Volkswagen Group South Africa’s (VWSA) Body Shop has set-up an additional 320 Kuka robots ahead of the introduction of its new cars. The multi-million dollar investment, which was announced last year, is expected to aid the company as it aims to upgrade its production facilities and quality of its products, development of local supplier capacity, as well as the development and training of its employees.
The robots are made up of both the Kuka Qauntec series that have a payload of between 210 and 270 kilogrammes with a reach between 2,7 and 3,1 metres and the Kuka Fortec series with a payload of between 240 and 500 kilogrammes and a reach of between 2,8 and 3,3 metres. The Quantec robots have been used before in South Africa, but this is the first implementation of the Fortec robots in South Africa. The robots are used for spot welding, stud welding, sealing and material handling.
“The Kuka robots will perform monotonous, high-precision work which will allow Body Shop employees to focus on tasks which require the human involvement,” said Thomas Schaefer, Chairman and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group, SA.
With these new machines joining the fray, Volkswagen is thrilled to take the company a step up the ladder in the coming year. The robots will be working on the complete vehicle, sub-assemblies, underbody, upper body, side panels and hang-on-parts and the suppliers are Kuka Systems, FFT and Auto Dalian. Also, with the help of the Kuka robots, the company expects to see a rise in its efficiency and quality, which would be key in what is projected as a big year for the iconic car manufacturer.
“The introduction of robots will improve the ergonomics in the Body Shop as it reduces strain on our people. The introduction of the specialised robots into the Body Shop paves the way for higher volumes and even better quality,” Schaefer also added, highlighting another possible impact of Kuka’s robotics equipment.