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Baton Rouge engineering firm leasing ‘cobots’ to manufacturers

Louisiana manufacturers can now rent or lease collaborative robots, better known as “cobots,” and other automation technology from Baton Rouge engineering consulting firm QDS Systems.

The leasing model, the first of its kind in the state, will allow companies to easily and cost-effectively deploy cobots to help with packaging and other assembly line tasks, says Stan Prutz, President and CEO of QDS Systems. Before, most companies that wanted cobots had to raise their own capital, a costly and time-consuming option.

Whereas traditional robots are isolated from human interaction, Prutz says cobots work side-by-side with humans, completing repetitive tasks that are either mundane or too dangerous for people.

Certain jobs—specifically, those that need a critical eye or higher-level judgment—are better done by humans, Prutz says.

“This is the future of artificial intelligence,” Prutz says. “Industry is finding that the best way to move forward is by using people and robots jointly, divvying up tasks based on what they’re best at, and working together to create a product.”

The firm’s financing model allows companies to rent or lease equipment from 12 to 60 months, depending on their need, for as little as $500 per month and as much as $1,000 per month for one cobot, in addition to fixed monthly payments throughout the term of the lease.

Prutz says employers could conserve their working capital by leasing cobots using expenses they would have otherwise allocated to worker salaries and benefits.

After a rental, QDS Systems will assist with setting up the equipment and showing workers how to use the automated technology.

The global market for cobots is expected to jump from $176.7 million in 2016 to nearly $4.3 billion by 2023, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets.com.

“A lot of our clients are concerned because the Baby Boomers are retiring, and for the next 15 years, we’re going to be short a couple million workers every year,” Prutz says. “This should help them deal with the labor shortage.”

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