“The speed of technology and the rate of change that we’re seeing in our market and our industries today is almost supersonic,” says Jim King, president and COO of Okuma America.“The world according to Jim King is speed. We have technologies that are changing the way people in the Americas and the world will operate in the future.”“I think this is more exciting than the great Industrial Revolution, because the rate of change is huge right now,” echoes Mitch Free, CEO/Founder ZYCI CNC Machining, a Georgia-based AS9100, ISO9001, and ITAR-certified CNC machining supplier that uses Okuma machines. “It’s the opportunity to create wealth, to provide great jobs, take care of our country, and do great things for our communities.”King grew up in the world of automotive manufacturing, even working in the industry to pay for his first car. He joined Okuma in 2010 and hasn’t looked back. Free was given the opportunity early on to learn CNC machining, eventually merging his CAD and CAM skills, as well as customers, to start ZYCI in 2014. Here’s a look at how this pair view opportunities and challenges in manufacturing.Accelerating TechnologiesA critical piece of Okuma’s long-term strategy is digital twin technology — not a virtual twin, but a true digital twin. “With the advanced capabilities of OSP-P500 — our next-generation CNC Control — digital twin simulation can now provide closed-loop feedback from the machine tool to your remote PC,” King says. “Using this data, operators can mirror the exact functionalities and behaviors of shop floor machines.”While additive manufacturing and artificial intelligence are also accelerating manufacturing growth, automation is a growing need among job shops. King notes that as large OEMs reshore, the trend has been to outsource that work to job shops rather than expand their internal machining and additive manufacturing capabilities.“More and more jobs shops are looking at ‘How do I get the machines running more? How do I increase my efficiencies?’ So, we started an automation division. I also think automation for job shops is critical to be able to fill the skills gap,” King says. Emerging Market Potential Electric vehicles are an emerging market, as their manufacturing places different demands on technology, such as reducing setup times when changing parts.“I believe that EVs are a disruptive technology. For many of us in the machine tool business, where you’re going from thousands of parts that are machined to hundreds, that really does create a change in our thinking. I also believe that the automotive industry is moving away from some of the manufacturing technologies that they have today to produce parts to using more standard machines that are very flexible. I see it as an opportunity,” King says.Free notes that in aerospace and defense, the tolerances are getting tighter and geometries more complex. As a result, Okuma has a goal of producing general purpose machines that can also account for these increasing complexities.Manufacturing Neophytes“The innovation that I get to see among our customers and the things that they’re designing just blows my mind and makes me think we’re neophytes as far as what can be done and what can be developed,” Free adds. “When I travel to see our customers, I go into their shops and watch as they start with a billet or a round bar stock, and when it comes out of the machine, it’s a piece of functional artwork and it is beautiful,” King says. Explore Okuma America’s OSP-P500 CNC Control, digital twin simulation and other new technology debuts in booth #338500 at IMTS 2024.
What is the world according to Jim King? “Speed” defines Jim’s perspective on manufacturing, which he perceives as growing at an almost supersonic speed. Emerging markets, such as EVs, represent opportunities for changing traditional manufacturing technologies into creating general-purpose machines that also account for increasing part complexities.