Chain Type Tool Magazine

What is a chain type tool magazine?

A chain type tool magazine is one type of tool magazines, which stores several tools that are supposed to be used, and deliver one at a time on the automatic tool changer.

The chain type tool magazine is able to load the largest numbers of tools for the CNC machining centers, in order to eliminate the requirement of an operator and reduce the time that is spent on changing tools.

In the industrial fields, the magazine is not the sort of book, which reports the news or posts some articles according to the subject or concept that the company is set. Instead, the magazine here refers to a series of cartridge-like cavities that sit the cutting tools, which are applied for the machining works.

For the traditional machining works, the procedures are performed by the operators adjust, set up, and control the movements of the cutting tools, which only allow one tool to serve for the working site at a time.

However, with the progress of the advanced technology, the computerized system, or CNC system, which is the computer numerical control system, is invented, conducting multiple tasks of the machining works or holding several cutting tools are no longer novel things.

The machines that apply the CNC system are free from changing one workpiece to several machines and complete the required works. On the other hand, these machines allow various works to be conducted on the only one working site, which should rely on the work holding and changing devices that are ready for deliver the next tool when one is on the working site.

Although there are several procedures that have to be done when changing and delivering tools on the CNC machining centers, it only takes the minimal time then they are able to achieve these procedures, as they are all operated automatically.

What types of magazine are there on the ATC?

To achieve the automatic work holding and tool delivering on the CNC machining center, they require the automatic tool changer (ATC) that change the cutting tools when it is necessary during the procedures of machining works.

The automatic tool changer is usually comprised of the base, the gripper arm, the tool holder, the support arm, and the tool magazine. These components are in charge of gripping, supporting, and storing a variety of cutting tools for the required machining works.

Among these components, the tool magazine, which has been mentioned in the first section, plays the role in storing or loading the tools, and providing the tools one after another by swiveling to the position where the ATC is easy to grip the new tool.

Depending on the machines that are applied and the numbers of tools that are required, the tool magazines can be simply divided into two types, including the disc type tool magazine and the chain type tool magazine.

● disc type tool magazine

The disc type tool magazine is also known as the drum type tool magazine, which is form as a disc, with the tools being arranged around the edges. 

The disc type tool magazine, along with the other type that is going to be mentioned later, are suitable for the horizontal machining center, whose spindle and the working table is parallel to each other.

However, compared to the other type, this one provides smaller capacity of the loading of tools.

● chain type tool magazine

The set-up method and the working principle between the former type and the chain type tool magazine are basically the same, which allow the tools to be automatically replaced and serve for the required machining works.

However, the chain type means that this tool magazine is made of larger scale than the disc-like tool magazine. Therefore, it is able to accept more tools to be held, which are usually more than 30 tools, and allows for more intricate works to be performed.

How does a chain type tool magazine work?

To work the chain type tool magazine, which is to operate the automatic tool changer, the assembly should coordinate with the power turret, which is set in front of the working site and directly interact with the workpieces.

When one tool has finished its duty, the chain would swivel in order to let the new tool expose to the gripper arm. Once this is done, the chain would be static, and the gripper arm would swivel between the chain that is on the rear side, and the turret that is on the front side.

When the position of the gripper arm is properly set, the two grippers on the arm would start to change the tools. One picks up the old tool from the turret, and the other replace with the new tool from the chain, which complete the tool changing processes.

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