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The KUKA Year in Review 2021

An exciting, challenging and eventful year is coming to an end. We take this opportunity to show you the KUKA highlights of 2021.


JANUARY

KUKA among the top 20 climate-conscious companies

Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of our time. It is therefore 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”.

Energy-efficient robots and systems are an important lever for reducing energy consumption in our 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.

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

MARCH

Swisslog wins AutoStore orders worth 70 million Swiss francs

The Corona 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 realization of AutoStore projects played a major role – an indication that companies most affected by the pandemic are focusing on high flexibility and future viability.

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

APRIL

Hannover Messe Digitial Edition

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

“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.

KUKA presents the CYBERTECH nano ARC and the KR Delta

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

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.

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 as CFO, and Alexander Tan becomes the new CFO.

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.

Simulation software KUKA.Sim enables simplified programming and optimization 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.

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 is benefiting 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

Visualizing, 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 for visualization, monitoring and seamless documentation of robot-based manufacturing processes of all kinds in near real time.

SEPTEMBER

KUKA iiQoT monitors and optimizes 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 Theater.

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 Theater, which premiered in September. Audiences follow the 360-degree production from home using virtual reality glasses.

Dance of man and machine: The KUKA robot is one of the main actors in the piece “kinesphere”. © Staatstheater Augsburg| Jan Pieter Fuhr
Ratio, a Ross Digital company in Singapore, wants to revolutionize the enjoyment of drinks. To this end, the world’s first robotic café with lounge relies on KUKA robots. 

NOVEMBER

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

In November, KUKA and Midea publish 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.

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 the topics of environmental protection and sustainability 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?

Dear readers, as you can see, an exciting year is coming to an end. We look forward to 2022, with many more highlights from the KUKA world, which we will of course keep you up to date about on our KUKA blog. Until then, we wish you a happy new year.

Stay healthy!

About the author
Teresa Fischer
Spokesperson Business KUKA 
More about Teresa Fischer
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