision.



Founded: 1925
Based in: Esslingen, Germany
Market share (estimated): 4%
Revenue: around 3.7 billion USD

Festo is a known pneumatic and electrical automation tech industry player. The company serves over 300,000 customers in over 35 industries on a global scale. However, it has taken very active role in developing cobots in the last ten years.

The beauty of the Festo cobots lies within its source of inspiration: nature. Consequently, the company’s smallest robot draws its inspiration from the human arm. This lightweight robot called BionicCobot solves many of its tasks with the help of its flexible and sensitive movements. A larger-sized BionicMotionRobot mimics the anatomy and trajectory of an elephant’s trunk. It is both powerful and gentle, thus gripping and carrying any object as heavy as itself causes no problems. Last, the TentacleGripper is modelled after an octopus tentacle, and therefore the ability to grip objects is exceptional. The tentacle design treats even the most fragile target delicately.


6. ABB

Founded: 1988
Based in: Zürich, Switzerland
Market share (estimated): 4%
Revenue: around 27.8 billion USD (2019)

What kind of a robot has got two arms, works flexibly alongside people, and is super lightweight? The answer is YuMi: ABB’s first collaborative robot. YuMi’s assets are a set of cameras, a two-finger gripper, and a suction cup for assembly and to detect microscopic product flaws. This rather sympathetic cobot has also gained quite a reputation outside the usual automation work. These achievements include meeting President Barack Obama, conducting an Italian orchestra with Andrea Boccelli, and appearing in several music videos.

The Swiss based company ABB provides automation, electrification, robotics, and digitalization solutions for industrial customers. According to Statzon’s data, the company’s revenue for robotics & discrete automation segment was around 3.3 billion USD in 2019. Around 50% of the sales come from Europe.

Moreover, ABB’s robotics & discrete automation business revenue by product type experienced significant decline in 3Q of 2020 comparing to 3Q in 2019:

  • Systems earnings were 249 million USD in 2019, whereas in 2020 they dropped to 234 million USD (30% of sales of the segment robotics & discrete automation).
  • Services & software category generated 126 million USD in 2019, whilst in 2019 the revenue was only 106 million USD (13%).
  • The only sales type to undergo modest growth in Q3 of 2020 comparing to Q3 of 2019 was the products category: 439 million USD generated in 2019 comparing to 446 million USD revenue in 2020 (57%).

7. Yaskawa Motoman

Founded: 1989
Based in: Miamisburg, Ohio, USA
Market share (estimated): 2%
Revenue: around 108 million USD

Yaskawa Motoman is the Robotics Division of Yaskawa America, Inc; and it is leading industrial robotics company in the Americas. The company provides automation products and solutions for virtually every industry and robotic application.

Motoman offers two series of collaborative robots that address each of the different modes of collaboration. Motoman’s HC10DT series is a six-axis cobot that is safe, smart and simple. Besides having multiple gripper options and the ability to enhance hand-guided teaching, which requires no programming knowledge, HC10DT can handle up to 10 kg payload with 1200mm max working range.

Tackling also the safe, smart and fast criterion are the Motoman’s GP-Series cobots. Engineered for easy installation, operation and maintenance, each model offers a high wrist allowable for accurate and repeatable handling. They also possess an IP67 wrist rating, with full-washdown option available for harsh or sanitary environments.



Founded: 1898
Based in: Augsburg, Germany
Market share (estimated): 1-2%
Revenue: around 3.9 billion USD (2019)

KUKA is a leading global supplier of intelligent automation solutions. According to Statzon’s data, the company’s sales revenue from robotics was around 1.5 billlion USD in 2019. The following figures portray KUKA’s sales revenues by segment in 2019:

  • Robotics: 1.4 billion USD (34.5% of sales)
  • Systems: 1.1 billion USD (27.5%)
  • Swisslog: 728 million USD (17.8%)
  • China: 556 million USD (13.6%)
  • Swisslog healthcare: 270 million USD (6.6%)

KUKA AG’s sales are estimated to decrease around -17% during 2020.

In the field of production, KUKA laid the foundation for a new relationship between human and robot with its LBR iiwa. This generation of cobot can learn from its human colleagues due to its sensitive technology. Connected to a cloud and specifically programmed, this cobot can even document, check and optimize the results of its work independently. Besides production, KUKA also provides immense aid to the medical sector.



Founded: 1933 (as Tateisi Electric Manufacturing Co.)
Based in: Osaka, Japan
Market share (estimated): <1%

OMRON was established as an electric manufacturing company. Nowadays, the company’s primary activities revolve around the manufacturing of automatization components, systems, and equipment. In the robotics field, OMRON has a lot to offer: five different types of robots in addition to robot software and part feeders.

OMRON TM Collaborative Robot is quick to program during start-ups and changeovers. The cobot has a built-in intelligent vision system, which detects any object within a broad field of view. Moreover, the vision’s image-enhancement light makes object-recognition possible nearly under any circumstances. The OMRON TM is also lightweight, which makes relocating the cobot very simple.


10. Seiko Epson

Founded: 1942
Based in: Suwa, Nagano, Japan
Market share (estimated): <1%

The operations Seiko Epson are concentrated in the areas of manufacturing, printers, robotics, and industrial automation. The company is well known to master the characteristics of reliability, usability, and performance.

For decades Epson’s automation has concentrated in the expertise of manufacturing high precision small parts for assembly. So naturally, it does not come as a surprise that Epson Robots’ present-day catalogue offers a wide range of SCARA robots – high-speed, high-precision and compact – precisely what the company has excelled for long. Other offered robots involve a line of Spider robots, Six-axis robots and SCARA-Light. Another interesting fact about Epson Robots is that the components are produced in-house. This enables a lower price point than the market average.

Share this article:

Recommended articles for you: