Machining center automatic tool change function and programming

The automatic tool change function of the machining center is accomplished through the control commands of the robot (automatic tool changer) and the numerical control system.

Tool change process: knife loading, knife selection, tool change

1. The tool change process

(1) Mounting: Tool Loading in the Magazine

Optional knife holder loading method. The tool is placed in any of the tool holders and the number of the tool holder where the tool is to be placed is recorded.

Fixed tool holder loading method. The tool is placed in the set tool holder.

(2) Select knife

Select the specified tool from the magazine.

1) Sequence tool selection: The tool selection method requires the tool to be placed in the tool holder according to the sequence of the process (that is, the tool usage sequence). When used, the tool is used one by one in the order of placement of the tool, and then put back into the original tool holder after use.

2) Freely select a knife:

1 Tool holder code selection tool: Code each tool holder of the tool magazine and place the tool corresponding to the tool holder code into the specified tool holder one by one. When programming, use the address T to indicate the tool holder code where the tool is located.

2 computer memory selection

The tool number is stored in the memory of the computer or in the memory of the programmable controller correspondingly to the location of the knife or the number of the tool holder. The address of the tool storage is changed and the computer memory is also changed. In the tool magazine is equipped with a position detection device, the tool can be taken out, any return.

(3) Tool change

1) The tool on the spindle and the tool to be changed in the tool magazine are optional tool holders.

Tool magazine → Select tool → Go to tool change position → Remove tool from robot → Insert spindle. At the same time, insert the tool removed from spindle into tool holder of tool to be changed.

2) The tool on the spindle is placed in the fixed tool holder. The tool to be changed is the optional tool holder or the fixed tool holder.

The tool selection process is the same as above. When the tool is removed from the spindle and returned to the tool magazine when the tool is changed, the tool magazine should be rotated beforehand to the position of receiving the spindle tool.

3) The tool on the spindle is an optional tool holder and the tool to be changed is a fixed tool holder.

The tool selection is the same as above, and the tool removed from the spindle is sent to the nearest empty tool position.

2. Preparation of automatic tool change program

(1) Tool change operation (command): Select tool (T××); change tool (M06)

(2) Selecting and changing tools are usually performed separately.

(3) In order to improve the utilization rate of the machine tool, the tool selection action and the machining action of the machine tool coincide.

(4) The tool change command M06 must be in the block before cutting with a new tool, and the next tool change command T is always immediately after this tool change command.

(5) Tool change point: Most machining centers specify the Z axis zero point (Z0) of the machine tool. It is required to use the preparation function command (G28) to automatically return the spindle to the Z0 point before the tool change.

(6) Tool change process: Immediately after receiving the T× instruction, the tool is automatically selected and the selected tool is in the tool change position. After receiving the M06 command, the robot moves, and on the one hand, the tool on the spindle is removed and sent back to the tool magazine. On the other hand, the tool in the tool change position is taken out and loaded on the spindle to realize tool change.

(7) Method for programming the tool change

1) The spindle return reference point and tool magazine selection are performed at the same time. After the tool is selected, the tool change is performed.


N02 G28 Z0 T02 Z axis zero return, select T02 knife;

N03 M06 replaced with T02 knife


Disadvantages: When the selection time is greater than the zero return time, it needs to occupy the machine.

2) Select the knife before Z-axis zero change tool change


N10 G01 X_ Y_ Z_ F_ T02 Linear interpolation, choose T02 knife

N11 G28 Z0 M06 Z axis zero return, change T02 knife


N20 G01 Z_ F_ T03 Linear interpolation, select T03

N30 G02 X_ Y_ I_ J_ F_ Circular interpolation

3) Some tooling programs (TH5632) have slightly different tool change procedures


N10 G01 X_ Y_ Z_ F_ T02 Linear interpolation, choose T02 knife


N30 G28 Z0 T03 M06 Z axis zero return, change T02 blade, select T03 blade

N40 G00 Z1

N50 G02 X_ Y_ I_ J_ F_ circular interpolation


Note: For horizontal machining centers, G28 Z0 in the above program should be G28 Y0.

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