Touched by Machine Tools
When people ask me what I do, I tell them I’m an Applications Engineer for Okuma America. They usually follow up with, “What do y’all do there?” I then tell them that we build, sell and service machine tools. At that point, most folks are lost. They know what a tool is and they know what a machine is but this “machine tool” thing is hard for them to grasp. Usually, they just say “Cool”, however, some folks are curious and want to know more. When this happens I tell them that machine tools make just about everything we use in our day-to-day life.
The Machine Tool Effect
If the machine tool is not directly making that product, it’s making the tools that are used to make that product. I go on to tell them that unless one is an indigenous inhabitant of a rain forest who has never met “civilized” people, their life is touched by machine tools. To be unaffected by machine tools, one would have to be a hunter-gatherer using rocks and sticks and vines to fashion tools for surviving in one’s environment.
Just a Few Examples
At that point, I can give examples, from my daily life, of products that require Okuma machine tools for their manufacture. For example:
- When I wake up in the morning, I flip on a light powered by electricity generated by a generator made on a machine tool. I eat breakfast made from food that was cultivated by farm equipment that was built using machine tools. I brush my teeth using water that was pumped using pumps made on a machine tool. Many manufacturers of these items use Okuma machine tools and I have worked with some of them.
- When I get in my car to drive to work, I’m operating a machine that has parts that were made on a machine tool and sheet metal that was punched and pressed by tooling that was made by a machine tool. In the case of my car, I’ve actually been in the plant where my car was built. While there, I trained the employees of that builder in the operation of their new Okuma.
- I drive to work on roads that were built with heavy machinery manufactured by Okuma machines. Even the rock that was used on the road may have been crushed by a machine that has components built on an Okuma machine tool.
- The gasoline I put in my car started as crude oil pumped from wells drilled by rigs built from components that were made using Okuma machine tools. The oil was transported by pumps and pipelines with parts made on Okuma machine tools.
- On my way to work, I see airplanes coming in for their landings at Charlotte Douglas Airport. You guessed it. Many of the parts on these airplanes were made on Okuma machine tools.
- When I get to work, I boot up my computer. I’ll give you three guesses what was used to make the machines that made many of that computer’s parts.
- When I’m walking around, I remember that I’m carrying around something made on an Okuma machine tool: my new hip. Yes, that hip came from a company that is an Okuma customer.
- One more thing: Other manufacturers of machine tools even use Okuma machine tools to build their products.
Most of us take a lot of pride in our work and go the extra mile to deliver the utmost in quality. So sometimes it’s nice to just take a minute and reflect on how important our contributions are to nearly every aspect of modern life.
Dennis Nichols is Senior Applications Engineer, Okuma America Corporation.