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Materials Handling with KUKA

24 January 2019

Automation is at the forefront of the materials handling industry. The level of customisation and adaptability of industrial robots now means warehouses can be designed to do exactly as market trends dictate and produce the time and reliability benefits business owners need, in order to align the supply versus demand balance.

With a range of robots that can be equipped with an array of industry specific applications and an established portfolio of both hardware and software implementations, KUKA’s knowledge and experience can support customers in finding the right solution, applicable to their specific business requirements. These automated robotic solutions are used more and more in the materials handling sector, from palletising goods to picking and packing to, in the extreme, the movement of an aircraft fuselage. KUKA are innovators in the robotics world and we consider innovation important to staying successful in this ever evolving industry.

Looking across a wide range of industries such as automotive/Tier 1, consumer goods and aerospace there is, within the KUKA portfolio, a robot to serve each part of their production chains. The KR AGILUS, a compact six-axis robot designed to work at high speeds, perfect for applications such as precise order-picking and packing. In stark comparison, the KR 1000 titan PA (palletiser) that can lift loads over one tonne and is designed mainly for palletising and de-palletising.

One of the main reasons behind businesses looking to automate their production is the large benefits in efficiency provided by an automated system. This is due to the fact that robots can perform repeat tasks with unrivalled accuracy and speed, without getting tired, empowering business owners and reassigning unergonomic, mundane tasks from their human workforce to robots, addressing cost savings through increased productivity.  

Collaborative automation, or human-robot collaboration (HRC) is also becoming extremely favourable and allows an operator to have an extra arm per-se; the robot takes on the unergonomic tasks with reliability and independence, within any given application. The LBR iiwa is designed specifically for this and with its joint torque sensors it can detect contact immediately. Due to its sensitive handling properties, the LBR iiwa can pick and place fragile items without risk of breakages.

Automating the picking, packing and palletising of goods are the major steps being taken to increasing efficiency, to stay one step ahead and maintain a competitive advantage. Imagine this; goods being delivered to your warehouse or factory that and put away within a few minutes of arriving. With one or two KR Quantec industrial robots de-palletising goods intended to go straight into production or picking lines. Then, once orders have been picked, another KR Quantec can be palletising goods in the most effective and efficient way for onward distribution. There are a number of variants in the KR Quantec PA range, some able to work in freezing temperatures, to minus 30 degrees and all able to deal with varying payloads. Materials handling becomes so much easier and efficient with a KUKA industrial robot on your side.

Automation doesn’t have to be applied to every part of your production process straight away, but introducing it gradually to key areas of the production line means you can reap the benefits over time and continuously improve operational output. Maintaining a balance between automated robotics and human workers is key to keeping an operation running smoothly; there will always exist certain areas within a production line that need to maintain human intervention to add value.

Health and safety is another factor often not considered when exploring automation within a materials handling environment. If you could significantly reduce, or remove completely, the amount of accidents or near misses by automating certain processes, then surely automating is a serious consideration? This also reinforces why implementing automated robotics to take on unergonomic and/or dangerous tasks that can cause injury to a human. To a robot, a machine, it makes no difference. There exist no health and safety risks to a robot.

We also can’t ignore the significance of the smart factory concept and what smart production and industry 4.0 are bringing to the industry. We are now fully immersed within industry 4.0. Business owners are looking towards smart production, fully connected systems and smarter solutions to re-energise their supply chain. KUKA are at the heart of this evolution with our new development and technology centre based at our headquarters in Augsburg. This knowledge is shared across all KUKA bodies, globally, and the years of knowledge and experience amassed over the last 120 years empowers KUKA to help find our customers the right solution.

Contact KUKA today and see just how we and our partners can help you stay one step ahead, through automating your materials handling processes.

T: 0121 505 9970















Industry Connections: KUKA Robotics UK Ltd

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