Everything you need to know about high-speed pick and place robots

February 27, 2024
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What is a high-speed Pick and Place robot?

A high-speed Pick and Place robot is an automated system designed to quickly grab and move objects with precision

These robots use robotic arms fitted with custom grippers to pick up components, parts or products and place them accurately at really high speeds. 

High-speed Pick and Place robots are engineered to operate at exceptional speeds, often exceeding 150 cycles per minute, compared to traditional robotic systems that might only perform around 30 to 60 cycles per minute. 

These advanced robots can handle delicate components with precision, placing them with accuracies within 0.1 mm. 

They are designed with lightweight materials and use sophisticated servo motors, which enable rapid acceleration and deceleration without compromising on accuracy or causing damage to the products.

Furthermore, their integration with high-resolution vision systems allows for the real time tracking and handling of objects at speeds that manual labor or conventional machinery just cannot match.

Benefits and applications of high-speed Pick and Place robots

  • Ideal for fast-paced, repetitive assembly tasks like electronic component assembly, product packaging, and loading/unloading operations. Achieves high throughput and minimal defect rates due to unparalleled speed and precision.
  • Operates continuously without breaks, significantly boosting productivity and reducing operational costs. Surpasses human capabilities in speed, endurance, and accuracy, enabling staff to focus on more complex tasks.
  • Requires initial investment but offers considerable long-term cost savings by minimizing waste and manual labor expenses. Enhances task precision and repeatability, reducing waste and rework costs.
  • Delivers consistently high-quality outcomes with minimal human error, ensuring tight tolerances and lower defect rates. Contributes to competitive advantage with higher yields and product quality.
  • Highly adaptable and reprogrammable for diverse tasks, facilitating easy production scaling and process adjustments. Offers manufacturing agility with minimal downtime for task switches or process changes. ​

How much does a high-speed Pick and Place robot cost?

The cost of a high-speed Pick and Place robot can vary a huge deal depending on its specifications and capabilities. 

First, you'll want to consider not just the initial purchase price of the robot arm, but also the additional costs like integration, end-of-arm tooling, and safety mechanisms.

Base robot arms typically start around $30,000 to $200,000 for a standard model with a decent payload and reach. Higher-performance arms with higher speed, precision, and customization can cost $250,000 or more

Now, some of the fastest Pick and Place robots on the market today boast cycle times under 0.15 seconds but come with a huge price tag of over $500,000.

Once you've picked your robot you'll need to integrate it into your production line and equip it with end-of-arm tooling suited to your needs – which could add $10,000 to $50,000 or more to your total cost depending on the complexity. 

You may also need to invest in safety mechanisms like light curtains, emergency stops, and protective fencing which can cost between $5,000 to $30,000 to implement.

Then, there are the additional costs, like maintenance fees, spare parts, and periodic software upgrades which are often needed to keep your bot in tip-top shape. to keep your robot operating at peak performance. 

Then, there’s the possibility of having to train your robot operators, which also depends on the robot’s complexity. 

The good news? Automation typically pays for itself in 1-3 years.

How to choose the right high-speed Pick and Place robot

The most important thing is determining how fast you need the robot to operate and how delicate the parts are that it will be handling.

Keep these factors in mind: 

  • Speed is necessary for maximizing throughput in high-volume production, with some robots capable of 60 picks per minute. However, the cost increases with speed, making it important to balance productivity with investment. Slower robots, achieving 10 to 30 picks per minute, may better fit lower-volume or budget-constrained operations.
  • Payload capacity varies significantly among robots, with some handling up to 10 kg for larger items and others designed for small, lightweight components at 1 to 3 kg. A robot's payload affects its power needs and price, making it a key consideration based on the weight of parts to be handled.
  • Accuracy and repeatability are critical when working with fragile or precise components, demanding more expensive, high-precision robots. For less sensitive parts, opting for a robot with lower accuracy might offer cost savings without sacrificing overall performance.
  • Ease of integration into existing production lines can vary, with some robots featuring user-friendly programming, simulation tools, and compatibility with existing systems. Robots that are simpler to integrate can significantly reduce initial setup costs and speed up the transition to operational status.
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The 3 best high speed Pick and Place robots 

RO1 by Standard Bots 

Standard Bots' RO1 joins the fray of high-speed Pick and Place robots, with impressive features and an attractive price tag. 

Features:

  • Payload capacity: 18 kg (39 lbs) - suitable for handling various objects.
  • Reach: 1.3 meters (51.2 inches) - offers an excellent working area.
  • Max joint speed: 435° per second - very fast movement
  • Degrees of freedom: 6 - allows for versatile manipulation.
  • Collaborative operation: Supports both collaborative and high-speed non-collaborative operation modes.
  • User-friendly interface: Intuitive touchscreen interface simplifies setup and operation.
  • Safety features: Includes speed & force limiting, collision detection, and other safety functions.
  • Compatibility: Compatible with various grippers and industrial communication protocols.

Price: Starting at half the price of its nearest competitors, and with a $5/hr lease model, it leads the pack in affordability and reliability. 

Denso HSR series

This line of robots may not be exactly the most well-known, but they’ve got the goods when it comes to delivering high-speed pick and place operations. 

Features:

  • Exceptional speed and precision: Offers cycle times as low as 0.33 seconds and repeatability of ±0.02 mm.
  • High payload capacity: Handles payloads up to 15 kg, suitable for various applications.
  • Compact and lightweight: Requires minimal space and is easy to integrate into existing lines.
  • Advanced vision system: Enables accurate object recognition and picking even in complex environments.
  • User-friendly programming: Simplifies setup and operation for users of all skill levels.

Price: Estimated starting price: Around $40,000 (may vary depending on configuration and options).

Yaskawa Motoman GP165R

Yaksawa almost needs no introduction for robotics enthusiasts, and their GP165R is a modern pick and place marvel. 

Features:

  • Popular choice for high-speed pick and place tasks.
  • Offers impressive speed and accuracy.
  • Handles payloads up to 165 kg.
  • Widely used in automotive, electronics, and food & beverage industries.

Price: Similar to the ABB IRB 660, the price of the Yaskawa Motoman GP165 varies depending on specific configurations and requirements. Estimates suggest a starting price range of around $25,000.

FAQs

How fast are high-speed pick-and-place robots?

High-speed Pick and Place robots can operate at up to 200 picks per minute, much faster than human workers. The fastest models use advanced vision systems and motion control to swiftly grab and place items with a high degree of accuracy.

What can high-speed Pick and Place robots handle?

These robots are designed to handle small parts, components, and packaged goods. They can pick up items as small as a grain of rice or as large as a shoebox with vacuum grippers or mechanical claws. Soft, fragile, and irregularly shaped goods may require specialized end-of-arm tooling.

How much do high-speed pick-and-place robots cost?

High-speed Pick and Place robots range from $50,000 up to $500,000 or more, depending on the speed, number of axes, payload, and options. Additional costs include programming, installation, integration, and safety mechanisms. For many manufacturers, the increased productivity and reduced labor costs provide a good return on investment.

Are high-speed pick-and-place robots difficult to program?

Modern high-speed Pick and Place robots feature intuitive programming interfaces that don't require advanced robotics knowledge. However, achieving fast, precise, and synchronized movement does require skilled integration and optimization. Most suppliers offer programming, installation, and training services to help get your robot line up and running as quickly as possible.

Can high-speed Pick and Place robots work alongside human workers?

Yes, with proper safeguarding and fencing, high-speed Pick and Place robots can work cooperatively with human workers – although Collaborative robots (or Cobots) don’t need these. Safety mechanisms like light curtains, emergency stops, and reduced speed/force modes help prevent collisions and injury. 

Many robot models also offer adjustable safety ratings so you can tailor their operation to specific applications. Proper training and clear communication are important to effective human-robot collaboration.

Summing up

From understanding how these amazing machines work to figuring out if investing in one is the right move for your production line, we covered all the bases about high-speed Pick and Place robots.

And with the top recommendations and tips for choosing the perfect bot for your needs, you're armed and ready to start automating – provided you’ve got the budget, that is!

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