Pick and place robot types: An easy guide

January 7, 2024
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So, what is a Pick and Place robot?

A Pick and Place robot is an automated system used to pick up and move objects from point A to point B. 

You can commonly see these robots on assembly lines, handling repetitive, headache-inducing tasks. 

Some of the most common uses for Pick and Place robots are: 

  • Picking up components and placing them onto boards or into housings during electronics assembly processes.
  • Loading and unloading parts for processing steps like machining, painting or packaging.
  • Stacking and sorting all types of finished goods. 

And, no matter the specific type you choose, Pick and Place robots skyrocket productivity, reduce costs, and improve quality and consistency. 

Plus, by taking over repetitive manual labor, they also create a safer work environment for employees. We’re talking about repetitive use injuries, serious accidents, and all manner of unwanted occurrences. 

And, while the upfront investment in automation may seem high ($2,000 to over $100,000), the long-term benefits to your business could be enormous.

So if you're looking for a way to streamline your assembly or material handling processes, a Pick and Place robot could be just what the doctor ordered. 

Luckily, the variety of options and configurations available means there's likely a model well-suited to your needs, and that’s what we’re here to help you with. 

Pick and Place robot types: the most common configurations

There are a few common Pick and Place robots out there. 

Here are the most commonly used ones: 

Cartesian robots

These classic Three-Axis robots move along the typical X, Y, and Z axes.

Their game is precise, linear movement, so you’ll often see them in assembly tasks that require pinpoint accuracy. 

This type of linear motion can zoom by at high speeds, quickly traveling long distances - even with a heavy payload. 

However, their range of motion is rather limited since they can only move in straight lines.

Delta robots

Delta robots, with their distinct spider-like resemblance, have parallelogram-shaped arms that enable swift, high-precision movement. They also possess a wide work envelope, ranging between 500 to 1500mm.

Therefore, these bots excel in quickly maneuvering objects, maintaining an impressive precision level throughout. Moreover, their unique design is great for quick adjustments and placements, enhancing their efficiency in pick and place applications. 

However, we have to note that their intricate structure often leads to higher costs and more thorough (read: expensive and time-consuming) integration processes. 

Despite these setbacks, advancements in technology are gradually introducing faster options within the realm of Delta robots - and with it the promise of higher speed and performance.

With a Four-Axis design, SCARA (or Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm) robots are pretty skillful.

Their large work envelope (sometimes over 1100mm) helps them reach around obstacles. The first two joints allow the arm to extend, retract, and rotate, while the last two joints provide a wrist-like motion for manipulating objects. 

SCARA robots excel at high-speed assembly and pick and place applications that require a much wider range of motion.

Six-Axis robots

The most modern of the Pick and Place robot types, Six-Axis or “6DOF” (Degrees Of Freedom) robots have the most flexibility, sometimes even exceeding human arms. 

They can rotate and pivot in 360 degrees, which gives them a full range of motion and the ability to grab onto objects from nearly any orientation. 

You’ll often see Six-Axis robots in complex assembly tasks, packaging, and loading/unloading operations where items may be in unpredictable positions or orientations. 

However, their complex design typically makes them slower and more expensive than other options. Mind you, faster options are becoming increasingly available.

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The main difference between Cartesian and other Pick and Place robot types 

We’ve already gone over the most common types of Pick and Place robots used in manufacturing and assembly processes.

But while they share some superficial similarities, there are a few important differences to bear in mind when determining which one you need to enhance your operations.

Here are the main differences you have to think about:

  • Work envelope and ROM Cartesian robots offer a larger cubic workspace, SCARA robots have a more limited cylindrical area, and Six-Axis robots typically have more versatility and range.
  • Payload capacity (aka weight): Cartesian robots can typically handle heavier payloads, up to several hundred kilograms. SCARA robots usually max out at around 10-20 kilograms. as do most Six-Axis robots. 
  • Accuracy matters: Cartesian robots can manage a very high degree of precision and repeatability due to their rigid linear structure. SCARA and Six-Axis robots may have slightly lower precision because of the nature of their rotary joints.
  • Speed: Cartesian robots are exceptional for high-speed pick and place applications, with some models reaching up to 10 m/s. SCARA and Six-Axis robots typically max out at around 5 meters per second.
  • Cost and footprint: SCARA and Six-Axis robots tend to be more affordable and compact. Some of them can even work alongside humans. On the other hand, Cartesian robots leave a larger footprint and require a higher initial investment - oftentimes requiring you to modify your shop floor as well.

Advantages and disadvantages of Pick and Place robot types

When choosing a Pick and Place robot for your application, each has its own pros and cons to keep in mind. 

Here’s a short list of the main advantages and disadvantages of Pick and Place robot types: 

Cartesian robots

We’ve already established the speed and efficiency of Cartesian Pick and Place bots. However, their rigid movements can limit their versatility, especially if you need more complex movements.


  • Highly accurate and repeatable
  • High payload
  • Mostly simple programming
  • Higher average cost


  • Less flexible and versatile than other bots
  • Limited to straight-line movements

SCARA robots


  • Very fast for picking and placing
  • Large work area coverage than Cartesian models
  • Very good payload capacity (but less so than Cartesian bots)
  • Lower average cost


  • Typically higher cost
  • More difficult to program due to higher degrees of freedom
  • Less rigid/repeatable than Cartesian robots

Delta Robots

The complex design of Delta robots typically makes them the most expensive type, but also the fastest for pick and place ops.


  • Fastest pick and place speed
  • Exceptionally large work area
  • Very high accuracy


  • Typically most expensive
  • Very challenging to program and integrate, often requiring specialized technicians
  • Higher maintenance requirements

Six-Axis robots

The unmatched flexibility of Six-Axis robots offers an extensive range of motion that surpasses many other robot types. 

This versatility allows them to handle complex tasks with multiple orientations and reach points, making them ideal for diverse applications. 


  • Top-of-the-line flexibility and range of motion
  • Ability to reach objects from various angles and positions
  • Suitable for intricate assembly tasks and unpredictable scenarios
  • Great at a wide range of tasks


  • Some models need complex programming due to their wide range of motion - although newer models don’t typically require programming knowledge
  • Varied precision levels based on design and complexity
  • Higher initial investment for the more advanced models

In the end, determining the optimal Pick and Place robot comes down to weighing up all of these factors and your budget. What’s virtually all but guaranteed is that there’s a perfect robot out there for your needs. 


These are the basics covering major Pick and Place robot types, but there are many more nuances to cover. We recommend browsing our “Industrial Pick and Place Robot Buyer's Guide” if you’re thinking about going even deeper down this rabbit hole and making a purchase. 

The good news is with technology advancing rapidly, so Pick and Place robots are becoming more affordable, flexible, and easier to program. The result is previously unthinkable access to the latest and greatest automation tools for businesses of all sizes.

Next Steps

Need a productivity game-changer? Look no further than Standard Bots' RO1 industrial Pick and Place robot, a top-tier choice for both burgeoning startups and established industrial giants.

  • Affordability without compromise. RO1, leading its category, delivers unmatched value at 50% of the cost of its competitors, without losing any quality.
  • Speed and power in a single package. Despite handling up to 18 kg in payload, the RO1 outpaces competitors in both speed and precision, ensuring extreme efficiency.
  • Built-in-safety. Precision-engineered with embedded safety sensors and collision detection, RO1 guarantees secure and dependable operations within your shop floor.

Hit up our solutions team today to set up a complimentary 30-day onsite trial and expert guidance on seamlessly integrating your new RO1 to your shop floor.

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