Extreme Power, Compact Design: KUKA Introduces Double Link Arm Robots

January 30, 2023 by Stephanie Leonida

Compact, cost-effective, and climate friendly. KUKA has announced the release of its latest range of heavy-payload industrial robots designed with a double link arm for high inertia environments.

German robotics manufacturer, KUKA, has introduced its latest line of industrial robots, the KR FORTEC ultra family. As the electrification of transport continues to advance, bigger vehicles with heavier components such as batteries need corresponding, heavy-duty machinery to move them. The ultra family of bots is designed to help customers lower operating costs, energy consumption, and environmental impact while accommodating the movement of heavy payloads.

KUKA's KR FORTEC ultra family of heavy-duty, compact bots

KUKA introduces its new KR FORTEC ultra family of heavy-duty, compact bots. Image used courtesy of KUKA 


KUKA’s KR FORTEC Ultra Family

KUKA’s latest KR FORTEC ultra family of bots provides customers with a payload capacity of 480 to 800 kg and a maximum reach between 2800 to 3700 mm. The new family has been designed for heavy-duty applications while offering a favorable payload-to-weight ratio and space savings.

The bots in the ultra family feature an energy supply system (A2-A6) and a new K-pipe with a minimalist disruptive contour to allow for short cable runs and save space at the axes. Additionally, the guide system has been optimized to enable more precise movement. Cable runs have been made shorter by routing cables through axis 1 (A1) of the robot’s base. By routing cables in this way, users can reduce lubricant consumption. 

The supply system has been designed to enable customization for a specific solution, conversion, retrofitting, and maintenance. The bots in the ultra family also feature improved pinch protection, buffering against unwanted wear over time to extend service life.


KR FORTEC ultra family mean time before failure (MTBF)

The KR FORTEC's double link arm design helps reduce the overall weight of the ultra family bots. Image used courtesy of KUKA 


According to KUKA, within its class, the KR FORTEC ultra bot is capable of achieving the shortest positioning times, shorter cycle times, and higher dynamic performance. This is due to a motion algorithm driving higher axis acceleration. 

Amongst the available variants of the KR FORTEC ultra family, the 560 kg payload KR 560 R3100-2 HI and 640 kg payload KR 640 R2800-2 HI, are designed to accommodate high inertia environments. The KR 640 R2800-2 and the KR 800 R2800-2 can provide an ingress protection rating of either IP65 or IP67 for wrist axes A4 to A6, protecting against the ingress of water and dust. All ultra family variants are floor mounted.


Energy Consumption and Cost Savings

Two key aspects of the KR FORTEC ultra family to note are the higher Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF) and double link arm design.

The double link arm design helps reduce the overall weight of the ultra family bots. For companies looking to save on costs where possible and minimize their footprint for the perpetuity of the environment, choosing a robot that can facilitate this is paramount. Not only can a reduced weight save on material use and production cost, but energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) footprint as well. 

To achieve a higher MTBF, the operational performance of bots must be continually monitored, and it also helps when bot components are easily accessible and easy to maintain. According to KUKA, its new ultra family covers all upkeep requirements and needs only three types of maintenance including visual inspection, oil changes, and lubrication of components on the counterbalancing system.

With the ultra family bots, customers can benefit from an MTBF of up to 400,000 hours. This can lower the cost of parts and increase machine availability.


KUKA KL 5000 robot linear axis

The KL 5000 robot linear axis system has a payload up to 5000 kg. Image used courtesy of KUKA


The KL 5000 Linear Axis

Depending on a given customer’s desired application, bots from the ultra family can be paired up with the KL 5000 linear traversing axis. The KL 5000 axis is up to 31 m long and can move up to four bots with its 5000 kg payload. The axis is configurable and the Flex variant allows the addition of third-party bots. The KL 5000 comes with KUKA’s Lubrication Kit which helps users by lubricating the track and rack automatically during production.