Hygiene Meets Robotics in KUKA’s New Technologies

The food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries impose special requirements on robotics. The new KUKA AG’s Hygienic Oil (HO) portfolio and Hygienic Machine (HM) variants are designed to avoid potential contamination. They comply with the highest hygiene requirements.

The new technologies excel in all applications, like handling, packaging, palletizing or stacking that prioritize hygiene. The robot arms use food-compatible lubricants in all axes and feature a smooth surface for easy cleaning. This design ensures a high hygienic standard and makes these robots attractive for use in other industries as well.

Hygienic design of components, seals and materials minimizes contamination risks.

FDA-Compliant NSF H1 Lubricants in All Axes

KUKA’s new HO portfolio has been available since the beginning of 2021. “The HO industrial robots meet the hygiene requirements of Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC and DIN ISO 14159,” explained KUKA Portfolio Manager Dieter Rothenfußer.

“They are equipped with certified NSF H1 lubricants in all axes, including the energy supply systems. Maintenance intervals are identical to those of our standard robots,” noted Rothenfußer.

The modern lighter gray design of this robotics portfolio makes it particularly easy to detect contamination on the machine. With these measures, KUKA meets the increased safety standards in the secondary sector. It is the only worldwide supplier with this broad portfolio. HO robots also offer application potential beyond food-industry processing and packaging, for processing of solid or dry products such as chocolate or baked goods.

Broad Portfolio

KUKA hygienic robotic technology with H1 lubricants covers payloads from 6 to 240kg and reaches from 900 to 3,200mm for use along the entire process chain. This encompasses all robot families: from the KR AGILUS to the KR QUANTEC PA – with even faster cycle times. The main axes are carry protection rating IP65 against dust and water, the wrist axes to IP67.

Hygiene meets robotics: The HO portfolio uses H1 lubricants in all axes

Easy-to-Clean Hygienic Design

To meet the requirements of the primary sector, KUKA offers HM or Hygienic Machine robotics that make cleanliness the top priority. The design and materials of these hygienic design machines are based on EHEDG design guidelines. They allow robots to be used in applications that involve direct contact with foodstuffs and pharmaceutical substances.

“Corrosion-resistant housings without inaccessible corners, food-grade lubricants and the use of stainless steel components guarantee the highest level of hygiene,” said Rothenfußer.

At the same time, these robots are particularly resistant to disinfectants and chemical cleaning agents, with a robust, waterproof design that is easy to clean with high pressure. The cleaning-sensitive electrical interface is located underneath the machine rather that in the primary contact area.

With FDA-compliant components and H1 lubricants, HM robots impress with a payload of 3 to 10kg and a reach of up to 1,200mm.

The 2021 introduction of the stainless-steel KR DELTA into the KUKA portfolio has supplemented performance for the primary sector.

“We want to continue expanding the KR DELTA offering for rapid pick and place tasks, especially in the packaging sector. This also applies to corresponding variants of our KR SCARA robots,” said Rothenfußer.