The costs of a Cobot integration
This question cannot generally be answered with a number. Therefore, we look at the individual cost blocks when using a collaborating robot and investigate the question of when an investment is worthwhile for you as a user.
What costs will you incur?
You must differentiate between the cost of purchasing a Cobot and the operating costs. For many users, the purchase cost of a Cobot is the decisive factor and for others, the operating costs play a greater role.
The acquisition costs of a Cobot
The purchase of a robot arm is not enough with the purchase costs. You have to consider other aspects. In total, the acquisition costs include the following points:
- The robot arm
- The peripheral products (e.g. grippers, cameras, software or sensors)
- The integration of the Cobot into your production
Now it should be clear to everyone that one should not focus on the sole cost of the robot arm. From experience we can say that the robot arm’s share of the total price is about one third. Depending on the requirements and choice of the Cobot, this can of course vary.
Here are two examples:
A simple Pick&Place or machine loading application usually only requires a simple two-finger gripper in addition to the robot arm. Integration into the production process is also very simple.
A more complex application is Bin Picking. Here you also need suitable software, machine vision systems and possibly special grippers.
Basically, it can be stated: The easier and faster the robot arm can be installed and set up, the lower the costs of the entire integration will be. If the peripheral products are already available as plug&play, then there is no need for complex programming of the components.
The operating costs of a Cobot
Just as with the purchase cost of a collaborating robot, you must also differentiate between the operating costs depending on the application. For example, if you plan to use the robot for years in a stable and unchanging production step, the costs will be correspondingly low.
What are the individual points?
Maintenance: It may be that your collaborating robot needs maintenance from time to time. You should therefore make sure that the manufacturer has service partners on site.
Additional external components: Depending on the application, you may need the operation of external components for the automation of your production. This could be an external compressed air system, for example.
Detailed costs: If you would like to go into more detail, electricity costs are incurred, for example. However, most companies do not provide such detailed information.
If the Cobot is not only to be used in one application, but the application is to be changed regularly, then you have to reckon with a lot of effort to adapt the system. However, thanks to the intuitive user interface and the various plug&play peripherals, quick adjustments are possible at any time. This then keeps the costs in this area correspondingly low.
At what point is a collaborating robot worthwhile?
You now know about the various costs. So when does the integration of a robot arm in your production pay off? To answer this question we compare the use of the Cobot with the manual execution of the corresponding process. It quickly becomes clear that Cobots have several advantages:
Increase in productivity: Compared to manual execution, a Cobot can perform the same process in most cases at a lower cost and with a higher output.
Improved product quality: One advantage of robots is their repeatability and precision. They can perform a process again and again with the highest accuracy. This improves the quality of your products and reduces waste.
Easing the burden on employees: You want to deploy your employees as efficiently as possible. If you automate repetitive and monotonous work steps, you free up valuable manpower for better tasks.
Roughly speaking, a Cobot application returns the costs within 12 months. The soft factors such as higher employee satisfaction, greater attractiveness as an employer and improved work ergonomics have not yet been taken into account.