What is a CNC robot? Everything these machines can do

November 28, 2023
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What is a CNC robot?

Computer Numerical Control robots (or CNC robots) are incredibly smart machines used in manufacturing and other industries to make things quickly and precisely.

Generally, these Industrial robots use technology for automated machining, much like CNC machines. However, these robots take standard CNC technology one step further. They can even be used to manufacture robots themselves! But what exactly are they, and what can they do?

What can CNC bots do?

CNC robots perform tasks like milling, drilling, turning, and cutting. But unlike a traditional CNC machine, robots can do these tasks with even more accuracy and consistency. They're also equipped with machine tools like end mills and drills and follow predetermined paths to carry out machining operations with effortless competence.

These robots are making a huge splash across various industries and can help with the production process of cars, airplanes, medical equipment, and more. A contributing factor to the widespread application of CNC robotics is that these robots can make things exactly the same way - every single time. In turn, the products have ideal quality control and there's much less waste.

One of the most impressive things about these robots is that they never stop working. They're on the job 24/7, which means that manufacturers can speed up their processes overnight. Additionally, they're experts at repetitive tasks and can carry them out perfectly over and over again.

Still, CNC bots aren't necessarily stuck doing one thing, which is where CNC robotics differs from CNC machining. Instead, they can perform multiple tasks. For example, they may be crafting car parts today and be reprogrammed to perform an entirely new task tomorrow.

Implementing CNC robotics into the manufacturing process

While integrating CNC robotics into an existing manufacturing process may require a significant initial investment (when compared to using CNC machines), they're less likely to make mistakes. Moreover, they can save money in the long run, thanks to their amazing efficiency.

Luckily, there are also cost-effective solutions on the market for smaller manufacturers who can't afford to invest in pricey CNC robotics implementation. This includes the game-changing RO1 (but more on this later).

To put it simply, these robots are perfect for machine-tending applications, transforming how manufacturing is carried out across several major industries.

What Is machine tending?

CNC robots are the ultimate robotic machine-tending solution. If you're not familiar with machine tending, then it's time to get acquainted. By understanding these concepts, you'll realize the benefits of CNC robotics and how it's changing manufacturing as a whole.

Machine tending is a common use of Cobots (Collaborative robots) in several industries. In this specific application, Collaborative robots perform repetitive tasks continuously as long as they receive the necessary raw materials. Traditionally, this includes specified production steps. They may include emptying CNC machines or injection molding machines.

How machine tending works

At its core, machine tending is about loading and unloading a machine with raw parts or materials. Although this is typically done by human workers in CNC machine shops, the rise of CNC bots is incredibly important because of the current shortage of skilled workers. This creates a need for automation, especially in smaller companies.

Since the cycle of machine tending involves the bot continuously receiving raw parts for uninterrupted production, they can be particularly helpful in industries with sustained schedules. Collaborative robots also have power and force limitations so they can work alongside machines or machine operators without too much guarding.

Machine tending components

The key components of machine-tending cells include:

  • The CNC machines for autonomous machining
  • Grippers for handling raw materials
  • Controllers for coordinating motions
  • Teach pendants for robot programming
  • CNC doors that act as safety measures, containing debris and stopping part projection during operations

Benefits of machine tending

  • Better efficiency: Machine tending with the help of robots can boost operational efficiency. They do this by ensuring that production cycles are continuous and uninterrupted. Since the bots can tirelessly perform repetitive tasks, they minimize downtime in processes and maximize productivity and machine utilization.
  • Cost savings: Although the initial investment in Industrial robots can be pricey, one of the long-term benefits of CNC robotics is significant cost savings. Companies can earn a favorable return on their investments in these bots thanks to their contribution to productivity, reduced waste, and consistent high-quality output.
  • Around-the-clock operation: Cobots can work around the clock without needing breaks. In turn, this means that the production process is never interrupted and there is a much higher output.
  • Consistency: Robots can perform the same tasks with consistent accuracy, which means an output of high-quality machined parts. This is incredibly important in industries where greater precision is essential, like medical or aerospace manufacturing.
  • Flexibility: Generally, machine-tending bots can be programmed or reprogrammed to handle different tasks or adapt to changes in production needs. This flexibility is really valuable when product specifications or the number of product runs change regularly.
  • Improved safety: Cobots usually come with impressive safety features. They're designed to work with human operators without the need for extensive guarding, which helps to boost overall workplace safety.
  • Labor savings: Fully automated machine tending helps to reduce the dependency on human labor for certain laborious processes. With limited qualified or skilled workers available, this can be incredibly beneficial for smaller manufacturers. Plus, it allows the human workforce to be utilized more effectively in other aspects of manufacturing processes.
  • Handling complex tasks: CNC bots can handle more complex tasks that may be tricky or unsafe for human workers. This might include handling hazardous materials, working in confined spaces, or executing very precise operations.
  • Better equipment effectiveness: When you automate the machine tending process, you can improve the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). This happens by minimizing downtime, reducing cycle times, and optimizing the use of the equipment. A direct result of better OEE is, of course, a more effective and productive manufacturing operation.
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What to look for in a CNC Tending robot

Payload capacity

Before you invest in a CNC tending bot, you'll need to assess the payload capacity to ensure it can handle the weight of the raw materials and finished parts used in your CNC machines. You'll need to consider the heaviest load that the robot will have to lift during the tending process.

Reach and range of motion

You'll also need to evaluate the robot's reach and range of motion. This helps to make sure that it can access all areas of the CNC machines, including the work envelope. A robot with a good reach can load and unload materials and perform other tasks more effectively.


The speed of the robot is incredibly important, especially when it comes to its cycle time for tasks. Faster cycle times help to contribute to better overall productivity and a shorter idle time for CNC machines.

Ease of programming

A robot equipped with user-friendly interfaces is optimal for small-scale manufacturers without programming skills. It's also important for integrating the robot faster and making any necessary changes to production requirements without disruption.


It's essential that your bots are compatible with the CNC machines in your facility. This is important for seamless collaboration with your existing machinery.


Try to choose a robot with the adaptability and flexibility to handle different machines and varying production requirements. Having the ability to reprogram the bot for different scenarios or tasks adds to its versatility.


Of course, you will need to assess the durability and reliability of your CNC bot. It should be able to keep up with the demands of your manufacturing line and be robust enough to ensure its longevity.


Lastly, you need to evaluate the cost of owning these robots. You must think about the initial investment, maintenance costs, future upgrades, software costs, and more. Without understanding the costs involved, you may underestimate your budget.

RO1 by Standard Bots

Standard Bots' RO1 is an ultra-advanced, Six-Axis robot that's designed to make manufacturing easy for various tasks. Plus, it's intended to make robotics accessible to everyone - from small-scale manufacturers to large-scale organizations.

More than anything, it's here to serve the 'little guys' and put them on the same footing as bigger manufacturers dominating the industry. With the RO1, you can implement affordable robotics that are just as high-quality, faster, and stronger than some more expensive competitors.

The RO1 has plenty of other beneficial features, like a strong payload capacity of 18 kg, a 1.3 m reach, an incredible speed of 435° per second, and precise repeatability. But what makes it stand out against other robots (including standard robotic arms) is how easily it fits into any and every setup. All you need to do is plug it in and it's ready to go.

One of the most expensive aspects of integrating robotic machining into your manufacturing process is hiring additional workers to program and maintain your machines. However, with the RO1, these concerns are already taken care of.

The RO1 has no-code automation and with the simple subscription model, the installation, replacements, software updates, and everything else you may need are included in the subscription fee.

If you want to know more about this incredible little robot, then don't hesitate to check out the RO1 product page. Or, you can request a quote for your business and get started on your robotic machining journey today.


Are CNC robots suitable for small-scale manufacturing businesses?

CNC robotics is perfect for small-scale manufacturers because it can improve productivity and free up manpower for other aspects of the manufacturing process.

This means that repetitive, laborious, or dangerous tasks are made easier. Robots can also streamline manufacturing while helping to scale operations by opening up more human-focused opportunities or skilled work.

What industries can benefit the most from using CNC robots?

CNC robotics revolve around enhancing efficiency in processes like machining tasks, welding, assembly, and material handling. However, as more businesses look for robotic solutions on their production floors, there is one simple solution.

There are various industries where you could apply this idea of robotics, and it's not necessarily limited to general manufacturing and mass production. These industries include:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Electronics
  • Medical
  • Metal fabrication
  • Plastics
  • Woodworking

What's the difference between robots and CNC machines?

A CNC machine is like a specialized worker that is trained for one specific job. For example, CNC machining can be used for milling or turning.

On the other hand, robots (like CNC robots) are more like multi-skilled workers, trained to do multiple tasks. These tasks go beyond just machining operations. Unlike CNC machines that stick to one job, robots can be programmed to handle different tasks within manufacturing.

Final thoughts

CNC robots are able to bridge the gap between precision and speed in manufacturing like never before. They are the go-to solution for producing end-products with accuracy and efficiency across different industries, especially for smaller manufacturers.

If you want a high-quality, low-cost robot that will exceed your expectations, the RO1 is the ideal choice.

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