Automatic pallet changing for machine tending

A modern production tool for high machine utilization for small or varying batch sizes

ABB's FlexLoader portfolio is growing with options that can further strengthen your competitiveness. Through our long experience in standardized automation for machine tending, we have long identified the profitability of having a robot tending a machine tool to increase spindle utilization and see the potential to further increase automation levels.


Key benefits

A modular system that can be adapted and expanded according to the customer's needs
Frees up operator time and creates a better working environment
One operator can handle more machines without affecting productivity
Reduces unwanted downtime between orders
Ensures high machine utilization
Quick and easy to automate small and one-off production runs


The growing trend to automate smaller series and one-off batches sets new requirements.

The automation solution needs to provide greater flexibility and reduce downtime between orders. The time it takes to set up the machine is a well-known source of lost productivity, but by allowing the robot to change the pallet with the vice and fixture in the machine between workpiece changes, unwanted downtime is avoided where operator availability is usually relied upon.     

ABB offers ZeroPoint, as an accessory that can be fitted to the FlexLoader products, where it combines with existing function packages and standard cells. This option enables production for longer periods without the operator having to be present for order changes.

ZeroPoint is a tool for modern production. The system frees up time for the operator who, for example, can better plan his work via an intuitive HMI, as well as generating a better working environment as mounting of workpieces on to the pallet take place outside the machine tool on a dedicated work area.

The operator queuing the orders in the job list to be run during the day via the user-friendly and intuitive HMI, which simplifies the control of the cell by linking all the necessary parameters for correct order management and process flow in the cell.

The manual work of preparing pallets and grippers for upcoming orders can be done when time is available for the operator. The robotic cell is equipped with a modular system that provides storage locations for empty and queued pallet systems and automatic gripper changeover to handle a wide range of products.

ZeroPoint enables two variants of robotic machine tending

  • Robot loads the pre-mounted raw material onto the pallet with pneumatic fixture in the machine tool
  • The robot loads the machine tool with pneumatic fixture and then the robot loads the fixture with raw material from the conveyor belt or pallet. Finished workpieces are left on the conveyor or pallet


FlexLoader™ M Family​