Benefits of robotics-as-a-service for manufacturers

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asked Oct 17, 2022 in 3D Segmentation by freeamfva (39,060 points)

Robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) is an emerging trend in manufacturing. Rising labor shortages, competitive global markets, and automation are changing traditional business models. Whether it’s a short-term need, companies wanting to try before they buy, forgoing a capital expenditure (CAPEX), or lowering the cost of entry to robotic automation, RaaS can be useful for companies. RaaS provides robots on demand, when and where needed.To get more news about Robotics as a Service, you can visit official website.

More users are seeking flexible automation implementations. More suppliers are offering rental and leasing options to satisfy the demand. Some are mature companies answering the call; others are manufacturing industry startups. This is a major turnaround from even several years ago when the manufacturing industry was wary of the idea of cage-free robots rubbing elbows with human coworkers. Now every major robot manufacturer has a collaborative robot on its roster, and a slew of startups add more options.
On-demand robots
Out-of-the-box offerings like the TaskMate by Ready Robotics, which are easy to use and easy to deploy, are among RaaS options. (Ed. note: The TaskMate’s name was changed to Forge/Station in early 2019, after this article was originally published).

“The TaskMate is a ready-to-use, on-demand robot worker that is specifically designed to come out of its shipping crate ready to be deployed to the production line,” said Ready Robotics CEO Ben Gibbs, noting manufacturers without the time to undertake custom robot integration are looking for out-of-the box automation. Rental options make the foray easier.

“Time is their most precious resource,” Gibbs said. “They may have to do a little fixturing or put together a parts presentation hopper. Besides that, it’s something they can deploy pretty quickly. We’re driving towards providing a solution that’s as easy to use as your personal computer.”

The system consists of a collaborative robot arm mounted on a stand with casters, so it can be wheeled into position on the production floor. The ease of portability suits high-mix, low-volume production where it can be relocated to different manufacturing cells. Two varieties each have robot arms, equipped with a force sensor and a universal interface that allows different robot grippers to be hot-swapped onto the end of the arm.

Contributing to the system is the proprietary operating system, the Forge operating system (OS) software. A simple flowchart interface (pictured) controls the robot arm, end-of-arm tooling (EOAT) and other peripherals. No coding is required. Running the Forge/OS software, the controller provides the same easy programming interface but is designed as a standalone system for other robots.
Cloud robotics and RaaS
A common element in the RaaS rental model is cloud robotics. Ready offers customers the ability to remotely monitor its robotic system or others connected to its controller.

“We can set them up with alerts, so when the production cycle is completed or the robot enters an unexpected error state, they can receive an email notifying the floor manager or line operator to check the system,” Gibbs said.

Users also can save and back up programs to the cloud, and deploy them from one robot to another. If an operator inadvertently lost a program, they could drop the backup version from the cloud onto the system and be up and running again in minutes.

“We provide a menu to our customers of how they might want to consume our products and services,” Gibbs said, including traditional CapEx (capital expenditure) purchase or “they can rent the system with no contract for however long or short of a duration they want.”

For an additional charge, the company can manage the entire asset.

“We set it up, we program it, and we remotely monitor it to make sure it’s maximizing its uptime. We can come in and tweak the program if it’s running into unexpected errors.” The systems have cell modems for remote software updates.” We handle all of the maintenance, or it’s handled by our channel partners.”

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