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Machining Robots: Robots for Loading and Unloading CNC Machines

The machining industry – including capital equipment like lathes, mills, machining centers, forges, presses, and injection molding machines – has been the backbone of manufacturing. It is unlikely that any job shops or manufacturing plants have not invested in this technology.

Automating these machines gives manufacturers clear advantages in terms of utilization, secondary processes, labor resources, and productivity. Anytime a machine sits idle or an operator isn’t available to support it, that equates to lost productivity and profits.

FANUC's robotic machine tending solutions and software make it easy to connect your equipment and improve throughput and overall equipment effectiveness for most machine tending applications.

Machine Tending Robot

Whether you need a single multi-purpose manufacturing robot arm or a custom automated industrial robot system, FANUC can help.

Speak with a machining application expert who will help you get the most out of your machining processes.

Related Case Studies

High-Mix, Low Volume Prototype Shop Achieves Lights-Out Manufacturing with Robotic Automation

KAD Models acquired two automated CNC machine tending systems using the FANUC M-710i/50 and R-1000/100F robots to ensure fast turnaround times for prototype manufacturing.

Robotic CNC Machine Tending Automation Increases Production and ROI

Automated machine tending FANUC ROBODRILLs with FANUC robots helped boost production and efficiency during a labor shortage.

Excalibur Tool Makes Reliable CNC Machines with FANUC Technology

Machine tool builder Excalibur Tool has integrated FANUC robots, and CNC controls into their grinding machines for optimal efficiency, consistency, and overall performance.

Solutions for Robotic Machining and Machine Tending Robots

FANUC has a wide range of robots for manufacturing CNC machines to automate a variety of processes, including:

  • Loading and unloading raw materials
  • Transferring finished parts to post-processing
  • Upstream and downstream assembly tasks
  • Material handling

From collaborative robots to robotic arms, our solutions are designed to help you get the most out of your machines by automating them with little to no down time.

Faster Tool Changes

With a wide range of tool changing station mounting options, including top mounting, some industrial robot types serve as highly efficient tool changers. Capable of working with a huge range of tools, these models can handle any number of tools regardless of their weight.


Robotic Machining System With Automated Changeover for Workholding & Parts

Courtesy of Gosiger


ACE MT Series Machine Tender

Courtesy of Adaptec Solutions

Injection Molding

Increase Task Throughput

Robots are invaluable when it comes to supporting injection molding machines. From part removal, to sprue cutting, degating, labeling, laser marking, and adding inserts, they increase throughput across a varied range of tasks while negating the risk of damage.

Unmanned Machining

Dramatically Boost Your Uptime

When labor is difficult to obtain, train, and retain, unmanned machine tending solutions are an ideal option. With industrial robots, these systems can operate around the clock, providing you with the productivity you need to stay competitive.

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Advantages of Robotic Machine Loaders and Unloaders

By automating the process of loading and unloading machines, manufacturers can improve throughput and overall equipment effectiveness. FANUC’s line of machining robots provide many advantages for users to enhance their operations, improve efficiency, and promote increased performance.

CRX20iA/L QSSR Machine Tending


Compared to fixed automation solutions, using robotic CNC machining and manufacturing allows for increased flexibility. Rather than being dedicated to a single process or machine, the robots can be quickly and easily repurposed for other tasks as needed. This helps to future-proof your investment and keep your operation agile.


Robots offer maximized speed, reliability, and performance, which leads to increased throughput. Automating these tasks also increases the quality of your output thanks to precise, consistent movements that result in reduced variation in finished products.

System Performance

Machine tending robots are able to take on many of the tasks that would normally require operator intervention, such as loading and unloading parts, transferring finished parts to post-processing, and material handling. Robots for machine tending can service different machines and perform secondary operations which helps to increase system uptime and overall productivity.

By automating these processes, machines can run for longer periods of time without needing to stop in order to allow an operator to intervene.

Operation Costs

The cost of operating a robotic machine tending solution is generally lower than the cost of using labor to perform the same tasks. Robots don’t require breaks, vacations, or health insurance, and they can work around the clock if necessary.

Automating industrial robot applications like unloading and loading also cuts back on costly errors thanks to consistent precision and repeatability.

Employee Safety and Satisfaction

By automating the strenuous and repetitive tasks of loading and unloading with CNC machining automation operations, you can reduce the risk of employee injury, making their jobs much safer. When your employees don't have to manually handle these arduous duties and can instead focus on higher value tasks, they will be more satisfied with their workplace, thereby decreasing turnover and limiting your need to specifically hire manual laborers in those positions.

Speak with a Machine Tending Specialist

Increase OEE with Automated Loading and Unloading Equipment

Increase OEE by putting your industrial robots to work on secondary tasks while the machine is in service! Robotically tending a machine tool allows you to increase your overall equipment effectiveness. Robots can quickly change grippers to maximize production time and accommodate jobs involving more than one process.

While the machine is in service, you can utilize your robot for a range of additional cell-related tasks such as:

  • Deburring
  • Cleaning
  • Quality Control
  • Sepcification Checks
  • Gauging
  • Surface vision inspections

Robotic Machining System With Automated Changeover for Workholding & Parts

Courtesy of Gosiger

Our machine tending robots can be used to support machining and deburring operations, featuring an easy-to-use interface for part loading and unloading, as well as secondary operations like quality control.


Robotic Loading of Gear Grinding Machine

Courtesy of Matrix Design

For efficient loading, unloading, and precise part placement, a machine tending robot like an industrial robot arm can provide a simple, effective solution.


Flexible Robot Mounting Solutions Inside or Outside the Machine for Unloading and Loading Automation

Because space is at a premium in most production facilities, many of our machine tending robots have a small footprint. Flexible mounting solutions allow you to customize where the robot is mounted in relation to the machine tool - even inside of it. To service more than one machine, adding AMR or mobile stations can greatly enhance performance.

FANUC Machine Tending Robots: Easy to Implement, Ready to Go

Flexible standalone solutions make automating machine operation a very viable choice for small to medium size businesses. These cost-effective options are easy to operate and offer considerable benefits even on small production runs.

These robotic machine tending solutions greatly simplify robot deployment, offering a quicker delivery and installation than custom automation solutions might, making them perfect for smaller scale operations.

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"The Lean Machine Generation 2" Robotic Machine Tending System

Courtesy of Acieta & Wagner Machine Company

Get maximum flexibility with multiple part machining automation that is easy to implement and use.

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Machine Tending Cobot Load & Go Drawer Cell

Courtesy of Automation Within Reach

Meet changing market and consumer demands with ease by integrating a machine tending robotic system from FANUC, featuring an intuitive HMI without the need for complicated programming.

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SNAPMate: Simplifying Machine Tending Cobot Automation

Courtesy of Motion Controls Robotics

Collaborative robots are the perfect partners for automating CNC machine tending operations, making your processes more efficient and accurate.

Two for One or More: Load Multiple Machines with Automatic Loading Robots

With a range of rail, floor, wall, and ceiling mounting options to save space and expand your robot's work envelope, our robots are ideally suited to tending multiple machine tools – increasing your throughput and maximizing production time.

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FANUC "Flying Robots" in Camshaft Machining Center

Courtesy of TranTek Automation

Save floor space and enhance the efficiency of multiple tasks with flexible mounting options for your machine tending robot.

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Automated System Uses Overhead Gantry Robot & Deburring Robot To Machine Parts

Courtesy of Matrix Design

Rail- or ceiling-mounted CNC machine robots improve throughput of tasks like loading, unloading, deburring, and cleaning without taking up valuable floor space.

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Two Overhead Machine Tending Robots Load/Unload Four FANUC ROBODRILL Machine Tools

Overhead loading and unloading of more than one machine saves space while increasing performance capabilities.

How Automated CNC Machining Tools for Unloading and Loading Can Facilitate an Agile Manufacturing Approach

The implementation of automated machine tending tools can help create an agile manufacturing environment because the machines can be quickly reprogrammed to handle different parts, and they do not require skilled labor to operate. As a result, machine tending industrial robots can help manufacturing facilities rapidly respond to changes in customer demand.

In order to fully reap the benefits of an agile manufacturing approach, it is important to implement other supporting technologies and processes. An agile manufacturing approach will often make use of lean principles, just-in-time production, and flexible manufacturing systems. When these technologies and processes are combined with CNC machining, they can help create a truly agile manufacturing environment.

What is Agile Manufacturing?

An agile manufacturing environment is one that is able to rapidly respond to changes in customer demand. In order to be truly agile, a manufacturing facility must have the ability to quickly adapt its production process to meet changing customer needs. This might mean rapidly designing and prototyping new products, or rapidly reconfiguring existing production lines to produce different types of parts.

Intelligent Functions for Automated Loading and Unloading Solutions

Robots equipped with intelligent functions can further improve the efficiency of your machine tending applications and streamline your production process. These functions might include the ability to automatically:

  • Recognize and pick up different types of parts
  • Load and unload parts from different machines
  • Connect and disconnect hoses, cables, and other peripherals
  • Clean and lubricate machines
  • Provide real-time status updates to operators
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Innovative Boring Mill System Uses FANUC Robot to Load Heavy Parts

Courtesy of Weldon Solutions

Manufacturers with proven expertise in vision systems can equip robots with intelligent vision options that make a vast array of machine tending operations possible. Options often include 2D vision for part location, 3D vision for part detection, positioning and orientation, visual line tracking for conveyors and area sensors for bin picking. Vision can also be incorporated for error proofing and visual inspection.

M-10iA Machine Tending Parts - Gosiger

Machine Tool Loading with FANUC M-10iA Robot

Courtesy of Gosiger Automation

On robots equipped with safety area sensing devices, Dual Check Safety Speed and Position Check enables you to dispense with traditional space-taking constraints such as fences and safety hardware. This functionality restricts the robot to specific zones, and by slowing it down, the operator can enter the work envelope without shutting down production.

Integrated Manufacturing Solutions

FANUC’s CNC machines are reliable and precise; when paired with our robotic solutions, they become even more powerful. Automating your machines with FANUC’s machine tending robots will help improve your throughput and decrease your downtime.

For a truly integrated machining solution, partner your FANUC robot with FANUC CNCs or General Motion Controls. With streamlined communications and the industry's best reliability, nothing beats a truly automated machining system from FANUC.

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