Rent-a-Robot and Our Tight Labor Market
Today, firms like Formic Technologies, Stout Industrial Technologies, and Rios Intelligent Machines, Inc. are helping move robotics into new sectors of the economy and into small- and medium-sized firms through a robots-as-a-service model. The robotic systems they offer are not only more nimble, smarter, and more efficient than their predecessors of a quarter-century ago but are also cost-effective in helping mid-sized and small firms overcome constraints posed by capital and technological know-how. Companies paying $15 an hour or more for labor—if they are able to find workers at all—can rent a robotic solution for around $8 per hour per robot while avoiding capital outlays of as much as $125,000 per unit. Avoiding big-ticket investments combined with a 40 to 50 percent reduction in labor costs is the kind of thing that gets business-owner attention.
How Amazon robots navigate congestion
“When we first started looking at it, we thought it would take more than 8,000 robots to keep an Amazon fulfillment center running,” Durham said. “There just was not enough room for them all. That’s when we said, ‘Wow, we really have to solve the congestion problem.’ And we have addressed it — we’ve gotten dramatically more efficient.”
While good work allocation and route decisions smooth traffic flow and reduce unnecessary trips, managing the actual movement of robots is also important. To simplify the task, Amazon’s cloud computing service creates the virtual equivalent of a map of a city grid, on which robots can travel ‘north-south’ or ‘east-west’. Once a robot picks up a pod, the computing service creates a route to its final destination.
Equipment-as-a-Service is on the IIoT Path
EaaS is a business practice where equipment, machinery and/or production systems are offered by an OEM via a variable consumption or usage model. The form can vary, but often is based on factors such as usage, output and availability. While this may sound like a lease, EaaS is quite different. Think more along the lines of managed services.
EaaS business models flip the traditional purchase model. Instead of customers buying the machine outright in a single transaction, they pay solely based on other factors such as consumption or usage. OEMs or third-party financing partners retain ownership and, as such, absorb the responsibility for either providing or managing maintenances service, repairs and parts replacements.
It’s time to recession-proof your Industrial business, yet again
Think beyond equipment sale – Aftermarket sales is a trillion-dollar industry that is looked over in good times because everyone is focused on large equipment sales. With a looming possibility of a recession, your customers are going to likely hold onto their equipment longer. It also means that the same equipment will have more wear & require services often. Herein lies the opportunity to sell parts, services, and warranties, amongst other things which can offset your lower equipment sales. However, this also implies that you have reliable installed base data that you can quickly deploy to create sales strategies or to power support & services.
Deep Learning For Industrial Inspection
Industry 5.0’s role in process manufacturing’s evolution
As Industry 5.0 proliferates in manufacturing environments, we can expect to see the delegation of far more complex tasks from machines in production plants as naturally as we now say “Alexa, play music.” It’s clear people (not robots) will continue using PPM and take responsibility for how well or how poorly their manufacturing plants perform. It’s not a question of whether a manufacturer can benefit from its employees working alongside robots, but rather how they can leverage AI-enabled technologies to drive optimal outcomes from human/machine interactions.