With global initiatives on smart manufacturing, such as Industry 4.0 and "Made in China 2025", in high gear, one of the key trends in factory automation is the adoption of Cobots (or Collaborative Robots) and a diversity of factory robot types for different stages of manufacturing.
Robot-as-a-Service (RaaS). As competition for factory robotic solutions heat up, robot-as-a-service becomes a strategic model for some of the robotic firms to compete and expand market share. Such offerings range from Cobot-as-a-service for a myriad of manufacturing tasks to Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR-as-a-service) or the lesser Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) that assist to fetch, transport and deliver materials within a factory.
RaaS Business Models. There are several variants of the pay-as-you-use model here. We list them as follows:
We introduce these factory automation RaaS providers below :
HAHN RobShare/Rethink Robotics.. HAHN RobShare is a company that specializes in renting collaborative robots. One such Cobot is Sawyer, a collaborative factory robot developed by Rethink Robotics, which is also part of the HAHN Group of companies.
Sawyer is capable of tasks, such as CNC machine assembly, circuit board assembly, metal processing, injection molding, packaging, loading and unloading, as well as performing tests and inspections, relieving the human worker of tasks that could either be hazardous or monotonous.
Sawyer at work: robot positioning system - adaptive to changes in its work environment
Doosan Robotics. Doosan Robotics is a South Korean robotics firm that is part of the Doosan Group, which is a Fortune Global 500 conglomerate with businesses in machinery, heavy industry and energy. Doosan Robotics features a series of Cobot products (M0609, M1509, M1013, M0617) that assist human workers in performing repetitive tasks at high speeds in limited spaces and handling objects of different weights.
Kindred. Kindred is a US-based company that specializes in smart AI-enhanced factory robots, called SORT, that are capable of grasping and picking items. Kindred offers a robot-as-a-service model that allows the customer to pay per intelligent action.
Watch the Youtube video below on how SORT combines computer vision, grasping and manipulation technologies to accurately identify, pick up and place items into the right compartments.
Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR). MiR is located in Denmark and specializes in Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR) for fetching and transporting materials, parts and pallets in smart factories and warehouses. Its line-up of AMRs range from MiR100, MiR200, MiR500 to MiR1000, where the numerical suffixes indicate the weight of the payload the AMRs can transport. MiR AMRs can be acquired on a leasing basis, with cost of a MiR100 robot estimated to be around $4.44 per hour (or $711 per month).
Watch how the full line-up of MiR AMRs can be used to optimize factory workflows in the video below:
Ready Robotics. Ready Robotics is based in United States and develops the Forge suite of products for task automation, including Forge/OS, Forge/Ctrl and Forge/Station (previously Taskmate). Forge/Station is a Cobot-on-wheels, making it easy to deploy anywhere in the factory. Ready Robotics offers RaaS rental model to customers, with the Forge/Station estimated to cost between $2,000 and $4,000 per month, with a minimum period of three months.
Watch how the Forge/Station can be easily deployed for tasks in the video below:
Find out more about RaaS players in these industries
There are also two newly released Insights robotics report for 2019 that you may like to read: