Home Bots & Business Volkswagen orders 700 KUKA robots for Spain facility

Volkswagen orders 700 KUKA robots for Spain facility

Order ends slow start of 2024

by Pieter Werner

KUKA, based in Augsburg, and Volkswagen, headquartered in Wolfsburg, have entered into a new framework agreement for the delivery of over 700 robots, extending through this year and the next two. The robots, including the KR QUANTEC model from KUKA, will be deployed at Volkswagen’s Navarra facility in Pamplona, Spain.

The specified robots will be used in the “body-in-white” phase of production, which involves assembling the basic body structure of vehicles. This phase is critical as it sets the foundation for further manufacturing processes. The relationship between KUKA and Volkswagen in Pamplona spans nearly three decades.

At the same time, KUKA announced its financial results, reporting a strong financial year 2023 and a slow start into 2024. In 2023, KUKA AG achieved a significant financial milestone, with sales revenues surpassing €4 billion for the first time, indicating a 33.6% increase in EBIT to approximately €160 million.

The company also saw an improvement in its EBIT margin to 3.9%, alongside a rise in free cash flow to €155 million. Despite reaching these ambitious targets, the company’s order intake decreased slightly from €4.5 billion in 2022 to €4.0 billion, and the book-to-bill ratio declined to 0.99 from the previous year’s 1.14.

KUKA anticipates modest growth for 2024, though it has faced a slow start to the year with a downturn in incoming orders due to global economic uncertainties and a pessimistic market outlook. The company’s CEO, Peter Mohnen, expressed a cautious optimism about overcoming these early challenges and achieving growth in the medium term. He emphasized the importance of agility and innovation in maintaining competitiveness in the dynamic automation industry, particularly in sectors such as autonomous mobile robotics (AMR), where KUKA aims to become a top 5 manufacturer by 2027.

Mohnen also highlighted KUKA’s strong position in key markets like North America and China, which continue to drive the company’s performance. The United States remains KUKA’s largest single market, with sales nearing €1 billion. The company’s ongoing focus on customer-oriented innovation and its adaptability in a competitive landscape have been crucial in sustaining its growth trajectory amidst fluctuating economic conditions.

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