Two in one

KUKA Roboter combines jointed-arm and linear technology to produce “KUKA JET”

May 15, 2006

Munich, May 2006 – KUKA Roboter, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of industrial robots, is now combining its 6-axis kinematic systems with linear technology. Take a KUKA jointed-arm robot, remove the first vertical rotational axis, and mount it either upside down or sideways on a linear unit. The function of the first rotational axis is performed by the linear axis. The result is called KUKA JET, and is set to bring substantial productivity gains to industry. KUKA Roboter is unveiling KUKA JET at the AUTOMATICA trade fair in Munich, in Hall 3, Booths 211 + 221.

With KUKA JET, highly complex removal operations and completely new, space-saving machine shop concepts are now possible, even for bulky components. The new product from KUKA Roboter is suitable for all industries where long distances need to be traversed and where it is possible to dispense with the rotary motion of axis 1 – an ideal solution, therefore, for handling tasks in the areas of injection molding, die casting, machine tool manufacturing and logistics.

The new 6-axis / linear combination is KUKA Roboter’s logical answer to industry requests for new concepts in machine automation. New plastics machines and die technologies such as turnover plate machines with two components call for both the speed of a linear axis and the flexibility of a jointed-arm robot. These twin requirements have now been implemented in KUKA JET. It hangs above its work envelope and can move rapidly along its linear axis, for example between the unloading station and the setdown point. In this way, short cycle times can be achieved.

Another major advantage of combining jointed-arm and linear technology is the enhanced maneuverability. This means, for example, that machines can be tended through narrower openings and workpieces can be precisely positioned even within the machine. KUKA JET also allows the workpieces to be withdrawn from the machine in a longitudinal direction. This makes it possible to serve a number of machines in a row, resulting in optimal material flow. Up to two robots can be controlled on one linear axis. In addition, the installation can be configured to allow several machines to be tended by one combination.

Four configuration variants

KUKA JET is available in four configuration variants with different reaches and working ranges. The payload extends from 30 to 60 kilograms. The entire production process with its various tasks and devices is run on the basis of a single, homogeneous concept by the service-proven KUKA KR C2 controller. The solution is fully integrated into the KUKA product philosophy. This is characterized, irrespective of the individual technologies involved, by a uniform look and feel, common application devices and consistent maintenance and upgrade concepts. If the KUKA JET solution is employed in the plastics industry, all device types support the standardized signal exchange between the injection molding machine and the robot in accordance with Euromap interfaces 12 and 67. An interface with the machine for coordination with the injection molding cycle is established by means of the KUKA PlastTech software. All robot types are of open design, so that the end customer can decide which bus system to use for mapping the process.

About KUKA roboter

KUKA Roboter GmbH, Augsburg, is a member of the IWKA Aktiengesellschaft Group (Karlsruhe) and ranks among the world’s leading suppliers of industrial robots. Core competencies are the development, production and sale of industrial robots, controllers, software and linear units. The company is the market leader in Germany and Europe, and the number three in the world. The KUKA Robot Group employs about 2,000 people worldwide. Of these, 1,200 are employed in Germany, either at the KUKA Robot Group headquarters in Augsburg, or at various subsidiaries. In 2005, sales totaled 340 million euro. Over 20 subsidiaries provide a presence in the rest of Europe, the US and Asia.

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