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    Schivo Group - Conversational Control Cuts Cycle Times by a Third

    ​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 Ire...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Medical, Conversational

    ​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. 
     

    All of the Hurco machines were supplied through local Irish representative, Michael Gannon. The earlier model, which complemented manual-tool-change mills on site, was equipped with touch probing to speed workpiece set-up and boost productivity. It added machining capacity and high metal removal capability for manufacturing mainly medical devices and instruments in batches of typically 10- to 50-off.
     
    Jack Lyng, Technical Director of Schivo Precision, said that the success of the VMX42 installation prompted the purchase of the two new machining centres. Now, however, the programming software in the proprietary Ultimax twin-screen control has been upgraded to Windows-based WinMax, which is considerably more capable and speeds conversational programming.
     
    CAD data of particularly complex components are supplied by some customers and run through a hyperMILL CAM system at Waterford. Cutter paths are output in DXF format so that the programs can be conveniently downloaded directly into the Hurco control.
     
    For 85 per cent of the time, however, programming is carried out on the shop floor from drawings using the powerful conversational capabilities of WinMax. It displays graphics on the second screen at the same time as programming progresses on the first screen using convenient drop-down menus. The programmer can therefore check in real time that the cycles are being input correctly.
       
    Schivo programmer, Conrad Nolte, is enthusiastic about the facilities built into WinMax, citing so many advantages over the earlier software that the list needs to be curtailed here for reasons of practicality.
     
    A general observation he makes is of the control's user-friendliness, especially the fully-rotatable 3D graphics and tool movement simulation, which allow programming errors to be spotted quickly. Tool set-up is also faster, owing to the software's ability to assign spindle speed and axis feed rates automatically to achieve optimal surface cutting speed and chip load for any given tool type and workpiece material.
     
    New canned cycles speed data entry, such as pocket milling without having to define the boundary of the feature. Input of internal or external, clockwise or counter clockwise thread milling cycles, including for tapered threads, is made easier by restricting the amount of data that has to be input.
     
    Another new cycle allows drilling at different rotational speeds any number of times during a single operation. It was developed by Hurco for machining composite materials to avoid delamination, but comes into its own at Waterford when drilling at an angle using an indexable-insert tool. Slowing the speed during entry improves tool life when the inserts are taking interrupted cuts.
     
    When setting up the next part, bearing in mind that the soft jaws used by Schivo can vary positionally by 20 or 30 microns, or when measuring a critical feature in-cycle, probing speed is dramatically increased using the new 8 m/min rapid approach. This has had a big impact on productivity, according to Mr Nolte.
      
    He commented, "Before, without the facility to rapid the probe, the cycle took typically one minute, whereas now the same is completed in less than half the time.  "It not only shortens the overall cycle, but also encourages more frequent use of this function, enhancing product quality."
     
    He said that having WinMax has increased production output by speeding the cycles. What previously took 30 minutes to machine now takes, say, 20 minutes, which makes a massive difference over a large batch. Operators have therefore rewritten most of the old Hurco programs using the new software to speed the cycles on the VMX30t machines, while the VMX42 has been retrofitted with WinMax so that it too can gain the productivity benefits.
     
    Furthermore, WinMax will convert any conversationally prepared program into NC code so that it can be used on other makes of machining centre. Mr Nolte says that it is rather like having a CAM system on the shop floor, while an off-line version for office use is available which Schivo may install to free up the Ultimax controls. A DNC link to the machines is also planned.
     
    Assembly and test in clean rooms forms a major part of the service provided by Schivo, which has held ISO 13485 medical device certification since 2008. Work is also done for the semiconductor, aerospace, computer and oil/gas sectors.

     


     

     

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    Dawnlough Ltd - 50% Increase Production Output with Hurco

    ​Galway-based subcontract machinist, Dawnlough, which specialises in manufacturing components for the medical industry, has bought equipment to the value ...Read moreTags: Conversational, Medical, Mill Turn, 3-Axis Mill

    ​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.

    Other investments include Solidworks / Solidcam CAD/CAM seats, a CMM and vision system from Mitutoyo, two Fanuc wire erosion machines and a Citizen sliding-head lathe. Financial assistance was secured through funding from Enterprise Ireland, the Government agency responsible for supporting Irish businesses in the manufacturing sector.
     
    Established in 1990 by Brian McKeon's father, Patrick, the subcontractor started out as a general toolmaking company focusing on press tools. From the mid 90s, medical firms started springing up across Ireland, especially in the Galway area, and Dawnlough concentrated more and more on this sector.
     
    Today, 100 per cent of its business is in the design and production of special-purpose jigs and fixtures to assist in the manufacture of catheters, stents and other items for treating vascular and neurovascular disorders. Dawnlough is accredited to ISO 13485, which means that its management system meets stringent requirements for the design and manufacture of medical devices, and the company also holds ISO 9001:2000.
     
    One of the factors that kick-started the investment in Hurco machining centres was the length of time it took to program jobs on a pre-existing 3-axis VMC from another well-known supplier. At the time, Dawnlough operated a lot of manual machine tools but were keen to "CNC everything", as director Brian McKeon put it, to raise component quality and accuracy.
     
    He commented, "Production here is mainly one-offs and small batches, so we wanted to be able to program each new part quickly on the shop floor, otherwise job preparation becomes too large a proportion of overall manufacturing time, reducing profitability.
     
    "Conventional G-code programming on our old VMC was really quite slow. So we looked around for a faster solution and homed in on the conversational Max CNC fitted to Hurco machines. The Max control is the compact, single screen version of Hurco’s popular Ultimax control.  "The difference was staggering. We found we could program up to six times more quickly by manual data input at the Max control, and as we only make small quantities of parts, it has translated into a 50 per cent increase in production output overall."
     
    He went on to say that from programming demonstrations performed in his office by Michael Gannon in 2005 using a dummy Max control, it was already clear that big savings were possible. The exercise was directly responsible for Dawnlough's purchase of the first Hurco machining centre, a VM3. It was joined two years later by a similar model, followed by a line of three smaller-capacity VM1s in 2009 and three of the updated VM10 version in 2010 and 2011. Of the eight Hurco VMCs currently on the shop floor, three are fitted with an integrated Hurco H200 rotary table to provide a fourth CNC axis that can also be programmed conversationally, direct at the control.
     
    The more modern machines have controls equipped with Hurco's powerful, Windows-based WinMax software. Over 75 per cent of programs are prepared on the shop floor, rather than being downloaded from the CAD/CAD department, so the extra functionality of Winmax is proving particularly beneficial.
     
    Even some complex 3D cycles are generated conversationally using the software's Swept Surface function, whereby a 2D surface is defined and swept along a contour to create a 3D geometry in a single data block. In addition to saving time, the continuous tool path generates a smoother surface finish.
     
    Until the beginning of 2011, while efficient prismatic machining at Galway was firmly in place, the subcontractor was struggling with the turning element of some drawing packages. That was when the Hurco TMM8 CNC lathe was installed, with its capacity for producing components up to 256 mm diameter by 588 mm long.
     
    The lathe is also driven by WinMax software, so rapidity and flexibility of programming is now enjoyed in respect of mill-turned parts as well. According to Mr McKeon, the accuracy of the lathe is particularly impressive, quality is better, lead time is quicker, and as batch sizes are also low for turned parts, profitability is up.
     
    He explained that these benefits are particularly noticeable now that his operators have become more familiar with the lathe and are confident in exploiting the driven tooling. Floor-to-floor time for some of the more complicated components is 60 per cent shorter than when other lathes are used. An additional benefit of milling and drilling in-cycle on the TMM8 is that the machining centres are freed from performing these duties.
     
    A wide variety of materials is machined by Dawnlough, from titanium and stainless steel to aluminium and plastics. General drawing tolerance of ±10 microns is easily held and good surface finish is achieved, resulting in components with the all-important aesthetic look so important in the medical industry.

     

     

     

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    S & E Engineering - Zero to Seven CNC Machines in Two Years

    There can be few companies that have embraced CNC machining so quickly and enthusiastically as S&E Engineering.  The family-run subcontractor installe...Read moreTags: Lathe, 3-Axis Mill, Energy Sector

    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.

     

    There has always been an emphasis at S&E Engineering on machining of larger workpieces, which sets the subcontractor apart from many of its competitors.  Once he started to invest in CNC machines, Mr Sanderson decided to maintain his capability to provide large-capacity milling by installing two Hurco VMX64s, which have working volumes of 1,625 x 860 x 760 mm and can accommodate nearly three tonnes on the tables.  Two smaller VMX42s provide 1,066 x 610 x 610 mm machining capacity for components weighing up to 1,360 kg.
     
    There were compelling reasons for S&E Engineering to invest in CNC machine tools.  Potential customers were saying that they would not allow non-CNC plant to be used to machine their parts.  Some work for which the subcontractor was asked to quote could not practically be produced on a manual machine to the required tolerances.  Then one customer supplying repair equipment to the offshore industry suggested that more work would be forthcoming if a machining centre were to be installed, although there was no guarantee.
     
    Mr Sanderson duly bought the first VMX42, which rapidly reached capacity based on his firm’s 7.00 am to 5.00 pm shift pattern.  So it has been with all of the other Hurco machining centres, which have hardly stopped from the time they were installed.  Where possible the machining centres, particularly the larger models, are left unattended to cut a part into an evening ghost shift.
     
    The second CNC machine on site was one of the lathes – a 254 mm chuck model designated TM10 – followed by another identical machine and a smaller 203 mm-chuck TM8.  The idea was to migrate the benefits that resulted from the first machining centre across to the turning department, in the first instance for batch production of steel components.

    Martin Sanderson’s brother, Jamie, is responsible for running the turning cell and despite having had no previous programming experience, was conversant with generating programs using the Hurco Max controls after just two days’ training.  Previously, his time was spent looking after one manual lathe.
     
    Commented machine shop manager, Jim Swan, brother-in-law to the Sandersons, “We routinely hold tolerances of 20 microns on all of our Hurco machines and the 100th part off is exactly the same as the first – a degree of accuracy and repeatability that is not possible using manual machine tools.
     
    “The other major benefit is that labour cost per machine is around one third of what it used to be for a given output, so we have been able to freeze the prices we charge customers to compete more effectively in a global marketplace and still make a profit.”

    All programs are input on the shop floor using Hurco’s conversational Ultimax or Max control systems, which S&E Engineering staff find easy to use and ideal for small batch work and even one-offs, as are frequently ordered by customers working in sub-sea and highway maintenance.  In this connection, bearing in mind that the company is new to CNC, Hurco’s telephone back-up has been very helpful when the occasional programming problem has been encountered.

     

    The decision to opt for Hurco machines hinged on the capability of the controls, coupled with the high residual value of the equipment, as confirmed by the firm that provided the finance, Hitachi Capital.  Martin Sanderson intends to keep the CNC lathes and machining centres for five years before part exchanging what will be relatively lightly used machines for new models.  On that basis, he will enjoy three and a half years of ‘free’ use of the lathes after they have been amortised and at least two years’ machining centre operation after the finance periods have ended.

     

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    Pharma Tooling - Increases Flexibility with VMX64

    ​Cheltenham subcontractor, Pharma Tooling, (www.pharmatooling.co.uk) which until the middle of 2007 could prismatically machine parts up to 750 mm long in...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Aerospace, Medical, Conversational

    ​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.


    Said owner and managing director, Phil Vines, “My plan is to grow the business and to do that, we have to be able to take on anything that comes through the door, 24 hours a day.
     
    “We can now machine bigger components within the Hurco’s working envelope of over 1,600 x 850 x 750 mm, and we also have the flexibility to produce smaller parts by setting up two or even three together on the table, using the 4th axis if required.
    “Additionally, the 18 kW high-torque spindle and availability of through-tool coolant means that we can efficiently cut stainless steels including Duplex, as well as other tough alloys, which we are doing increasingly for customers in the offshore and other industries.”
     
    Around one third of Pharma Tooling’s business is pharmaceutical-related.  Blister pack tooling is regular work, which involves machining a 1.6 metre long, aluminium bedway that joins the forming and sealing sections in the production line.  The bedway is now machined in one hit on the Hurco, rather than in two clampings as previously.
     
    Aerospace work accounts for another third of turnover and is currently a particular focus for Pharma Tooling, which was granted AS9001 approval during 2007.  The company is a member of the West of England Aerospace Forum and follows cGMP (current good manufacturing practice) guidelines throughout all stages of design and manufacture.
     
    The SBAC (Society of British Aerospace Companies) has recently trained the subcontractor’s 16 staff in lean manufacturing and capacity planning.  The company is aiming to become a signatory to SC21, which is designed to accelerate the competitiveness of the aerospace and defence industry by raising the performance of its supply chains.
     
    Most of the work put on the VMX64 so far has been either prototypes or small batches of 1- and 2-off.  Some dimensional tolerances, especially for medical and aerospace applications, are tight at ±0.05 mm, a level of accuracy that Renishaw component and tool probing helps to maintain.

    All jobs for the Hurco are programmed on the shop floor.  The ease and speed with which this is carried out using the proprietary Ultimax twin-screen control system was one of the principal reasons for Mr Vines selecting this machine tool manufacturer.  With small batch work, fast turnaround is of the essence to ensure profitability.  A 24-hour lead time from order to delivery is not unusual, particularly for pharmaceutical components.
    Luckily, Mr Vines was familiar with the benefits of Hurco machines and their Ultimax CNC system from his work at previous companies.  The VMX64 is the first machining centre that he has acquired since he bought the Cheltenham subcontract firm from administration in 2003.  There are eight pre-existing vertical and horizontal machining centres on site, all 4-axis models, which are programmed off-line, batch size on these smaller machines being typically 50-off.

     

    The capacity list also includes four CNC lathes and a new Robofil 300 wire EDM machine that was installed in 2007 at about the same time as the Hurco.

     

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    Formagrind - Electronics Sub-Contractor Expands to Beat Foreign Competition

    One British subcontractor fighting back against the threat from China, India and Eastern Europe is Formagrind (www.formagrind.com) based in Neath, South W...Read moreTags: Automotive, Medical, 3-Axis Mill, Conversational
    One British subcontractor fighting back against the threat from China, India and Eastern Europe is Formagrind (www.formagrind.com) based in Neath, South Wales.  Despite a tough period during 2002 and 2003 in the electronics industry that it predominantly serves, the company has carried on investing in an average of one Hurco vertical machining centres per year since the late 90s, and now has eight on the shop floor.
     
    Commented Formagrind's manager, Mike Couser, "Our customer base is unrecognisable compared with five years ago, showing how quickly we have had to adapt to stay in business.
     
    "We face a double threat – loss of work to overseas subcontractors as well as relocation of factories from South Wales to low-wage countries.  Five major electronic firms have announced plant closures in this area in the last few years, most recently Sony and Panasonic."
                   
    He explained that to keep production costs down, Formagrind concentrates on multi-manning the Hurco machines and minimising set-up times, allowing competitive prices to be quoted.  At the same time, over-reliance on one sector, that of making parts for printed circuit board assembly and wafer processing machines, has been cut back from 80 per cent of turnover to 35 per cent.  In its place, the company has won new contracts from the automotive and health care sectors, albeit still with the accent on electronic components for engine management systems and medical apparatus, for example.
     
    Driving down non-productive time has been crucial.  In this respect, the ease of shop floor programming on Hurco's proprietary control system has been helpful.  Mr Couser says that around half of all components are programmed on the shop floor, as the menu-driven CNC system is particularly user friendly and quick, taking the load off the company's CAD/CAM systems, which are reserved for programming more complex work.
     
    He continued, "The advantage of our Hurco VMCs is that we can produce long and short runs economically on them, giving us considerable flexibility and allowing us to offer quick turnaround to match our top quality and competitive prices.
     
    "For example, we currently devote two machines over two shifts to the manufacture of 20,000 components per month for one customer, whereas other machines frequently produce prototypes and small batches.
                                                                                                  
    "The reliability of the Hurco machines has also proved to be very good, so downtime does not eat into our profits."
     
    Serving customers in a wider variety of industries has dramatically expanded Formagrind's experience in machining different materials.  The majority of tools and fixtures produced in the early days were steel, whereas now the firm is routinely working with tungsten, titanium, ceramic, silicon carbide, silicon aluminium and exotics such as Kovar, Super Invar and other controlled expansion alloys.
     
    General tolerances are ± 10 microns, although ± 2 microns is routinely held for some applications.  Quality control is underpinned by CNC co-ordinate measuring and SPC software.  ISO 9001:2000 has been held since 1994.
     
    Recent examples of parts made by Formagrind on its Hurco VMCs include an electronics package for a GPS tracking satellite, machined from aluminium alloy in a two-hour cycle and then ground; and five-sided machining from solid round Super Invar of a microscope stage for nanotechnology, with subsequent wire erosion.
     

     

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    Caragh Tool & Die - Shop Floor Programming Saves Time

    ​A steady increase in subcontract work for the medical industry coupled with the trend towards greater component complexity has prompted Caragh Tool &...Read moreTags: 5-Axis, Conversational, 3-Axis Mill, Medical

    ​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.

     

    Founded in 1982, Caragh employs 80 people at a 2,300 sq m. facility in Galway, Ireland.  It provides consultancy and product design optimisation services followed by machining of prototypes and small batches up to production volumes.  Typical components find their way into transport refrigeration systems, semiconductor manufacturing plant and gas chromatography equipment.  Materials machined include titanium, stainless steel, aluminium and a range of plastics.
     
    In 1998, a separate division called Caragh Meditech was formed to meet the highly specialised demands of the expanding medical device sector.  Now accounting for 45 per cent of turnover, its products include parts for ventilators, drug delivery systems, dental apparatus, ophthalmic and orthopedic surgical instruments, manufacturing tooling for various medical products and implantable devices such as stents.
     
    The latest machining centre, supplied through Hurco Europe's sales agent in Ireland, Michael Gannon, is a VMX30S 5-axis model fitted with twin rotary axis table, 15,000 rpm spindle and 24-station tool-changer.  Its normal mode of operation is with two linear axes and one rotary axis interpolated while the other two are fixed. 
     
    It was in the early 90s that the first Hurco was installed in the factory, a BMC30, which was chosen largely due to its twin-screen, graphics-based control system.  It lends itself to easy shop floor programming and is ideal for both experienced and less experienced operators, according to Caragh's engineering manager, Pat Ryan.
     
    He commented, "G-code programming may be better for high volume work or where the part contains complex surfaces, but for prototypes and short runs, conversational programming on the Ultimax is much quicker and more flexible for the majority of jobs. "Speed is of the essence, as set-up time is long compared with total machining time if there are only a few parts to produce, so lengthy programming procedures would reduce profitability."
     
    Shop floor programming is used for 85 per cent of jobs on the Hurco's at the Galway firm, even for producing components with complex contours.  The company's CAD/CAM system is used when complex 3D surfaces need machining and where the production of a DXF file, for download to the Ultimax control, is easier than direct conversational programming.
     
    As most of the Hurco machines and controls date back to the 90s, Caragh has opted for an Ultimax off-line programming station.  It uses the latest and most capable software that is better for tackling complicated jobs and provides more powerful 3D simulation of the cutting cycle.  Around 10 per cent of work is currently programmed off-line using the Ultimax software, and the resulting code runs on any of the machine / control combinations, even the earliest.

     

    "This backwards compatibility is one of the things we like about Hurco controls," said Mr Ryan.  "The machines have also proved to be very reliable during three-shift operation over the years."

     

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    DW Engineering - Standardised on Hurco Due to User Friendliness

    ​Since its formation in 2005, DW Engineering has expanded its Hamilton, South Lanarkshire contract machining business at an impressive rate. Its success i...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Aerospace, Energy Sector, Moldmaker, Medical, Conversational

    ​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.

     

    A further reason for the company's rapid progress, according to owner, David Watt, is the exclusive use of Hurco vertical machining centres (VMCs) for prismatic metalcutting.  He said, "They allow fast, accurate shop floor programming as well as easy import of externally prepared data.  "The machines have been central to our ability to offer top quality work, quick turnaround and attractive prices.  "As a result, we gain most new business through recommendations from existing customers."

    Main sectors serviced are gas sensing, medical, aerospace (2nd tier supply) and oil/gas, for which injection moulds are machined for producing plastic components. The variety of materials machined is vast. Metals include stainless and mild steels, titanium, copper, bronze, brass and aluminium.
     
    In addition, a broad spectrum of plastics is cut, including PTFE, PEEK, Delrin, all grades of nylon and glass filled laminates. Considerable knowledge has been accrued in workholding, tooling and machining strategies for the often delicate materials.
     
    Accuracies routinely achieved are ± 0.1 mm but some gas sensing and aerospace parts have drawing tolerances down to ± 10 microns, which are easily held. The gas sensing components are used in anything from domestic boilers to laser-based drug testing equipment and airport scanners for explosives.
     
    Some contracts are exacting. A recent job won back from the Far East, due to poor accuracy machining carried out by a Chinese supplier, required an array of 750 aluminium gas sensor parts to be machined from aluminium plate. This particular job was supplied by the customer as a DXF file, which Hurco controls can import directly.  Each part has three fine-pitched, M3 x 0.25 mm tapped holes. The milling, drilling and tapping operations are carried out on a Hurco VM10  in a 7-hour cycle, after which the individual components are separated from the plate and transferred in batches to a Hurco VM1 for second and third operations. They involve clamping the parts 12 at a time in two fixtures for skimming and then drilling of a single cross hole in each component.
     
    DW Engineering also machines stainless steel screws and pins for this sensor assembly. Another contract for the same industry entails deep hole drilling two 300 mm long by 6.35 mm diameter holes through an aluminium billet. Each 47xD hole is machined in 12 minutes using a long-series carbide drill from ITC.
     
    Mr Watt's first experience of Hurco machines was operating a VMC and a knee mill in his father's subcontract business during the early 1990s. Both were equipped with the manufacturer's own Ultimax conversational control system, which is characterised by having two screens. One is used in touch mode for entering data via the drop-down menu buttons, while the other displays a graphic of the part as it is created, allowing most programming errors to be spotted immediately.
     
    It was this early exposure to the user-friendliness and power of the CNC system that encouraged Mr Watts to standardise on Hurco VMCs when he started his own company. First on-site were a BMC2416 VMC with nominal half-metre-cube capacity and two Hawk 5M mills. The VM1 with 4th axis was installed mid 2009, followed by the VM10 a year later.
     
    By this time, the control had become even more powerful due to the introduction of considerably expanded functionality and the adoption of the Windows operating system. The so-called WinMax software suite contains a feature called Swept Surface that is particularly useful to DW Engineering. It allows complex mould tool machining cycles with advanced cutting strategies to be generated in one conversational data block by sweeping a 2D surface over a contour.
     
    "It is unbelievably quick," confirmed Mr Watt, "and the continuous toolpath generates a very smooth surface finish."
    The facility is ideal for DW Engineering, as lately mouldmaking has increased to account for some 15 per cent of turnover, principally for a company in Aberdeen that supplies cable joints used on subsea control pods and camera mounts.  Each half of the aluminium injection mould spends two to three hours on one of the Hurcos, as very small step-overs are used when programming the ball nose milling cutters to perform the finishing passes. The end user's name and logo are sometimes engraved into the mould surface during the cycle using WinMax Lettering software.
     
    The quality of the moulds directly off the Hurcos is excellent, according to Mr Watt, who said that the mirror finish requires hardly any polishing. Each mould produces around 5,000-off plastic joints.  Programming is invariably done on the shop floor in WinMax due to its simplicity, although the subcontractor operates seats of AutoCAD and SolidWorks to handle customer files supplied in those native languages or in the IGES and STEP neutral data formats.

     

     

     

  • /en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/AandMEDM1.jpg

    A & M EDM - Hurco Purchase Spurs More Work

    ​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 bigg...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Moldmaker

    ​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.

     

    One Birmingham company bucking the trend is A&M EDM.  It is one of the few electric discharge machining specialists in the UK that, working in partnership with other tool makers, helps to manufacture such a wide range of tools including single-stage press tools, progression tools, injection moulds, blow moulds, composite moulds and, increasingly, foundry patterns.  Set up in October 2002 by partners Mark Wingfield and Arthur Watts, the firm has invested over £1 million in shop floor plant, notably wire-cut, die-sink and EDM drilling machines from Sodick, and machining centres from Hurco.
     
    The customer base numbers more than 200, including all the remaining major press toolmakers in the West Midlands and many pressworkers, as well as automotive and motorsport companies, aerospace manufacturers and even universities.  Sixty per cent of turnover is derived from tool making, the remainder being general subcontract work.
    Said Mark, "It is sad to see such a significant reduction in our tool making industry, which has resulted from some UK suppliers trying to charge excessive rates and some buyers willing to sacrifice our indigenous manufacturing base by going overseas to extract every last bit of profit.  "However, the skills are still here in the UK and if you quote the right price and supply a top quality tool on time, the business is there to be won, especially if the tool is complex or needed quickly."
                                                                     
    The company's progress over the last four years is proof of that, and as there are fewer competitors around, its success is likely to continue.  A&M EDM is also helped by negative issues associated with putting work abroad.  For example at the time of interview, a tool produced in Estonia was having to be extensively reworked, as it had out-of-tolerance features and had not even been dowelled!  "That tool will end up costing the buyer more than having it made here," Mark wryly observed.
     
    Electric discharge machining is the mainstay of the firm's expertise and accounts for 80 per cent of value-added metalcutting.  Milling has been growing since mid 2004.  At that time, the copper and graphite die-sink electrodes were becoming more complex, necessitating either uneconomical wire-erosion or putting the work out to a subcontractor with 3D machining capability.
     
    Keen to keep electrode manufacture in-house to control lead-time, quality and cost, Mark decided to buy a vertical machining centre to produce the electrodes.  In addition, more and more customers were asking for a total package including sparked and wired tools plus machined plates, the latter needing a machining centre for their production.
     
    As he had worked very satisfactorily in the past with a combination of Sodick EDM machines and Hurco machining centres, Mark decided to go the same way again and bought a Hurco VM3 with 1,270 x 457 x 457 mm machining capacity.  When customers saw the new metalcutting facility, other work started to come in for it.

    Then A&M EDM invested in a large wire eroder with 1,100 x 700 mm cutting area, so a larger machining centre was needed to make the tool and die plates.  Furthermore, people were asking for larger, non tool-related prismatic parts to be machined and Mark was having to turn it down.  So in 2006, the company installed a larger Hurco VMX64 with a 1,625 x 864 x 762 mm machining envelope.
     
    Almost all jobs on both Hurcos are programmed quickly by manual data input at the controls on the shop floor, as components are generally not very complex.  Even some 3D cycles such as for machining electrodes are programmed on the Max and Ultimax CNC systems, these being proprietary controls fitted to the VM3 and VMX64 respectively.  A&M EDM's Camtek PEPS and Delcam Powershape CADCAM systems are reserved for programming the Sodick machines.
     
    Although parts produced on both of the machining centres are relatively simple, such as platework for the moulds and tools, total tolerance on relative bore positions, for example, can be as tight as 10 microns.  These are easily held on the Hurcos.  Jobs being produced on them when the machine shop was visited were part of a composite mould requiring 3D surface milling on the VM3; and mild steel rolling mill plates on the VMX64.
     
    The future for the company will be continued steady growth coupled with the pursuit of additional industry approvals and recognitions to add to the ISO 9000 and BS EN 9100 (aerospace) quality standards already held.  Early in 2007, Mark hopes to secure NADCAP accreditation for supplying the global aerospace industry.

     

    Furthermore, at one of A&M EDM's local customers – Burcas – there is an ongoing supply chain development programme, funded by the DTI manufacturing advisory service, MAS West Midlands.  Aimed at the aerospace, automotive and defence industries, the approach is based on TEC-Concepts, fusing best practices of Six Sigma, Kaizen Blitz and Lean Enterprise with sector-specific standards related to quality, the environment and health & safety.  The result will be recognition of high performing, integrated management systems throughout the Burcas supply chain, including of course at A&M EDM.

     

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    Acrona Engineering - The Magnificent Seven

    ​Seven vertical machining centres from the same supplier, HURCO Europe, have been installed during the past 10 years in the Witney, Oxfordshire works of A...Read moreTags: 5-Axis, 3-Axis Mill, Aerospace, Custom Machinery, Medical

    ​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 investment was prompted by existing customers in the aerospace, medical and motor sport sectors in particular asking the subcontractor to manufacture more complex parts from a variety of materials.  However, the machine’s presence on the shop floor has attracted additional work from new sources as well.

    One of the first jobs onto the machine was an aluminium component for equipment designed to secure screw-on caps to the tops of drinks bottles.  Another application was one-hit 5-axis machining of cryogenic components from copper, involving positioning two of the CNC axes and interpolating the other three.  In an example of fully interpolative 5-axis machining, Acrona Engineering produced clutches from titanium billets for an F1 race car.
     
    Albert Soave, owner and managing director, commented, "We are winning more and more contracts from first-tier suppliers to the aerospace industry, which now accounts for about a quarter of our turnover.  Our plan is to move further into this type of high-added-value work, for which the 5-axis machine is ideal."
     
    A high-speed Hurco VMX42HS machining centre with 15,000 rpm spindle and a fourth axis was installed recently to fulfill a job for the brewery sector, involving the production of 1,500-off components from billets of black acetyl, 88 at a time, in two set-ups.
     
    The first operation was programmed conversationally at the HURCO control running WinMax Windows-based software.  The extra CNC axis, provided by a rotary indexer, was then used for complex profiling on the reverse of the component in a second operation that was programmed off-line on a Pathtrace CADCAM system.
     
    A high spindle speed was needed for this application not only to raise productivity but also to achieve a fine surface finish.  Normally such parts would be moulded, but in this instance the volumes were not high enough to warrant the expense of having a mould tool made.
    Another application for the same industry involved machining food-grade plastic (Nylatron) for the production of a cider and slush dispenser.  This particular application required the use of the fourth axis for complex surfacing work.
     
    A further job for the brewery sector, which should gladden the hearts of sports enthusiasts keen on a beer at half-time, was Acrona’s production from a similar plastic material of a fast-pour spout.  It is employed to dispense four pints of lager in six seconds in sports stadia across the country.
    The VMX42HS is also highly productive when machining light alloys.  For example, a part was machined at Witney from aircraft grade aluminium for Britain’s Beagle 2 Mars lander.
     
    To fulfill a contract for the pharmaceutical industry, this time from 6082 aluminium, Acrona Engineering produced a batch of feed-through tubes that deliver tablets into blister packs before they are sealed.  The component is first turned and then transferred to the fourth axis indexer on the machining centre for a spiral to be milled down part of the length.  The component’s complexity required programming to be carried out off-line, tolerances being down to ± 10 microns.

    Where many subcontractors serving the aerospace industry have moved towards HURCO’s larger capacity, gantry-type machines, Acrona has gone the other way, favouring the manufacturer’s smallest VM1 vertical machining centre with 660 x 355 x 457 mm working envelope.  One was installed in 2007 and a further model, this time with a fourth axis, was installed earlier this year.

    Continued Mr Soave, "These machines are good value for money and very compact.  Our bigger machines are more economical when producing larger parts, whereas the VM1 is ideal for machining smaller components in batches ranging from one-off to several hundreds.
     
    "Our plan is to move towards larger volumes of more sophisticated, higher value components.  Already a number of existing customers as well as some new companies have asked us to quote for this type of work."
     
    To this end, Acrona Engineering has also been strengthening its turning department and has recently installed its first sub-spindle lathe with Y and C axes.  It brings to seven the number of turning machines on site.
     
    In conclusion, Mr Soave highlights the long-term accuracy of HURCO machining centres, stating that his first three machines, installed a decade ago, are still in daily use and reliably holding tolerances as tight as 10 microns.

     

     

     

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    Avery Weigh-Tronix - Machines Will Pay for Themselives in Less than a Year

    ​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 veh...Read moreTags: Conversational, 3-Axis Mill

    ​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.

     

    Said Paul Bates, Production Engineering Manager, “We are ramping up production of the digital underbody weighing systems to 70 per month by the first quarter of 2009, and there are between four and six load cells per system each requiring a tough EN19T steel body to be machined.
     
    “In addition, we have to machine the aluminium bodies of the in-cab indicators, plus there are even newer weighing systems on the way for tipper and skip lorries.”
    The consequent sharp increase in prismatic metalcutting meant that Avery had to replace some of its older machining centres.  Either they were not big enough to produce the new components, or they were too slow in terms of the feeds and speeds to achieve the required production levels.  One machine was of the right size and had a high-speed spindle, but the torque was not sufficient to mill EN19T. 
     
    Continued Mr Bates, “Three years ago we had 10 machining centres on site with a variety of CNC systems – Fanuc, Heidenhain and in a couple of instances, the manufacturer’s own control.  “However, we have almost lost the G- and M-code skills needed to program these machines, added to which batch sizes have become smaller – typically 30 to 60 for larger components rising to 120-off for smaller parts.  So we need to be able to program and change over machines faster.
     
    “Due to our lack of conventional programming expertise, it took a long time to write the programs and they tended not to result in cutting cycles as efficient as they should have been.  Combined with the slowness of some of our older equipment, it had the effect of limiting production output.”
    He went on to explain that with the Max conversational control on the Hurco machining centres, programming is at least twice as fast and the resulting cycles are optimal.  Picking three components at random, not from the on-board weighing project, he said that their machining times on the Hurco VMX30, VM2 and VM1, compared with those on the machines formerly used, were down from 6.75 to 2 minutes, 8 to 4 minutes and 19 to 10 minutes.
     
    Similar savings are achieved when machining the metric and Imperial, long and short versions of the new on-board weighing elements.  These are mainly produced on the VMX30, as it is equipped with a Hurco 4th-axis indexing unit that allows access to three sides of the component, enabling Op2 to be completed in one hit.  For Op 1, which involves machining on one side only, a steel billet is clamped in MicroLoc vices on the table in front of the indexer.
     
    Each time the door opens, a finished component is removed.  Total cycle times are 38 minutes for a short element and 48 minutes for the long version.  Part of the Hurco service included advice on the best indexable-insert and solid carbide tooling to use, which is partly responsible for the fast cycle times being achieved at Smethwick, not only on the Hurco machines but right across the shop floor.
     
    Looking at the bottom line, Avery is making enormous savings.  One component that the company was previously unable to machine used to cost £92.50 to have made outside, whereas in-house production cost is now £20.00.  A large amount of work for the new on-board weighing product range as well as 20 or so other parts, all of which were formerly subcontracted, are now produced on the Hurco machining centres.
     
    Investment in the three machines and tooling was just £102,000, as the VM1 was acquired from the previous owner in part exchange for another machine at Smethwick.  Mr Bates’ calculations indicate a saving in the first year of £111,000 through improved in-house productivity and reduced spend on subcontract services.  Therefore a six-figure saving will result for every additional year that the Hurco machines are in service.
     
    Tolerances on the steel weighing elements and aluminium indicator bodies are ± 0.15 mm and ± 0.025 mm respectively, so when it came to choosing the new machines, three makes of mid-range machining centre with conversational programming capability were researched.

    Hurco machines were selected due to their smaller footprint for the working envelope, heavier duty construction and most particularly, for the ease of use of the Max control.  Six Avery staff have been trained to write programs on the shop floor using the touch-screen navigation, drop-down menus, question and answer routines and scalable colour graphics, without recourse to any conventional programming methods. www.averyweigh-tronix.com

     

     

     

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    Bartlett Engineering LTD - Programming Is 20% Faster

    ​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-drive...Read moreTags: Lathe, 3-Axis Mill, Energy Sector

    ​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.

     

    Petrochemical work accounts for 75 per cent of Bartlett’s turnover when the industry is prospering, as it is at present.  A lot of high-grade stainless steel is machined as well as a mix of other materials including boiler plate.  Some of the alloys are difficult to machine, not only the tough, nickel-based materials and stainless steel but also other ferrous alloys such as EN26W steel hardened to 350 BH (Brinell hardness).
     
    A component produced from the latter material in medium size batches on one of two Hurco TM10 lathes is a washer that requires a 30 mm diameter, indexable-insert drill rotating at 800 rpm to be fed at 80 m/min down the centre of the bar.  The steel is hardened to 380 BH in the process.  A Hurco sales engineer who happened to be present on one occasion when machining started jumped out of his chair when he heard the sound for the first time.  Even he had not seen such a rigorous machining operation carried out on one of their lathes.

    It was agreed during that visit that Bartlett is probably the heaviest user of Hurco machines in the whole of the UK.  The lathes are constantly pulling 80 per cent of available power and 22,000 components have been produced by the two TM10s in the last 12 months.
     
    One is a bar-fed model for producing components up to 75 mm diameter, while the other is used as a chucker for parts up to 254 mm (10 inches) diameter.  Installed in June 2007 and January 2008 respectively, they have an 18.7 kW spindle with a maximum torque of 312 Nm and through-coolant.
     
    Mr Scourfield, who served a 5-year apprenticeship at the former Central Electricity Generating Board, has been turning parts since he was 11 years old.  He says that Hurco’s CNC lathes are 12 times more productive than the manually operated lathes that Bartlett has used since the company started in 1966.  He has one word to describe the TM10s: “excellent”.
     
    The company moved into CNC as recently as 2005 by purchasing entry-level lathes and machining centres from another supplier.  It was a good introduction, but Mr Scourfield soon found that he needed higher power for the type of work that Bartlett traditionally receives.
     
    This was true not only of turning but also of prismatic machining, so a Hurco VMX60 vertical machining centre with 1524 x 660 x 610 mm travels and 24-position tool magazine was installed in September 2007.
     
    One of the first components to be machined was larger than the X-axis, so after suitable safety measures had been put in place, the side door was opened to allow the 2.5 metre long part to protrude so that it could be clamped on the table.  The job involved milling slots in the steel cross members, which were sawn from a 203 x 133 mm H-beam.  They formed part of a 20 metre underframe chassis that Bartlett was fabricating for the Isle of Wight Railway.

    Another early component that was longer than the VMX60’s width was a superheater element for a boiler.  Made from 220 mm diameter seamless carbon steel pipe, the two metre long element contained rows of holes that had been machined manually at Tenby for some years, production time being around 24 hours.  Cycle time on the Hurco is just nine hours.
     
    Half of the contracts received by Bartlett require reverse engineering, such as replacement parts for petrochemical plant that has been manufactured overseas.  Measurements taken from component samples are used to create drawings from which the CNC machines are programmed by manual data input on the shop floor.
    All of the subcontractor’s programming is done this way, as finding staff  in Pembrokeshire with G- and M-code skills is very difficult.
     
    What Mr Scourfield and his operators particularly like about the Hurco machines is the proprietary conversational control system.  He says it is easy to produce machining cycles using the Windows interface and touch screen commands, and as programming is so quick, it is ideal for Bartlett’s one-offs and small batch runs.  The company has no need at all for off-line programming.
     
    Whereas Windows software was available on Hurco lathes from the time that they were introduced, this was not the case with the machining centres.  Following the launch last year of the updated Windows-based software, Winmax, the control on Bartlett’s VMX60 has been upgraded, with significant benefits. According to Mr Scourfield, programming is simplified and 20 per cent quicker using the Windows interface, and 3D colour graphics are improved.  Advances in data smoothing have increased contouring speeds and there are many additional features that will be useful for future jobs, such as the ability to select the quality of surface finish.
     
    In June this year, a Hurco H320 – the largest in the company’s range of rotary tables – was added to the VMX60.  Conversational 4th-axis programming is standard on all WinMax controls, meaning that Bartlett was able to start programming rotary parts immediately, with only a couple of hours’ additional instruction.
     
    Mr Scourfield concluded, “We pride ourselves on machining parts that no-one else can or wants to produce, but we are only able to do that if our machines are of top quality and back-up is reliable."
     
    “Our location in west Wales is perfect for ports and refineries, but relatively inaccessible for machine tool vendors.  When we installed the first Hurco lathe, we were promised prompt service and that is exactly what we have received on the few occasions we have needed to call the supplier out.”

     

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    SFR Turning - Machinists Increased Productivity with Hurco

    ​"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...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Conversational

    "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

     
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    SFR Turning in Howell, Michigan is a small, five-man shop that specializes in CNC lathe work.  One of their principle products are wheel-forming dies. While the bulk of the operations are done on CNC lathes, there was enough milling and drilling operations that a CNC machining center could be justified. 
    After a careful review of available equipment, Harvey Wright, President, decided to invest in a VMX24 vertical machining center from Hurco. The result has been an improvement in his shop’s capabilities and operational efficiencies. Prior to purchasing the VMX24 Hurco, all the milling and drilling was done on manual machines.
     
    Hurco’s Control Provides the Flexibility and Power Required
    Kevin Jurus, Harvey’s partner and the principle Hurco operator,  found that the Hurco VMX24 was a perfect fit for SFR Turning. The VMX24 offers a 24" X-axis travel and a 20" Y-axis travel in a small footprint (54.3 sq. ft.). It’s rigidly constructed to eliminate vibrations – even under the heaviest cutting conditions. The standard, 10,000 RPM spindle compares favorably to many machining centers costing considerably more. With additional features such as the 24-tool capacity and digital drives, the VMX24 provides more flexibility, greater part accuracy and a higher quality finish.
    As with all Hurco machines, the VMX24 is equipped with Hurco’s powerful control. The control’s conversational programming software was originally developed for machinists who were accustomed to having complete control of their equipment. These basic concepts of operator/machinist control still remain the hallmark of Hurco’s control operations. For example, the Hurco control has a “program interrupt” button. This allows the operator to stop the program at any point, have the tool re-track, and permit the operator to inspect the part or make adjustments. Then, when the button is depressed again, the machine resumes its program exactly where it left off. No other control can do this. Most have to restart from the beginning of the program and waste valuable time getting “back in the cut.” “Program Interrupt” gives Kevin complete control and the knowledge that his final operations will be done correctly.
     
    Summary
    Kevin also found that the Hurco control was very easy to learn and program. When the machine was first purchased, SFR had an off-line CAM system, which they used to program their lathes. They began programming the Hurco machining center using the off-line system. However, they quickly learned that editing and changing the off-line generated program was very time consuming. Kevin soon realized that all his programming and editing could be done on the shop floor and at the machine with the Hurco. In fact, much of the programming is now done while the machine is doing another part. 
    The power of Hurco’s UltiMax control combined with the accuracy of the VMX24 reduced the time it took to setup, program, edit and machine a part and increased the productivity of its machinists.  The result is the ability of SFR Turning to multi-task, which is vital to remaining competitive in this industry.

     

  • /en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/VMX24HT_WinMax.jpg

    Pelletizer Knives - Slashes Setup Times with Hurco

    ​“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 princ...Read moreTags: Conversational, 3-Axis Mill

    “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.”

    -Greg Messina
     

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    Pelletizer Knives is a small but global manufacturer in Houston, Texas. Founded in 1966, it specializes in making industrial process knives for the plastic and rubber industries. Its product line has over 90 distinct part designs with hundreds of variants for each of these based on material and abrasion resistance requirements. The result is a low lot size production environment with an emphasis on lean manufacturing and process quality.
    Almost all plastics used in the injection molding operations arrive as raw material in a pellet form. These pellets are created using giant extruders and a series of rotating knives that chop the material into pellets. The knives are the wear item and must meet exact standards to maximize life and maintain product quality.
    Pelletizer Knives’s determination to make its knives at the highest quality and the lowest cost has made it an industry leader. Pelletizer Knives sells to major petrochemical companies across 40 countries throughout the world. Fully integrated with heat treat, grinding and machining capabilities, Pelletizer Knives is uncompromising when it comes to controlling quality. 
    With only 22 shop employees, Pelletizer Knives must practice “lean” in all of its operations. One critical aspect for Pelletizer Knives is selecting and utilizing equipment that is not only productive but also easy to learn and use for all of its employees. This flexibility is a vital requirement that frees up bottlenecks that often occur during the production process. Choosing the right equipment keeps unit labor costs down, reduces work in process, minimizes and lead times. 
     
    The bottom line is that Pelletizer Knives’s prices are the same as they were 10 years ago.
     
    Hurco’s VMX42 Slashes Setup Times
    Pelletizer Knives’s first Hurco machining center was a BMC30 purchased in 1992. Its 15 HP 6,000 RPM spindle coupled with 30″ x 20″ travels met the basic needs for drilling and tapping on the blade blanks. 
     
    About six years ago, Greg Messina, VP of Operations, added the manual work switcher from SMW. It permitted part unload and load to occur outside the machining area and thus increased spindle up-time by 25 percent. While the open work area is acceptable for most of Pelletizer Knives’s applications, it cannot meet the needs when higher spindle speeds and machining enhancers (like coolant through the spindle) are required. 
     
    Pelletizer Knives researched its options and chose Hurco’s latest machining center, the VMX42 equipped with a Midaco automatic pallet changer. The combination of higher machining rates and the load/unload capabilities of the pallet changer has slashed unit cycle times by 60 percent. 
       
    Messina purchased the VMX42 because of the unique capabilities of Hurco’s integrated control, a true shop floor workstation. Because conversational programming is easy to learn and simple to operate, anyone in the shop can run the Hurco machines. This allows Pelletizer Knives to quickly respond to its customers needs even when their offline programmers or CNC only operators are not available.
       
    Pelletizer Knives builds all of their programs using Hurco’s unique conversational programming, which utilizes an easy to learn system with prompts to record all the data needed to create an efficient program. With the helpful drawing holder, the operator pulls up the correct program from memory, verifies it on the right-hand graphics screen, checks tool settings on the left-hand text screen, and makes adjustments as required. Then, the operator is ready for the next job. 
      
    In a typical operation, it would take an operator about 30 seconds to automatically unload and load fixtures on the VMX42’s pallet changer. He would then press a button and the changer would automatically cycle at the end of the machining cycles.
      
    Messina’s original plan was for the operator to run another nearby machine when he was finished with pallet load/unload. However, he found that the Hurco machining cycle time was so significantly reduced with the VMX42 that the operator is now a full time load/unloader.
       
    With 25HP and a 300PSI coolant thru the tool system, the VMX42 is very precise at the milling and drilling operations on the knife blank that is processed at RC 36-42. On the .200″ drilled hold, feed rates up to 20″/min are achieved.
     
    Summary
    Messina found that G-code only machines routinely created work-scheduling conflicts because workers could not be cross-trained easily. When Messina purchased his first Hurco machining center 12 years ago, he immediately saw the benefit of using Hurco’s conversational programming software on the integrated Hurco control. 

     

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    Precision Reflex - Hurco Control Increased Production + Cash Flow

    “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 programmi...Read moreTags: Conversational, 3-Axis Mill, Defense

    “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.”

    -Dave Dunlap, President
      

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    Precision Reflex manufactures telescopic sights for rifles and handguns. It’s a small shop with about 15 employees on a single shift. About 10 years ago, Precision Reflex entered CNC machining with a Hurco bed mill. The precision and repeatability that CNC gave its machining operations dramatically increased productivity and the ability to speed the growth of the business. As the business and lot size grew, Mr. Dunlap began searching for a machine that would increase his productivity.
     
    Hurco Mill Saves Time and Exceeds Shop Owner’s Expectations
    Although he took a close look at Hurco’s VMX product line and knew that a VMX machining center would meet the specifications he needed, Mr. Dunlap decided to purchase a competitor’s machine. However, after he installed the machine, he quickly learned that not all controls were equal. The competitor’s machine ran well, but the G-code based programming slowed down the entire operation. Mr. Dunlap did not want to hire a CNC only operator, so he learned G-code programming himself. While spending several months learning G-code, he realized that it would have only taken him two days to learn conversational programming on the integrated Hurco control. Even using an offline system didn’t save time because many jobs still needed editing in G-code and this had to be done at the machine. As a result, when Mr. Dunlap needed to get a job out quickly, he scheduled it on the manual tool change bed mill.
     
    When Hurco introduced its VM1 machining center, Mr. Dunlap found that the price was very competitive and the features met his shop’s needs, so he purchased it. With Hurco’s integrated control, programming and editing was much quicker and easier resulting in an increase in production and cash flow. The shop's costs were also down. Mr. Dunlap was also very pleased with the vise and tooling package he purchased from Hurco. He found the vises to be very precise, which has led him to order more for his other machines. Everything was packaged into an attractive lease, and it proved to be a profitable investment.

     

    Precision Reflex website


     

     

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    Ottenweller Co. - Hurco Control Is Easiest to Use in the Industry

    “It is so easy to train someone to drill, tap, or mill on the Hurco UltiMax® control with the English language programming.” —Mike Ottenweller, Owner   ...Read moreTags: Conversational, 3-Axis Mill, Custom Machinery

    “It is so easy to train someone to drill, tap, or mill on the Hurco UltiMax® control with the English language programming.”

    —Mike Ottenweller, Owner
     

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    Mike Ottenweller is the grandson of Ed Ottenweller, the founder of Ottenweller Company in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Ed began the business in 1916 as a blacksmith shop that manufactured wagon hitches, steel tires for wooden wagon wheels, and forging repair and forge welding for local contractors and businesses. The business evolved over the next 30 years with the company manufacturing parts for International Harvester and General Electric in Fort Wayne.
     
    Key Hurco Advantage
    The machining department at Ottenweller provides a support function for their main effort in sheet metal and plate fabrication. The company needed a machine with more sophistication and efficiency then a standard knee mill. In the mid-80s, Ottenweller bought their first Hurco machining center. One of the main factors for buying the Hurco machining center was its easy-to-use UltiMax control, which allows the machinist to sequence all the value-added steps needed to machine a part. A machinist using the UltiMax control can reduce or eliminate dead time between steps of conventional CNC operation, resulting in significant savings. Also, machinists can skillfully use the system within days. The most recent Hurco machines at Ottenweller are two VMX50 machining centers with the easy to use UltiMax controls. “The VMX50 machining centers are very powerful and the coolant through the spindle helps with tool life and for flushing chips during a heavy drilling process,” says Mike Ottenweller.
     
    Summary
    Ottenweller and Hurco are in the third decade of their relationship. During this time, the increased power and accuracy of Hurco machining systems have been able to meet the challenge of machining Ottenweller’s more sophisticated and tighter tolerance work pieces. The common thread in this long relationship is the UltiMax control. Today, as it was in the mid-eighties, Hurco's control is the easiest to use in the industry.

     

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    North Carolina Foam Solutions - Hurco Mill Increases Productivity

    ​“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. ...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Conversational

    “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.”

    —Dennis Bost, Owner and Operator
     

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    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 Productivity
    The 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.
     
    Summary
    The 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.

     

  • /en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/VM1WinMaxwithdimensions.jpg

    Lindsay Machine Works - Control Promotes Growth

    ​​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...Read moreTags: Conversational, Lathe, 3-Axis Mill, Custom Machinery

    ​​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.

     

    Mike started his business with manual equipment, serving the general machining and repair needs of local businesses in the paper, food processing and agricultural industries. While Mike could meet the needs of his customers for simple repair work and very small runs, the inefficiencies and time requirements of his manual machines didn’t allow him to compete when quoting even small jobs of more than five or ten pieces.

    Key Hurco Advantage
    Recently, Hurco’s local distributor, Gage Machine Tool, convinced Mike that he needed to make the plunge into CNC and that the Hurco VM1 was the perfect vehicle. CNC was a big change for Mike. He didn’t even have a PC in the shop. But the local distributor promised and delivered on training and Mike was making parts in just a few days. After a month, profits began to soar. These days Mike would not even think of operating his shop without the Hurco vertical machining center. The VM1 made him very competitive and profitable.
     
    Lathes are also an integral part of Lindsay Machine Works. His huge swing manual lathe could handle very large shaft work, but he didn't have an efficient machine for smaller parts turning work and ended up passing on many business opportunities. Based on the success of his VM1, Mike purchased Hurco's new TM8 CNC slant-bed turning center and installed it next to the VM1, creating a CNC cell. Since Mike and his machinists were already familiar with the Hurco control, they were able to quickly get up to speed.  Should Lindsay Machine Works continue to expand, Mike knows that both new operators and experienced machinists can make the most of the TM8 which can be programmed via Hurco's conversational programming, G-Code and with offline CAM software. Even CAD programs can be imported to the control-- something that cannot be done on other turning centers.

     

    Summary
    Lindsay Machine Works depends on quick and reliable turn-around times to keep customers and develop new ones. The Hurco CNC cell, consisting of a VM1 VMC and the new TM8 CNC slant-bed turning center, is a vital part of their business today and in the future.

     

  • http://www.hurco.com/en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/testimonials/_t/heart%20copy_png.jpg/hurco-single-screen-cnc-control.jpg

    Rigid + Reliable: "We Haven't had to Call a Tech Out Once"

    ​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 ...Read moreTags: Conversational, 3-Axis Mill

    ​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

  • /en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/ColChucknoArm0058.jpg

    Bryco Machine - Hurco Lathe Cuts Programming Time

    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...Read moreTags: Lathe, Conversational, 3-Axis Mill, Defense, Medical

    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.

     
    Bryon purchased a Hurco BMC30 for secondary operations about five years ago and found that not only was it fast and easy to program, it was also an excellent machine tool--productive, accurate, and reliable. When Hurco announced its new line of 2-axis lathes, it was just at the time Bryan needed to do something to solve his short run production problems.
    Hurco had the solution.
     
    Key Hurco Advantage
    As Bryon studied his short run work he realized it would benefit greatly from having two small lathes and purchased two Hurco TM6 CNC slant-bed lathes. One machine would be equipped with a bar feeder and run low to medium volume jobs using the same quality bar stock that was being used on his production machines. The other TM6 would be used as a chucker or with a bar puller for those jobs in which a bar feeder would not be utilized fully.

    Summary
    With easy-to-use conversational programming and powerful verification graphics, programming and setup time is down to under an hour between jobs. The operator of the Hurco TM6 appreciates the quick set up times and the unique verification graphics that allow him to see the cuts made on the control before they are actually made. This feature has significantly reduced programming times by two to three hours and he believes machine stoppages will soon be a thing of the past. Secondary operations are done on the Hurco BMC30. Bryon Bettinardi has also been very pleased with the investment. The Hurco lathes are producing high quality, accurate parts with close to the same efficiency as his production machines. With the fast turn around times now possible via his Hurco CNC milling and turning cell, short run jobs are now a new profit center for Bryco Machine.
     
  • BPR/RICO Equipment - I Just Had to Have the Hurco Control

    BPR/RICO Equipment - I Just Had to Have the Hurco Control

    ​“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...Read moreTags: Conversational, 3-Axis Mill

    ​“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.”

    -- John Carpenter, Shop Manager, BPR/RICO Equipment
     
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    BPR/RICO designs and manufactures a wide range of custom material handling equipment. Over the years, they have found they can best serve their industrial customers by offering unique custom designs to solve specific handling problems. This high engineering intensity coupled with demands by customers for fast delivery at the lowest possible cost places extreme pressure on the manufacturing group to respond to lower and lower lot sizes and yet still reduce unit cost. That meant that attacking set-up time in all its aspects had become an absolute priority. 
     
    When it came time to look for their first vertical machining center, RICO found that over twenty different brands could meet their needs in terms of working cube, HP, rapids, spindle speed, etc. John Carpenter, machine shop manager, realized that the key to his decision was selecting the machining center with the best ‘operator to control’ interface. The control had to be easy to learn and use yet have ‘power’ to handle a wide variety of machining operations. When Hurco could demonstrate that it could dramatically reduce the time required to create programs, edit existing programs (an absolute necessity for company that builds customs from a basic design), set-up parts and tools, and easily fit into the skills set of the operators on the shop floor, John knew that his vision could be realized. The purchase of the Hurco BMC 4020 has been a critical operational improvement for RICO.

     

    Key Hurco Advantage
    Hurco solved the problem that frustrated RICO. Every job was the same but different. In the design of its equipment, the basic components were very similar for a given product. The problem was that each order had some element of customization. Holes in a different location, length different, etc. On conventional CNCs, each of these changes required a new program and then edits to finally get it to run. With Hurco UltiMax control programming, altering existing programs is incredibly simple. Just display the part on the graphics screen and ‘point’ at the feature, a hole for example, that needs to be changed. The control automatically goes to the data block that controls that feature and the edit can be made. For new parts, RICO just programs right at the machine. John has found that the Ultimax control’s concurrent programming feature lets him create new programs as other parts are being run.  RICO now is fully capable of meeting its customer’s needs for customized products on time and under budget. As fast as the engineers can design it, the RICO shop is ready to build it.
     
    Summary
    The proof is in the productivity. Before the Hurco, only two or three jobs could be programmed, set-up and run in a single shift day. Now six to eight jobs are processed routinely. The reduction is work-in process and lead times have more than paid for the modest extra investment to purchase the Hurco. RICO avoided having to expand overhead with an off-line CAM department. All programs are done on the shop floor. As John Carpenter, Shop manager, realized after an UltiMax control demo – “ I have to have that control.”

     

  • /en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/grace.jpg

    Bobby Grace Putters - Hurco Brings Winning Touch to the Green

    ​"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 immediatel...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Conversational

    ​"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."

    -- Bobby Grace, Founder

     

     
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    Bobby Grace Putters designs and manufactures advanced golf equipment using the latest CNC machining technology from Hurco. After great success milling putters in the mid 1990s, Bobby Grace sold his first product line to Cobra®. In 2003, Bobby developed a new and innovative concept in putter design that could be patented and brought to the market.
       
    Drawing from his experience with his milled putter designs, Bobby found that if he created a putter with a deep body and placed a heavy “mass” at the end of that body away from the face he could create a high moment of inertia with the putter. With this high moment of inertia, the putter has a much larger “sweet” spot, delivers straight putts, and is extremely stable. The MOI or “Moment of Inertia” Amazing Grace putter was born. 
       
    Bobby had used Hurcos in his first operation during the 1990s. He found the fast and easy-to-use programming of Hurco’s control to be ideal for his innovative operations with constantly changing product lines. He was able to expand his workforce as the business grew because the Hurco machines were easy to operate, versatile and productive.
     
    Key Hurco Advantage: The VM1 Machining Center
    When he started his new operation in 2003, Bobby was looking for a bed mill as a low-cost investment. After he saw Hurco’s VM1 at a local show, he realized that he could get machining center performance and productivity without sacrificing fast programming and setup for a price not much more than a bed mill. Given his previous experience with Hurco, his decision was easy.
       
    Hurco’s VM machining center hit the mark for the versatility Bobby Grace Putters needed. It’s X-Y-Z axis travels at 26″ (660mm) x 14″ (356mm) x 18″ (457mm), packaged on a 6,000 lb. frame that only takes up 36 sq. ft., made it a perfect fit for his operations. Coupled with its 15 HP 8,000 RPM spindle, 700 IPM rapids and 16-station swing arm ATC, the VM1 was ideal for the challenges Bobby’s machinists face. 
       
    The VM1 machines used at Bobby Grace Putters are equipped with electronic probes. As an example of an operation in Bobby’s shop, a manual pallet shuttle is used to load the blanks for machining. Before the start of the operation, the probe checks the alignment of the blank and corrects the program coordinates for part skew. The result is faster setup and higher quality parts while requiring less operator skill.
     
    Summary
    Hurco’s VM machining center is used for prototype development and to provide customization for various clients, touring professionals and companies.
       
    Bobby markets his revolutionary putters in two ways. First, he sells a large volume of his putters through an international distribution system. However, many professional golfers on the pro tour demand custom putters. While on tour, many golfers routinely e-mail or fax changes to Bobby Grace Putters. This is where the unmatched capabilities of the VM1 and the Hurco control come into play. After making these custom alterations to his putter design, Bobby sends the custom putter in one or two days to his customers. Bobby’s competitors take weeks to make custom designs. 
       
    Many companies provide custom Bobby Grace putters as gifts or incentives. Hurco’s DXF file transfer allows the machinists at Bobby Grace Putters to download customer logos to create custom putters in hours, not weeks. 
       
    Using Hurco’s productive and versatile Hurco VM general purpose CNC machining centers and easy-to-use control technology, Bobby Grace Putters will provide amateur and professional golfers worldwide the best chance to sink that long shot!

     

     

     

  • /en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/VM2WinMaxWDimensions.jpg

    Belkin Corporation - Hurco VM Mill Invaluable for Prototyping Needs

    ​“In the fast changing world of computer peripherals, innovative design is the key. Rapidly converting these designs into prototypes requires a high capab...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, NC

    ​“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.”

    ―John Hoppe, 3D Lab Manager
     

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
     
    When John Hoppe was granted a budget to buy a VMC to create prototypes in his lab, he contacted four different builders with machines in his size and budget range. He asked each to cut a 3D surface part using a tool path he had generated on Pro/Manufacturing. He knew that if he controlled the data used in the test, he would have the best chance to evaluate actual machine performance -- what he could really expect to get in his shop.
     
    Hurco’s VM2 Comes Out On Top 
    When all the samples were submitted and checked, Hurco’s VM2 machining center achieved the best surface finish with the fastest cycle time. Given its very competitive starting price of under $50,000 and its small footprint of 40″ of X travel, the decision to buy the VM2 was easy.
       
    Equipped with an optional 10,000 RPM spindle, the VM2 provides cutting feed rates up to 600 IPM for fast prototype machining. The Hurco Max control is network compatible and the program changes can be rapidly downloaded from the design group. Downloads can be made even when the machine is processing a different part. With a substantial hard drive, even huge programs can be stored for later use. The control’s RAM was expanded to 256 MB to handle very large programs without the need for drip feed or other time consuming steps. 
       
    Since the Max control is equipped for automatic machine shutdown after program completion, the VM2 is ideal for lights out extended shift operations. Many programs run all night and are ready for evaluation the next morning.

     

    Summary
    Mr. Hoppe has found the Hurco VM2 invaluable in helping him meet the prototype needs of the design team. Schedules are not only met, but exceeded while critical inputs on fit, feel, and assembly can aid in the cutting the project team’s cost. When the design is finalized, the complete design in Pro-Engineer software can be transmitted to suppliers around the world. Working in the design studio and using Hurco’s VM2 machining center has allowed Belkin to produce its prototypes even more quickly and efficiently than before.

     

  • /en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/VM1WinMaxwithdimensions.jpg

    A & A Tool and Die - Our Hurco Is Easy to Learn and Easy to Run

    ​“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 perfectl...Read moreTags: Conversational, 3-Axis Mill, Aerospace

    “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.”

     
    —Art Cherkezian, President
     
     
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
     
    A & A Tool and Die is a small two-man tool shop that has been operating for more than 20 years. It specializes in producing parts for various aerospace divisions that have both metal forming and machining requirements. Until recently, Mr. Cherkezian could meet part requirements using traditional manual mills and lathes. However, due to lower costs and increased demand for part accuracy, Mr. Cherkezian realized that he needed to invest in CNC equipment. He could not afford to hire CNC operators, so he and his assistant had to be able to run the machine themselves. Therefore, he needed a machine with an easy-to-use control.
     
    Hurco’s VM1 Helps Small Shop Meet Customer Demands
    After viewing Hurco’s VM1 machining center at WESTEC, Mr. Cherkezian was convinced that a Hurco machine would be the right investment. He found that the control was intuitive and easy to learn; yet it could be programmed to do all the machining operations he required. In addition, the small footprint saved valuable floor space in his 3,000 square foot shop. The VM1 is a true vertical machining center due to its 16-station tool changer, which saves valuable time over manual tool changes. The 8,000 RPM spindle can handle the wide variety of material A & A must process. Finally, both Mr. Cherkezian and his assistant were making parts in less than a week.

     

    Summary
    The Hurco VM1 provided A & A Tool and Die with greater capability and improved performance. Quality and customer responsiveness have improved dramatically. The VM1 has performance features and easy-to-use controls at a very competitive price. The purchase of Hurco’s VM1 machining center has been a success for A & A Tool and Die.

     

  • /en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/VM1_WinMax.jpg

    VAN-AM Tool and Engineering - Conversational Control and G-Code Working Together

    ​“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 di...Read moreTags: Conversational

    ​“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.”


    -- Ivan Russell
     
     
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    VAN-AM Tool and Engineering is an integrated, full service contract metal stamping plant. It meets the needs of a wide range of Midwest customers. While VAN-AM had purchased a few CNC machines in the past, it always found that programming and editing were very time consuming and inefficient for many of its die component operations. Therefore, Ivan Russell, President, maintained a number of manual and 2-axis knee mills for much of his machining.

     

    Feature on Hurco’s VM1 Exceeds Customer’s Expectations
    When Ivan’s local Hurco distributor, Dirk Gage, of Gage Machine Tool, discussed Ivan’s operations with him, Dirk was convinced that Hurco’s VM1 machining center would be a profitable investment for Ivan. He arranged a demonstration of Hurco’s UltiMax control for Ivan and his toolmakers. They were impressed with how fast print data could be converted into a program and edited to produce a stamping die detail. Ivan also wanted to make sure that the Hurco conversational control could handle off-line generated g-code programs for the form dies that were also an important part of his business. When shown that the control can handle both types of format with equal ease, he placed an order.
        Dirk spent a couple of days training Ivan’s toolmakers and within a week they were programming and using the VM1 machining center. A form die for a motorcycle headlamp was one of the first parts that was run on the VM1. The contour was generated off-line and downloaded to the control and its 1 Gig hard drive. The pre-hardened steel was cut with no problem, and in this case, sent to the customer for press tryout. For some reason, a misfeed occurred and caused a mark on the die surface. It needed immediate repair. Ivan took the die back to the shop and found that the original program was still on the control’s hard-drive. A re-cut was done overnight and was delivered to the customer the next day. Ivan never thought he would need to store programs for future use and did not think the standard hard drive was important. After that experience, he won’t buy a machine tool without one.
     
    Summary

    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. 

     

  • VMXw_Per0115

    Western Carolina Tool and Mold - Hurcos Are Flexible + Easy to Use

    “When we formed our business five years ago, we knew that we needed flexible and easy to use equipment. The Hurco’s really fit the bill.”  Woody Scott, Pr...Read moreTags: Conversational, NC, 3-Axis Mill
    “When we formed our business five years ago, we knew that we needed flexible and easy to use equipment. The Hurco’s really fit the bill.”  Woody Scott, President, Western Carolina Tool and Mold
     
    Formed five years ago by 5 mold makers, Western Carolina has grown into a 10 man shop that specializes in molds for the textile and consumer goods business. Using advanced EDM equipment, a wide range of molds are produced to fine tolerances and demanding time schedules. The key to making their electrodes are two Hurco Machining Centers.The Hurco machines provide the accuracy, flexibility, and ease of use that is key to their operations. The high quality molds that Western produces demands intricateand very accurate electrodes. The Hurco’s consistency delivers on all counts.
     
    The Hurcos are fully capable of machining both graphite for electrodes and tool steel as needed. With large RAM and hard drive in the control, Western can download very complex surface geometries with speed and precision. Yet the control is simple enough to program that about 50% of their electrodes can be programmed right at the machine. That increases flexibility and shortens lead times.
     
    Finally, it was very important that the machine control be easy to learn and use. To meet the demands of their customers, Western wanted to avoid operator specialization if possible. Especially with the machining centers, they wanted all of their shop employees to be able to set-up and run the Hurcos. They can and it has become a key element to their operations. 
     
    Key Hurco Advantage
    Western Carolina elected to purchase Hurco machining centers equipped with the single screen control. While it programs exactly like the traditional twin-screen control, it differs by only displaying either the text or graphics screen at any one time. It is easy to switch between them and thus the full functionality of the control remains.
     
    The mix of programs at Western Carolina is split about 50-50 between programs created at the machine on the shop floor. And those created off-line. In both cases because of the use of small tools, run time tends to be long. This is why the single screen control made sense. There is no loss in performance or capability with the Single Screen control, yet they save money on the initial purchase price. When coupled with network compatibility, the Hurcos are an integral part of the operation.
     
    Summary
    Western Carolina has been steadily growing their business over the past five years. They are in the process of building a new facility that will increase their capacity about 50%. Working with a core group of skilled individuals has created a base for customer satisfaction that keeps Western Carolina unique. And their Hurcos are a key part of their success.
     
     
  • icon for Why I Love Hurco

    The Precision Edge Machine: "Decision To Buy Hurco Was a No-Brainer"

    ​The following submission was received as part of our Why I Love Hurco Sweepstakes.   ​Dear Hurco,The Precision Edge Machine (TPEM) would really benefit...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Conversational, Lathe, Great Service

    ​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 Hurco
    My 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 Hurco
    Fast 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 Turning
    Our 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 Future
    Hurco 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 Smith
    The Precision Edge Machine

  • icon Why I Love Hurco

    Pelco Tool & Mold: "Our Hurco VMCs Keep Us Competitive"

    ​"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...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Conversational

    ​"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 Moll
    Pelco Tool and Mold

     

     

  • icon Why I Love Hurco

    "Best Features for the Money"

    ​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 "...Read moreTags:

    ​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."

    Jame Holzheimer