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Posted on Oct 12, 2020
A CNC tool holder cart is a cart carrier that reserves the cutting tools of the CNC machines such as CNC presses, turning lathes, mills, drills, and machining centers. It helps those machine tools keep the idle tools sorted.
Those idle tools and dies will be used later for different complicated processing demands. Today, with the automation trend, CNC tool holder carts usually work with the automatic system and other corresponding instruments and parts within an integrated CNC machine tool system by the connection of human judgment. The whole system normally involves the controller, cart, cutting unit, holder sets, magazine unit, robot arms, and some other fixed devices.
:: Read More: A Review of CNC Tool Holder Types
The research and design of CNC tool holder carts together with the automatic tool transferring system aim to reduce the nonproductive time which normally happens when onsite operators were changing or looking for the next cutting tools for the workpieces in the old days. The operators, if not so familiar with the cart arrangement, take more time looking for tools and tool holders.
For the lathe machines before the days that this kind of instrument was invented, a traditional machine tool can only work with one single tool at a time. Even though the modern lathe machines are designed with tool turrets or power turrets and the machines are able to contain a large number of cutting tools, the numbers of tools installed on the turret are still limited by the disc unit.
With this regard to limitation, the innovative ideas to connect tool holder carts with the processing system were thereby designed to make the whole machining process smoother without the need for manual operations involved during the tool change process. With this point kept in mind, the planning of cutting tools, tool holders, spindles, ejection units, grabbing mechanism, etc., shall all be designed with a simpler structure since the manual operation and human determination mechanism is ruled out thereafter. The CNC-controlled tool holder cart can hence store those tool holders with different specifications.
Since the milling process demands the spinning of cutting tools to remove unwanted materials from the processed workpieces, the milling-based machines are often installed with the ATC system together with the tool magazines. The usages of tool carts in milling today are much rare because of the design of the milling machines now. Most of them adopt tool magazines rather than fixed racks or movable carts as the primary instrument for the optimal reservation device of all the cutting tools, tool holders, and many other relevant devices.
The use of tool magazines connected with the automatic tool changer and the corresponding tooling parts are all under the control of one integrated controller. The controller coordinates all the resources by the CNC programs. With these advantages, human errors can be controlled down to the minimum. If the working station is enormous, there may still be tool carts loaded with additional supplies, but this only happens when normal size tool magazines cannot fully satisfy the numbers of tool holders needed for the intended machining requirements.
From milling machines, people developed machining centers, and some machining centers are even designed with automatic pallet changers together with a large compartment of automated mechanical places that can store all the details needed within the manufacturing tasks. A simple CNC system is not enough for this working scale so the automatic storage system has to upgrade.
A larger smart manufacturing system can be deployed into the system to control all the operational status of the machinery units. The intelligence monitor system demonstrates the working status of all parts to the human operators in detail so that they can do their scheduled management work based on the information offered by the system. This kind of system sometimes needs conventional CNC tool holder carts and racks as additional accessories, and their existence is also integrated and managed if it is necessary for the given tasks.
CNC tool holder carts and racks for CNC turning machines and turning centers are simple if they are compared with the structure of tool magazines. Once controlled under the CNC system within the tool magazines, those tool holders would be coded with specific series of numbers respectively and the CNC system would know which holder is optimum for the targeted machining tasks.
For some reason, if the CNC tool holder carts and racks for CNC lathe machines are still needed, they are usually used by human operators by pulling them around different lathe machines depending on the machine processing phases. Tool holder carts are just like the wall-mount rack for tool holders as both are made with rows and each row may contain a certain number of holes for the storage of cutting tool holders.
There are many manufacturers of grinders who add the coordinate measuring machine inside their grinders, and this makes the whole grinding process of cylindrical processing and surface processing to be more accurate. The abbreviation of coordinate measuring machine is CMM, and this system is often integrated with the grinding head magazine together.
This type of advanced grinding machines often integrated a large or at least satisfying content of grinding tools so that this would form a fully integrated storage system that can offer the grinding process all kinds of grinding requirements. So the tool holder carts are not always seen here in the grinding cases. But once if it is needed because the demands for wheels are in a large amount, operators may also push or pull those CNC tool holder carts around in the manufacturing plant in order to compensate for the lack of tool holders.
The application of CNC grinding tool holder carts is relatively simple if compared with the milling-based machinery introduced in the last section since normally grinding process is put to the later stages within the whole working schedule on the production lines.
There is a large inventory of CNC tool holder carts. The designs differ from each other and users could choose their own based on their factory specifications and space arrangements. There are floor model, steps model, ladder model, shelf model, bench model, mini tool holder racks installed, soot model, ultra scoot model, and all these models with additional lockable drawers and pegboards.
Carts can help operators to switch their idling tools once if the ongoing processing does not need such items, so with this flexible unit with mobility placed in-house, onsite operators can have greater working flexibility for their grinding tasks.
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