Paper or Plastic? Advances in Software Media

Paper or Plastic? Advances in Software Media
by Mike Breitkreutz

Do you remember using paper tape with your CNC control? If you’ve been in the machine tool industry for a while, you may remember the days of managing your part programs (cutting programs) on paper tape media. In the early days of NC controllers, it was the only method of installing the NC Software, and transferring your part programs to the CNC control.

We’ve come a long way since the days of paper tape media. As Okuma expanded our CNC control platform over the past decades, we’ve introduced new media devices to keep pace with the current technology. Looking back on it, this evolution has been pretty dramatic:

  • The earliest Okuma CNC controls that utilized paper tape were the OSP 2200 and OSP 3000. So, back when Bob Dylan was playing ‘Tangled Up in Blue’ in night clubs, machinists were trying not to get ‘tangled up in paper tape’ as their part programs reeled through tape readers to cut that precious part.
  • Thinking back to the 80s, we might wince at the memory of bad hair-bands (Poison anyone?), but things were more promising on the software media front. Okuma’s OSP 5000 CNC control introduced the 8” floppy disk media to our customers. Finally, you had a whopping 128 Kbytes of program storage capacity in a nice neat package!
  • Okuma’s OSP 5020, OSP 7000 and OSP U100 CNC controls that followed from the late 80’s through the 1990’s brought 3½” floppy disks to the machining world. This industry-standard disk media allowed customers to easily transfer part program data between the CNC machine and the office PC on controls that supported MS-DOS disk format. Programmers could now sit in their offices and save part programs to a floppy disk while jamming to Stone Temple Pilots. As grunge music resurrected the music industry, the 3½” floppy disk delivered a groundbreaking innovation to the world of part program management.
  • In the late 90's, with the introduction of the OSP E100 CNC control, Okuma began using Compact Flash to store the NC software on the control, and the 3½” floppy drive unit remained on the machine tool for part program management.
  • In 2004, Okuma’s THINC®-OSP CNC control technology revolutionized the machine tool industry with its open-architecture, PC-based platform and full office interconnectivity. This broke the boundaries of software media restrictions. All this while new bands like Audioslave and Velvet Revolver showed us what’s possible when you reinvent yourself.

Today, Okuma provides all THINC-OSP CNC control software on DVD media with every machine. The OSP System software can be installed via DVD or USB memory stick through standard USB ports, and customers can easily manage their part program data via Ethernet or USB connection to the machine.

From the OSP 2200 to our THINC-OSP CNC controls, Okuma continues to provide our customers with the latest software and media to keep your CNC machines running while adding new functionality. And we still produce software to support all of the media and Okuma controls mentioned in this article.

Do you prefer ‘Paper or Plastic’? Comment below and tell us what new software media has enabled you to do. Or contact us to learn how we can help streamline your CNC control processes and interconnectivity.

Mike Breitkreutz is Senior Manager, Software Production and Service, Okuma America Corporation

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Ralph Lazzara

Hi Mike,

I got my start in the machine tool industry in 1985 repairing paper tape readers and splicing broken paper code back together again. Thank heavens for the creation of Mylar. Plastic all the way!

Jamie Fritz

Although my first machine was one that you had to manually enter in the 1's and 0's, I am waiting for the day of wireless transfers. I have become party of the digital age and would love to even see the implementation of wirelessly transferring my programs to my CNC machine.

Marc G

In ref to Jamie's comment - the Wireless Age of program transfer is upon us with the P- Generation of controls, and even older ones with the use a wireless to serial converter. No more hard-lines Jamie!!

Shown below is a very good one for under $ 50, but there are numerous others on the market.

The Cisco Linksys AE1000 can operate in either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequency ranges that are available using the Wi-Fi n standard. This user-selectable option is ideal for avoiding interference from other devices like cell phones, remote controlled toys or microwave ovens that can be problematic for wireless networks. The 2.4GHz range of channels is ideal for surfing the internet, keeping up with email and other interactions with the network that aren’t particularly demanding from a data throughput perspective. This band also means that wireless n devices are backward compatible with older Wi-Fi a, b and g devices, so they don’t become obsolete as a result of technological advances.



I have a floppy disk damage, I can't recover the information of floppy disk 6/7, are there someone that send to me the information of this disk, thank you.


I forgot the information of CNC control: OSP-U100M

Mindy Mikami


I see that you are in Mexico, so your local Okuma distributor, HEMAQ, will be able to assist you with your issue. You can find their contact information at I will also forward your information to them so they are prepared for your inquiry.


Marc G

Hey Luis,

If you contact your Okuma distributor, they should be able to order a Warranty Software request, or a paid version of new software including all the disks. You will need to provide a serial number of your machine and the control type, U100M and they can remake it.
It may take a little time, depending on how backed up the software dept is...

Good luck!!

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