Deburring robot basics: A primer for manufacturers

July 13, 2023
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What are Deburring robots and how do they work?

Deburring robots are automated machines that polish and smooth metal parts. They use abrasive tools like grinders and sanders to remove burrs, sharp edges, and excess material from components after machining.

Typically, these robots will take the form of robotic arms fitted with the necessary deburring and polishing tools (or “end-effectors”) based on programmed instructions. The robot is positioned over the workpiece, lowers its arm, and begins moving the tool over the area that needs deburring. As it moves, it applies consistent pressure and RPMs to efficiently smooth and finish the surface.

Deburring robots typically require little supervision - One operator can easily oversee multiple robots within a cell. Robots can be paired with accessories like a conveyor to deliver parts for deburring or be equipped with a dual end-effector like the OnRobot Dual Changer, allowing them to switch between a deburring tool and a gripper to pick and place their parts.

Given the dangers associated with deburring, for most applications, we recommend a Collaborative robot (or “Cobot”) like our own RO1, which comes with built-in safety features like advanced collision detection and emergency stopping.

The benefits of automated Deburring robots

Now that we’ve defined what Deburring robots are, let’s look at the benefits of bringing automated Deburring robots into your factory. Here are some of the major benefits you can expect:

  • Increased productivity. Deburring robots can handle repetitive tasks efficiently 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without breaks. This allows you to increase output, run overnight with reduced labor costs and meet tight deadlines.
  • Improved quality. Robotic deburring systems provide consistent, high-quality results with precision which human workers struggle to achieve, especially on long shifts. This also reduces scrap and rework rates.
  • A safer work environment. Automating hazardous deburring tasks eliminates the risks of injury associated with handling heavy or sharp parts, or exposure to harsh chemicals and abrasives. This creates a safer, healthier environment for your employees.
  • Cost savings. Although Deburring robots have significant upfront costs, they can save you money in the long run through reduced labor costs, less scrappage, and fewer workplace incidents. Thanks to their consistency, they also tend to increase the lifespan of abrasives by 30% or more. The increased throughput can also allow you to take on more work without adding additional shifts.
  • Flexibility. Modern Deburring robots are highly programmable and can be redeployed for different parts and processes quickly and with little downtime, an especially useful capability in high-mix shops... As your production needs change, the robots can adapt right along with you.

By introducing Deburring robots, you're investing in the future of your business through streamlined processes, lower costs, and improved competitiveness. Your factory will become a safer, more productive, and more profitable place to work as a result of increased automation. The transition may require an adjustment period, but the long-term benefits to your company and employees will make the investment in robotics well worth the effort.

Common applications of Deburring robots

Once you've invested in Deburring robots, it's time to put them to work. These automated systems can handle many common manufacturing applications with speed and precision. Let’s look at some of the most common tasks Deburring robots are equipped to handle:

Polishing and finishing

Deburring robots excel at polishing and finishing metal parts to a smooth, burr-free surface. They can polish surfaces, round edges, and smooth welds on parts like automotive components, medical devices, and aerospace parts. With the proper abrasives and polishing end-effector, Deburring robots can achieve a high-quality mirror finish every time.

Edge radiusing

To prevent sharp edges from cutting workers or damaging parts, Deburring robots are adept at rounding edges through a process called edge radiusing. They use rotary files, abrasive disks, and other tools to contour and shape edges to a specified radius. This helps make parts safer to handle and can improve part fit during assembly.

Weld cleaning

For parts with welded joints, Deburring robots clean and finish weld seams through grinding, sanding, and polishing. They smooth weld surfaces, remove excess weld material, and blend the weld into the surrounding surface. Weld cleaning helps improve the appearance and functionality of welded parts. If you want to automate your welding process, take a look at our handy guide here.

Surface finishing

Beyond polishing, Deburring robots can perform other surface finishing operations like sanding, grinding, brushing, and etching. They manipulate a variety of abrasive and finishing tools to uniformly treat and texture part surfaces. This provides an attractive finish, creates a keying surface for coatings like paint, and can modify surface properties like friction.

How to choose the right Deburring robot for your factory

Choosing the right Deburring robot for your factory is an important decision. The robot you select should match your production needs and work well in your space. Here are some factors to consider:

Type of Deburring

  • Do you need a robot for edge deburring, surface finishing, or polishing? Robots designed for edge deburring will have different end-effectors and specifications than those for surface finishing.
  • What materials do you need to deburr or polish? Robots that can handle hard metals may be overpowered by softer materials. Look for robots rated for your specific materials and consider the size and actuation source (e.g. pneumatic, electric, hydraulic etc) of your end-effector.

Production volume

  • How many parts do you need to deburr in a shift or day? Higher volume applications will require a robot with a faster cycle time so it can keep up with demand. Slower, more intricate deburring may require a robot focused on precision over speed. Keep in mind that cycle times can be optimized with proper programming.

Part size and shape

  • Are your parts large or small? Flat or contoured? The robot’s reach, number of axes, and available end-effectors will depend on the part size and geometry. Larger parts typically require a robot with a longer reach and more axes of movement. For most applications, we recommend a six-axis robot like RO1.

Ease of integration

  • How easily can the robot be integrated into your existing production line? Look for a robot with simple programming, tool-less end-effector changes, and a compact footprint to simplify installation and setup. The easier a robot is to integrate, the faster you'll be up and running.


  • How much can you budget for a Deburring robot solution? Robot prices vary widely based on the factors above. Define your needs first so you can find a robot that is fit for purpose and affordable.

By evaluating these key points, you'll find a Deburring robot perfect for your factory's needs and budget. The right robot can help streamline your production, reduce costs, and improve quality.

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Getting started with Deburring robots: Implementation and training tips

Planning and preparation

The key to successfully implementing Deburring robots in your factory is careful planning and preparation. Take time to evaluate how they will integrate into your current operations and assembly line workflow. Think about:

  • Where the robots will be placed for optimal efficiency
  • How parts will be loaded and unloaded
  • Programming the robots with the proper deburring techniques for each part
  • Training staff to properly maintain and oversee the robots

Implementation in stages

Don't try to introduce all your Deburring robots at once. Start with a pilot program using one or two robots to polish a small batch of parts. Get staff accustomed to working with them and make any necessary adjustments before expanding. This phased approach will minimize disruption and allow you to scale up at your own pace.

Initial training for staff

While Deburring robots are designed to function automatically with little human intervention, your staff still needs to be properly trained to maximize their potential. Key things to cover in initial training include:

  • Basic programming to suit your specific parts and Deburring needs. For the easiest learning curve, choose a robot with no-code programming abilities 
  • Loading/unloading parts
  • Changing abrasives or pads (Note that some end-effectors, like the OnRobot Sander, come with built-in grit-changers)
  • Safety procedures for working near active robots
  • Performing routine maintenance like lubricating joints and checking for any signs of wear or damage
  • Troubleshooting minor errors and glitches to minimize downtime

With some careful planning, implementation in stages, and initial training for your staff, Deburring robots can be a seamless addition to your assembly line. Start with a pilot program and provide ongoing opportunities for feedback and guidance as your team gets accustomed to working with their new automated helpers.


That covers the basics of Deburring robots. They may seem like a big investment upfront, but the long-term gains in productivity, quality, and employee safety can make them worth it for many manufacturers. If you’re ready to take your factory to the next level of automation and efficiency, Deburring robots is an exciting new frontier. Start researching different models and talking to vendors to find options that suit your needs and budget. Before you know it, you’ll have shiny new robots polishing parts and keeping your employees’ hands safe. The future of manufacturing is here - are you ready to embrace it?

Next steps

Interested in bringing robotic Deburring to your own business? RO1 by Standard Bots is the best choice for factories 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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