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.
Automation is fraught with safety hazards, but one major danger is equipment that can move without warning.
Even though many machinists or shop owners would like the convenience of starting or restarting a machine with a tap on a smartphone screen, often the mere statement of “no, because safety” is sufficient to explain why THINC API does not allow this possibility.
You might respond, “but my Okuma has a door with a safety interlock! It couldn’t start with a person inside it!” But years of working in maintenance taught me that yes, operators can and do defeat safety interlocks.
This is why automated cells generally have multiple layers of safety fences, lock-out/tag-out doors, light curtains, interlocked doors, etc. Cells that are properly designed to work without human intervention, are also designed to make sure humans do not intervene.
So can THINC API cycle-start your Okuma P300? No.
Are there ways around this? Yes, but this requires work to make sure that a remote cycle-start does not pose a hazard to human life.
THINC API cannot cycle-start your Okuma P300 because Okuma wants you to be prompted into this safety discussion.