Plans underway for launches of Lightweight Industrial Robots.
These powerful robots are Kuka’s cutting edge option for a diversity of applications including spot welding, material handling, and machine tending. Quantec offers customers two options. Firstly, for the same quantum of productivity, these machines consume about 25 percent less power. Secondly, if power savings are not a major criterion for customers, then there is potential to increase productivity by upto 30 percent. Furthermore, with the robots’ weight and volume reduced by 30 percent, shipment costs are significantly lowered and will be an added advantage to customers in terms of landed cost. Plus there’s the added benefit that the reduced volume will facilitate the installation of more machines on the shopfloor as the space is increasingly becoming premium now with real estate prices hitting the roof.
“We are also planning to make an exchange offer to our customers wherein Quantec robots will be supplied in exchange of the existing Kuka robots,” along with the difference in cost, he says.
Light Weight Robot Kuka Robotics India is also exploring options to launch a Light Weight Robot (LWR) that was developed by Kuka Roboter GmbH in association with the German Aerospace Research Centre (DLR), the equivalent of ISRO in India. The company states that the light weight robot is a prime example of the successful transfer of technology from science to industry.
Usually robots are deployed in the production of body in white in addition to welding and picking process in a factory. And the assembly of engines and gearbox and such things is predominantly done manually since it needs precision and flexibility of the fingers. Robots were not deployed since they were too heavy. In order to address this issue, Kuka has launched LWR in Germany. One of the applications is in the assembly of gears in the transmission that needs a clean environment and precision. Due to complexity of the job, it was done manually. LWR, according to Rathee, will address the issue as, “it can feel the forces and torque in three dimensions.”
Moreover, the robot weighs only about 15kg compared with conventional robots that are about 400kg heavier. The lesser weight also helps customers to deploy these robots in their assembly lines without occupying space.
Pilot project underway Daimler AG has been for a little over a year using these lightweight robots as a pilot project and has assembled over 10,000 rear-axle transmissions using these LWRs. The LWR performs demanding assembly tasks that require utmost precision, and a sensitive but powerful touch. It comes closer to the motion sequences of the human arm and the operator can manually guide the robot to different positions in the workspace and control besides teaching it new jobs via the very simple user interface.
With its in-built sensitivity, which is achieved by integrated sensors, the LWR is ideally suited to handling and assembly tasks. Also, due to its low weight, LWR is energy efficient and portable and can thus be used for a wide range of tasks. The joints of the light weight robot are connected using carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CRP) structures and its remaining components are also optimised for weight.
Through the integration of this new-generation robot with the PC-based controller, a completely new type of robot has emerged that is specifically designed to share its work envelope with humans. The German manufacturer has been working on human-robot cooperation and the objective is to make the robot as an intelligent assistant that can support the operators with its high-quality work. Going forward, Kuka Robotics India is also looking for a probable association with research agencies in the country.
“We have been pushing the government on creating research facilities to work on finding solution for complex jobs using robots,” says Rathee. This initiative will help develop solutions not only on the product side but also on the applications side. Since every country is unique in terms of its specific industry requirements, research activities will help develop customised solutions. “We can make better business when we spread out more,” he adds.
Kuka robots are unique in the use of Windows-based operating system, which enables better compatibility with other computing gadgets used by customers. The company also uses environment friendly water-based paints for the robots. Kuka Robotics India currently has an installation base of about 700 machines in India. Its clientele includes Ashok Leyland, Hyundai Motor India, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors and Volkswagen India.
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