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Siemens and KUKA to integrate robotics and machine tools to machine workpieces with robots

Siemens AG Industry Sector Erlangen : 05 October, 2013  (Company News)
The Siemens Drive Technologies Division and KUKA Roboter have announced a comprehensive cooperation at EMO in Hanover. The central pillar of the cooperation is integration of KUKA robots and Siemens machine tool solutions (CNC) for loading machine tools.
Siemens and KUKA to integrate robotics and machine tools to machine workpieces with robots
Highly flexible and fully automated production today demands complete integration of robots into the production flow and into the automation environment. In this area, in particular, applications for robots and machine tools are growing together steadily as a result of new requirements and technological progress. Given these developments, Siemens and KUKA are strengthening their cooperation in automation and industrial robots. The aim is to be better able to serve industries with high-end automation requirements in loading and machining. With the shared development, customers will have access to new products and solutions that are coordinated optimally over their entire life cycle, from design, to production simulation, to engineering and the production shop level. Moreover, the two companies have agreed on including future aspects of robot automation with reference to the Industry 4.0 project into their joint activities.
"With this joint approach, the two companies are strengthening the fundamental idea of integrated production and can, for example, develop new markets by close intermeshing of machine tool tasks and loading tasks," says Manfred Gundel, CEO of KUKA Roboter GmbH. 
There are three areas, in particular, where Siemens and Kuka believe that robots could help to boost the intelligence and performance of machine tools:
about a fifth of the 660,000 loading and unloading machines installed every year could be automated economically using robots;
for lightweight construction, involving materials such as plastics and aluminium alloys, robots could help to machine large parts that involve many synchronised axes; and
by using robots to take on “simple” tasks such as deburring, brushing, roughing or finishing, spindle runtimes could be reduced during machining, and productivity increased. Integrating robots in this way can raise quality, and exploit idle times.
As part of their cooperation, Siemens and Kuka also intend to work on innovative techniques for machining new materials such as composites. Robots offer extended working zones that can improve the machining of large items such as aircraft wing parts or car bodies. In such applications, the components are often too big and complex to move them or to machine them using conventional techniques.
Programming and operation can be performed in a Siemens Sinumerik CNC environment, and robots can be integrated into the CAD/CAM/CNC design chain. Users who already use engineering tools such as NX CAM can continue to design and simulate parts in a familiar environment and can implement parts directly from engineering in production.
"The CNC control from Siemens and the robot controls from KUKA are ideal for integrating robot and CNC technology. With this cooperation, we are deepening our many years of cooperation and advancing intelligent automation solutions as outlined by the Industry 4.0 project for the benefit of both partners and to expand business," says Dr Robert Neuhauser, CEO of Business Unit Motion Control Systems at Siemens.
  • KUKA Aktiengesellschaft is an international global enterprise with sales of about € 1.7 billion and about 7,500 employees worldwide at the present time. The company focuses on robot-supported automation for industrial manufacturing processes and is one of the world's leading suppliers of robotics, plant engineering and plant assembly services. KUKA's business model is based on two business units: the Systems division, which designs and builds automated systems and the Robotics division, which supplies industrial robots, the core component of automated systems. The holding company and its two divisions are headquartered in Augsburg.
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