The 3 best machine tending robots for any factory

February 6, 2024
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What are Machine Tending robots?

Machine Tending robots are automated machines designed to tend manufacturing equipment. 

Their job is to keep production running efficiently by loading and unloading parts, feeding raw materials, and handling finished components

Using Machine Tending robots virtually eliminates the need for human-machine operators and allows factories to run what’s called “lights-out manufacturing.”

The benefits? Robots that can run 24/7, don’t take time off, get injured, or get distracted and make mistakes. 

What should you look for in a Machine Tending robot?

Choosing a Machine Tending robot for your factory is more involved than saying “I want that one!” 

The most important things to look at are:

  • How much weight can the robot lift and move? You'll want a robot that can handle the size and weight of the parts and materials used in your manufacturing process.
  • How quickly can the robot move and operate? Faster robots mean higher productivity and output. Look for a robot with a fast cycle time that can keep up with the pace of your assembly line.
  • How easy is the robot to program and integrate into your existing systems? Look for a robot with intuitive programming that can be adapted to your specific needs; the easier it is to program, the less time it will take to get up and running.
  • Will the robot work with your current equipment and software? Make sure any robot you consider is compatible with the machines, conveyors, and other equipment it will be tending.

How much does the robot cost upfront and over its lifetime? Compare options at different price points to find one that fits your budget but still meets your needs; look at the total cost of ownership including maintenance, upgrades, and energy usage.

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The best Machine Tending robots for any factory

We’ll save you the endless hours of online scrolling and fretting over whether you’re making the right choice. We know buying a Machine Tending robot is a significant investment, so we’ve taken care of the hard part for you.

The top three options on the market today are:

RO1 by Standard Bots

This American-made, Six-Axis Industrial robot can handle machine tending and various manufacturing tasks like a champ.

With an amazing 18 kg payload and a 1.7-meter reach, RO1 can handle demanding applications without breaking a sweat (also: because it’s a robot). 

But RO1 shines in its user-friendliness. Forget coding; its intuitive touchscreen interface allows anyone to set up and operate the robot seamlessly

Plus, RO1 integrates flawlessly with a wide variety of accessories like conveyors and grippers, making it extremely versatile beyond plain ole’ machine tending. 

RO1's integrated vision camera allows for precise object recognition and manipulation, making it perfect for machine tending. 

As an added bonus, RO1 has excellent plug-and-play compatibility with most common industry tools, so it’s all about easy integration into existing workflows.

RO1 is a great choice for businesses that want to get into automation, or for huge companies that want an affordable, reliable, but still top-of-the-line contender that can stand toe to toe with any other robot in its class. 

FANUC R-2000iB/210F

The FANUC R-2000iB/210F can handle most machine tending challenges with ease. 

This heavy-duty robot boasts a 210 kg payload and 2.0m reach, effortlessly handling heavy parts and components. It’s also known for extremely high-speed performance which cuts down on cycle times and maximizes production output.

R-2000iB/210F is also designed specifically for machine tending, so it integrates seamlessly with CNC machines, presses, and other equipment. 

Its advanced features like collision detection and path planning ensure smooth and accurate operation, minimizing downtime and scrap.

R-2000iB/210F is made primarily with large industries in mind, so it’s perfect if you’re looking for high-volume machine tending solutions.

ABB IRB 6700

The ABB IRB 6700 combines power and precision for demanding machine tending applications. 

This Six-Axis robot, with a 150 kg payload and 2.8m reach, can tackle varied tasks, from heavy part handling to intricate tool changes.

With its high-performance drives and path optimization algorithms, the IRB 6700 delivers fast, accurate movements, which maximizes machine uptime and production efficiency. Its heavy-duty construction and integrated sensors virtually guarantee reliable operation in even the harshest industrial environments.

Targeting mid-range to large manufacturing facilities, the IRB 6700's versatility and precision make it a very good choice for various machine tending needs. 


How much do Machine Tending robots cost? 

Machine Tending robot prices can range from $50,000 up to $500,000 or more, depending on the payload, speed, programming, and other factors. 

In general, you can expect to pay:

  • $50,000 to $100,000 for a small robot with up to 50 kg payload and basic functionality. 
  • $100,000 to $250,000 for a mid-sized robot with 100-200 kg payload and more advanced programming options. 
  • $250,000 and up for large, high-speed robots with payloads over 200 kg and sophisticated programming for complex machine tending applications. 

What machines is a Machine Tending robot compatible with? 

The specific machines a robot can tend depends on its specifications and programming. In general, most standard Industrial robots can handle basic machine tending for:

  • CNC machines (lathes, mills, grinders, etc.)
  • Injection molding machines
  • Packaging equipment (sealers, labelers, palletizers, etc.)
  • Assembly stations

The most important part is to choose a robot with the appropriate payload, reach, speed, and programming options for your specific machines and applications. 

Most robot makers worth their salt offer application-specific programming and tooling to optimize robot performance for common tasks like CNC machine tending or injection molding.

Summing up

Machine Tending robots can boost efficiency, productivity, and overall throughput in machine shops big and small. But you shouldn’t get over-excited and go buying the first one that appears online.

Machine Tending robots are a significant investment, but if you do it right, the ROI is between 1-3 years, so it’s definitely worth it to take the plunge!

Next steps

RO1, the affordable, high-performance Six-Axis robot arm, is here to kickstart your automated machine tending, big or small.

  • Cost champion: Ditch sky-high automation costs. RO1 undercuts competitors by nearly 50%, making efficient tending accessible to every shop floor. Boost your output without going over budget. 
  • Precision master tending: Forget sluggish, error-prone robots. RO1 is a blur of accuracy and speed, effortlessly handling even heavy parts with its 18 kg payload. 
  • No-code, ready to go: Eliminate integration headaches. RO1 seamlessly integrates with your existing equipment. Built-in relays control virtually any machine, and plug-and-play compatibility makes setup a breeze. Experience pure robotic efficiency with no programming knowledge required. 

Take a free 30-day test drive and let RO1 transform your machine tending firsthand. Our experts will guide you every step of the way, unlocking RO1's full potential for your operations.

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