Industry News

German firm Kuka to introduce Consumer Robots

Kuka, A German firm which is one of the world’s top manufacturers of industrial robots, is now exploring the world of consumer robotics. The change is being pushed by its new parent company, which is Chinese home appliance maker Midea as Midea is not doing any automation or robotics therefore, Kuka is doing automation for Midea.

 Annual Shipments of Multipurpose Industrial Robots in Europe (Number of Units)

Country

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Central/Eastern Europe

6,136

7,758

9,900

11,750

13,900

17,500

France

3,045

4,232

4,700

4,500

5,000

6,000

Germany

19,945

20,039

21,000

21,500

23,500

25,000

Italy

6,657

6,465

7,100

7,000

7,500

8,500

Spain

3,766

3,919

4,300

4,600

5,100

6,500

United Kingdom

1,645

1,787

1,900

2,000

2,300

2,500

Others Europe

8,879

11,843

12,300

12,600

13,450

16,600

                                                                                                                                                                         Source: IFR

Germany is among the fifth largest robot market in the world. In year 2016, number of robots sold slightly increased and reach to 20,039 units which was 19,945 units in 2015. The five major markets constitute 74% of total sales volume in 2016 which includes China,the Republic of Korea, Japan, the United States, and Germany.

Consumer robots are used for domestic and personal use mainly in the areas like lawn-mowing robots, vacuum and floor cleaning, leisure and entertainment robots which includes hobby systems, toy robots, research and education. 

Figure 1: Unit Sold of Service Robots for Household Use, 2015-2017 & 2018F - 2020F



The Chinese firm Midea makes wide range of home products like washing machines, fridges, ovens, air con systems, etc., and bought Kuka for USD5.24 billion. Midea is looking for complex robot assistants with tasks like looking after the elderly. Kuka’s expertise in automating the heavy-duty physical tasks will help Midea as such Robots are under development in many countries, including Japan, who are facing the challenge of looking after aging population.

Kuka’s interests is evolving around manufacturing smaller robots which work side by side with people which include its iiwa range (“intelligent industrial work assistant”) which are designed to provide factory workers “a third hand.”

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