"I don't know of any other machine where you can pull down the file and a half-hour later have a form. You can be mediocre in math, mediocre in geometry, and make a good product in no time." Jon Heckman, Tool Room Supervisor, DePuy Orthopaedics
With 31 years of experience in the tool room at DePuy Orthopaedics, Jon Heckman knows machining. As the tool room supervisor for the past 15 years, he knows the importance of efficiency and how to run a lean operation.DePuy Orthopaedics, based in Warsaw, Indiana, is a leader in the orthopaedic medical device industry. Because DePuy designs and manufactures orthopaedic implants that end up inside patients, the implants can't be touched during the manufacturing process—that's where Jon Heckman's group comes in. Fixturing has to replicate the product, which means the tolerances are tight and the prints don't exist, Jon explains. Whether it's a knee or hip implant, Jon's team of 12 must figure out the best way to transport the implants from point A to point B during the manufacturing process and machine the fixtures that protect the implants from being touched during transport.
Hurco Advantage"We're a cost efficiency center," says Jon. "People don't want to put money into fixtures. It's imperative that we be effective from the top down." For maximum efficiency, Jon relies on the Hurco VMX line of machining centers. More specifically, Jon says he is impressed with the control's shop floor programming (called Hurco conversational). The Hurco control enables his expert machinists to get their job done faster due to its user-friendly design and intuitive software. "I can't say enough great things about the Hurco," says Jon. "I don't know any other machine where you can pull down the file and a half-hour later have a form. You can be mediocre in math, mediocre in geometry, and make a good product in no time."
Jon says the controls on the Hurco VMX24 and VMX30 machines make the most out of any machinist and eliminate the bottlenecks and expense of investing in CAD/CAM seats. "The Hurco is simplistic to the point that it makes anybody productive—anybody. And that's rare…it's rare to have a machine tool that is that user friendly," says Jon. His group uses the lines and arcs part of the programming software often and appreciates the AutoCalculation feature that eliminates time-consuming data entry and the hassle of trigging out the part.
Although his group mainly cuts plastic and brass, Jon's first experience with Hurco was cutting 17-4 stainless. "One thing that impressed me about the Hurco early on is the way they are built. They are built beefy," says Jon. Another group in DePuy that relies on Hurco machining centers is Prototyping Services. Led by Bill Sellers, this team of eight people meets the challenge of taking the part from rapid prototyping and figuring out the best way to manufacture it. "We're like a job shop within these walls. Our goal is manufacturability of the part," says Bill.
Summary"In here it’s especially critical that we are able to get up to speed quickly. We don't always have prints, we run one shift, and have about 800 projects a year," explains Bill. With his group, the Rigid Tapping and DXF transfer on their Hurco VMX24 and VMX30 machines are especially popular. At DePuy, employees are motivated to do their best because their work helps restore people’s joy of motion. At Hurco, we are proud to play a part in the process of this life-changing work.
“Veritas operates efficiently and lean. We’re extremely reliant on a fast, accurate, dependable machine and Hurco has met that need with the HTX500.”
Based in Ottawa, Canada, Lee Valley Tools, Ltd. has been meeting the needs of serious woodworkers and gardeners for over 25 years as one of the leading mail-order and retail suppliers of woodworking tools, gardening tools, and cabinet hardware. Veritas Tools is the research, development and manufacturing division of Lee Valley Tools and is known as one of the most innovative hand-tool design firms in the world.
Hurco AdvantageIn order to meet customer demand, Veritas recently expanded their horizontal machining center (HMC) capacity. Although they already had four HMCs from another machine tool manufacturer, they found them to be slow and limiting on the number of tools they held. The newer version of this same machine offered faster tool changes and more tools, but the pallet size was smaller and the axis travels reduced. These machines would not provide the solution Veritas needed. Impressed with the capabilities of Hurco's HTX500 horizontal machine, Veritas soon ordered three units for their woodworking tool manufacturing operation in Ottawa. The HTX500 offers large, 500mm pallets, 60 tool ATC with fast swing arm action, and fast pallet change time. Additionally, the fully integrated 3-axis capability allows complex production parts to be machined efficiently and accurately.
With product demand expanding, Veritas realized that it could no longer continue with its traditional batch machining processes. Excess or insufficient inventory, combined with supporting 23 different planes and spokes have, called for a different solution. Veritas needed to get lean. They decided to configure their new Hurco horizontals with simple fixturing so that a complete plane assembly would emerge after each cycle. Planes consist of two main machined parts: the “body” and the "toe" or "frog". Instead of producing these pieces in batch quantities, the new approach produces both parts in the same cycle on the Hurco horizontals. The large pallets make it easy for Veritas to use standard tombstones with standard vise fixtures for holding the plane parts. This allows them to quickly change production to match demand. Vises on each machine are designed to take different planes within a family. Each HMC is permanently set up to machine up to six different planes, making it quick and easy to change from one size plane to the next. Since fixtures never leave the machines, set ups are quick and easy. With only complete assemblies being produced, work-in-process inventory is greatly reduced. The results are very impressive. Veritas's work-in-process inventory has been reduced by 70% and time to process and assemble can be as short as two days. With reduction in total cost, the overall return on investment has been excellent.
SummaryAs a manufacturer, Veritas is unique because it has a very short link through Lee Valley Tools—its parent company—to the end customer. In addition, all North American sales of planes and spokeshaves are sold through Lee Valley. Sales patterns can be analyzed on a daily basis and the production schedule adjusted to meet demand. Inventory can be closely controlled to match sales. This ensures having sufficient inventory on-hand without carrying too much of any specific plane. “Veritas operates efficiently and lean,” notes Steve Oszmian, Vice President of Manufacturing and Operations. “We’re extremely reliant on a fast, accurate, dependable machine and Hurco has met that need with the HTX500.”
"All in all, the Hurco was the best bang for the buck and has the least amount of downtimes over other machines."-Damon Weaver, Owner , Xcentric Mold & Engineering
Watch the Xcentric Mold Video
To keep your business competitive in the 21st century you need to be efficient, flexible and demonstrate a quality product. The Weaver brothers in Chesterfield, Michigan have built their business around those requirements. Hurco is proud to be their vertical machining center of choice. Brendan Weaver and Damon Weaver, owners of Xcentric Mold & Engineering, have defined efficiency by creating a process flow system that lets their employees run three to four machines at a time. “One guy can even run five,” boasts Damon Weaver. Xcentric's flexibility extends beyond the types of molds and parts they create. Xcentric is also flexible in the breadth and depth of services they provide.
“We can turn it from concept to a finished part, and do everything in between,” said the Weavers. “We do part design, FDM rapid prototyping, prototype molds, bridge tooling, and do our own injection molding, all under one roof.” Xcentric's main focus is Fast and Accurate turn around prototype molds and parts with in a 5-16 day delivery to the customer. Xcentric has given new meaning to “fast and accurate turn around” in prototyping. The Weavers grew the business from their CAD and Prototype mold making expertise. “What sets us apart today is, we do what we say and say what we do. Customer service is key and we are proactive in the whole process.” Being proficient in solid modeling, we can propose changes to the customer's solid data, from any format and return the data via email. This service saves days off the build, as being part designers and mold makers we can prepare data for mold ability.
Hurco AdvantageXcentric runs one shift, and routinely runs lights out operations to maximize efficiency. In addition to investing in process efficiency, quality certification (ISO 9001: 2000), and talented employees, Xcentric has invested in top-notch equipment. They have 13 CNC vertical machining centers with 10 of them being Hurco models—two VMX24s, seven VMX42s, and a BMC4020. They also feature Roboshot and JSW, all electric molding machines, and their Engineering department features FDM rapid prototyping, Mold Flow analysis, and seven CAD/CAMseats.
Xcentric utilizes aircraft grade aluminum to produce detail-oriented prototype plastic injection molds that require tight tolerances and longevity, usually up to 100,000 pieces or more. The sample of molds and parts displayed include a variety of consumer products and various automotive parts.One of the Weaver brothers' favorite masterpieces complements their interest in fishing. The Rapid Release Breakaway Rod Holders are proudly displayed on the company's sample shelves. Known for being a true breakaway rod holder, the Rapid Release Breakaway rod holder allows the angler to set the hook and remove the rod from the holder in one motion. This product showcases Xcentric's full-line of abilities—they designed the prototype, made the molds, and produced the actual product. SummaryAt Xcentric, Hurco is the preferred vertical machining center. The operators like the ease of use, especially the ergonomics of the control—slanted screen for easy viewing and big buttons. Additionally, the Xcentric owners say the coolant-thru-the-spindle, the wash down system and chip auger, keep the chips out and the machines clean, “because there is no time to stop the machine when we are building molds,” says Weaver. “All in all the Hurco was the best bang for the buck and has the least amount of downtime over other machines”.
For Damon and Brendan Weaver, another Hurco advantage is the man who represents the company in their area. Damon says Fred Braun, of Braun Machinery, is diligent, extremely knowledgeable, and made the decision to go with Hurco an easy one. As the Weaver brothers expand their efficient prototyping services to more companies and industries, Hurco and Braun Machinery will be there every step of the way.
“We have been using Hurco CNC machining centers for about six years in our tool room. They are indispensable for our operations. No other machine and control combination can give us the shop floor programming power and machining quality that is vital to our manufacturing operations.”
Sioux Chief Manufacturing is an integrated, global supplier of PVC pipe, which is used in residential and commercial plumbing. Over the past six years, Sioux has continually upgraded its ability to produce all of its required plastic injection molds in its own tool room. The key to its capabilities has been the purchase of Hurco CNC machining centers.Powerful and Easy-to-Use UltiMax Control Provides Productivity Shop DemandsJoe Stegmeier, Senior Tool Engineer, has found that Hurco’s powerful UltiMax control is capable of generating all the features and surfaces he needs for his molds. By using Hurco’s optional 3D software package, all of the curved surfaces in the pipe “elbows” and other sections can be generated for both core and cavities. For the 3D surfaces, Joe and his toolmakers model the surfaces as revolutions or translations of simple 2D cross sections. When the machinist uses the print holders on the UltiMax control, he has all the information he needs to create complex programs at his fingertips. Joe does not use any separate CAM software to write his programs. All of the mold base and ejector plates are programmed right at the machine on the UltiMax control as needed. If a CAD drawing is available, it can be directly loaded into the control with a simple “point and click” that generates the required part features. Hurco’s exceptional machine rigidity and advanced servo motion technology then produces high quality machined surfaces. As Sioux Chief has grown, the need for larger multi-cavity molds has increased. Hurco’s loop and pattern sub routines minimize programming time. Joe can meet these requirements with the full Hurco product line. His latest addition is the VMX50, a 50″ x 26″ x 24″ vertical machining center with a 10,000 RPM, 25HP spindle. The VMX50 can handle mold bases up to 3,000 lbs. and still reach 3D contouring rates of 600 IPM. Hurco’s UltiMax control is equipped to automatically shutdown the machine at program completion, so it is perfect for lights out operation for long 3D surface work. The high torque available is ideal for large hole drilling and tapping in addition to heavy steel milling. Two of the six Hurco machining centers in the Sioux Chief tool room provide 30″ X- travel and are arranged such that one man programs, sets-up, and runs both machines. Hurco machines also have the unique ability to easily make copies of a base program and repeat them to build the final product, which slashes programming time dramatically. The smallest machining center at Sioux Chief is the VMX24. It is offers a 12HP, 10,000-RPM spindle that is perfect for generating fine surface finishes on small parts. Summary
Joe’s most important assets are his workers. Hurco’s powerful machines equipped with the UltiMax controlmake programming and running parts simple for all of them. The result is that he keeps all six Hurco machines busy with his three-man staff. Joe could add two more Hurco machines before he’d have the need to hire additional personnel to run the machines.
Bill Hutchison, owner of G&H Tool & Die in Union City, Tennessee, has been growing his tooling and job shop business for about 20 years. While they still operate a few legacy Hurco knee mills, they had not purchased a new Hurco machining center in a number of years and were purchasing machines from other manufacturers. This all changed about two years ago when they purchased a VM2 on the recommendation of one of their machinists.
Key Hurco AdvantageThe price and productivity was so great that a second one was purchased two months later and was followed up by a VMX42 to complement an existing 80” machining center from another manufacturer. Their experience with Hurco’s knee mills and current VMC’s led them to consider the new TM Series of CNC slant-bed turning centers when their need for a lathe arose. Much of the work that G&H does is shaft work for a number of local industries. Therefore, the TM10 was chosen for it’s size—a 10-inch chuck and 14 inch maximum cut diameter. The TM10 was exactly what G&H was looking for.SummaryThe primary operator of the new Hurco lathe has 15 years experience with turning, most of which have been spent on manual lathes and small flatbed lathes. Kearney Machinery, the local Hurco distributor, provided installation and training. Within the first week the operator was utilizing the easy-to-use conversational programming unique to Hurco turning centers and machining centers. He finds the control to be very straightforward and easy to learn and sees no problems in gaining mastery of it. The Hurco TM10 has quickly become an integral part of their operation because it is reliable, easy to use and profitable—just what a shop needs.
"Having the large-capacity DCX allows us the opportunity to pitch for a lot of new business up to 3.2 meters by 2.1 meters that we could not have previously undertaken."-Steve Holmes, Director, TGM, Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom
TGM, an aerospace subcontractor in Preston, England, doubled its Y-axis capacity on the shop floor when the company invested in the Hurco DCX32 machining center with a work envelope of 3.2 meters (126 inches) by 2.1 meters (82.7 inches) by 920 millimeters (36.2 inches). With the DCX32, TGM can machine larger airframe components or fixture multiple parts for more efficient production.Nearly half of the components that TGM machines are made from titanium, including wing and fuselage parts, such as longerons for BAE Systems’ Eurofighter Typhoon. The remainder of throughput is aluminum. TGM also does a lot of Airbus wing work in both materials, such as leading and trailing edges as well as main details for delivery to the OEM’s Broughton factory via Tier 1 suppliers. The latest Boeing 737-600 has a backswept wing tip, which TGM manufactures, that yields significantly improved fuel efficiency because of the superior aerodynamics. Boeing has decided to retrofit similar wing tips to its entire fleet of 767s currently in service. Steve Holmes, a director at TGM who joined shortly after its formation in 1998, says, “We see a bright future for the aerospace sector despite the downturn over the past 18 months. Having the large-capacity [Hurco] DCX allows us the opportunity to pitch for a lot of new business up to 3.2 meters by 2.1 meters that we could not have undertaken previously.” Optimism has translated into significant investment recently at the Preston facility, which has doubled in size to 16,000 sq ft. A new factory unit houses the DCX32, which has a twin-column, bridge-type construction that allows the large Y-axis travel without loss of rigidity. A 60 kW spindle mounted in a vertical ram gives ample cutting power and torque for machining titanium. A 40-station, swing-arm toolchanger keeps the carousel clear of swarf and maximizes the work envelope. Before TGM purchased the DCX32, their largest machine was a Hurco VMX84 vertical machining center, which was installed in October 2009, and has travels of 84 x 34 x 30 inches. A total of 10 Hurco machining centers now constitute a majority of TGM’s machining capacity.Holmes says TGM chose Hurco when they decided to expand into large size machining centers because they have experienced a decade of prompt service and reliable production using smaller Hurco equipment. In particular, Holmes cites the proprietary, integrated Hurco control system that runs the latest WinMax® Windows®-based software. The control has a 40GB hard-drive with 2GB RAM and high-speed contouring capability. Approximately 40% of the programs, even complex 2D jobs, are written quickly and easily on the shop floor at TGM’s Preston facility using the control’s conversational programming. The time savings allows TGM to respond promptly to urgent jobs, particularly AOG (aircraft on ground) requests. The remaining 60% of programs are prepared off-line using MasterCam. Whether the customer provides a digital file or a drawing of an older component, a 3D IGES file or a 2D DXF file can be prepared quickly and downloaded directly to the control on any of the Hurco machines for immediate use.
“We run these machines hard and they never give us a problem.”- Mike Baker, President, Specialty CNC, Bloomington, Indiana, USA
Currently, they have four Hurco machining centers in their 2,400 square foot shop: two VMX42 machining centers, a VMX30S and a VMX24. Both owners say they keep buying Hurco machine tools because they are rigid, reliable, and the control lets them save steps and save time.
“We do one-offs, prototype work, and small production runs of 500-1,000 pieces for medical, aerospace, and government,” says Baker. “One thing that is great is the ability to implement offline programs and use conversational features, such as drilling,”
This feature enables customers to apply numerous conversational features to existing G-code programs. Mike leverages numerous WinMax software features to find the most efficient way to approach each part. For Mike and Roger increased efficiency means keeping their business profitable and continuing their growth cycle. For Hurco, continuing to develop technology that helps customers increase profitability means that Hurco is playing an important role in supporting the economic engine of this county—small businesses that make a difference each and every day.
“To stay competitive in the stamping die business, we had to address setup time on multi-sided parts. Our new Hurco VTXU has slashed overall processing time on many parts by 70%. Not only that but it can cut! I run out of tool before I ran out of machine.”-Dave W. Rose, Vice President
“To stay competitive in the New England market, we must continue to make intelligent investments. That means getting the right level of performance and automation at an affordable price. The new Hurco VMX24S with Midaco Auto pallet changeris a perfect example.”-Aram Onbashian, Owner
Arbo Machine is a small but highly productive machine shop in Rockford, Massachusetts. Over the past 20 years that they have been in business, owner Aram Onbashian, has been very careful to create his growth with productivity, rather than capacity. The result is a remarkable number of very sophisticated machines and accessories snugly fit into his shop. Hurco manufactures five of these machines.Recently, Aram replaced their knee mill with a new Hurco VM1 vertical machining center. With an automatic tool changer, 8,000 rpm spindle, and large 26" x 14" work cube, the machine fit perfectly into their philosophy of increasing productivity without increasing capacity. There was no need to hire new employees to operate the easy-to-use control and the small footprint kept space requirements to a minimum.Key Hurco AdvantageAram is finding that a number of his machining jobs are generating volumes that warrant investments in automation. Many of these opportunities require aluminum machining, which requires a highly reliable machine with a fast spindle. The Hurco VMX24S, with its 15,000 rpm spindle and proven track record, was the perfect solution. The VMX24S now serves as a base line machine for Arbo. It is especially adept at handling small tools and high feed rates. With its high capacity spindle ring mounted flood coolant, wash down systems, and a chip conveyor, the machine can handle multiple shift production with ease. SummaryWhat really kicks up productivity with the VMX24S is the addition of a Series 30 automatic pallet system from Midaco Corporation of Chicago. It performs a pallet change in about one minute. The principle advantage of this system is that the operator can load and unload the pallets outside the machine work area so the spindle can keep running. Changeover time is about 10 minutes, so the operator can be running another machine while the rest of the machining cycle is being completed. Arbo may be a small shop specializing in small to medium runs, but they are able to operate more like a larger shop due to highly productive machines like those manufactured by Hurco. Coupled with the versatility of the control, Arbo is able to get the most out of each machine and employee.
"The integrated Hurco control and its inherent flexibility is advantageous for teaching."
The Manufacturing Technology faculty at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., understands the importance of relevant technology and the value of applied education to maximize students’ future success in advanced manufacturing. Since the program’s origination in 1956, the school has earned a reputation for offering classes that ensure students develop a solid technical foundation through applied experiences, including the use of precision manufacturing operations.When FSU needed some new machines to keep students competitive, they came to Hurco. FSU and Hurco had worked together in earlier years, but a renewed relationship was established in 2005. The partnership between academia and corporate America has proven to enhance the educational experience of students. FSU opted for three 3-axis machining centers from the general purpose VM Series and two general purpose turning centers from the TM Series. The efficient design of the VM10 machines yields a small footprint with an extraordinarily large work cube. From top to bottom, the VM mills are manufactured to be rigid and reliable. The TM6 and TM8 turning centers are true slant-bed lathes, which is not common for turning centers that are so compact, and the single-piece bed casting provides excellent control of cutting forces. According to Dean Krager, Associate Professor of the Manufacturing Technology program at FSU, the integrated Hurco control and its inherent flexibility is advantageous for teaching. The control’s flexibility affords students enhanced learning options because they can learn numerous programming methods, including G-code, both online and offline conversational programming, and CAM. Also, with the Hurco DXF Transfer feature, 2D CAD files can easily be imported and ready to run in minutes. Hurco is proud to be a part of the process of educating the next generation of advanced manufacturing professionals through its numerous initiatives that expose students to state-of-the-art technology and real world experiences that are vital for success. Krager says Hurco’s sophisticated machine tools are just one element of support Hurco provides.“The exposure Hurco offers FSU students puts Hurco’s corporate support at a different level,” says Krager. Hurco has repeatedly sponsored FSU students to attend the International Manufacturing Technology Show and actually gives them the chance to demonstrate machines at the booth. “This kind of experience really gives students a head start. It catapults their career and complements the applied learning method we use in the Manufacturing Technology program. That’s just the kind of company Hurco is. They always go the extra mile,” says Krager.
“With the Hurco control, we only need to maintain the program at the machine instead of having a CAM file and a machine program.”- Alex Okun, Owner, Etogen Scientific, San Diego, California, USA