The Industrial Pick and Place robot buyer's guide

December 21, 2023
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Robotic arms ABCs

A robotic arm is an automated system designed to grasp and move objects quickly and precisely. While this may seem futuristic, assembly lines commonly use these robots day in and day out. Moreover, they can also aid other types of operations—such as logistics—if they’re fitted with the right mechanisms and programs. 

Let's break down their key components:

  • End-effectors: These are the gripping mechanisms that attach to the robot's arm and allow it to grasp and hold objects. Different types of end-effectors include vacuum grippers for smooth objects, force-controlled grippers for objects of various shapes and sizes, and magnetic grippers for ferrous objects with magnetic surfaces.
  • Joints: These are the flexible connectors that allow the robot's arm to move and maneuver. The number and type of joints determine the arm’s range of motion and overall dexterity.
  • Motors: They drive the robot’s movement, converting electrical energy into mechanical motion, enabling the robot to precisely position its arm and grip objects.

What is an Industrial Pick and Place robot?

An Industrial Pick and Place robot is a specialized robotic arm typically mounted on a stable stand with end-effectors that allow it to grasp and move objects from point A to point B. 

These automated machines utilize end-effectors like vacuum grippers, force-controlled grippers, or magnetic grippers to grab items, and then maneuver them as needed. They can either operate on a fixed path or use sensors to adjust to varying positions. 

If you’re a logistics or manufacturing professional, you probably can give us a TED talk about the pick and place process. But, an Industrial Pick and Place robot can help you supercharge your workflow by operating fast, accurately, and around the clock.

Let’s take a look at how.

How can an Industrial Pick and Place robot help logistics? 

Robot arms have several advantages over human labor, such as: 

  • Higher throughput and productivity because they can operate continuously without those pesky smoke breaks.
  • Improved precision. Robots are fantastic at high-precision tasks and can place objects exactly where needed over and over again.
  • Better use of space. An Industrial Pick and Place robot can reach areas that may be difficult or outright dangerous for humans. 
  • They save time and money. Although at first, you may need to pay a pretty penny, you will save money in the long run due to reduced labor costs and increased efficiency. 

Furthermore, you can use an Industrial Pick and Place robot for a wide range of applications. These versatile systems can streamline your picking, packing, and palletizing processes to optimize productivity

If you’re looking to implement robotics in your workspace, understanding your options is essential to finding what works for you.

Types of Industrial Pick and Place robots

There are several types of Pick and Place robots, each with its specialties and strengths.

Robotic arms: The most common type, used for basic single-plane pick and place tasks. Five-Axis arms handle standard tasks, while Six-Axis arms handle more complex ones.

Cartesian robots: Similar to Six-Axis arms but move in even more planes of motion, offering better positioning accuracy.

Delta robots: Equipped with advanced vision technology to identify and pick items based on size, shape, and color. Ideal for assembly and packaging applications.

Fast pick robots: Perfect for high-volume applications, picking up to 300 items per hour from a pool of up to 8 SKUs. Great at handling fast-moving items like promotional products or batteries.

Collaborative robots: Work alongside humans, optimizing routes and guiding associates through tasks, boosting efficiency and productivity.

What can you use Industrial Pick and Place robots for?

While the most common use of Industrial Pick and Place robots is manufacturing, they have many possible applications. 

Their built-in versatility and precision make them perfect tools for various industries, such as: 

  • Assembly: Pick and Place robots are widely employed in assembly lines to streamline the process of joining components. They grab incoming parts from conveyors or designated locations and precisely position them for assembly.
  • Packaging: These robot arms pick up products from incoming sources and place them immaculately in designated containers.
  • Bin picking: Advanced vision systems enable industrial Pick and Place robots to identify, grasp, and extract specific items or parts based on their color, shape, size, or other distinguishing features. Then, these extracted items go on to further assembly or packaging. 
  • Quality control: Pick and Place robots can precisely pick up products and meticulously scan them for flaws to remove any defective items from the production line.
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I want to buy an Industrial Pick and Place robot - now what?

Buying an Industrial Pick and Place robot is no small investment. Here’s what you’ll want to keep in mind before swiping your credit card. 

Overall speed 

Look for options rated for at least 200 picks per minute for small, light parts, and faster if you need to move bulkier components. Throughput is measured in parts per hour, and also factors in things like the time required for the robot to move between pick and place locations. Got a high-volume operation? Look for a throughput of over 10,000 parts/hour.


Payload is how much weight a robot can lift and move at once. For most small parts, a capacity of 5 kg/10 kg should be enough. Need heavy-duty applications? Look for robots rated for over 50 kg. 

Accuracy and repeatability

You need precise, constant, repetitive movement with virtually zero mistakes. Look for a repeatability rating of at least ±0.2 millimeters — ideally ±0.1 millimeters for highly accurate placement. Multiple redundant sensors, like vision systems and force/torque sensors, help ensure accurate, repeatable pick and place operations.


The number of axes determines the range of motion and flexibility of a pick and place robot. The rule of thumb is: That more axes translate to greater movement and versatility.

For order fulfillment applications where items go onto a conveyor belt, picking bin, or directly into a packaging container, a robot with four to five axes is the right fit. But, you’ll need six or more axes for applications where the robot needs to rotate or move linearly to perform tasks within its workspace.


This is a component of the workspace that defines the maximum distance (both horizontal and vertical) within which a Pick and Place robot can manipulate objects. 

Since the robot must pick and place items with high precision, reach helps you determine its suitability for your specific operations. The maximum horizontal reach is the distance from the center of the robot's base to the farthest point of its gripper or custom end-of-arm tool. Vertically, it’s measured from the robot’s base to the maximum height its wrist can extend.

Ease of programming and integration

How easy will the Industrial Pick and Place robot be to program and integrate into your operations? A simple, intuitive graphical programming interface (GUI) can work wonders. Ideally, look for a CAD model with import capabilities and simulation modes for testing programs. 

Open API and compatibility with various vision and conveyor systems are also helpful.

The right end-effectors

Choosing the right end-effector is critical for ensuring the robot can effectively perform its intended tasks. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with an expensive paperweight.

Match the end-effector to the shape, size, and material of the objects being handled. For instance, vacuum grippers are suitable for smooth, non-porous objects, while force-controlled grippers are better for delicate or irregularly shaped items.

How much does an Industrial Pick and Place robot cost?

You may be thinking “I need to mortgage my house to buy one of these things,” right? 

It depends. Industrial Pick and Place robots range from a few thousand dollars to over $100,000. 

The price hinges on several factors, such as speed, throughput, accuracy, payload, and additional features. As a rule of thumb, the bigger and more complex the robot, the more you’ll have to pay for it. Additionally, you should consider installation, training, and maintenance costs - although thankfully these don’t add up to much. 


So, what can an Industrial Pick and Place robot do for you? They offer a transformative solution for streamlining operations, reducing errors to virtually nil, and enhancing productivity by several orders of magnitude. And it doesn’t take vacations.

But, remember, before you invest, carefully assess your requirements, including factors like: 

  • Overall task complexity
  • Payload, speed, and throughput requirements
  • Integration capabilities
  • Choosing the right robot arm for your industry
  • Cost

Do your research, get demos, consult with a variety of experts, and make sure you get a complete bird’s eye view of what’s out there before you commit. 

Additionally, consider the potential impact on your workforce and develop strategies to nip transitional challenges in the bud. Play your cards right, and you’ll be well on your way to increased productivity, reduced labor costs, and record-setting profits!

Next steps

Want to bring a pick and place robot to your own business? RO1 by Standard Bots is the best choice for small-scale startups and established industrial giants. 

  • Cost-effective: RO1 is the leading robotic arm in its class, delivering even more value at half the price of the competition. 
  • Fast & strong: RO1 beats out the competition in speed and accuracy despite having the highest payload capacity in its class at 18 kg.
  • Safe: RO1 has built-in safety sensors and collision detection for safe, reliable operation on your shop floor.

Talk to our solutions team now to set up a free, 30-day onsite trial and receive specialized advice on everything you need to deploy RO1.

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