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KUKA: Augmenting The Human-Robot Collaboration
‘They are stealing the jobs of human.’— This famous notion about robots has off late become a hyperbole. Much to our surprise, the dystopian vision about the rise of omnipotent robots is turning into a farce. Instead, the futuristic megatrend of the industrial robotics is finding a tipping point in mass adoption for its dexterity, sensing, memory and trainability in the manufacturing landscape. The human-robot collaboration is taking the center stage, revolutionizing manufacturing business models. In the thick of these transformations, there is one name that has been spurring innovation over decades: KUKA. By the time most manufacturing companies started to flirt with the idea of automation and robotics, KUKA—a subsidiary of Germany based KUKA AG company— had already discerned the potential of industrial robotics in transforming manufacturing processes with smart peripherals.
Cognizant of the fact that robots are supplementing capabilities of the human workforce, KUKA has been propagating a message: The robotic takeover is going to be epic. And the revolution has already begun with sensitive robotics. As collaboration and digitalisation are reshaping the manufacturing landscape, KUKA is cutting the cards on collaborative robots— ‘Cobots’; bringing them out in the open to work hand-in-hand with operators. Apparently, watching KUKA’s cobots on factory floor is like moving through a time warp. Recently, the FAZ—a German advertising campaign famous for its creative and classic take on intellectual personalit ies—photographed the CEO of KUKA, Till Reuter for its “Behind always a clever head” series. However, this shoot has something novel and unusual about it: the camera for the FAZ photo shoot was not handled by a photographer, but it was the robots from KUKA automation group that managed this feat. Needless to say, pinpoint accuracy, flexibility, safety, and intuitive capability collectively characterize the smart workforce of robots created by KUKA.
Interestingly, the journey of KUKA didn’t take off with industrial robots. With its roots tracing back to the 19th century, the company began its path in the welding space, designing its first industrial robot— an automated multi-welding system. KUKA—with its novel ideas— has since then left the confines of conventional approaches in the manufacturing industry to soar high with the power of automation and presented the world its first six-axis robot. Evidently, there is clear rationale as to why companies from automotive, consumer goods and beverage, aerospace, jewelry, and furniture industries place their wager on KUKA’s aptitude for innovation to develop top-of-the-line and constantly improving robots.
KUKA’s innovation in the field of industrial applications marks a quantum leap in robotics and automation technology.
KUKA’s lbr iiwa is making waves in the ideal smart factory setting for maximizing flexibility, eliminating manual tasks, reducing risk to deliver high-quality performance and increased productivity
Pioneers in the mechatronics era, KUKA’s comprehensive automation solutions are a perfect amalgamation of precise interaction of software, controller, and mechanical systems assisting in planning and designing of industrial robots; from soup to nuts. The firm’s robots are intelligently designed to complement their human counterparts for accomplishing greater productivity and profitability in a cost-effective fashion.
The Global Automation Powerhouse
KUKA’s role in manufacturing plants focuses on developing unusually clever industrial range of robots programmed and customized for every critical application. The firm’s comprehensive range includes diverse variants of six-axis robots, heat and dirt resistant, and robots meeting strict hygiene requirements (Hygienic Machines), robots capable of human-robot collaboration, palletizing, shelf-mounted, welding, and high accuracy robots. All one needs to do is filter the requirements and leverage a solution perfectly tailored for a specific industrial application.
"As a pioneer in the world of safe human robot collaboration, KUKA has strategically positioned itself to realise the future of automation"
In addition to this, the firm also supplies software, controllers, and a broad range of services, for seamless deployment, implementation, and upgrading of industrial robots across various fields. KUKA’s portfolio of readymade application software provisions a customized approach to allow easy programming of various robot applications for ensuring high process reliability in specific production environment. The firm’s intelligent application software portfolio allows quick implementation and programming of applications for arc welding and plasma cutting, sensor communication, adapting the action of the robot to the motion of other machines, integrating third-party functions into the firm’s controllers, packing patterns, slipsheet stations, palletizing and depalletizing tasks, and more.
That’s not all. KUKA is on a constant march to innovate and improvise its solutions for customers. One of its latest innovations is LBR iiwa. LBR an abbreviation for “Leichtbauroboter” (German for lightweight robot) and iiwa for “intelligent industrial work assistant,” the LBR iiwa is a lightweight robot with integrated sensors in every axis for delicate assembly work and safety fences that human-robot-collaboration on the shop floor. Augmenting the strengths of human-robot-collaboration, this bot is poised to redefine the possibilities for industrial robotics. It allows humans and robots to function together in close cooperation to reach superlative levels of efficiency in highly sensitive tasks.
Further, KUKA has instilled its autonomous LBR iiwa robot with the functionalities of a mobile platform. Dubbed as KMR—KUKA Mobile Robotics) iiwa, the mobile version of the LBR iiwa—it caters to the need of mobile robot systems in Industry 4.0 by allowing autonomous navigation for maximum flexibility and mobility in the production environment.
Shifting Gear as per Client Specifications
Since its inception, the firm has expanded into electronics and other sectors but automotive solutions still make the lion’s share of its revenues. In a recent partnership with Chrysler Group, the firm devised an automated manufacturing solution connecting assembly-line robots with application, controller, and back-end systems. With a view to handle continuous production at the client’s firm, KUKA’s solution delivered flexibility to the manufacturing process with constant uptime and increased visibility. Moreover, with the 246 robots located across 60,000 points on the manufacturing floor, the client completed the production of JEEP Wrangler’s body in a matter of just 82 seconds.
With the global industrial robots market predicted to reach $41 Billion by 2020, KUKA is poised to lead this wave of transformation. It has become the number one choice for prominent names, like Tesla, Boeing, and Disney for robot manufacturing. Setting it ahead of the curve, the firm’s open architecture and the capability to understand over 25 spoken languages besides various robotic languages, allow customers to leverage tailored solutions.
Advancing in the Right Direction
Eight years is a long time when it comes to experiencing technological changes and Reuter has witnessed quite a few through his career at KUKA. Exuding rare qualities of technology leaders like transparency, passion, and perseverance, Reuter is constantly on the lookout for driving KUKA to stellar heights with something revolutionary in the realm of robotics.
Evidently, the onus of setting the tone of a winning culture in KUKA has been served to perfection by Reuter. As a pioneer in the world of safe human robot collaboration, KUKA has strategically positioned itself to realise the future of automation. KUKA’s sheer commitment to deliver utmost quality in a utopian scenario of performance and creativity has formed the basis of its exceptional technology for optimizing and automating processes. With a zest to be a catalyst of innovation, the firm is setting standards across the world by empowering clients with its future-oriented solutions.
December 12, 2018