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Welcome to Industrie 4.0 – with digital services and robots from KUKA

Robots and humans work hand in hand. Processes and data are digitally accessible to all participants. The Internet of Things (IoT) has arrived in industry, and digitalization is well advanced. With its products and digital services, KUKA shows how companies can best benefit from Industrie 4.0.

What does Industrie 4.0 mean?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionizing our everyday lives, and with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) the entire industrial sector. Machines and products are becoming more connected and autonomous: they exchange data and thus optimize processes. The entire ecosystem from production to sales to development, but also companies and their partners are seamlessly integrated into these processes. The entire production is comprehensively digitalized.

In one sentence: Industrie 4.0 is up and running. The smart factory, in which products are manufactured in a more flexible, energy-efficient, resource-saving, individualized and cost-effective manner, is now available.

  • Robotics

    Industrial robots are one of the most important pillars of Industrie 4.0. They perform manual and repetitive tasks efficiently and accurately, and are becoming more connected, intelligent and collaborative due to advances in technology.

  • Artificial intelligence

    Through the use of artificial intelligence, complex processes can be automated and interrelationships can be analyzed. This allows the system to optimize itself. At KUKA, for example, AI is used to simplify robot maintenance or automate robot actions.

  • Big data & computing power

    By using big data technologies, a variety of data from different sources (e.g. dynamic data from the robot system, master data, production data, service data, etc.) can be combined and analyzed.

  • Digitalization

    Digitalization of production means that machines, robots, production processes, but also suppliers, partners and customers are digitally connected and data are digitally collected and processed.

  • Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)

    Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are changing and expanding the perception of reality. AR means that information is displayed visually, meaning that images, texts, videos or virtual objects, for example, are superimposed on reality. VR refers to a fully computer-generated, interactive and virtual environment that is controlled in real time.

  • Computer-aided manufacturing, incl. 3D printing

    Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) traditionally means automating a manufacturing process through the use of software and computer-controlled CNC machines. This also includes 3D printing as a state-of-the-art manufacturing process.

  • Simulation & digital twin

    Production processes, machines and individual components can be precisely simulated in the digital world. A “digital twin” is created that maps all details relevant to planning. This enables real production processes to be virtually planned, tested and optimized by virtual means.

  • 5G

    Previous wireless technologies such as WLAN or 4G are often not up to the task of handling the volumes of data generated in the digitalized factory. 5G offers a significantly higher bandwidth coupled with greater reliability.

The advantages of Industrie 4.0

Digitalizing production not only brings many benefits, but is also always a long-term and sustainable investment. Increased automation and shortened production times, for example, lead to enormous gains in efficiency.

Since the smart factory can autonomously decide for each part which route it should take and which machine should process it, customer requirements can be incorporated into production in real time. Manufacturing customizable products is no longer a problem.

And, of particular importance for the future of our planet: Industrie 4.0 also means that the energy consumption of each area and each individual consumer in a company can be exactly recorded and optimized. This ensures higher energy efficiency and thus increases not only competitiveness but also climate friendliness.

Think big, act now

The challenges for companies in this day and age are enormous. Production needs to be more climate-friendly, supply chains have become more vulnerable, greater resilience required. While production has been characterized by globalization for decades, it is now increasingly returning to the original location – a process known as “reshoring”. The relevant infrastructures have to be upgraded or created entirely from scratch. Everyone needs to take action now. The most important and promising element in this process is the digital transformation to the smart factory. KUKA is right at the forefront – and has innovative and smart solutions for the entire value chain.

Digital transformations with digital services from KUKA

Individual data evaluation

One example of how KUKA supports the digital transformation is digital services. They enable companies to individually evaluate the data from their machines and robots. On this basis, the digital services contribute considerably to increasing machine efficiency and availability, which not least also reduces production and workforce costs.

Full flexibility

As diverse as the digital service solutions may be – they usually have one thing in common: they are all part of Industrie 4.0. The production machines are interconnected and monitored using remote diagnostic tools. Depending on the requirements, various models are conceivable: Data can now already be stored and analyzed in the cloud, but in the near future this will also be possible on premises or at a dedicated data center.

More efficiency

A look at the machining operations in the production shop at KUKA in Augsburg shows how a robot-focused solution can be used to increase efficiencies. Transparent data here lead to a reduction in maintenance effort and maintenance organization. In addition, events can be recorded systematically in order to identify patterns and thus make sustainable optimizations on the shopfloor. And not least, Industrie 4.0 solutions allow KUKA diagnostic files to be conveniently sent directly to KUKA with no more than three clicks.

Security from the very beginning

The use of cloud models and the networking of entire companies and organizations naturally amplifies all aspects of security issues – from data security and integrity to OT (operational technology) security. This is because Industrie 4.0 solutions can only deliver their full added value if a permanent exchange of data is ensured in order to keep the software up to date and to derive recommendations for action from current data. Without security there can be no safety. KUKA therefore not only provides appropriate security and safety software, but also offers well-founded advice on the subject. Our expertise here is based on a network of strategic alliances with international experts and our own specialist departments.

Find out more

From smart simulation software for greater planning security to a digital knowledge base and an IIoT monitoring tool: with KUKA’s digital services, anyone can implement Industrie 4.0 technologies. Click here for an overview of the diverse possibilities.

Robots as the key component of Industrie 4.0

Even in the connected world of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industrie 4.0, factory machines must accomplish their tasks as efficiently as possible. But two important capabilities are additionally required:

  • They must adapt quickly to new framework conditions

  • They must share acquired knowledge with other systems

Or to put it another way: machines learn to communicate and react. IIoT solutions and the cloud enable them to share information with production, with individual workpieces or with other devices – for example, with 3D printers, CNC machines or robots, the most adaptable and intelligent machines of all.

Their capabilities too are evolving tremendously with the advancement of Industrie 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things: their sensitivity and autonomy are increasing, as is their mobility. And not least, they are becoming easier and more intuitive to operate, making them reliable co-workers in everyday production operations.

These systems immediately process the information and feed it back to production. This allows companies to optimize their manufacturing operations like never before. No other component in the production process can currently fill this supporting role so well.

In the factory of the future, the range of potential applications is virtually infinite. The cobots from KUKA prove this every day in practice. Robots work hand in hand with humans: a tremendous gain in ergonomics, precision and efficiency.

The new LBR iisy, for example, can be used in a wide variety of applications where precision, speed and dexterity are particularly important. It also has no problem collaborating with people in a shared workspace and is very easy to program with the integrated manual guidance.

Hand in hand with robots

How collaboration between humans and robots relieves employees and increases productivity.

A new operating system for a new era

Industrie 4.0 technologies are dramatically changing production landscapes. New challenges arise that call for new concepts. For example, robotics will no longer be a topic for a few specialists, but one for a large number of users. They need a user experience that is as intuitive, powerful, fast and scalable as possible.

That’s why KUKA, as a global player in automation solutions, has launched the new iiQKA.OS operating system and the associated iiQKA ecosystem. It allows quick, intuitive start-up and expansion while ensuring intuitive and reliable operation. In combination with the professional automation environment, intuitive operator control accelerates handling and processes.

Thanks to open, stable and standardized interfaces, the robot system can be easily connected to the entire range of other Industrie 4.0 applications.

Our new operating system iiQKA.OS ensures the connectivity of our robot systems.

Artificial Intelligence of Things: with AI at the heart of the future

The infrastructure of the Internet of Things is being increasingly enriched by artificial intelligence technologies. That is why we also use the term “Artificial Intelligence of Things” (AIoT). KUKA's digital subsidiary Device Insight is working on precisely this. The aim is to make the intelligent automation of industrial manufacturing processes even better - and thus to fully exploit the potential for greater efficiency and quality in the future.
The prerequisite for effective machine learning & AI applications is well-maintained (IoT) data. The technologies are interlinked here. And one thing is certain: industrial companies are among the biggest data producers of all. The amount of data generated here every day is two to four times higher than in the retail or financial sectors. The order of the day is to harness this treasure trove of data in order to optimize processes and develop new digital services and products. However, many companies struggle with data management and data silos. With the right technology and implementation partner from the KUKA Expert Network, you will find the right data intelligence solution.


Whitepaper „Data Analytics in Manufacturing“

What stumbling blocks the industry has to overcome with data analytics and what successful applications look like in practice: 4 examples from construction to automotive and robotics to energy generation.

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