Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) this week launched a new mobile robot leasing option, often referred to as “robots as a service”. The goal is to allow companies of any size – from startups to multinational enterprises – to deploy mobile robot systems with low or no upfront costs, and low monthly payments, the company said. By leasing instead of buying, the company said it lowers financial barriers for investing in autonomous mobile robots, giving customers “a near immediate return on investment.”
“While sales of our mobile robots continue to thrive, many companies still prefer to lease their logistics equipment rather than make a capital investment upfront,” said Thomas Visti, CEO of MiR. “Leasing the robots becomes an operational expenditure instead, enabling our customers to quickly get started reaping the benefits AMRs offer as they automate monotonous, repetitive, and often injury-prone material transportation.”
The MiR Finance plan gives customers a chance to lease the “full package,” which includes robots, integration and top modules for the robots. While the monthly cost of the leasing will depend on the length of the leasing period and type of robots used, the company said a simple calculation would cost roughly $4.44 per hour, or $711 per month to lease a MiR100 robot if it runs in a one-shift operation.
The company said its distributor network will work with a third-party company to provide leasing program options for customers. Terms are flexible, with 48 months the popular option, MiR said. The distributors will be responsible for first-level support, service, and maintenance. “In this way, not much will change for the end-customers,” the company said, and that they “will now have one more option in terms of payment for their robots, while the usual benefits from MiR’s global reach and local support will continue.”
RaaS model growing
More companies are expected to adopt the RaaS model, especially within the small and midsize space. ABI Research, for example, estimates an installed base of 1.3 million units by 2026, with yearly revenue expected to increase from $217 million (2016) to nearly $34 billion by 2026.
John Santagate, research director for Commercial Service Robotics at IDC, agreed that RaaS model is helping bring robotics automation to new markets that might otherwise not be able to make those investments. “This model allows buyers to reduce the risk of deploying robotics, as the vendors shift from selling robots to selling usage and outcomes,” said Santagate. “We see this model as a key element in the current and ongoing growth in the market.”
MiR, founded and operated by Danish robotics industry professionals, is headquartered in Odense, Denmark. One of the RBR50 2019 companies, MiR was acquired by Teradyne in 2018, joining fellow Danish company Universal Robots in Teradyne’s robotics portfolio. The company has a global distribution network in 40 countries for its collaborative and safe autonomous mobile robots that help companies manage their internal logistics.