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“There is a great need for robots in small companies”

Interview with the winners of the KUKA Innovation Award 2024

Teresa Fischer
29 April 2024
Reading Time: 3 min.

A particularly user-friendly cobot application for small and medium-sized companies - usable without programming: this concept won a team from the Belgian research group LVD Robotic Solutions and Acro the KUKA Innovation Award 2024. We spoke to David, Joey and Lander after the award ceremony at the Hannover Messe - about the highlights of the trade fair week, the next steps and why, ten years ahead, their application could perhaps be in every medium-sized company.

First of all, congratulations on winning! Can you give us a few insights? What convinced the jury about your concept? 

“The jury was probably most impressed by how well-developed our application was. We have made very rapid progress with our demo over the past few months. In February, we were still thinking about coming here to the trade fair with a monitor and demonstrating our concept on it. In the end, we drove in here with a real 5-ton press. We really made great progress in the weeks leading up to the trade fair, but that only worked out thanks to the commitment of our team here on site, but of course also of the whole team in Belgium.”

When you look back on the Innovation Award and the final here at the Hannover Messe: What were your personal highlights? 

“It's our first trade fair and we were able to talk to a lot of interested parties. At the same time, we've now seen how much energy it takes, and we have great respect for everyone who does this regularly. We particularly liked the atmosphere and the cooperation with the other finalists. The KUKA booth was great, and we are delighted that we were able to come here, and that KUKA accompanied us.” 

All about research and innovation: the KUKA booth at Hannover Messe 2024

Which advice would you like to give future applicants or participants of the KUKA Innovation Award?

“Think carefully about what you want to show or demonstrate and focus on this goal. The preparation time until the final goes by so quickly, so it's extremely important to focus on the most important points from the start and not get distracted. Because you can't show everything. Our four focus topics were: ease of use, mobility, flexibility, and safety. And that worked well.”

With the KUKA Innovation Award, we always want to look to the future of robotics. Looking ahead: will we find your application in medium-sized companies in ten years' time? 

“It will certainly be there! There is a great need for robots in small companies. In ten years' time, we will have a new generation in companies and robotics will be standard, even in sheet metal processing. And we have exactly the right application for this. In the future, our application may not only be able to bend, but also perform other tasks, such as loading a plasma machine. And if the system can take on several tasks, such an investment quickly pays off for companies.”  

David, Lander and Joey with their winning application

Until then, what are your next steps and plans?

“First of all, we will present our application to customers and visitors at our own Tech Days. And then we would like to visit other trade fairs with it, perhaps Euroblech - The key features are implemented. Now we need to focus on optimizing the software. We can imagine that the robot will not only be used for bending, but that the same robot will also be used for machine tending, for example. The software already delivers a great performance, but we have several ideas for improvements to make the software even easier to use.” 

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