How to Prove a Robot's ROI with Analytics

To address this issue, we’ve published a new eBook called “The Top 5 Cobot KPIs: How to Measure and Improve the Performance of Collaborative Robots.” It explains how KPIs apply to robots, introduces the most useful metrics, and shows you how to measure them.

How the top 5 KPIs relate to the ROI

The top 5 KPIs from the eBook are listed below, along with examples of how they could be linked to your ROI calculations. How you use them specifically will depend on the configuration of your cell.

Cycle Time—This measures the time it takes for the robot to complete one sequence. It can be used to compare the robot’s operation with the previous manual cell’s operation. For example, if the robot completes the operation 15% faster than the manual process did, this will soon add up to a lot of time saved. This information could be incorporated into the ROI calculation as part of the total robot working time.

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Cycles Completed—This measures the number of sequences completed with the robot. In many cases, it can indicate how many operations have been successful. You can use it to calculate the process’s yield, which could be used in the ROI calculations when calculating scrap costs.

Utilization—This measures the percentage of time the robot is used, as opposed to the time it sits idle. It can be used to quickly and accurately figure out the robot’s downtime for the ROI calculation.

Efficiency—This indicates how efficiently the robot has been programmed. This can be very useful if your ROI time is longer than expected. For example, if you have an ROI time of 3 years, but your Efficiency is only 20%, then you have strong evidence that improving the robot’s programming would also improve the ROI.

Wait Time—This indicates how much time the robot spends waiting for other processes to finish. High wait times may indicate areas where the ROI of the robot could be improved by optimizing the processes that interact with it.
These five KPIs have been found to directly reflect the performance of collaborative robots, so they’re good candidates for making the robot’s ROI more accurate.

Record the data

Once you’ve picked your KPIs, you need to measure them. There are a few ways to do this, but they all fall somewhere between these two ends of the spectrum:

Infrequent, manual logging—This is where a member of your team manually records the metric from time to time, either with pen and paper or an app. The data are then entered and analyzed with software tools, such as in a spreadsheet or with MES software. Overall, manual logging is usually both inaccurate and time-consuming.

Automatic logging with cobot-monitoring software—This is where the robot automatically sends relevant data to a centralized software system, which allows you to view and analyze the data in real time. Insights is one such system, and it’s specially designed for use with collaborative robots. This method delivers accurate results instantaneously.

The key to recording your KPIs is consistency. Measure them as accurately and as often as possible. For ROI calculations, it makes most sense to use long-term KPI data – meaning data logged over the course of a few weeks, rather than, say, an hour. This is convenient to do in Insights, because you can easily change the time window to view the metrics for an hour, day, week, or even a month.

Calculate ROI

Finally, use your logged KPIs to calculate the ROI for the robotic cell. Although some of the data may be approximations, your metrics will still help provide a more accurate ROI value, as well as clarify the robot’s effects on your business.

This article has been republished with permission from Robotiq.