Understanding KUKA Robot Names

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KUKA is amongst the top robot brands in the world. Their industrial robots are easily recognized with their signature orange exteriors. KUKA uses a combination of acronyms and abbreviations in their robot and controller names. In fact, the name KUKA is actually an acronym that recognizes the original founders of the company. It stands for Keller und Knappich Augsburg, which was used in telegram communications in the very early days of the company. Since then KUKA has stuck with abbreviations for naming their robotic equipment.

KUKA robot names designate the payload capacity as well as any special characteristics or capabilities of the articulated robot. While their controller names indicate the model version. All KUKA robot names start out with “KR” which simply stands for “KUKA Robot.” Following the “KR” is a number which indicates the robot’s payload capacity in most cases. You will know the KUKA KR6 has a payload of 6 kg immediately from its name. The exception to this is KUKA’s collaborative robot names. KUKA cobot names start with “LBR” which stands for “Leichtbourobot” meaning lightweight robot in German. The KUKA lbr iiwa 14-820 is one of KUKA’s cobots.

Some KUKA robot models will have different variants based off of them. Those variants may have a lighter or higher payload or a longer or shorter reach. If a six axis robot model is a variant of another robot it is usually indicated by a dash followed by another letter, number, or combination of both. For instance, the KUKA KR30-l16 is an extended reach, lower payload version of the KR30. Some KUKA robots will have an “R” followed by another number at the end of their name. This typically indicates the reach of the robot.

If there are any special characteristics or features of a KUKA robot it is usually designated with an abbreviation at the end of the robot name. Common KUKA abbreviations include:

KUKA controller names are more simplified compared to their robot names. Most KUKA controller names start with “KRC” which simply means “KUKA Robot Controller.” Following “KRC” is a number which represents the model version number. The lower the number the older the controller model is. While the higher the number the newer the controller model is. Some controller names contain additional abbreviations or words, these include:

  • • SR - This indicates the controller is compatible with small KUKA robots.

  • • Compact - This means the controller is a smaller footprint variant.

  • • Micro - This also indicates the controller is designed for small KUKA robots.

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