According to The Asahi Shimbun today, manufacturers short on workers can get the help they need through Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd.’s new “robot staffing agency.”
“We made it (the robot staff agency) something that can rival a human resources version,” said Tomonori Sanada, the deputy head of KHI’s Robot Division.
KHI’s industrial Duaro robot, which can perform a variety of tasks, will be dispatched to factories and businesses through Century Tokyo Leasing Corp., which purchased a number of the robots that went on sale in June 2015.
The Duaro sells for 2.8 million yen (US$25,000) per unit, a hefty price tag for many manufacturers operating electronic component plants, which tend to have production quantities that fluctuate over a period of several months.
Because many of these plant operators need the Duaro for only a short period due to such tendencies, KHI believed there would be a greater demand for renting the robots rather than purchasing them.
The Duaro is capable of assembling and transporting parts in an electronic components plant. It can also pack food and condiments in a “bento” (lunch box) factory.
The compact Duaro fits into spaces as small as 60 centimetres by 60 cm, easily able to replace humans working on assembly lines.
The robot can be rented for a six-month period for about 200,000 yen per month.
KHI isn’t the only company to rent out its units. A subsidiary of communications giant SoftBank Group Corp. began leasing the humanoid robot Pepper last July. The robot is rented out on a part-time basis for 1,500 yen an hour.
Pepper is capable of tasks such as passing out fliers. The model has been dispatched about 20 times every month.
According to The Drum, Mastercard has announced that it is powering the first commercial application of SoftBank’s humanoid robot Pepper, creating a service in Pizza Hut restaurants in Asia.
The idea is to reduce the friction and waiting time for customers, particularly in restaurants where high turnover is needed. Similarly, the data-led personalisation will theoretically help restaurants and stores add more value to each transaction by adding in additional sales.
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