Two Hurco VMX30 vertical machining centres (VMCs) have been added to the subcontract machine shop of Schivo Group in Waterford, on the south coast of Ireland. Compared with a VMX42 installed in 2004, the latest machines are 50 percent more productive, due entirely to the increased functionality of Hurco's conversational programming software, WinMax, incorporated into the control systems.
Galway-based subcontract machinist, Dawnlough, which specialises in manufacturing components for the medical industry, has bought equipment to the value of £1.5 million since 2005 to expand its design, production and inspection capabilities. The purchases include eight vertical machining centres (VMCs) and a driven-tool lathe from Hurco, supplied through local sales representative in Ireland, Michael Gannon.
There can be few companies that have embraced CNC machining so quickly and enthusiastically as S&E Engineering. The family-run subcontractor installed its first computer-controlled machine tool in 2005 and by January 2007 had invested in four vertical machining centres and three CNC lathes – all from Hurco.
Martin Sanderson started the Scunthorpe company in 1988 with a £10,000 bank loan, at which time he had a mortgage and a family to support. The first month’s turnover was £48, which focussed his mind on swiftly increasing the level and profitability of his business. This he did, and by 2005 he owned an impressive array of manually operated machines including large horizontal and vertical borers, three centre lathes, one of which can turn parts up to four metres long, and a number of smaller machines.
Cheltenham subcontractor, Pharma Tooling, (www.pharmatooling.co.uk) which until the middle of 2007 could prismatically machine parts up to 750 mm long in one clamping, has more than doubled its maximum component size capacity with the purchase of a new Hurco VMX64 vertical machining centre. It was supplied with a rotary turntable and high-pressure coolant delivery through the BT40 spindle.
A steady increase in subcontract work for the medical industry coupled with the trend towards greater component complexity has prompted Caragh Tool & Die to invest in a fifth Hurco machining centre with 5-axis capability. Off-line programming has also been installed to simulate the proprietary Ultimax twin-screen control system fitted to all of the machines.
Since its formation in 2005, DW Engineering has expanded its Hamilton, South Lanarkshire contract machining business at an impressive rate. Its success is largely down to an ability and willingness to undertake anything from prototype work to large batch production for many different industries, and to offer machining expertise in a wide range of materials.
2006 saw a rationalisation in the press tool making industry in the West Midlands, with dozens of firms going out of business, including some of the biggest names. A similar shake-up in the plastic injection mouldmaking sector happened a few years ago. These trends are mirrored around the UK as OEMs either relocate overseas or buy their tools from low-wage countries.
Seven vertical machining centres from the same supplier, HURCO Europe, have been installed during the past 10 years in the Witney, Oxfordshire works of Acrona Engineering, including most recently a 5-axis VM10U with WinMax control purchased at the beginning of 2010.
The launch by Avery Weigh-Tronix of a new range of on-board weighing products based on digital load cells, designed to fit to the axles of commercial vehicles to prevent them being overloaded, prompted a comprehensive review of the prismatic metalcutting equipment in use at the company’s Smethwick factory.
The result has been the appearance on the shop floor during 2008 of three vertical machining centres from Hurco Europe, each fitted with the manufacturer’s proprietary, conversational control system. Avery calculates that the machines will have paid for themselves in less than a year.
Whether it is a difficult-to-machine Hastelloy component for a petrochemical customer, or a heavy cast iron part for a full-size replica of a steam-driven crane engine, subcontractor Richard Scourfield and his wife, Kay, invariably produce them on their Hurco machining centre and lathes. Their company, Bartlett Engineering, is in Tenby on the Pembrokeshire peninsula, half an hour’s drive from one of Europe’s largest oil and gas ports, Milford Haven, where two terminals are currently being built for liquefied natural gas.
"In our operation, milling and drilling are the final operations on what is now a very valuable product. We must be sure that the program and set-up are correct. Mistakes at this stage would be very costly.”
—Kevin Jurus, Partner and Principle Hurco Operator
“I have found that to compete in a global economy, I must have labor flexibility. That means all of my employees must be able to operate all of our principle machine tools. It eliminates bottlenecks for better product flow and keeps overhead to a minimum.”
“The VM1 is perfect for our shop. It gives us the productivity of a machining center as our production volume grows without losing fast and easy programming and setup.”
Precision Reflex website
“It is so easy to train someone to drill, tap, or mill on the Hurco UltiMax® control with the English language programming.”
“When our business started to recover earlier this year we decided to invest in a labor saving Hurco machining center rather than hire back a machinist. We’ll pay for the Hurco in less than a year.”
North Carolina Foam Solutions has been in operation since 2000. The company provides support services, primarily repairing parts for foam rubber processors. Generally, foam processors use equipment that slices large foam “bricks” into useable sizes for furniture, automotive and other applications. These special purpose machines have a number of wear parts that North Carolina Foam Solutions makes on a repair basis. Hurco’s VM2 Eliminates Overhead to Increase Shop’s ProductivityThe proud owners of Hurco’s VM2 machining center reached their decision to buy it in an interesting way. In 2002, they had manual equipment and hired a machinist to help with the workload. However, they had to layoff the machinist and reduce their own work hours by more than 50 percent due to the business downturn the industry was facing. When business picked up again, they realized that the money spent on wages and benefits for the machinist over the past year would have paid for a new CNC machine. After researching the market, Hurco’s VM2 machining center proved to have the best features and value. In addition, Hurco’s easy-to-use control provided shop floor (conversational) programming.
While the VM2 machine’s 40" X-travel is quite generous, some of their parts require that the side doors be opened so that parts 8, 10 or 12 feet long can be handled. The large 46" x 20" work table with 40" x 18" travels gives the VM2 machining center a great work envelope. When coupled with a 20HP, 8,000-RPM spindle and 16-station ATC, the VM2 is perfect for the job shop looking for machining center productivity at an affordable price. The owners of North Carolina Foam Solutions have also been very pleased with the tooling package and vises they purchased from Hurco with the VM2. The vises are compact and precise. The tool holders cover a wide range of tooling and provide great flexibility. SummaryThe VM2 is used at North Carolina Foam Solutions for a variety of work. Many types of materials such as cast iron, tool steel and aluminum are processed. Because most parts are made to order (generally replacement parts are reverse engineered) the power of Hurco’s VM2 machining center with the integrated Hurco control to solve programming problems on the shop floor is a real asset.
In 1994, after working for several shops in the Kansas City area and serving his machinist apprenticeship in the U.S. Navy, Mike Lindsay founded Lindsay Machine Works in Richmond, Missouri. His one-man shop grew to five and eventually outgrew their location. In 2002 he moved the business to nearby Independence, a suburb of Kansas City.
We have a 2006 Hurco VM1, and love the machine. It does not have the WinMax control, although it would be nice. Shop floor programming is still a breeze with the conversational control!!!
We have not used the NC side of the control once. The machine is very rigid, and has run very well over the years. We have not had to call a tech out once! We do not have a boring head for the machine, and haven't needed one! With a good carbide endmill, we have circle milled bearing bores without any trouble. We would have had to spend a lot more money on other brands to get the same features and quality!!Keep up the good work,Jerry Pruitt
Bryco Machine is a 20-year-old modern-day shop specializing in CNC turning. They've built a reputation as a world-class supplier of precision turned parts for industries including electronics, hydraulics, wireless communications, medical & dental, fluid powers, fiber optics and defense.
In 2004, Bryon Bettinardi, owner of Bryco, decided he needed to expand his capabilities. More and more of his customers were insisting on short run and prototype work in conjunction with the high volume work he was already doing. Trying to do low volumes on his production machines with four to eight hour setup times was not productive but he didn't want to lose these opportunities.
“I didn’t buy the Hurco because of the machine. It was fine, but there were many brands with similar specifications. I just had to have the Hurco control.”
"When I am out on the tour talking with the pros, they want service. With my Hurco back at the shop, I can respond to their wishes almost immediately. If we agree with a change on Tuesday, they're puttin' for a bird on Thursday."
“In the fast changing world of computer peripherals, innovative design is the key. Rapidly converting these designs into prototypes requires a high capability machine tool. When compared to the competition, Hurco’s VM machining center won hands down.”
“I had to upgrade to CNC to remain competitive but I wanted a machine that would be easy to learn and easy to run. Hurco’s VM mills fit my needs perfectly.”
“I bought my Hurco VM1 to improve the efficiency of my tool room. Then I found that it saved my bacon with a critical customer when I used a feature I didn’t think I needed.”
Hurco’s VM1 machining center equipped with the powerful Max control is easy to learn, easy to use, and very efficient at cutting tools. The VM1 was a perfect fit for Ivan’s needs. His manual and 2- axis mills now see little use and will be sold. Since Ivan Russell purchased Hurco’s VM1, all of VAN-AM’s die details have been produced on it. The VM1 has saved the company valuable time by allowing Ivan’s toolmakers to produce dies 40 to 50 percent quicker than with its previous milling operations.
The following submission was received as part of our Why I Love Hurco Sweepstakes.
Dear Hurco,The Precision Edge Machine (TPEM) would really benefit from the TM6 Lathe sweepstakes. We are a small shop and we owe much of our success to Hurco. TPEM started in a 650 sq./ft. two-car garage. Crammed into that garage were a CNC turning center and a manual tool room lathe. It wasn’t long before I had to add milling capability.
The Beginning: Our First HurcoMy first Hurco was a 1993 KM3P CNC knee Mill. I bought it to mainly do second milling operations to turned parts. I was amazed how capable a machine of that size was and how easy to program it was. Fast forward one year. Business was really beginning to take off! What started out a turning-only shop was quickly becoming a Milling shop. My customers were really impressed with the milled parts they were receiving in small quantities and orders for 50 or more parts were very common. That was a problem. The KM3P did not have a tool changer. I was the tool changer! There simply wasn’t enough time in the day for me to do anything else but babysit that machine. It was time for a change.After shopping for countless hours and weighing everything, I ordered a brand new Hurco VM10. Even though it was a huge decision, I have never looked back.
The added speed and capacity the VM10 offered absolutely skyrocketed sales. It increased sales so much that it forced me to move into a bigger building six months later! The Precision Edge Machine moved into its current location and we have just under 5,000 sq./ft. I was able to hire a full-time employee and bought two used turning centers one month after moving in, all because the VM10 was so efficient at doing fast 2nd milling operations!
Success Leads to Our Second HurcoFast forward again eight months. It was clear that we had to add more CNC milling capacity because the VM10 was so backlogged with work. The decision to buy another Hurco was a no brainer. The employee that I had hired eight months prior had no previous CNC programming experience. In eight months that employee learned how to program, setup and run with little supervision. That is a testament to the power of the WinMax control! We added a Hurco VM20 with the H160 4th axis. The VM20 was the perfect size machine for our larger machined products and the 4th axis eliminates the need to fixture parts for complicated side profile machining. The ability to download the programs into the VM20 that we proved out on the VM10 has saved us so much time and money! I wish we had that same ability on our turning centers.
Looking to Hurco for TurningOur turning centers are not Hurco’s yet! They program via g-code and an expensive external CAM system. The setup process is slow and cumbersome because all three turning centers are different brands with different controls. The time savings we’ve realized with the controls being the same on our mills is pronounced and I only wish we could be as productive with our turning centers. With the Mills we are able to program right at the control but with the Turning centers we have to program everything with the CAM system and download the program into the Turning centers via Rs232 cables. We spend so much time editing code by hand because the posts are not 100% correct. The lack of conversational programming in our turning department is killing our productivity.
Success for the FutureHurco has been instrumental with the success of our business. I can say without any doubt that we would not be the shop we are today without the support of Hurco. As time goes on we will hopefully be able to replace our turning centers with Hurco’s. The TM6 lathe would be a perfect addition to our shop. I’m sure that once in place, Hurco turning centers would increase our productivity, probably to the point that we would have wished that we would have made the switch years earlier! Sadly, we are just are not in the position to be able to make that switch yet. Our fingers are crossed that we may win this sweepstakes to take our company to the next level!
Sincerely,Matthew SmithThe Precision Edge Machine
"The motto in our job shop is 'fast and right'. We can’t sell wrong, and there’s no profit in slow.Our 3 Hurco vertical machines keep us competitive. Programming at the control is quick and logical. The conversational menus approach machining the way a toolmaker thinks.
Milling, drilling, DXF are fast without any mystery. Part setup is no problem with the moveable jog box, and tool changes are fast. Our machines have tool probe, which eliminates redundant cut and measure time. Our VMX42 has an A-B axis, allowing us to work on 5 sides of a work piece.
Many 3D shapes and contours are simplified with Hurco 3D Mold and Surfaces. Dual screen graphics provide 4 view verification and fast navigation through lengthy programs. For the creative toolmaker Hurco features let you expand your creativity not restrict it.
It’s hard to beat 'Fast and Right”'
Robert MollPelco Tool and Mold
The following submission was received as part of our Why I Love Hurco contest, which provided people the ability to get an additional entry in our "WIN A $60K HURCO LATHE SWEEPSTAKES"
"I currently have only manual machines, but I have been looking to expand into some CNC machines. From the research I have done, your lathes have some of the best features for the money. The compact size is a plus considering my shop is relatively small. Thanks for the chance to win the lathe."