Universal Robots and Rethink Robotics burst onto the scene ten years ago with seemingly similar breakthrough products—collaborative robots, or cobots—that were safe enough to work next to people on the factory floor. Rethink Robotics, however, shut its doors in October 2018 while Denmark’s Universal has become the clear cobot leader. Why did one company succeed while the other crashed and failed? In this article, robotics experts and customers tell a complicated story of how Rethink’s designs failed to meet the needs of its target market.

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