With labor shortage and the need for consistent, round-the-clock cleanliness and hygiene, cleaning robots are increasingly adopted and deployed to augment existing human cleaners in the cleaning regime.
During 2020, the number of disinfection robot offerings introduced to the healthcare and built environment markets rose steeply. The urgent need to contain viral infections pushed many non-medical robotics firms to pivot, design and produce disinfection robots that can join the frontline battle against the coronavirus.
The most common cleaning robots we can encounter in built environments today are typically the floor-cleaning robots and the disinfection robots. Floor-cleaning robots are usually autonomous and perform vacuuming, mopping and scrubbing actions on floor surfaces within a pre-specified path or region. Disinfection robots may be autonomous or wheeled (requires human guidance) and typically perform disinfection either via UV-C irradiation or chemical spray.
Other types of cleaning robots are beginning to emerge as well, such as robots that clean the facade and externally-facing windows, robots that clean the restroom and robots that clean mounted solar panels to improve efficiency.
In general, the business models for robots in the cleaning industry are (1) CAPEX (capital expenditure) purchase with annual 10-15% maintenance fees and (2) leasing contracts or some form of RaaS (Robot-as-a-Service) subscription.
Floor-cleaning robots — For example, in the market for floor-cleaning robots, the upfront CAPEX can be in the range of US$25,000 — $60,000 per robot, depending on features and order volume. The Avidbot Neo is estimated to cost around US$50,000 in upfront expenditure per robot with an additional servicing package costing US$6,000 per robot per year.
In terms of leasing costs, the monthly price point tends to hover around the amortization of the cost price of the robots over a 24-month to 36-month period. The office-cleaning robot Whiz from Softbank Robotics can be leased at US$499 per month.while the Lionsbot suite of larger, industrial floor-cleaning robots have a leasing cost of around US1,000-$1,600 per month.
UVC/spray disinfection robots — There are a whole range of considerations and features differences between the various disinfection robots, which are expected to cost around US$40,000 to US$150,000 per robot in upfront costs alone. The Xenex LightStrike is estimated to cost around US$80,000 while the Tru-D SmartUVC system is estimated to cost US$120,000 to US$130,000.
Restroom-cleaning robots -The RaaS subscription for the SOMATIC restroom cleaning robot is priced at US$1,000 per month for an 8-hour per day or 40-hour per week usage.
Facade cleaning robots — The upfront purchase price for facade-cleaning robots can range from US$100,000 to US$200,000 per robot system. The Serbot suite of facade-cleaning robots are on the CAPEX model and cost 180,000 euros or around US$202,000 per robot. There are also other solution providers that provide a Robot-as-a-Service price of US$8,000 to US$20,000 per cleaning cycle or cleaning service.
Solar panel cleaning robots — Depending on size and performance, solar panel cleaning robots can cost as low as a few thousand dollars in retail to US$100,000 for larger, higher-end models in terms of upfront expenditure. The SERBOT pvEco robot is estimated to cost around 13,560 euros (or US$15,000) while its pvClean version costs around 24,680 euros (or US$27,700). The basic version of the GEKKO Solar Robot costs around 61,280 euros (US$68,900) while its premium model costs 78,768 euros (US$88,560).