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What are key differences between the ABB IRB120 and the Universal UR3 for someone looking to start working with collaborative robots?  

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I'm interested in the differences between the ABB IRB 120 and the Universal UR3 robot. I'm a manufacturing engineer for a small company with limited experience with robotics and was hoping to get some direction of which of these two would be the best option moving forward into automation now and future automation projects.

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They are both roughly the same size in terms of reach and space they occupy.  The main difference is that the IRB 120 is classified as an industrial robot.  The UR3 is considered a "cobot."  Cobots, in general, tend to be slower, less robust, and have a lower ceiling for their payloads.  The IRB 120 has a 22.8-inch (580mm) reach
3kg payload.  The UR3 has a 19.7 in (500 mm) reach and 3 kg payload.  The IRB 120 would have higher acceleration and velocity and is expected to last longer.  It also can be trained to do more complex tasks.  

The benefit of the UR3e is that it is easier to program for more basic tasks.  Cobots primary benefit is that they are designed to work in spaces directly around people.  Industrial robots, on the other hand, are required by law to operate within safety barriers.  We would be happy to discuss with you further which might be more productive for you based on your specific requirements.  

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