KUKA Highlights New Range of Hygienic Food Processing Automation at IPPE

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With cleanliness and safety at the forefront of meat, poultry, egg and other fast moving consumer goods processing, KUKA Robotics spotlighted its expansive product range of automation solutions specifically for that market sector at the International Production & Processing Expo held in Atlanta. Those KUKA innovations included the company’s Hygienic Machine (HM) and Hygienic Oil (HO) robot portfolios along with its completely hygienic, all-stainless steel KR3 Delta and food processing versions of its other robot models. Through this wide array of products, food processing companies can now apply robots to tasks considered difficult, if not impossible, to automate.

Robots, such as the AGILUS HM, within KUKA’s HM portfolio feature corrosion resistant surfaces like stainless steel flanges and other key components. Robot arms use food-compatible lubricants in all axes and feature smooth surfaces for easy cleaning.

KUKA provides four versions of the AGILUS HM, and each offers the same payloads and reaches as standard AGILUS models. They are also equipped with a special cable outlet located under the robot that allows them to be washed down with high-pressure cleaners.

KUKA’s HO portfolio of robots encompasses AGILUS, CYBERTECH, CYBERTECH NANO, QUANTEC2, QUANTEC2 PA and IONTEC standard models. All the HO robots use NSF H1 lubricant that is completely nontoxic and compatible with food products. Well suited for use in secondary food processing applications where product is dry or packed, HO robots fulfill all safety and hygienic requirements. Any contact between HO robots and food products is harmless to humans, and their light gray surface color easily reveals any contamination.

Also ideal for the food sector, including fish processing, KUKA’s KR3 DELTA ensures complete sanitation thanks to its all-stainless design. The robot is ISO3 cleanroom rated and all its seals are FDA compliant. Its design withstands alkaline or acidic high-pressure cleaning and disinfection up to 100 kPa for simplified upkeep and shorter downtimes. Food-sector certified for material safety according to international guidelines, the entire robot carries IP 67 high-protection certification, with IP 69K for axis 4 that is also ISO 3 rated for cleanroom applications.

With a standard payload of 3kg, up to 6kg possible depending on application, the KUKA KR 3 DELTA provides outstanding performance and value for pick-and-place applications in the fast-moving consumer goods industry, among many others. In addition to its stainless-steel body, the robot’s parallel kinematic system and small footprint make for a combination of precise grasping, temperature and corrosion resistance and minimal maintenance for sensitive high-speed production applications.

This ceiling-mounting parallel-arm robot offers a reach of 1200 mm and cycle times as low as 0.5 seconds. Encapsulated life-time lubricated gears and self-lubricating ball joints further increase the KR3 DELTA’s reliability and reduced maintenance. With an installation area only 350 mm in diameter, the KR 3 DELTA carries a small footprint and operates reliably in a cylindrical workspace that measures 250 mm high.

During IPPE 2022, KUKA demonstrated the KR 3 DELTA with the company’s KR C5 Micro Controller, which uses nearly 35% less energy than preceding designs. The scalable, easy-to-install controller requires less space, offers increased safety and integrates seamlessly into existing production environments.

KUKA’s KR QUANTEC nano Foundry Exclusive robot is also well suited for use in specific slaughter house warm applications and is available with HO, making it food safe. The heavy-payload robots require no covers and are highly resistant to typically used meat processing cleaning solutions and high-pressure cleaning. Covers for motors, flanges, screws and other components are thoroughly protected, and gearboxes are coated to resist rust. The KR QUANTEC nano Foundry exclusive robot and its in-line wrist comply with ratings IP65, IP67 and IP69. 

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