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Getting things rolling

Antonia Ritter gets things moving at KUKA. The commissioning engineer commissions mobile autonomous robots for customer applications and trade fair showcases all over the world. In her job, she supports an international and interdisciplinary team in the development of innovative robotics solutions such as the KMR iisy. They all have one thing in common: a passion for robotics.

Franziska Scherer
29 May 2024
Reading Time: 3 min.

Talent, technology and teamwork

Two in one: this is what the KMR iisy offers - mobile platform below, cobot above. This allows it to move autonomously and smartly around the room, for example to load machine tools, handle components or assist with chip production in the clean room. Antonia Ritter from Commissioning Engineering was also heavily involved in the development phase of this versatile robotic product. "We have development teams in Germany, China and Hungary. All these people are specialists in their fields. They develop modules, i.e. hardware or software solutions, including for the KMR iisy. The highlight for me was putting the first KMR iisy machine into operation. Because nobody knew beforehand whether the individual hardware and software components would actually work as an assembled whole." Antonia is particularly proud of how the threads come together in the end and a new product is created before her eyes – like when the KMR iisy prototype is commissioned. "The fact that, after several years, the efforts of the many colleagues involved came together and led to success was a special moment for me."

Actively shaping robotics innovations

Antonia Ritter is an expert for autonomous mobile robots (AMR) at KUKA.

Robotics that fascinates

Antonia also has her brother to thank for her interest in robotics. "He's a mechatronics engineer, and that's how I got the idea to go into this field too." She specialized at school and attended a technical high school in Ulm.

The commissioning engineer tinkers until everything is up and running.

"The technical and manual activities such as drilling and milling were easy for me right from the start." So the career path was clear. Antonia came to KUKA in Augsburg for the dual study program. She chose robotics because she recognized the growing importance of robots in industrial production. Antonia is fascinated by robotics: "Robots have something aesthetic about them. They can move very fluidly. If they are programmed well, it almost looks like a play," enthuses Antonia, who completed her Bachelor of Science in Mechatronics at KUKA.

A team approach to success and customers: Antonia presents the new robotic products at trade fairs all over the world.

The robotics spirit

Antonia Ritter not only puts new developments in robotics into operation, she also takes the new products out into the world and presents them to customers and interested parties at trade fairs.

Antonia discovered her enthusiasm for technology at school.

"The special thing for me is always the set-up phase. If you haven't experienced it before, you can't even imagine that the empty exhibition hall is filled with all kinds of innovative showcases within a very short space of time. There are construction crews out and about, setting up stands in just a few days, some of which are as big as detached houses." While the engineer sits at her computer and concentrates on her application, a trade fair stand is being set up behind her, which will later take visitors into the world of the most innovative robotics solutions. "This is amazing."

The KUKA technician's recipe for success is to work with focus and not let herself get stressed.

Collaboration at a trade fair is driven by a very special spirit. Everyone is important. "All team members are allowed to be creative. And if anyone has a problem, everyone helps to solve it." Antonia works for KUKA at trade fairs all over the world. She met her Korean colleagues in person for the first time at SIMTOS in Seoul. The chemistry was right straight away. It didn't matter who came from what country, what role or what job description they had. "It's simply about putting all the individual pieces of the puzzle together in the shortest possible time so that we can clearly present the latest innovations from the world of robotics to trade fair visitors. Although we had relatively little time to set up in South Korea, we had a great start to the trade fair. The secret to a successful set-up is simply not to get stressed and to work together in a focused manner, then it will work."

The robotics recipe for success

The star at SIMTOS was the KMR iisy, whose development Antonia had helped to drive forward. She sums up what was important: "For every new product, you need a team of incredibly motivated developers worldwide, and we have them here at KUKA.

Antonia Ritter loves the robotics spirit that prevails in the KUKA teams.

The teams in Augsburg, Hungary and China develop various software and hardware modules that arrive here in Augsburg, where we put them together." The mixture of expertise, time, creativity and motivation ultimately brings success. Antonia is proud to be part of this process. She has been closely involved in the development of KMR iisy over the past two years. "I went out for various tests, for example a clean room test – to prepare our vehicle for the market. When you help develop new products, you have the opportunity to visit the first buyers and support them as well as demonstrate the vehicle at trade fairs. I like that because I really enjoy being on the road. Especially in other cities or at trade fairs. It also gives me the opportunity to look around a bit privately, talk to people a lot and get to know lots of colleagues, customers and integrators who work with us. That's simply fun."

"We're nerds in a positive sense," says Antonia. She and her colleagues are passionate about robotics, and so they keep infecting each other with their fascination for AMR.

Robotics nerds

Antonia puts the fact that everything works when the finished product is presented at the trade fair down to the KUKA spirit: "We are all nerds in a positive sense. We just want it to work in the end. That's why we all put our all into it. That's the spirit it takes to develop innovations and later implement them in our customers' products. None of us is left behind. We go there as a team and come back as a team. That's what excites me about trade fairs."

KUKA takes me to different places all over the world and brings me together with people who share my passion for robotics.

Antonia Ritter, commissioning engineer, KUKA Robotics

When Antonia is not working on robotics development, she can often be found in the mountains. The young technology enthusiast likes to spend her free time hiking and biking. She also loves visiting new places. And this brings her back full circle to her professional work: "KUKA takes me to all kinds of different places around the world and brings me together with people who share my passion for robotics." There is still a lot for Antonia Ritter to discover – both inside and outside the world of robotics.

About the author
Franziska Scherer
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