How to Cost-Effectively Automate a CNC Machine

Digitizing production is a current topic for new machine tools. Everything should be smart and the milling machine should ideally reorder the blanks on its own. Large manufacturing companies are certainly already on the way there, but for smaller production companies in particular, these solutions are often too complex or unprofitable. If that applies to you, we would be happy to help you develop and implement an affordable solution yourself. We always have a quick ROI (Return On Investment) in mind.

Where are igus® products best suited?

Our products for automation are particularly suitable for smaller machines up to 6.61lbs. In addition, igus® is not a system integrator. We just try to give you all the tools to automate your machine yourself with as little technical skills required as possible. Our low-cost automation products are all self-lubricating and, therefore, maintenance-free.

What is the first step in automation?

It would be helpful if the machine door opened by itself after processing and closed automatically after clamping. Then, you can see from the open door where you can add more. For this first step, you need a linear axis with drive and a simple control module. You can find the right linear guides, for example, in our drylin® E modular system and dryve® D1 motor controller (pictured right).  Our software is also available free of charge. If the design fits, you can use it to automate your machine door for less than $1,215.86. This saves you time when loading and unloading and reduces the downtimes of your CNC machine. As I said, we cannot connect it to you, but we will be happy to help you with the mechanical design of our components.   

Is there a cheap solution to automate loading and unloading?

When the door opens and closes automatically, automated loading and unloading is the next goal. To do this, you could place an expensive industrial robot in front of the machine or check whether robolink® can work for you. The big advantage lies in the very simple programming interface, which we also make available to you free of charge. From my own experience, I know that you will be able to program robolink's® movements within two hours. The easiest way to put together your robot solution is to go to There you can put together all products from robots to grippers.  


With our products, you can automate your CNC machine for less than $1,215.86. You can download the software in full in advance at any time and try it out free of charge. Visit our webpage to learn more about our low cost automation solutions or contact an igus® expert here with any questions. 

Video below: Automated insertion on a CNC milling machine