How to choose an injection molding robot for your needs

August 24, 2023
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Types of Injection Molding robots and their capabilities

When choosing an Injection Molding robot, you've got a few options. The right one for you depends on the needs of your operation:

Articulated robots

Articulated robots have rotary joints that give them a high degree of flexibility and dexterity. The most common type is the Six-Axis robotic arm. They’re ideal for handling large, irregularly shaped parts or performing complex, post-processing assembly tasks. Depending on the model, their payload capacities can range from a few kilograms to over a thousand kilograms. However, they require more floor space than their counterparts and have a higher initial cost. It’s no wonder that Articulated robots have become the most popular choice for automating in the industry.

SCARA robots

SCARA (Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm) robots have two parallel rotary joints to provide motion in a horizontal plane. They’re fast, precise, and compact however are limited to tasks within their work envelope. Popular for high-speed pick and place, sorting, and post-processing assembly applications. These robots work very well within an environment where precision is the top priority. For high-volume production, a fast robot is essential; slower robots may bottleneck your process.

Cartesian robots

Cartesian robots (otherwise known as Gantry robots) have three linear joints that move along the X, Y, and Z axes. This robot typically moves in straight lines across tracks, which means it’s commonly used and placed in production lines such as pick-and-place operations, material handling and machining due to its precision and ability, which is crucial in injection molding. The robot must position parts accurately for post-processing steps like degating parts and finishing. However, they can only reach positions within their defined range of motion. Often a budget-friendly option, this makes an excellent choice for injection molding due to its accuracy, efficiency and versatility.

Collaborative robots

Collaborative robots, often referred to as "Cobots," are a type of Articulated robot designed to work alongside humans in a shared workspace. Unlike traditional industrial robots that are usually placed within protective cages or barriers to ensure human safety, Collaborative robots are built with features that allow them to safely interact with humans without posing a significant risk of injury. The concept behind Cobots is to facilitate cooperation and collaboration between humans and robots to enhance productivity and efficiency in various industries.

Important considerations when selecting an Injection Molding robot

When choosing an Injection Molding robot, there are several factors to keep in mind.

First, consider the robot’s speed and precision. The faster and more accurate the robot, the quicker it can complete molding unloading cycles and secondary, post-processing tasks like labeling or assembly. This cuts down operation time and costs. Slower, less precise robots may require more manual labor to finish the job, eliminating some of the benefits of automation.

Next, think about the robot’s size and weight. A lighter robot requires less space on the shop floor, and while heavier-duty robots may take up more space, this enables them to lift heavier parts with ease. Make sure the robot you choose is properly rated for the weights it will be expected to lift and move.

You'll also want to consider extras like robotic safety features or a robotic vision system, which is a technology that analyzes and interprets visual information from its surroundings. An example of this can be identifying defective parts it unloads from the Injection Molding machine. Collaborative Robots with built-in safety mechanisms like collision avoidance help prevent workplace accidents and injuries, which helps while collaborating with humans.

Finally, look at the major robot manufacturers and compare models. There are many brands that provide high-quality, reliable Injection Molding robots with a range of options to suit any need, so it’s best to do research. Consider the availability of local service and support when choosing your manufacturer. Robots require regular maintenance, repairs and software updates, so you’ll want to select a manufacturer who provides as much support with these tasks as possible.

By weighing these factors and determining which are most important for your specific application, you'll find an Injection Molding robot that maximizes productivity, minimizes costs, and helps ensure a safe working environment. The right robot can make all the difference in your factory's efficiency and bottom line.

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Essential end-effectors for Injection Molding robots

To properly handle Injection Molded robots, require specialized end-effectors, also known as end-of-arm tooling (EOAT) which attach at the end of a robotic arm. Its primary function is to interact with objects according to the robot’s main task. The most common types used in injection molding include:


Robotic grippers grasp and manipulate molded parts. They come in a variety of styles like parallel, angular, and circular grippers that can handle different part geometries. Most are pneumatically or electrically actuated and provide adjustable pressure control so they can securely grip parts without damaging them. Remember, the weight of the gripper you choose will be included in your robot's overall payload. Make sure your robot is able to handle the weight of your parts along with the weight of the end-effector.

Suction cups

For lifting and moving flat or oddly shaped parts, suction cups create a vacuum seal to grip, hold or manipulate objects. They allow robots to handle parts that would be difficult to grasp with mechanical grippers alone while being able to offer a gentle gripping mechanism suitable for lightweight or delicate objects.

Part extractors

Part extractors - also called part pullers - are used to remove parts from a mold. They slide between the part and mold to break the suction and pry the part loose so the robot can remove it. Extractors prevent damage to parts that stick in the mold, and provide a crucial role in streamlining production. 

Part placers

Part placers, or part inserters, are designed specifically for inserting parts into secondary processing equipment after the initial injection molding like decoration or assembly equipment. They provide precise part placement and orientation for automated post-molding tasks.

When choosing end-effectors for your Injection Molding robot, consider the shape, size, and number of parts you need to handle as well as any secondary processing required. 

Leading manufacturers of end-effectors for injection molding include OnRobot, Robotiq and Schmalz. They offer a range of standard and custom end-effectors to suit any injection molding application while being able to make specific recommendations on an end-effector for your application.

Leading manufacturers of Injection Molding robots

When choosing an Injection Molding robot for your factory, you have many options to consider from leading manufacturers. Some of the top brands are:


KUKA is a German company that produces the KR AGILUS series of Six-Axis robots often used for injection molding. The company has a rich history and a strong presence in the field of robotics and automation. Over the years, it has evolved from a small workshop to a global leader in robotics and automation technology. They are fast, precise and energy efficient. KUKA also offers their own robot controller and software to program the robots.


FANUC is a Japanese robotics company and one of the world’s largest manufacturers of industrial robots, including drilling robots. The company has a highly significant presence in the manufacturing and automation industry. FANUC robots are a popular, trusted choice for many.


ABB is a leading Swiss robotics corporation and supplier of industrial robots, including models designed specifically for drilling applications like the IRB 6700 family. The company operates globally and provides a wide range of products to various industries, including utilities, manufacturing, transportation and infrastructure.

Standard Bots

Standard Bots is a robotics manufacturer based in the United States and is a rising star in robotics. Their RO1 Six-Axis robot stands out for its remarkable flexibility, seamlessly integrating into most applications. Standard Bots are known for competitive pricing and a no-code programming interface which is easy to control and cost-effective to deploy.


Now you know about the types of Injection Molding robots, the leading manufacturers of these robots and also essential end-effectors to complete the setup, you’re ready to do your research and find a robot that best suits your production line. 

While the initial investment may seem costly, the long-term benefits to your business will make it well worth it. 

Next steps

‍Interested in bringing an Injection Molding robot to your own business? RO1 by Standard Bots is a great choice for machine shops 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. Integrated: RO1 comes equipped with built-in relays to control almost any machine on the market.

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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