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Kuka Teams Up with Microsoft to Improve Industrial Automation

Kuka's Intelligent Industrial Work Assistant. (Photo credit: Kuka AG.)
Kuka’s Intelligent Industrial Work Assistant. (Photo credit: Kuka AG.)

Kuka AG, a leading manufacturer of industrial robots and automation solutions, have created an intelligent work assistant built with Microsoft Azure Internet of Things (IoT) services. They lightweight robot is on display at this year’s Hannover Messe, threading a tube into a small hole in the back of a dishwasher. Traditional robots were unable to complete the task because the robot could not sense its surroundings, and its automatic movements would often break the appliance.

The demo also shows how well the robot can work with humans, using the Azure cloud. Movement data from the robot is streamed to the cloud where humans can monitor progress and receive status reports from the factory floor. Supply chain problems, trends can addressed quickly. If a certain piece of the dishwasher is breaking frequently, for example, advanced data stream analysis can help understand what may be causing the issue or use predictions to recommend pre-emptive repairs with machine learning technology.

“Robots serve as the link between IT and production, between humans and technology,” Dr. Christian Schlögel, CTO of Kuka said in a press release. “The showcase we created together with Microsoft is one example of how this link can be used in the future and how our Kuka technologies are ready for Industry 4.0. It’s exciting to be at the forefront of sensitive robotics and to create the technology to allow humans to interact directly, increasing efficiency and productivity.”

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