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    Wepco Plastics - Technology Investment Pays Off for Moldmaker

    ​Established in 1985, Wepco Plastics specializes in short-run prototype injection molds in aluminum and steel. The company has grown to more than 45 emplo...Read moreTags: UltiMotion, 3-Axis Mill, Moldmaker

    ​Established in 1985, Wepco Plastics specializes in short-run prototype injection molds in aluminum and steel. The company has grown to more than 45 employees who work at the 10,000 square foot facility in Middlefield, Conn. In the fall of 2008, Wally and David Parmelee (Wepco owners) found themselves at a cross roads in terms of milling capacity for their tool room. Should they continue with their current milling technology (a known quantity with zero learning curve) or invest in the future by purchasing a higher performance machine? They knew this decision would impact their tooling and in-house molding business for many years to come. Introducing new technology to a shop always presents a learning curve, which is an inherent risk, but new technology can also promote growth. For Wepco, the reward of reduced cycle times and increased productivity, which enabled them to book more jobs per week without sacrificing quality, was worth the risk.

    Pre-Purchase: Identify What Matters
    When Wally and David decided to break stride with their current equipment and purchased a Hurco VMX30 machining center from Brooks Associates (Norwell, MA), four factors  were paramount to their decision-making process: a control with an open architecture, mechanical design, local service, and customer references.

    1. The Control: open architecture vs. closed architecture
      As Wally and David evaluated control technology, they realized the importance of investing in a control with an open-architecture because it is more likely to be compatible with future technology. The integrated Hurco control has a Windows®-based operating system, which means they can easily add automation products in the future if their business warrants it. Additionally, Wally and David understood the value of an integrated control that is specifically designed to work with the machine tool’s motion control system. Not only does it enhance performance, but it makes service one stop. Control features with measurable benefits, such as Hurco’s proprietary advanced motion control, were also important to Wally and David.
    2. Mechanical Design
      The mechanical design is obviously important to any shop owner. Standard specifications, such as travels and rapids, are easy to compare from one machine tool builder to the next, but sometimes it’s harder to evaluate “what’s under the hood.” With the Hurco VMX30, Wally and David felt the design details Hurco incorporates into their manufacturing process promote rigidity and reliability. The linear rails are larger, and strategically spaced for increased strength. Additionally, Hurco wedge locks the rails to a machined shoulder, which makes the machine more robust, instead of simply mounting them to a single surface. The double-nut, pre-tensioned ball screws are anchored at both ends for increased accuracy and rigidity. A dual-wound 12K spindle delivers the cutting power they need.
    3. Service
      Local support and service is important for any purchase, but it’s critical to have reliable service people you trust when you have a small business. Brooks Associates has been a Hurco distributor for more than 30 years and they have thousands of units throughout New England. The peace of mind that comes with quick and affordable service they can get from Brooks was important to Wepco.
    4. References. Marketing is always important to build/maintain awareness, but nothing can replace first-hand positive feedback from actual customers. Since Brooks has so much experience in the region, they have numerous customers who are happy to talk to other machinists about their experiences.

     

    Can you measure the benefits of new technology?
    The decision to move forward and invest in new technology proved advantageous for Wepco.  The Hurco VMX30 delivered superior performance and part quality in a fraction of normal cycle times. Wepco primarily focuses on aluminum molds for prototype and short-run batches. The dual-wound 12,000 rpm spindle of the Hurco VMX30, coupled with Hurco’s new motion control system called UltiMotion™, drastically re¬duced total part cycle time by as much as 200-300% in some cases with no loss of accuracy or finish. Before UltiMotion™ Wepco would finish machine at 40 ipm. With UltiMotion, they are able finish machine at rates from 125-350 ipm!

    According to David, he believes productivity will continue to improve, “We have really started to focus on pushing the machines to see what they can really do, and I have to tell you that every day we do something that just blows us away.  With the UltiMotion, along with tweaking our post to make segmented or linear moves, we are achieving extremely high feed rates up to 800 ipm.  As an example, we had a cut that would have been at least 100 hours long on our old machines that we did in 30 hours and I believe that we could even cut that in half.  We finish cut the cores with a .0469 end mill ground back .500 at 100 ipm.  We could have easily doubled the speed and got the same results.  And I don't have to polish the mold! The finish is that good!”


    These productivity gains yield increased profit margin for existing jobs and additional capacity due to increased throughput. For example, a 30% productivity gain turns a 40 hour work week into at 52 hour week in terms of throughput with zero overtime for labor and zero increase in debt service on the equipment.

    The VMX30 also offered opportunities for Wepco to expand its capabilities. For example, due to the rigidity and spindle speed of the VMX30, they can do hard milling on inserts. Wepco routinely machines 58 Rc mold inserts made from S7 tool steel. Parts come off the machine ready for assembly in the mold. Success with this type of material is due to advanced cutter technology and the Hurco UltiMotion™ software, which optimizes machin¬ing rpm and feed rates based on part geometry. UltiMotion™ routinely reduces cycle times on 3D programs by as much as 40%.

    How UltiMotion Works
    According to Hurco engineers, this new technology from Hurco utilizes the power of software for motion control instead of relying on hardware. The secret to UltiMotion is the advanced trajectory algorithm in the software that generates significantly faster yet smoother motion than any hardware only solution. While there are numerous technical details, some of the straightforward results include cornering velocity that is 2.5 times faster than conventional motion, 50% less machine jerk, and a patented dynamic variable lookahead mechanism that doesn’t require a fixed number of blocks. Instead, the control evaluates the geometry and motion profile and makes sure there is enough lookahead information to make optimized maneuvers. This lookahead mechanism of UltiMotion is another reason why better surface quality can be obtained in a shorter period of time.


    Going Forward
    Wepco was so encouraged by the productivity of the VMX30 that they added a second Hurco VMC shortly thereafter (Hurco VMX24). Both machines have proven to be reliable sources of production for Wepco’s tool room as they continue to grow. Wepco attributes this growth attention to detail and quality, as well as customer satisfaction by diligently following specifications, meeting delivery dates and offering competitive prices on short run injection molding.

    WEPCO Plastics, Inc.
    27 Industrial Park Access Rd.
    P.O.Box 182
    Middlefield, Connecticut 06455
    (860) 349-3407
    www.wepcoplastics.com
    info@wepcoplastics.com

    Brook Associates
    300 Longwater Dr.
    Norwell, Massachusetts 02061
    (781) 871-3400
    Brooks Associates
    sales@brooksmachinery.com

    Hurco Companies, Inc.
    1.800.634.2416
    One Technology Way
    P.O. Box 68180
    Indianapolis, IN 46268
    1.800.634.2416
    www.hurco.com
    info@hurco.com

    Windows® is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries.
    UltiMotionTM is a trademark of Hurco Companies, Inc.

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

    Moughton Engineering Services - Sub-Contractor Grows with its Machine Tool Supplier

    ​Great Yarmouth-based subcontractor, Moughton Engineering Services, has enjoyed 30 per cent annual growth for the last three years and hopes to repeat tha...Read moreTags: Lathe, 3-Axis Mill, Conversational, Energy Sector, Custom Machinery

    ​Great Yarmouth-based subcontractor, Moughton Engineering Services, has enjoyed 30 per cent annual growth for the last three years and hopes to repeat that performance in 2006. 

     
    Paul Moughton, a partner in the family-owned company, says that the upturn in the company’s business can be traced back to 2002 when his father, Brian, used money from his pension fund to purchase a Hurco Hawk 30 CNC mill.

     

    It was the first computer-controlled machine tool on site and paid for itself within six months.  Since that time, a VM2 machining centre and two TM10 CNC lathes have been delivered by the same supplier, Hurco Europe, High Wycombe.  Coincidentally, it too has increased sales rapidly over a similar period by a slightly lower annual average of 25 per cent, doubling turnover since 2002 to nearly £10 million in the financial year to 31st October 2006.
     
    The Hawk mill is an object lesson in both machine tool manufacture and user application.  Paul Eden, who along with his colleagues has been trained to set and program all of the Hurco machines at Moughton Engineering, advised that shortly after installation the Hawk was used to machine a metre-long aluminium component for a plastic window-making machine.  The end customer checked the part on a CMM and found that two 38 mm diameter holes had been interpolated at either end of the bar to a relative positional accuracy of -0 / +12 microns.
     
    A machine of this class is not expected to hold such tight tolerances and indeed there is no evidence that other Hawk mills are able to; in any case, they are no longer made.  What the CNC machine did for Moughton Engineering, however, was to propel it from a general supplier of manually machined components to a subcontractor capable of producing very high precision, repeatable components.
     
    Encouraged by the success of this project, the company approached Hurco when the decision was taken to install a CNC lathe.  The first TM10 was delivered at the end of 2004 and was joined by a second, identical 10-inch chuck model in early 2006.  "We were able to buy both of the Hurco lathes for the price of one that we considered from a Japanese supplier, albeit the latter was of higher specification," continued Mr Moughton.  "The TM10s do not have driven tool capability but have proved to be good machines that hold tolerance well on general turning work.”
     
    One example is the production of four sizes of CrMo steel fishing spears of 18 to 22 Rc hardness, used to retrieve objects from an oil or gas borehole, such as a broken drillstring or tools.  A typical spear takes 75 minutes to OD profile turn, threadcut and bore from solid billet.Another component regularly put on the TM10s is a 250 mm diameter, 316 stainless steel pressure release plate for sub-sea applications.  Following 45 minutes of OD turning and facing, the part is transferred to a Hurco VM2 three-axis machining centre for prismatic features to be machined on both sides in a one-hour cycle.
     
    The latter machine was also installed earlier this year to take some of the load from the Hawk mill and to introduce Moughton Engineering to the higher productivity offered by machines with automatic tool change.  The 40-taper VM2, with its 1016 x 457 x 457 mm working envelope and 16-station tool magazine, is described by Paul Moughton as "superb" and he is busily relocating offices onto a new, upper floor to make space for further machines, including a larger-capacity Hurco VM3.
     
    He concluded, "All of our Hurco machines are very accurate and reliable; so much so that we think it is a waste of money taking out insurance to cover spares and service after the warranty period.
     
    "When things occasionally go wrong, as they did initially with the first TM10 lathe, back-up from Hurco is very good – and you can even get through to the desk of the MD without any trouble, if necessary.”
     
    About Moughton Engineering Services
    Moughton Engineering was established in 1974 by Brian Moughton as a toolmaker and subcontract manufacturer of parts for food packaging machinery.  Despite having "retired", Brian remains active in the business at over 70 years of age.  Paul joined in 1984, but by 1997 the company still employed only three staff, including Susan Moughton.
     
    In that year, a new fabrication side to the firm was started, mainly making conveyor systems for a packaging company whose moulds and dies Moughton Engineering had been producing for many years.  A 2,000 sq ft unit was acquired to house the new division.  However, the packaging customer was forced to close in 2001 due to the high cost of removing asbestos from its buildings, so the Moughtons quickly diversified into the offshore, telecoms and power generation sectors to fill the gap.
     
    Contracts for the food and packaging industries now account for around half of turnover, mainly in East Anglia, although systems are delivered as far afield as Germany, Nigeria, Australia and the US.  Today, the firm occupies 6,000 sq ft of factory space and employs 36.

     

     

     

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

    Goodrich Aerospace - Increased Productivity. Decreased Overhead.

    ​“Our parts became more complex and the need for faster turnaround times increased, so we decided to bring the work inside. We needed a compact, easy-to-u...Read moreTags: Conversational, 3-Axis Mill, Aerospace

    ​“Our parts became more complex and the need for faster turnaround times increased, so we decided to bring the work inside. We needed a compact, easy-to-use, and yet powerful machining center. Hurco’s VM1 filled the bill completely.”

    – Mike Ingersoll

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
     
    Goodrich Aerospace produces a wide range of avionics equipment, most of which are custom-made, small lot components. The need for faster turnaround times to meet customers’ demands prompted Mike Ingersoll, manager of the prototype shop, to improve his CNC machining operations.  He met with Hurco’s local representative in Kansas City, Dirk Gage, of Gage Machine Tool. When Dirk reviewed the applications and operations at Goodrich, he found that there were several areas of Goodrich’s operations that would benefit from Hurco’s unique control and machine technology.

     

    The Hurco Advantage
    Goodrich both designs and manufactures parts. Dirk showed Goodrich how he could optimize part data conversion to increase productivity using Hurco’s control. One of the unique features of the Hurco control is its ability to directly read and convert CAD files into operational programs for the machine tool. The result is that CAD files are now produced in an optimized fashion for rapid conversion into machine programs. Even when working with complex multi-level parts, using 10 or 15 different tools, Mike’s team can create programs at the machine in minutes instead of hours.

    Dirk also reviewed Goodrich’s actual machine requirements. In Mike’s prototype shop, floor space was a premium and most of the parts are small and made from various aluminum alloys. Hurco’s VM1 machining center addressed both of these challenges. It has a large work envelope with travels of 26" x 14" x 18", yet only occupies 15 square feet of floor space. Its 8,000-RPM spindle is ideal for processing aluminum and its 16-station swing arm ATC can cover all the operations needed.
    Finally, Dirk and Mike discussed the programming and training time he could save by having his machinists use the conversational programming element of Hurco’s control. Goodrich had an old NC mill that was extremely difficult to program and only one member of his team knew how to do it. Hurco’s conversational control was truly easy to learn and use. Now, though one machinist is the prime user, all of his machinists have been cross-trained to use it.  No matter who is in the shop, Goodrich can produce parts to meet its customers’ demands. This flexibility helps him attain the level of productivity and response that he needs to be profitable.
     
    Summary
    Hurco’s VM1 compact machining center with the Hurco control was a perfect fit for Mike Ingersoll’s prototype shop for several reasons. Using the control, Mike’s machinists can now program complex parts in minutes, not hours. The small footprint of Hurco’s VM1 made it ideal for the limited space available in his prototype shop. Only one person could run and program the NC mill in Mike’s shop, but Hurco’s control was so easy to learn that all his machinists can run and program the VM1. As part of the complete solution for Goodrich, Hurco also supplied the tool holders and the table vises. 
     
    Hurco’s VM1 machining center saves programming and training time for the machinists at Goodrich Aerospace. Productivity has increased while overhead has decreased, allowing Goodrich Aerospace to run its operations in the most efficient way.

     

  • /en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/3jl_op17.jpg

    Erin Mills Machine and Tool Works Ltd - Becomes Competitive in Small Runs

    ​Erin Mills Machine and Tool Works Ltd. is a 17-year-old shop in Mississauga, Ontario that specializes in custom mold making and machining work.   The t...Read moreTags: Lathe, Conversational

    ​Erin Mills Machine and Tool Works Ltd. is a 17-year-old shop in Mississauga, Ontario that specializes in custom mold making and machining work.

     

    The three-man shop, founded by Harry Mistry, has a mix of manual machines and CNCs running on Fanuc controls. In general, Harry has been pleased with the quality of parts produced on his existing machines.  However, set-up times and program times are much too long to stay competitive. More and more of their work is becoming small lot size, requiring quick turnaround.

     

    Key Hurco Advantage
    This led Harry to purchase his first Hurco, a TM8 CNC slant-bed turning center with conversational MAX control. They purchased the Hurco because the control is easy to use, yet powerful enough to take on a wide variety of work. They have not been disappointed. The TM Series of lathes can handle conversational programming, G-Code, offline CAM programming and even CAD imports--something no other lathe in the industry can do.
     
    After just a month they were very satisfied with their investment. Erin Mills Machine and Tool Works ran nearly 20 different jobs on the TM8 using a wide variety of materials and different part sizes. The operator has greatly utilized the Hurco MAX control's features and capabilities in solving outside diameter and inside diameter processing. They have had no issues in attaining desired surface finish, part accuracy, and run-time productivity through this range of operations.
     
    Summary

    The operator of the new TM8 has quickly become very comfortable with the control and has already reduced programming times for short and medium runs. In addition, he really likes the verification graphics that allows him to see the cuts on the screen before they are made, virtually eliminating wasted material, wasted time and errors. Harry has been so pleased with the TM8 that he plans to add a Hurco VM2 vertical machining center to compliment the lathe.