John Hayes, Vice President for Vecna Robotics, discussed how leasing a tugger is less per month than paying a fork truck driver with benefits in a recent article published in Quality Digest magazine. According to Hayes, “A single person can carry more than one bin at a time and be far more efficient than a bin on a standalone AGV.

This is different with a tugger AGV, a device that is purposely designed to tow multiple carts of heavy loads, since it can utilize its efficiency of scale to move hundreds of pieces of product. Due to tugger capacity and with appropriate care, a tugger AGV can carry any type of product. The argument against tugger AGVs in this space is their physical size, but there are tuggers with a small footprint and a 1,000-pound towing capacity, the Vecna RT1000 for instance.”

To be fair, there are other tuggers, but some have too many bells and whistles that raise the price point. With an effective leasing program, a Vecna Logistics tugger costs less per month than paying a fork truck driver ($3,500 per month) with benefits; the result is instantaneous ROI.

The bot solution of single-bin automatic bin picking is not ready for wide market acceptance as the cost per individual bot is too high, usually in the $35,000 range per robot. Certainly, conceptually, as a goods-to-person solution, single-bin AGVs will be a game changer in the future. They eliminate non-value-added work within a facility. But when viewed as a total cost for solution it becomes extremely expensive in the current pricing per AGV.

In a first-of-its-kind leasing program, Vecna Robotics is offering a combination of both materials handling equipment and IIoT monitoring. This program ensures a rapid ROI and far less than the cost of employing and insuring a fork truck driver.