CNC Tool Holder Rack Stores Various Tool Holders

Posted on Oct 8, 2020

CNC Tool Holder Rack

A CNC tool holder rack is a set of reserving areas that keeps the cutting tools of the CNC machines such as turning lathes, mills, drills, boring machines, and more. It keeps the idle cutting tools since those idle cutters may be used later for different profiling applications.

With the automation trend, the CNC tool holder racks usually work with the automatic tool changer system and other corresponding instruments and parts within an integrated machine tool CNC system. The system normally would involve the controlling unit, cutting unit, spindle sets, magazine unit(s), robotic arms, and some other small carriers.


Development and History

The study and development of the CNC tool holder rack together with the automatic tool changer aim to reduce the nonproductive time which would normally happen when onsite operators were changing or looking for the next appropriate cutting tools for the workpieces in the old days. For the lathes working models before the days that this kind of instrument was invented, one traditional machine tool can work with a single tool only. Even though with the addition of turrets, the lathe machine may be able to contain a large number of cutting tools, yet the numbers of tools installed on the turrets are limited though.

With this limitation, the invention that connects tool holder racks with the turrets was thus made to make the whole process smooth without the need for manual operations involved within the tool change process. With this respect, the design of the cutting tools, tool holders, spindles, ejection units, grabbing mechanism, etc., shall all be designed with a simple structure since the manual operation and human determination mechanism are ruled out. The CNC-controlled tool holder rack can thus storage those tool holders with different standards and specifications automatically.


Applications in Turning Machines

The tool holder rack of CNC turning machines and turning centers is simple compared to the design of tool magazine units. Controlled under the CNC system, those tool holders may be coded with specific numbers for each tool holder respectively and the CNC system can know which one is the holder that is optimum for the targeted machining process. The CNC tool holder rack for lathe machines is usually located near the machine shell body rather than inside the machine sets.

Compared to the manually operated wall mount rack for tool holders, this type of rack is also with rows and each row may contain a specific number of holes for the storage of cutting tool holders. The traditional version can be mounted directly on the CNC machine body, or be mounted on a wall in any proper space. In addition, not only limited to HSK63A, many of the size specs can accommodate HSK80B and HSK80D tool holder sizes.

:: Read More: Conventional Tool Holders and Modern Turret Technology: A Comparison


Applications in Milling-based Machines

For the milling based machines to be installed with the ATC system and the tool holder racks, the cases are much rare because for the design of the milling machines now, most of them adopt tool magazines rather than racks as the primary instrument for the optimal reservation choice of all the tools, tool holders, and many other tooling related units.

The use of magazine units connected with the automatic tool changer and the corresponding tooling components are all under the control of one integrated CNC system, which will well coordinate all the resources by the settled computer programs offered by the milling machine suppliers, and the human error issues can be eliminated to the least extent. Surely there will still be some other mounted CNC tool holder racks beside the milling-based machines if the working station is really enormous, and normal size tool magazines cannot fully satisfy the number of tool holders needed for the intended working loadings.

Some machining centers are even designed with pellet changers together with a large compartment of automated mechanical places that can store all the needed tool-related units involved in all the manufacturing tasks. For this automatic storage unit to operate well, a simple CNC system is not enough. A larger smart manufacturing system may be deployed into the system to control all the working status of the machinery units. The smart monitoring system can show the operational status of all the parts and details to the onsite human operators, and they may do their scheduled work management based on the information provided by the smart ERP system on the screen.

For this kind of manufacturing ERP system to be deployed, the mounted traditional CNC tool and tool holder racks will also be integrated and managed if it is necessary. The system can monitor and simulate many potential situations for the managers so that the whole plant can deal with orders of small volume but great variety, which is the trendy one in today's business world.

Application in Grinding Machines

The application of CNC grinding tool holder racks is relatively simple if compared with the milling-based machinery since normally grinding process is put to the later stages within the whole working schedule.

Now some manufacturers of grinding machines would add the CMM systems inside their grinding machines, making the whole grinding process of cylindrical external diameter, internal diameter, or surface quality to be accurate during the stage of the semi-finished procedure. The CMM is the abbreviation of coordinate measuring machine, and such a system is often integrated with the grinding head magazine together. For this type of advanced grinding machine, the tool holder racks may be also integrated into the magazine unit to form a fully integrated storage system that can offer the grinding process all kinds of grinding requirements.

The grinding process, may also involve the polishing and buffing instruments, and the corresponding potential units may include but are not limited to loose cotton, canton flannel, treated spiral sewn, treated vented, string buff, sisal rope, sisal, etc. These items are working instruments for users to choose based on their buffing requirements, and so does their polishing process as well.


Unlike the tool magazine case, most tool reserving racks are designed as the same by having them in rows one by one mounted on the wall and align with each other. However, regarding the shape of tool magazines, the situation is much different. There are drum-type changers and chain-type changers. Drum type changers may contain tools lower than 30 sets, while the chain type tool changers often contain tool numbers that are more than 30 units. The number 30 is just a common value, yet the real number may be different from each other depending on the situation.

It is important to know that the numbers of drum tool changers are often fewer than the numbers o the chain-type versions. Although the number of the chain type changer may contain more numbers of the tools, the tool searched speed will be much slower due to the large tool units and the lengthy moving tracks.

Industrial users of all these systems need to know about their specific processing needs before they purchase the machines and the racks, so that when the tool holder is idling, they may get a sense of what is happening inside the storage instrument as well as each capital goods respectively.


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