Total Cost of Ownership of Mobile Robots: Beyond the Robot's Price Tag

Published on 28.08.2023

Reading time: ca. 3 minutes

In the dynamic landscape of robotics, understanding the true cost implications of integrating mobile robots like Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR) and Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) into your operations is crucial. The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) serves as a comprehensive metric that encompasses more than just the initial purchase price. This blog post dives into the concept of TCO and provides insights into how you can calculate it for AMRs and AGVs.

How to define Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) goes beyond the visible price tag of a robot. It considers all the expenses associated with the robot's lifecycle, from procurement to operation, maintenance, and eventual decommissioning. These costs are often categorized into direct and indirect costs, offering a holistic view of the investment.

Calculating TCO for Mobile Robots


  • Initial Investment: Begin with the obvious cost during your TCO assessment—the purchase price of the mobile robot. This includes the base unit and any additional modules, accessories, or software required for your specific application.

  • Installation and Integration: Account for the costs associated with integrating the robot into your existing infrastructure. This might involve modifications to your workspace, software integration, costs for an external system integrator, and training for your team.

  • Operational Costs: Consider ongoing operational expenses such as energy consumption, maintenance, and repair in your TCO assessment. Energy costs are particularly significant for robots operating around the clock.

  • Labor and Training: Factor in the costs of training your workforce to operate and maintain the robot.

  • Downtime and Productivity Loss: Anticipate potential downtime for maintenance, repairs, and software updates. Calculate the associated productivity loss during these periods.

  • Lifecycle: Estimate the robot's lifespan and the potential residual value at the end of its useful life. This residual value can offset some of the initial investment.

  • Warranty and Support: Incorporate the costs of extended warranties, support packages, and spare parts.

Tips to reduce TCO


  • Define your goals and objectives for implementing mobile robots. Proper planning ensures that the robot's capabilities align with your specific needs, reducing unnecessary costs related to over-specification or underutilization.

  • Select the right type of robot that best suits your operational requirements. Consider factors such as workspace layout, navigation complexity, load capacity, and flexibility. The right fit can reduce initial integration costs and future modifications.

  • Invest in thorough training for your workforce. Well-trained operators can maximize robot efficiency, reduce errors, and minimize downtime due to mishandling.

  • Establish a regular maintenance schedule to prevent breakdowns and extend the robot's lifespan. Preventive maintenance is often more cost-effective than reactive repairs.

To wrap things up

Understanding the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is fundamental for making informed decisions about integrating mobile robots into your operations. By considering all aspects of cost over the robot's lifecycle, you gain a clearer picture of the financial impact and potential benefits. Remember, the true value of mobile robots isn't solely in their purchase price, but in the transformative potential they bring to your processes, efficiency, and overall business performance.

Reduce your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) with WAKU Care

With WAKU Care, you keep a comprehensive view of all your robots, extending across locations, deployments, and departments. You can monitor your robot fleet's performance in real-time. Furthermore, you can easily plan and structure maintenance cycles. Leveraging device data, you can proactively conduct maintenance exactly when necessary. This approach avoids high repair costs, including travel, personnel, and material expenses, thus helping you keep your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) low. WAKU Care provides insights into the TCO and enables benchmarking of robot installations. Find more information on WAKU Care here.

Try WAKU Care for free! Use the contact form, request a demo, and we will send you an individual demo version.

Contact our robot experts!

WAKU Robotics supports you in choosing the right robot for your application. We take care of the procurement of the robots as well as the on-site test. Our WAKU Platform software helps you to operate the robots across manufacturers and to analyze the processes.

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