Monday 18 August 2014

. . . As KUKA spreads its wings in China

KUKA, the Augsburg-based robotics and automation company and long-time supplier to the automotive industry, is expanding its footprint in China – the world’s second-largest robot market.

Following the opening of its new production facility in Shangkai earlier this year with an annual robot capacity of 5,000 from a workforce of 350, Reis GmbH & Co. KG Maschinenfabrik, a subsidiary of KUKA AG has concluded a joint venture with Jiangsu Yawei Machine Tool Co., Ltd. in China.

This joint venture allows Yawei to use the product licenses of Reis linear robots for the Asian market.

The two companies have agreed the new joint venture will trade under the name Yawei Reis Robot Manufacturing (Jiangsu) Co., Ltd., in which Reis holds 49% and Yawei 51%. The contract has been concluded for 10 years. The headquarters will be the location of Yawei in the Chinese city of Yangzhou and the move will help strengthen the Reis brand name in China.

Yawei is a leading Chinese company specialized in manufacture of sheet metal working machines for sheet metal working and has been publicly traded since 2011.

In the first half of this year, KUKA’s order intake has risen 17.8 per cent to €1.185 billion, while sales revenue in the same period went up 10.9 per cent to €968.6 million. The two new business of Reis GmbH of Obernburg, Germany and Alema Automation of Bordeaux, France contributed €45 million.

The result is the highest level the KUKA Group has ever reported for the first half of the year.

The company claims that high demand is driven by the automotive and general industry sectors.

On 1 January 2014, KUKA took a 51 per cent stake in Reis GmbH founded in 1957 by toolmaker Walter Reis. Reis has US offices in Elgin, Illinois and Valencia, California.

KUKA took robot orders in the first half worth €443 million, a rise of 5.4 per cent. System orders increased 26 per cent to €759.9 million with aerospace being a significant market area.

However, following the acquisition of Utica Enterprises’ systems business, KUKA Systems claims it has become the number one car body manufacturer in North America.

KUKA claims to invest between seven and nine per cent of its robotics division’s sales in research and development. In addition to innovative standard products, KUKA is focusing on an entirely new product line: its sensitive robot generation, which will be capable of working hand-in-hand with humans without protective barriers being needed.

KUKA expects business in Europe to remain stable for the current fiscal year. Slight growth is expected from the US and Asia. Given the high order backlog and the steady excellent demand from customers, the company expects sales at the Group level in 2014 to come in at €2 billion with an EBIT margin of six per cent.

No comments: