Rent-a-robot concept delivers affordable automation to warehouse operators
Time was that a commitment to a logistics warehouse robotics system meant significant up-front capital outlays or costly and inflexible multiyear leases. Today, warehouse users can gain the productivity benefits of a robotics solution, whether they be stationary arms for picking and sorting or autonomous mobile robots that meander around a facility, through customized subscription agreements that don’t wreak havoc with users’ budgets.To get more news about Tompkins Robotics GRS, you can visit glprobotics.com official website.
Robots as a service (RaaS) isn’t a Johnny-come-lately. Locus Robotics, based in Wilmington, Massachusetts, pioneered the concept in 2014 and is still considered the leader. The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically accelerated RaaS’ already-growing popularity. Warehouse operators facing sudden spikes in parcel delivery volumes and insufficient manual labor to handle the throughput began seeking affordable automation solutions. Robotics vendors responded with a model patterned after the more established software-as-a-service strategy.
For little down, businesses can scale their warehouse operations without writing big checks or absorbing the expense of hardware maintenance and upgrades. As with any “as a service” relationship, an RaaS agreement includes ongoing software enhancements, all of which are done in the cloud.
“At many organizations, there is friction associated with the procurement and adoption of new technology. The main benefit our customers cite when advocating a switch to an RaaS model for AI-powered robotics is that moving away from the capital expenditure significantly reduces risk. It shifts the organization into a state of immediate(return on investment) on day one,” said Peter Chen, co-founder of Covariant AI, a robotics AI company based in Emeryville, California.
The time frame for a RaaS customer to achieve a full ROI depends on the supplier’s up-front fees. Locus customers typically experience full ROI within six to eight months of installation, said Rick Faulk, the company’s CEO. Mike Futch, president and CEO of Tompkins Robotics, an Orlando, Florida-based manufacturer of autonomous mobile robots (AMR) that launched its RaaS program at last month’s Modex conference in Atlanta, said a full ROI for its system can be as short as 3 months because the proposed start-up charges are nominal. Tompkins will charge a refundable deposit for the machines. The company’s customers will cover the costs of shipping the machines and for dispatching a technician to a site to maintain or repair the equipment.
RaaS contracts run from 9 months to 3 to 4 years, and there isn’t much wiggle room for users in that area. Everything else, though, is on the table. Contracts can take the form of a fixed monthly fee for each robot deployed to a facility. Or they can be structured on a per-transaction basis depending on a user’s volume. Pricing will vary depending on the number of robots and sortation destinations, as well as the type of items being processed, among other factors. There could be a mix and match process whereby new RaaS technology is bolted on to an existing system that was funded through a capital outlay.