How much does a robot arm cost?

October 4, 2023
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Robot arm pricing guide

So, how much does a robot arm cost?

When it comes to automation in the workplace, the price points of Industrial robots vary depending on their specifications. This all comes down to the:

  • Size
  • Payload capacity
  • Number of axes
  • Engineering design
  • Versatility
  • Automation features

Just remember, there's no "one size fits all" price solution when it comes to robotic arms.

Estimated price examples

  • A Six-Axis Industrial robot arm with an 11-13 lbs (5-6 kg) payload capacity that is used for welding and cutting can start anywhere in the region of $9,500 to $10,000.
  • A small, Four-Axis desktop Industrial robot arm (i.e. SCARA robot) that is used for assembly can start from roughly $4,500.
  • A high-speed, Six-Axis smoldering Industrial robot arm with programmable software features can range from about $15,600 to $35,000.

Affordable robotic arm options

Collaborative robots, or Cobots, offer cost-effective solutions for businesses. These affordable robots are designed to work alongside humans in a shared workspace. They are often simpler in terms of engineering and design but are equipped to get the job done.

Cobots are user-friendly and offer quick integration into existing workflow systems. While they may not be as fast and as powerful as their Industrial robot counterparts (used in large-scale operations), they do serve as an affordable option for small- to medium-sized businesses.

Alternatively, a refurbished robot arm could save you a pretty penny if it's still in good working condition and performs the tasks you require.

The benefits of choosing affordable options

  • Budget-friendly options reduce the initial investment costs, making automation accessible to a broader range of businesses.
  • Due to the lower costs, companies can achieve a quicker return on investment (ROI).
  • Affordable options are designed to be versatile, handling multiple tasks with simple reprogramming.
  • Cobots are built with safety features (such as sensors) that allow them to work effortlessly with humans, preventing injury and accidents.
  • Cobots typically have 'plug-and-play' mechanics, require minimal setup time, and are easily integrable.

Determining robotic arm costs

Here's a breakdown of the components and features that contribute to robot arm costs:

  • Base robot: This applies to the cost of the base robot itself, which varies based on its size, payload, and the number of axes. For example, a SCARA robot typically has 4-axes while an Articulated robot has Six-axes.
  • End of arm tooling (EOAT): This refers to the tools or "grippers" that are attached to the robot.
  • Software: An Industrial robot arm may come with patented software which requires licensing fees.
  • Safety components: Additional features - such as vision cameras, sensors, safety cages, emergency stop systems, and detectors - all contribute to the final price tag.
  • Installation: You may incur an installation fee for setting up your Industrial robot arm. Some robotic manufacturing companies may require that you only use selected professionals for setup, training, and maintenance.

Exploring robot arm price ranges

Let's take a look at the types of robot arms that can be categorized into three price brackets:

  • Low range: Collaborative robots (Cobots) are the most affordable option. They are designed for simple tasks and are ideal for basic automation needs. However, they have fewer axes, basic software and machine learning, and lower payload capabilities.
  • Medium range: Robotics in this price bracket offer a balance of cost and functionality. Usually, these robots have slightly more features, higher payloads, and increased flexibility when compared to lower-priced robotics.
  • High range: These robots are designed for specialized tasks in large-scale industries. They have advanced software, heavy-duty payloads, and multiple axes for precision across complex tasks. They usually require programming from trained professionals and are not as user-friendly as Cobots.
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Budgeting for a robotic arm

Budgeting for an Industrial robotic arm involves doing your homework for both the upfront and ongoing costs. Here's a quick seven-step guide on how to consider these factors:

  1. Determine the need for an Industrial robot arm by identifying the tasks it will perform. Evaluate what type of automation your business needs. Will it boost productivity, enhance efficiency, or assist in assembly and quality control procedures?
  2. Gather price quotes from various robotic arm manufacturers. Consider the price points versus performance across different models. Take note of the components, electronics, and the types of automation tasks it can perform to ensure that these align with your company's needs.
  3. Determine an estimate for operational costs to run these machines. Include regular maintenance fees, part replacements, periodic software updates, and energy consumption.
  4. Calculate your return on investment (ROI). This can be done by determining your annual labor-saving costs, the potential increase in productivity (i.e. increased sales), quality control (i.e. the minimization of production line errors), and your downtime reduction.
  5. Factor in additional costs such as end-of-arm tooling (tools that the robot arm uses to interact with objects), safety components (i.e. machine cages), installation and programming costs, and expenses relating to training staff on how to operate and maintain the robotic system.
  6. Consider financing options. Some companies offer leasing options for Industrial robot arms whereas some governments incentivize technological business upgrades. If your ROI does not justify the upfront and long-term costs of robotic systems, renting an Industrial robot arm may be your best bet.
  7. Leasing a robot arm may also have tax benefits that can be written off at the end of the tax year. According to Section 179 deduction for 2020, US companies can claim back $1,040,000 from their “total equipment purchase” limit of $2,590,000.

Once you have defined the above-mentioned factors, it is advised to speak to your company accountant to determine the amount of capital you have on hand to purchase any type of Industrial robot. If purchasing an Industrial robot arm is what you end up going for, periodically review and adjust your budget accordingly.

Comparing robot arm price points

Here's a breakdown of the difference between high-end and budget-friendly robotic arms:

High-end Industrial robots

  • Performance: These robots are designed for top performance and precision, and use the latest technology in their production. A high-end Industrial robot arm often comes with advanced features and capabilities that are required for specialized tasks.
  • Durability: High-end robots are typically built for long-term use and can operate continuously in industrial settings without frequent maintenance. The use of high-quality, durable materials is what contributes to their success and stamina.
  • Integration: These robots are often equipped with sophisticated software (i.e. artificial intelligence) and interfaces that allow for seamless integration with other systems.
  • Cost: With their excellent materials and technology, high-end Industrial robots' price points are typically higher, often running into tens of hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Budget-friendly Industrial robots

  • Functionality: Budget-friendly robotics are built with one key thing in mind: to perform tasks efficiently. They may lack the sophistication of smart integration when compared to their high-end counterparts, but they're designed to perform tasks with ease.
  • Simplicity: Often simpler in design, these robots are easy to operate and maintain. Smaller businesses can benefit from using simple robotics without worrying about the extra (and sometimes unnecessary) bells and whistles of higher-end models.
  • Collaborative robots (Cobots): Many budget-friendly robots (including Industrial robot arms) fall under the Cobots umbrella, whereby they work alongside humans in a shared workplace. They are equipped with safety features and detectors that allow them to work in close proximity to human workers and are generally more affordable.
  • Cost: The upfront costs of these robots are more affordable, often compared to the annual salary of factory workers. This serves as an attractive price comparison for businesses on a tight budget.

Factors affecting robot arm prices

General factors that affect the cost of any Industrial robotic arm include:

  • Payload capacity: One of the main factors contributing to a robot's price is its payload capacity. The more weight robotic arms can handle, the more intricate their design and engineering, hence a larger price tag.
  • Complexity: The intricity of a robot's design, meaning how versatile it is when performing various tasks, can significantly impact its price. Robotic arms that can operate through multiple axes or have more degrees of motion are usually more expensive.
  • Size: In this instance, size really does matter. The general rule of thumb is that the bigger the machine, the bigger the price tag. This is due to the increased amount of materials, engineering, and design that are required when building bigger robots.
  • Technology: Advanced features - such as integrated sensors, cameras, or controllers - can all add to the cost. Additionally, robot arms equipped with the latest technology or those integrated with IoT (Internet of Things) might be priced higher than simpler, similar models.
  • Brand: Just like most products, brand names in the market can influence the price. Established and reputable brands with a proven track record might charge a premium price for their Industrial robot arms.

Investing in a robotic arm: Cost considerations

If the price of an Industrial robot arm is too hefty to fork out at the moment, some robotic companies, like Standard Bots, offer leasing options. Our RO1 model is one of the most advanced and affordable Six-Axis robots available today and can be leased for only $5/hour!

Its advanced functionality, better payload capacity, joint speed, and camera vision far exceed the competition, both in functionality and price. The RO1 is quick to set up and easy enough to use. It also performs complex inspection tasks with ease.

FAQs

What common industrial applications are Cobots used for?

Common industrial applications include pick and place, machine tending, processing tasks, packaging, finishing tasks, and quality inspection.

Final thoughts

There you have it, a detailed look into the realms of these marvelous machines. Whether you go for a more affordable Cobot or a heavy-duty Industrial robot arm, one thing is for sure: these technological marvels have reshaped industries with their precision and efficiency!

Standard Bots is pushing collaborative robotics forward and automates real-world applications with unreal simplicity.

Next steps

Interested in stepping into the Collaborative robot arm world? RO1 by Standard Bots is the #1 for small-scale startups and established industrial giants

  • Cost-effective: RO1 is the leading robotic arm in its class, delivering even more value at half the price of the competition. 
  • Fast & strong: RO1 beats out the competition in speed and accuracy despite having the highest payload capacity in its class at 18 kg.
  • Truly collaborative: RO1 has built-in safety sensors and collision detection for safe, reliable operation on your shop floor.

Talk to our solutions team now to set up a free, 30-day onsite trial and receive specialized advice on everything you need to deploy RO1.

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