What is automatic tool changer and how it works?
What is automatic tool changer and how it works?

ATCs are generally used to improve the capacity of a machine to work with several tools at one time, but they can also be used to change out worn or broken tools. There are generally two types of automatic tool changers – rotary-style and linear-style – which vary in the number of tools present within the changer.


An automatic tool changer typically consists of:

  • Base
  • Gripper arm
  • Tool holder
  • Support arm
  • Tool magazines (where the tools are stored)


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.


The tool change command is given to the machine via the computer.

The tool to be changed assumes a fixed position known as the “tool change position.”

The ATC gripper moves to that position to pick up the tool.

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).


What are the benefits of an automatic tool changer?

An automatic CNC tool changer has numerous significant benefits in the shop, including:


  • Ability to switch between a large number of tools without requiring a human operator
  • Increased accuracy
  • Increased efficiency
  • Reduced labor cost
  • Reduced downtime and total production time
  • Increased tool storage capacity
  • Increased machine versatility
  • Increased safety for employees and equipment
  • Ability to change larger and heavier tools with ease
  • Increased edge finish due to more appropriate tooling per process
  • Increase your efficiency and production quality

Our in-house engineering talent has extensive expertise in motion control and always aims to provide hobbyists and shop owners alike with unmatched precision, efficiency, and versatility.


We offer a variety of CNC machine automatic tool changers as well as many accessories that are compatible with ATCs, including dust docks, containment skirts, aggregate and c-axis attachments, and more. Our tool changers are available in both linear and rotary solutions with 5 or 10 positions on most models, with the option to start with 5 and update to 10 at a later date if needed.

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