Should You Do Your Collaborative Robot Project Yourself or With a Robot Integrator?

Do you have a project for a collaborative robot in mind and wondering what help you need? Should you do it internally or externally? They say the Universal Robots are easy to install by yourself, right?

Well, let’s explore the three options that you have for your project integration: Do-It-Yourself, Value-add Distributors, or Robot Integrators.

3 ways to approach a project

Namely, there are three ways to approach a new Universal Robot project. Considering your potential applications, your company can choose from DIY, work with distributors, or integrators.

The final decision depends on your needs and the existing in-house capabilities.

1.     DIY

Collaborative robots have changed the way companies work with robotics. It is now possible for companies with no or low experience in robotics to learn and install their own cobot.  It is made possible with their easy-to-learn interface like Universal robots Polyscope.

Moreover, manufacturers can provide online training sessions from setup to programming. See the Universal Robot Academy here!

Of course, a robot project doesn’t only include the robot itself and its programming. There are many external components to choose from or design to have a complete application done. Your team will need to learn about or already have this expertise to have a successful cell deployment.

With the right in-house capabilities like design and manufacturing, the DIY approach can be an economic solution. SMEs can then confidently opt for a do-it-yourself approach to integration. In fact, for elementary applications and uses, the DIY option is more than enough.


  • Cost-effective
  • In-house hiring
  • Perfect for small-sized projects


  • Time-consuming
  • Lack of professional perspective
  • Obligatory in-house training and experience

2.     Value add from a distributor

Distributors focus on selling and distributing collaborative robots. Value-add distributors have extensive knowledge and can offer more solutions and services for cobot integrations.

They can provide technical assistance for your projects. They have automation experts interact with customers. They can then suggest peripherals, configurations, and other options to customers.

As an example, they can offer jigs design and manufacturing. They can provide custom mounting for your robot and offer specialized training for your application.


  • An extension of your internal team
  • Ability to independently complete all future projects
  • Best for small and medium-size projects


  • Needs some resource and time investment

3.     Integrator

Integrators will offer a complete integration service or turnkey robotic solutions. This option will tend to be more expensive as every step from design to installation will be included.

They can vary in size, which dictates what projects they can accept and work on. Large organizations can tackle complex projects and fabricate them to fit your custom needs. In comparison, small firms don’t have the resources to work on such demanding tasks. So they focus on application, configuration, or industry-specific projects.

However, it has the advantage of making sure your project is done efficiently and with years of experience. They can offer troubleshooting services to make sure the production never stops.

When this can be an advantage, it can also become a burden. As your team didn’t participate in the design or installation, you can become dependent on this integrator to keep the cell running or when you want to make changes.


  • Professional
  • Time-efficient
  • Perfect for large-scale or complex projects


  • Expensive
  • Lack of skilled in-house members

Success Factors You Should Look For

Out of the three options mentioned above, we believe that value adds from a distributor might be the best fit for most small businesses. If you’re wondering why this is the case, here are some benefits :

1.     Lower Cost

First and foremost, distributors cost less than integrators. They can offer à-la-carte services according to your needs. Therefore, you can receive a professional and cost-effective solution all in one.

2.     Training

Distributors don’t hand out a ready-to-use configuration but rather educate the company’s team on how they should configure the robot by themselves. An effective training session is crucial for companies that want to become owners of their automation projects.

3.     Combination of Help and Management

Companies can always reach out to their distributors for help with tool design, jigs, or any other part of the project. Even if they’re curious about additional training info, distributors are here to answer all your questions. Nevertheless, unlike robotics integrator companies, distributors allow you to manage your projects freely.

Final thoughts

Finally, depending on your project, you have access to many alternatives to bring it to life. A big piece of advice that we have is to always make sure your team can participate and be trained. This will elevate your workforce, develop your internal robotics team and, over time, save you time and money.

Do you have a project in mind? Contact our team to discuss it and discover what we can help you with!