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Kuka robot group has made Visual Components (VC) simulation software key to its programming development and marketing.

Kuka wanted to shorten the time from concept to production for its products and systems, in particular the generation of robot programs.

When dealing with sophisticated production lines and multi-robot work cell installations, one of the best ways to test and verify decisions is to simulate in a 3D environment and see these operations as realistically as possible.

Kuka chose the Visual Components (VC) simulation and visualisation software suite because of features such as the combination of material flow and robot simulation on a single platform, and reusable plug-and-play equipment libraries to support the sales processes of business partners.

These features provide partners with a layout configuration tool to help them produce realistic, animated presentations and real-time production planning demonstrations for marketing and sales purposes.

Further, end-users of the robot-based production systems also benefit from the production model by conducting material flow studies for improved throughput.

Applications such as discrete event simulation only addressed a small part of what the robot manufacturer needed.

Computer-aided design (CAD) systems could not provide process simulation.

Some simulation and visualisation capabilities were offered by large solution providers, but were too costly or lacked fundamental features.

Above all, there was no need for Kuka to develop its own modelling software, which would otherwise have diverted much time and money into development.

For Kuka, the openness of VC means it can be used to achieve an important next step.

‘VC’s flexibility and excellent cooperation in research and development gives us the freedom and capability to develop our robots to fit extremely versatile industries,’ said Kuka’s project leader, Andreas Keibel.

KUKA can trace a presence in the UK back to 1976, and the founding of the business KUKA Welding Systems + Robots Limited. The business in its current form, KUKA Robotics UK Limited, is wholly-owned a subsidiary of KUKA Roboter GmbH, Europe's largest manufacturer of industrial robots; and sitting within the KUKA Group of companies – encompassing robotics and automation solutions – to an annual turnover value of 1.9 Billion Euro. In 2013,, KUKA Roboter made some 20,000 industrial robots for all applications.

Within the UK, we are a stable, profitable business that fosters and encourages an active self-improvement plan for all employees ensuring we retain experienced members of staff which improves our customer interaction markedly.

The on-going training of Robot Sales Specialists, Application Engineering staff and Customer Service team is rigorous to ensure a robust understanding of our entire range. This ensures that the correct robot is specified initially, that it is appropriate to application and environment, and that post-delivery, we can support every device 24-hours-a-day.

The company moved to its current Wednesbury home late in 2011, from where sales, support and customer service operations are centred. The training facility – containing 8 training cells – was installed in the summer of 2013; and demonstration facilities including robots of all sizes, employing an external linear axis, and a moulding machine demonstration cell is a coherent experience for any visitor.

Our showroom also allows an opportunity to see some devices, such as those ideal for platen-mounted injection moulding machine use, to be the subject of a close first-hand interaction; which also includes an example of KUKA's revolutionary and world-leading LightWeight Robot (LBR).

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