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.
The Okuma App Store greets you with a welcoming banner that displays a few featured apps. Click on the “Apps” tab to view the full list of downloadable apps. Many of these are THINC apps, leveraging Okuma’s THINC platform to interact with the machine tool. There are also a number of machining calculators, as well as commercial offerings such as ABB Robot Studio, and a demo version of the ubiquitous AutoComp. Apps can be filtered by developer, functionality (i.e. automation, gauging, remote alert…), and by certification level.
Certification level? Okuma offers a certification path for apps, to “ensure a minimum quality control standard for compatibility, install/uninstall requirements, and operation on the THINC-OSP control”. Okuma does not guarantee that a certified app is useful for a particular purpose — that’s up to you to decide — just that it plays nicely on the OSP platform.
Just like Sam’s Club, anyone can browse the Okuma App Store, but if you want to try anything, you’ll need to sign up. Click the “Create Account” link at the top of the site. The sign-up process is straightforward, and asks a lot of (required) questions, but no more so than most industry websites. Since I’m browsing for personal reasons, I put my own information in rather than my company’s.
After that, you’ll be prompted to agree to the site’s Terms and Conditions. Scroll to the bottom of this rather lengthy document to continue signing up.
Once you agree to the terms, you’ll receive a first-time sign-in link by email. Click the link to set your password, and then you’re ready to sign in.
A Quick Look at the Apps
As of this writing, there are about 42 apps available on the store. Some of them are THINC apps, and must be installed on an OSP control with the THINC API installed. Others are generic calculators or other utilities. There are also a couple of alarm notification apps. Yes, there are even MTConnect-related applications. Each application includes a brief description, system requirements, and a section to rate or comment on the application.
All of the various system requirements can be confusing for a new user: application support depends on operating system, THINC API and .NET framework version, and the type of machine and control. Fortunately, Okuma provides a utility app to assist, called SCOUT. Unfortunately, I do not have access to an OSP control to test it out, but I’d be a little surprised if this app isn’t already included with newer machine tools.
If you need assistance with the site, there is also a Support & FAQs section to answer common questions.
The Okuma App Store simplifies the process of finding useful apps to enhance your Okuma OSP controls. Already the store provides easy access to download dozens of utility tools. As new developers join the store and take advantage of the THINC platform’s extensibility, the store will only grow more useful.