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Design Of An Automatic Tool Changer

Fully Automate your CNC System with an Automatic Tool Changer

Over the past three decades or so, rapid technological advancements have changed how we live, relate to each other, and do our jobs. One of the sectors that have experienced these changes is engineering, and particularly when it comes to machining. automatic tool changer

In the past, machining tools had to be manually directed to achieve desired results. Nowadays, CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines can be programmed to handle all the tasks that human operators were in charge of. The one element where human intervention was required was to change the tools being handled by the CNC machines. But that is no more.

What are Automatic Tool Changers

Most machining tasks will require two or more different tools to achieve perfect results. In fact, some of the more elaborate projects might require dozens of tools. In the past, human operators were tasked with the tool changing responsibilities. An automatic tool changer (ATC), as the name suggests, attaches to the CNC system and supplies it with the tools it requires automatically.

What are the benefits of using an ATC?

ATCs add to the level of automation that your workshop or manufacturing plan can enjoy. The most important benefit of using ATCs is that human supervision will not be required for your CNC to operate. This not only cuts on your labour costs, but allows your plant to operate on a 24-hour basis, which exponentially boosts its productivity. As it has been shown countless times, automation offers more safety and accuracy than operations involving human operators.

What are the elements of the Automatic Tool Changer?

As it is with any piece of machinery, there are differences in individual ATC depending on the size of CNC they are servicing as well as budgetary concerns. This definition covers the most basic elements of the ATC that is almost universally standard. The main elements include:

  • A tool magazine: This is what holds the tools that might be needed during the CNC’s operations. There are two types of magazines, the rotary magazine (for less than 30 tools) and the chain magazine (for 30 – 100 tools).
  • The tool holder: This is the part of the ATC that ‘hands over’ tools to the CNC spindle
  • The control unit: This is the computerised system that understands where each tool is located, and communicates with the main CNC to orchestrate the tool changing sequence.

How to choose the right ATC

Your ideal ATC is dependent on the CNC that you have, its workload, and your budget. It is best to work with a professional organisation such as Stoney CNC who can use our expertise to advise you on what will best suit your needs.

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