THINC, Hardinge

Intelligent Control Systems Boost Hardinge VMC Productivity

January 10, 2012

“Work smarter, not just harder” has been a manufacturing mantra for a number of years. Usually this directive is aimed at production managers and machine operators. However the concept recently took on a new meaning when Gosiger, along with fellow Okuma dealers Hartwig and Morris, convinced Okuma to apply the company’s vaunted THINC system to the Hardinge-built Bridgeport VMC GX 1000.

The idea is to make this rugged, affordable, Vertical Machining Center (VMC) with optional rotary 4th axis even more productive and versatile, while providing a common control system for Okuma machine users who need a value-priced VMC. It’s an idea that has taken off as customers recognize the uncommon value this marriage of technologies represents:

  • Maximum feed speed increases to 1417 ipm (36 m/ min) from 392 ipm (10 m/min) along with faster and more precise acceleration and deceleration.
  • Greater machining accuracy enables efficient production of more complex parts.
  • Increased power allows machining of harder alloys to 60 Rockwell.
  • Digital THINC system reduces processing time from control to tool from up to15 milliseconds to a mere 3-5 milliseconds for faster throughput.
  • Simplifies part programming with on-board capability, and increases program storage to 2 GB.
  • Priced at less than $100,000, the VMC GX 1000 OSP represents outstanding value.

Adding the THINC control system to this VMC includes installing high torque brushless servomotors and amplifiers to enable maximum responsiveness with dynamic braking. These overload-protected motors are fully enclosed to operate efficiently even in severe environments and never require brush replacement, so they are virtually maintenance-free.

The retrofit also includes Okuma absolute position encoders that generate 1,296,000 pulses per single ball screw revolution with 10 millionths resolution. These encoders eliminate re-zeroing and restarting, and because they are mounted directly on the motor, they also eliminate coupling backlash.

A unique Hi-G control function calculates motor speed and torque for both acceleration and deceleration to assure precise positioning, and reduces positioning time by allowing the fastest movement within the part program, rather than setting a fixed servo parameter. Similarly, the Hi-Cut function permits the highest possible feed rates throughout a part program while adjusting feed rates as needed to assure shape conformance.

The THINC control system provides a number of other performance enhancements including an on-board Pocket Manual for quick reference, an I-Map program assist function that enables operators to create or edit programs on the fly, and Mac Man to allow machine usage monitoring and analysis for better asset utilization.

Below is a comparison of the key differences between the standard Hardinge/Bridgeport control and the THINC System.

THINC OSP-ZOOM                                             STANDARD GX-1000 CONTROL
15” Color LCD Display >40 Block Look Ahead
Touch Screen 10.4” Color LCD Display
PC Based Control Non-touch Screen
(Windows XP) PLC
USB Interface PMCIA Interface
2 GB Program Storage Capacity DNC 1 GB Memory Card
2 MB Memory Buffer Capacity 264 kb Memory Capacity
3 to 5 Mb/sec Communication Compressed Keyboard
API Allows Custom User Programs 8 to 15 Mb/sec (Option Required)
Real-time 3D Display  
USB Data Gauging  
20 Coordinate Offsets  
100 Tool Offsets  

The addition of the THINC control system to the VMC GX 1000 OSP means you can have an extremely cost-effective vertical machining center that works both harder and faster to improve your productivity and profitability.

For more information, including detailed specifications and application assistance, please contact your local Gosiger office.