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

    BFO Motorcycles - Bike Designer Follows His Dream into Manufacture

      Hurco machining centre turns as well as mills at start-up motor cycle factory.  Ever since the early 90s, after graduating with a first class honours ...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Conversational, Automotive

     

    Hurco machining centre turns as well as mills at start-up motor cycle factory.

     
    Ever since the early 90s, after graduating with a first class honours degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Abertay, Dundee, Steve Atkins has wanted to produce his own motorcycle.  While pursuing a successful career as a car designer at such prestigious companies as Peugeot, Jaguar and Aston Martin, he spent his spare time designing his own bike and four years ago built a first prototype.


    Two more followed, the last in October 2006, just in time to launch the concept at The International Motorcycle & Scooter Show at the NEC.  He took his first order, the customer paying a deposit there and then.  Together with a small amount of Government funding, it convinced Steve to start his own company – BFO Motorcycles – and press ahead with series production.
     
    Based on the Honda Fireblade, BFO manufactures a kit costing around £6,500 plus VAT and, within a month, converts the donor bike into a bespoke motorcycle called the ‘switch:BLADE’.  Only the Fireblade’s wheels, suspension, brakes, wiring and engine are retained; the rest is replaced in the makeover.  The plan is to build 100 kits before moving on to a second donor bike, the Suzuki Hayabusa, and repeating the exercise in collaboration with international motorcycle stylist, John Keogh.  This second bike is already attracting a great deal of interest following release of the initial artist’s impression.
     
    To mill the components, Steve bought in mid 2007 a Hurco VM1 machining centre, listing at £27,900, which with its 660 x 356 x 457 mm working volume he says is the ideal size for producing motorcycle parts.  As he is under financial constraints while building up the business, he is using a 3-jaw chuck and circular interpolation on the machine to produce most of the turned parts for the bike as well, postponing investment in a lathe.

    To buy even one machine tool in addition to renting an industrial unit in Coventry and incurring sundry other expenses, all based on a single bike design, is a big step for an individual.  Steve chose the Hurco machining centre because of its low price and ease of use.  He is a designer, not a machinist, and previously had hardly operated a manual machine tool, let alone one that is computer controlled.
     
    Manual machines would have been too labour intensive for series production, making the kits too expensive, added to which there is potential for inaccuracies to creep in due to human error.  Learning conventional CNC programming using G- and M-codes would have been very time-consuming.  All he wanted to do was get accurate bike components off the machine quickly.
     
    Steve commented, “I knew of the conversational programming capabilities of Hurco control systems through local subcontractors that had made prototype parts for me on Hurco machines.  “The way the Max control manipulates geometry is similar to my I-DEAS CAD system, so I am in a familiar environment.  The touch screen control makes it very easy to build up a cutting cycle based on the geometry of the part and the tooling I have available.  You simply redraw the part on the Max screen, input feeds and speeds and the program writes itself.”
     
    For machining more complicated 3D parts such as patterns for producing areas of the carbon fibre bodywork and the seat, which was styled by John Keogh, Steve has installed a OneCNC CAM package that will allow input of complex, 3D cutter paths directly into the Max control.
    He continued, “Just by machining the patterns for the switch:BLADE in house rather than having to subcontract the work, I have saved one third of the cost of the Hurco.
     
    “All the formed 7020 aluminium tubing for the frame has to be machined so that it fits together first time.  There are fork clamps, mudguard brackets, foot rests, brake calliper mounts, handlebars and a host of other components to be machined from billet, plus most of the traditionally turned parts – I now only have to subcontract the turning of headstocks, which are a little too long for the Hurco.
    “I calculate that there is about £2,000 of machining in each switch:BLADE kit, so together with the saving in pattern machining, the Hurco will have paid for itself after nine bikes.  Everything after that will be for free, except for tooling and running costs.”
     

     

  • /en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/RPTooling4.jpg

    RP Tooling - Hurco Machines Facilitate Toolmaker's Success

    ​Brett Mitchell and Darren Withers founded their new company, RP Tooling, as recently as June 2005. Yet by September 2010, turnover had grown to the point...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, NC, Aerospace, Automotive

    ​Brett Mitchell and Darren Withers founded their new company, RP Tooling, as recently as June 2005. Yet by September 2010, turnover had grown to the point where they were able to move out of a rented industrial unit in Halesowen and purchase a freehold property nearby.  The two partners, who now employ 20 additional staff, put their success down to following the market and targetting industry sectors that are buoyant at any given time. For example, three years ago a majority of work was for the aerospace industry whereas presently, moulds for automotive customers account for half of throughput.


    Purchase of seven vertical-spindle,3-axis machining centres from Hurco has also played a part in the toolmaker's expansion, allowing high quality products to be delivered on time and within budget. It is noteworthy that three of the Hurco machines as well as a Mitutoyo CMM were installed in summer 2009, right in the middle of the recession, underlining Mr Mitchell's opinion that regular investment in new plant is crucial for business expansion, even in difficult times.

     

    RP Tooling specialises in short-lead-time design and manufacture of aluminium injection moulds for producing plastic prototypes and short batch runs, typically up to 5,000-off. Some smaller steel tools are machined for longer production runs. The firm also makes investment tooling for production of castings, destined mainly for export markets in Europe.
     
    Another facet of its business is low-volume machining of bespoke jigs and fixtures as well as components in anything from resin board through plastics and aluminium to hardened steel, predominantly for Formula 1 teams and luxury car manufacturers.
       
    At the outset, Messrs Mitchell and Withers researched the market for mid-range vertical machining centres (VMCs) that could cope with such a wide variety of work.  Mr Withers commented, "We chose Hurco VMCs because their sturdy construction and build quality stood out from the rest. Compared with some of the machines we looked at, there was a big difference in robustness.

    "The Hurcos have also proved easy to use. Two days' training is provided with each machine, but we have not been on any of the courses. The engineer that commissioned the first machines showed us a little of how to program using the conversational control and we just took it from there."
     
    RP Tooling is not a typical user of Hurco VMCs, however. The powerful, Windows-based Ultimax control running proprietary WinMax shop floor programming software is often the deciding factor at the time a customer purchases a Hurco machine. It had no bearing on the Halesowen toolmaker's choice, though, as staff rarely use the facility. It only comes into play for engraving part numbers around tools and for preparing programs for machining some components and fixtures.
      
    Invariably, mould design and programming are carried out off-line using ZW3D (formerly VX) CAD and NCG CAM software based on an imported solid model of the end product supplied by the customer. A single post processor is needed for downloading machine code to all seven Hurcos via DNC links. As the machines have similar sets of cutters resident in the tool magazines, jobs are freely interchangeable, providing considerable production flexibility. Mr Mitchell added, "Although we do not use Ultimax for programming our tools, we do find the control's 'work offset' feature useful when running machines unattended overnight and at weekends, which we do regularly.
     
    "It means we can maximise productivity by fixturing multiple jobs on each machine table, as appropriate. We may import, say, three programs created on our CAD/CAM system and simply enter two additional G-codes to tell the spindle to redatum automatically after each job has finished."
       
    All CNC plant for prismatic machining at RP Tooling is from Hurco. The machines work alongside a CNC toolroom lathe and various manual mills, drills and lathes and a small sparker. There is also a 130-tonne injection moulding press on site for proving out tools and undertaking low volume runs for customers, and two wax presses for proving out investment tools.
     
    The company's next purchases will be a 5-axis Hurco machining centre to expand component manufacture and speed complex profiling jobs; and a much larger DCX22 with a 1.75-metre Y-axis to tackle larger moulds that the company is currently having to turn away.

     

     

     

  • icon why i love hurco

    Hurco Machines Are Reliable and Easy to Program

    This is a submission from our "Why I Love Hurco" Sweepstakes. ​I am a CNC Machinist with over 20 years of experience. In my humble opinion, th...Read moreTags: Conversational

    This is a submission from our "Why I Love Hurco" Sweepstakes.

    ​I am a CNC Machinist with over 20 years of experience. In my humble opinion, the Hurco line of machines have always been one of the most reliable and easy to program CNC machines.
    Ernesto Angel.jpg
    Most of my experience has been with CNC machining centers and I have always loved the easy use of the conversation controls. It just makes sense and it makes my programming jobs a lot faster and safer. Having the graphics gives you a very good idea how the manufacturing process progresses. I like the option of being able to have DXF files right at the machine in case I need to do “on the fly edits” to my parts.

    The ease and simplicity of the Hurco CNC control has made my machining / programming profession much easier. If I happen to be the lucky winner of this machine, it will be put in good use at my father’s shop, which specializes in the restoration of vintage motorcycles.

    Sincerely,

    Ernesto Angel
    Pompano Precision Products, Inc.
    Engineering Manager



     

  • what i love about hurco icon

    Conversational Control. Reliability. Value.

    This is a submission we received as part of our "Why I Love Hurco" Sweepstakes. We have a 2006 Hurco VM1, and love the machine. It does not hav...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Conversational

    This is a submission we received as part of our "Why I Love Hurco" Sweepstakes.

    We have a 2006 Hurco VM1, and love the machine. It does not have the WinMax control, although that 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/CrossenEngineering3.jpg

    Crossen Engineering Ltd - Toolmaker Expands into Aerospace Sector

    During 2011, 4,000 such seals will be produced in the press shop at Newtownards, which has 17 power presses rated from 35 to 500 tonnes force for subcontr...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Aerospace, Automotive, Moldmaker, NC, Conversational

    During 2011, 4,000 such seals will be produced in the press shop at Newtownards, which has 17 power presses rated from 35 to 500 tonnes force for subcontract production runs of progression and deep drawn components.

     

    The contract has boosted the proportion of aerospace sector work done by Crossen Engineering to 20 per cent of turnover.  The company received AS9100 quality management accreditation in 2010 and intends to grow the aerospace side of its business further to 75 per cent by 2015.  Another recent aerospace project, for University of Ulster spin-off, LenisAer, Belfast, was to design a press tool for forming a sector for an engine nacelle lip skin from a sheet metal blank, currently aluminium but perhaps also titanium. The concept, to extend the trailing edge, promote laminar flow and eliminate a join, has been proved and production quantities are being considered. A lip skin prototype will be exhibited on Crossen Engineering's stand at the International Paris Air Show 2011 in June.  Pressworking contracts carried out in other industries include making a tool and supplying hood reinforcement parts for lift trucks; and tools used in the production of the Audi A8.
     
    Started in 1978 by Paul Crossen's father, Derek, to service a local need for press tools, the firm moved into the manufacture of steel and aluminium mould tools in the mid 90s. It gradually established an injection mould shop which now has machines from 60 to 500 tonnes clamping force to fulfil subcontract runs in short lead times. Today, the split between press tool and injection mould work is roughly 50:50.
     
    A recent success was winning back a contract previously lost to China, namely tool manufacture and production of plastic moulded parts used in flat-pack kits for polling booths and ballot boxes marketed by Pakflatt in Derry. Another injection mould, machined on a Hurco VMX42, is for producing parts for ABS dummies assembled by a Belfast company, Trucorp, for resuscitation training.
     
    A customer in receipt of both mould and press tools together with the plastic and pressed parts is roof window manufacturer, Keylite, Cookstown. These days, Crossen Engineering is rarely asked to make only the tool.
     
    Derek Crossen bought the company's first Hurco, a BMC40, 25 years ago through local Irish representative, Michael Gannon. "The machine gave 20 years of excellent service, cutting a range of materials including prehardened steels," confirmed Paul Crossen, "and although not currently in use, it is still operational."
     
    The machine's reliability and suitability for toolmaking, with its ability to manufacture one-offs efficiently and move on rapidly to the next job, is behind Crossen Engineering's decision to purchase prismatic metalcutting equipment only from this source. In the last six years, the company has installed four VMX42s, the latest in April 2011, and a VMX64 to increase the size of parts that can be machined in-house. All are 40 taper machines.
       
    The first VMX, with 12,000 rpm spindle, arrived in 2005 to produce aluminium injection moulds for manufacturing rubber mats for cars. Suppliers to Porsche, Mazda, Kia and Mercedes Trucks number among the many users of these moulds.
     
    One of the other VMX42s has a higher speed spindle capable of 15,000 rpm. It was bought to concentrate on machining of aluminium parts for aircraft, such as seat supports and trim, as well as to produce vacuum forming tools.
     
    The VMX64, with its 1,626 x 864 x 762 mm working envelope, was acquired in 2009 for machining bolster plates and other larger components whose production was previously subcontracted. A similar machine will replace the BMC40 at the end of 2011.
     
    Programming efficiency at Crossen Engineering is just as important as machining time, because very often only one part is produced. In this respect, Winmax software in Hurco's latest Ultimax control is proving beneficial.  Although it is possible to use the conversational capability to program relatively complex 3D shapes on the shop floor, this is mainly done in Delcam Powermill and downloaded. Programming of 2D shapes is well within the control's remit, but again, the toolmaker tends to do this in Autocad and send a DXF file to the Ultimax, which is able to read the data directly. The rationale is to eliminate the possibility of human error.
     
    Conversational capability in the control is used to prepare some simpler programs. However, it really comes into its own for conveniently copying and pasting existing macros for pocketing and drilling, for example, into downloaded NC programs. The software also provides flexibility for editing programs quickly on the shop floor, without having to return each time to the CAM system in the office.  Conversationally generated elements of the program can be integrated seamlessly with blocks of G-code in Winmax. Moreover, merging of the two can be completed in background while the previous part is being cut, so valuable production time is not lost.
     
    One operator runs two Hurco machines at Newtownards over a single shift at present, so there is plenty of capacity to ramp up output, if order levels dictate. Nevertheless, Crossen Engineering already benefits from production hours after each manned shift, as one or two machines routinely are left to run unattended overnight and at weekends. Some jobs, such as profiling of the car mat injection moulds, continue largely unattended for 48 hours.

     

     

     

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    Brunswick Tooling Ltd - Benefits of a 5-Axis Machining Centre

    ​There are a number of purpose-built 5-axis / 5-sided machining centre designs on the market, including types with a rotary table and either a trunnion su...Read moreTags: 5-Axis, Mill Turn, Automotive, Aerospace

    ​There are a number of purpose-built 5-axis / 5-sided machining centre designs on the market, including types with a rotary table and either a trunnion support or a swivelling B-axis head to provide the fifth CNC axis. A number of companies including Hurco supply such machines, but neither configuration suited Brunswick Tooling, Brighouse, a manufacturer of reamers and special cutting tools, both solid carbide and indexable-insert.

    Instead, it asked Hurco to supply an alternative 5-axis configuration based on a 3-axis VMX30m machining centre fitted with a 2-axis NC tilting rotary table. Many regard such a solution as inferior to a custom-made 5-axis machine, sometimes referring disparagingly to a lack of rigidity with 'bolt-on attachments'. However, for producing Brunswick Tooling's products, which are essentially rotational components, the arrangement has proved to be optimal.

    The rigidity issue was tackled at the outset by selection of a Kitagawa TT182 hydraulic, 2-axis table with -35 / +110 tilt angle and a 360-degree table rotation. According to Brunswick Tooling's managing director, Paul Briggs, the attachment is so robust that machining performance is just as good as that of purpose-built, 5-axis machines.
     
    Indexing accuracies of 20 and 60 seconds of arc respectively for table rotation and tilt, with 4 seconds of arc repeatability, ensure top precision metalcutting when combined with Hurco's ± 0.005 mm linear positioning accuracy and ± 0.0025 mm repeatability.  The real advantage of the set-up is that Brunswick Tooling is able to clamp the rotary table in its vertical position and fit a tailstock to the left hand side of the machine bed. In this way, the tools it manufactures can be positioned between centres and clamped securely for prismatic machining operations to be carried out, such as milling of indexable insert pockets.
     
    The first Hurco machine installed, in March 2010, has been operated in this mode for a large part of the time. However, for certain jobs the tailstock is removed and the Kitagawa table is inclined upwards to position the component at a compound angle for 3-axis machining of complex features on some tooling products. Both rotary axes are currently used in this way, ie indexed and clamped, but they could be interpolated with the linear axes in future, if desired, as the Hurco Max CNC system is able to control full 5-axis cycles.
      
    It was the flexibility of being able to use the machine either in turn-mill mode or as a 5-sided or 5-axis machining centre that convinced Mr Briggs to choose the Hurco / Kitagawa option. The merits of the decision were underlined by the purchase of a second, identically equipped VMX30m one year after the first. Even the tools in the magazines are identical. Programs are stored on the factory server, allowing any job to be downloaded to, and produced on, either Hurco machine, with certainty that the most up-to-date cutting cycle is being used.
     
    Mr Briggs said that there is a particular functionality within Hurco's WinMax conversational programming software that lends itself well to 5-sided machining applications, during which the part is tilted upwards at an angle. It is called 'transform plane' and is used in a rotary program to re-establish part zero to any plane for non-rotary 3-axis milling or drilling. This facilitates machining of repeating features on several sides of a component, as the tool automatically moves so that it is always perpendicular to the transformed plane.
     
    "Essentially, whatever angle the part is at in one or two rotary planes, the Hurco software always knows where the datum is, which has allowed us to increase productivity on complex, high added value products," confirmed Mr Briggs.
    His lead machine tool programmer, Andrew Bell, also commented on the software: "With WinMax, it is easy to program a part without any need for an expensive 5-axis CAM system.
       
    "We a take the DXF file from the 3D model we create in Autodesk Inventor and load it directly into WinMax. The data is then used to generate the cutter paths using conversational routines, quickly and accurately, without the risk of introducing G-code errors.  "The software is years ahead of its time and always has been, even the earlier, non-Windows version, Ultimax."
     
    Mr Bell, who uses WinMax software daily, also likes the way a graphic of the part being programmed is generated concurrently in background. He said it allows any potential mistakes in component geometry to be spotted quickly, this being especially useful when programming a cylindrical part, which is difficult to visualise from a 2D drawing.
     
    Brunswick Tooling manufactures reamers in batches of up to 300-off for world markets, but its special cutting tools are normally produced in ones and twos, for which WinMax software is ideal. Often, the company is asked by firms to design and produce a tool from scratch from a CAD drawing of the end component.
     
    Customers include Ford, JCB, Airbus, AgustaWestland and BAE Systems, from which it recently received the Chairman's Silver Award for reducing lead-time for a Joint Strike Fighter titanium machining operation from three days to five minutes.
       
    Mr Briggs concluded, "The Hurco machines are good value for money and have a large working area for the factory space they take up.  "Their accuracy is fantastic – we easily hold 50 microns on indexable insert pocket dimensions and position, despite sometimes machining a long component held at one end.  "We still operate a number of universal, 4-axis toolroom machines, which have a manually tilting table and require longhand G-code programming. They will continue to have their place for manufacturing reamers and some repeat special tools.
     
    "But for particularly complex tooling designs, which are becoming more and more frequent, the Hurco / Kitagawa configuration is the future for our business and the avoidance of expenditure on CAM software, and an operator to use it, is an added bonus."

     

     

     

  • /en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/testimonials/dry-milling-action-shot.jpg

    Florida Precision - Part Accuracy and Repeatability.

    ​“I have built my business by attracting top-notch machinists and then giving them the tools to put their talents to work. I have found that the capabilit...Read moreTags: 5-Axis, 3-Axis Mill, Conversational

    ​“I have built my business by attracting top-notch machinists and then giving them the tools to put their talents to work. I have found that the capabilities of Hurco machining centers to do complex, high accuracy work is perfect for my operation.”

    – Mike Vella

     

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    Hurco’s machining centers provide precisely what’s needed
    The five Hurco machines that Florida Precision owns have proved invaluable. The machinists found that the Hurco machines, equipped with the UltiMax dual-screen control, can solve virtually every machining problem they encounter. There is no need for off-line programming that slows operations.
     
    The machinist is able to determine the best way to machine the part and then uses Hurco’s control to program it. This “multiplication of skills” is the key to growth at Florida Precision. Jobs are turned around fast and competitively. They have become a key source for many parts that are simply too complex for the average shop to tackle.
     
    Florida Precision, as its name implies, handles tough machining problems. As part complexity continues to grow, so does the requirement for precision. More and more parts require machined tolerances measured not in thousandths, or even half thousandths, but in ten thousandths of an inch (0.0001) or 0.0025 mm. Florida Precision’s latest Hurco VMX 24 vertical machining centers are capable of responding to inputs as small as 0.0001". Using high-resolution encoders, Florida Precision mapped ball screws and high speed processing technology; and the newest Hurco machines are achieving the most demanding levels of part accuracy and repeatability. It has become a key aspect of the operation.
     
    Summary

    As part complexity grows, Mike can see the need for 5-axis machines to efficiently produce multi-sided parts in one setup. Hurco’s control is 5-axis capable and its vertical machining centers can be equipped with a variety of precision tables. 
       

    If a fully integrated solution is required, Hurco has high performance vertical machines with an integral trunion table, which is perfect for processing complex high-precision work in one set-up.

     

  • /en-us/about-hurco/newsroom/published-stories/Media/Ishida%20Part%20Picture%20from%20Packaging%20Europe%20article%20copy.png

    Ishida - Productivity of Hurco Machines Eliminates Outsourcing at UK Subsidiary

    ​ Summary: This article explains the benefits Ishida derived from the purchase of Hurco machining centers, which made it more cost-effective to move its...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Conversational, Custom Machinery

    Summary: This article explains the benefits Ishida derived from the purchase of Hurco machining centers, which made it more cost-effective to move its manufacturing in-house. The machine shop personnel and managers point specifically to Hurco control features that have increased their productivity—features, such as Patterns, DXF Transfer, Concurrent Programming, NC/Conversational Merge, the overall speed and usability of the WinMax platform, and Conversational Programming.
     

     

    ​UK machine shop pioneers Japanese group's in-house manufacture
    Article originally appeared in Packaging Europe Magazine

     

     
    The Japanese, family-owned Ishida group is a giant in food packaging machinery, with a worldwide turnover in excess of half a billion Euros. Perhaps surprisingly, almost all of the component parts that go into its automated weighing, filling, packing, handling and inspection equipment are made by subcontractors, while assembly is carried out at Ishida factories in Japan (Shiga prefecture), Korea, China, Brazil and the UK.
     
    Group policy on subcontracting is about to change, however, largely due to the success of a UK subsidiary in Poole, Dorset, and its use of four Hurco machining centres. Here, 80% of components are produced in-house for a new range of semi-automatic traysealers. Prototype parts are also machined for larger in-line traysealers assembled at Ishida Europe's headquarters in Birmingham, while customers' bespoke traysealer tools are designed and manufactured in Poole.
     
    In the long term, core production of traysealers will be brought in-house in its entirety, with just very simple parts and seasonal over-capacity subcontracted. The main advantage to Ishida will be faster lead-times. Other benefits are an enhanced ability to control component quality as well as scope for making higher margins by reducing subcontracted machining costs.
     
    Despite the recession in many European countries, the demand for traysealer tools has been increasing over the years, as consumer demand for pre-packed fresh meat and ready meals has been on the rise. This had led to a demand for high-speed packing lines and larger sealing tools to help food processors and packers meet the demand.
     
    The requirement to mill and drill these larger tools, mainly of C250 aluminium but sometimes 304 stainless steel, which can be over a metre long and weigh in excess of 300 kg, prompted Ishida Poole to purchase its first Hurco vertical machining centre (VMC), a VMX50t, in 2009. Until then, the company had relied on other, smaller capacity VMCs.
    Ishida Part Picture from Packaging Europe article copy.png

    Chris Witheford, Production Manager, comments, "We noticed that a local subcontractor to whom we regularly give work uses a similar Hurco machine.
    "I was particularly impressed with the ease of programming using the supplier's conversational software, WinMax, which is a Windows-based suite running on Hurco's twin screen control.Our tooling designs are based on core templates containing lots of repeating holes and pockets which need to be copied, sometimes rotated and pasted elsewhere .For this, the pattern location functionality within WinMax is ideal and saves a great deal of time. This is important to us, as batch sizes here are typically ones, twos and threes, so programming takes up a large part of overall production time."
     

     

    David Nielsen, machine shop team leader at Ishida Poole, agrees: "WinMax is at least three times quicker at creating programs than the conversational control on our previous VMcs, some of which are still in use for making spares and on which the control systems employ Q-def programming. The latter tend to be laborious, whereas WinMax is more user-friendly."

     

     
    According to Hurco, WinMax controls can be used to prepare programs simultaneously while a component is being machined. A graphic of the component is visible on the right hand screen as the cutting paths are being created. At the end of the process, the entire cycle can be simulated to ensure that there are no interference issues.
     
    This is particularly important when machining small batches, as a single scrapped part could be a high proportion of total production. The twin screen also improves staff confidence when running the program, bearing in mind that 80 to 90% of solid material is removed to make a tooling plate. Cycle times vary from around one hour for an insert up to a full shift to machine an entire plate.
     
    Mr Nielsen continues, "A valuable feature of the Hurco control for 2D programming is that it accepts DXF files directly from our SolidWorks CAD system.
     
    "One tooling plate might contain 120 holes and it is very time-consuming and error-prone to key in the hole centres individually by hand, whereas WinMax picks them up automatically from the DXF data.
     
    "When we have 3D elements to program, like the front heater plate profile for a tool, we find it quicker to prepare those blocks in a OneCNC CADCAM package and add them to 2D elements written conversationally in WinMax, using another of its useful functions, NC Merge."
     
    All of the machine tools on the shop floor, which now include a further Hurco VMX50t and two smaller VMX42t machines purchased at MACH 2012, are networked to a server at Poole, together with the CADCAM systems. Mr Nielsen adds, "Compared with programs previously written conversationally using other controls, those generated in WinMax are more standardised and clearer, which is an advantage for networking."
     
    The result is seamless transmission of program data and tooling lists, ensuring that any Hurco machine can produce any part (subject to size compatibility) with minimum delay, creating a lean production environment. Four operators, two fewer than previously, run the machine shop despite there being more CNC machine tools, currently seven.
     
    The specification of all the Hurco VMX machines includes a 12,000 rpm spindle with a chiller for high speed cutting of aluminum, a dual-wound motor to provide high torque at low revs when machining stainless steel, and an 8-jet coolant ring for flooding the cutting area to remove chips efficiently.
     
    The four Hurco VMXs at Ishida Poole have transformed the company's approach to prismatic machining and allowed it to take cost out of production. That is important, as the site is a cost centre within the group and constantly takes buy-or-make decisions based on the price of producing a part in-house compared with how much a subcontractor would charge. Invariably, the internal production cost is lower, which fits with the firm's aim of bringing more of its manufacture in-house.