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An Overview of SMARTSHIFT’s Tool Changer


A robot tool changer is the perfect solution for any manufacturer looking to enhance productivity and process flexibility. So…what are robot tool changers and how do they work? Tool changers make it possible for industrial robots to automatically switch from one end effector to another in seconds, which eliminates the need for manually swapping EOAT (end-of-arm tooling). How these tool changers work is a little more complicated to explain, as there are a wide variety of robot tool changers on the market.

Because Schneider & Company is committed to innovation, we’re discussing SMARTSHIFT’s tool changer. This unique product is something that doesn’t exist anywhere on the market, and something that you’ll definitely want to implement into your material handling processes.

Keep reading to learn more.

SMARTSHIFT’s Solutions

SMARTSHIFT is a small, high-tech company from Norway. Their two unique products include their continuous robot tool changer and robotbase set. While this post will mostly cover the main features and benefits of their tool changer, we’ll also discuss their robotbase set.

SMARTSHIFT’s Unique Tool Changer

As a manufacturer, you know that industrial robots can greatly improve process flexibility, but their only ability is that they can move in different planes. Robots need EOAT in order to handle/grip different types of products.

One way to explain how the SMARTSHIFT tool changer works is by visualizing a warehouse. In this warehouse, there is only one robot station that is responsible for moving boxes throughout the warehouse, which are filled with various items.

Suppose this warehouse needs to pull and pack an order for a whisk broom, a can of coffee, and a rubber duck. The same robot arm cannot pull all three items with the same gripper. In a typical warehouse, robots might need 50 or 60 different grippers to handle all the different kinds of items in the warehouse.

Without a tool changer, operators are responsible for manually switching out the EOAT, which can take some time, depending on how often they need to be swapped. With SMARTSHIFT’s tool changer, the robot arm can change its tools as it is accomplishing tasks, quickly replace damaged or worn-out tools, and keep track of where it puts each tool. So, SMARTSHIFT’s solution can greatly increase the flexibility of high-speed applications.

Main Features & Benefits

Additional benefits of this robot tool changer include:

  • Mechanical Connection: The SMARTSHIFT robot tool changer does not require air or electricity to move the joints. This means that if a robot has to power down in the middle of an operation, it will not drop the object it is holding.
  • Simple Design: One of the best features of this tool changer is its simple, but incredibly effective design. SMARTSHIFT has their own patented triangular dovetail locating system with an active pneumatic seal that helps increase process accuracy. Additionally, the design is modular, so you can get a tool changer with a pass-through air circuit or an 8-pin electrical connection.
  • Compatibility: This tool changer is compatible with any robot system. 
  • Speed: As we mentioned earlier, changing EOAT by takes time,  but SMARTSHIFT’s product allows for rapid swapping. (Watch the video just to see how fast it is!)
  • Economical: The tool changer allows a single robot to perform a greater range of functions. 
  • Unique: SMARTSHIFT’s tool changer is the only product that allows you to change a tool on a robot while it is moving.

Robotbase Set

In addition to their tool changer, SMARTSHIFT also offers a robotbase set. Just like the tool changer, the robotbase set features their patented triangular dovetail design; it uses a locking ring to mount the male side to a fixture plate and the female side to the bottom of the robot. 

The primary benefit of the design is that it allows you to rapidly remove a robot from its mounting position and re-mount back in the same position. It’s an extremely accurate product that is ideal for facilities that need to quickly move one robot from station to station without reteaching/reprogramming it.

Why SMARTSHIFT?

SMARTSHIFT has been revolutionizing the market since their inception in 2018. Although there are plenty of tool changers on the market, there are none quite like SMARTSHIFT’s. And, SMARTSHIFT’s commitment to innovation perfectly ties in with our mission at Schneider & Company, which is to bring tomorrow’s manufacturing technologies today.

Learn More About SMARTSHIFT’s Tool Changers Today

Schneider & Company is proud to be an authorized distributor of SMARTSHIFT’s products and solutions. We’ve been helping manufacturers integrate robotic and automation solutions since 2012, and can’t wait to help you, too. 

If you have questions about SMARTSHIFT’s tool changer or need help selecting the right clutch type, please contact us today to speak with one of our experts. We currently have SMARTSHIFT tool changers in stock, and can ship them to you within two weeks. 

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