Kuka is one of the world's biggest makers of industrial robots (Photo: Kuka)

German industrial robot maker Kuka is boosting its presence in the US through the acquisition of the plant engineering business of privately owned Utica Companies. Utica is a Michigan-based welding equipment specialist with a focus on the auto industry.

The acquisition will make Kuka the biggest systems supplier in the North American automotive sector, the German company said in a press release. Next to its robotics operations, Kuka also runs a sizeable plant and systems engineering business.

"This acquisition follows our strategy being Number 1 or 2 in our respective markets," said Kuka CEO Till Reuter. The move will let the company continue its "profitable growth" in North America and Asia, he added.

Kuka has annual sales of about 1.7 billion euros and employs 7,200 people.