Danish industrial automation firm Mobile Industrial Robots ApS (MiR) today launched a leasing program for its line of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), saying the option lowers financial barriers for warehouses to invests in robots and gain "immediate" return on investment (ROI).
Odense, Denmark-based MiR has a catalog of AMRs designed for the internal transport of goods, including the the MiR100 and MiR200, which can autonomously transport up to 100 kg (220 lbs) and 200 kg (440 lbs) respectively, and the MiR500 with a payload of 500kg (1,102 lbs).
The "robots as a service" (RaaS) program will be offered through a new MiR Finance division, and is designed to let companies of any size—from small start-ups to multinational enterprises—deploy mobile robot solutions with minimal upfront costs and low monthly payments, the firm said.
MiR's RaaS program follows in the footsteps of an increasingly popular approach, also offered by warehouse automation vendors such as Locus Robotics Inc., inVia Robotics Inc., and RightHand Robotics Inc. Proponents of RaaS say the approach allows small retailers and logistics service providers to compete with e-commerce giants like Amazon.com Inc. by reducing the upfront costs of adding robots to fulfillment centers and by allowing them to add or subtract robots to their automated workforce as required.
That growing market will push the installed base for RaaS from 4,442 units in 2016 to 1.3 million in 2026, driving an increase in RaaS yearly revenue from $217 million in 2016 to nearly $34 billion in 2026, MiR said, citing a study from market advisory firm ABI Research.
According to MiR, its distributor network will be working with a third-party company to provide lease programs for customers, offering flexible leasing terms such as 48 months. MiR's distributors will continue to be responsible of first-level support, service, and maintenance.
"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," MiR CEO Thomas Visti said in a release. "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 manual material transportation."