Robbie Ott, the head machinist at CFH Racing runs the machine shop. He discussed the transition to Hurco machines after we installed our flagship Hurco VMX42i mill and a TM8i lathe. Ott also elaborated on the possible benefits he expects when the shop adds the Hurco VMX42SRTi 5-axis machine.
"I especially like using the Hurco when building prototypes. Just recently we built prototype damper parts. And like with most prototypes, we did not succeed the first time. Hurco gave us the flexibility to make modifications quickly and easily without starting from scratch.Hurco and HSM Works solid modeling allowed us to build these extravagant and complicated parts that would not have been possible on the manual machine," concluded Ott.
An article in Engieering Capacity features Hurco customer RP Tooling, a company focused on toolmaking with 50% of their parts being used for vehicles such as the Range Rover Sport, Audi R8 Etron, F-Type Jaguar and the Ford Ranger. The other half of RP Toolings molds could be components anything from medical equipment to lawn mowers to boilers.
RP Tooling's owner says that a new feature in the Hurco software on the latest machines, called Ultimotion, reduces cycle times by up to 30 per cent. UltiMotion was invented by Hurco and includes software-based look-ahead, which uses an advanced algorithm within WinMax to evaluate the component geometry and motion profile of the cutting cycle to optimise and smooth the tool paths.
The company finds UltiMotion especially beneficial when profiling complex features, reducing manufacturing costs and allowing more competitive prices to be quoted. So great are the advantages that all of RP Tooling’s Hurco controls will be updated this year with the new software.
RP Tooling currently has 11 Hurco 3-axis machining centers and one Hurco 5-axis machining center.
Read the full article.
Image copyright © Mercator Media 2015
Innovators West makes harmonic dampers for street and racing vehicles and provides specialty services, such as custom designed dampers for special applications, ring gear lightning, and REM polishing. Owner of Innovators West and Waddle's Manufacturing, Brad Waddle, incorporated his passion for racing into his machining business in 1995 when he purchased Innovators West.
Waddle's businesses were featured in Manufacturing News magazine. In the article, he explains why he chose to replace his fleet of machining equipment with Hurco machines. Currently, Waddle has 6 Hurco CNC machine tools: a mill turn TMX8MYS, 2 TM12 slant-bed lathes, 2 VM10 machining centers, and a VMX64 machining center. Click here to read the article.
Matt Smith, owner of The Precision Edge Machine, needed a mill that he could learn to program quickly because he specializes in high tolerance, low-volume parts for medical devices, the aerospace industry, and power sports. Additionally, he manufactures custom wheels and snowmobile parts from his Zimmerman, Minnesota shop, which is about 35 miles northwest of Minneapolis.
From Turning to Milling
“When I started The Precision Edge, it was a turning-only shop. I bought a 1993 KM3P CNC Knee Mill to do secondary milling operations on the turned parts, but I was amazed at how capable a machine of that size was and how easy it was to program. A year later, business was really beginning to take off. My customers were impressed with the milled parts and orders for 50 or more parts kept coming in. That was a problem. The KM3 didn’t have a tool changer. I was the tool changer. Purchasing a CNC mill was a huge decision, but I knew it was time to take the leap,” explains Smith.
During the decision-making process, Smith knew he needed an accurate machine that was reliable and would last. He also knew he needed conversational programming that was intuitive and easy to learn.
“I didn’t want to deal with the expense and maintenance costs of a CAM package. For me, the Hurco conversational control was the perfect solution because I was a lathe guy,” says Smith.
His first CNC mill was the Hurco VM10 and he says he never looked back.“The Hurco control was really easy to learn. I pretty much taught myself. A former co-worker came to the shop for about two hours and I was able to figure out everything else as I went along…the added speed and capacity of the VM10 absolutely sky-rocketed sales. Sales increased so much that I had to move to a bigger building six months later. I was able to hire a full-time employee and bought two used turning centers one month after moving in—all because the VM10 was so efficient!” says Smith.
Smith says about eight months later, he realized he needed to add more CNC milling capacity because the VM10 was so backlogged with work.
Shop's Growth Leads to a Second Hurco
“The decision to buy another Hurco was a no brainer. The employee that I had hired eight months prior had no previous CNC programming experience. In eight months he learned how to program, set up and run jobs with little supervision. That is a testament to the power of the WinMax control!”
This time Matt bought a VM20 with a H160 4th axis. The VM20 was the perfect size machine eliminates the need to fixture parts for complicated side profile machining,” explains Smith.
The Most Valuable Control Features for Matt's Shop: Hurco DXF and the Advanced Verification Graphics
The two features Smith has found to be the most useful are DXF Transfer and the Solid Model Verifications Graphics. Hurco’s DXF Transfer feature lets Matt import part geometry from the dxf file directly to control. While other controls have similar features, Hurco’s DXF Transfer has an easy programming interface that allows you to edit DXF geometry, automatically chain contours, and select a group of hole operations based on the hole diameter. It also handles all 2D geometries on each plane of the part and multiple part planes can be linked into a single program, which is extremely efficient for processing complex parts on compound rotary tables.
“Bar none the verification graphics has been the most valuable. That feature alone has saved us thousands of dollars because of sudden rapid moves, wrong tool paths, broken tools and scrap materials. If you fat fingered a button. You put negative instead of positive. In that graphics screen you can see clearly if the part looks like it’s supposed to,” explains Smith.
Smith’s five-year plan is to double his business each year. To do that he says he will focus on what has worked during the first five years: outstanding service, quality parts, and the right equipment.
“Hurco has been instrumental with the success of our business. I can say without any doubt that we would not be the shop we are today without the support of Hurco. As time goes on we will hopefully be able to replace our turning centers with Hurcos,” says Smith.
In addition to relying on Hurco technology for fast turnaround of small batch part production, Smith will continue to run a customer-centric business. “I believe my customers’ needs are of the utmost importance. I take pride in every finished part we make. I really focus on providing customers with fast, courteous service, quality parts, and on-time delivery. So far, that formula has given me a lot of repeat business and referrals.”
Matt's Shop was featured in Modern Machine Shop magazine.To read the article, click this link
The Precision Edge Machine
25730 7th Street West, Suite 1
Zimmerman, MN 55398
Lou Ferriero was working in a plastics vacuum forming house when he identified a market that wasn’t being served. When he started PlasTech Machining and Fabrication Inc., he had one employee (himself) and one manual machine. Today, PlasTech has nine employees, six vertical machining centers, one 5 axis machining center, three turning centers, and Ferriero is thinking about upgrading to a multi-tasking turning center with live tooling and a sub-spindle.
With more than 35 years of experience in the machining and fabrication of plastics, Ferriero is proud that 80 percent of PlasTech’s business is from repeat customers. Approximately 50% of his business is devoted to medical equipment.
“We focus on high quality and precision. We don’t waste time trying to be the cheapest machine shop out there. Our prices are usually in the middle of the road compared to our competitors. We are the best at what we do and pride ourselves on delivering quality parts on time.” It appears PlasTech’s focus on quality versus price is working. According to Ferriero, companies that shipped jobs overseas for cheaper rates have started bringing the business back to PlasTech. “We lost jobs to overseas suppliers about five years ago and most of that work has come back,” said Ferriero.
A big part of PlasTech’s success is due to Ferriero’s commitment to stay current with technology by investing in new equipment. As PlasTech has grown, so has his investment in Hurco machine tools and Hurco technology. His latest investment in a Hurco software feature called UltiMotion continues to provide benefits beyond Ferriero’s expectations. As an example, Ferriero cites a part used for head restraints on hospital beds. “When we machined the parts on our RoboDrill, it took 30 minutes per part. On our Hurco with UltiMotion, it takes 20 minutes and the surface finish quality improved significantly,” says Ferrierro.
UltiMotion is able to simultaneously decrease cycle time and increase surface finish quality due to the underlying motion control algorithm Hurco developed that uses software-based motion instead of conventional hardware-based motion. UltiMotion software has rapid cornering capabilities that allow the spindle to travel through corners at high speed with negligible deviation without overshooting or stopping. Therefore, cycle time is significantly reduced when machining parts with complex geometries and/or repetitive tasks, such as drilling and tapping. Customers with UltiMotion also see improvement in surface finish because UltiMotion minimizes vibration, which results in smoother motion overall.
Flexible Control that Supports NC and Conversational
While PlasTech finds the conversational programming of the integrated Hurco control extremely useful to quickly make a fixture, Ferriero says he uses the NC side of the control for all of his jobs. Keeping his CAM system current is another technology investment that Ferriero continually makes to keep his company up to speed. PlasTech uses Mastercam X5 Cad /Cam software with Mill Level 3 and solids, Mastercam Lathe, verification software, Solidworks, and E2 Shop Systems for shop control.
The Power of Five
Like many prudent job shop owners, Ferriero’s latest machining center investment was a Hurco VM10U 5-axis machining center instead of a traditional 3-axis machine. The VM10U is part of the integrated trunnion style 5-axis machines from Hurco. With X/Y/Z travels of 21x16x19 and a 20-station ATC, the VM10U is one of the highest value 5-axis machines on the market.
Ferriero bought the VM10U to cut down on setups and has realized numerous productivity benefits. "The Hurco VM10U has exceeded our expectations. It has cut down on cost, time, labor and material," said Ferriero.
He cited a specific example for an article that appeared in Manufacturing News. The job entailed the manufacture of plastic components for prototype parts for de-icing the C-130 aircraft. "Without the VM10U 5-axis machine this would have been nearly impossible to get done on time for our customer," said Ferriero. "After offline programming, the setup time on the machine was done in a few hours. The part surface quality and time comparison was much better than expected. It would have been a minimum of 2 days just to make fixtures to machine these parts on a 3-axis machine."
Beyond the technology, beyond the equipment, Ferriero says he continues to invest in Hurco machining centers because of the high quality service he gets from Hurco and Hurco’s distributor, Brooks Associates. Says Ferriero, “The service we get from Hurco and Brooks is second to none. They listen and they are responsive. They understand that your machines are your business.”
Click this link to read the article about PlasTech that appeared in Manufacturing News.
S-3 Industries in Ontario, Canada, produces a wide variety of products using multiple materials, such as aluminum, nickel-based alloys, castings, stainless steel, cold-rolled steel, titanium, exotic metals, and plastics. Customers include aerospace, military/defense, satellite and communications, and enery and resource companies.
S-3 purchased a VM10i due to the power of the integrated Hurco control. S-3 Operations Manager Vince Ferri says, "You can do many production pieces on the VM10i with ease, but it's also great for secondary operations...It is fast to set up, and incredibly user-friendly."
To read the entire article, which appeared in Metalworking Purchasing & Production, click here.
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 MattersWhen 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.
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 WorksAccording 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 ForwardWepco 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 182Middlefield, Connecticut 06455(860) email@example.comBrook Associates300 Longwater Dr.Norwell, Massachusetts 02061(781) 871-3400Brooks Associatessales@brooksmachinery.comHurco Companies, Inc. 1.800.634.2416One Technology WayP.O. Box 68180Indianapolis, IN firstname.lastname@example.orgWindows® is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries.UltiMotionTM is a trademark of Hurco Companies, Inc.
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.
“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.”
“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.”
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 RescueTwo 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 ShopSarabia 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.”
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
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.
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.
Tom MillerM Tech Lab8653 Bash StreetIndianapolis, IN 46256www.mtechlab.com
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.
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.
“We are also currently working on additional designs for the other sports. So watch out rugby fans.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
“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.”
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.
Black Country toolmaker and subcontractor, Cube Precision Engineering, has installed its largest Hurco machining centre to date, a 3,200 x 2,100 x 920 mm capacity, bridge-type, vertical-spindle DCX32. Delivered at the end of May 2012, it is the fifth machining centre from the same supplier to be purchased.
Few contract machinists in Scotland have a modern, vertical machining centre to match the 2,200 x 1,700 x 750 mm capacity of the Hurco twin-column, bridge-type DCX22 installed at the Coylton works of Ayrshire Precision. This was precisely why managing director, Bert Bradford, purchased the machine on spec in February 2011. Since taking the plunge, the company has secured new work in each of its main industry sectors – mining, nuclear and oil / gas.
The first new job to come along was refurbishment of explosion-proof, steel covers for transformers used in coal mines. They are cooled by water flowing through a hollow jacket, the inner surfaces of which need to be roughened to create turbulence and increase heat transfer to the water. These and other plates up to four metres long are machined for the mining sector on the 50-taper DCX22, the larger workpieces requiring two clampings on the 2,100 x 1,600 mm table.
With a BP quality award hanging on its office wall alongside a platinum award from Cameron Subsea Systems confirming 24 consecutive months' delivery of zero defect products, Blantyre-based Quadscot Precision Engineers is a leading Scottish subcontractor serving the offshore oil and gas sector.
For its prismatic machining requirements, until recently the company relied on 3-axis vertical machining centres (VMCs) including a Hurco VMX1 installed in 2008 and a 12-year-old VMX42 with Nikken 4th axis. As part of an on-going investment programme in new plant, two further, larger VMCs were purchased from the same supplier at the beginning of 2010. The objective was to bring the subcontractor's milling capacity more into line with its 1.5 metre by 500 mm diameter turning capability. One of the new Hurcos, Quadscot's first 5-axis model, was a VMX60SR. It has a 1,525 x 660 x 610 mm working volume, a horizontal rotary C-axis table and a ± 92 degree B-axis head that allows the 36 kW, 40-taper spindle to be positioned within a program anywhere between vertical and horizontal. Renishaw tool and part probing have been fitted to speed set-ups.
Founded in 1987 as a mouldmaker and subcontract machinist specialising in wire and spark erosion and manual milling, RST Engineering, Leighton Buzzard, installed a Hurco Hawk 30 CNC mill in 1998 to speed electrode production and other prismatic machining jobs. It was not until 2007 that the company traded in the Hawk for a 3-axis Hurco VM2 vertical machining centre, taking advantage of automatic tool change to fulfill contracts more economically for increasingly complex aerospace, medical and motorsport components. Two years later, owner Jason Taylor and his team progressed to 5-axis machining on a Hurco VMX30U machining centre, with very positive results. It was bought initially to reduce production costs when the manufacture of prototype housings for aircraft on the VM2 moved to large batch runs.
Parts for instrumentation used in space observation, both terrestrial and satellite-based, are machined to tight tolerances on two Hurco vertical machining centres (VMCs) at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), near Didcot.
Bowtech Products was established 22 years ago as an importer of products used for underwater applications, but now designs and manufactures its own equipment. Exports currently account for two-thirds of turnover, which has helped to double the size of the business over the last five years and was one of the reasons for the company winning the Subsea UK Global Export Award 2012, sponsored by Scottish Enterprise.
Manufacture of components has historically been subcontracted but is gradually being brought in-house to control costs and quality as well as to shorten lead times from weeks to days. Two CNC lathes and a machining centre from Hurco underpin this activity at Bowtech's production facility on the Kirkhill Industrial Estate in Dyce, near Aberdeen airport.
A workshop servicing one of the UK's leading scientific research facilities, the Diamond Light Source synchrotron near Didcot, has installed new machine tools from Hurco that cut cycle times by up to 60 per cent.
Over the past few years, there has been a significant increase in research and development activity at medical device manufacturing facilities around Galway, while the same area in the west of Ireland has also seen a surge in the growth of companies in the biosciences field.
Two Hurco VMX30 vertical machining centres (VMCs) have been added to the subcontract machine shop of Schivo Group in Waterford, on the south coast of Ireland. Compared with a VMX42 installed in 2004, the latest machines are 50 percent more productive, due entirely to the increased functionality of Hurco's conversational programming software, WinMax, incorporated into the control systems.
Galway-based subcontract machinist, Dawnlough, which specialises in manufacturing components for the medical industry, has bought equipment to the value of £1.5 million since 2005 to expand its design, production and inspection capabilities. The purchases include eight vertical machining centres (VMCs) and a driven-tool lathe from Hurco, supplied through local sales representative in Ireland, Michael Gannon.
There can be few companies that have embraced CNC machining so quickly and enthusiastically as S&E Engineering. The family-run subcontractor installed its first computer-controlled machine tool in 2005 and by January 2007 had invested in four vertical machining centres and three CNC lathes – all from Hurco.
Martin Sanderson started the Scunthorpe company in 1988 with a £10,000 bank loan, at which time he had a mortgage and a family to support. The first month’s turnover was £48, which focussed his mind on swiftly increasing the level and profitability of his business. This he did, and by 2005 he owned an impressive array of manually operated machines including large horizontal and vertical borers, three centre lathes, one of which can turn parts up to four metres long, and a number of smaller machines.
Cheltenham subcontractor, Pharma Tooling, (www.pharmatooling.co.uk) which until the middle of 2007 could prismatically machine parts up to 750 mm long in one clamping, has more than doubled its maximum component size capacity with the purchase of a new Hurco VMX64 vertical machining centre. It was supplied with a rotary turntable and high-pressure coolant delivery through the BT40 spindle.
A steady increase in subcontract work for the medical industry coupled with the trend towards greater component complexity has prompted Caragh Tool & Die to invest in a fifth Hurco machining centre with 5-axis capability. Off-line programming has also been installed to simulate the proprietary Ultimax twin-screen control system fitted to all of the machines.
Since its formation in 2005, DW Engineering has expanded its Hamilton, South Lanarkshire contract machining business at an impressive rate. Its success is largely down to an ability and willingness to undertake anything from prototype work to large batch production for many different industries, and to offer machining expertise in a wide range of materials.
2006 saw a rationalisation in the press tool making industry in the West Midlands, with dozens of firms going out of business, including some of the biggest names. A similar shake-up in the plastic injection mouldmaking sector happened a few years ago. These trends are mirrored around the UK as OEMs either relocate overseas or buy their tools from low-wage countries.
Seven vertical machining centres from the same supplier, HURCO Europe, have been installed during the past 10 years in the Witney, Oxfordshire works of Acrona Engineering, including most recently a 5-axis VM10U with WinMax control purchased at the beginning of 2010.
The launch by Avery Weigh-Tronix of a new range of on-board weighing products based on digital load cells, designed to fit to the axles of commercial vehicles to prevent them being overloaded, prompted a comprehensive review of the prismatic metalcutting equipment in use at the company’s Smethwick factory.
The result has been the appearance on the shop floor during 2008 of three vertical machining centres from Hurco Europe, each fitted with the manufacturer’s proprietary, conversational control system. Avery calculates that the machines will have paid for themselves in less than a year.
Whether it is a difficult-to-machine Hastelloy component for a petrochemical customer, or a heavy cast iron part for a full-size replica of a steam-driven crane engine, subcontractor Richard Scourfield and his wife, Kay, invariably produce them on their Hurco machining centre and lathes. Their company, Bartlett Engineering, is in Tenby on the Pembrokeshire peninsula, half an hour’s drive from one of Europe’s largest oil and gas ports, Milford Haven, where two terminals are currently being built for liquefied natural gas.
"In our operation, milling and drilling are the final operations on what is now a very valuable product. We must be sure that the program and set-up are correct. Mistakes at this stage would be very costly.”
—Kevin Jurus, Partner and Principle Hurco Operator
“I have found that to compete in a global economy, I must have labor flexibility. That means all of my employees must be able to operate all of our principle machine tools. It eliminates bottlenecks for better product flow and keeps overhead to a minimum.”
“The VM1 is perfect for our shop. It gives us the productivity of a machining center as our production volume grows without losing fast and easy programming and setup.”
Precision Reflex website
“It is so easy to train someone to drill, tap, or mill on the Hurco UltiMax® control with the English language programming.”
“When our business started to recover earlier this year we decided to invest in a labor saving Hurco machining center rather than hire back a machinist. We’ll pay for the Hurco in less than a year.”
North Carolina Foam Solutions has been in operation since 2000. The company provides support services, primarily repairing parts for foam rubber processors. Generally, foam processors use equipment that slices large foam “bricks” into useable sizes for furniture, automotive and other applications. These special purpose machines have a number of wear parts that North Carolina Foam Solutions makes on a repair basis. Hurco’s VM2 Eliminates Overhead to Increase Shop’s ProductivityThe proud owners of Hurco’s VM2 machining center reached their decision to buy it in an interesting way. In 2002, they had manual equipment and hired a machinist to help with the workload. However, they had to layoff the machinist and reduce their own work hours by more than 50 percent due to the business downturn the industry was facing. When business picked up again, they realized that the money spent on wages and benefits for the machinist over the past year would have paid for a new CNC machine. After researching the market, Hurco’s VM2 machining center proved to have the best features and value. In addition, Hurco’s easy-to-use control provided shop floor (conversational) programming.
While the VM2 machine’s 40" X-travel is quite generous, some of their parts require that the side doors be opened so that parts 8, 10 or 12 feet long can be handled. The large 46" x 20" work table with 40" x 18" travels gives the VM2 machining center a great work envelope. When coupled with a 20HP, 8,000-RPM spindle and 16-station ATC, the VM2 is perfect for the job shop looking for machining center productivity at an affordable price. The owners of North Carolina Foam Solutions have also been very pleased with the tooling package and vises they purchased from Hurco with the VM2. The vises are compact and precise. The tool holders cover a wide range of tooling and provide great flexibility. SummaryThe VM2 is used at North Carolina Foam Solutions for a variety of work. Many types of materials such as cast iron, tool steel and aluminum are processed. Because most parts are made to order (generally replacement parts are reverse engineered) the power of Hurco’s VM2 machining center with the integrated Hurco control to solve programming problems on the shop floor is a real asset.
In 1994, after working for several shops in the Kansas City area and serving his machinist apprenticeship in the U.S. Navy, Mike Lindsay founded Lindsay Machine Works in Richmond, Missouri. His one-man shop grew to five and eventually outgrew their location. In 2002 he moved the business to nearby Independence, a suburb of Kansas City.
We have a 2006 Hurco VM1, and love the machine. It does not have the WinMax control, although it would be nice. Shop floor programming is still a breeze with the conversational control!!!
We have not used the NC side of the control once. The machine is very rigid, and has run very well over the years. We have not had to call a tech out once! We do not have a boring head for the machine, and haven't needed one! With a good carbide endmill, we have circle milled bearing bores without any trouble. We would have had to spend a lot more money on other brands to get the same features and quality!!Keep up the good work,Jerry Pruitt
Bryco Machine is a 20-year-old modern-day shop specializing in CNC turning. They've built a reputation as a world-class supplier of precision turned parts for industries including electronics, hydraulics, wireless communications, medical & dental, fluid powers, fiber optics and defense.
In 2004, Bryon Bettinardi, owner of Bryco, decided he needed to expand his capabilities. More and more of his customers were insisting on short run and prototype work in conjunction with the high volume work he was already doing. Trying to do low volumes on his production machines with four to eight hour setup times was not productive but he didn't want to lose these opportunities.
“I didn’t buy the Hurco because of the machine. It was fine, but there were many brands with similar specifications. I just had to have the Hurco control.”
"When I am out on the tour talking with the pros, they want service. With my Hurco back at the shop, I can respond to their wishes almost immediately. If we agree with a change on Tuesday, they're puttin' for a bird on Thursday."
“In the fast changing world of computer peripherals, innovative design is the key. Rapidly converting these designs into prototypes requires a high capability machine tool. When compared to the competition, Hurco’s VM machining center won hands down.”
“I had to upgrade to CNC to remain competitive but I wanted a machine that would be easy to learn and easy to run. Hurco’s VM mills fit my needs perfectly.”
The following submission was received as part of our Why I Love Hurco Sweepstakes.
Dear Hurco,The Precision Edge Machine (TPEM) would really benefit from the TM6 Lathe sweepstakes. We are a small shop and we owe much of our success to Hurco. TPEM started in a 650 sq./ft. two-car garage. Crammed into that garage were a CNC turning center and a manual tool room lathe. It wasn’t long before I had to add milling capability.
The Beginning: Our First HurcoMy first Hurco was a 1993 KM3P CNC knee Mill. I bought it to mainly do second milling operations to turned parts. I was amazed how capable a machine of that size was and how easy to program it was. Fast forward one year. Business was really beginning to take off! What started out a turning-only shop was quickly becoming a Milling shop. My customers were really impressed with the milled parts they were receiving in small quantities and orders for 50 or more parts were very common. That was a problem. The KM3P did not have a tool changer. I was the tool changer! There simply wasn’t enough time in the day for me to do anything else but babysit that machine. It was time for a change.After shopping for countless hours and weighing everything, I ordered a brand new Hurco VM10. Even though it was a huge decision, I have never looked back.
The added speed and capacity the VM10 offered absolutely skyrocketed sales. It increased sales so much that it forced me to move into a bigger building six months later! The Precision Edge Machine moved into its current location and we have just under 5,000 sq./ft. I was able to hire a full-time employee and bought two used turning centers one month after moving in, all because the VM10 was so efficient at doing fast 2nd milling operations!
Success Leads to Our Second HurcoFast forward again eight months. It was clear that we had to add more CNC milling capacity because the VM10 was so backlogged with work. The decision to buy another Hurco was a no brainer. The employee that I had hired eight months prior had no previous CNC programming experience. In eight months that employee learned how to program, setup and run with little supervision. That is a testament to the power of the WinMax control! We added a Hurco VM20 with the H160 4th axis. The VM20 was the perfect size machine for our larger machined products and the 4th axis eliminates the need to fixture parts for complicated side profile machining. The ability to download the programs into the VM20 that we proved out on the VM10 has saved us so much time and money! I wish we had that same ability on our turning centers.
Looking to Hurco for TurningOur turning centers are not Hurco’s yet! They program via g-code and an expensive external CAM system. The setup process is slow and cumbersome because all three turning centers are different brands with different controls. The time savings we’ve realized with the controls being the same on our mills is pronounced and I only wish we could be as productive with our turning centers. With the Mills we are able to program right at the control but with the Turning centers we have to program everything with the CAM system and download the program into the Turning centers via Rs232 cables. We spend so much time editing code by hand because the posts are not 100% correct. The lack of conversational programming in our turning department is killing our productivity.
Success for the FutureHurco has been instrumental with the success of our business. I can say without any doubt that we would not be the shop we are today without the support of Hurco. As time goes on we will hopefully be able to replace our turning centers with Hurco’s. The TM6 lathe would be a perfect addition to our shop. I’m sure that once in place, Hurco turning centers would increase our productivity, probably to the point that we would have wished that we would have made the switch years earlier! Sadly, we are just are not in the position to be able to make that switch yet. Our fingers are crossed that we may win this sweepstakes to take our company to the next level!
Sincerely,Matthew SmithThe Precision Edge Machine
"The motto in our job shop is 'fast and right'. We can’t sell wrong, and there’s no profit in slow.Our 3 Hurco vertical machines keep us competitive. Programming at the control is quick and logical. The conversational menus approach machining the way a toolmaker thinks.
Milling, drilling, DXF are fast without any mystery. Part setup is no problem with the moveable jog box, and tool changes are fast. Our machines have tool probe, which eliminates redundant cut and measure time. Our VMX42 has an A-B axis, allowing us to work on 5 sides of a work piece.
Many 3D shapes and contours are simplified with Hurco 3D Mold and Surfaces. Dual screen graphics provide 4 view verification and fast navigation through lengthy programs. For the creative toolmaker Hurco features let you expand your creativity not restrict it.
It’s hard to beat 'Fast and Right”'
Robert MollPelco Tool and Mold
“I bought my first Hurco 17 years ago because I wanted to have a lean, fast turnaround, customer-focused business. After recently installing my 13th Hurco, ‘lean’ is a way of life at Gregor Technology.”- John Gregorich, Vice President Hurco helps firm go lean from the beginning John Gregorich founded Gregor Technology in 1985 and built the business by providing fast turn-around of small-lot quantities for his customers. He needed a machine that could be programmed on the shop floor because he didn’t want the overhead or have the time that a CAD/CAM system can require. When he saw a Hurco control demonstration at a local machine tool show years ago, he bought his first Hurco – a 3HP knee mill. He was producing parts within two days and providing the kind of fast turn-around service that has become his operational trademark today. Gregor is now a 30-man, custom contract, job shop serving New England. It specializes in small lot, just–in-time operations for a variety of customers in the specialty auto parts, aerospace and electronics industries. Gregor has continued to grow, even in this recent downturn, by focusing on customer service. “You want it when?” is not a joke at Gregor Technology. By managing materials from suppliers and focusing on shop floor operations with machine operators, Gregor routinely ships orders in two or three days from receipt of the formal order. The payoff is more business from customers who are cutting back on the number of their suppliers to increase cash flow. This is critical to a small firm’s ability to grow. The latest Hurco addition is the VM1 machining center. Formally introduced at IMTS 2002, the VM1 is specifically designed for shops looking for the efficiencies of a machining center with excellent operating specifications packaged to occupy a minimum of floor space. “The VM1 is a real winner,” said John. “It is perfect for many of the small parts that Gregor Technology works with every day. When coupled with Hurco’s new MAX® conversational control with a color LCD display, all of our machinists want a chance to run the VM1.”The Hurco Lean Manufacturing Solution John has a 20,000 sq. ft. facility, 13 Hurco machines and a growing list of loyal customers. The Hurco machines that John uses have allowed him to operate with low overhead and direct processing of jobs on the shop floor. “Lean manufacturing”, the latest trend in manufacturing, is old hat at Gregor Technology. The Hurco integrated control, software and machine system make programming, editing, and set-up fast and efficient, keeping costs down and cash flow up — two very powerful factors for success in today’s fiercely competitive environment. While several local shops have failed in the recent downturn, Gregor is expanding. Training operators on Hurco machines is fast and easy, so John can take advantage of opportunities as they arise. That keeps customers happy and coming back for Gregor’s special brand of service. Gregor is growing and successful because John organized his business from the start to be a lean, efficient producer of small-lot machined parts. Hurco machines are the perfect solution for this concept.
"I don't know of any other machine where you can pull down the file and a half-hour later have a form. You can be mediocre in math, mediocre in geometry, and make a good product in no time." Jon Heckman, Tool Room Supervisor, DePuy Orthopaedics
With 31 years of experience in the tool room at DePuy Orthopaedics, Jon Heckman knows machining. As the tool room supervisor for the past 15 years, he knows the importance of efficiency and how to run a lean operation.DePuy Orthopaedics, based in Warsaw, Indiana, is a leader in the orthopaedic medical device industry. Because DePuy designs and manufactures orthopaedic implants that end up inside patients, the implants can't be touched during the manufacturing process—that's where Jon Heckman's group comes in. Fixturing has to replicate the product, which means the tolerances are tight and the prints don't exist, Jon explains. Whether it's a knee or hip implant, Jon's team of 12 must figure out the best way to transport the implants from point A to point B during the manufacturing process and machine the fixtures that protect the implants from being touched during transport.
Hurco Advantage"We're a cost efficiency center," says Jon. "People don't want to put money into fixtures. It's imperative that we be effective from the top down." For maximum efficiency, Jon relies on the Hurco VMX line of machining centers. More specifically, Jon says he is impressed with the control's shop floor programming (called Hurco conversational). The Hurco control enables his expert machinists to get their job done faster due to its user-friendly design and intuitive software. "I can't say enough great things about the Hurco," says Jon. "I don't know any other machine where you can pull down the file and a half-hour later have a form. You can be mediocre in math, mediocre in geometry, and make a good product in no time."
Jon says the controls on the Hurco VMX24 and VMX30 machines make the most out of any machinist and eliminate the bottlenecks and expense of investing in CAD/CAM seats. "The Hurco is simplistic to the point that it makes anybody productive—anybody. And that's rare…it's rare to have a machine tool that is that user friendly," says Jon. His group uses the lines and arcs part of the programming software often and appreciates the AutoCalculation feature that eliminates time-consuming data entry and the hassle of trigging out the part.
Although his group mainly cuts plastic and brass, Jon's first experience with Hurco was cutting 17-4 stainless. "One thing that impressed me about the Hurco early on is the way they are built. They are built beefy," says Jon. Another group in DePuy that relies on Hurco machining centers is Prototyping Services. Led by Bill Sellers, this team of eight people meets the challenge of taking the part from rapid prototyping and figuring out the best way to manufacture it. "We're like a job shop within these walls. Our goal is manufacturability of the part," says Bill.
Summary"In here it’s especially critical that we are able to get up to speed quickly. We don't always have prints, we run one shift, and have about 800 projects a year," explains Bill. With his group, the Rigid Tapping and DXF transfer on their Hurco VMX24 and VMX30 machines are especially popular. At DePuy, employees are motivated to do their best because their work helps restore people’s joy of motion. At Hurco, we are proud to play a part in the process of this life-changing work.
"All in all, the Hurco was the best bang for the buck and has the least amount of downtimes over other machines."-Damon Weaver, Owner , Xcentric Mold & Engineering
Watch the Xcentric Mold Video
To keep your business competitive in the 21st century you need to be efficient, flexible and demonstrate a quality product. The Weaver brothers in Chesterfield, Michigan have built their business around those requirements. Hurco is proud to be their vertical machining center of choice. Brendan Weaver and Damon Weaver, owners of Xcentric Mold & Engineering, have defined efficiency by creating a process flow system that lets their employees run three to four machines at a time. “One guy can even run five,” boasts Damon Weaver. Xcentric's flexibility extends beyond the types of molds and parts they create. Xcentric is also flexible in the breadth and depth of services they provide.
“We can turn it from concept to a finished part, and do everything in between,” said the Weavers. “We do part design, FDM rapid prototyping, prototype molds, bridge tooling, and do our own injection molding, all under one roof.” Xcentric's main focus is Fast and Accurate turn around prototype molds and parts with in a 5-16 day delivery to the customer. Xcentric has given new meaning to “fast and accurate turn around” in prototyping. The Weavers grew the business from their CAD and Prototype mold making expertise. “What sets us apart today is, we do what we say and say what we do. Customer service is key and we are proactive in the whole process.” Being proficient in solid modeling, we can propose changes to the customer's solid data, from any format and return the data via email. This service saves days off the build, as being part designers and mold makers we can prepare data for mold ability.
Hurco AdvantageXcentric runs one shift, and routinely runs lights out operations to maximize efficiency. In addition to investing in process efficiency, quality certification (ISO 9001: 2000), and talented employees, Xcentric has invested in top-notch equipment. They have 13 CNC vertical machining centers with 10 of them being Hurco models—two VMX24s, seven VMX42s, and a BMC4020. They also feature Roboshot and JSW, all electric molding machines, and their Engineering department features FDM rapid prototyping, Mold Flow analysis, and seven CAD/CAMseats.
Xcentric utilizes aircraft grade aluminum to produce detail-oriented prototype plastic injection molds that require tight tolerances and longevity, usually up to 100,000 pieces or more. The sample of molds and parts displayed include a variety of consumer products and various automotive parts.One of the Weaver brothers' favorite masterpieces complements their interest in fishing. The Rapid Release Breakaway Rod Holders are proudly displayed on the company's sample shelves. Known for being a true breakaway rod holder, the Rapid Release Breakaway rod holder allows the angler to set the hook and remove the rod from the holder in one motion. This product showcases Xcentric's full-line of abilities—they designed the prototype, made the molds, and produced the actual product. SummaryAt Xcentric, Hurco is the preferred vertical machining center. The operators like the ease of use, especially the ergonomics of the control—slanted screen for easy viewing and big buttons. Additionally, the Xcentric owners say the coolant-thru-the-spindle, the wash down system and chip auger, keep the chips out and the machines clean, “because there is no time to stop the machine when we are building molds,” says Weaver. “All in all the Hurco was the best bang for the buck and has the least amount of downtime over other machines”.
For Damon and Brendan Weaver, another Hurco advantage is the man who represents the company in their area. Damon says Fred Braun, of Braun Machinery, is diligent, extremely knowledgeable, and made the decision to go with Hurco an easy one. As the Weaver brothers expand their efficient prototyping services to more companies and industries, Hurco and Braun Machinery will be there every step of the way.
“We have been using Hurco CNC machining centers for about six years in our tool room. They are indispensable for our operations. No other machine and control combination can give us the shop floor programming power and machining quality that is vital to our manufacturing operations.”
Sioux Chief Manufacturing is an integrated, global supplier of PVC pipe, which is used in residential and commercial plumbing. Over the past six years, Sioux has continually upgraded its ability to produce all of its required plastic injection molds in its own tool room. The key to its capabilities has been the purchase of Hurco CNC machining centers.Powerful and Easy-to-Use UltiMax Control Provides Productivity Shop DemandsJoe Stegmeier, Senior Tool Engineer, has found that Hurco’s powerful UltiMax control is capable of generating all the features and surfaces he needs for his molds. By using Hurco’s optional 3D software package, all of the curved surfaces in the pipe “elbows” and other sections can be generated for both core and cavities. For the 3D surfaces, Joe and his toolmakers model the surfaces as revolutions or translations of simple 2D cross sections. When the machinist uses the print holders on the UltiMax control, he has all the information he needs to create complex programs at his fingertips. Joe does not use any separate CAM software to write his programs. All of the mold base and ejector plates are programmed right at the machine on the UltiMax control as needed. If a CAD drawing is available, it can be directly loaded into the control with a simple “point and click” that generates the required part features. Hurco’s exceptional machine rigidity and advanced servo motion technology then produces high quality machined surfaces. As Sioux Chief has grown, the need for larger multi-cavity molds has increased. Hurco’s loop and pattern sub routines minimize programming time. Joe can meet these requirements with the full Hurco product line. His latest addition is the VMX50, a 50″ x 26″ x 24″ vertical machining center with a 10,000 RPM, 25HP spindle. The VMX50 can handle mold bases up to 3,000 lbs. and still reach 3D contouring rates of 600 IPM. Hurco’s UltiMax control is equipped to automatically shutdown the machine at program completion, so it is perfect for lights out operation for long 3D surface work. The high torque available is ideal for large hole drilling and tapping in addition to heavy steel milling. Two of the six Hurco machining centers in the Sioux Chief tool room provide 30″ X- travel and are arranged such that one man programs, sets-up, and runs both machines. Hurco machines also have the unique ability to easily make copies of a base program and repeat them to build the final product, which slashes programming time dramatically. The smallest machining center at Sioux Chief is the VMX24. It is offers a 12HP, 10,000-RPM spindle that is perfect for generating fine surface finishes on small parts. Summary
Joe’s most important assets are his workers. Hurco’s powerful machines equipped with the UltiMax controlmake programming and running parts simple for all of them. The result is that he keeps all six Hurco machines busy with his three-man staff. Joe could add two more Hurco machines before he’d have the need to hire additional personnel to run the machines.
Bill Hutchison, owner of G&H Tool & Die in Union City, Tennessee, has been growing his tooling and job shop business for about 20 years. While they still operate a few legacy Hurco knee mills, they had not purchased a new Hurco machining center in a number of years and were purchasing machines from other manufacturers. This all changed about two years ago when they purchased a VM2 on the recommendation of one of their machinists.
Key Hurco AdvantageThe price and productivity was so great that a second one was purchased two months later and was followed up by a VMX42 to complement an existing 80” machining center from another manufacturer. Their experience with Hurco’s knee mills and current VMC’s led them to consider the new TM Series of CNC slant-bed turning centers when their need for a lathe arose. Much of the work that G&H does is shaft work for a number of local industries. Therefore, the TM10 was chosen for it’s size—a 10-inch chuck and 14 inch maximum cut diameter. The TM10 was exactly what G&H was looking for.SummaryThe primary operator of the new Hurco lathe has 15 years experience with turning, most of which have been spent on manual lathes and small flatbed lathes. Kearney Machinery, the local Hurco distributor, provided installation and training. Within the first week the operator was utilizing the easy-to-use conversational programming unique to Hurco turning centers and machining centers. He finds the control to be very straightforward and easy to learn and sees no problems in gaining mastery of it. The Hurco TM10 has quickly become an integral part of their operation because it is reliable, easy to use and profitable—just what a shop needs.
"Having the large-capacity DCX allows us the opportunity to pitch for a lot of new business up to 3.2 meters by 2.1 meters that we could not have previously undertaken."-Steve Holmes, Director, TGM, Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom
TGM, an aerospace subcontractor in Preston, England, doubled its Y-axis capacity on the shop floor when the company invested in the Hurco DCX32 machining center with a work envelope of 3.2 meters (126 inches) by 2.1 meters (82.7 inches) by 920 millimeters (36.2 inches). With the DCX32, TGM can machine larger airframe components or fixture multiple parts for more efficient production.Nearly half of the components that TGM machines are made from titanium, including wing and fuselage parts, such as longerons for BAE Systems’ Eurofighter Typhoon. The remainder of throughput is aluminum. TGM also does a lot of Airbus wing work in both materials, such as leading and trailing edges as well as main details for delivery to the OEM’s Broughton factory via Tier 1 suppliers. The latest Boeing 737-600 has a backswept wing tip, which TGM manufactures, that yields significantly improved fuel efficiency because of the superior aerodynamics. Boeing has decided to retrofit similar wing tips to its entire fleet of 767s currently in service. Steve Holmes, a director at TGM who joined shortly after its formation in 1998, says, “We see a bright future for the aerospace sector despite the downturn over the past 18 months. Having the large-capacity [Hurco] DCX allows us the opportunity to pitch for a lot of new business up to 3.2 meters by 2.1 meters that we could not have undertaken previously.” Optimism has translated into significant investment recently at the Preston facility, which has doubled in size to 16,000 sq ft. A new factory unit houses the DCX32, which has a twin-column, bridge-type construction that allows the large Y-axis travel without loss of rigidity. A 60 kW spindle mounted in a vertical ram gives ample cutting power and torque for machining titanium. A 40-station, swing-arm toolchanger keeps the carousel clear of swarf and maximizes the work envelope. Before TGM purchased the DCX32, their largest machine was a Hurco VMX84 vertical machining center, which was installed in October 2009, and has travels of 84 x 34 x 30 inches. A total of 10 Hurco machining centers now constitute a majority of TGM’s machining capacity.Holmes says TGM chose Hurco when they decided to expand into large size machining centers because they have experienced a decade of prompt service and reliable production using smaller Hurco equipment. In particular, Holmes cites the proprietary, integrated Hurco control system that runs the latest WinMax® Windows®-based software. The control has a 40GB hard-drive with 2GB RAM and high-speed contouring capability. Approximately 40% of the programs, even complex 2D jobs, are written quickly and easily on the shop floor at TGM’s Preston facility using the control’s conversational programming. The time savings allows TGM to respond promptly to urgent jobs, particularly AOG (aircraft on ground) requests. The remaining 60% of programs are prepared off-line using MasterCam. Whether the customer provides a digital file or a drawing of an older component, a 3D IGES file or a 2D DXF file can be prepared quickly and downloaded directly to the control on any of the Hurco machines for immediate use.
“We run these machines hard and they never give us a problem.”- Mike Baker, President, Specialty CNC, Bloomington, Indiana, USA
Currently, they have four Hurco machining centers in their 2,400 square foot shop: two VMX42 machining centers, a VMX30S and a VMX24. Both owners say they keep buying Hurco machine tools because they are rigid, reliable, and the control lets them save steps and save time.
“We do one-offs, prototype work, and small production runs of 500-1,000 pieces for medical, aerospace, and government,” says Baker. “One thing that is great is the ability to implement offline programs and use conversational features, such as drilling,”
This feature enables customers to apply numerous conversational features to existing G-code programs. Mike leverages numerous WinMax software features to find the most efficient way to approach each part. For Mike and Roger increased efficiency means keeping their business profitable and continuing their growth cycle. For Hurco, continuing to develop technology that helps customers increase profitability means that Hurco is playing an important role in supporting the economic engine of this county—small businesses that make a difference each and every day.
“To stay competitive in the New England market, we must continue to make intelligent investments. That means getting the right level of performance and automation at an affordable price. The new Hurco VMX24S with Midaco Auto pallet changeris a perfect example.”-Aram Onbashian, Owner
Arbo Machine is a small but highly productive machine shop in Rockford, Massachusetts. Over the past 20 years that they have been in business, owner Aram Onbashian, has been very careful to create his growth with productivity, rather than capacity. The result is a remarkable number of very sophisticated machines and accessories snugly fit into his shop. Hurco manufactures five of these machines.Recently, Aram replaced their knee mill with a new Hurco VM1 vertical machining center. With an automatic tool changer, 8,000 rpm spindle, and large 26" x 14" work cube, the machine fit perfectly into their philosophy of increasing productivity without increasing capacity. There was no need to hire new employees to operate the easy-to-use control and the small footprint kept space requirements to a minimum.Key Hurco AdvantageAram is finding that a number of his machining jobs are generating volumes that warrant investments in automation. Many of these opportunities require aluminum machining, which requires a highly reliable machine with a fast spindle. The Hurco VMX24S, with its 15,000 rpm spindle and proven track record, was the perfect solution. The VMX24S now serves as a base line machine for Arbo. It is especially adept at handling small tools and high feed rates. With its high capacity spindle ring mounted flood coolant, wash down systems, and a chip conveyor, the machine can handle multiple shift production with ease. SummaryWhat really kicks up productivity with the VMX24S is the addition of a Series 30 automatic pallet system from Midaco Corporation of Chicago. It performs a pallet change in about one minute. The principle advantage of this system is that the operator can load and unload the pallets outside the machine work area so the spindle can keep running. Changeover time is about 10 minutes, so the operator can be running another machine while the rest of the machining cycle is being completed. Arbo may be a small shop specializing in small to medium runs, but they are able to operate more like a larger shop due to highly productive machines like those manufactured by Hurco. Coupled with the versatility of the control, Arbo is able to get the most out of each machine and employee.
"The integrated Hurco control and its inherent flexibility is advantageous for teaching."
The Manufacturing Technology faculty at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., understands the importance of relevant technology and the value of applied education to maximize students’ future success in advanced manufacturing. Since the program’s origination in 1956, the school has earned a reputation for offering classes that ensure students develop a solid technical foundation through applied experiences, including the use of precision manufacturing operations.When FSU needed some new machines to keep students competitive, they came to Hurco. FSU and Hurco had worked together in earlier years, but a renewed relationship was established in 2005. The partnership between academia and corporate America has proven to enhance the educational experience of students. FSU opted for three 3-axis machining centers from the general purpose VM Series and two general purpose turning centers from the TM Series. The efficient design of the VM10 machines yields a small footprint with an extraordinarily large work cube. From top to bottom, the VM mills are manufactured to be rigid and reliable. The TM6 and TM8 turning centers are true slant-bed lathes, which is not common for turning centers that are so compact, and the single-piece bed casting provides excellent control of cutting forces. According to Dean Krager, Associate Professor of the Manufacturing Technology program at FSU, the integrated Hurco control and its inherent flexibility is advantageous for teaching. The control’s flexibility affords students enhanced learning options because they can learn numerous programming methods, including G-code, both online and offline conversational programming, and CAM. Also, with the Hurco DXF Transfer feature, 2D CAD files can easily be imported and ready to run in minutes. Hurco is proud to be a part of the process of educating the next generation of advanced manufacturing professionals through its numerous initiatives that expose students to state-of-the-art technology and real world experiences that are vital for success. Krager says Hurco’s sophisticated machine tools are just one element of support Hurco provides.“The exposure Hurco offers FSU students puts Hurco’s corporate support at a different level,” says Krager. Hurco has repeatedly sponsored FSU students to attend the International Manufacturing Technology Show and actually gives them the chance to demonstrate machines at the booth. “This kind of experience really gives students a head start. It catapults their career and complements the applied learning method we use in the Manufacturing Technology program. That’s just the kind of company Hurco is. They always go the extra mile,” says Krager.
“Building plastic molds in today’s global economyis an extremely competitive business. Our newHurco VMX50 with Cat 50 spindle is a real workhorse. We’ve seen set-up and run time reductions of 30-40% over our older equipment.”-Kevin Pennington, Tooling Manager
Originally established in 1967, Berry Plastics has grown into a leading U.S. manufacturer of injection-molded plastic packaging, enjoying steady growth through the years to a level of over$460 million in net sales. Today, Berry Plastics has manufacturing plants in the U.S., England, Italy and Hong Kong. They sell to over 200 major customers in 50 countries.Berry’s tooling division, located in Evansville, Indiana, builds sophisticated multi-cavity molds for relatively simple products. The key to staying competitive in this industry is to maintain low costs and reduced time for construction.Hurco AdvantageIn looking to improve their efficiency, Berry began upgrading their tooling equipment three years ago. Their first purchase was a Hurco VMX50. The moldmakers at Berry Plastics utilize the Hurco’s ability to import DXFCAD files. Consequently, they have saved hours of programming and communication time.Matt Schenk, one of the lead moldmakers and a strong Hurco supporter, notes that a machine tool, is only making money when it is making chips. He estimates that the VMX50 is 50% faster than their existing VMC from another manufacturer and accounts this to faster tool changers, more horsepower and higher spindle speed.In Berry Plastic’s core and cavity work, many operations are improved with the use of a 4th axis rotary table. Matt commented that programming rotary work on the Hurco via conversational language is incredibly easy compared to working with G-code, and he can easily save an hour per setup. Since many times molds require a number of identical core and cavities to be processed, multi-chuck fixtures with several chucks mounted for part holding are used. Hurco’s capability of changing part offsets and part zero points makes setup for these jobs easy.SummaryMore recently, Berry Plastics purchased a VM machining center for small core and cavity work. Its excellent cutting capability with tool steel has been a real time saver. The new TM8 slant-bed turning center is the latest Hurco addition to the Tooling Division. Part quality and accuracy are excellent along with metal removal rates. While they have other CNC lathes, they have found that the Hurco is easy to setup and use since it utilizes the same control found on the VMX Series and VM Series.Lean is a way of life at Berry, so machines must be easy to setup and run. The reliable Hurco VMCs and turning centers, with their easy to use control, have been the perfect fit for Berry Plastics.
"Like many companies, I needed to find a solution to the small lot jobs many of my best customers wanted me to do. Breaking in to my automated production machines was not cost effective and trying to run the parts with CNC knee mills was not labor efficient. I found that Hurco's new VM product line was the perfect solution." ―Chris Nelson, President of ARC Technologies
Over the last 20 years, ARC Technologies has grown into a 100-plus employee contract machine shop with over 32,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Operating with an array of high production vertical and horizontal machining centers and advanced CNC turning centers, ARC serves a number of companies in the aerospace, medical, and technology businesses. ARC works closely with its customers, and in some cases, is directly linked to the customer's MRP System, enabling ARC to schedule many production jobs for maximum efficiency. Since many of the company's customers also have needs for smaller quantities of parts (under 100 pieces), ARC has a manual department with simpler equipment. Until last year, the department used several CNC bed mills with manual tool change operation. The problem was that this process was not cost-effective. Therefore, much of the low volume work was sent to other shops and this threatened ARC's overall relationship with its customers. Chris Nelson, President of ARC Technologies, knew that he needed a low cost machining center with a shop floor control. When he saw an advertisement for a Hurco VM1 machining center starting from $37,900, he contacted Hurco immediately.
Hurco's VM1 Provides Immediate Results For ARC
ARC installed its first Hurco machine and saw immediate results. The two machinists in the manual shop were programming and running parts in less than two days. Programming times were cut in half and cycle times, due to the fast auto tool changer and 8,000 RPM spindle, were 50 to 70 percent faster than before. Within weeks, ARC was able to complete small lot jobs from its customers in a very cost-effective way. A second Hurco VM1 was added a month later, with similar results. After three months, Mr. Nelson decided to eliminate his manual machines and added four more Hurco vertical machining centers. With a total of eight Hurco machines, ARC now handles all of the small lot work from its production customers. This has lead ARC to become an even more valued supplier to its customers.
During the day shift, ARC's two experienced machinists program, setup, and run all of their Hurco machining centers and turning centers. The Hurco control can handle thread milling, lettering, helical milling, and a host of other machining operations with ease. Hurco's Max control is also equipped to directly convert CAD files to part programs with its DXF file transfer software. Complex parts that have milled pockets with islands are programmed in simple steps. Several of the VMXs are equipped with indexers for multi-sided productivity. Since ARC already was operating three shifts, it was easy to coordinate operations of a second shift to finish processing jobs the same day. ARC Technologies is now able to meet its customer needs for fast turn around of small lot size jobs, and do it efficiently. In Mr. Nelson's mind, the ability to produce small lot jobs quickly and cost-effectively has become a strategic shift in ARC Technologies operations and capabilities.