Enter Our Idea Contest: CNC Control Apps
Casey Croussore 06.11.2014
I have to admit, in my day-to-day work life, I don’t get out much. As a software engineer for Okuma America, the THINC-OSP CNC control is my primary focus. So you can usually find me planted at my desk on a computer. But when I do get out, one of the things I like to do most is attend THINC Developers Group meetings. Sound geeky? Yep, that’s my claim to fame! But this is where we developers get our inspirations for the specific kinds of control functions that will make your life easier. Many times, these are quite simple. But to get these ideas, we really need to hear from the people who are standing in front of machines every day to envision what functionalities you need. Read on to find out how you can participate.
“Part Flip” App: Genius!
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. One of our applications engineers, Germano Zerbini, came to us developers with an idea for a CNC control app. We’re calling it “Part Flip Monitor.” This is designed specifically for CNC lathe operations where you have a part that needs to be machined on both sides using a single spindle. In these operations the operator often needs to physically remove the part from the left spindle, turn the part around, place it back on the left spindle, and continue cutting on the back side of this part.
Sometimes this operator might get distracted and forget to take the part out and flip it around. Now they’re on a collision course for a scrapped part. What Part Flip Monitor does is check whether certain conditions have been met in the CNC machining process. If the machine starts executing code for cutting the second side of the part, and the part hasn’t actually been rotated, an alarm condition sets off. This alerts the operator, “hey, come over here and flip this part!” Simple, but genius.
We Need Your Help!
These kinds of handy functionalities are easy to identify if you’re operating a machine all day, every day. But for us software guys sitting in cubicles writing code, they’re not that obvious. So we need your help! Give this some thought. For example, any time you’re inputting data into your control manually, or performing some other manual function like flipping between screens to set data, STOP! This is a great opportunity for using a shortcut app. For example, we can set up ways to automate collecting data files by using bar code scanners. There are also some great app thought-starters for you in Chris Davala’s blog post, “10 Tricks You Can Teach Your CNC Control.”
Really, It’s Not Hard To Do
When you hear “writing apps” I bet two things immediately jump into your mind. 1. Long Lead Time, and 2. High Cost. Not so! Because Okuma’s THINC-OSP® CNC control is built using a using the Windows®-based, open architecture platform, you can even create apps that automate processes yourself – for a relatively low time and resource investment. The best way to get started is to call your local Okuma distributor, or you can always contact us too. Plus you can check out some of the free apps we have available for you to download on our THINC Apps page.
Enter NOW to Win an Okuma Swag Bag
What apps should we create next? Please comment below and tell us what you need. To make this even more fun, everyone who submits an idea will be placed in a drawing and have a chance to win an Okuma swag bag. Entries will only be accepted until June 30, so get cracking!
Casey Croussore is Software Engineer, Okuma America Corporation.