A Revolutionary Formula for Success
Many of you have seen the social media tests of your inner Albert Einstein, to see if you can solve a simple math equation. It could be something like this:
120 + 1 – 59 x 2 - 2 = ?
They go on to say you are a genius if you can answer correctly!?! The way to solve this is exactly like that in which additive and subtractive manufacturing works. There are rules for the sequence of operations that get you to the final, correct solution.
Evolution of Machine Tools
Machine tools today have evolved from purely subtractive manufacturing (SM) to additive manufacturing (AM), or the combination of the two on the same machine tool platform. Most all of the machine tool universe since the beginning of time have searched for a piece of material available to them in their respective eras and chipped away at it to make something useful in life. This process, even back when man discovered the wheel, is called subtractive manufacturing. By using a tool of some sort, material is taken away to provide the solution. Centuries ago, indeed since the Iron Age in the 6th to 8th centuries BC, humans have practiced this principle with high success.
A Revolution Afoot
Fast forward to the early 2000s and there is an evolution or maybe a revolution afoot. Someone decided that if we could print a thin layer of powder on a piece of paper and cure it with a laser we could make high quality copies. Then someone else said, “hey…let’s print an image on a surface and reprint it over and over again on the same surface, but move away slightly on each layer.” Plastic model making 3D printers arrived allowing cavities to be made inside of the solid plastic exterior. Then some quipped, “let’s try to do this with metal instead of plastic.” Then, “how about doing it on a standard subtractive machine tool and then machine the additively created part?” Welcome to 2017.
Solving Age-old Manufacturing Equations
Today science, technology and manufacturing have joined forces to bring the world a new frontier. By using the 3D printer concept with specialized microscopically spherical powder activated by a high power laser, we can now advance the Iron Age to the next level called Additive Manufacturing. Couple the AM with a superior SM machine tool and you have the ability to solve some age-old manufacturing equations for so many industries, like aerospace and medical, to name a few.
Dawn of Hybrid Machine Tools
Machines for tomorrow are about to dawn a new day where IIoT, AI and AM/SM hybrid machine tools will populate shops in the next 25-50 years. Okuma is part of this evolution and will help start the revolution. Just stay tuned, and better reserve your front row seat. Oh…. by the way… did you solve the equation, Einstein? The answer is:
120 years of Okuma equals ONE RESOURCE!
If you got that right, you’re officially a genius.
Ted Driggs, CMfgE, is Project Manager, Okuma America Corporation.
Other blog posts by Ted:
Productivity for Medical Device Manufacturing…STAT!