"Like many companies, I needed to find a solution to the small lot jobs many of my best customers wanted me to do. Breaking in to my automated production machines was not cost effective and trying to run the parts with CNC knee mills was not labor efficient. I found that Hurco's new VM product line was the perfect solution." ―Chris Nelson, President of ARC Technologies
Over the last 20 years, ARC Technologies has grown into a 100-plus employee contract machine shop with over 32,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Operating with an array of high production vertical and horizontal machining centers and advanced CNC turning centers, ARC serves a number of companies in the aerospace, medical, and technology businesses. ARC works closely with its customers, and in some cases, is directly linked to the customer's MRP System, enabling ARC to schedule many production jobs for maximum efficiency. Since many of the company's customers also have needs for smaller quantities of parts (under 100 pieces), ARC has a manual department with simpler equipment. Until last year, the department used several CNC bed mills with manual tool change operation. The problem was that this process was not cost-effective. Therefore, much of the low volume work was sent to other shops and this threatened ARC's overall relationship with its customers. Chris Nelson, President of ARC Technologies, knew that he needed a low cost machining center with a shop floor control. When he saw an advertisement for a Hurco VM1 machining center starting from $37,900, he contacted Hurco immediately.
Hurco's VM1 Provides Immediate Results For ARC
ARC installed its first Hurco machine and saw immediate results. The two machinists in the manual shop were programming and running parts in less than two days. Programming times were cut in half and cycle times, due to the fast auto tool changer and 8,000 RPM spindle, were 50 to 70 percent faster than before. Within weeks, ARC was able to complete small lot jobs from its customers in a very cost-effective way. A second Hurco VM1 was added a month later, with similar results. After three months, Mr. Nelson decided to eliminate his manual machines and added four more Hurco vertical machining centers. With a total of eight Hurco machines, ARC now handles all of the small lot work from its production customers. This has lead ARC to become an even more valued supplier to its customers.
During the day shift, ARC's two experienced machinists program, setup, and run all of their Hurco machining centers and turning centers. The Hurco control can handle thread milling, lettering, helical milling, and a host of other machining operations with ease. Hurco's Max control is also equipped to directly convert CAD files to part programs with its DXF file transfer software. Complex parts that have milled pockets with islands are programmed in simple steps. Several of the VMXs are equipped with indexers for multi-sided productivity. Since ARC already was operating three shifts, it was easy to coordinate operations of a second shift to finish processing jobs the same day. ARC Technologies is now able to meet its customer needs for fast turn around of small lot size jobs, and do it efficiently. In Mr. Nelson's mind, the ability to produce small lot jobs quickly and cost-effectively has become a strategic shift in ARC Technologies operations and capabilities.