An automatic tool changer – or ATC – is one of the most beneficial forms of automation you can implement within your CNC machine operation, helping you seamlessly change tools in seconds without having to pause operation. Here is a closer look at what an automatic tool changer is and how it works.
What is an automatic tool changer?
An automatic tool changer improves the production and tool-carrying capacity of a CNC machine by changing tools very quickly without the help of a manual operator. In doing so, the ATC dramatically reduces downtime on a given project.
ATC is generally used to improve the capacity of a machine to work with several tools at one time. There are generally two types of automatic tool changers – disc tool magazine and linear tool magazine. With 8-10 pieces auto tool changers. You can choose the number of tools according to the actual machining needs.
How does an automatic tool changer work?
Once set up on your CNC machine, an automatic tool changer follows a quick set of steps to swap tools in and out. Here’s how it works.
1. The tool change command is given to the machine via the computer.
2. The tool to be changed assumes a fixed position known as the “tool change position.”
3. The ATC spindle moves to that position to pick up the tool.
4. The z-axis moves between the machine tool rack/rotary to pick up/drop off tooling.
5. Internally, the spindle opens or closes the chuck to exchange tooling before returning back to work.
In a matter of seconds, an ATC enables you to switch tools automatically without any need for human involvement (apart from programming the change).