KUKA AG – Where Physical Robots Meet Software Bots

KUKA AG - Where Physical Robots Meet Software Bots

KUKA is a German manufacturer of industrial robots and solutions for factory automation. It has been owned by the Chinese company Midea Group since 2016. The KUKA Robotics Corporation has 25 subsidiaries worldwide, mostly sales and service subsidiaries, including in the United States, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, India, Russia, and most European countries. Learn how KUKA AG optimized more than 50 internal processes by using RPA thus providing an example of how to pave the way to an automated future with software robotics in addition to physical robots.

As an automation expert, KUKA has been relying on RPA since 2018. The company’s strategic goal is to drive the optimization of its processes with RPA and reduce the monotonous routine tasks for our employees. Furthermore, they want to increase the value creation rate, improve data quality and availability and use RPA as a temporary short-term solution for the integration of IT systems, if the development of an interface takes longer than expected.

In order to find the best possible RPA provider, KUKA conducted a Proof of Concept with the leading providers in 2018. During the PoC, UiPath particularly convinced us, on the one hand, due to its wide range of functions and the existing interfaces to other systems, and on the other hand because the software can be easily learned without a programming background.

The first software robot’s task was to automate the transfer of internal spare parts orders from the eCommerce system to the ERP system. As this process and the eCommerce system were being redesigned at KUKA, no classic IT solution in the form of an interface to the ERP system was yet available. An interface was under development but not yet operational. This resulted in a high manual effort for the colleagues. Within a few weeks they managed to automate 95 percent of these orders with RPA, and at the same time achieve higher data quality by eliminating potential errors that could occur during the manual transfer. In addition, KUKA integrated further data sources, such as emails with text analysis conducted by RegEx, which was previously only extracted manually.

KUKA has now completed the automation of around 50 processes by using software robots in different specialist departments such as Controlling, HR, or IT Service. The company is operating and steering its robots via the UiPath Orchestrator. The bots are separated by task area, although they are running on identical servers in a global bot farm.

Business impact

>50 Processes automated with UiPath’s RPA technology

An RPA bot helped KUKA to save 18 working days previously scheduled for a data migration during the upgrade from SAP R/3 to SAP S/4HANA.

95% of the internal spare parts orders automated for robots