14 Sep 2022

Why Automatic Tool Changers (ATC) are an excellent investment

If you’re thinking about automating parts of your business and increasing productivity but don’t know where to start – Automatic Tool Changers (ATC) may be a great place to begin.

One of the most effective ways to reduce your overall production timelines is to automate CNC tasks wherever possible without sacrificing quality or precision. 

We understand that having to perform multiple tool processes is time-consuming and can slow your business efficiency down significantly. Traditionally, manually changing tools on a CNC machine has required you to be present and monitor the machine; however, Automatic Tool Changers (ATC) eliminate this necessity – leaving you with more time to spend on other activities.


What is an Automatic Tool Changer?


Automatic Tool Changers increases the efficiency and tool-carrying capacity of a CNC machine by changing tools very quickly and without the need for a manual operator. 


There are typically two types of ATCs:

  • Rotary-style (typically placed next to the spindle or by the side of the gantry)
  • Linear-style (typically placed under the machine gantry or behind the machine bed)


How does an Automatic Tool Changer work?

Once the ATC has been configured to work with your CNC machine, it follows a systematic approach to ensure tools are swapped in and out, as follows: 

  1. The machine receives the tool change command from the computer
  2. The tool to be changed assumes a fixed position called the “tool change position”
  3. The ATC spindle moves to that position to pick up the tool
  4. To pick up or drop off tooling, the z-axis moves between the machine tool rack and rotary
  5. The spindle opens or closes the chuck to exchange tooling before returning to work 

Reasons to use an Automatic Tool Changer:

  • Increased efficiency and a reduction in overall production time 

By reducing production time, you’ll be able to increase the productivity and efficiency of your business. Likewise, without the need for the CNC machinery to be monitored and managed by a manual operator, you’ll have more time to allocate to other areas of your work. 

  • Increased employee safety and less risk of damage to equipment

Employee safety is benefited through the use of ATCs, as they reduce the hazards and risks associated with manually changing tools and monitoring the CNC machinery. The automated system also reduces the chance of human error or mishaps, protecting your equipment and tools from accidental damage. 

  • Reduced labour cost

With an automated system, the need for a member of your workforce to manually oversee and monitor your CNC machinery is eliminated. This could reduce your labour costs, allowing money to be invested in other areas of your business. 

  • Easier to use heavy and large multi-tools 

Using an ATC increases the versatility of your machinery and makes it easier to use heavier and larger multi-tools. It is much easier to use multi-tools whilst using an ATC, that is effortlessly programmed to change and alter tools quickly, precisely and efficiently. This provides you with more opportunities for cutting strategies and increases the versatility of your work. 


About VWM

Established in 1981, we’ve been selling, manufacturing and servicing woodworking machinery for over 40 years. Your VWM technician will make every effort to get to know you and your business, providing you with tailored recommendations that will meet your woodwork machinery needs. 


Thinking about automating your own system with an Automated Tool Changer? 

Get in touch with us on 01282 870077 or contact us here to see how we can help you get started!

Get in touch with us
Please be aware that the accuracy of our woodworking machinery prices are reliant on the current Euro exchange rate.
Please call us on 01282 870077 for our updated accurate pricing.