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UNIVERSAL Robots has created an ANZ country manager role to boost the uptake of collaborative robots (cobots) in Australia. Seasoned tech and automation professional Peter Hern has been appointed to the role.

Hern will lead customer support, sales and partner development in Australia and New Zealand to promote the benefits of Universal’s cobots for small-to-medium sized manufacturers (SMBs).

Prior to Universal, Hearn held regional management positions with ABB, Rockwell Automation and Baldor Electric.

In addition to customer support, lead generation, sales and marketing activities, Hern will be tasked with assisting with the commercial development of channel partners across the region, and managing business planning and commercial results for the region.

Hern told Food & Drink Business Australia is one of Universal’s top-performing markets in the APAC region.

As manufacturers embrace cobots to boost productivity and competitiveness, the company has seen an upswing in sales in Australia in the last six months, he says.

Unlike other robotics companies, he says, Universal Robots’ development efforts are focused solely on cobots, which are small, user-friendly, reasonably priced, flexible industrial robots that have been specially designed to work safely alongside humans.

The cobots, which come in a variety of sizes and configurations, can help SMBs improve productivity, efficiency and consistency, Hern says.

While most local customers currently use them to automate end-of-line pick, place and palletising, many other uses are emerging.

“Any element that involves a repetitive action that is potentially dangerous or dirty or even dull is an ideal solution in a smaller business where space is a limitation and where people are working nearby,” Hern says.

“We believe the future is extremely bright for collaborative robots in Australia.

“We have a clear and well-defined sweet spot for small and medium enterprises with 20 to 100 staff that need a low-cost method to improve productivity and grow output.”

Universal Robots general manager, Southeast Asia and Oceania, Sakari Kuikka described Hern’s wealth of experience and expertise in the automation industry as exceptional.

“As we look to grow our presence in Australia and New Zealand, his guidance will be essential. We’re very happy to welcome him aboard our team at Universal Robots and look forward to working with him to shape our vision for the region.” 

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