Okuma Customer Northstar Aerospace Enhances Efficiency with Okuma CNC Machines and Technologies from Partners in THINC

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Aerospace manufacturer leverages Okuma technologies to minimize operator work handling and fine-tune cutting processes.

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Northstar Aerospace

Okuma customer Northstar Aerospace, a leading independent manufacturer of helicopter transmission components, recently purchased, through Morris Midwest, Illinois, a new MULTUS B750 horizontal lathe to increase efficiencies in their busy production schedule. The B750 easily handles critical tolerances that are necessary when machining aerospace parts. Northstar also discovered they could improve their efficiencies by fine-tuning cutting processes, minimizing operator work handling and using technologies developed by Okuma’s Partners in THINC members. Following this installation, Northstar added another Okuma machine tool – an LB35III horizontal lathe.

The MULTUS B750 utilizes the latest in CNC machine technologies to maintain tight tolerances when cutting transmission parts on heat-treated material (40-50 Rockwell). Additionally, Okuma’s Collision Avoidance Software (CAS), standard on the MULTUS, also aids in increasing shop floor efficiencies by integrating 3D modeling of Okuma machines, tooling and part blanks with the OSP–P control. This creates a virtual machine that runs real-time virtual applications to detect cutting problems and prevent time-consuming, costly crashes.

The technologies of the MULTUS B750 make it possible to limit operator intervention and work handling. But Northstar even went a step further working closely with an Okuma application engineer to fine-tune cutting processes. They discovered by changing up the order a part is cut, distortion is minimized resulting in improved process efficiency. The collaboration worked well because each member of the team brought a unique perspective and knowledge to the project, allowing process change and development that otherwise, would not have occurred.

The setup on the B750 also includes technologies from Partners in THINC that help create even more efficiencies.

Partner Technologies

  • A Renishaw probe is used for in-process gaging, which allows the machine to check the part itself, without operator intervention.
  • CAD/CAM software programming by ESPRIT provides part cutting solutions that incorporate the gaging into the post processor g-code.
  • Tool Monitor Adaptive Control (TMAC) from Caron Engineering monitors electric current load to the turning and milling spindle and will stop the machine if loads exceed the established values. This also has an adaptive feature that increases or decreases cutting feed rates if loads are within a safe cutting range.
  • A high pressure coolant system from MP Systems provides better coolant flow to the cutting tool and helps extend tool life.

The team at Northstar filmed a time-lapse video of the machine installation where you can watch, in three minutes, what took nearly four weeks to complete. For more information on Okuma machine tools visit http://www.okuma.com.

About Okuma America Corporation
Okuma America Corporation is the U.S.-based sales and service affiliate of Okuma Corporation, a world leader in CNC (computer numeric control) machine tools, founded in 1898 in Nagoya, Japan. The company is the industry’s only single-source provider, with the CNC machine, drive, motors, encoders, and spindle all manufactured by Okuma. The company also designs their own CNC controls to integrate seamlessly with each machine tool’s functionality. In 2014 Okuma launched the Okuma App Store, the industry’s only centralized online marketplace for machine tool apps and related content. Along with its extensive distribution network (largest in the Americas), and Partners in THINC, Okuma is committed to helping users gain competitive advantage through the open possibilities of machine tools, today and into the future. For more information, visit http://www.okuma.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @OkumaAmerica.

Northstar Aerospace is a leading independent manufacturer of components and assemblies to the global aerospace industry. Principal products include gears, transmissions, accessory gearbox assemblies, rotorcraft drive systems and other machined and fabricated parts for helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. In addition, Northstar provides maintenance and repair and overhaul (MRO) on these same platforms. Northstar has operating subsidiaries in Canada and the United States. The Company's corporate office is located near Chicago, in Bedford Park, Illinois.

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Paula Lalli
Okuma America Corporation
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