Manufacturing equipment makers join forces in Thinc partnership

Charlotte, N.C. — Under the leadership of Okuma Corporation, 24 manufacturing companies have come together to put a very different spin on the development of a new numerical control and to establish a unique demonstration facility that is also designed to be a training center.
The companies are calling themselves Thinc Partners, and their new enterprise opened May 4 in Charlotte, N.C. The partnership includes toolmakers Kennametal Inc. and Sandvik, robotics manufacturers Fanuc Robotics and ABB, metrology products makers Blum Lmt. Inc. and Hexagon Metrology, and a wide variety of software and machine tool accessory equipment producers. The complete list of the companies involved in the partnership is available on its Internet site, (www.partnersinthinc).
The idea started with the concept of an open architecture numerical control that would use off-the-shelf components supplied by each of the partners in the venture so that all of the complementary — and sometimes competing — functions could be integrated seamlessly. .
Once the development of the NC was underway, the partners hit on the idea of establishing the joint demonstration and training facility to provide the next step — presentations on how to use the control and how to take advantage of all of its functions, and proceeded with the $X million facility. .
The facility is unique in that you can see have live machine demonstrations — with a variety of tooling, robotics, software and side equipment — from almost every one of the Thinc partners and in a variety of combinations despite the fact that several of them compete against each other. They have come together in the facility to provide answers to manufacturing questions, and they are prepared to address questions as thoroughly as they can. .

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