The true price of a cobot

What is the Cobot price? This question cannot be answered with a general figure. That's why we take a look at the individual cost blocks when using a collaborative robot and examine the question of when an investment is worthwhile for you as a user.

What costs will you incur?

When it comes to the costs of collaborative robots, you need to differentiate between the acquisition costs and the operating costs. For many users, the acquisition costs of a cobot are the decisive factor, while for others the operating costs play a greater role.

The acquisition costs of a cobot

Buying a robotic arm is not just about the purchase costs. There are other aspects to consider. Overall, the purchase costs include the following points:

  • The robotic arm
  • The peripheral products (e.g. grippers, cameras, software or sensors)
  • Integrating the cobot into your production

It should now be clear to everyone that you should not focus on the cost of the robotic arm alone. From experience, we can say that the robotic arm accounts for around a third of the total price. Of course, this can vary depending on the requirements and choice of cobot.

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 production operations 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, the following can be said: The easier and quicker the robot arm can be installed and set up, the lower the overall integration costs will be. If the peripheral products are already available as Plug&Play, there is no need for time-consuming programming of the components.

The operating costs of a cobot

Just as with the acquisition costs of a collaborative robot, you also need to differentiate between the operating costs depending on the application. For example, if you plan to use the cobot for years in a stable and unchanging production step, the costs will be correspondingly low.

What are the individual points?

Maintenance: Your collaborative robot may need to be serviced from time to time. You should therefore make sure that the manufacturer has service partners in your area.

Additional external components: Depending on the application, you may require the operation of external components to automate your production. This could be an external compressed air system, for example.

Detailed costs: If you want to go into more detail, there are electricity costs, for example. However, most companies do not provide this level of detail.

If the Cobot is not only to be used in one application, but the application is to be changed regularly, you will have to reckon with the expense of adapting the system. However, the intuitive user interface and the various Plug&Play peripherals mean that quick adjustments can be made at any time. This keeps the costs in this area correspondingly low.

When does a collaborative robot become worthwhile?

You now know about the various costs of collaborative robots. So when is it worth integrating a robotic arm into your production? To answer this question, we compare the use of cobots with the manual execution of the corresponding process. It quickly becomes clear that cobots have a number of advantages:

Increased productivity: Compared to manual execution, a cobot can perform the same process more cost-effectively and with a higher output in most cases.

Improved product quality: One advantage of cobots is their repeatability and precision. They can carry out a process again and again with the highest accuracy. This improves the quality of your products and reduces waste.

Employee relief: You want to deploy your employees as efficiently as possible. By automating repetitive and monotonous work steps, you free up valuable manpower for better tasks.

Roughly speaking, a cobot application recoups the costs within 12 months. The soft factors such as higher employee satisfaction, greater attractiveness as an employer and improved work ergonomics have not even been taken into account.

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