Most robots today get produced in relatively low volumes while popular dish washer models get produced in high volumes. This means they use different manufacturing approaches. Amortized setup and tooling costs are much lower in high volume production. High volume production lines use a high level of automation so human labor costs are reduced. Inventory costs are also much lower for products that sell in high volumes. Finally, amortized research and development costs are much lower for products that sell in high volumes. All of these factors combined together lead to higher sticker price for robots that are produced in low volumes. For obvious reasons, robots with high sales volume are relatively inexpensive (e.g., iRobot Roomba and Lego Mindstorms).
- People make custom parts on their own, purchase standard parts, and assemble the robot.
- People buy pre-fabricated robot kits from suppliers and assemble robots.
- People purchase preassembled robots from the suppliers based on open source design.