KUKA is one of the leading manufacturers of robotic systems worldwide, offering a broad range of industrial robots and automation systems, covering all common payload categories and robot types. Adam Hudson, Sector Manager for Plastics and Injection Moulding at KUKA UK is next to face the HotSeat…
What trends do you think will shape the future of UK plastics? How will KUKA respond?
The future of UK plastics will be shaped by incorporating sustainability and ensuring recycling capability is designed into our products. There is an increasing trend to reduce single-use plastics, but the industry needs to build on the positives of what it can offer in terms of both long-term sustainability and the flexibility of additive manufacturing. A KUKA robot is by its very nature a flexible solution, but more than that, with ever-increasing speed, accuracy and repeatability, it can adapt to the changing landscape.
How has KUKA developed during your tenure?
Although I’ve only been with KUKA for four years, it is actually quite a long time in a technological environment. We’ve adapted quickly to what robots need to be, like with the introduction of the iiQKA Operating System, we’ve taken the time to think much more about the end-user. Robot programming is now becoming much more accessible to the wider community, meaning the prospect of robot implementation is far less daunting. The new compact KRC5 controller is a true innovation in both technology and efficiency and seems light years ahead of the KRC4 I’m used to; it’s tiny! We’ve also vastly expanded the available range of smaller robots with the SCARA, DELTA, KR4 and LBR iisy covering every light-duty payload application you could need.
What do you credit as the key to your success?
From a personal and professional basis, I think the key to success is listening to what somebody is saying to you. That message is often communicated in more ways than just words. Try to demonstrate what you have heard, not just what they have said. When I’m speaking with a client, I always try to find out what it is that they want to achieve, which is always more than just the application in question. More often than not, they want to have a successful implementation because they know the choices they will make will reflect on them. One of the most powerful things you can ask a client is, “How can we help you to be successful?”.
What has been the greatest challenge in your career?
The absolute biggest challenge in my career is staying on top of technology and developments. The pace of change is so fast, even just at KUKA, that it takes a lot of personal development to keep up to date. Every day I seem to find an innovation or development that I think I should already know about. The best thing you can do is surround yourself with a great team of people who can help you learn.
What advice do you wish you’d had on entering the industry and does that differ from the advice you would give to an apprentice joining now?
You cannot know everything and it’s not your job to. Surround yourself with the best team you can, learn what their strengths are and call on them to help you when you need it. I was terribly narrow-minded when I was an apprentice and thought I had to be an expert on everything, which is an impossible goal to set yourself as a young engineer. If you can use the strengths of the wider team, your success is much more likely. As someone far wiser than me once said, “Every single person you meet knows something you don’t.”
What hidden talents do you have?
I love to play guitar and have played in various bands over the years. I think my colleagues would argue it’s not exactly a hidden talent because I never turn down the chance to talk guitars with anyone who’ll listen.
If you enjoyed reading this HotSeat, then you will want to take a look at this Q&A with Adam Hudson on Efficient Automation in the Plastics Industry.