“ …we expect to meet end users and many system integrators, who represent for us more than 50% of our business. We work with 72 different integrators and we hope we will be able to meet all of them at RobotHeart of BI-MU… ”
Alberto Pellero Director Strategy & Marketing Robotics KUKA
Shall we talk about KUKA?
Established in 1898, today KUKA is a multinational company with headquarters in Bavaria, 14,000 employees and a turnover of 3.6 billion euro. Created as a manufacturer of lighting systems, then, it has also started producing welding systems. Now, KUKA is one of the key players in the world of automation and robotics. Since the seventies, when robotics started being introduced in factories, KUKA focused on industrial robotics, developed and “rigorously” produced in Germany and sold all over the world. Today, we are organised in business units: KUKA Robotics indeed deals with automation and robotics, developing increasingly innovative solutions for all major fields of application. KUKA Systems develops robotic production and assembly solutions for the automotive and aerospace sectors. Swisslog is the business unit focused on logistics and systems for material handling, storage and management of automated warehouses. Finally, Swisslog Healthcare is dedicated to the logistics for the health and healthcare segment.
How important is Italy for KUKA?
In Italy, we have a branch with 120 employees. It is our second branch in the EMEA area considering the number of sold units. In the headquarters located in the outskirts of Turin, we also host a Competence Center called ARCLAS, which specialises in the development of robotic welding cells for the automotive industry. Our team of engineers has developed a set of cells based on a modular concept, which enables to work on a standard with application of customised solutions according to the specific customers’ requirements. With this team, we cover the whole demand of the EMEA area.
On the other hand, the R&D activity is fundamental for KUKA. We were the first to build a robot weighing 1,000 kg and we also produced the first collaborative robot. Moreover, we boast a leadership in the sales of AGV robots. KUKA manufactures industrial, collaborative and mobile robots, as well as management and 4.0 solutions. A complete product offering to meet all users’ needs. On the contrary, we do not cover the integration part, except for Tier1 solutions with our BU KUKA Systems.
How is the Italian market going?
The year 2021 was record-breaking for KUKA worldwide. Even in Italy, we had excellent results, also due to the rebound after the collapse of 2020 caused by the outbreak of the pandemic. These first six months of 2022 went even better, despite the problem of component shortage, which we faced by carrying on a great work in re-engineering our solutions.
On the contrary, the second half of the year will be characterised by higher uncertainty due to the still ongoing pandemic, the war and the transition of the automotive industry to electric vehicles.
What are the sectors on which you focus more attentively? How important is the automotive sector for KUKA
The automotive sector accounts for less than 50% of KUKA’s turnover, whereas in Italy it represents 10%. In this field, KUKA is a leader in the supply of flexible solutions 4.0 and this is certainly an advantage in this delicate moment of green transition. This said, our strategy encompasses a wide diversification of target markets, among which the most important are electronics, metallurgic and plastics industries, energy and consumables, with food and beverages, as well as pharmaceutics. Moreover, as everything connected with e-commerce is of increasing importance, we offer a model of integrated logistics for warehouse management. In addition, if we consider the applications, besides welding, even outside the automotive sector, we also specialise in machine tending, palletisation and packaging.
What convinced you to take part in RobotHeart of BI-MU?
We have understood right away that the exhibition project is valid and effective. We believe that BI-MU will be rewarding for us, both for the organisation involved and for the visitors, whom we expect to be highly qualified and also very motivated to invest. We expect to meet end users and many system integrators, who represent for us more than 50% of our business. We work with 72 different integrators and we hope we will be able to meet all of them at RobotHeart of BI-MU.
What will you exhibit?
At RobotHeart of BI-MU, we will exhibit three solutions conceived to represent KUKA’s target, “Focus 2030”, which consists in offering automation that can be accessible for everyone, which clearly materialises into the development of user-friendly solutions. At our stand, we will show LBR iisy, a “lightweight”, easily programmable robot; iiQKA, the new operational, programming language that can be easily used by operators, and iiQot a KUKA software enabling the functions of Industry 4.0.