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your "pick and place" robot can certainly be used for that, and yes, you will need to incorporate a digital output from it to initiate a "go" signal in your cam software. so your cnc will need to have an available digital input to connect to (opto-isolator likely needed), and a software (macro) to observe the input and call the go sequence.
to be on the safe side, it would be beneficial to have a sensor(s) of some type to ensure that the part is properly oriented and secured, prior to starting the cnc. what cnc, and cam software are you running?

keep us updated....
 

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Asking a robot to place a part on a CNC machine and then engage hold downs and start a CNC router is going to be a nightmare. Changing the programming on the robot to take the piece through the bandsaw is a lot less than trying to sync 2 machines and add the additional switches and programming to activate hold downs and restart a CNC router is a nightmare.
i'm an industrial electronics instructor, and i taught this very thing - the hardware and software. one chapter test was for the students to write and program the pick and place and have it work cleanly. very doable, but like you say - intimidating if you aren't knowledgeable in the area.
 

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since the pick and place have to play nicely with the application/machine it is serving, they often use the same or similar controller - although there are many "universal' types available. the units i had in my classroom, were built to play with large hydraulic "powdered metal" presses, and secondary machines - places where human fingers are obviously in danger. but they also serve to increase speed and accuracy. they had circular controllers. (e.g. discrete output 3 "on' from 25 degrees to 40 degrees), because the press it was serving had a circular controller.

because of this tie-in, pick and place types vary greatly, but are fascinating. some use pneumatic cylinders, some hydraulic cylinders, or motors to move the parts. if you search the internet, you will see what i mean. i don't have a reference manual to provide - sorry. please pm me if you want to discuss more...
 
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