What is End Of Arm Tooling? (EOAT)

January 24, 2024
Standard Bots robot visualizer

Defining EOAT: what is End Of Arm Tooling?

As you can probably tell already, EOAT stands for End of Arm Tooling. It refers to the devices attached to the end of a robot arm that enable it to perform useful work. 

These tools and grippers, also known as end-effectors, let the robot grasp, move, and manipulate objects in a variety of ways. 

End-effectors are an absolutely essential part of any automated manufacturing system. They're what transform a robot arm into a… robot arm with a hand – a useful tool that can handle materials, assemble parts, package products, and way more. 

While EOAT may seem like a small part of a robot system, it doesn’t undermine its importance.  End Of Arm Tooling determines what and how accurately and quickly a robot can manipulate objects

What are the major types of End Of Arm Tooling?

As we’ve already established, there are many types of End Of Arm Tooling, all of which can then open up a huge array of tasks for the robot arm. 

In a nutshell: different End Of Arm Tooling + the right programming = a whole new task. 

Here are the most common End Of Arm Tooling types: 


Grippers are one of the most widely used end-effectors. They’re designed to grasp and hold objects so the robot can pick them up and move them. 

The most common types are mechanical grippers like two-finger or three-finger grippers, vacuum grippers that use suction to pick up smooth, non-porous objects, and magnetic grippers for handling metal parts.


Tools refer to end-effectors like welding guns, spray guns, deburring tools, and more - essentially any device a robot can manipulate to perform a task. 

For example, a robot with a welding tool end-effector can weld parts together, while a spray tool can apply paint or another coating. These tools allow robots to carry out all kinds of industrial processes that were solely performed by humans not too long ago.

Tool changers

For maximum flexibility, many robots use tool changers that can automatically switch between different end-effectors like grippers, tools, and sensors. 

Tool changers mount on the robot arm and provide a quick-change interface so the robot can drop one end-effector and pick up another in seconds (we know it sounds futuristic). 

This allows a single robot to handle various tasks without the need for manual reconfiguration by a human employee, saving time, money, and literal manpower.

Grippers: the go-to End Of Arm Tooling

As we’ve established, a huge majority of industrial robotics applications utilize grippers as their end-effector. 

We also mentioned several types, but now we’ll go into what they do, and how they achieve it:

  • Two-finger grippers, as the name suggests, use two 'fingers' to clutch an object. They offer good control and dexterity for small parts. 
  • Three-finger grippers provide an even more secure hold for irregularly shaped objects. 
  • Wide-area grippers have large, flat gripper faces to grab big or bulky items.

Also, grippers are typically pneumatic, hydraulic, or electric. Pneumatic grippers use air pressure to actuate the gripper. They tend to be comparatively inexpensive but require an external air supply. 

Hydraulic grippers are able to generate high force using pressurized fluid but also require a pump and fluid. 

Meanwhile, electric grippers are powered by motors and controllers. They don't need an additional power supply but can be more expensive – and you will certainly be feeling it in your electricity bill. 

Also, the gripper force, as gripper strength, has to be a match to your application. A gripper with too little force won't grab an object securely, and it will fall. On the other hand, too much force will damage the object. 

Gripper force is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) or newtons (N). Basic two-finger grippers start around 20 to 40 PSI, while high-performance grippers can exceed 5,000 PSI or 50,000 N for heavy-duty jobs.

EOAT applications across different industries

Unsurprisingly, End Of Arm Tooling finds applications in a lot of major industries. 

Manufacturing, in particular, makes heavy use of EOAT to automate processes. Today, assembly lines often employ end-effectors like grippers to pick up and manipulate parts during the assembly process. 

Let’s take a look at what industries are seeing huge productivity booms thanks to End Of Arm Tooling:

The auto industry

The automotive industry relies heavily on robotics and EOAT – they’ve always been early adopters of automation.

Grippers lift and place components like windshields, dashboards, doors, and hoods during vehicle assembly.

EOAT also helps in painting, welding, and other applications where consistency and day-in-day-out repeatability are important. Thanks to EOAT, automakers are boosting productivity and quality.

Electronics assembly

The electronics industry is seeing huge gains owing to End Of Arm Tooling. 

EOAT is essential for the precision assembly of tiny components. 

How? Through the use of micro-grippers and vacuum grippers, which carefully grasp and position minuscule chips, wires, and other parts during circuit board and device assembly. 

Without EOAT, it would be impossible to have the dexterity and control needed to produce electronics at scale.

Food and beverage

It may sound like a no-brainer, but for food and beverage production, EOAT must meet strict hygiene standards. 

Grippers with food-grade materials handle ingredients, packaging, and finished products. End Of Arm Tooling also helps out with pick and place, packaging, and palletizing in this industry. 

Warehousing and logistics

In warehouses and distribution centers, End Of Arm Tooling is providing outstanding results by helping with material handling and storage. 

Vacuum grippers and clamp grippers lift and move boxes, crates, and pallets. 

Also, robotic arms outfitted with EOAT can pick and place inventory, load and unload trucks, and stack items at great speeds. End Of Arm Tooling of this type is especially beneficial for industries that need volume, volume, and more volume.

Standard Bots routine editor

EOAT costs: What to expect for end-effectors

The cost of end-effectors can vary hugely depending on their capabilities, from a few hundred dollars to the tens, and even hundreds of thousands. 

The first thing is understanding what type of gripper you need and for what application.

Let’s go into a bit more detail: 


Vacuum and mechanical grippers are typically the most inexpensive option. 

A basic single gripper will run a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars. More complex grippers with multiple fingers or advanced sensing may cost $3,000 to $10,000 or higher.

OnRobot is known for its high-quality line of grippers. 


Adding sensors to enable adaptive grasping or increase precision makes costs go up quickly. 

Force torque sensors, for example, allow a gripper to grasp objects of varying shapes and sizes. However, these advanced sensors often add $10,000 to $30,000 to the total cost.

Tool changers

For applications requiring multiple tools, a tool changer allows a robot to automatically switch between end-effectors. 

Tool changers provide flexibility but also increase costs – although it ends up paying for itself because of the reduced need for human labor. 

That being said, a basic tool changer with a few tools may cost $20,000 to $50,000. More complex changers with many tools can get into the realm of $100,000 or more.

Other types

Other end-effectors like welding guns, spray painters, and deburring tools are application-specific and can vary greatly in cost depending on their capabilities. 

These super-specialized tools frequently cost between $10,000 to $50,000 but can reach $100,000 or higher for the most highly advanced systems. 

Now, these are averages and estimates. We’ve seen End Of Arm Tooling that go above $400,000, so always keep your particular application in mind and shop around before you make a decision based on this info. 

Summing up

All in all, it’s easy to understand how, without these highly engineered end-effectors, robots would just be programmable arms waving around with no ability to get any real work done. 

Now you understand that EOAT comes in many shapes, sizes, complexities, and costs depending on the needs of the application.

It’s just a matter of finding the right one for you and making the investment!

Next steps

If you’re looking to find the perfect pairing of robot arm and end-effector for your application, RO1 by Standard Bots comes with a variety of grippers out of the box, universal M8 connectors, integration with OnRobot end-effectors and is the best choice for machine shops large and small, here’s why:

  • Affordable: RO1 is the most affordable robotic arm in its class, starting at almost half the price of incumbent competitors. 
  • All-seeing: RO1 is equipped with best-in-class vision systems. Easy no-code programming makes it easy to detect the smallest of defects and imperfections.
  • 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.


What types of end-effectors are there? 

There are many options for end-effectors, including:

  • Grippers: Basic grippers grasp and hold objects. They come in a variety of styles like vacuum, magnetic, and mechanical.
  • Sensors: Sensors detect objects and their properties. Common types are proximity sensors, force sensors, and vision systems.
  • Tools: Tools perform specific actions like welding, painting, and screwing. Some tools are mounted directly to the robot arm while others use tool changers.

How much do end-effectors cost? 

End-effector costs can vary massively depending on their complexity. Basic grippers start around $500 while advanced tools with multiple sensors and actuators can cost $50,000 or more. Most manufacturers like OnRobot offer a range of options at different price points.

What are the main applications of EOAT? 

EOAT has many industrial uses, including:

  • Pick and Place: Grippers grasp and move objects from one location to another. Common in assembly lines and packaging.
  • Material handling: Lifting heavy or awkward materials that would be difficult or dangerous for humans to move manually.
  • Welding: Precise welding tools can handle repetitive welding tasks faster and more consistently than humans.
  • Painting: Spray painting tools provide an even coat of paint and reduce waste and environmental impact versus manual painting.
Standard Bots equipment manager
Standard Bots camera vision
Press contacts