Kuka or UR?


At my department we are trying to get a robot arm. Mostly for experimentation together with students, maybe some carbon fiber winding…
The goal is to be as accessible as possible and to control it with grasshopper. Does someone of the community have some experience with either a Kuka IIWA, Kuka Agilus KR6 or the Universal Robot UR5/ UR10? Is a Grasshopper-only workflow doable?

I know there is KukaPRC for team orange, but is there a equivalent plugin for UR? there is robotsand scorpion but without a robot I can’t really test it…
Should we go with team blue or orange?

thanks for any tips

Maybe to clarify ( and bump the thread):
Has someone experience with robots or scorpion and knows how it compares to KukaPrc?

@karls might know something about this! :wink:

Hi, sorry I’ve only just seen this thread. I specialise in robotics within education and am more than likely biased, but KUKA. But this really depends on the department you mean when you say department. I have a background in architecture and a lot of my projects revolve around architecture, construction, manufacturing and industrial design. UR are lovely bots, but the payload and versatility of a KUKA paired with kuka|prc can’t be beat - I have a youtube channel dedicated to the topic. I don’t recommend the iiwa, I’d go the KR6 or 10 if you have the budget.

Grasshopper only workflow is possible, but you’ll most likely begin with offline programming where you export your files and run locally on the robot.

any questions, I’m happy to help!

@p1r4t3b0y thanks!

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I have experience with KUKA, ABB and UR. For working with students, UR are the best, by far.

They are really easy to setup (literaly plug and play), a Grasshopper only workflow is very possible using the plugin Robots, and they won’t kill your students if something goes wrong. We have a couple of UR5e at our departement. They are very portable and we have one installed on a cart specifically for student usage. The free jogging function (basically you press a button and you can move the arm with your hand) is just amazing.

But again it depends on what the students will use it for. Wood milling for example won’t be possible while pick and place, 3D printing or fiber winding is doable.

thanks @p1r4t3b0y, @karls & @Ayoub

currently the Kuka Agilus series is not longer an option due to safety concerns.
@karls: could you go into detail why you would recommend the IIWA? Btw. your youtube channel is outstanding and a great resource! Thanks so much.

@Ayoub: good to know!; you said: “Wood milling for example won’t be possible” – just out of curiosity: Do you know if milling soft wood is at all possible with a “cobot” robot arm – IWAA or otherwise?

Hi Konrad,

I have a small robotic workshop with a KUKA KR-6 (KRC2 controller), and I use KUKA|prc.

On the Hardware side, I’m really happy with this machine and the service/help I got from Eurobots where I got it?
The only thing I regret is to have cheaped-out and not gone directy for a 200kg grade robot.
I see myself pushing my poor little KR6 to the limit of it’s capabilities.
The price jump isn’t so big, but the stiffness and work area is a quantum leap from one to the other…

Only thing to keep in mind : with a big robot comes…great foundations.

On the software side, I am really happy with KUKA|prc, and the great support (and patience) I get from Johannes Braumann.
As per the controller, well this generation (KRC2 from 2005), the main issue I have is the limited size of the programs I can make due to system limitations.
If you want to do a lot of complex millilng, this is an issue, and you’ll have to fork-out much more to get a KRC4.

Don’t hesitate to PM me for more specific info.


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I never tried milling with an IWAA robot. With a UR5e milling wood is not precise enough and it puts a great stress on the robot joints which might void the warranty or reduce considerably the life span.

Hello everyone. Here is my contrubution to this interesting topic.

I’ve been working with KUKA Quantec KR 120 and KUKA HA 60. Both machines are just perfect, reliable, strong, precise and Quantec looks a bit more sexy :smiley: … The HA robot has also external turntable attached and it boosts it’s possibilities. Milling 2 x 2 meter freeform surface (front hood of a racer) on single run was not a big deal.
KUKA|prc is excellent plugin with a great support of @johannes and it’s easy to learn and intuitive to use.

Now I finally have the experience with another manufacturer - Universal Robots. We have one UR10 CB3 to “play” with (maybe some foamboard milling, pick&place tasks, drawing, 3D printing…). Well, it’s different machine for different purpose. I haven’t tested all its possibilities yet. But what is cool is the possibility of free positioning by hands. It’s also easy to replace to different location, no need to calibrate the system and so on - just some solid steel frame base is enough.
But the biggest limitation for me is Grasshopper plugin called HAL. It’s still buggy and definitely not straighforward or intuitive. For me, the price doesn’t correspond to my user’s experience.

I will difinitely try other plugins mentioned here in this thread.
And if there’s someone, who is using HAL plugin… I will be really glad for somene else’s experience or advices.

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