The True Cost of Robots

cost of a robot

More companies are springing for robots and other types of automation. Where the initial up-front cost of a robot used to cause hesitation, the combination of lower initial costs for robots, human labor shortages, and rising wages can make robots look more Econ comically feasible. A new humanoid robot going for $1600 could be the tipping point for many manufacturers. But what is the true cost of robots?

Initial price

That $1600 robot is a 4-foot pixie of a robot which will be unable to reach the workstations in most manufacturing facilities. Its video shows it displaying great dexterity, but not actually doing anything useful. Baton twirling and flipping bread in a cold pan are not skills which will easily translate into the factory.

A more robust robot will cost you more. For example, Unitree’s big brother H1, costs $90,000. Other robots, including non-humanoid options, may cost less, but you are generally looking at tens of thousands of dollars.

End-of-Arm Tooling (EOAT)

This refers to the grippers, sensors, or other attachments needed for the robot to perform specific tasks. The cost of EOAT can vary depending on the complexity of the required functionalities.

The $1600 robot has a wide variety of modules that you can (and in many cases) must attach to reach the performance level you need.

Installation and integration costs

This includes expenses for preparing the workspace for the robot, installing any necessary safety features, and integrating the robot with existing machinery or software systems.

Programming and training

The cost of programming the robot to perform its designated tasks will generally be additional to the cost of installation and integration.

You will also need to make an investment in transitioning and training your human workers to collaborate with the robot safely and effectively.

Note that the cost of people trained to program the robot and train personnel will be higher than the cost of people who can perform the repetitive tasks that the robot will be taking over.

Maintenance and repair

Regular maintenance is crucial to ensure the robot’s continued operation. Factor in the cost of routine maintenance checks, parts replacements, and potential repairs in case of breakdowns.

Again, you’ll need to consider the wages of a person who can do this work, compared with the person the robot is replacing.

Energy consumption

Robots can consume significant amounts of electricity depending on their size and operation. Consider the ongoing energy costs associated with powering the robot.

The $1600 robot has a two-hour battery life. Even with an extra battery or two, there will need to be a human being to take care of juicing it up. We like to think that robots can operate 24/7, but you have to take into account how they will be recharged.

Safety measures

Depending on the robot’s function and potential hazards, additional safety equipment or guarding might be necessary, adding to the ongoing costs.

Software licensing

Some robots require specific software licenses for programming, simulation, or maintenance purposes. Factor in any ongoing subscription fees associated with such software.

Cost of floor space

Robots require dedicated space within the facility. Consider the potential loss of production space or the need to reconfigure the layout to accommodate the robot.

Decommissioning costs

While often overlooked upfront, consider the eventual decommissioning or disposal costs of the robot at the end of its lifespan.


Automation generally leads to more productivity and lower human labor costs, but it’s not as simple as  comparing the purchase price of a robot with the salary plus benefits of a human worker. Be sure to consider all the costs of implementing automation when you calculate the ROI of a plunge into automation.

One way to save significantly on your motion control is to choose factory repair or reman instead of replacement when your Rexroth motion control systems need service and support. Contact us for immediate assistance.

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