Robotics as a Service is kicking off RaaS.

Since 1911, Behrens Manufacturing has manufactured galvanised steel containers such as trash cans, pails, buckets, and tubs in its Winona, Minnesota business. Manufacturing its products in the United States is vital not only for quality reasons but also because the company services the agricultural industry, whose supply chains must be kept short to avoid disruptions in the food supply.

However, keeping manufacturing in America has become increasingly difficult due to growing costs (both material and labour) and a labour shortage. The latter has been a particular challenge for Behrens, with the company having more than 20 unfilled positions in 2021 that it was unable to fill. “There was just no one to hire,” explains Bill Bellingham, vice president of manufacturing.
Behrens has tried a variety of strategies to address this problem. While past automation projects using industrial robots were successful, lead times were protracted, and setup required significant downtime on the manufacturing line.

Furthermore, automation often necessitates a significant initial investment. “We want to invest in automation to stay relevant and reduce costs, but our capital expenditure is limited,” Bellingham adds. The company has to replace a lot of old equipment (it recently removed its last machine that had been working since the company’s founding). As a result, it sought assistance from Rapid Robotics, a provider of robotics as a service (RaaS).

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