Collaborative robots, often called ‘cobots’, are designed to work safely alongside humans. They’re one of the most explosive trends in the robotics industry and have uses in a number of applications from life sciences to logistics.
One thing that’s not often discussed with collaborative robots is their ability to provide quicker return on investment (ROI) than their heavier, more dangerous industrial counterparts. Universal Robots’ robotic arms, for example, can have a payback period of only 6 months. Collaborative robots are traditionally cheaper than industrial robots, and can still provide a much faster ROI when accounting for this fact.
Collaborative Robot Value Beyond Efficiency
Calculating ROI for collaborative robots needs to go beyond the simple formula of the efficiency provided compared to the initial cost of the robot. This number will be misleading and veils the true value of collaborative robots.
ROI needs to be calculated on a task by task basis, as well as other factors that don’t immediately have a dollar value. This is the only way to truly understand the impact collaborative robots can have on your organization.
But what do these factors look like?
3 Sources of ROI from Collaborative Robots
There are three main ways that collaborative robots provide fast ROI for end users, each of which may be difficult to immediately turn into a dollar value, but certainly have a significant impact on the bottom line.
First and foremost, safety is a source of ROI for collaborative robot users. Through downtime and other potential costs associated with workplace injuries - such as higher insurance premiums or even lawsuits – collaborative robots provide returns from avoiding accidents across the life of the machine.
2. Technicians, Not Programmers
Most collaborative robots require technicians to program the machine to perform certain tasks. It’s important to note that this is different from a team of programmers, which may be required for complex industrial robotic systems. A technician may even be the laborer who’s work the robot is doing – this is a big savings on labor without losing employees.
3. Faster Implementation
Collaborative robots are easier to use, which means it takes less time to train employees on how to use them, and there are fewer mistakes while using them. It also means faster implementation, since most collaborative robot tasks are so simple, which means they start saving you money quicker.
Collaborative robots provide a much quicker ROI than other more heavy-duty robots. It’s precisely their design that allows for this increased speed of ROI.
While cobots will do tasks more efficiently than humans, saving money on production processes, there are still other ways they provide ROI that are just as consequential to the bottom line.
To get a comprehensive look at collaborative robots from the perspective of the end user, download our industry insights whitepaper on collaborative robots.