Kuka is expected to make its mobile collaborative robot available to more factories, partly as a result of its takeover by Midea, the Chinese home appliances manufacturer. Midea has large factories where a mobile robot which can also pick and place objects would be very useful. Kuka’s collaborative robot is called iiwa, and it’s already in use at various large companies, including automotive giant BMW. But in most locations, including BMW, the iiwa is used for tasks where it is required to stay fi
xed in only one location. The addition of an autonomous platform makes iiwa mobile so it can be used in many different settings, most likely logistics. Kuka says KMR, an acronym for Kuka Mobile Robotics, indicates the company’s expertise in freeing industrial robots from their traditionally permanent factory floor mounts in a safe and intelligent way, making them more flexible and functional than ever before. The KMR iiwa is a combination of Kuka’s lightweight, collaborative LBR iiwa robot with the KMR mobile platform featuring their mecanum (omnidirectional) wheels with nearly infinite degrees of 2D freedom.