Kuka posts record year despite Covid-19 impact

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Industrial robot and factory automation solutions provider Kuka has announced its strongest annual sales figures in the company’s history, attributing its performance to the rise of e-mobility.

The German manufacturer said it was able to profit despite the Covid-19 crisis and consequential recession due to London-based commercial electric vehicle technology company Arrival using Kuka robots to produce its vehicles at its microfactories.

According to Kuka, Arrival’s production model has resulted in a large order from the company, and added that there is “very promising potential” for future use of robotics and automation in the automotive sector.

The group also attributed its success to its sale strategy and restructuring the sales team to cover sectors and regions simultaneously and efficiently. It said its model of partnering with specialist integrators had enabled a much more customer-facing approach.

Furthermore, it said the company had this year placed more focus on education and R&D, recognising a need for skilled operators, technicians and engineers to get the best out of automated machines, assembly lines and research projects.

Therefore, Kuka UK & Ireland has invested in dedicated educational robot cells and training material as well as research cells focused on emerging technologies.

The company will also supply the Louth & Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) with a range of educational and collaborative robots for its Advanced Manufacturing Technology and Training Centre of Excellence (AMTCE) in Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland.

The training facility is set to be the largest vocational training facility of its kind in Europe. It will include tailored educational industrial six-axis robots with vision systems, robotic welding cells, robotic milling, machining cells and cobot cells.

Brian Cooney, managing director of Kuka Ireland, said: “Manufacturing is experiencing a serious skills gap and shortage of resources in advanced manufacturing technologies at vocational level, which is not being addressed by the third level colleges and universities.

“The investment by the LMETB in this visionary AMTCE training centre is not only addressing this skills gap in Ireland but is also setting the standard by which other European centres may be measured.”

Cooney added that Kuka expects to take its record 2020 success into 2021 and predicted advances in manufacturing technologies, digitisation and continued growth despite economic challenges.

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