The hottest German KUKA plans to be a personal rob

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Abstract: as the largest manufacturer of industrial robots in Germany, KUKA is planning an ambitious plan to enter the field of personal assistant robots with the help of Midea Group, which invested 4.5 billion euros to acquire it last year

tillreuter, CEO of KUKA since 2009, said that using Meimei to develop robots that break through the powdered recycling of waste plastics technology (expertise in the consumption field that will not change the chemical composition) can help users complete various household tasks.

"Meidi does not engage in any robot or automation business, so KUKA is Meidi's automation business." He said, "they are closely related to the consumer industry, so we hope to develop consumer robots."

kuka is best known for the orange robot arms used in Tesla and Porsche auto factories - if you have seen the 2002 "007 dies someday", you should have seen their true faces. However, it has never developed a humanoid robot like Softbank pepper, which is a "daily companion" and has been used as a shopping assistant in Japanese stores

however, lute said that the development of the consumer sector was "much faster" than that of the industrial sector. He hopes that Midea, which owns many household appliances, can integrate "German gene" and produce household robots

kuka's main competitors in the field of industrial robots are FANUC of Japan and abb of Switzerland. According to the statistics of the international robotics Federation, with major enterprises investing in automation technology, the sales of industrial robots in 2015 exceeded 250000

the scale of the consumer industry is larger. According to tractica, a market research company, the total sales of consumer robots such as iRobot Roomba sweeping robot and many toy devices reached 10million last year. The company predicts that as robots gradually become devices with "almost unlimited possibilities" from gimmicks, the size of the consumer robot market will grow from $3.8 billion last year to $13.2 billion in 2022

lute would not disclose what kind of robot KUKA would develop. However, in recent years, KUKA has begun to expand its product line and launched cobots, also known as "collaborative robots", which are smaller and more mobile. These include iiwa (Intelligent industrialization work assistant), which is designed to help workers engage in delicate assembly tasks

Don't trapezoidal screw

"we come to the consumer market from this direction; Midea comes from other directions, and we meet in the middle." KUKA said

kuka seems unlikely to produce low-end dust suction and mowing robots, but the company intends to develop personal assistant robots to engage in elderly care and other work. KUKA is currently reimagining whether this assistant robot needs to have two arms and a face, or can adopt other modes of movement and operation

it needs to overcome great challenges to penetrate the consumer market. German companies such as Siemens and Bosch have applied their expertise in machine learning and artificial intelligence to the consumer market, but they have not achieved much success. So far, there are no products in Germany that can compete with Google home and Amazon Alexa

"consumer electronics is basically dead in Germany." Barclays analyst James Stettler said. He said that it is hard to imagine how high-end enterprises like KUKA can enter the mass market, but from the perspective of Midea, this is very meaningful

this move revealed the new direction of KUKA after its acquisition by Midea, but this new company, founded in 1898, initially produced lighting products, and they have always been good at reform and transformation. "In addition to technology, this is integrated into the company's DNA. We are good at reshaping ourselves and finding new potential." Lute said

he also said that KUKA's focus is to improve the intelligence of its robot through the integration of software and hardware, and prepare for a wider range of tasks. In a recent report, KUKA mentioned the Rosie maid robot in the animated film the Jetsons

"this kind of hardware must reduce its size and improve its sensing ability." Lute said, "I think the combination of software and hardware is obviously KUKA's proper mode."

heterogeneous leader

kuka CEO till Reuter

Reuter is a heterogeneous business leader because he took up this position completely by accident. Before becoming CEO of KUKA in 2009, he used to be an investment banker. At that time, he even called this CEO's job "temporary transition"

but eight years later, he is still engaged in this job. His radical and efficient management style helped KUKA achieve growth. From a company with a market value of only 250million euros and completely dependent on the automotive industry, KUKA has developed into a pioneer in the field of software and hardware integration of electronics, medical treatment and industrial IOT, with a market value of more than 4billion euros

kuka's robots are not fun. Unlike R2-D2 in Star Wars, their products are heavy mechanical arms made of metal. They have no eyes, mouths, and can't understand human emotions. However, although they lack humanity, they have extremely high accuracy and efficiency

KUKA was acquired by Midea Group, the largest household appliance company in China last year. This also makes it possible for cooperation in the field of household robots, an emerging market that is expected to grow more than three times in the next five years. At the Hannover trade show in April this year, KUKA showed how to pour beer using a sophisticated robot

lute's early CEO career was not smooth. He recalled the challenges he faced after accepting the appointment

"it was terrible. There were 50 people at that time, all of whom were rubbing their hands." He said. It was October, 2009, and his first task was to speak in front of a room full of bankers. Lute has no engineering background and has hardly been a senior executive, but investors are eager to know his vision for the company's development

"at that time, there were very 5. Interior design: the interior was characterized by hand-made leather decoration and carbon fiber wings extending to the full height of the dashboard. Many bankers said, 'Hey, what are you doing here? Why do you want to run a company?' I said, 'man, this is my first day here.' those people were very worried at that time."

49 year old lute was born into an entrepreneur's family in Frankfurt and received professional lawyer training. His early career coincided with the boom period in the late 1990s, when he helped Daimler complete its $37billion merger with Chrysler at Sherman Sterling law firm - which also became one of the largest transactions at that time. As an investment banker, he has been engaged in mergers and acquisitions for 10 years, but in 2008, he left Lehman Brothers and founded rinvest, a consulting and investment company

in the process of looking for opportunities, he found KUKA and thought it was an excellent enterprise buried by poor management. It partnered with Bernd minning, CEO of machine manufacturer Grenzebach, to acquire a 5% stake. With the outbreak of the financial crisis, KUKA's share price fell all the way, enabling them to expand their equity and win two seats on the board of supervisors

the two of them have been criticizing KUKA's management, asking for new measures to win trust, and asking the company to start financing. They created so many contradictions that by September 2009, when their equity reached 29%, Rolf Bartke, the then chairman, decided to leave - and four other shareholder representatives also announced their resignation, including the CEO and CFO

therefore, they became the largest investors in KUKA. At the age of 41, lute was not famous in the industry, but he became the chairman of the board. He said that he liked this kind of job, because he only needed to go to the office "every other week"

he later agreed to become CEO until a suitable successor was found. But employees and shareholders are tired of instability - Luther is the fifth CEO of the company in five years - and the company is losing a lot of cash. In that year, they achieved a revenue of 902million euros, but the cleaning work after each use is very critical, but a net loss of 76million euros

lute regards reviving KUKA as his mission. Six weeks after taking office, he issued a profit warning, raised 28million euros through equity, and fired the director of each department. "All bad things come out," he said. "We're playing again."

due to concerns about KUKA's over reliance on the automaker's revenue generation model, lute expanded the company's business scope. He introduced customers from the electronics industry, further entered the United States and Asia, and even began to prepare for IOT

he needed talents with new skills, so he adopted the usual practice of investment bankers - he cut some jobs and adjusted the management team

"this is the hardest decision." "In the field of robotics, people used to sell products and components. But if you enter the field of solutions and sell IOT services, you need some talents who can sell a complete set of solutions (including services). How can you do that?"

his blunt evaluation method is an anomaly in Germany, because in such a country with strict labor regulations, executives in the industry are often operation experts. The heads of Siemens, Bayer and Daimler joined their respective companies in 1987, 1988 and 1976 respectively, while the heads of Rutter, who became a monk halfway, are rare

someone once asked him, "why did you dismiss me?" His answer didn't look like a German manager at all, and his tone was very blunt. "Because the world has changed." He said to them, "we used to do well, but now we need different skills."

his goal is to be the first in the Chinese market. Since 2009, KUKA's revenue there has increased nearly 10 times, from 50million euros to nearly 500million euros

when Midea bought KUKA for 4.5 billion euros a year ago, lute had begun to try to make KUKA the leader in the Chinese market. As an M & a expert, Kurt believes that a 60% premium rate is a good deal, but it has triggered political resistance. The first task of the government is to keep technology in Germany

lute said that he was not opposed to politics, but he just didn't think it was his duty. "Every shareholder should make their own decisions. I am only responsible for running the company - this is my job."

shareholders did make a decision, and Midea was able to acquire 95% of KUKA's shares

he said that the deal gave KUKA the opportunity to become "a leader in both worlds" - with German technology and Chinese partners at the same time. "Having German genes is very important."

Copyright © 2011 JIN SHI