THINC Together

The belief that “two heads are better than one” has been taken to a new level. As the first facility of its kind, Partners in THINC is where a customer can come to see real parts being manufactured for real customers. In addition, this facility is where 26 of the industry’s leaders have committed products, engineers and time to reach out to the manufacturing industry to solve problems and create solutions as a team—a multi-discipline partnership.

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For manufacturing to survive and thrive in today’s market, a company must adapt and use all the technology and resources available to it. My company has recognized this and understands that its machine tools are one part of the entire manufacturing process.

Precision turning is only one example of the changes—and need to change—in the manufacturing industry. In the past, material and waste were top on the list of important factors for change. Now, with costs going up, workholding and part handling have become a main concern for the industry. The use of turning with the mill function or the newer multi-tasking machine allows a customer to complete a part in one handling. Integrate this with accessories such as bar feeders, robots, in-process gaging and tool-life management, and you have more than just a machine; you have a turning solution with which to get ahead and compete.

This philosophy has led the company to create the Partners in THINC facility. The belief that “two heads are better than one” has been taken to a new level. As the first facility of its kind, Partners in THINC is where a customer can come to see real parts being manufactured for real customers. In addition, this facility is where 26 of the industry’s leaders have committed products, engineers and time to reach out to the manufacturing industry to solve problems and create solutions as a team—a multi-discipline partnership.

The facility has nine partners with a full-time person at the facility, and all others have committed to having sales and engineering personnel in the facility for visitors and meetings 3 days a week. Customers can see how the integrated solutions are working on the factory floor, or they can bring their own parts and processes to explore how using the THINC control and the power of the partners will improve their manufacturing and make them money.

When customers visit the facility, they see two immediate examples of solutions-based turning.

The first example is where Partners in THINC is manufacturing parts for Richard Childress Racing. Our two-axis Captain lathe is equipped with live tooling. In addition to the machine, the partners have integrated a CMM, probe, robot, JobBoss software, ToolBoss, tool presetter and autocomp software. These are all integrated through the control for real-time feedback and changes to produce accurate parts faster and cheaper.

Second, a customer would see our company’s multitasking machine—the Multus B300. This machine has twin opposed spindles for equal cutting on both operations as well as a tool changer for more flexibility in tool selection. By integrating a robot with vision, slugs and materials can be pulled from a conveyor and, based on the geometry of the part, pull up the appropriate part program. In addition, the machine’s control is integrated with a CMM, IP probe, robot, ToolBoss, presetter, bore gage and Okuma’s MacMan-Net software. Again, this solution is completing parts in one handling and operation, reducing workholding time and the risk of error and scrap.

With more than 12 machines on the floor, all integrated with partners’ solutions and Okuma’s control, the sky is the limit to solving even the most complicated or complex manufacturing projects.

I welcome everyone to learn more about the Partners in THINC facility and to visit us in Charlotte, North Carolina, to learn more.