At an event celebrating the Yamazaki Mazak Corporation’s 80th anniversary, the late Teruyuki Yamazaki presented a video titled “TOUCH THE FUTURE 100,” a computer-animated glimpse of Mazak’s history and its future as it approached its centennial. The video reached its climax with the introduction of the “Mazak Super Digital Machine,” a vision for what machine tools would be like in 2019.
How close did the company come? Some aspects of the Super Digital Machine are still in the conceptual stages, such as the Mach 2 rapid traverse speeds. But most of its core goals have been incorporated into machines operating right now in facilities around the world. Simultaneous five-axis machining, automatic and simple networking capabilities, self-diagnosis functions and intelligent CNC controls – all these features are commonplace on modern Mazak machine tools. As noted by the Mazak 88th Anniversary Editorial Committee,
No matter how advanced a new technology is, after several decades it will be commonplace … Today, eight years after this future-vision presentation, most of the technology and designs in the video have been realized one by one… The ‘distant future’ design of eight years ago is already being realized at an accelerated speed.
That acceleration has never stopped. Even the Super Digital Machine couldn’t anticipate innovations like HYBRID Multi-Tasking or advanced automation systems like the MAZATROL Smart Manufacturing System (SMS). And while it presaged the arrival of the next generation of controllers, MAZATROL Smooth CNCs and SMOOTH TECHNOLOGY have transformed machining as we know it.
What comes next? Mazak always rethinks entire part-processing operations whenever incorporating such drastically new and advanced machine tool technology. Continuous improvement must be a comprehensive process approach. Whether it’s automobiles, airplanes, knee implants or even machine tools, a practice of continuous improvement strategies and investment in manufacturing operations is the key to success. And 99.9 percent of the time, customer needs drive those strategies and investments as they apply to practically every industry. No one realized this more than the Yamazaki family, and no other company continues to live by this credo more so than Mazak.
For more information about our history, visit the official Mazak company timeline.