For more than 40 years automotive manufacturers have used Okumas to produce a wide variety of parts from die molds to drive trains, pistons, camshafts, turbo chargers and aluminum wheels. At many OEMs and large Tier 1 suppliers, and even specialized shops, it’s common to see rows of Okumas lined up on the floor. Why do they choose Okumas? Key criteria include high productivity, maximum uptime for high-volume runs, and even the ability to get a machine delivered on a tight schedule. It all comes down to lean manufacturing, and Okumas are built for lean.
The Lean Machine
Okuma’s LU-series of horizontal lathes are popular in automotive manufacturing. Their 2 turrets and 4-axis capability provide consistent high accuracy and powerful machining. Here you gain the ability to load up additional tools and stations, set up synchronization (including P code synchronization), and use two tools in a cut, all while enjoying ease of programming. Additionally, every Okuma machine tool is hand scraped which allows for production of more parts, over a longer time frame – reducing lifetime cost of ownership and cost-per-part. Okumas also employ an Intelligent Technology called Thermo-Friendly Concept, which automatically compensates for ambient temperatures and heat generated during machining so that high accuracy can be achieved without interventions from the CNC machine tool operator. The result is increased accuracy, decreased costs and maximized profitability.
The wide variety in Okuma’s machine tool lineup also provides a unique advantage. Manufacturers can choose from horizontal and vertical lathes, double column machining centers and even grinders to establish a tightly integrated, lean stable of machine resources. We have base spec CNC machines in inventory and we’re ready to configure them with the options that meet your requirements, and deliver to you quickly. Are total cost of ownership and achieving the lowest cost per part important to you? Then creating process efficiencies, reducing downtime and efficiently fulfilling high volume requirements are all key to your equation. Following we’ll explore how Okuma supports these criteria.
“Lean Out” With Unique Control Functionality
Efficiencies are where it’s at. That’s why Okuma provides control technology that gives you unprecedented power to streamline processes. Our new OSP-P300 is built using the Windows®-based, open architecture platform used in all THINC®-OSP CNC controls. This control empowers users with several new functions – such as “One-Step Advance” and “Return and Schedule Programs” – that make your life easier, more productive and more efficient. View a list of handy functions in our recent blog post “CNC Control Functions – The Hot List” – they may surprise you. If there’s a custom functionality that you desire, the P300’s open platform allows you to create your own. Its standard PC-compatible Ethernet and multiple USB ports also make it easy to integrate communications throughout your shop so you can:
- Send production orders to your MRP systems right from the machine tool
- Track production with scanned barcodes
- Generate reports to share with the management team
Down With Downtime
Okuma machine tools are known for reliability and uptime – ask any user, they simply don’t break down very often. In fact, we have a documented track record of 90 months (7.5 years) Mean Time Between Failure. But things can happen. That’s when our Okuma CARE service program jumps in to get you up and running quickly.
- With the touch of a button you can be connected to one of 32 service support centers and 600+ Okuma-trained experts who can monitor, troubleshoot and load software from any location, any time of day
- 24/7/365 access to support (including weekends and holidays)
- $200 million parts inventory worldwide, $38 million parts inventory at Okuma in North Carolina, and $22 million North America distributor parts inventory
- In the event an item is not locally stocked, our real time Inventory system can in most cases get the part you need within 24 hours
Fulfilling High-Volume Requirements
Okuma’s THINC control is a completely open environment that allows for collaboration with best-in-class technology partners. We’ve organized this into a problem-solving network of experts known as Partners in THINC. Together we efficiently fulfill high-volume requirements such as in-process and post-process gaging and seamless integration with peripheral equipment like gaging and robotics.
The Best Work With the Best
The Richard Childress Racing and Target Chip Ganassi Racing teams utilize Okumas to produce parts and equipment for their programs. They choose Okuma because they know they can achieve the tightest tolerances and the best quality parts that will hold up under the extreme demands of racing conditions. Watch this video and learn more, including this quote from Richard Childress (Owner, Richard Childress Racing): “In 2000, we got our first Okumas, and right away we saw it – the precision and accuracy were just second-to-none. It took us to a different level.”
The Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) uses only Okuma machine tools and has $1.5 million of equipment and support onsite. Leading-edge applied research is being conducted in critical areas such as advanced product development strategies, sustainable mobility, intelligent manufacturing systems and advanced materials. CU-ICAR uses Okumas in their Lightweight Automotive Materials Program (LAMP), which explores the use of titanium as an automotive component material in order to reduce vehicle weight and energy consumption. Clemson also partners with Okuma in their automotive engineering graduate programs where we’ve developed a conditions-based maintenance system that performs predictive maintenance right on the machine tool – watch the video “Improving Cost of Ownership with Integrated Predictive Maintenance” to learn more.
Well Positioned for CAFE – and Your Changing Needs
Okuma is well positioned to tackle the challenges of regulatory mandates such as CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) because: we’re a single-source provider, we have our own control built on an open architecture platform, and our Partners in THINC program engages expertise and collaboration amongst more than 40 industry-leading suppliers. All of this allows us to be nimble in how we approach changes in the materials, design and processes of automotive manufacturing, and enables us to support your ongoing needs.
Special Challenges Require a Special Machine
Okuma’s CNC machine quality is renowned, and ideally suited for the lean processes required in automotive manufacturing. Following are a few highlights:
- We’re the industry’s only single-source provider, with the machine, drive, motors, encoders, spindle and control all manufactured by Okuma, providing a synergistic system that delivers greater reliability and performance.
- Every Okuma is hand scraped on each mating surface to set the foundation for consistent accuracy and long-term stability. Hand scraping introduces carefully placed high and low spots on the mating surfaces of the CNC machine. Tight tolerances can only be achieved by adding high and low spots that hold oil and allow for gliding, rather than sticking.
- Thermo-Friendly Concept (one of Okuma’s Intelligent Technologies) combines CNC control technology with stable machine design to both minimize the amount of heat generated and deal with heat that cannot be eliminated. This thermal stability enhances automotive manufacturing accuracy while decreasing costs and maximizing profitability.
- When it comes to smooth finishes, Super-NURBS is a programming function available on Okuma CNC machines that meets high accuracy finish requirements while speeding up cycle times. The result is drastically reduced hand finishing time to achieve high quality parts quickly.
- Okuma’s THINC-OSP CNC controls provide a Windows®-based, open architecture platform that makes it possible to easily install PC applications that allow for myriad conveniences right at the CNC machine location. This allows for handy access to tooling lists/setup spreadsheets, process documents, and how-to videos that assist operators in setup and operation. And, because we have the industry’s only fully open platform, you can create any productivity-enhancing apps you desire. The new THINC-OSP-P300 control provides a feature that combines critical operator information into one “EASY OPERATION” run screen
For more information about Okuma and manufacturing productivity check out this video: “The Fearless Use of Today’s Technology.”.
Local Distribution Provides Industry Expertise and Support
Okuma sells to manufacturers exclusively through distributors. This focus has been in place for several decades, resulting in the creation of the largest independently-owned distribution network in the Americas. This distributor network provides ready access to an experienced, one-stop resource for sales, service, training, engineering, and more. This means automotive manufacturing customers can tap into the resources of a global company combined with personalized, local service and support.
- 45 Locations throughout North and South America
- 1200+ Employees
- 600+ Service/Parts Professionals
- 150+ Engineers
- 525+ Combined Years in the Machine Tool Industry
The Okuma Difference
- Supports automotive lean manufacturing with high-quality CNC machines that deliver productivity gains, maximum uptime and fulfill high-volume requirements
- Reduces total cost of ownership and enables low cost-per-part
- Minimizes downtime, given our documented 90 months (7.5 years) Mean Time Between Failure and our Okuma CARE service program that gets you up and running quickly if incidents occur
- Fulfills high-volume requirements such as in-process and post-process gaging and seamless integration with peripheral equipment like gaging and robotics
- Incorporates open architecture THINC CNC control functionality that streamlines processes and enhances productivity
- Delivers experienced local dealer support to customize solutions for your individualized needs
Automotive / High Performance FAQs
Lean manufacturing is my ultimate goal. Can you support me in this process?
Yes. Okuma maximizes opportunities for lean manufacturing with highly accurate machines built for long term performance with low cost of ownership.
I always calculate total cost of ownership. Aren’t Okumas too expensive?
No. Okuma users quickly find that the increased productivity, reduction of downtime, and overall process efficiencies combine to provide an outstanding – and in many cases quick – return on investment. We encourage cost of ownership evaluations, and in fact welcome you to contact us so we can help analyze this.
Are Okumas a good fit for high volume environments?
Yes. Our machine build and available technologies (such as Thermo-Friendly Concept) are designed to deliver long uninterrupted runs with high part quality. Along with our Partners in THINC, we can also fulfill high-volume requirements such as in-process and post-process gaging and seamless integration with peripheral equipment.
Is Okuma a big player in the automotive manufacturing industry?
Yes. For over 40 years, leading automotive manufacturers have chosen Okumas for their high productivity and maximum uptime for high-volume runs. We’re also the machine tool builder of choice for the development of next-generation automotive engineering technology (as evidenced by our partnership with Clemson University), and the tight tolerance/high quality demands of top racing teams.