Whether handling, packaging, palletizing or stacking: the new KUKA HO robot portfolio impresses in every area of application where hygiene is of the essence. In doing so, KUKA is pursuing a holistic approach: not only are the robots themselves equipped with food-suitable lubricants in all axes, but the energy supply system also scores high thanks to NSF H1 cable grease. This means that unintentional contact with food during production does not pose a risk to humans.
High demands on hygienic robots – even in the secondary area
The HO robots cover a payload portfolio from 6 to 240 kilograms and a reach portfolio from 900 to 3 200 millimeters – for use along the entire process chain. This includes all robot families: from KR AGILUS to KR QUANTEC PA, the second generation of which has been available since October – with even faster cycle times. The bright, modern color design of the portfolio in light gray makes it particularly easy to detect contamination on the robot. The main axes are protected to protection rating IP 65 against dust and water, the wrist axes to IP 67.
“The new HO robot portfolio meets hygiene requirements in accordance with the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC or DIN ISO 14159,” explains Dieter Rothenfusser, Portfolio Manager at KUKA. “So it’s all about uncompromising hygienic handling. For example, a clear coating sealant ensures smooth surfaces that are easy to clean. The maintenance intervals are identical to those of our standard robots.” KUKA thus meets the increased safety standards in the secondary area and is the only supplier worldwide with this broad portfolio. The HO robot portfolio also offers potential beyond the use for packaged foods, as for example in the processing of solid or dry products such as chocolate or baked goods.
Hygiene as part of the design
Food packaging now accounts for over 40 percent of production costs. Particularly as it concerns the stringent hygiene regulations, customers can achieve a new, economically sensible level of automation – for example, with the KR AGILUS small robot in the “Hygienic Machine” version. Its design allows it to be used in the raw processing of food and medicines. Corrosion-resistant surfaces without inaccessible corners, food-compatible lubricants and stainless-steel parts ensure the highest level of hygiene. At the same time, they are particularly resistant to chemical cleaners. The same applies to the KR DELTA in a stainless-steel design, which has been expanding the KUKA portfolio for the primary area since the beginning of the year. “We want to continue expanding the KR DELTA offer for rapid pick-and-place tasks, especially in the packaging sector. The same applies to corresponding variants of our KR SCARA robots,” reveals Rothenfusser. Variants with higher payloads and reaches are also in planning.