Part-picking robots: What to know and where to get one

February 27, 2024
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What are Part-picking robots and how do they work?

Part-picking robots are automated machines designed to pick and place parts for assembly.

They use robotic arms and grippers to select parts from bins and trays, organize them, and transfer them to the assembly line – where humans or other robots finish the job. 

How do Part-picking robots work? 

Part-picking robots use end-of-arm tooling like suction cups, grippers, or vacuum pumps to grab parts.

They rely on machine vision systems and sensors to detect the orientation and position of parts in bins. The robot is pre-programmed with the optimal picking sequence to maximize efficiency.

These robots can determine the best path to grab and move parts by using sophisticated algorithms and 3D simulation software. They’re extremely accurate, with placement precision down to 0.1mm, and some can pick as many as 120 parts per minute.

The most common types are Cartesian coordinate robots, SCARA robots, and Six-Axis Articulated arm robots

Cartesian robots move in a linear X, Y, and Z motion, ideal for simple pick and place tasks;  SCARA robots have a cylindrical work envelope and are very fast, perfect for high-volume production; and Six-Axis robots are the most flexible – although all save for the most modern ones can be hard to program. 

5 use cases and applications for Part-picking robots

Part-picking robots are already being widely used across a huge range of industries. 

Check out how they’re doing, ranked from best to worst (we had to make it interesting):

  • They’re the danger: Part-picking robots take the lead in hazardous environments, where their deployment protects human workers from exposure to dangerous conditions such as toxic chemicals, extreme temperatures, and radioactive materials.

    For example, in chemical manufacturing or nuclear energy sectors, these robots handle tasks that pose significant health risks to humans, maximizing operational safety while keeping productivity soaring. 
  • Bye-bye to warehouse woes: In second place, Part-picking robots transform warehouse and distribution center operations. They automate tasks like moving inventory, fulfilling orders, and managing storage, significantly improving efficiency and accuracy. 

    An example includes e-commerce giants like Amazon using these robots to navigate vast warehouses, picking items for orders, and transporting goods between storage locations and shipping bays, which cuts down process times enormously. 
  • Machines befriending machines: Part-picking robots are very good at machine tending by loading raw materials into machines like CNC machines and injection molding machines, and unloading finished parts. This continuous operation maximizes efficiency and allows machines to run 24/7/365.

    In the automotive industry, for example, these robots tend machines that produce precision components, guaranteeing seamless production flows and nearly trivializing downtime. 
  • Your kit is ready: Ranking fourth, Part-picking robots streamline the kitting process by accurately gathering and grouping specific components into kits for assembly or sale. 

    In the electronics and medical device industries, robots assemble kits of components for products or surgical procedures, so that all necessary parts are delivered just in time and in the correct amounts, enhancing production efficiency and reducing inventory hold times.
  • Putting things together: Although incredibly beneficial, Part-picking robots in assembly line work rank fifth – but only compared to the above examples. They pick components and organize them for assembly, speeding up production lines and reducing errors. 

    Car manufacturers frequently use these robots (and have for years) for sorting and organizing automotive parts, enabling faster assembly with fewer mistakes.

    While essential for repetitive tasks and improving production rates, this application is somewhat more straightforward compared to the complexities and broader impacts of the other use cases.

All in all, the usefulness of Part-picking robots across a variety of industries pretty much speaks for itself. 

What should you keep in mind before buying a Part-picking robot?

Not so fast! While it may be tempting to go buying the first robot that you see on Google, there are several key factors you should consider before making a purchase. 

They are: 

  • Understanding the costs: Part-picking robots require a sizable initial investment, with prices starting around $30,000 and potentially exceeding $500,000 for more sophisticated systems. It's important to carefully assess your budget, including the total cost of ownership which encompasses maintenance, repairs, and software licensing fees over the robot's lifespan.
  • What will you be using it for? Evaluate how the robot will fit into your operations, especially if you're dealing with high-volume, repetitive tasks involving small parts. The feasibility and cost-effectiveness of automation can vary significantly based on the size and consistency of the parts you need the bot to handle. 
  • What’s the environment like? The success of integrating a Part-picking robot into your operations also depends on the work environment. Factors such as floor space, shelving, conveyance systems, lighting, and floor quality need to be considered so the robot can operate efficiently – and safely. 
  • Go with the right supplier: Research suppliers to find one with a strong track record in Part-picking applications. Look for companies that offer excellent customer service and support, and ask around about the possibility of a trial or demo in your facility.
  • Planning for staffing: While robots can automate repetitive and tedious tasks), human workers are still necessary for programming, operating, and maintaining these systems. Think hard about the impact of automation on your workforce and plan for necessary training and adjustments in job roles to ensure a smooth transition to working alongside robots.

Armed with these, it will be much easier to make an informed choice. Automating your Part-picking robot is a significant investment, but one that typically pays for itself in just 1-3 years! 

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Who are the top manufacturers of Part-picking robots?

It’s no surprise that in 2024, there’s a huge variety of Part-picking robot manufacturers making the rounds. 

While many already produce robots for assembly and packaging, Part-picking is a natural extension of their offerings. 

Some of the leaders in this space are:

Standard Bots

Emerging from the US, Standard Bots has quickly become a noteworthy player in the field of industrial robotics, despite being relatively new to the scene. 

Their pride and joy, RO1, a Collaborative robot (or Cobot), demonstrates exceptional proficiency in a variety of Part-picking tasks, as well as other jobs like Machine Tending, Palletizing, and quality control (QC). 

The RO1 sets itself apart with its highly adaptable nature and cost-effective price, capable of being tailored to fit the specific needs of different operations. 


ABB has been in the robotics game for a long time, and they’re also a leader in industrial automation

They produce a range of Part-Picking robots under their YuMi line. These Cobots are designed to work alongside humans and can handle the skilled tasks required for Part-picking. 

One thing going for ABB is experience; their Part-Picking robots are cutting-edge, fast, and as accurate as can be. 


If you’ve heard about robotics, it’s very likely that you know who FANUC is. 

Their robots are well-known for their high precision, reliability, and customization. FANUC produces a range of Part-Picking robots that use advanced machine vision to identify, pick, and place components quickly and accurately.

They have solutions for everything from basic pick and place to complicated bin picking where the robot must search a jumbled bin of parts to find the right one – like that perfect Lego piece when you were a kid. 

Summing up 

Now you know the ins and outs of Part-picking robots. From how they work to the top manufacturers, you're ready to find the right bot for you.

Remember: Keep all of the essential factors in mind as you search, like price, use case, environment, finding the right manufacturer, and staff training (to ensure an orderly transition to automation). 

Then watch your processes improve as this clever automation takes over repetitive tasks! 

Next steps

Looking to elevate your Part-picking capabilities? RO1 by Standard Bots is the premier choice for organizations across the spectrum, from nimble startups to sprawling industrial operations.

  • Cost-efficient greatness: RO1 leads the pack by delivering superior performance at a fraction of the price of its nearest rivals – 50% less, in fact!
  • Strong and accurate: With a best-in-class capacity of 18 kg, RO1 outshines competitors in both velocity and precision, making it a perfect match for part-picking needs.
  • Safe and dependable: Equipped with extensive safety measures, including state-of-the-art sensors and collision avoidance, RO1 guarantees the utmost safety for your Part-picking operations.

Connect with our solutions team for an obligation-free, 30-day trial in your workspace, complete with professional guidance for smooth RO1 integration into your part-picking routine.

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