Choosing the right Manufacturing robots for your needs

July 13, 2023
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What are Manufacturing robots and what can they do?

Manufacturing robots are machines which can perform repetitive tasks with speed, precision, and consistency. They're ideal for hazardous or tedious jobs humans can’t or don’t want to do. Robots can:

  • Assemble products with intricate components like electronics or medical devices.
  • Handle heavy, awkward or dangerous materials without risking worker injury.
  • Work continuously without breaks.
  • Improve productivity and quality.

When choosing a robot, consider your needs and budget. Options range from simple pick-and-place robots which will repeatedly move objects from one location to another, to sophisticated robots with vision systems and machine learning capabilities which can see, think and make decisions.

  • Articulated robots, most commonly found in the form of a Six-Axis robotic arm, have multiple joints and can handle complex assembly. They offer flexibility but at a higher cost.
  • Cartesian or linear robots move along an X, Y, and Z axis, good for simple pick and place or dispensing applications. More affordable but less flexible. Often, these robots are attached to a ceiling gantry and follow a predetermined track, freeing up space on your shop floor.
  • SCARA (Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm) robots have two parallel axes and are ideal for assembly and packaging. They provide speed and precision at a lower cost than Articulated robots.
  • Collaborative robots or "Cobots" work safely alongside humans. They tend to be smaller than non-collaborative peers but are endlessly flexible, easy to program and inexpensive. Great for small assembly tasks.

Leading robotics companies include FANUC, Yaskawa, ABB, Standard Bots and Universal Robots. Research each vendor and their various models to determine what best suits your needs and budget. With the variety of options available, there’s likely a robot that can help optimize your manufacturing operations. The future is automated, so start exploring how robotics can benefit your business today!

7 key considerations when choosing a Manufacturing robot

Choosing the right Manufacturing robot is a big decision. These advanced machines can streamline your operations and boost productivity, but only if you select one that truly fits your needs. Here are six key things to consider:

  • Application and task. What exactly do you want the robot to do? Assembly, welding, painting, packaging and palletizing are common use cases in a manufacturing environment. Some robots are designed for specific applications, while others are more flexible. Think about the precise movements and tasks required.
  • End-Effector: End-effectors, or “grippers”, refer to the device attached to the end of your robot which allows it to carry out a given task. This can range from a simple jaw gripper to complex, single-task end-effectors like a drill, a sander or even a glue gun. 
  • Payload and reach. Payload refers to the maximum weight a robot can lift and move, while reach indicates how far it can extend to access its working area. Make sure any robot you're considering can handle the necessary payloads and has a suitable reach for your facility layout and production line. Remember, the payload will include the weight of your selected end-effector.
  • Environment. Consider the environment the robot will operate in. Some are rated for clean rooms, some for outdoor use, and others for hazardous locations with flammable materials or chemicals. Choose a robot that is properly sealed and rated for your specific environment. If your robot is going to be working around humans, you may want to use a Collaborative Robot which has built-in safety features like automatic collision detection.
  • Mobility. Will your robot remain in a stationary position while working? If you need a robot that can move between multiple workstations, look at wheeled, rail-mounted or Autonomous Mobile robots. Fixed-base robots are cheaper but stationary. Decide if the added cost of mobility and the additional complexity of programming is worth the increased flexibility. For most applications, a stationary robot with a movable base is the right balance of mobility, flexibility and cost.
  • Interfaces. How will the robot interface with other equipment like conveyors, presses or quality control systems? Check that it offers the necessary interfaces, software and programming capabilities to properly integrate with your other manufacturing machinery. Complex integrations can quickly rack up initial investment costs.
  • Budget. Of course, budget is always a consideration. Robot prices can range from $25,000 up to $500,000 or more for large, high-precision or heavy-payload units. Compare prices and capabilities to find an option that gives you the best value for your investment.

With some upfront evaluation of your needs and options, you can choose a Manufacturing robot that will help take your operations to the next level of efficiency and productivity. The right robot is out there, you just have to find it!

Top 4 Manufacturing robotics companies


ABB is one of the world’s largest robotics manufacturers, based out of Switzerland and producing over 300,000 robots installed worldwide. Their robotics division provides Manufacturing robots for tasks like welding, material handling, assembly, and packaging. Some of their most popular models are the IRB 6700, IRB 4600, and YuMi.

YuMi is ABB’s collaborative dual-arm robot designed to work safely alongside humans. It’s ideal for small parts assembly, testing and sorting, and light industrial processes. The IRB 6700 is ABB’s largest robot, designed for heavy-duty applications like automotive body construction, aerospace part handling, and die casting. The IRB 4600 is ABB’s most versatile and widely used robot, suitable for a range of industrial tasks at a lower price point.


FANUC is a Japanese pioneer in industrial automation and robotics. They produce over 500 robot models used for tasks such as welding, painting, assembly, pick and place, palletizing, and packaging. Their robots are used extensively in the automotive industry but are also popular for general industrial automation.

Some of FANUC’s most popular robotics include the R-2000iC, M-20iA, and LR Mate series. The R-2000iC is FANUC’s flagship robot, offering high performance and reliability for heavy-duty jobs. The M-20iA and M-10iA are smaller, table-top robots ideal for compact workspaces. FANUC’s LR Mate series offers collaborative lightweight robots for work alongside humans. They have payloads up to 35 kg and 6 axes of motion.


Germany-based KUKA is one of the biggest robotics companies globally, with over 200,000 robots installed. They produce Industrial robots for manufacturing automation, especially in the automotive industry. However, their robots are also used in general industry, healthcare, consumer goods, and more.

Some of KUKA's most well-known robots are the KR Quantec, KR Cybertech, and LBR iiwa. The KR Quantec is KUKA’s heavy-duty robot, capable of lifting up 1,300 kg. The KR Cybertech is Kuka's precise, fast, and compact robot. The LBR iiwa is KUKA’s lightweight Collaborative robot, designed to work directly with humans. It has 7 axes of movement and haptic sensors to detect contact with people or objects.

Standard Bots

Standard Bots is headquartered in New York and builds each of its robots in a US-based facility. While Standard Bots is much younger than the incumbents mentioned above, they have quickly established themselves as a go-to choice for manufacturers with CNC milling, machine tending and welding requirements.

Their flagship robot, RO1, is capable of lifting 18 kg - a heavier payload than any other robot in its class - as well as moving faster and more precisely than competitors. Despite this, RO1 starts from $5/hour and is programmable without any prior coding knowledge.

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The future of Manufacturing robots: Trends to watch

The robotics industry is constantly innovating. Several trends are shaping the future of Manufacturing robots and how they’ll be used on factory floors and in warehouses. Paying attention to these trends may help you decide on the best time to adopt robotic technologies in your factory. 

Increasing AI and machine learning

Robots are getting “smarter” thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning. AI gives robots the ability to learn from experiences, recognize patterns, adapt to new situations and make complex decisions without being explicitly programmed. This could allow robots to perform more dexterous tasks or complex, multi-step routines which currently require human workers.

Collaboration between humans and robots

As robots become more intelligent, they’ll work more closely with human employees in a collaborative fashion. Cobots, or Collaborative robots, are designed to safely work alongside people. They can take over repetitive and physically demanding tasks, freeing up humans to focus on more creative jobs. This human-robot partnership will become more seamless and sophisticated over time.

Widespread adoption of robotics

Robots are getting more affordable, flexible and easier to use, enabling more companies to adopt automation. Small manufacturers that previously couldn’t afford robotics now have access to low-cost Collaborative robots and robotics-as-a-service models. As adoption spreads, robots will become crucial components of manufacturing and logistics, transforming factories and warehouses of all sizes.

Mobile and autonomous robots

Stationary robots fixed in one location will become less common. Mobile robots with wheels or tracks can move freely around facilities, automatically transporting materials and finished goods between workstations. Autonomous mobile robots don’t require any infrastructure changes and can be deployed quickly. They offer greater flexibility and scalability than traditional fixed automation systems. Some mobile robots can even work collaboratively in fleets to accomplish complex tasks.

The future is bright for Manufacturing robotics - keeping up with the latest trends and technologies will help ensure you choose robots that meet your needs both now and for years to come. The right robots, combined with a skilled workforce, will drive greater productivity, efficiency and competitiveness in manufacturing.

Further reading

Considering adopting robotics for your production line? Read some of our guides to choosing and implementing a robot for specific applications:


So there you have it - an overview of what's out there in the world of Manufacturing robots and how to choose the right one for your needs. The options can seem overwhelming at first, but by focusing on your key priorities like cost, precision, payload capacity or speed and then evaluating the leading robotics companies that meet your needs, you'll be automating your factory floor in no time. The increased productivity, quality and safety will make the investment in a new robot arm or mobile robot worth every penny.

The future is automated - will you be left behind? Take that first step and start researching your robotics options today. The robots are ready to work for you!

Next steps

Interested in bringing robots to your own manufacturing 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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