“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
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.
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.”