KUKA research cooperation projects
We have found strong partners and work closely with universities and renowned institutions around the world to jointly implement ground-breaking ideas in the fields of automation technology and robotics.
KUKA is engaged in a joint research project aimed at developing mass production for composite materials. The goal is to develop manufacturing processes for the mass production of composite parts for use in the automotive and aircraft construction industries. Machine learning methods, intelligent tools, KUKA robots and KUKA Cloud solutions are to be deployed to achieve efficient and resource-conserving production with short cycle times that can also be transferred to other manufacturing processes.
Part of the project focuses on research into new technologies for fully automated manufacturing processes for fiber-reinforced plastics, also known as composite materials. The objective is to manufacture components in their final shape in a single process step. This in turn enables the sustainable and cost-effective production of lightweight components in the automotive and aircraft construction industries.
Learn more about CosiMo.
The BMBF-funded project RoSylerNT develops interactive robotic training systems for physical and cognitive stimulation. For this purpose, the learning robot should possess basic skills to perceive posture, movement and human load. This enables the robot to adapt to the person, his or her ability and the respective situation. The attending physician can use the newly gained time more effectively and look after the patients. The newly developed basic skills can also be transferred to domestic or professional scenarios and provide meaningful support for people there. The learning algorithms make it possible to respond in particular to the physical performance of older people. With their technologies, robots as assistance systems can enable safe, autonomous training and support the handling of heavy objects at home.
Learn more about RoSylerNT.
Today’s wireless communication systems often lag behind the needs and requirements of industry. They are, for example, not real-time capable to the extent required or are not in a position to dynamically incorporate devices into the wireless communication network and thus guarantee quality of service in terms of throughput rates, response time and reliability. This is particularly important if mobile robots are to dynamically collaborate among themselves and with other actuators and sensors in cooperative work groups in the future.
In the “fast robotics” project sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), we are therefore working over a period of three years together with the innovative medium-sized companies O&O and R3Coms, the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation and the Technical University of Dresden to develop an innovative control concept in which the robots can reliably communicate via a wireless network not only with each other but also with fixed sensors installed in their operating environment and with mobile end devices.
This is intended to enable both mobile and stationary robots to be monitored, localized, configured and controlled in real time via a mobile telecommunications infrastructure. Cloud services are also used to simplify the integration of further sensors and components. The goal is to use the intelligent networking of robots among themselves and with their environment to provide humans with greater flexibility and functionality, to free them from monotonous and physically strenuous activities and to enable more productive work.
Learn more about fast robotics.
The application potential for service robots has been deemed significant for years, however market developments still lag far behind expectations. This is due to the unique nature of the service robotics business. Here, robot solutions are developed for medium quantities and usually at very high costs. At the same time, they are to be offered on the market for several customers. Service robotics is thus more of a product business than a project business. On the other hand, service robotics providers are more likely to be compared to system integrators than to robot manufacturers in traditional industrial robotics. The associated technical and financial risks are very hard for the typical start-ups often working in this field to manage on their own.
The [Se]rvice [Ro]bot [Net]work (SeRoNet) sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) aims to develop an open platform geared for growth which will support the development of customer-specific solutions. Here, the previous value chain is to be replaced by a value network in which manufacturers, system integrators and end users are interconnected and cooperate in the development and operation of service robotics systems, sharing the various tasks.
This reduces the development effort for customer-specific solutions by at least 50 percent. It is not only end users and system integrators, but also operating companies and above all small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) without existing sales networks that can benefit from the platform. This enables them to open up new markets, for example.
Learn more about SeRoNet.
Robotics Enabling Fully-Integrated Logistics Lines for Supermarkets – REFILLS
State-of-the-art automation is rarely present in retail businesses such as supermarkets (with the exception of simple garbage compactors or automated bottle return machines). The EU-sponsored research project REFILLS wants to change that. Together with renowned partners from the world of robotics, KUKA and SWISSLOG are working on a robotic solution for automating four traditional logistics steps found in practically every retail store.
A mobile robot system with the properties of a modular system is used. The central unit – a flat transport carrier – can couple to different additional robotic modules and carry out these logistics steps.
Once an initial scan of the inventory has been carried out and the product data have been saved, the incoming goods can be presorted into product categories and then transported in portions to the relevant shelves. The subsequent filling of the shelves is then carried out using a collaborative robot system in the first step. Surplus goods are returned to the warehouse autonomously. From there, the process for REFILLS is carried out in the final step.
Find out more about REFILLS.
The shortage of skilled workers, the demographic change, which is accompanied by a decreasing number of trainees, are increasingly presenting companies with challenges. The increasing cooperation between people and robots in production facilities is one way of solving this problem. To enable human-robot collaboration in demanding assembly processes, KUKA is implementing developments that go far beyond conventional industrial robotics in the Hybr-iT joint project.
As part of the BMBF funded project, KUKA develops various types of mobile systems for a variety of assembly scenarios. This requires the creation of a modular control architecture that supports industry 4.0 standards. The integration of nonproprietary modules allows application-specific adaptation. The focus is on occupational safety.
In this project, KUKA is developing a mobile two-arm robot system based on the LBR iiwa collaboration robot and the KMP 400 mobile platform. This requires the development of new robot/control functionality specifically for the operation and programming of mobile two-arm robots. At the research partner VW, the components and processes developed in the project will be evaluated in industrial assembly scenarios.
Learn more about Hybr-iT.
Production processes that can be efficiently transformed are one of the central challenges for staying internationally competitive. Products are produced in more and more variants and in smaller quantities. Production costs must be kept low. The BaSys 4.0 project, funded by the BMBF, targets that. It is intended to develop an operating system for production facilities that enables the efficient changeability of production processes.
KUKA is focusing on the integration of robot technology into the architecture developed by the BaSys project. The solution concepts developed with the 15 project partners include the definition and implementation of an architectural model including its robot-specific interfaces as well as the simulation and visualization of versatile production processes. In addition, it is planned to create application modules that can be reused in different production facilities.
Learn more about BaSys 4.0.
InRehaRob is sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and aims to create a self-adapting robotic assistance system for rehabilitation for the first time. The goal is to provide patients, for example, those who have suffered a stroke, with tailored therapy and enable them to practice movements independently.
With the LBR Med, not only is safe human-robot collaboration possible, but thanks to its adaptability tailoring to individual patient requirements can also be achieved. This is why research is being carried out in collaboration with medical partners on a holistic safety concept which accounts for technical, medical and regulatory aspects and stipulates the requirements for such a concept. Beyond this, KUKA is developing interfaces specifically for use in the field of rehabilitation as part of this project. These interfaces enable system integrators and medical product manufacturers to integrate the LBR Med into their solutions more easily.
The aim of the EU-funded research project MURAB (MRI and Ultrasound Robotic Assisted Biopsy) is to improve the diagnosis of breast cancer. With the support of the KUKA lightweight robot LBR Med, the precision and effectiveness of biopsies are improved. Thus, expensive magnetic resonance tomographies can be reduced using robot technology and replaced by equally precise robot techniques.
"A robot-controlled ultrasound scanner based on the LBR Med scans the target area autonomously, captures volumetric and elastographic data and transfers them to the preoperative MR image. The radiologist then selects the target of the biopsy on the mixed image and the robot steers the biopsy needle exactly into the desired position," says Dr. Felix Allmendinger, project manager at KUKA Corporate Research.
Learn more about MURAB.
The ProDok 4.0 project, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), aims to find a digital solution for the mobile, cloud-based documentation of machines in complex industrial processes.
The project is intended to help take advantage of the opportunities that come with digital transformation. A mobile and process-oriented documentation system such as ProDok 4.0 can simplify the operation and maintenance of machines and thus provide a competitive advantage to machinery builders.
Within the project, KUKA is researching the causes of problems in the development of sensitive robot applications using data analytics and machine learning methods. The documentation is then made available by means of KUKA’s Xpert@work knowledge database.
European robotics association – euRobotics AISBL
Through the association work in the European organization euRobotics AISBL (Association Internationale Sans But Lucratif), KUKA promotes research, development and innovation in robotics as well as its positive public perception. As a founding member of the non-profit organization, we have been actively involved from the beginning. The Vice President Industry is Dr. Rainer Bischoff, our Head of Corporate Research.
The non-profit organization euRobotics aims to drive excellence and innovation in robotics forward. To this end, euRobotics leverages the network of its members from the fields of science and industry. The goal here is to foster the exchange of knowledge within the robotics community and to shape the robotics of the future in Europe.
euRobotics AISBL has agreed on a public-private partnership (PPP) with the European Commission for robotics in Europe. As part of the research and innovation program, targets for sustainability have also been formulated – for example, the development of sustainable production methods in industry.
Find out more about euRobotics.