ABB Robotics Teams Up with Okuma, Becomes a Partner in THINC



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ABB Robotics, a leading supplier of industrial robots, has joined Partners in THINC, creating a strategic alliance with Okuma, a world leader in the development and production of machine tools. Okuma is unique in the world of machine tools in that the company also develops and manufactures the control, drives and motor for its machine tools.

THINC, The Intelligent Numerical Control, introduces a new generation of control from Okuma that is a leap ahead in control hardware and software, and introduces a new and unique business model. THINC allows the end-user to take advantage of new capabilities as they become available from various sources, such as ABB, without an entire control overhaul. This new platform, in conjunction with the technology of the Partners in THINC, allows the end-user to be much more competitive in the world market.

Partners in THINC brings together more than 25 companies representing different facets of the manufacturing industry in an environment where they can collaborate on manufacturing solutions to allow customers to compete in a global and changing marketplace. 

The THINC facility operates a full production line, giving the partners the opportunity to test products and configurations for nearly any application. The facility, located in Charlotte, N.C., is built around Okuma’s THINC control platform, and offers a non-competitive environment where the partners can work together to “test ideas and sharpen solutions in a real-world setting.” 

THINC partners are able to demonstrate state-of-the-art technology in a realistic manufacturing environment, using real equipment and real materials. The partners can brainstorm using their products, as well as those of the other partners, creating solutions that can help customers to reduce downtime, maximize

“No one in the machine tool industry knows everything – ABB has expertise in robot automation – we know how to load and unload parts, inspect parts or can even add vision to a robot in order to guide it to locate or place parts.  With Okuma’s THINC control, our technologies become more readily usable and accessible to Okuma, to our partners, and at the end of the day, to manufacturers who ultimately benefit,” said Jerry Osborn, vice president/general manager, ABB Robot Automation.

Whether it’s the best way to locate parts with vision technology, the best methods of pallet changeover, the best software tools for remote monitoring of factory floor processes or the best chip handling systems, the solutions proven at the THINC facility can be easily and immediately replicated by the customer, allowing them to implement a solution they know works.

The THINC partnership is truly unique in the industry, with the focus clearly on providing the best solutions to solve customers’ problems and to improve their competitiveness, rather than simply selling products.

“ABB is excited to work with Okuma and the Partners in THINC to develop industry solutions that meet the machine tool industry’s ever-increasing demands,” said Osborn.  “Our easy-to-use, technologically advanced robot solutions will help optimize machine cutting time, while fast, accurate and highly cognitive robots will maximize the solutions achievable by the Partners in THINC.”

ABB matches its experience in machine tending, assembly, packaging, palletizing, welding and finishing with thousands of successful applications to benefit Partners in THINC. Fast, accurate and highly cognitive robots with payloads from 1 to 500 kg give the Partners in THINC versatile part handling tools to solve even the most challenging process. ABB’s RobotWare software family, including PC- and Windows-based software tools, makes the integration between the

THINC platform and ABB’s robot control system a superb combination. From collision detection to error handling, vision guidance to force control, ABB’s advanced robot technologies help maximize the solutions achievable by the Partners in THINC.

About ABB, Inc.

ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 109,000 people.

About ABB Robotics

ABB is a leading supplier of industrial robots – also providing robot software, peripheral equipment, modular manufacturing cells and service for tasks such as welding, handling, assembly, painting and finishing, picking, packing, palletizing and machine tending. Key markets include automotive, plastics, metal fabrication, foundry, electronics, pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries. A strong solutions focus helps manufacturers improve productivity, product quality and worker safety.  ABB has installed more than 150,000 robots worldwide.

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