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Okuma’s Customized Cell for Wheel Making

March 21, 2013
New drilling machine Lathe size options Fanuc automation, vision technology

CNC machine builder Okuma America Corporation is launching a new “all Okuma” work cell customized to the production demands of aluminum wheel manufacturing. The cells are specifically designed to allow wheel manufacturers to increase productivity and efficiency while minimizing downtime.

The core of the arrangement is its MB-56VA-AW aluminum wheel-drilling machine, a new design that emphasizes reliability in lathing operations, as well as two more Okuma CNC lathes in a selection of sizes.

The “all Okuma” cell is a customizable concept that addresses the high-throughput considerations of aluminum wheel manufacturing, with precision machining and reliable automation.

All three Okuma machines feature the THINC®-OSP open architecture CNC control, for easy integration, greater functionality, and accessibility to third-party applications.

Okuma America — sales and service affiliate of CNC machine tool builder, Okuma Corporation— explained that the MB-56VA-AW aluminum wheel-drilling machine extends the reliability of its lathes to a machining center/drill. It’s a design based on Okuma’s vertical machining center, and incorporates the latest available technology, tailoring specifications to the high-speed requirements of aluminum wheel drilling and milling.

The integrated high-speed trunnion table supplies full four-axis machining capabilities.

Okuma offers five models of CNC lathes to support the drilling process, meaning operators can customize their cell configurations with sizes ranging from 16 to 24 in., featuring quick-changeover workholding providing flexible top tooling for the chuck, reducing the need for changeovers between setups.

Because all three machines are Okuma designs, all three feature the THINC-OSP control — which supports fuller integration with the most up-to-date engineering simulation tools, and throughout operations. Real-time monitoring and alarm notifications can now be enabled, Okuma indicated, and cell monitoring and performance reporting functions are more robust. Adding third-party applications is possible too as a consequence of this open architecture CNC control.

Supporting wheel production is a Fanuc robot, with well-established gripper design and vision technology that makes possible fixtureless locating and orientation, eliminating manned verification and offset probing.

Gosiger Automation, a system integrator, handles installation and service for the wheel cell, deploying advanced engineering and simulation, Controllogix programming, and wheel process monitoring to ensure reliable cell performance.

About the Author

Robert Brooks | Content Director

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.

Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)

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