KUKA Addresses Robotic Hygiene Standards

January 29, 2022 by Sara McCaslin

The food and pharmaceutical industries require exceptionally clean environments. Robotic product portfolios from KUKA address these hygienic industrial design challenges.

KUKA recently announced hygienic oil (HO) and hygienic machine (HM) robot product lines as solutions to the need for hygienic robots in industrial settings.


The Importance of Hygiene in an Industrial Setting

There are various industrial settings requiring compliance with strict hygienic standards. Such compliance can be difficult to meet when automation and robotics are involved, such as food processing, cosmetics, or pharmaceutical applications. 


KUKA hygienic robot line

KUKA’s hygienic robots can be used with various foodstuffs, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products. Image used courtesy of KUKA


In such settings, any automation equipment and robots must be thoroughly cleaned, meaning wires and electronics are protected from sanitation and washdown procedures. The robotic system has a sufficient IP rating against water ingression. Visual detection of external contamination on the robots as well as the need for food-safe lubricants are also necessary.


KUKA’s HO and HM Solutions for Robotic Hygiene

KUKA has introduced two portfolios to meet the needs of applications involving stacking, palletizing, packaging, and handling that prioritize hygiene: the Hygienic Oil (HO) and Hygienic Machine (HM) portfolios.


KUKA HO Robots

According to KUKA, the industrial HO robots meet critical hygiene standards DIN ISO 14159 and Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, and can be utilized all along the process chain. 

The KUKA HO industrial robots are equipped in all axes with certified food compatible NSF H1 lubricants. They are also colored in a lighter gray color, making it easier to visually detect the presence of contamination on the machine. In addition, the main axes on the HO robots are protection-rated IP65 against dust and water, while the wrist axes are rated IP67.


KUKA HO and HM robots

The KUKA HO and HM robots are available in numerous payload capacities and reach. Image used courtesy of KUKA


Note that this product line covers the KR AGILUS to the KR QUANTEC PA robots and includes payloads ranging from 6 kg to 240 kg with reaches from 900 mm to 3,200 mm. 


KUKA HM Robots

The KUKA HM machines are designed to support applications involving direct contact with pharmaceutical substances, food, and beverages. The highest level of hygiene achieved by the HM product line is made possible through food-grade lubricants, stainless steel components, and housings that are corrosion resistant and designed without inaccessible corners.

In addition, robots in the KUKA HM portfolio have a waterproof design that can withstand high-pressure cleaning and use materials resistant to powerful chemical cleaning agents. The electrical interface is located beneath the machine to further protect it from cleaning processes.

The KUKA HM hygienic robots can reach up to 1,200 mm and are available with payloads ranging from 3 kg to 10 kg. This includes the KR Agilus HM and the KR Delta HM.

There is a definite need for robots compatible with hygienic settings to meet challenging standards. KUKA’s HO and HM robots look like a step in the right direction for industrial factories and warehouses to ensure that their products remain uncontaminated during processing without sacrificing productivity.