KUKA Shares 2021 Year in Review

The New Year is a time for reflecting, and one company doing just that is KUKA. Having closed the door on another year, robotics and automation specialist KUKA reflects on an ‘exciting, challenging and eventful’ 2021 and is looking forward to seeing what 2022 will bring.

January

KUKA among the top 20 climate-conscious companies

Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of our time. Therefore, it is particularly important for companies to respond and initiate the right measures to act in a sustainable and environmentally conscious manner. In January, the business magazine Capital, together with the data portal Statista, evaluated and compared the CO2 balances of 2,000 German corporations for the first time: KUKA came in a very good 14th place among the top 20 and is entitled to bear the title “Germany’s most climate-conscious company.”

KUKA energy-efficient robots and systems
Energy-efficient robots and systems are an important lever for reducing energy consumption in its customers’ applications. ©KUKA Group

February

Mission to 2030: KUKA makes automation available to all

In the next ten years, more and more people around the world will be working with robots. Automation is becoming mainstream and is finding its way into more and more areas. Easy access to robotics, simple operation, and an intuitive approach to automation solutions, something that until now has often been the preserve of experts: this is the ambitious goal that KUKA is pursuing – and in February, for the first time, it is presenting a preview of iiQKA, the operating system of the future.

KUKA operating system
Automation is going mainstream: the key is simplicity of operation. ©KUKA Group

KUKA supplies pioneering robot training centre in Ireland

KUKA provided Ireland’s Louth & Meath Education and Training Board with a range of training robots for its new state-of-the-art Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre of Excellence. The centre will be the largest vocational training facility of its kind in Europe.

March

Swisslog wins AutoStore orders worth 70 million Swiss francs

The Coronavirus pandemic is causing the e-commerce sector to boom. This is also reflected in Swisslog’s orders in the first quarter of 2021: the Swiss logistics expert wins 21 AutoStore orders worth the equivalent of 70 million Swiss francs in Europe. Swisslog actively supported the maintenance of critical supply chains during the pandemic. In its European business, the realisation of AutoStore projects played a major role – an indication that companies most affected by the pandemic are focusing on high flexibility and future viability.

KUKA & AutoStore: space-saving storage and picking system for small parts
AutoStore: space-saving storage and picking system for small parts ©Swisslog

 

April

Hannover Messe Digital Edition

The world’s largest industrial trade fair opened its doors in virtual form for the first time. KUKA was also represented with a colourful program at the digital Hannover Messe, including product presentations, keynotes, or discussion rounds on current topics with guests such as Ranga Yogeshwar and Karl Haeusgen. One focus: the new iiQKA operating and ecosystem.

KUKA presenting at Hannover Messe Digital Edition
“AI will change an incredible amount, and we in everyday life will hardly notice it,” predicts Ranga Yogeshwar, one of Germany’s leading science journalists at the Hannover Messe Digital Edition at KUKA in Augsburg.

100 years of partnership: KUKA signs major order with Daimler

The automotive group and Augsburg-based automation specialist KUKA have signed a new framework agreement for the coming years. The companies are thus continuing a long-standing partnership.

KUKA presents the CYBERTECH nano ARC and the KR Delta

As part of the new generation of the KR CYBERTECH nano series, KUKA presented in April the specialists for web applications such as arc welding, gluing, or sealant application: the KR CYBERTECH nano ARC family. KUKA also presented a Delta robot for the first time – the KR Delta completes the KUKA product family.

May

CEO Peter Mohnen’s term of office extended ahead of schedule

The Supervisory Board of KUKA Aktiengesellschaft resolves to prematurely appoint CEO Peter Mohnen as Chairman of the Executive Board until 2024. CFO Andreas Pabst moves to Midea’s Robotics and Automation division, and Alexander Tan becomes the new CFO.

KUKA's Alexander Tan and Peter Mohnen
KUKA AG Executive Board: Alexander Tan, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and Peter Mohnen, Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

June

Plan robot cells more easily with KUKA.Sim 4.0 simulation software

KUKA introduces the new version of its smart simulation software: KUKA.Sim 4.0. With KUKA.Sim 4.0, details and sequences of robot applications can be realistically simulated before commissioning and then transferred 100 percent to the real controller.

KUKA robot
Simulation software KUKA.Sim enables simplified programming and optimisation of production.

July

General Motors “Supplier of the Year 2020”: Award for KUKA

KUKA is named GM Supplier of the Year at General Motors’ 29th annual “Supplier of the Year Awards.”

SMEs and skilled trades rely on robot technology

Small and medium-sized enterprises are also benefiting more and more from automation. This is demonstrated by examples of KUKA customers, such as the medium-sized company STELA Laxhuberv in Bavaria or the traditional joinery firm Eigenstetter in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – all of which rely on robotics technologies from KUKA.

STELA & KUKA: Robot
At the medium-sized company STELA, the newest employee is a robot. It provides support in the domestic production of large drying plants. ©KUKA Group

August

Record order intake: KUKA posts strong first half of 2021

After the crisis year of 2020, customers are once again investing more heavily in their production, and KUKA recorded a significant increase in demand for robotics and automation solutions. Robotics and automation are more in demand than ever. KUKA benefits from its global orientation and strong growth in Asia and North America.

KR C5 for BMW in Dingolfing

Energy-efficient and economical: the KR C5 robot controller is finding strong favor with customers in the automotive industry. By the beginning of 2022, for example, KUKA will be supplying around 250 controllers to BMW in Dingolfing alone. Work is currently underway there on the successor generation to the BMW G60 5-series, which is expected to appear in the fall of 2023.

Everything in view: KUKA.ProcessScreen monitors the entire process chain

Visualising, monitoring, and seamlessly documenting processes – including all relevant parameters of the robot: this is what KUKA’s new application software KUKA.ProcessScreen makes possible almost in real-time.

KUKA.ProcessScreen: Application software
KUKA.ProcessScreen: Application software for visualisation, monitoring, and seamless documentation of robot-based manufacturing processes of all kinds in near real-time.

September

KUKA iiQoT monitors and optimises the entire robot fleet

Everything in view: The new KUKA iiQoT platform provides important condition data for the entire robot fleet in real-time. The software is initially available as a cloud solution and makes remote monitoring of robotic systems more efficient – from anywhere, at any time. This simultaneously opens up new potential for troubleshooting and condition monitoring.

Virtual reality ballet in 360 degrees: KUKA robots on stage at the Augsburg State Theatre

Man and machine dance together on a virtual ballet stage: a KUKA industrial robot is one of the main actors in this unusual piece at the Augsburg State Theatre, which premiered in September. Audiences followed the 360-degree production from home using virtual reality glasses.

KUKA robot (dance of man and machine)
Dance of man and machine: The KUKA robot is one of the main actors in the piece “kinesphere”. © Staatstheater Augsburg| Jan Pieter Fuhr

October

Individual enjoyment: Ratio orders 20 new robots from KUKA as bartenders and baristas

Ratio, a robotic café in Singapore, has relied on KUKA’s automation expertise since 2019. In October, it was announced that the company had ordered 20 new robot bartenders and baristas to expand its innovative offering to more cafés, restaurants, and co-working offices.

KUKA & Ratio: Robotic cafe
Ratio, a Ross Digital company in Singapore, wants to revolutionise the enjoyment of drinks. To this end, the world’s first robotic café with a lounge relies on KUKA robots.

November

KUKA defines long-term off-market growth plan together with Midea

In November, KUKA and Midea published a joint growth strategy for the coming years. The goal is to significantly sharpen KUKA’s leading role in robot-based automation by 2025. To this end, the plan is to increase investment in research and development in Augsburg by at least 15% by 2025 compared to 2021. Midea also plans to delist KUKA in a squeeze-out for a more effective growth path and a clear focus on operations.

Stadtwerke and KUKA trainees spray for sustainability

Sustainability as a common theme: trainees from KUKA and Stadtwerke Augsburg spray-painted a swa gas pressure regulator station in Augsburg’s Blücherstraße in a joint project.

Graffiti Stadtwerke and KUKA trainees
In a workshop with the graffiti association “Die Bunten e.V.”, the first task was to collect design ideas and turn them into a graffiti motif. It quickly became clear that environmental protection and sustainability topics should be part of the design.

December

Shake it! World-class bartender and robot in a cocktail duel

One of the world’s best acrobatic bartenders competes against Makr Shakr, the most advanced system for making cocktails by robots from KUKA. It is an extraordinary duel in front of the world-famous Milan Cathedral, which premiered in December. Who will succeed in creating the perfect drink?

What a year for KUKA! KUKA is looking forward to seeing what 2022 holds, with many more highlights from the KUKA world to come. Visit the KUKA Blog to keep up to date with all the latest goings-on. 

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