For more than 30 years, Okuma has been the machine tool builder of choice for manufacturers in the aerospace machining industry, including Tier 1, 2 and 3 suppliers and job shops. Why are Okuma CNC machines so uniquely suited for this industry’s demanding requirements? It is a combination of several elements – the unique way we build our machines, the flexibility of our CNC controls, and the distributor expertise “at your doorstep” – that sets us apart.

With today’s high demand for aerospace parts such as landing gear and engine components, Okuma users win and retain customers by delivering high-precision results with competitive pricing. Aerospace manufacturers can choose from more than ten Okuma CNC machine models that are specifically crafted for their needs.

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Cost Reduction: The Aerospace Mandate

To win aerospace manufacturing bids, you have to be more than competitive – you need to have the lowest bid. The build quality of Okuma CNC machines maximizes productivity, minimizes downtime and provides a platform that lasts for decades. Highly productive machines that last a long time yield the lowest cost-per-part.

When thinking about reducing costs, it’s essential to consider lifetime cost of ownership rather than just the initial cost. By investing in a quality machine, users benefit from reduced repair frequency/cost and higher spindle utilization over the life of the machine.

Cost reduction is also achieved by implementing automation to contain labour costs. Okuma’s PALLETACE flexible manufacturing system enhances the productivity of an Okuma horizontal machining centre by allowing for unattended runs, lights-out aerospace machining, and reduced non-cutting time due to setups and changeovers.

Part Accountability and Traceability

Maintaining detailed accountability and traceability for each part produced is of utmost importance in manufacturing for aerospace. Okuma’s OSP control provides simple and powerful systems to achieve this. In a typical traceability process, a folder of events is created for each part, and each part is bar-coded to the cell where it is being machined. Then, at each stage of the machining process, data is collected and archived to its corresponding folder. Detailed data for probing, tooling, machining, and inspections are recorded and can be easily retrieved at any time, allowing aerospace parts manufacturers to deliver accountability and traceability with confidence.

Special Challenges Require a Special Machine

Okuma’s CNC machine quality is renowned, and ideally suited for the high demands of aerospace machining. Following are a few highlights:

  • We’re the industry’s only single-source provider, with the machine, drive, motors, encoders, spindle and control all manufactured by Okuma, providing a synergistic system that delivers greater reliability and performance.
  • Every Okuma is hand scraped on each mating surface to set the foundation for consistent accuracy and long-term stability. Hand scraping introduces carefully placed high and low spots on the mating surfaces of the CNC machine. Tight tolerances can only be achieved by adding high and low spots that hold oil and allow for gliding, rather than sticking.
  • Thermo-Friendly Concept (one of Okuma’s Intelligent Technologies) combines CNC control technology with stable machine design to both minimize the amount of heat generated and deal with heat that cannot be eliminated. This thermal stability enhances aerospace machining accuracy while decreasing costs and maximizing profitability.
  • Turn-Cut is a powerful option available on Okuma horizontal machining centers that allows the machine to create bores and diameters that include circular and/or angular features. This enables aerospace manufacturers to turn features on large, unbalanced parts on the same platform where standard CNC machining functions are performed. Turn-Cut eliminates the need to purchase special-purpose machines, tooling, fixtures or add-on components.
  • Cycle times for aerospace parts are typically long, and interruptions can be problematic. Okuma’s Mid-Auto Restart and Program Restart features allow users to easily interrupt a long program, and resume it seamlessly.
  • Exotic materials such as titanium and Inconel are often used in aerospace manufacturing, and require special considerations in the CNC machining process. Okuma works closely with our tooling partners to determine the best methods for utilizing both the machine and tooling to cut these metals.
  • Okuma’s OSP CNC controls provide a Windows®-based, open architecture platform that makes it possible to easily install PC applications that allow for myriad conveniences right at the CNC machine location. This allows for handy access to tooling lists/setup spread sheets, process documents, and how-to videos that assist operators in setup and operation. The new OSP-300 control provides a feature that combines critical operator information into one “EASY OPERATION” run screen.