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Kuka Showcases Robotic Demos at TechCenter Grand Opening

Candace Roulo
By Candace Roulo Managing Editor, SME Media

Kuka Robotics Corp. held a grand opening of its new Metal & Arc TechCenter at its 80,000-sq.-ft. Shelby Township, MI, headquarters, Nov. 29-30. The grand opening featured 13 live robotic automation demonstrations, tours of the new TechCenter, and presentations on new technology.

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Jerry Osborn talks with an attendee about the Kuka ready2_spot demonstration.

The new 1600-sq.-ft. Metal & Arc TechCenter features the KRY Cybertech arc family of robots along with welding power supplies and accessories from Fronius, Lincoln, and Miller. The TechCenter offers customers the opportunity to work and test closely with Kuka engineers on customized welding solutions in a secure, confidential environment.

Also located at the headquarters is Kuka College, where training courses and seminars that meet global quality standards are offered and tailored to Kuka customers’ requirements. Plus, Kuka offers training to up-and-coming robotic technicians on its equipment, helping with the shortage of skilled workers.

“Kuka robots are utilized in almost every manufacturing sector, including health care, food and beverage, aerospace and automotive,” said Jerry Osborn, Kuka president. “Kuka is strategically opening more TechCenters throughout the world. In 2018, we will open a TechCenter in Mexico and there are plans to open centers in other global locations.”

There are currently three Kuka TechCenters in North America, including an Electronics TechCenter in Fremont, CA, that opened in September and a TechCenter in Mississauga, ON.

During the grand opening of the Fremont facility, 10 live robot demonstrations were showcased along with the new Electronics TechCenter, where engineers can test customized solutions. “There are so many electronics companies on the West Coast and these companies are very aggressive about integrating automation,” said Osborn, explaining the decision to create the Fremont facility.

Robot Demonstration Cells

The robot demonstration cells at the Michigan grand opening highlighted Kuka’s “Kore Carts” for education, Kuka mobile platforms, and pre-configured robotic packages, as well as human/robot collaboration.

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Jerry Osborn talks with a customer and Steven West, Kuka Robotics VP of customer service.

Kuka’s ready2_educate KORE Welding Cart and its ready2_educate KORE Cart showed Kuka partners, customers and local community colleges how to incorporate certificate-based robot education on Kuka products into their STEM, advanced manufacturing, and mechatronics programs. When robot education is integrated into educational programs, students can learn basic robot programming and operations skills on the same robots and control technology utilized in various industries.

Attendees were able to teach a robot rather than program it during a “teach by hand” demonstration on the Kuka LBR iiwa robot. Once the robot was taught by lead-through motions, attendees watched as the operation was immediately transformed into a program, demonstrating human/robot collaboration.

Also showcased was the mobile platform and robotics concept, with Kuka KMR iiwa and KMP 1500 industrial robots freed from their floor mounts, resulting in more flexibility and functionality. The KMR iiwa from Kuka is a combination of the collaborative LBR iiwa robot and KMP mobile platform, featuring Kuka’s unique mecanum wheels with nearly infinite degrees of 2D freedom and sub-millimeter accuracy. Fully autonomous and safe navigation is possible thanks to laser scanning and live-mapping, with immediate collision avoidance, according to Kuka.

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The ready2_arc Miller welding application.

A welding application, the ready2_arc Miller, utilized the Kuka KR Cybertech nano and KR Cybertech arc nano generation robots with the Miller Auto-Continuum 350 and 500 units. The demonstration showcased how this package provides the performance needed for typical welding tasks—thin to thick sheet carbon steel, aluminum or special welding modes for root pass, narrow gap or deep penetration welding seams.

The new Kuka ready2_spot demonstration showed how customers can quickly and easily implement spot welding applications for joining steel and aluminum parts. With the ready2_spot application, Kuka offers an economical automation solution with Kuka.ServoGun SW for high quality results, according to the company. The solution simplifies the programming of spot welding applications with servo guns.

Other demonstrations during the grand opening included the new Kuka Arc Cell and Kuka Connect, the company’s new cloud-based software platform that provides customers access to, and analytics of, their robots anytime, anywhere, on any device.

For more information, visit Kuka Robotics Corp.

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