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    Freedom Machine, Inc - From Prototype to Production on the Shop Floor.

    ​“As I grew my business from an engineering prototype shop, I found that I could not compete for the production contracts on the jobs I had prototyped. My...Read moreTags: Conversational, Aerospace, 3-Axis Mill

    ​“As I grew my business from an engineering prototype shop, I found that I could not compete for the production contracts on the jobs I had prototyped. My Hurco VMX30 was the perfect solution. Now I can move from prototype to production on the shop floor. No need for off-line programming overhead or hard to find CNC machinist. I now have a clear path to grow my business to the next level.”

    ―– Marc Chauvette, Owner, Freedom Machine, Inc
     

     
    Marc Chauvette started Freedom Machine 12 years ago part time in his garage. As a trained R&D model maker and test equipment designer, he found a nice business doing prototype work for the aerospace and electronics companies that operate in New Hampshire. Things were going so well that he took the plunge 6 years ago and went after this business full time. While he was successful, he found that his operating costs were squeezing his margins. His 2 axis knee mills were fine for one or two prototypes, but he couldn't secure the production contracts that would generate a more stable cash flow. He realized he needed a Vertical Machining Center. 

    His first purchase just didn’t work out. With a standard G-code control, Marc, who had no programming experience, was faced with having to hire a class ’A’ CNC machinist to run the machine or invest heavily in a CAM system and incur the overhead of a full time programmer to make the machine operational. As a small company, he just could not do it. With the market turning soft, Marc was in danger of losing his business he had worked so hard to build. Fortunately, he discovered Hurco and the capabilities of the integrated control. Marc is the first to admit he is not a computer wiz, but he is an excellent machinist. What he found in the Hurco control was conversational, a programming method that spoke his language instead of G-code. From the first day he was producing programs and parts, meeting customer schedules, and making money.
     
    Key Hurco Advantage
    Marc sees the Hurco as his ‘friend’.  It speaks his language and allows him to control his business. During the recent downturn, Marc watched as a number of well-known local shops went under. Marc knew he had to grow his business but keep costs, especially overhead, at a minimum. The Hurco VMX30 with conversational programming has shown him a way to succeed. The performance, in terms of speed and accuracy, of the Hurco matches up very well with competitive equipment costing thousands more. So he can compete. He has added customers with his new production capability and the ability to process small lots efficiently.

     

    Summary
    As it has proven for over 25 years, the fully integrated Hurco control on the Hurco VMX machining center provides users with unmatched capabilities in processing short to medium lot sizes with no overhead. All the programming and editing are done on the shop floor in plain English. No G-codes or macros. No off-line programs to post process and edit. Marc is in control of his business. He can find people to run his machine because it is so simple to use. His costs and overhead are under control and he can move from the prototype contract to productions runs seamlessly and profitably.
  • /en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/Custom%20Tech%20Services%20AZ%202.jpg

    Custom Tech Services: Arizona Machine Shop + Hurco Grow Together

    To Keep a Big New Customer, a Startup Company Turns to Hurco to Deliver a Needed Machine Fast.Story and photos by C. H. Bush, editor / As Seen in CNC West...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Conversational, Lathe, Defense, Great Service

    To Keep a Big New Customer, a Startup Company Turns to Hurco to Deliver a Needed Machine Fast.
    Story and photos by C. H. Bush, editor / As Seen in CNC West, An Arnold Publication Serving the Western Metalworking Industry Since 1981

    Okay, here’s the scenario. You’ve dreamed of having your own business from the time you were ten years old in grammar school in Mexico. The kids laughed at you and said, “What are you talking about? That’s for old people. Old people think about that!” But you didn’t care. Later you go to the Institute of Technology in Mexicali, Mexico. After graduation, you work in Mexico for a while as a  manual machinist. Eventually you come to America where you work really hard in a variety of companies for a couple of years each, learning all you can at each one.

     
    You never stay at one job long enough to rise into management, but again, you don’t care. You’re thinking ahead to your future. You want to learn mold work and how to solve tough machining problems, so you can start your own business. Of course, you’ve been saving your money all along.

     
    Finally, you buy a manual mill and stick it in your garage, and you’re in business. But you keep your day job. You get a customer who wants you to build prototypes. You’re happy. Your dream is starting to become a reality. But then that customers says, “Look, we just landed a good contract. We want you to make the parts for us. Can you do it?” You panic. You can’t meet their demands with your manual equipment. And you don’t know anything about CNC programming. What do you do?

     
    “That’s exactly what happened to me,” says Carlos Sarabia, founder-president of Mesa, AZ’s Custom Tech Services, LLC. “I had a project for one of my customers, who knew I was working on the side. The parts required a CNC machine to be able to produce them consistently, and all I had was a manual knee mill. I had seen mills with conversational programming before, which I figured I could learn quick, so I called up a company and ordered a CNC knee mill. I told them I needed it in my garage in two weeks. They said fine."


    CNC operator Fidel Sanchez checks a part produced on a Hurco VM30. In the background, CNC machinist-operator Charles Masters works at a Hurco VM1, while CNC operator Ervin Velasquez sets up the company’s latest Hurco, a VMX30. The company now operates 9 Hurco machining centers, including 2 TM6 lathes, a TM8 lathe, 3 VM1 mills,  1 VM2 mills, 1 VM3 and a VMX30. All Hurcos in the shop have conversational programming, and all are capable of being programmed offline as well, using the company’s seat of Mastercam. 


    Hurco to the Rescue
    Two weeks later there was no machine. “I was in trouble,” says Sarabia. “I had told my customer I could do it. They needed parts in a couple of days. I was out of time. Then I remembered talking to Randy Flores from D&R Machine, the Hurco representative in my area, so I cancelled the other order and called Randy.


    “I asked him if he could get me a machine in two days,” he says. “He said he didn’t have any, but he knew someone who was selling an old Hurco KN3 with an Ultimax CNC control on it. He gave me the information, and I drove there immediately. The machine was in a body shop, never used by the owner. I told him I wanted to buy his machine. And he said he didn’t know if it worked or not. We plugged it in and checked it out. Everything worked fine. I paid him and hauled it back to my garage that same day. I read the manual, plugged it in, and four hours later I was making parts! Hurco had saved my customer for me. I never forgot that. That was back in 2003, and I still have that machine. I love it because it helped me start my business.” Since those early days, Sarabia’s business has grown at an amazing rate, he says, and though it all, he has remained loyal to Hurco.

     
    A few months after getting his first Hurco kneemill, Sarabia landed a bigger client, which demanded a bigger machine. “I got a really good customer about two months after I got the KN3,” he recalls. “I was doing all the prototyping for them. They were doing work for military ground vehicles, a lot of protective armor. They finally landed a really good contract based on all the prototyping I was doing. They called me and said they needed a lot of parts, and they wanted me to do them. They liked my work because when I saw something on the design that made the parts more expensive, I’d call the engineers and tell them. Anyway, I knew I couldn’t do the production on my kneemill. I needed a bigger, closed machine, so I called Randy Flores again for help. I told him my customer needed parts right away, and I had to have a vertical mill and a lathe as soon as possible, but that I needed the lathe in my garage immediately. I didn’t have room for the mill.”

     
    Once again, Hurco delivered, Sarabia says. “They shipped a TM6 lathe to my house in one weeks,” he recalls. “I never had worked on a CNC lathe before, but it was a Hurco with a conversational control, which I already understood from the kneemill. The lathe was not much different. I got a few hours of training from D&R, and after that I learned by myself. We got the machine set up, and the next day we were running parts. It was very very simple to use, a very simple control.

     
    Carlos Sarabia enters data into the conversational WinMax control on a Hurco VMX30 vertical mill. He bought Hurco originally because he needed to make parts fast and didn’t understand CNC programming. He now has 9 Hurcos in his shop.

    Sarabia moved out of his garage soon after taking delivery of the Hurco TM6 lathe.“I had to find a bigger place fast,” he says. “I had ordered the VM2, which wouldn’t fit in my garage, and I needed to make parts. So, I leased a 1700 square-foot industrial space for two and a half years. Once we got in that space, we just kept growing. Every time we bought another Hurco, we got more business.”


    In 2009 Sarabia bit the bullet and bought a modern 5,600 square-foot facility, his current location.
    Today Custom Tech Services employs 3 shop people, plus Sarabia himself, who operates machines and does everything else to keep the business going. 

    Hurco Shop
    Sarabia calls his shop a Hurco shop. “We operate 9 Hurco machines here,” he says. “We have two TM6 and a TM8 lathe, three VM1 mills, two VM2 mills and a VMX30. A lot of people have the idea that Hurco is only for prototype work. But, I started using Hurco for production right from the beginning. And they’ve been great. We’re cutting aluminum, steel, titanium, and we consistently are able to hold tolerances to one or two tenths. I have my first VM2 machine running really heavy titanium, and I still hold tolerance within a couple of tenths on it. You wouldn’t believe how many hours that machine has run. On the first project I got, we were running the VM2 about seven days a week, sixteen hour shifts, probably 90 hours a week. It consistently held tolerance within two tenths and it was extremely reliable. These are great production machines, especially considering the price.”


    Sarabia operates one seat of Mastercam to handle programming that can’t be done directly on the Hurco controller. “The truth is about 98% of the jobs we run can be programmed directly on the machine,” he says. “Maybe 2% need to be done offline with Mastercam. One really good thing about conversational programming is that it makes it really easy to train new employees. The learning curve is unbelievably short. The controller asks you what you want to do, you answer, and the next thing you know, you’re running parts.


    What About the Future?

    As successful as he has been in such a short time, Sarabia might be expected to want to keep growing as fast as possible. “Well, I’m pretty conservative,” he says. “We’ve grown the past two years right through the recession. We’ve paid off all our equipment, so we’re not in debt, which makes it nice. I have a good shop for probably eight people. But I’m a little bit scared to try to move up to become a midsize shop with 20 or more people. That’s kind of dangerous, especially with the economy so unstable. Right now I very happy to sit back and enjoy the success we’ve had, and to give our customers the best quality service we can. Maybe someday when the economy takes off again, we’ll rethink our position. Until then, I’ll just remember where I started and stay happy.”

  • Why I Love Hurco icon

    TM6 Is Perfect for Prototyping and Short Run Production

    ​This is a submission from our "Why I Love Hurco" Sweepstakes. I want to win the TM6 lathe. I own a small start up company, Fundamentally Fast ...Read moreTags: Lathe

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

    I want to win the TM6 lathe. I own a small start up company, Fundamentally Fast LLC, that specializes in high-end aftermarket bicycle components, all made in the USA. My products make people on bikes go faster. Your products make people like me develop products faster, get to market faster, and turn inventory faster. A nice match indeed. 

    The TM6 is perfect for my budding company because it directly addresses my needs for a turning center:
    Prototyping  I design and machine all prototypes in-house. This reduces time to market and lets me iterate quickly to optimal designs. The conversational programming features of the Hurco WinMax control is ideally suited to get from idea to part quickly while maintaining the flexibility to make on-the-fly changes. The grooving and hole cycle blocks will radically simplify my programming and the Solid Model Verification Graphics will ensure I'm cutting what I intend.
    Short run production I have to keep my inventory turning and have the flexibility to stay ahead of my competitors. With 12 tools, 99 tool offsets, and an operator friendly size, the TM6 will let me changeover quickly to meet unpredictable demands. Furthermore, as demands increase I can use a bar-puller with confidence by checking machine condition on the UltiMonitor, to free me up while the TM6 is doing its job.
    Compact Size  My space is extremely constrained, so the small footprint of the TM6 will give me some room to grow in the future.
     
    Looking forward to working on a Hurco in the near future!
     
    Cheers,
     
    Josh Coaplen
    Fundamentally Fast, LLC
    Asheville, NC 28803

  • icon Why I Love Hurco

    Why I Love Hurco: "You can go from print to part in minutes"

    This is a submission from our "Why I Love Hurco" Sweepstakes. Control Is Easy to Learn ​I have operated a Hurco VM1 for several years. I have ...Read moreTags: Conversational, 3-Axis Mill

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

    Control Is Easy to Learn

    ​I have operated a Hurco VM1 for several years. I have come to appreciate the  Hurco control and its ease of use. Having never used a conversational control, I found it extremely easy to learn. You can go from print to program in minutes.


    Built to Last

    I am also impressed with the rigidity of Hurco VMC’s. We have 7 Hurco mills at Detroit Tool and Engineering. As you can imagine, these mills have taken a beating over the years. I am amazed how they have recovered after some of the crashes I have witnessed.

    Most of our Hurcos are more than 15 years old and still going strong. They all hold tight tolerances even after the forementioned abuse. I think it is clear to see why Hurco will continue to strand out in a crowd. If I was ever to open a shop of my own, I would definitely choose Hurco for my CNC needs!

    Jeff Read

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    M-Tech Lab: 35% Faster Throughput with UltiMotion

    ​Once the beta test began at M-Tech Lab in Indianapolis for a new Hurco software feature, cycle time was cut by 30% and machine jerk was virtually elimina...Read moreTags: UltiMotion, 3-Axis Mill, Medical, NC

    Once the beta test began at M-Tech Lab in Indianapolis for a new Hurco software feature, cycle time was cut by 30% and machine jerk was virtually eliminated. President and M-Tech founder Tom Miller said he seeks speed versus accuracy for the type of machining M-Tech does. “We are builders of custom orthotics...We focus on throughput and speed. With UltiMotion we’re seeing 30-35% faster throughput,” said Miller.

     

    DSCN0471.JPG

     

    The majority of the orthotics M-Tech machines are custom designed to a person’s foot, but all of them are elliptical in shape and have contours throughout. UltiMotion handles such complex geometry easily because the spindle can cut very fast in a smooth elliptical motion. The secret to UltiMotion is the advanced trajectory algorithm in the software that generates significantly faster yet smoother motion than conventional motions systems that rely on hardware. Controlling motion with software versus hardware is theoretically a simple idea, but development of UltiMotion was a complex and comprehensive project with the best software engineers in the world pushing the envelope of motion control. The advancements in motion control are so significant that Hurco was awarded a patent for UltiMotion with several other patents pending.

     
    Another noticeable benefit M-Tech has experienced is the lack of machine jerk. “With UltiMotion our machine runs very fast and we don’t get any jerks,” observed Miller. In the long run, smooth motion reduces stress on the ball screw and minimizes the wear and tear on the machining center's components. 
     
     
    Miller opened M-Tech in 1995 and fills approximately 10,000 prescriptions for custom orthotics each year. His customers are physicians throughout the United States and the U.S. military, which provides soldiers with inserts for their combat boots. Miller started his business in his basement, then moved to his garage, and opened M-Tech Lab in 1995. His organization was an important partner in allowing Hurco to test UltiMotion so it would be a software feature that would deliver measurable value to customers in terms of cycle time reduction, which ultimately increases the profit margin of each part.
     
     

    DSCN0470.JPGDSCN0474.JPG

    Tom Miller
    M Tech Lab
    8653 Bash Street
    Indianapolis, IN 46256
    www.mtechlab.com


     
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    Portchester Engineering LTD - Shop Floor Programming Speeds Production

    ​​Two-thirds of Portchester Engineering’s  turnover comes from subcontract production of metal and plastic components for the marine industry, shipbuilder...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Conversational, Energy Sector

    ​​Two-thirds of Portchester Engineering’s  turnover comes from subcontract production of metal and plastic components for the marine industry, shipbuilders as well as offshore oil and gas platform operators being regular customers.  To provide additional capacity for machining smaller prismatic parts within a 660 x 356 x 457 mm envelope, the company has added an entry-level Hurco VM1 vertical machining centre to its plant list.

     

    Samantha Morrison, who bought the six-employee company from a family member in 2002, joined the firm in the early 1990s when all of the mills and lathes on the shop floor were manually operated.  Now there are three machining centres and the same number of CNC lathes in addition to manual machines.  Over the years, the customer base has expanded to include the motorsport and scientific instrumentation sectors.


    Located near Portsmouth and due to celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, Portchester Engineering tends to produce small batch sizes.  100-off is a large order, with five-offs down to one-offs more usual.  So it is  essential to set up jobs quickly to maintain profitability, as fixturing and programming often represent a large proportion of total production time.

     

    Hurco’s single-screen CNC system with slimline touch-screen colour LCD uses drop-down menus, conversational programming and scalable graphics to speed program generation on the shop floor.
     
    Commented Ms Morrison, "Compared with the older machining centre that the VM1 replaced, which had a control that required G-code programming, the Hurco MAX control is much faster to program on the shop floor, so less time is wasted getting the job into production.
     
    "Nearly all of our programmes are prepared this way.  Only if the component is particularly complex or needs an engraved identification number do we generate the cutting cycles off-line using Vero VisiCAM."
     
    Another aspect of the VM1 that she liked in particular when vetting the machine at Hurco’s High Wycombe showroom was the speed of the machine.  The 10,000 rpm spindle option, 19 m/min rapids and BT40 tool change time were all faster than on the previous machine.  In addition, the small footprint of 1.8 x 1.6 metres was useful to minimise the amount of space taken up on the shop floor.
     
    A wide range of materials is processed by the subcontractor, from plastics through brass and mild steel to Duplex, stainless steel and titanium.  General tolerance is ±0.01 millimetre, which the VM1 easily holds. www.portchesterengineering.co.uk
     

     

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    Vector Precision - 80,000 Lines of Code Versus 7 with Hurco Control

    ​One Friday morning in August 2005, a mince pie arrived in a taxi at the Crewe works of subcontractor, Vector Precision, with the request that the crust b...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Lathe, Moldmaker, Conversational, Aerospace, Custom Machinery

    ​One Friday morning in August 2005, a mince pie arrived in a taxi at the Crewe works of subcontractor, Vector Precision, with the request that the crust be reverse-engineered and a mould made for its volume production.  Owners Tony Bourne and Les Ford set about measuring the dimensions of the nine thumb impressions around the periphery of the pie, which was the unique feature of the product.  It then took them around 15 minutes to program their Hurco VM1 machining centre to mill the required mould.

     

    Said Mr Ford, "The program was written using Hurco's conversational programming software, for which we had bought the supplier's 3D mould and simulation packages.  The resulting program consisted of just seven lines, whereas the number of G-code instructions they represented was over 80,000 and took 20 minutes to download to the VM1.
     
    "To prepare the program conventionally would have been error-prone and taken two or three days.  It would not have been economic so we would probably have had to turn down the job.  As it was, we delivered the aluminium mould to the customer on the Sunday, ahead of the bank holiday Monday deadline."
     
    Although a job of this complexity is exceptional, Mr Ford commented that it illustrates the power of the Ultimax control system control and software, a copy of which he uses off-line rather than on the shop floor so that the machine is not tied up unnecessarily.  What is not exceptional is the one-off order; most of Vector's work is in batches of one- to 20-off, for which conversational programming is ideal, as it shortens the non-productive part of the manufacturing process.

    Mr Bourne is a chartered engineer and time-served toolmaker, while Mr Ford, also a toolmaker, was for many years a manager of another subcontracting business in the area.  Having established their business in July 2001 with a manual milling machine and lathe, they set about designing and manufacturing automated machinery for the MOD as well as pharmaceutical and food companies.  Vector still undertakes work of this type, and is currently rebuilding two round (ie cartridge and bullet) gauging machines for British Aerospace, at the same time converting them to measure a different gauge of ammunition. 
     
    Now employing six people in a larger unit in Radway Green, near Crewe, the ISO 9001:2000-approved business has diversified to serve also the rail and aerospace sectors.  Forty per cent of its turnover comes from providing a breakdown repair service, from troubleshooting and design through to component production and machine refurbishment in short time scales, allowing customers to resume manufacture quickly.
     
    When they moved into the current premises in 2003, Messrs Bourne and Ford still did not have any CNC machines, but soon bought a second-hand Hurco knee-type mill from a local firm.  Quickly they realised how much faster and more accurate it was than the manual machine, so a year later they decided to invest in a new Hurco VM1 machining centre with 660 x 356 x 457 mm working area and 16-station magazine for 40-taper tools.
     
    Advised Mr Bourne, "We looked at different machines on the market but liked the simplicity and user-friendliness of the Hurco control software so much that another Hurco machine was really a foregone conclusion.
     
    "At the same time, Hurco upgraded our CNC mill with an electronic, variable-speed head so that it would use the same programming software, giving us production flexibility."
     
    Typical prismatic machining jobs now coming off the CNC machines include a thread-milled acetyl assembly for a quiche-dosing machine, and stiffener plates for a fiberglass moulding that forms part of the cab for an off-road vehicle.  Positional accuracy of each drilled and reamed hole is ± 0.01 mm, so the plates fit precisely to the moulding when assembled with dowels.
     
    When the time came to upgrade its turning capacity from manual to CNC, Vector turned again to Hurco for a TM6 lathe, which has a 254 mm maximum turning capacity and 12-station turret for fixed tooling.  It uses a conversational programming system similar to that on the manufacturer's machining centres, allowing efficient one-off and small batch production.  The operator simply inputs the profile dimensions and the control does the rest, calculating all intersection points, even for blend arcs and chamfers.  It also sets speeds and feeds according to the tooling selected, while automatic constant surface speed calculation ensures good surface finish on the machined component.
     
    Components turned by Vector range from small gauge, solid copper bullets through prototypes for cold-rolled products to driving bands for automated machinery that need to be accurate to 0.01 mm total tolerance.  Other examples of precision turned parts are taper threads for BSPT fittings; and, for specialised vehicles such as dust carts and fire engines, 40 mm diameter steel shafts that need to have a near-ground 0.8 Ra finish to take a bush, and a tolerance of +0, -0.02 mm.

     

    Vector is now in a period of consolidation, as despite expanding into the adjoining unit in March 2004, there is little room to install further machines.  Any increase in business will be accommodated by moving from a single shift plus overtime to a double shift.  They are actively seeking extra mouldmaking work, such as the mince pie mould, as well as contracts to produce other complex 3D parts for which its CNC machines are proving ideal.

     

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    Veem Engineering - Forget the Vuvuzela, Get the Minizela

    “We are also currently working on additional designs for the other sports. So watch out rugby fans.” -- Sacha Vere, General Manager, Veem Engineering, S...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, NC, Moldmaker, Energy Sector

    “We are also currently working on additional designs for the other sports.
    So watch out rugby fans.”

    -- Sacha Vere, General Manager, Veem Engineering, South Africa
     
    When people think of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, they instantly remember the Vuvuzela. Now get the football hooter known as the Minizela. Unlike its big, cumbersome more famous cousin, the Minizela is only 14 cm in size and comes in a completely different shape. The principle of blowing to make the sound that is just as pervasive and noisy as the Vuvuzela holds true, but in the case of the Minizela, far less effort and technique is required.

     

    As one can see by the pictures in this article the shape of the Minizela is completely different to the Vuvuzela and has been 100% patented, according to its developers Veem Engineering.
     
    Veem Engineering was founded in 1969 and today is run jointly by equal share partners Sacha Vere and Debbie van der Westhuizen. The company, started by Sacha’s father who was a tool and die maker, focused initially on general engineering with emphasis on special tooling manufacture and high pressure zinc die casting. This type of work continued to occupy the company’s shopfloor until 1995 before a change of emphasis took place. Plastic products and components were making their mark so Sacha Vere decided to purchase a plastic injection moulding machine. He had the design experience to make the moulds and was soon manufacturing a variety of plastic components for a number of industries.
     
    As the plastic injection moulding business flourished, there came a greater need bring some of the tooling manufacture in-house. This would help to improve product quality and speed of turnaround. Sacha Vere comments “The plastics side of the business was very successful and we needed to maintain our reputation so we decided last year to take control of the situation and start investing in the tool room again.”
     
    New Hurco CNC machining centre
    Last year the company moved forward in this department by investing in a Hurco VM1 CNC high speed machining centre with conversational programming.When Sacha started looking for CNC equipment with a low-cost investment for the tool room he was not sure what he wanted. However after he saw Hurco’s VM1 at a local show, he realised that he could get machining centre performance and productivity without sacrificing fast programming and setup. His decision was easy.
     
    Hurco’s VM1 machining centre hit the mark for the versatility Veem Engineering needed. Its X-Y-Z axis travels at 660mm x 356mm x 457mm, packaged on a 2 700 Kg frame that only takes up 3.5 m², made it a perfect fit for their operations. Coupled with its 15 HP 10,000 RPM spindle, 18 mpm rapids and 16-station swing arm ATC, the VM1 was ideal for the challenges that they face.

    “We are now able to make and maintain our moulds again. Our tool designer also invested in SolidWorks and Autocad packages on the design side as well as MasterCAM on the machining side” explained Sacha.
     
    “We can now provide customers the unique service of designing the required product, manufacturing the mould, designing the necessary tooling and then manufacturing the final plastic product.”

    Other products produced by Veem Engineering include low cost lighting and SABS approved electrical fittings that are sold to various electrical wholesalers and distributors, and mining products manufactured to ISO specifications that are currently sold to Impala Platinum mines. The mining products are used in underground drilling machines. Other products include hi-tech computer controlled smoke detection units made under licence, promotional items in plastic and zinc as well as a range of custom mouldings for the telecommunications industry.
     
    The Minizela
    The idea to design and manufacture the Minizela was conceptualised in 2009. “We believe that the Vuvuzela is a cumbersome product that is very ugly when you look at it. We admit that it has enthralled the masses but there is always room for a product that is unique to the sport. You will see with the first one that we have designed, that it comes in the shape of a football” said Debbie.
     
    “The design was quite challenging especially as you had to ensure that the sound emanating from the product was ‘pleasant’ on the ear and right from the beginning we had decided that the product had to be something more manageable in terms of its handling aspects” continued Debbie.
     
    “The Minizela is made up of four components and a diaphragm. We make the mould tools on the Hurco and injection mould the components in-house. Each cycle time is about 30 seconds and we are capable of producing about 80,000 a month.”  “The beauty of the Minizela is that the branding is a simple task and is identified via a sport. For example if you wanted a Manchester United Minizela we make up the plastic shrink wrap to your design. The possibilities are endless in this area. We are currently working on additional designs for the other sports as well, so watch out rugby fans” Debbie enthused.  “We made it just in time for this 2010 Football World Cup and we are very pleased that it is a Proudly South African product” concluded Debbie.
     
    Veem Engineering is based in Knights, Germiston, Gauteng and utilises 600 m² of factory space. The current staff compliment is 17.
     
    For further details contact Veem Engineering on Telephone: +27  (0)11 822 7671

     

     

     

  • http://www.hurco.com/en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/testimonials/Shane%20at%20DRR.jpg

    Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chooses Hurco for Machine Shop

    ​"The Hurco control makes it easy to get the part from my head to the control.”     Shane Sievers, Lead Machinist, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Ind...Read moreTags: Mill Turn, Lathe, 5-Axis, Conversational, Motorsports

    ​"The Hurco control makes it easy to get the part from my head to the control.    

    Shane Sievers, Lead Machinist, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Indianapolis, USA

    In racing, there are millions of things that happen before the driver even gets in the car that make a race team more competitive. As Dreyer & Reinbold Racing geared up for the 2011 season, they looked to their machine shop for a competitive edge. The Hurco 5-axis VMX42SR and mill-turn TMX8MYS were installed at their 35,000 square foot facility in Indianapolis in March of 2011.


    “We never know what’s coming next....which is a lot like a job shop environment,” says Shane Sievers, the lead machinist at DRR. Sievers started machining back in the days of punch tape and has run numerous brands of CNC machines. He had always run G-code until Hurco.


    I truly love these machines. Being able to program at the machine is my favorite thing. With the VMX42SR, I can do 5-axis [5-sided] work without having to use the CAM system or G-code. Transform Plane is the feature that makes it easy,” says Sievers.


    Another reason the Hurco CNC machines are perfect for the race team’s shop is the ability to minimize setup time.  “50 parts is a big run for us so it’s important to have a machine that reduces setup time,” says Sievers. The 5-sided process on the VMX42SR, Sievers eliminates three setups on just one part, which saves him at least 30 minutes per part.


    “In a lot of ways, we’re like a prototype shop. I’ll get a call when the team is on the race track and they’ll say they need a new part tomorrow morning. Sometimes I have a print. Sometimes I sketch it out on a  piece of paper. The Hurco control makes it easy to get the part from my head to the control. That’s what I love about being a machinist for an IndyCar team. No day is ever the same. And our Hurcos are made to handle that kind of quick turnaround and the need for constant flexibility.” Even though Sievers says he loves both the VMX42SR and TMX8MYS, he does have a favorite that he thinks might surprise some people. 


    “If they made me choose, I would choose the TMX8MYS lathe with live tooling. This last software upgrade has been a game changer on the lathe. The verification graphics are phenomenal and the control just makes everything so easy.“

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    Tool and Gauge Invests in Hurco to Compete in Global Marketplace

    ​In the last three years, the number of Hurco vertical machining centres on the shop floor at Tool & Gauge, Co Sligo, Ireland, has trebled to six, and...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, NC, Moldmaker

    ​In the last three years, the number of Hurco vertical machining centres on the shop floor at Tool & Gauge, Co Sligo, Ireland, has trebled to six, and the mould- and tool-maker has also invested in computer-aided engineering software from Pro/Engineer, SolidWorks and Delcam.

     

    The company specialises in providing customers with a high level of consultancy at the early development stages of a product, followed by project management from design through optimisation and manufacture of the mould to tryout runs on seven machines rated up to 400 tonnes.  Plastic injection moulds are the core business, although some thermoset, compression, rubber and blow mould tooling is also produced.
     
    Managing director, John O'Donnell explained, "We started using Hurco machines back in 1988, as conversational programming at the twin-screen Hurco control was intuitive and quick, giving us good 2.5D modelling capability.  So we avoided the difficulty of using G-codes, as on other machining centres.
     
    "Today we program almost exclusively by downloading files from our CAD/CAM systems, as parts have become full 3D and much more complicated.  However, the latest Hurco CNCs have more powerful processing capability, giving us the flexibility to program simple to relatively complex 3D jobs, if necessary, from a drawing on the shop floor."
     
    Driving the recent investment is fierce competition from overseas toolmakers, particularly in China.  Mr O'Donnell says that three Chinese toolmakers a week send him e-mails offering their services, so they must be blanket-mailing all of his competitors and customers in the UK as well. 

    Tool brokers are also calling on customers regularly to offer their services.  Portuguese toolmakers are around, but Tool & Gauge does not find difficulty competing with them on price.  There is not so much direct toolmaking competition from Eastern Europe at present, although some UK firms are relocating out there and sourcing their moulds locally.
     
    "Where companies like ours score is in the level of service we can provide, not just in design and consultancy, but also in speed of order turnaround," continued Mr O'Donnell.  "Whereas five years ago we used to quote 14 - 16 weeks delivery, this has fallen to 8 - 10 weeks now."
     
    "Overseas toolmakers, especially those in China, find it almost impossible to compete with those time frames; and if things go wrong or design alterations are needed, deliveries take much longer.  There is evidence that some work is coming back from the Far East due to long lead times and quality issues."
     
    Prices have to be competitive, however.  Tool & Gauge quotes the same price for a job today as it did five years ago, yet material costs and overheads have risen considerably, so charge-out rates have dropped in real terms.  To make a profit as well as to meet tight delivery deadlines, it is essential to invest in modern production plant, hence the installation of two Hurco VMX42s, a VMX64 and a VMX42 over the past three years, which joined a VMX30 and an older BMC2416.
     
    Labour costs also have to watched carefully over the two- and sometimes three-shift operation.  Two operators look after all six Hurco machines, even though some cycle times are as short as one hour; but this is offset by other jobs being on a machine for up to a week.
     
    Concluded Mr O'Donnell, "Price and delivery of Hurco machines are good and they do exactly what we need them to, reliably and efficiently.  To continue our push towards more complex, higher added-value contracts, we will probably invest in a 5-axis machine next."
     
    Established in 1956, Tool & Gauge (www.toolandgauge.ie) employs 50 people at its 3,500 sq ft factory in Tubbercurry, Co Sligo.  There are over 45 metalcutting machine tools on the shop floor including machining centres, lathes, wire and sinking EDM, and both surface and cylindrical grinders.  Markets served stretch from Ireland and Britain to mainland Europe and the USA.

     

     

     

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    Aerolux - Machining Replaces Fabrication

    ​Blackpool-based Aerolux, a world leader in the manufacture of aircraft galley insert equipment such as ovens, refrigerators, wine chillers and coffee mak...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Aerospace, Conversational

    ​Blackpool-based Aerolux, a world leader in the manufacture of aircraft galley insert equipment such as ovens, refrigerators, wine chillers and coffee makers, has stolen a march on its two main competitors in Germany and the USA by CNC machining many components that were previously fabricated.  Half of all prismatic parts are now machined from solid aluminium on two Hurco vertical machining centres installed in the Spring of 2004 and 2005 respectively.  While safety-critical parts in aircraft are always produced this way to prevent the risk of crack generation, food-related equipment in the galley has traditionally been fabricated. 


    The benefits to Aerolux and its customers are considerable, as parts are quicker and less expensive to make by milling than by welding.  Managing director, Ken Metcalfe, says that a fridge door and frame, for example, would require 10 to 12 hours in the fabrication shop whereas they are machined on a Hurco VMX42 in less than half the time.  A further advantage is that components are more repeatable than when welded, which introduces distortion, so parts assemble more accurately from batch to batch.  Moreover there are no welds to fettle, so a lot of finishing has been eliminated.

     

    Second-operation work such as drilling and tapping, which was previously carried out by hand on the fabrications, is now completed in-cycle on the machining centre, saving further time.  The cosmetic appearance of products has been improved as well, as it is possible, for example, to radius corners when CNC machining - a refinement that is not feasible when fabricating products.
     
    The move towards CNC machining has far-reaching implications on the design of Aerolux products.  It is possible, for instance, to mill sections down to 2 mm, much thinner than can be fabricated, resulting in reduced weight.  Another positive change has been to machine on the Hurcos, the groove that accepts the oven door seal instead of having to use two frames, one inside the other, to achieve a similar, heavier result.  Lightness is of key importance to aircraft operators, which are always looking to maximise fuel efficiency.
     
    Mr. Metcalfe has plans for redesigning many other parts and predicts that most of the components that go into the company's products will be CNC machined rather than fabricated within a year or so.  He has also adopted a similar policy for turned parts, many of which now go onto CNC lathes.

    Until the late 90s, practically everything was fabricated at the Blackpool factory, mainly from aluminium for lightness, stainless steel for hygiene, and expensive, heat-resisting plastics approved for aerospace applications.  The plastics were designed out of the ovens, partly due to the high price of the material and of the vacuum forming tools needed to make the oven doors, and also because the plastic was prone to crack when machined.
     
    At the same time, Mr. Metcalfe went to local subcontractors to have frames and doors CNC machined, convinced of the advantages, but found that this was more expensive than fabrication, partly because batches tended to be small.  For the same reason, he found that that he was constantly having to chase work, as subcontractors tend to favour customers that place large volume business.  The quality of the work was also a problem at times and required constant monitoring.  Suddenly, a large order for 100 aluminium and stainless steel oven doors was placed by Kelox, Madrid, for the Spanish Railways (rail industry work accounts for 30 per cent of Aerolux turnover).  This extra business justified the purchase of the first Hurco, which was delivered directly from the MACH 2004 exhibition in Birmingham and paid for itself within a year of installation.

    Once the VMC was installed, other parts such as mounting rails for expresso machines were soon produced from the solid as well, eliminating buying-in castings and machining them by hand on a turret mill.  So successful was this exercise that Aerolux now supplies these components to its competitors.  Fridge frames were next onto the Hurco, followed by rear mounting brackets, and the migration of parts from the fabrication shop to the CNC machining section has continued ever since.
     
    By the beginning of 2005, the machine was working flat out during the factory’s 10-hour daily shift.  It had become so important in the Aerolux operation that a breakdown would have disrupted customer deliveries; and there was not even time to train more operators.  The obvious answer was a second Hurco VMX42, which was installed in May together with an off-line programming station running WinMax software that mimics the capabilities of the machines’ Ultimax control.  The latter’s intuitive touch-screen, with drop-down menus and second, adjacent screen for displaying a graphic of the component and simulating the cutting cycle, is used very successfully on the shop-floor for programming.  The off-line facility will be used, in the short term at least, for new product development. 
     
    A typical order from one of the major airlines might result in batch sizes of 25-off doors or frames and 50-off mounting rails, but it can be as low as one-off if the appliance is to be used in a custom executive jet.  Ease of programming at the machine has therefore been of considerable help to Aerolux.

     

     

     

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    Wye Valley Precision Engineering - Faster Turnaround for Rubber Mould Tools

    ​Installation of a Hurco vertical machining centre (VMC) in the toolroom at the Ross-on-Wye factory of rubber mouldings manufacturer, Wye Valley Precision...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Conversational, NC, Moldmaker

    ​Installation of a Hurco vertical machining centre (VMC) in the toolroom at the Ross-on-Wye factory of rubber mouldings manufacturer, Wye Valley Precision Engineering, has resulted in much faster availability of mould tools compared with when the company was using a manual-tool-change CNC mill.  A typical middle plate in P20 tool steel is now programmed and machined in six hours, whereas the same job used to take a week.  Said machine operator, Matthew Griffiths, "Programming was very time-consuming using our previous machine because the control system did not accept the DXF file output from our CAD system.  So after a mould was designed, I had to program every feature manually at the control and the complexity of the tools meant that there was a risk of making errors, which were subsequently difficult to find and correct."This contrasts with the user friendliness of the Ultimax control fitted to the Hurco VMX-24 VMC, installed in April this year (2003).  Mr Griffiths advised that the twin-screen CNC system not only reads DXF files directly and automatically generates tool paths from them, but also has powerful on-board software to simplify creation of the entire part program.


    For example, a rubber mould might contain, say, 1500 holes in four blocks which used to take several hours to program.  Using the Ultimax control, it is simply necessary to program one block, highlight it on the right hand graphics screen, and then rotate and repeat it three times around the appropriate PCD.  It is then possible to input the commands for centre drill and drill for all holes at the same time, instead of individually.  Another feature is the unlimited number of islands that may be created within a pocket boundary (the previous maximum was 12) and the automatic, gouge-free machining.
     
    A further area of programming that is speeded is the generation of 3D parts from 2D contour profiles followed by automatic creation of roughing and finishing cycles after telling the control which tools to use.  This is a real benefit to Wye Valley Precision Engineering, as more and more it is being asked to design and produce 3D moulds for the manufacture of keypads, for example.
     
    "The Ultimax control is by far the best on the market for one-offs,” said Mr Griffiths.  “It is so quick to use that sometimes I have difficulty believing the program is right.  I have more confidence in this CNC system after one month than I had in the previous control after 10 years."  When the machine is cutting metal, various features within the control contribute further to faster mould production.  Conversation touch-probing of the tool allows periodic checking of the tip for wear, with the appropriate offsets sent automatically to the control.  Alternatively, if necessary, a command is sent to replace the cutter with a sister tool from the 24-station magazine.  Mr Griffiths also highlights the recovery/restart feature within Ultimax, whereby after the spindle has been stopped it is possible to resume cutting immediately at the same point, without having to cycle through from the beginning of the last whole program block.
     
    Certain design characteristics of the machine itself promote high productivity with minimal operator attendance.  Flood coolant is effective at washing swarf to the front of the machine, from where a spiral augur transfers chips into a bucket at the side.  It is not necessary to stop the machine to clear swarf from the working area.  Notable also is the high speed of the Hurco VMC compared with the previous CNC mill.  10,000 rpm is 2.5 times higher than the previously available spindle speed, and cutting feedrate is double at 2 m/min with the possibility of 8 m/min utilising new tooling currently under investigation.
     
    Paul Nelson, manufacturing director of family-owned Wye Valley Precision Engineering, was surprised at the variability of response from the eight machine tool vendors he contacted when he was researching the market.  One well known supplier had an old fashioned showroom, derided the competition's machines and failed to keep its website up to date.  Some had outdated looking machines and / or controls.  Others wanted to make an additional delivery charge to take account of the restricted height of the door at the Ross-on-Wye factory.  "In the end, Hurco was the obvious choice," said Mr Nelson.  "All the machines in the range are modern and good value for money, the Ultimax control is a clear advantage and the approach of the company was very positive and helpful.  We felt that it conducted its business in the same way that we do.”
     
    In conclusion, Mr Nelson confirmed that he had proceeded with updating his toolroom after the company had rejected the option of outsourcing the manufacture of mould tools.  "We like to be in charge of  our own destiny," he said, "and rapid availability of tools is important to us in order to ensure a prompt service to our customer's.  "We can turn round a rubber mould in one week, including design and manufacture, or perhaps in two weeks if the tool is particularly complex.  We could never match this by going to overseas suppliers.
     
    "In any case, the high quality and low price of foreign-sourced moulds appears to be a myth.  We had a tool made once in France which was very poor quality; and a number of Portuguese toolmakers sent us prices that were not far below those quoted by UK suppliers.  In the end, it made sense to keep this important function in-house."

     

     

     

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    A & G Precision - The Profitability of 5-Axis

    Read how this sub-contractor reduced machining time from 60 minutes to 8 minutes by switching from 3-axis to 5-axis.  The installation of two new Hurco m...Read moreTags: 5-Axis, NC, Conversational, 3-Axis Mill, Aerospace, Defense, Motorsports, Energy Sector

    Read how this sub-contractor reduced machining time from 60 minutes to 8 minutes by switching from 3-axis to 5-axis. 

    The installation of two new Hurco machining centres has allowed Lancashire subcontractor, A&G Precision, to attract more work and produce components more efficiently in fewer set-ups.


    The company is a leading producer of complex components used in key military and civil aircraft programmes.  It is also active in other sectors, principally defence, marine, petrochemical, motorsport, rail and pharmaceutical engineering.In addition to batch production of high-precision components, A&G provides a range of additional services including prototyping, sub-assembly manufacture and reverse engineering.

     
    One long-running job, an aluminium part, used to be produced in three set-ups on a 3- axis machining centre at the subcontractor’s Poulton-le-Fylde works.  The   complexity of the component necessitated a lot of step-down profile generation using a ball-nose milling cutter, so overall machining time was around one hour. The same part has been re-programmed and is now completed in a single, eight-minute cycle on the company’s first 5-axis machining centre, a Hurco VMX42SR installed in mid 2008.  Not only is there a large saving in machining time, but two set-ups are eliminated as well, considerably reducing the cost of manufacture.
     
    Another component to benefit from one-hit, 5-axis, prismatic machining, in this case after a turning operation, is a steel eye bolt that previously required three separate operations on a 3-axis machining centre.  The bolt is of relatively simple design, so there is little difference in overall machining time, but two set-ups are saved.

    Michael Pinder, a director of A&G, commented, “Generally, we do not reprogram existing components to run on the 5-axis Hurco unless they are ongoing jobs and savings are significant.  However, the availability of the machine has changed the way we approach the machining of new components.“In the first year after we started operating the VMX42SR, we produced 73 different parts on it in titanium, aluminium and various steels including stainless.  A proportion of those contracts we previously would not have won, as the prices for producing them conventionally would not have been competitive.” He went on to explain that the machine was not purchased in anticipation of receiving new contract, but was bought on spec after a number of customers repeatedly offered A&G 5-axis work that it could not fulfil.      
     
    Several machines were shortlisted and reviewed at MACH 2008.  One reason for choosing the Hurco was the powerful 36 kW / 12,000 rpm spindle.  Another was the easy-to-use Ultimax twin-screen control, which includes a special version of the proprietary WinMax software specifically designed to simplify programming of complex, multi-sided parts.

    A further significant factor in the purchasing decision was the swivelling head design with horizontal rotary table, which Mr Pinder says offers a larger working envelope than the more usual configurations based on a vertical spindle and two-axis, trunnion-mounted table.  In some instances, components are set up in the space at the side of the rotary table on the VMX42SR for second-operation work to be carried out.

    At the end of 2008, A&G installed a second Hurco machining centre, this time a 3-axis VMX60t with two-metre capacity in X.  It was in response to an approach from an existing customer that wanted some ribs machined, knowing that the subcontractor had the necessary ISO 9001:2000 and AS9100 approvals.

    The rib contract was limited, but Mr Pinder found that once the machine was installed, its existence on the shop floor created work as soon as customers heard that the facility was available.  A couple of dozen different jobs approaching the machine’s capacity have already been won as a result. Additionally, several smaller jobs can be fixtured in separate vices on the table to meet demand when the smaller machines are  working flat out, so very little time is wasted. 

    Programming of the Hurco machines is carried out either at a PC in the office running WinMax software or on the shop floor at the Ultimax control.  In the case of the 5-axis machine, most programming is off-line, as components tend to be complex.  Customers supply mainly Catia models that are converted to STEP files.  Open Mind’s hyperMILL CAM software converts these into efficient cutter paths that are post-processed and downloaded to the Ultimax control.

    The reverse is true of program preparation for the VMX60t.  So far, most has been done at the machine, owing to the simpler nature of the work, except for the ribs.  Some of the shop floor staff had already used Ultimax at previous companies, so were familiar with its strengths.

    Continued Mr Pinder, “The conversational control is the easiest to use of all our CNC systems and is practically foolproof.  The operator simply follows instructions on the touch screen, working his way down, filling in the boxes.
     
    “At any point, pressing the ‘draw’ button produces a component graphic on the second screen that shows exactly where he has reached in the program.  My brother, Jordan, who is an apprentice here, learnt the system very quickly and is now able to program quite complicated jobs.“We do a lot of prototype work here as well as one- and two-offs.  Typical batch size is 10-off.  So speed of programming is essential to keep production costs down.”

    A&G’s purchase of the two Hurco machines is part of an expansion programme over the past 18 months that has seen more than £1 million spent on plant acquisition and buying, extending and refurbishing its previously rented Poulton-le-Fylde premises, a Grade 2-listed corn mill. 

    The 38-strong, £3 million-turnover business has become an integral part of the North West of England’s regional aerospace supply chain.  It is still a family-owned company, established in 1989 by the current managing director, Arthur Pinder, and another son, Scott.