Deburring robot buyer's guide: How to choose

July 28, 2023
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Types of Polishing robots: Cartesian, SCARA, Six-Axis, and Collaborative

Let’s start with the basics — when choosing a robot for deburring and polishing applications, you have several options to consider based on your needs.

Cartesian robots

Cartesian robots, sometimes known as gantry bots, move in linear tracks, allowing precise control of movement. They are often used for deburring flat surfaces or edges. Cartesian Deburring robots require a large footprint but are very rigid, enabling high accuracy. In this case, end-effectors with abrasive disks or belts are commonly used.

SCARA robots

SCARA (Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm) robots have jointed arms that can rotate on multiple axes, ideal for polishing curved surfaces. They have a smaller coverage area than Cartesian robots but a wider range of motion. SCARA robots require abrasive end-effectors like flap wheels, flap disks, and sanding sponges to deburr most surfaces.

Six-Axis robots

Six-Axis or Articulated Arm robots offer the greatest flexibility of movement for complex deburring tasks. They can deburr nearly any surface and reach any tight space provided they have the right end-effector. However, they typically require more programming to operate and have a larger footprint. A wide range of abrasives such as disks, belts, brushes, and buffing wheels can be used as end-effectors.

Collaborative robots

Collaborative or “Cobot” robots are not a unique type of robot but rather are a category of the above robot types, designed to work alongside humans safely without the need for external safety equipment. They are ideal for small-scale deburring and polishing applications where space is limited or busy cells where human operators need to work in close proximity. 

Cobots typically have payloads under 10 kg, requiring lighter-duty end-effectors — though some like RO1 can heave payloads as large as 18 kg. While Cobots offer flexibility, their limited power may not suit heavy stock removal needs.

With many options available, consider your production needs, workpiece specifics, floorspace constraints, and safety requirements when choosing a Polishing robot. The right choice can streamline your finishing processes for maximum efficiency.

Deburring applications and end-effectors: Grinding, Buffing, and Lapping

So you need a robot that can handle deburring and surface finishing tasks, but are not sure where to start? There are a few things to consider to find the right bot for the job. First is knowing what types of applications you need it to perform. 

  • Robotic grinding is good for the removal of excess weld material, edge breaking, and heavy stock removal. A robot with a heavy payload or strong mechanical force output is the most important factor.
  • Robotic buffing produces smooth, shiny surfaces. It's ideal for polishing, burnishing, and coloring. A robot with a circular range of motion, such as a Six-Axis or SCARA robot is ideal here.
  • Robotic lapping provides precision surface finishing for close tolerances. It's useful for planarity, parallelism, and achieving specific surface roughness. A robot with a precise level of repeatability is the best choice.

For deburring applications, the most important factor is force sensitivity — in other words — the ability of your robot to control the exact level of force it is exerting upon the workpiece. Unlike humans, properly-specified Deburring robots can maintain a consistent force 24/7 and ensure a quality, consistent finish. Without a force sensor or correct programming, they can easily exert super-human deburring strength and damage parts.

Major Deburring robot manufacturers

Major manufacturers of Deburring robots include FANUC, ABB, KUKA, Standard Bots, amongst others. Between them, they offer a range of robot models suitable for different payloads, reaches, and production environments.

Each has its strengths, so evaluate your needs and priorities to determine the best fit.


FANUC is a Japanese leader in industrial robotics, including deburring and polishing. Their robots are fast, precise, and built to handle demanding 24/7 production environments. Models like the FANUC M-20iA and M-710iC can perform a variety of deburring tasks with the proper end-effectors and tooling. Reliability and low maintenance are hallmarks of FANUC robots.


ABB is another industry leader, based in Switzerland and offers a range of Deburring robots like the IRB 1200 and IRB 6700. ABB robots are well-suited for high-speed, high-volume deburring. They work with a variety of abrasives, polishes, and other surface finishing compounds. ABB also provides solutions for programming, integrating, and optimizing their robots. If fast cycle times and maximum throughputs are priorities, ABB is an excellent choice.


KUKA specializes in versatile, flexible Industrial robots, including many models capable of deburring and surface finishing. Their KR AGILUS series, for example, can handle light to medium duty deburring tasks. KUKA's robots are easy to program and integrate, with options for various kinematic systems to suit different needs. They are a good, affordable option for many deburring applications.

Standard Bots

Standard Bots are a US-based robotics manufacturer. Their RO1 Six-Axis robot is well-suited to most deburring applications and the company is well-known for its competitive pricing, advanced no-code programming, and vision systems. All of their robots are manufactured in the US and come with plug-and-play compatibility with OnRobot end-of-arm-tooling. Standard Bots are a great choice for high-mix shops and affordable deployments.

No matter the specific requirements or budget, one of these leading robotics companies likely has a solution. Each manufacturer will be able to advise you on the best end-effector pairings and force-sensing solutions.

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Considerations when selecting an Industrial Polishing robot

When choosing an industrial Deburring robot, there are a few key factors to consider:

The type of deburring required: Do you need a robot that can handle buffing, grinding, lapping, or some combination? Robots designed for heavy deburring and surface finishing may not be ideal for high-precision polishing. Determine the level of precision and finish quality needed for your application.

Workpiece size and material: Deburring robots come in a range of sizes and arm reaches to handle different workpieces. They also have end-effectors suited for specific materials such as metal, wood, plastic or stone. Make sure the robot and end-effector combo you choose can properly handle the material and dimensions of your workpieces.

Ease of programming: Some Deburring robots are easy to program with simple no-code interfaces, while others require more complex programming skills. Consider your technical expertise and available resources to operate the robot. Easier programming means faster setup and swift retooling for high-mix manufacturing.

Speed and productivity: Deburring robots with higher axis speeds, more powerful motors, and optimized arm kinematics can achieve higher throughput. Choose a robot with enough speed and power to meet your production demands.

Budget: Prices for robotic deburrers can range from under $45,000 up to $500,000 or more for large, high-performance or multi-robot systems. Determine your budget constraints and find options that provide good value at your price point.

Major Industrial robot manufacturers like FANUC, ABB, KUKA and Standard Bots all offer Polishing and Deburring robots in a range of sizes, speeds and price points. Comparing the available options from different suppliers is the best way to determine which robot is the optimal choice based on your needs and budget. The right Deburring robot can help ensure a high-quality finish and increased productivity for your operation.

FAQ about Deburring robots

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we hear about Deburring robots to help you in your search for the right robot.

How much does Deburring robots cost?

Deburring robot prices can range from under $45,000 up to $500,000 or more, depending on the robot model, number of axes, payload capacity, end-effector tools, and level of automation. In general, you can expect to pay between $30,000 to $70,000 for an entry-level five or Six-Axis robot with basic end-effectors, and tooling. The total cost will also depend on any additional equipment like conveyors, part fixtures, safety enclosures, and integration fees. Newer suppliers like Standard Bots can deburr from as little as $5/hour.

What types of parts can Deburring robots polish?

Deburring robots can polish, grind, and otherwise finish a wide variety of parts across many industries like automotive, aerospace, general manufacturing, and heavy machinery. The most common parts include castings, stampings, and machined parts like valves or pistons, sheet metal, and injection molded components. The specific geometry, material, and features of your parts will determine the appropriate end-effectors and tooling.

How do I choose the right robot for my needs?

When selecting a Deburring robot, consider the following:

  • Payload capacity: Choose a robot that can handle the weights of your largest parts including fixtures.
  • Number of axes: More axes provide greater flexibility and range of motion. Four to six axes are typical for most deburring applications.
  • Accuracy and repeatability: For precision surface finishing, higher accuracy and repeatability are required. Look for a repeatability level within fractions of a millimeter. 
  • Speed and acceleration: Faster robots can increase throughput, but higher speeds also reduce accuracy and control. Find the right balance for your needs.
  • Workspace: Select a robot with an adequate work envelope for your parts. Also, consider space for loading/unloading stations and operator access.
  • End-effectors: Choose end-effectors, abrasives and tooling specifically designed for your parts and surface finishing operations. Compatibility with the robot brand is essential and your manufacturer of choice will be able to make a recommendation.
  • Ease of use: Look for a robot with intuitive programming software or teach pendants for quicker setup and retooling. This reduces reliance on robotics experts and programmers.

Next steps

You have a lot of options when it comes to Deburring robots. By thinking through what types of parts you need to finish and how fast you need to get the job done, you can find a robot that is perfect for your needs. Whether you go with a multi-purpose robot that can handle a range of tasks or a specialized model built for high-volume, consistent finishing, make sure to consider how precise and consistent you need the results to be. 

And don't forget about the end-effectors — they're just as important as the robot itself. With some research into the leading manufacturers and models, you'll be deburring in no time!

Interested in bringing a Deburring robot to your own business? RO1 by Standard Bots is the best choice for manufacturers large and small:

  1. Affordable: RO1 is the most affordable robotic arm in its class, starting at almost half the price of incumbent competitors. 
  2. Powerful: RO1 is faster and more precise than competitors, despite having the highest payload capacity in its class at 18 kg.
  3. Collaborative: RO1 comes equipped with safety sensors and built-in collision detection, for safe operation anywhere on your shop floor.

Speak to our solutions team today to organize a free, 30-day onsite trial and get expert advice on everything you need to deploy your first robot.

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