Okuma Genos L3000 with or without live tooling?
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    Default Okuma Genos L3000 with or without live tooling?

    Does anyone have experience with this lathe? Thinking about buying a 5th lathe to add capacity at my shop, but doesn’t have to be this one.

    First I’d like to know if it compares well to the quality of Okuma’s fully Japanese models. The components are made in Japan, but assembled in Taiwan.

    Second, I’m trying to decide whether my next lathe should come with live tooling. On one hand, sounds like a forward thinking idea. On the other hand, I have 4 CNC mills that are clearly more capable than live tooling capabilities. Is it worth the extra $30k? Thoughts anyone?

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    I personally don't think live-tools are worth it by themselves. I think live-tools + Y-axis is worth it. I'm on the fence regarding sub-spindles, but I generally think they aren't worth it. (I'm in the minority here - most people believe a sub-spindle is a worthy investment.)

    The argument for/against live tools in a lathe, comes down to the benefit it will give you...

    Do any of your CNC mills have a 4th axis? If not, then I'd definitely explore a Y-axis lathe. Keep in mind, that a live-tool lathe will function like the 4th-axis on a mill. You will be able to automatically index parts to machine different features in one setup. If you don't already have a 4th-axis on a mill, and you see opportunity to use that feature on a lathe, then I would recommend it.

    However - are you ready to spend $2-5k a piece, on live-tool holders? That's a large sum if you look at having 6-8 live-tools in the machine...

    Are you currently turning lots of parts in your 2-axis lathes, that frequently get secondary OP's done in the mills? That could be another opportunity to use live-tools/Y-axis.



    No experience with the Genos line. What machines do you currently have?

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    No experience with Genos.

    As for live tools, it really depends on your parts mix. I assume you are a job shop?? Any area of focus? Look at how many parts you could transition to running just on the new lathe. As said above, many parts require Y axis, not just C contouring. Could any of these run lights out on a live tool machine or at least not require an operator for intervene for each part? If you are going to require an operator at the machine all day, it often works out to put another milling spindle next to it and have them tend both.

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    Thanks for your thoughts. I do have an independent indexer on one of my mills, so the capability is there. And yes, the cost of live tools can be high. I do make lots of turned parts that require a short op on a mill.

    I currently have 4 other two axis lathes of varying sizes (and two of which have dual turrets) and 4 three axis mills of varying sizes, one of which has the indexer add-on.

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    Most jobs I do require an operator, so you’re hitting the nail on the head. I can run two shorter ops on two machines and deliver parts earlier than if I were to run the entire part on a live tooled lathe. I’m sure there are some jobs that would be better made in one op, but I still wonder if the added cost of going live tooling is worth it given that I have existing milling equipment.

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    There is more to it than just efficiency of the Machinery. It's really too hard to say without really knowing the type of parts and the type of shop you run. You really need to do a cost analysis, not just ask people if they like having live tools.

    I think Okuma is great, not everyone does. Most people is a Job Shop prefer Mazatrol for Turning with M,S and Y. There are reasons for that.

    As far as Taiwan assembly goes, the Machine still needs to meet Okuma's quality standard, or they don't sell it.

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    Also keep in mind, that Okuma owns their facility in Taiwan. They aren't subbing the foreign bits out to one of that plants in China or South Korea that builds ??? machines and puts ??? brand-x-stickers on them. So as long as one understand the machine has B-grade features instead of A-grade features, I see no reason to be wary.

    Given your current equipment, I think a Y-axis lathe would make sense. Perhaps...


    I said earlier that I didn't like the idea of sub-spindles on single-turret lathes. The reason I say that, is because even though it has two spindles and can run a part complete, you still have only one turret, meaning only one spindle in the cut at once. This means complete parts, but long, slow cycle times. Having a true twin-spindle/twin-turret machine, means that now you can effectively make TWO parts at once, complete, in a single machine.

    So personally, If you aren't going to have the twin turrets/twin-spindles, then I say keep the machines simpler. Run OP1 in machine A and OP2 in machine B, just like you are now.

    If you think having live tools & Y-axis in machines A or B will get the part done in (2) turning OPs, instead of (2) turning OPs + (1) milling OP, then do it...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jashley73 View Post
    I personally don't think live-tools are worth it by themselves. I think live-tools + Y-axis is worth it. I'm on the fence regarding sub-spindles, but I generally think they aren't worth it. (I'm in the minority here - most people believe a sub-spindle is a worthy investment.)

    +1
    my sentiments exactly

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    Like litlrob says, it depends a lot on what type of work you're doing.

    We run a lot of parts that have turning and milling on both ends of the parts so we really utilize twin-turret twin spindle lathes with live tooling on both turrets. Of course all of these parts are done on a high quantity basis, typically 1,000 parts or more with some more than 10,000. It also means we employ automated bar feeders. It's nice to be able to set up and proof run a part then walk away for an hour or so and come back to a basket of complete parts. On the flip side it can take better part of a day to set the dang thing up.

    It is nice to get a couple of these things set up and running autonomously so I can go sit down and read Practical Machinist whilst spitting out a complete part on both lathes in one to three minutes. But as a job shop machine, I wouldn't recommend it.

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    We have a Genos L250E bought in Dec 2010 and is equipped with the P200 control. This lathe is hand loaded but has the auto door. This machine runs 25,000 parts a month and has since new. There have been some downtime issues. We've replaced the control motherboard twice. We've replaced the EXIO module once. We've replaced the coolant pump once. Door cylinder twice. Some type of fan twice (it is down to another fan as we speak).

    However, I will say it has been a very good machine overall. Any new machine would have the P300 control which is an improvement, we have one of those on a LB3000 that runs 120,000 parts a month and have had no issues with the control itself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonytn36 View Post
    We have a Genos L250E bought in Dec 2010 and is equipped with the P200 control. This lathe is hand loaded but has the auto door. This machine runs 25,000 parts a month and has since new. There have been some downtime issues. We've replaced the control motherboard twice. We've replaced the EXIO module once. We've replaced the coolant pump once. Door cylinder twice. Some type of fan twice (it is down to another fan as we speak).

    However, I will say it has been a very good machine overall. Any new machine would have the P300 control which is an improvement, we have one of those on a LB3000 that runs 120,000 parts a month and have had no issues with the control itself.

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    I'll second the notion that Genos lathes may be prone to some defficiencies and downtime, as opposed to proper Japanese Okuma machines which historically do not. I will not go into the details because they are embarassingly bad for Okuma and things eventually were sorted out, but if this particular machine was in a super busy turning department, it would have been crippling.

    in summary I would think long and hard before ever buying another Genos lathe ever again, I would strongly consider all competing options. The notion that buying an Okuma lathe means buying minimal downtime does not hold true with these and seriously threatens the investment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aj View Post
    ...it can take better part of a day to set the dang thing up.
    Very important aspect!

    If you've never worked with a live tool lathe before it can be really surprising how much time you lose setting up a job. Finite turret space and getting all the tools you need in there without interfering with one another does not make for quick turnarounds.

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    The LB isn't much more money as far as I know. Definitely shop and see what you're getting for your $, mostly if you decide to just go with 2axis. Doosan seems by far the best priced and value for the dollar up here for 2axis, and perhaps fancier stuff too.

    I'm not really sure why okuma and few other brands even bother with "entry level" machines like the genos and such, that are only 10-20% less $ than their top of the line model. There was a 16% difference on a M brand when optioned about the same, and the top end machine is certainly worth the extra 16%, can't see anyone not going for that.

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    I agree with Jashley73 - I have a (not okuma) lathe with live tools but NO y-axis - this is a wasteful half-measure - a fair number of parts that would be 1 shot drops with y-axis + live aren't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bryan_machine View Post
    I agree with Jashley73 - I have a (not okuma) lathe with live tools but NO y-axis - this is a wasteful half-measure - a fair number of parts that would be 1 shot drops with y-axis + live aren't.
    Half being the key word. C without Y is half as good, but also half better IMHO. There are benefits. Cross holes, wrench flats, bolt hole patterns, tapping. And don't leave out really, really straight holes at X zero.

    But it really comes back to knowing your parts, and the ability to weight the costs.

    R

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    I can't imagine using a live tooled lathe without a Y axis. A live tooled Y axis lathe is more useful than a mill with a fourth, because it is closer to a mill with fourth, a right angle head and the ability to change right angle heads. That opens up a lot of parts as one-shots. Without a Y, you can basically do cross drills on axis and... that's it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Comatose View Post
    Without a Y, you can basically do cross drills on axis and... that's it.
    I don't care to argue, but this is, for a lack of a more civil word, Dead Wrong.

    Even the post before this one I obviously list a few more things than 1. But to add to the list, we did Artistic and fundamental (P/N's) Engraving on both the Face on OD of parts, Flats behind Turned diameters, Deep hole Drilling (more RPM), Cross Tapping, Hex, Oil galleys for Bearing surfaces, NEVER leave out back chamfering Threads ID and OD, Thread milling on Z, Gear machining and the chamfering, Splines, etc.. ALL with no Y Axis.

    R

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    Quote Originally Posted by litlerob1 View Post
    I don't care to argue, but this is, for a lack of a more civil word, Dead Wrong.

    Even the post before this one I obviously list a few more things than 1. But to add to the list, we did Artistic and fundamental (P/N's) Engraving on both the Face on OD of parts, Flats behind Turned diameters, Deep hole Drilling (more RPM), Cross Tapping, Hex, Oil galleys for Bearing surfaces, NEVER leave out back chamfering Threads ID and OD, Thread milling on Z, Gear machining and the chamfering, Splines, etc.. ALL with no Y Axis.

    R

    I'll add, with just C-Axis, I've managed to get some bad ass slots milling done.

    I forget the exact feeds/speeds, but thats a 1/2 EM, about about and inch axial, .015+ radial, better than 100IPM in A2. (that machine is a size up from the 3000)

    I've hard milled mold surfaces with them, from both directions.. From the right face, you have damn near a 3 axis machining center, from cross, if you're clever, you can make half assed blisks, no Y needed. That being said, C-axis alone doesn't cut flats very flat when they go over center, and you're left with that mildly infuriating line.


    They have their limits, but not having a Y wedge isn't the end of the world.

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    I actually agree with Littlerob1 - there's no doubt a live tool C axis lathe can make quite a set of parts. Remember that if the machine has decent interpolation, XYC can do rather complete axial work. Also, more radial work than one might think at first blush.

    But if I were to do it again, I'd get a machine with Y axis (as well as live tools...)


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