EU expected to make it more difficult for foreign companies to buy European companies

 

The European Union is re-examining the rules governing takeovers of European companies by investors from outside the EU. 

The reassessment comes in the aftermath of the takeover of German robotics and industrial automation company Kuka by Chinese household appliances maker Midea.

Midea’s acquisition of Kuka – for about $4 billion – was said by Bloomberg to be part of a “global acquisitions spree” by the Chinese company.  Continue reading EU expected to make it more difficult for foreign companies to buy European companies

Kuka to double production capacity in China in bid to overtake ABB and Fanuc

 

Kuka is determined to take advantage of its alliance with Chinese household appliances manufacturing giant Midea to become the largest robot maker in China. 

Already one of the largest industrial robot manufacturers in the world, Kuka was taken over by Midea some months ago in a move currently being scrutinised by the European Union, which may change its merges and acquisitions policies as a result.

Such technicalities aside, Kuka is bullish about opportunities in China and has reportedly decided to double its production capacity in the country.  Continue reading Kuka to double production capacity in China in bid to overtake ABB and Fanuc

ABB doubling investment in China to see off challenge from Kuka and surpass Fanuc

 

ABB has a significant lead in the industrial robotics and automation market in China, but it seems somewhat wary of Kuka. 

The company recently decided it would double its investment in its research and development facility in China, and effectively make it the company’s global R&D HQ.

ABB currently employs 17,000 people in 139 cities in China. Its robotics division, though huge by itself, is just one part of the Swiss multinational engineering company.

Speaking to Bloomberg, ABB CEO Ulrish Spiesshofer says: “ABB is ahead of Kuka globally, we are ahead of Kuka here in the market and our ambition is to stay so.”  Continue reading ABB doubling investment in China to see off challenge from Kuka and surpass Fanuc

Kuka launches autonomous mobile robot for logistics

Kuka has launched an autonomous logistics robot in the form of a mobile platform which are by now quite familiar in the logistics industry. 

The robot maker says its Kuka KMP 1500 navigates using the SLAM method, which stands for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping, utilising laser scanners.

It adds that the robot is highly flexible, and features precise maneuverability and positioning using the omni-directional mecanum wheels and an accurate lifting mechanism.  Continue reading Kuka launches autonomous mobile robot for logistics

Kuka to replace entire Agilus range of small robots

Kuka says it is working on innovations and improvements which will lead to the replacement of its entire Agilus range by the end of this year.

Kuka says the small robots of the KR Agilus series already feature “impressive speed, extreme agility in confined spaces, short cycle times and maximum precision”.

But Kuka has now further developed the KR Agilus sixx.  Continue reading Kuka to replace entire Agilus range of small robots

Kuka expected to roll out collaborative robot on autonomous platform in more factories

Kuka is expected to make its mobile collaborative robot available to more factories, partly as a result of its takeover by Midea, the Chinese home appliances manufacturer. 

Midea has many large factories where a mobile robot which can also pick and place objects would be very useful.

Kuka’s collaborative robot is called iiwa, and it’s already in use at various large companies, including automotive giant BMW.  Continue reading Kuka expected to roll out collaborative robot on autonomous platform in more factories

Kuka wins multi-million-dollar order to supply robotic work cell to make batteries for electric vehicles

Industrial robotics and automation company Kuka Industries has received an order from what it says is “a leading European manufacturer in the automotive industry” to supply a battery production system. 

Kuka Industries, which is part of Kuka, would not say which company it was which placed the order, but it has supplied the same company before with a similar system, and now the customer seems to be selling or expecting to sell more electric cars, or maybe battery systems for electric vehicles.

Kuka says the order value lies in the “mid-double-digit million euro range” and was booked in the second quarter of 2017. Start of production is planned for mid-2019.  Continue reading Kuka wins multi-million-dollar order to supply robotic work cell to make batteries for electric vehicles

Midea planning robot bartenders and factories with no human workers in them

Midea, the Chinese company which acquired industrial robotics and automation systems supplier Kuka, is planning to launch robot bartenders and design factories where no humans are needed. 

Neither one of the ideas is new, since most visitors to robotics industry events may have seen at least one robotic arm pouring and serving up a drink, and fully automated factories have been much discussed for some time.

However, Midea is thought to be the world’s largest appliance maker, producing a wide range of washing machines, fridge-freezers and other gadgets for the home.  Continue reading Midea planning robot bartenders and factories with no human workers in them

Kuka celebrates production of 2 million Jeep Wranglers

Kuka is apparently rather pleased with itself for having helped produce 2 million Jeep Wranglers. 

A few days ago, the Kuka Toledo Production Operations celebrated the completion of its two millionth Jeep Wrangler body-in-white.

Kuka says it’s “the latest milestone in a stellar history that has seen this unique plant rank consistently among the quality and productivity leaders in the North American automotive industry”.  Continue reading Kuka celebrates production of 2 million Jeep Wranglers

Kuka wins prestigious Red Dot design award for industrial robot

Kuka has won a prestigious design aware from the Red Dot organisation, which runs a competition which analyses products from an extensive range of industries.

The award that Kuka won was in the Red Dot industrial product design category, and it was for its industrial robot, the KR CyberTech (pictured).

Kuka says the jury’s reasoning was: “The KR CyberTech industrial robot – with its streamlined, elongated silhouette – stretches the limits of possibility in terms of speed and reach.”  Continue reading Kuka wins prestigious Red Dot design award for industrial robot

Volkswagen and Kuka research ways to use robots for future electric and autonomous cars

Volkswagen’s new concept autonomous and electric car, Sedric
Volkswagen self-driving concept car, which it calls Sedric

The Volkswagen Group is researching ways in which robots can be used in the future when cars become more electrified and computerised as a result of increasing demand for clean and autonomous vehicles. 

The German automaker, which owns the Audi, Bentley, Seat, Porsche and Lamborghini brands among others, is working one of the world’s largest industrial robotics and automation providers, Kuka, to research and develop a number of ideas.

The current area of interest for the strategic partnership between Kuka and Volkswagen is the area of service concepts for vehicles of the future, and the two companies have agreed a contract to jointly develop robot-based innovation concepts for vehicles of the future.  Continue reading Volkswagen and Kuka research ways to use robots for future electric and autonomous cars

Toyota demonstrates ‘human service robot’ of a type that may take over a lot of homes

Toyota has been demonstrating what it calls its “Human Support Robot”, a type of robot which looks likely to take over millions of homes all over the world in the next few years.

The market for this type of so-called personal assistance robot is forecast to grow very quickly over the next few years because of advances in the technology.

According to analysts at ResearchAndMarkets.com, the personal robotics market will grow by almost 40 per cent within the next five years to a total size of $34 billion.  Continue reading Toyota demonstrates ‘human service robot’ of a type that may take over a lot of homes

Kuka to build personal assistance robot business with Midea

Midea-products
Some of the products Midea manufactures

Kuka, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of industrial robotic arms, is planning to expand into the area of personal assistance robotics. 

This is according to an article on FT.com, which quotes Kuka chief executive Till Reuter.

Reuter told the FT that he sees potential for using Midea’s reach into the household appliances market to develop more complex, intelligent machines which can help with household tasks.  Continue reading Kuka to build personal assistance robot business with Midea

Yaskawa invests €4 million in production facility in Sweden, and partners with Midea in Asia

yaskawa_new-swedish-facility
Yaskawa facility in Torsås, Sweden. Picture credit: Yaskawa via Evertiq

Yaskawa is expanding its manufacturing operation in Sweden, according to a report on Evertiq.com.

One of the world’s largest industrial robot manufacturers, Yaskawa is investing a further €4 million into the plant at Torsås, Sweden.

The work will eventually expand the facility by 2,000 sq m and is expected to be completed by summer 2018.  Continue reading Yaskawa invests €4 million in production facility in Sweden, and partners with Midea in Asia

Collaborative robotic system makes ‘monotonous and physically demanding tasks’ at BMW easier

bmw dingolfing kuka robot
A worker at BMW Dingolfing, with the Kuka collaborative robot

The employees at BMW Group’s Dingolfing Plant have a new, highly responsive assistant: an LBR iiwa lightweight robot from Kuka, which they say takes over “monotonous and physically demanding tasks”. 

Previously, BMW employees had to lift a differential case which weighed up to 5.5 kg, and had to manoeuvre it with millimeter-precision, in the assembly of the front axle.

Now the robot is taking over this “ergonomically demanding work”.  Continue reading Collaborative robotic system makes ‘monotonous and physically demanding tasks’ at BMW easier