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Manufacturers ‘Hire’ Robots at Hourly Rate

Formic Technologies Inc. (Chicago, IL) has launched as a company that provides robotics as a service. According to Formic, that means manufacturers can hire customized robots from top vendors at a low hourly rate and no upfront cost.

Posted: September 30, 2021

Formic said it does all the legwork to get automation up and running, meaning small and medium-size manufacturers concerned about costs don't need to be so. They can deploy robots to help do jobs that they are struggling to fill.

To help small and medium-sized manufacturers benefit from automation, Formic handles financing and deployment—from scoping, engineering, purchasing, implementation, and maintenance. Also, the company guarantees uptime, with customers paying nothing for system downtime.

Traditionally, manufacturers buy robots, which can be a lengthy, complex, inflexible, and expensive process. These barriers to entry can be so high for smaller manufacturers that they may refrain from deploying automation altogether.

“We started Formic because we saw all that automation can do, and we wanted to provide a way for any manufacturer to easily adopt automation in a simple, risk-free, and on-demand way,” said Saman Farid, CEO and co-founder. “With Formic’s fundamentally different approach to financing and deployment, manufacturers can do more with automation without high costs or a lengthy and complicated purchasing and deployment process.”

Formic said that its model was designed to systematically remove every barrier to entry, allowing manufacturers to deploy automation efficiently and cost effectively. Accordin to testing, Formic’s deployments are 50 percent faster than traditional approaches and save customers 42 percent on their operating expenses from the first day.

According to Farid, a unique combination of products and services makes Formic’s model possible:

  • Systematized deployment processes
  • In-house equipment financing
  • Formic-designed solutions featuring products from leading robotic vendors, such as Universal Robots, Fanuc, and ABB

Farid, an engineer and robotics start-up investor, founded Formic with Misa Ikhechi, a former Universal Robots salesperson.

“We came to the conclusion that what manufacturers needed was not any specific new technology, but a better way to access the technology that would best meet their needs,” Farid said. “Formic offers that access at a fraction of the cost or energy, as Formic takes on the heavy lifting.”

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