Can I use THINC API to cycle-start my Okuma P300?

Can I use THINC API to cycle-start my Okuma P300?

Perhaps the most common API programming question I’ve heard asked of Okuma representatives is: can THINC API be used to cycle-start my machine tool?

The answer is no.

But that answer makes for a short blog post, so let me elaborate.

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A Quick Intro to Okuma THINC

A Quick Intro to Okuma THINC

What is a THINC app?

In the broadest sense, a THINC app is an application made to run on Okuma OSP-P controls. This is Okuma’s line of Windows-based CNCs.

Even though normal Windows apps will run on the OSP controls, THINC apps are generally built to use the THINC API.

Ok… So what is THINC API?

An API — or application programming interface — that allows applications to interact with the CNC. For example, the THINC API provides methods for an application to read and write common variables, load part programs, read and write tool offsets, etc.

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P/Invoking Native Libraries

P/Invoking Native Libraries

You’re a VB.NET developer. You’re writing code, and you need to integrate with a machine tool, automation system, sensor, scanner, or some other bit of hardware.

Lucky for you, the manufacturer provides a library. But wait… it’s not a .NET library. You can’t just “Add Reference…” the DLL.

If you’ve never used P/Invoke, this is where you start.

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Access MTConnect data from a web application

Access MTConnect data from a web application

About five years ago I wrote 5 ways to access MTConnect data from a web application. This article outlined methods for accessing the MTConnect agent’s data from a client-side web application.

Ignore it. Much has changed in web development since then, and some of the methods mentioned in the old article range from bad to obsolete. If you want to write an MTConnect web application, here are your best options:

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Using MTConnect for Automation

Using MTConnect for Automation

Eight years ago when I first encountered MTConnect, I felt the technology would transform the machine shop. Today, support for MTConnect is commonplace in new machine tools, and often available for older tools through various upgrade options. Software packages exist to collect and analyze data on a server or on the cloud. However, I thought the technology could become a lightweight option not only for data analytics, but also for basic machine shop automation.

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Okuma App Store

Okuma App Store

For machine tools, hardware enhancements and add-ons are usually the province of a distributor. Software tends to be a different story: available via download rather than expensive shipment, installable with no special tools, and usable at the tap of a touchscreen. For Okuma machine tools, the Okuma App Store provides a central location for finding THINC and other applications that add value to your OSP controls. Let’s take a quick look.

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