Two Ways Your Quality Machine Tool Will Pay for Itself

Brandon Glenn

When evaluating a new machine tool purchase, if the price at the bottom of the quote is your primary focus, this blog post is for you! In our 120+ years of building machine tools, customer usage data clearly indicates the total cost of ownership and the true value of a machine tool lie well beyond the initial purchase and price tag. In some cases, the initial purchase price represents only 15% of a machine tool’s overall cost, with 85% coming over the life of that machine in the form of tooling, warranty claims, maintenance, scrap, and downtime, among other factors.

Lifecycle management is significant, to say the least! Based on this, our purchasing questions begin to shift from “which machine costs less now” to “which machine costs less over time”.

A “Heavy” Financial Impact to Consider

Optimizing the total cost of ownership starts with the structural integrity of the machine – and not all machine tools are designed equally. At the core, machine tool design and construction will either enhance or inhibit your profitability over the machine’s life. When evaluating specifications, one immediate indicator of quality and longevity is a machine tool’s total weight. Why is this important? I’m glad you asked...

The mass of a machine tool directly impacts your ability to produce quality parts both now and in the years (or decades) to come. Let’s explore two specific ways a robust, high-quality machine tool can quickly pay for itself.

Payment Number One: Saving on the Cost of Perishable Tooling

How much are you spending in a month on tool inserts? Once you have that number in mind, let’s walk through a quick conversation and then an example.

Perishable tooling is a significant recurring cost for any shop. You more than likely have pails of damaged carbide inserts lying around waiting for the recycler to come by. Have you ever considered the impact on your bottom line if this recurring tooling cost could be greatly reduced?

The biggest factor directly impacting tool life is uncontrolled energy at the cutting tip. You hear this unwanted energy in the form of noise, feel it in the form of vibration, see it in the form of chatter, and pay for it in the form of micro-fractured carbide. All these problems have the same root cause, which is inadequate machine tool design and construction. More robust, heavy machines designed for optimum structural integrity dampen and dissipate this energy away from the tool and into the casting and floor. Channeling this energy away from the tool tip yields better parts and longer tool life. Combine this with intelligent technologies like Machining Navi (cutting parameter optimization), and you’ll see your recurring tooling cost begin to immediately decrease.

Here’s a simple and thought-provoking representation of real savings our customers have realized after installing a quality, robust, heavy Okuma machine tool. Go ahead and replace the top number with your own personal monthly tool spend to see how much Okuma could help your bottom line.

$10,000 - Average monthly spend on tool inserts of a lighter machine tool
$2,000 - 20% monthly savings due to machine tool characteristics, including mass, equals $24,000 annually
15 years - Conservative lifespan of machine tool


Payment Number Two: Increased Throughput and Reduction in Scrap Rate

The natural byproducts of improved tool life are increased spindle utilization and reduced scrap rate. Improving tool life also means no more frequent stops to check parts or change inserts, and no more damaged parts due to tool failure.

In addition, structurally sound machine designs also inherently allow you to:

  • Machine more aggressively overall
  • Tackle heavy hogging or high-speed machining depending on the job at hand
  • Produce parts with a higher degree of dimensional accuracy
  • Achieve ultimate aesthetic appeal with immaculate surface finishes

Another way Okuma machine tools aim to decrease scrap rate is our industry-leading approach to thermal growth control. Our application of Thermo-Friendly Concept (TFC) starts at the design level where simple casting shapes create predictable and consistent thermal growth patterns. Once a machine tool is designed with both structural and thermal integrity in mind, we can then layer on the intelligent technology of Thermo Active Stabilizer (TAS). This is a real-time temperature measurement of critical casting and spindle components, which is fed to control algorithms to automatically make real-time thermal growth offsets. No more machine warmup cycles or offset chasing after lunch break – our machine tools are built to make quality parts all day with minimal operator intervention.

A final contributor to scrap rate is human intervention. The more a person handles the part or touches the control panel, the more opportunities for errors. Okuma’s OSP Control is smart enough to take some of this burden off your operators.

Hold Your Machine Tool Accountable for Your Profitability

The challenge for every business is finding ways to maximize revenue and minimize costs. Your machine tool should be up for this challenge too! Hopefully, this blog post has helped identify several factors that may be negatively impacting your bottom line. Imagine the possibilities of trading in these cash-sucking activities in exchange for revenue-generating ones. Your machine tool purchasing decisions may be the single biggest factor in this equation, so proceed with great care.

If you choose to invest in a high-quality, robust Okuma, we can guarantee that you will see a consistent dividend from your machine tool.

This blog post barely scratches the surface of the total cost of ownership conversation. We’re eager to hear more about the challenges and opportunities for improvement in your own shop! If you have questions or want to connect, we are always here to help. Contact your local distributor or register to speak with our experts directly with On-Demand with Okuma.

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