A Machinist’s Fear of the Unknown
For the last 10 years Minh Huynh, a senior machinist in Okuma’s Quick Shop has been cutting custom machine parts for customers on a 13 year old Okuma MB-56V vertical machining center with an E100 control. By all accounts a machine that has served him so well that he jokes it has become an extension of his hands and he could probably cut parts on it with his eyes closed. Imagine his surprise and apprehension when he was told his beloved MB-56V would be getting a new home. Minh would be tasked with learning a new machine which just happened to be a GENOS M560-V with a CAT 50, BIG-PLUS® spindle and loaded with all the latest and greatest CNC machining and programming capabilities including the open architecture OSP-P300 control.
OKUMA QUICK SHOP
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Equipment: GENOS M560V Vertical Machining Center with a CAT 50, BIG-PLUS spindle, Captain L370 Lathe, Manual Okuma Lathe, Manual Okuma Mill
MACHINE TOOL URGENT CARE - PUTTING OUT FIRES
There’s a machine tool surgeon in Okuma’s Quick Shop and he goes by the name of Minh Huynh. As a Quick Shop machinist Minh supports urgent internal and external machine issues to get shop floor production back up to speed. Additionally he crafts customer retrofits and options and produces stock parts for Okuma inventory. But his main priority is taking care of hot issues for customers with down machines. A down machine means chips aren’t being cut which can result in an emergency production situation. These urgent repair issues are the challenges that Minh says he enjoys the most, “They make my mind work a little harder and the day goes by quickly.” Every day the pressure is on to get urgent parts made swiftly and out the door as quickly as possible and the older, reliable MB-56V vertical machining center has done just that. Cutting parts skillfully and efficiently on the MB-56V is second nature to him. But Minh soon found out, sometimes all good things must come to an end to make room for something even better.
SAYING GOODBYE TO OLD RELIABLE
An Okuma customer was searching the used machine tool market for several months in hopes of adding another vertical machining center to their quick shop. They weren’t having much success. They discovered Okuma’s reputation for quality and reliability has them in high demand in the machine tool aftermarket so they approached Okuma asking for some assistance in their search. It turned out that Okuma was hitting the same road blocks in trying to locate a used machine. After exhausting all resources, a decision was made to sell the customer Minh’s good old reliable MB-56V right off the floor of Okuma’s Quick Shop. Management saw this as a perfect opportunity to help out a loyal customer while in turn upgrading the Quick Shop to the latest and greatest in CNC machining technology. The customer and everyone at Okuma were excited about the solution. But, understandably Minh was not so sure. After all, his MB-56V felt like home to him and served him well over the years. Although he was happy to have a satisfied Okuma customer, he felt a bit uncertain about his future and learning the ins-and-outs of a new machine and control.
ACCEPTING THE NEWS – I’M OLD SCHOOL
“I realized I’m old school, and I didn’t know how to react,” says Minh when he first heard his vertical machining center was being replaced. “I didn’t want to give it up. I was apprehensive about how long it would take me to get used to the new machine and if it would do the same things as my old one. Working on it day in and day out, I was comfortable with the old machine. It’s like having an old, reliable vehicle you’re used to driving every day, and I really liked the E100 control and tool set up because I was so familiar with it.” But the upgrade would provide the perfect opportunity for Minh and Okuma customers to see how easy it is to transition from an older E100 control to the new open P300 control. This old dog was about to learn some new tricks.
PLEASANTLY SURPRISED – THE POWER OF A HIGH PERFORMANCE VERTICAL MACHINING CENTER
Within a few weeks a state-of-the-art, GENOS M560 vertical machining center with a P300 control and a CAT 50 spindle arrived at its new home in Okuma’s Quick Shop in Charlotte, NC - the first of its kind to be sold and used in the United States. The Quick Shop is the ideal environment to test a variety of cuts and functions while also letting customers get a first-hand look at the GENOS technology and its BIG-PLUS spindle.
- CAT 50 BIG-PLUS spindle: The heavy duty, double-column structure of this particular GENOS features a CAT 50, BIG-PLUS spindle. Customers can now see a CAT 50, BIG-PLUS in action and the larger spindle makes it perfect for custom cuts in the Quick Shop. The bigger spindle is extremely rigid and has double the cutting power (12,000 rpm compared to 6,000 on the MB-56) and more contact points enabling it to easily make powerful and accurate cuts on exotic and difficult to machine metals including titanium and aluminum. The faster speed allows quicker feeds, shorter cycle times and the ability to machine smooth finishes. This machining center allows the tapping cycle to be adjusted and it’s much quicker when it backs out of a cut thereby increasing cycle time and efficiency. On the old machine the tap was the same speed going in and coming out of a cut. Additionally, Okuma’s Machining Navi is standard on the GENOS and also assists in determining the optimal spindle speed for highly efficient machining.
- OSP-P300 Control and Monitor: The OSP-P300 control is built using a Windows® open architecture platform and is intuitive and process-based. This means the control is customizable and all machine data is centralized and easily accessible from one screen without having to flip back and forth through several screens. This feature cuts down redundancy of control operations and set up times which allows operators to spend more time making parts. “I’m still learning the new control but it’s a lot faster,” says Minh.
One of Minh’s favorite upgrades is the monitor, “You can imagine going from an old DOS, the green and black screen to all of a sudden a new LED PC panel with Windows. It’s like going from a flip phone to a smartphone. And the machine manuals are accessible on the machining center’s screen too. I don’t have to look in my paper file when I have a question. I like that feature a lot.”
- Tooling and Automation: Minh admits he was surprised by the tooling setup for the machine. Unlike the MB-56V, the tooling type and position on the GENOS M560 need to be registered. Once the tools are registered the machining center automatically stores and remembers the information for future programming. The GENOS also has a 32 tool magazine compared to 22 on the old machine in addition to a faster tool-to-tool ATC cycle change time of 1.2 seconds. These automation features generate a significant increase in productivity.
- Travel: The GENOS M560-V has a generous 51x22 axis travel. The standard 30 x 16 travel on the old machine limited the Quick Shop from cutting larger parts. The bigger machining area now gives Minh the opportunity to cut an abundance of gibs and a wide variety of parts.
FULL SPEED AHEAD – EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS
After a little more than two weeks of training Minh has gotten a good feel for the GENOS and in that short time he has already decided that he loves the speed of the new machine and control in addition to other dynamic features.
“As I learn more every day I really like the new machining center. I’ve only been training about two weeks and I’m still learning the new control but it’s a lot faster. This machine is a lot quieter too. I’m looking forward to eventually utilizing all the new technologies and apps.
Minh’s work life and personal life mirror each other when it comes to his affinity and enthusiasm for reliable, high performance technology. “It’s like I have a new, top-of-the-line car and need to get used to it. But I’m getting used to it now, and I’m excited about it!”
Footnote: Recently Minh received the news that his GENOS M560-V will be moving to a new home and is being replaced with a GENOS M460-V vertical machining center in the upcoming weeks. Minh is confident that it will be a smooth transition now that he is already familiar with the GENOS Series, its ease of use and technology.
MORE: The GENOS M560-V vertical machining center is part of Okuma’s Affordable Excellence program. Learn more here