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The Emergence of Cobots and the Transformation of Production Norms

The rapid growth of robotics technologies is causing a significant change in the industrial landscape. Sophisticated collaborative robots, or “Cobots,” are leading this industrial revolution and changing the standards for manufacturing excellence. These agile, clever machines work alongside humans, not only completing but also greatly increasing the productivity of joint jobs.

However, this is not where the innovation wave crests. Servitization is a new and emerging business model that is changing the way Cobots are introduced to the market. This change is similar to what has been seen in sectors like cloud computing, where service-based relationships have replaced traditional sales models.

Robot-as-a-Service (RaaS) embodies this new horizon, a move exemplified by ABB Robotics’ offering. ABB has been at the forefront of this transformation, evidenced by their RobotStudio® software, which allows customers to simulate and test robot installations in a virtual 3D environment before actual deployment. This service reduces setup time and allows for fine-tuning, which maximizes operational efficiency. Additionally, ABB’s FlexLoader™ SC  is a testament to their commitment to flexible and modular solutions, allowing for easy integration and scalability in machine tending operations.

Similarly, AutoStore, known for its innovative automated storage and retrieval systems, offers Router™ software that optimizes robot movement and workflow efficiency within their system. AutoStore’s Bins, Ports, and Robots are also offered under a subscription model, which ensures that customers are provided with ongoing updates, maintenance, and support to maximize the uptime and longevity of their systems.

The need for qualified service contract management solutions grows as more companies adopt these complex service contracts. These platforms must be versatile, able to create personalized contracts, adjust prices on the fly, and provide real-time contract performance tracking. For instance, advanced analytics services provided by these solutions can alert the manufacturer or the service provider when the margin of a contract is being jeopardized by an underperforming Cobot, and particularly pinpointing the problematic asset to be repaired or replaced, reducing downtime and increasing productivity.

With manufacturers like ABB Robotics and AutoStore integrating RaaS models, companies are now focusing on their prowess to develop and sustain high-quality Cobots and complex systems. However, the integration of advanced service contract management must be meticulously planned. It should synergize with a company’s strategic vision, ensure user accessibility, blend seamlessly with existing systems, and feature robust risk management.

Despite many advancements, the adoption of Servitization and service contract management solutions is an evolving process, necessitating continuous monitoring of performance metrics and client satisfaction to guarantee that the services provided remain at the forefront of industry standards and client expectations.

In this dynamic industry narrative, Cobots are increasingly essential to manufacturing efficiency. Servitization is creating a win-win cycle where customers receive a full range of services that add value.