Odense Robotics tradition of collaboration can overcome financial challenges, says CEO


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Soren Elmer Kristiansen of Odense Robotics at R-24.

Søren Elmer Kristensen, CEO of Odense Robotics, greets world delegates at R-24. Credit: Eugene Demaitre

ODENSE, Denmark — Last week, the R-24 convention for robots, automation, and drones demonstrated why town of about 206,000 residents is among the most vibrant for expertise in Europe and the world. The spirit of collaboration, from cobots to company partnerships, is vital, in keeping with Søren Elmer Kristensen. For the previous yr, he has been CEO of Odense Robotics.

One of the organizers of the occasion, Odense Robotics represents firms throughout Denmark. The group works with native and nationwide trade, academia, and the general public sector to share insights, speed up development, forge partnerships, nurture individuals, and drive innovation, stated Kristensen in an R-24 keynote.

“Collaborative robots, flexible automation, and drones are changing how we live and work,” he stated. “We’re looking at agriculture, food, construction, healthcare, logistics, and manufacturing — places used to automation and not so used to it.”

Denmark turns trade decline into a possibility

Odense’s robotics cluster has its roots within the metropolis’s metal working and shipbuilding trade, defined Rasmus Torpegaard Festersen, funding supervisor for robotics and drones at Invest in Odense. By the early Eighties, manufacturing had shifted to Asia, and AP Moller – Maersk determined to put money into analysis into extra environment friendly technique of manufacturing.

“The shipyard wanted robotic help with welding, and it was the first collaboration between industry and the University of Southern Denmark,” Kristensen informed The Robot Report. “Like other cities, we’ve been through tough times, but visionaries from both parties and the municipality recognized the need to shift the paradigm from production to technology innovation.”

Although the shipyard nonetheless closed, the funding led to the founding of cobot chief Universal Robots A/S (UR) and Mobile Industrial Robots ApS (MiR), which Boston-based Teradyne Inc. acquired in 2015 and 2018, respectively.

“That really put us on the map globally,” Festersen stated. “Talent attracts talent, and we now have a critical mass.”

Not solely have UR and MiR grown, with plans to open a collaborative robotics hub in Odense in May, however Denmark is now house to 593 robotics firms, famous Kristensen.

“Our ecosystem also recognized that to grow, we needed to build trust,” he added. “People can freely move, but companies can’t just steal talent from one another. We’re also looking at mentoring more startups in our incubator.”

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Insight Report tallies development

Odense Robotics and its companions additionally final week launched its annual Insight Report, which described the rising sector but additionally famous challenges. Danish robotics, automation, and drone firms make use of 13,700 individuals in Denmark and 4,800 overseas, reflecting 9% development prior to now yr, it stated.

In 2022, the cluster had a complete turnover of DKK 27.5 billion (3.7 billion or $4 billion U.S.), of which DKK 13.1 billion (1.8 billion or $1.9 billion) got here from exports, stated the report. However, provide chain constraints, market consciousness, and world financial hurdles have arisen, acknowledged Kristensen. A survey of greater than 300 Danish firms discovered that:

  • 91% face constraints associated to restricted time, sources, and funds for innovation and product improvement
  • 82% should improve buyer consciousness relating to their applied sciences’ potential advantages
  • 81% battle with the scarcity of certified employees
  • 67% encounter difficulties due to an absence of capital

Still, the Danish robotics cluster expects the creation of 30,000 jobs within the subsequent decade, stated Peter Rahbæk Juel, mayor of Odense. He talked about that two startups had lately relocated from Finland to be a part of Odense’s ecosystem.

The mayor of Odense, Denmark, at the opening of the R-24 conference.

Peter Rahbæk Juel, the mayor of Odense, Denmark, on the opening of the R-24 convention. Credit: Eugene Demaitre

Odense Robotics continues collaborative method

“Of our 350 members, 20% were established since 2020, and 87% collaborate with other robotics companies,” stated Kristensen. “We’re also working on training and delegation visits with other clusters in Europe and North America, such as Pittsburgh.”

“Denmark punches above its weight,” stated Lars Appel Haahr, particular advisor to Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which works with Invest in Odense. “It is the most competitive and least corrupt nations, and has proven resilience with dual-use and digital companies.”

From 2015 to 2024, greater than 1 billion ($1.09 billion) has been invested in native robotics firms, stated the Insight Report. More than 160 robotics organizations are within the neighborhood of Odense, making it one of many largest concentrations in Europe.

The Financial Times lately named the Odense Robotics StartUp Fund as certainly one of Europe’s finest startup hubs. The cluster goes via the overseas ministry to work with worldwide companions, and the R-24 convention included delegations from Germany and South Korea.

The Robot Report joined the delegations in visiting the Odense Port, the Danish Technological Institute, the drone take a look at heart at Hans Christian Andersen Airport, and Universal Robots. More protection of those and the Investor Summit to return.


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