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KUKA heavy-duty robot links four machines centers

By using robots, MERZ has increased productivity, quality and flexibility, minimized downtimes and shortened delivery times.

3 March 2016

In the MERZ production facility, the KUKA KR FORTEC F (Foundry) links four machining centers, fills and empties changeover stations and ensures optimal utilization of the machine tools.

The Foundry variant of the KUKA KR FORTEC heavy-duty robot loads and unloads the changeover stations of the machining centers at MERZ.

KUKA heavy-duty robot enables fully-automatic operation


The KUKA KR FORTEC F (Foundry) moves on a KUKA linear unit of type KL 1500-3 with a length of 18 meters to tend the four production systems installed adjacent to one another. The task of the robot is to load and unload the changeover stations at which the machine pallets with the corresponding workpieces and raw materials are supplied. Serving as the link between the machining centers, it performs the automatic transfer of machine pallets and raw material pallets between the changeover stations, storage areas and machine tools. This enables the four machining centers to work fully automatically around the clock. The automated system has also been integrated into the company’s internal information flows. This ensures automatic provision of the NC and tool data for the machines – a key factor in avoiding unnecessary downtimes and achieving maximum productivity. The application at MERZ was implemented by KUKA system partner wbt automation and production control specialist SOFLEX.

Ideal combination: the KR FORTEC series and the KL 1500-3 linear unit

The KUKA KR 500 R2830 F from the KR FORTEC heavy-duty series covers an exceptionally large working envelope with very long reference load center distances. The compact design of the KR FORTEC series without disruptive contours, together with their more streamlined appearance, makes the robots suitable for use in cramped cells as well as in completely new cell concepts. In the special Foundry variant, the robot is suitable for installations with a high degree of fouling and high temperatures. All robots of the KR FORTEC series are optimized for use on linear units. The KL 1500-3 linear unit has been specially designed by KUKA for high payloads. The combination of robot and linear unit ensured that all the pre-formulated objectives were achieved: shorter delivery times, improved deadline compliance, better machine utilization, increased quality and improved internal procedures.