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120 years KUKA - Thinking Orange

This year, KUKA is celebrating its 120th anniversary. With events and campaigns on site and on the social web under the hashtag #KUKA120, we look into the future of intelligent automation all year round.

Once KUKA turned on the light: When Johann Josef Keller and Jakob Knappich founded an acetylene plant for lighting in Augsburg in 1898, they wanted to produce inexpensive house and street lighting. 120 years later, KUKA is the company for future-oriented automation solutions, a key driver of Industrie 4.0 – and their orange robots are world-renowned.

Around 14,000 KUKA employees today form the DNA of KUKA and drive intelligent automation with their expertise. This "Orange Thinking" stands for innovation, customer proximity and quality "Made in Germany" since 120 years. For this reason, the anniversary is all about Thinking Orange: Together with our employees, customers and partners, we want to look back in 2018 and take a look into the exciting future of automation:

Events of the anniversary year

Hannover Messe

Date: 23 - 27 April 2018, Hannover

Augsburg Company Run

Date: 17 May 2018, Augsburg


Date: 19 - 22 June 2018, Munich

European Robotics Week, Central Event 

Date: 16 - 25 November 2018, KUKA Augsburg

From street lighting to Industrie 4.0 – The history of KUKA

From the former telegram abbreviation for "Keller and Knappich Augsburg" the brand KUKA emerged, standing for innovation ever since. At the beginning of the 20th century, the two founders in Augsburg invented oxy-fuel welding. In the following decades, KUKA set new standards in welding technology, such as in 1936 with the construction of the first electric spot welding gun in Germany. However, the company also penetrates into other areas and changes over time: KUKA became the market leader for municipal vehicles in Europe in the 1960s –  until today the KUKA garbage trucks can be found in the Hungarian language.

With founders Johann Josef Keller (right) and Jakob Knappich, the company history of KUKA began in 1898

From the 1970s on, KUKA has been writing history as a robotics pioneer and shaping automation ever since. In 1973, the FAMULUS was the world's first industrial robot with six electromechanically driven axes. Nearly 34 years later, an entry in the Guinness Book of Records follows: The KR TITAN is the largest and most powerful industrial robot in the world. In 2013 with the LBR iiwa KUKA presents the world's first production-ready, sensitive lightweight robot with integrated sensors in each axis.

Ahead of its times: the industrial robot FAMULUS from 1973