Kuka’s monstrous robotic vehicle manoeuvres gigantic Airbus components with ‘millimetre precision’

Kuka claims its humungous robotic vehicle can move with utmost exactness as it manoeuvres massive aircraft components within small spaces at Airbus 

Robot-maker Kuka is boasting about how precise its omniMove robotic vehicle has been during a job at Airbus where it was used to manoeuvre supersize aircraft components. 

Airbus uses two powerful Kuka omniMove heavy-duty mobile transport vehicles for the construction of its A380 flagship in Hamburg.

With their Mecanum wheels, they are able to transport aircraft components weighing up to 90 tonnes with “millimeter precision” in confined spaces, claims Kuka. 

kuka omnimove

It’s all about the Mecanum wheels, apparently

Kuka says it’s the Mecanum wheels on the omniMove which enable “maximum maneuverability”. Mecanum wheels are designed to allow movement in any direction.

Construction of the Airbus A380 in Hamburg involves moving aircraft components measuring 15 meters in length and weighing up to 90 tonnes.

This is made possible by the Kuka omniMove mobile transport platform, a transport vehicle for heavy loads that is equipped with omnidirectional Mecanum wheels, says Kuka.

The Mecanum wheel design ensures unrestricted manoeuverability without the need to steer the wheels, says Kuka.

For a year now, Airbus has been using two of these vehicles in the hangar in which the A380 is produced. This enables implementation of the desired cycle time for transportation of the fuselage sections and the parts are moved along the production line, claims Kuka.

Robot platform manoeuvres from standing start 

Due to the different work stations and the huge fuselage sections, space in the Airbus hangar is limited. The ability to turn from a standing start is the greatest advantage of the Kuka omniMove. The Mecanum wheels move in every direction and operate with the utmost precision even with a maximum payload of up to 90 tonnes.

Dr Kai Brüggemann, Airbus plant manager in Hamburg, says: “Our success is unequivocally based on innovation and we also implement state-of-the-art technologies in our production facility.”

‘Simple handling, flexibility and precision’ 

The Kuka omniMove meets these requirements very well. It is easy to operate, quick to learn and particularly easy to steer. Furthermore, the batteries are very powerful: the transport platform operates tirelessly for 48 hours without the need to recharge them.

The ease of handling, flexibility and precision of the Kuka omniMove have “greatly impressed” the team at Airbus that operates the platforms, claims Kuka.

Dr Brüggemann adds: “The omniMove has always been the optimal solution for handling and transportation of the A380. I hope to be able to introduce further Kuka products to our hangars.”

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