🦾 Kicking RaaS with Robotics as a Service
One major difference between robotics as a service and more traditional models of automation is financing. Typically, users purchase automation equipment, such as robots or cobots, and pay integrators to set them up if necessary. The idea of leasing or renting equipment can be a big adjustment for manufacturers who are used to buying equipment and amortizing it. And while she says that Rapid isn’t necessarily opposed to eventually selling the system to its customers, she also points out that it might not make sense. “If you’re running the system for three shifts for five years, it’s kind of coming to the end of its guaranteed life at that point. Do you really want to own it, or do you just want it to be our problem if it breaks, or something happens to it or it needs to be replaced?”
Behrens also appreciates the service aspect of Rapid’s business model, particularly the 24/7 monitoring. “When we have a problem, sometimes Rapid is calling us to say, hey, we see one of your robots is down. We’re going to do this to fix it,” Bellingham says. A lot of service can be done remotely, which helps maintain uptime. And when remote service isn’t an option, Rapid can diagnose the problem remotely, set up a replacement system in its office and bring it to the shop to swap out. Rapid takes the faulty system back to its office to fix, minimizing downtime for manufacturers.