You’re looking for options to automate a screwdriving task with a robot. But, can your budget afford it?

What is the real cost of robotic screwdriving?

It can be surprisingly difficult to get a clear cost estimate for robotic applications. While a supplier will probably be able to tell you the cost of the robot alone, they might be hazy about the specifics of other technology that you will need.

Depending on the type of screwdriving solution that you choose, calculating the overall cost can be simple or it can be more involved.

Why the cost of robot screwdriving is (traditionally) hard to work out

The problem with robotic applications is that they have traditionally been built in a very bespoke manner. First, you would decide what screwdriving application you wanted to automate. Then, a specialist robot integrator would design your robot cell and give you a quote based on the specifics of your application.

This bespoke approach is still an option for robotic screwdriving. But, it does make it hard to buy a robotic solution that has a clear, simple price tag.

Thankfully, it is now much simpler to find out the cost for some types of solution. If you choose to go with a pre-integrated solution, you can find out the overall cost very quickly.

But, it depends on the type of screwdriving robot that you’re looking for.

Bespoke vs DIY vs off-the-shelf

There are 3 basic approaches to purchasing a screwdriving robot. The differences between them relate to how much time, work, and budget you will have to devote to deploying the robot.

The 3 approaches are:

Bespoke screwdriving solutions

In the past, robot integration needed to be bespoke because of the high level of experience required to integrate robots. As you might expect, a bespoke screwdriving solution is the most expensive option. 

Costs associated with bespoke screwdriving solutions include:

  • Hiring a robot integrator.
  • Purchasing the robot itself.
  • Purchasing any additional extras (sensors, end effectors, safety devices, software, etc).
  • Paying the integrator for both the design and integration of the robot.
  • Training your team in how to operate the bespoke solution.

DIY screwdriving solutions

Over the past decade or so, it has become possible to integrate your own robotic applications. Collaborative robots are easy to use so new robot users can deploy their own robots for tasks like screwdriving.

Costs associated with DIY screwdriving solutions include:

  • The wages of your team members who are integrating the robot.
  • Any lost productivity on other tasks that these team members usually perform.
  • Purchasing the robot itself.
  • Purchasing any additional extras (sensors, end effectors, safety devices, software, etc).

Off-the-shelf screwdriving solutions

The latest trend in robotics is toward more pre-integrated robotic solutions, such as the Robotiq Screwdriving Solution. These off-the-shelf solutions include everything that you need to get your screwdriving robot up and running quickly and efficiently.

Costs associated with off-the-shelf solutions include:

  • Purchasing the off-the-shelf solution.
  • Optional training to get your team up to speed quickly.

The Robotiq Screwdriving solution with a Universal Robots

7 questions to help you calculate the real cost of robotic screwdriving

Unfortunately, I can’t give you an exact number for your robotic screwdriving solution right now (but I’ll tell you how to get one in a moment). The exact figure depends on what type of robotic screwdriving solution you choose.

Whether you go with a bespoke, DIY, or off-the-shelf solution, it helps to ask yourself some questions to get clear on what will influence your final cost.

Here are some questions that you can use to help you calculate the cost of automating your screwdriving task:

What specific screwdriving task will you automate?

It might seem an obvious question, but the specifics of your screwdriving task will influence your robot deployment. For example, some tasks will require longer or shorter screwdriving tools, others may require an extra sensor. Get clear on the specific details of your task.

Will you go with off-the-shelf, DIY, or bespoke?

The decision of what type of robotic solution you will choose will have a big effect on the overall cost. Bespoke solutions tend to be more expensive, DIY solutions take more time, while off-the-shelf solutions are easier to budget.

What types of screws will you use?

The size and material of your screws will determine what screwdriving tool and screw dispensers you can use. For example, magnetic tools can only be used with ferromagnetic screws. Vacuum screwdriving tools — as are used in the Robotiq Screwdriving Solution — can be used with many more screw types.

What are the design and integration costs?

If you are going with a bespoke solution, the design and integration costs can be a significant part of the overall cost. With a DIY solution, the main cost here is just the time that your team takes away from their usual work.

What training will your people need?

With collaborative robots, the training required to operate the robot is minimal compared to traditional industrial robots. However, your team will still likely need some training, which can be an extra cost.

If you are going with a DIY or bespoke option, you will have to purchase the additional components separately. Your integrator or robot supplier should be able to help you with this.

With an off-the-shelf solution, like the Robotiq Screwdriving Solution, everything is included.

What is a good ROI and payback time for you?

Robot costs only make sense when you put them in perspective with the return on investment (ROI). You can calculate the ROI and payback time of any robotic screwdriving solution using our ROI calculator.

An easier way to find the cost of robotic screwdriving

You don’t have to work out the costs of robotic screwdriving all on your own.

We can help you.

Just contact us. Our team will help you to work out what extras you need to include and give you an accurate idea of the price.

You can contact us directly and find out more about our off-the-shelf screwdriving solution on our solutions page.

What type of screwdriving solution do you think would suit your situation? Tell us in the comments below or join the discussion on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or the DoF professional robotics community.

Read more about this on: Workfloor: Robotics News for the Factory