What Keeps You Up at Night?
I spend a lot of time on the road, visiting hundreds of machine shops along the way. With this kind of experience you start to see things that shops tend to have in common. For most, their actual machining is not a problem. Shops know how to make their parts better than any machine tool builder ever will, period. 99% of the time, what’s really keeping a shop owner up at night (or what’s keeping his business from growing the way it should) is some kind of operational issue. So how can a machine tool builder help with this kind of challenge?
Go Anywhere You Want
One way is to give you tools that are flexible enough so you can customize them to meet your individual needs. Yes, our iron should be up to this task, and we continually pursue advancements in machine tool technology to give you the latest and greatest. But I think the most powerful tool we can give you is our open architecture OSP-P300 control. Instead of a predetermined laundry list of options we give you a limitless range of ways to solve your manufacturing challenges. Limitless…is that good? It’s not only good, it’s essential because we builders can never conjure up the whole list of scenarios you might have going on in your shop. So we give you the car (the iron), PLUS the keys to the car (our open architecture control) so you can go anywhere you want.
What Keeps You Up at Night?
When I meet with shops I usually ask “what’s the thorn in your side?” or “what keeps you up at night?” Often I hear comments about the lack of skilled labor. There was one guy who told me they were scrapping parts because their operators were trying to offset a tool, and they’d pick the wrong tool for the wrong geometry. I asked him, what if I could put a photo of your part or print on the screen, and have pictures of the tools and where they go, which geometry they fit? All the operators would have to do is look at the graphic on the screen and say, “Yes, that’s the geometry I want to change,” and then put in the amount they want to change it by, and then in the background, that graphic on the screen is communicating to your tooling. These are the kinds of things that are possible with an open architecture control – you can customize it to solve your unique problems, and many times these are not even machining problems.
Windows® Professional vs. Windows® Embedded
If this sounds good to you there are a couple things to keep in mind when considering your control. Most CNC controls today offer a Windows® operating system of some flavor. The question people need to ask is, which kind of Windows system are they using? There are two versions of Windows software that most CNCs incorporate, Windows 7 (or other) Professional or Ultimate, or Windows Embedded. Windows Embedded is typically a locked-down version where its functionalities are decided by the builder or integrator. Windows Professional (or Ultimate) is open for the customer to do what he needs with it. So, custom applications and custom interfaces can be created and utilized with Windows Pro, where they may not be created and utilized with Embedded, depending on the builder. As a general rule, a good question to ask when you’re considering a control is, “do you use Windows Pro or Windows Embedded?” You want the answer to be “Pro.” This will give you the freedom to customize for your needs today, and for the long run.
Solve That Nagging Problem Once and For All
Okuma runs Windows Professional, so literally anything you can run on a desktop or laptop computer can run on our control. The OSP control is completely 100% wide open. If you’ve got somebody who can write Visual Basic or .NET programming, you can develop your own machine tool app yourself (or call your distributor and have them help you) and run it on our control. You need absolutely nothing from Okuma. You’re absolutely free to solve that nagging problem once and for all, and finally get some sleep at night.
Wade Anderson is Product Specialist Sales Manager, Okuma America Corporation.
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