Material Handling Robot Versus Manual Labor and Associated Costs



Many applications use materials handling robots in a variety of industries. By choosing to automate with a materials handling robot, manufacturers not only raise the safety levels of their facility, but also cut costs and see a return in investment not long after installation.

Automating materials handling applications with industrial robots provide advantages beyond saving workers' backs and preventing injuries. The return on investment (ROI) of automated materials handling applications with industrial robots is immense when looked at over time. Cost savings include shorter cycle time, reduced human labor costs, quality improvements, and many indirect costs savings. 

A powerful way to understand the cost savings associated with automation is by comparing a skilled laborer to an industrial robot. Experts predict that by 2025, the United States will save over 22% in labor costs by implementing industrial robotics, and the reason why is clear to see. The general acceptance is that one robot can perform the work of four manual laborers. These four workers will typically work five days a week, 52 weeks a year at a cost of around $124,800-$166,400. In contrast, a robot system would typically cost $50,000, which is a one off payment, as well as needing a single operator on an annual salary of around $31,200-$41,600 a year, a drastic reduction in overall labor costs.

While this calculation shows significant savings, it does not include the additional savings from indirect costs such as insurance, pay raises, and benefits for each employer; as well as lost time from sick days, breaks, and vacation. An automated robot can work at a constant speed without pausing, allowing a business to turn its operations from 8 to 12 hour days to 24/7. Not to mention, investing in a robotic system gives your company the security of high-quality work for 10-20 years with proper maintenance. 

If you are interested in getting a quick estimate of what your return on investment (ROI) would be, RobotWorx offers a free ROI Calculator to help companies understand the real value of investing in a robotic system. Our calculator compares the cost of your automated solution to the cost of your current process, providing you with a quick and easy way to find out what will best fit your operation.

The Covid-19 pandemic impact has created a strong incentive for materials handling operations to automate as they recover and prepare for the future. Robotic systems do not face the dangers of becoming ill and operate with minimal workers on the floor. RobotWorx has also seen an increase in materials handling customers opting to choose our rental program, filling in due to layoffs, or thinning out how many people are on the floor. RobotWorx also sells reconditioned robot arms from FANUC, Motoman, KUKA, and ABB to further increase ROI options. These reconditioned robots undergo rigorous inspections and testing to ensure that they perform to industry standards.

It is also worth noting that excellent tax write-off options are now available through the Section 179 Federal Income Tax Deduction. Utilizing Section 179 can help save you even more money while cutting costs by writing off your robotic equipment purchases.

If you have not quite been convinced of automated materials handling benefits, watch this video to see an example of a very successful custom-built materials handling system created by our expert engineers. The design of this system palletizes and packages units as they come down an automated conveyor and uses a turntable to send the packaged unit to be unloaded from the line. Are you looking for more information? We have multiple case studies covering material handling solutions, like this palletizing system created for a dairy company in Australia. Benefits included labor reduction, ability to package various product sizes, reduced injuries and accidents, and increased efficiency and accuracy.

Robotic automation is changing the world as predicted through the Industry 4.0 lens. It is no longer a question of "if" this technology will need to be adopted, but "when" for many companies. Additional questions like "what are the benefits of industrial robots" and "how will they benefit my specific industry" will need to be answered. As a robotic integrator, RobotWorx is here to help you find the answers. Contact us to consult with our application specialists today. 

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