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I can do it with KUKA: Automation for small and medium-sized enterprises

The use of robotics also makes sense for small and medium-sized enterprises – thanks to ease of use, flexible application options and 24/7 service from KUKA.

What are the arguments in favor of the use of robots in SMEs?

Automation is not just for large companies. Even small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can become more productive and successful with robotics. They help you thrive despite the shortage of skilled workers and enable you to become a more desirable employer. This is because robots relieve your team of physically heavy, monotonous and time-consuming tasks. Starting with a single robot, you can boost your productivity, expand your business area and respond flexibly to customer requests even with small batch sizes.

Success stories: SMEs from different sectors already use automation profitably

Flexible loading and unloading of machines – in unmanned shifts at night and on weekends

With KUKA automation solutions, ZIMM GmbH flexibly manufactures 30 different workpiece types from blanks to finished components. In a modular manufacturing cell, a loading robot feeds raw metal parts to a milling machine. The robot relieves employees at this spindle lift gear manufacturer of heavy physical work, and enables them to take on more important tasks. Furthermore, ZIMM GmbH now uses unattended shifts at night and on weekends, which increases competitiveness. In a further step, a handling robot deburrs and cleans components.

You can find out more about the flexible robot cell at ZIMM GmbH here.

The topic of “digitalization” has reached small and medium-sized enterprises. An industrial robot loads a milling machine quickly and effectively.

Space-saving handling and complex further processing – flexible and in the shortest possible time

In a highly flexible robotic cell at Gindele GmbH, a small robot takes over both the handling of the injection molding machine and the complex further processing. The objective of the application is to optimize the multi-stage machining process for sustainable plastic cutlery. The six-axis robot supports the team extremely flexibly and can grip even complex workpieces safely. It also enables a streamlined cell design, allowing it to be positioned in the immediate vicinity of the injection molding machine. Conclusion: Objective met.

Read here how the medium-sized company successfully managed an easy entry into the world of automation.

It is worth investing in automation and digitalization – especially for SMEs facing a shortage of skilled workers. Thanks to industrial robots, the complex processes are executed entirely automatically.

Automated assembly of washing machine doors in continuous-flow production – cycle times are shortened, end customer is satisfied

Thanks to a screw-fastening robot and suitable software from KUKA, Polish integrator Qbig was able to automate the assembly of washing machine doors. The articulated robot fastens glass and plastic elements by means of precise position determination while they are moving on the conveyor system. The end customer, a manufacturer of household appliances, is enthusiastic about the short cycle times and high productivity of the system. Furthermore, automation makes work easier for the on-site assembly technicians.

Detailed content about this automation solution can be found here.

Automated assembly using an articulated robot saves the medium-sized company time and relieves the burden on employees.

Precise and fast welding – with reliable and consistently high quality

With KUKA automation solutions, STELA Laxhuber GmbH is now welding 10 times faster – with maximum quality. What this means for the company is that instead of a day, it now only takes 50 minutes to weld a fan. In a cell perfectly adapted to the production requirements, a welding robot takes over the process with consistently high precision. Despite the shortage of skilled workers, the company is able to process a high level of orders and feels well supported.

Find out here how the welding robot masters every job.

Boost competitiveness with digital transformation: The welding robot creates perfect weld seams in the shortest possible time.

Automatic quality control – for greater efficiency thanks to a minimized error rate

Our LBR iisy cobot supports FMO Surface GmbH in quality control. Safety is an important issue here. The company, which specializes in the finishing of plastic surfaces, relies on the support of the collaborative robot in conjunction with cameras. This is how the quality of DataMatrix codes on bus connectors is checked quickly and reliably. The interaction of the cobot with the employees is perfectly safe even without safety fences and saves the company a lot of time. The cobot is easy to operate even for beginners in programming; it is ready to start within minutes and enables uncomplicated switching to other tasks.

Here we show you why the cobot was the right choice for FMO.

Automated grinding and polishing – quickly and safely for the perfect surface finish

Multiple industrial robots grind and polish the blades of Atlantic Chef kitchen knives at the Taiwanese company Liow-Shye. To do so, a robot arm grips the steel blade and holds it against the grinding machine. Another robot is dedicated to grinding. The robot system and software enable the machining of all kinds of knives while maintaining consistent product quality. As a result, the 160-employee company has managed to reduce the error rate and material consumption significantly. The industrial robots require little space, allow real-time maintenance and enable high repeatability.

Read here how Atlantic Chef knives are ground to perfection.

Grinding and polishing robots deliver high quality and high accuracy. Due to the implementation of automation, the company is a technological leader in the industry.

Fast and precise palletizing – for the relief of physically strenuous tasks

At the Fiedler private brewery, a palletizing robot loads incoming empties from the pallet onto the conveyor system. The five-axis robot places incoming beverage crates from the filling plant directly from the roller conveyor onto the pallet. With its gripper, it lifts up to four beer crates at the same time, greatly relieving the burden on employees. Limited spatial capacity is no problem for it. Thanks to the palletizing robot, employees can take on more challenging, less physically demanding tasks. This helps to safeguard the high quality of the premium beers in the long term.

Find out here how the small company came to acquire the palletizing robot.

The task at the brewery was not just the physical integration of industrial robots. The robot system is also digitally integrated into the running processes.
The integration of a loading robot saves the company a lot of time. The system partner provides programming support in the form of smart planning software.

Do you want to automate your processes?

Contact our experts for tailored regional and industry-specific advice – from planning to implementation and beyond.

Working together to achieve a turnkey robotics solution

You do not have to learn programming yourself or be a robotics expert to automate your production. KUKA makes it easier for you to get started with practice-tested expertise and corresponding technology packages. With a variety of application packages and a broad portfolio of software and services, KUKA offers a simple and cost-effective solution for every SME. The global network of KUKA system partners – including integrators, software partners and robot experts – helps you directly on site. The system partner is familiar with your industry, supports you with tailor-made automation and assists you through to commissioning and beyond.

What are the advantages of automation with KUKA for small and medium-sized enterprises?

  • Flexibility and ease of use

    • Programming by drag-and-drop
    • Simple manual robot guidance
    • Quick startup
    • Flexible conversion and programming of the robot for new tasks
  • Optimal cost-benefit ratio

    • Automation pays for itself even with small batch sizes
    • High technical availability ensures maximum utilization
    • Low operating costs (TCO) over the service life of the robot
    • Fast delivery times
  • Comprehensive support

    • Global customer service 24/7
    • Virtual simulation and feasibility studies
    • Support from certified system partners in your area
    • Onsite or self-paced digital training for employees
  • Effective and secure cooperation

    • Mitigate skills shortage
    • Relieve employees of monotonous and repetitive tasks
    • Safety concepts for cooperation with robots
    • Improve ergonomic conditions for the workforce

E-paper: Robotics for small and medium-sized enterprises

If you are wondering how automation can move your company forward, what a project like this would cost and how much training your employees would need, see for yourself. Our payback calculation and 6 practical examples show you that automated production with robots is easier and less expensive than you thought – even for SMEs:

  • Preview 1
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Find out more about trends in robotics and the success stories of our SME customers now

Download the e-paper

What might a robotic cell look like? From the idea to reality:

If you are wondering what a robotic cell might look like and would like to know what work steps, hardware and software are required for start-up to go smoothly, see for yourself. Click through our example cell for machine tending and get to know the automation process in detail:

  • Comprehensive solutions: A safe grip on workpieces

    The robot should fit into the team and to the machinery in your shop. That is why we plan with all the components your task requires, for example:

    • Pallets
    • Clamping fixtures
    • Conveyor systems
    • Bin picking packages
  • Safety for people and machinery: cells optimally planned, tested, certified

    A robotic cell must fit like a tailored suit: As little space as necessary, as much safety as possible. KUKA offers:

    • Software and hardware tools for safe cell configuration
    • Safety concept for cell planning and monitoring
    • Features such as the safe operational stop, which allows close-up human-robot collaboration
    • Cell certification by system partners in accordance with current safety standards

  • Our engineering and programming solutions

    Our engineers and IT professionals ensure that SMEs have tailored, cost-efficient components and technologies at their disposal. We also offer:

    • Test set-up and prototype production at the KUKA TechCenters
    • Service for planning, realization and optimization of every project
    • Wide range of tools for easy, intuitive programming and operation
    • 3D simulation with KUKA.Sim to see your system in action and optimize processes before start-up
  • Wide range of grippers and more

    Robots can weld, cut, bond, polish, solder, package and palletize. Your KUKA system partner will find the right accessories for your automation, turning every industrial robot or cobot into a multi-function tool:

    • Gripper
    • Welding systems
    • Cutting tools
    • Adhesive nozzles
  • Industrial robots: the right one for every task

    KUKA offers a wide range of industrial robots for every operational challenge. Benefit from:

    • Payload categories up to 1,300 kg and reaches up to 3,900 mm
    • Cobots for direct cooperation with humans
    • Cleanroom, dry room and other special robots
    • Compact design with maximum performance
    • High performance with low energy consumption
    • Easy integration into existing production environments
  • New generation of robot controllers: compact, high-quality and with low energy consumption

    Every KR C5 controller is powerful and compact. Further advantages of the KR C5 controller:

    • Easy integration and installation
    • Flexible installation position
    • High energy efficiency
    • Wide range of control options
    • Expansion options
  • KUKA smartPAD: ergonomic teach pendant with touch display

    The KUKA smartPAD impresses as a universally applicable, easily accessible teach pendant. Further advantages:

    • Simple robot guidance with ergonomic 6D mouse
    • Robust for harsh industrial environments
    • Ergonomic design for comfortable handling
    • Simple data transfer in the event of servicing
  • System partners in your vicinity

    KUKA system partners have expertise in robotics and programming and know your industry. They offer you:

    • Verification of technical feasibility
    • Turnkey systems including robot, gripper, controller and software
    • Personnel training
    • Start-up assistance
    • Service


    If you have any questions or problems, your KUKA Service is there for you 24/7.