Specializing in joining technologies like laser welding, the KDC becomes the second dedicated research center within the KUKA Systems Group, along with the KUKA TechCenter located at global headquarters in Augsburg. The KDC’s mission includes adapting KUKA-branded solutions and new technologies for use by the company’s North American automotive, energy, aerospace and logistics markets as well as entirely new markets. Other services include process development, training and safety certification.
“The fact we launched the KUKA Development Center in a difficult economic environment shows how serious we about supporting our customers with a steady stream of innovation while growing and diversifying our business,” says Larry Drake, President and CEO of KUKA Systems North America.
The center opened with a full compliment of joining technologies including the latest generation of lasers & robotics and draws on the extensive knowledge and expertise of the work force at KUKA facilities in the Detroit area, including the over 250 technical employees. A great deal of the KDC’s work will be related to the company’s core automotive business, but it also supports the energy, aerospace and logistics divisions, including the dedicated R&D activities and cells operated within each. Already, it has helped adapt existing KUKA technology for use by two North American photovoltaic panel makers.
Peter Busuttil, Director of Technology for KUKA North America and head of the KDC, says the center’s opening comes at a time of great need and opportunity. “Many of our customers have lost a lot of their internal funding – and with it a portion of their expertise and R&D capacity. We enable that for them.”