Just because a piece of equipment functions doesn’t mean a shop should keep using it. Mast Motorsports realized that a couple machine tools at its Walled Lake, Mich., facility had become technologically obsolete and, therefore, needed to be replaced. The Nacogdoches, Texas-headquartered company manufactures automotive components, such as cylinder heads, intake manifolds and induction systems, for street performance and racing. Mast primarily machines aluminum and plastic.
After researching suitable replacement machines from Hurco North America at a trade show and considering similar offerings from other machine tool builders, Mast purchased two Hurco 5-axis CNC milling machines: a VMX60SRTi and a VMX42SWi. “The best replacement was the configuration Hurco had to offer,” said Cary Chouinard, director of manufacturing at Mast.
According to Indianapolis-based Hurco, the machines are configured to use a swivel head with either an A- or C-style rotary table. The rotary table measures 66"×26" (1,676.4mm × 660.4mm) and enhances versatility because it can provide extra table space for secondary operations or 3-axis work.
Chouinard also appreciates that the milling machines’ controls allow additional work to be performed at the machines. “The whole manual for operating the machine and everything that you want to know is right at the controller,” he said.
In addition, programming the machines isn’t a challenge. “Whether you’re using G and M codes or manually programming them, it’s very simple,” Chouinard said.
Compared to Mast’s outdated equipment, the Hurco machines are almost twice as fast, according to Chouinard. He added that Mast has been able to decrease machining time while reducing the step-over and producing more consistent and higher-quality parts. “The cost savings have been huge,” Chouinard said.
Although the quickness of the machines enables aggressive cutting, Chouinard noted the machines, which have a peak spindle motor horsepower of 48 hp (36.5kW) at 2,900 rpm, are quiet enough so that he can hear what is happening throughout the 7,500-sq.-ft. shop.
“It’s more advantageous for us to run with one line of machines,” Chouinard said, “so we’re trying to go with all Hurco equipment here.”
Read the full story from Cutting Tool Engineering here
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At 33, Eric Medlen was a rising star in the NHRA drag racing circuit, winner of six tour events, eight times a number one qualifier, he was a media favorite for his running commentary, and a fan favorite for both his accessibility and his enthusiasm. Medlen’s path to drag racing wasn’t typical. As a high school rodeo champion and calf roping protégé to two-time PRCA World Champion Jerold Camarillo, he was planning to join Camarillo’s team when his dad, John Medlen, called with the job he had always dreamed of: working alongside him at John Force Racing.
After eight years as a JFR crew member, Eric got the chance of a lifetime: team owner John Force chose Eric to replace JFR driver Tony Pedregon, who left JFR to form a new team with his brother at the end of the 2003 season. According to JFR, Eric said at the time, “My dad was my hero growing up and I always dreamed that we’d wind up racing together, but I never dreamed that I’d be driving and he’d be the crew chief on the same car, especially at a place like John Force Racing.”
John Force threw his complete support behind the project by opening a state-of-the-art machine shop at the team’s newly built 180,000-square-foot facility in Brownsburg, Indiana. Eric’s father, John Medlen, became project manager of the Eric Medlen Project and worked with Ford Motor Company, the NHRA, SFI, chassis builder Murf McKinney and a host of others in an unprecedented display of cooperation.
Ironically, John Force was the first driver to benefit from the initial changes that were made to the chassis as part of the Eric Medlen Project. Although Force broke bones in his hands and feet when he crashed at Ennis, Texas, in September of 2007, he had no serious head or neck injuries.
The improvements that made Force’s survival possible included a wider roll cage, extra padding within it, the switch from five-point to seven-point harnesses and a head-and-neck restraint system that limits side-to-side movement as well as front-to back.
Fast forward to 2016, and the Force American Made employs 24 out of JFR’s approximately 100 employees. The 7 machine shop employees operate the team’s 17 CNC machines, with the latest additions to the fleet being six Hurco CNC machines: a 3-axis VMX30i , a 5-axis VMX42SRTi, a 3-axis VMX6030i, TMX8MYSi mill turn slant-bed lathe, and two TMM8i slant-bed lathes with live tooling.
Dean "Guido" Antonelli, General Manager of Force American Made, said,
“When we evaluate machines to replace existing equipment, I am always looking to improve tolerances and spindle speed as well as expand the shop’s capabilities and find ways to increase efficiency. Our tolerances are in the ten-thousandths, which means accuracy and repeatability are critical when it comes to the CNC machines we select.”
Antonelli said the Hurco CNC machines have outperformed his expectations. Antonelli and Nic Barnes, the Machine Shop Supervisor, said the benefits they appreciate the most from the new Hurco CNC machines are the surface finish quality, fast rapids, rigidity, accuracy, the robust technical specifications of the Hurco control, the swing-arm ATC design and tool capacity, and the productivity gains from adopting 5-sided machining for parts they used to manufacture on 3-axis machines.
“We’re always looking to improve the quality and strength as well as the fit and the finish of the parts we make. With the Hurcos, the finish is like jewelry. I don’t even have to polish the parts,” said Barnes.
The impressive surface finish quality is due to the motion control system Hurco invented. Named UltiMotion, the patented motion control system is software driven and consists of millions of algorithms working in the background to provide optimized look-ahead.
Available on all Hurco 3-axis and 5-axis mills, the user doesn’t have to do anything to make UltiMotion work. While the technology is complex, there is no setup or configuration required. In addition to delivering superb surface finishes, UltiMotion also reduces cycle time by up to 35%, and sometimes more, because it minimizes machine jerk and evaluates the part geometry to calculate the optimal lookahead (up to 10,000 blocks).
The team uses MasterCAM to create the majority of its part programs, which Barnes and Antonelli said is another advantage of selecting Hurco CNC machines. “We’ve always heard about the Hurco control being really good at conversational programming, but what we’ve found is that it’s true when they say it is the most flexible control in the industry. It processes G-code better than any of the machines we’ve had in the past,” said Antonelli. The technical specifications of the Hurco control that eliminate the hassle the FAM shop experienced in the past with other controls include a 2.7GHz Dual Core Processor, 4GB RAM Memory, and a 128GB Solid State Hard Drive, and up to 4,000 bps processing speed.
“It’s a big deal,” Barnes said of the memory and speed with which the Hurco control loads part programs. “We have a flywheel part with two operations that we separated into two part programs because it would take 52 minutes just to load one operation before we got the Hurco. But now, with the Hurco control, it takes 10 seconds.”
“And the memory is so great we can have multiple programs loaded instead of loading them one at a time,” said Barnes. The graphics display, called Advanced Verification Graphics, is another winning feature of the Hurco control, according to Barnes. “It just gives me peace of mind to know I can see the detail of what the tool is doing and know there aren’t any crashes. The display is really clear and offers different views on the DRO.”
However, the biggest advantage the team has seen in terms of productivity has been the decision to embrace 5-sided machining on 5-axis machines, a trend that is becoming the norm in shops of all sizes across the nation.
“On our fuel distribution blocks, we went from six operations to two. With six ops, the part took a total of six hours and on the 5-axis machine it takes four hours,” said Barnes.
Not only does the adoption of 5-sided save setup time since the machinist doesn’t need to manually flip parts and then fixture them again for each operation, machining time is decreased.
“On the main cap, we went from 22.5 minutes of machine time on the 3-axis machine to just 16 minutes,” said Barnes.
As the JFR manufacturing team looks to the future, they continue to honor the life of not only Eric Medlen but all drag racers who have lost their lives and challenge them to continuously evaluate ways to improve safety on the race track. Hurco is proud to be a part of such an important mission and a proud sponsor of John Force Racing.
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
During the last 30 years, Injection Mold, Inc. (North Vernon, Indiana) has grown from a small garage shop dedicated to producing lens molds for the automotive industry to a full-service shop that that specializes in Rapid Prototyping (RP) molds for multiple industries, such as medical, electronics, safety, baby products, appliance, and plumbing. A desire to reduce set-up times and increase accuracy led the company to upgrade from three-axis to five-axis machines.
According to General Manager Jason Vawter, Injection Mold has a stellar reputation when it comes to speed. “Customers call us immediately when they need something quick, without even considering their other suppliers, because we are the quickest," he says. This need for speed led Injection Mold to consider upgrading from three-axis to five-axis technology. “A lot of our RP work involves multiple setups on three-axis machines, and with the short deliveries we do, we needed to find a way to speed up our times,” Vawter explains. “Using five-axis technology would allow us to eliminate a lot of set-ups.”Vawter looked at a number of different machines, but all roads led to Hurco. “One of the reasons we went with Hurco is that they are right down the road from us,” he says. “We also owned Hurcos in the past and have been very happy with them. We found that the VMX30U was exactly what we were looking for.” Hurco decided to make 5-Axis a priority 10 years ago and has dedicated resources to the development of features that make the transition easy for 3-axis shops. Hurco even started a website devoted to five-axis education (www.FiveAxisMachining.com) that includes a dedicated telephone number and email that goes directly to Hurco Applications Engineers with expertise in 5-axis/5-sided. The VMX30U that Injection Mold purchased is one of 11 Hurco 5-Axis machining centers that are the result of Hurco’s focus on 5-axis. While the transition from 3-axis machining to 5-axis can be intimidating, most machinists grasp the concept fairly quickly and continue to realize additional benefits the more they use the machine. “Five-axis was a brand new area for us,” Vawter recalls. “Since we have always had three-axis, we grew accustomed to working in three planes. Then, all of a sudden, there were five.” While he says it took the employees several months to get completely comfortable with the machine, Hurco was always readily available to field questions.Multiple AdvantagesInjection Mold bought the machine solely for the purpose of eliminating multiple set-ups, but Vawter notes the more they use the VMX30U, the more they find they can do with it. “For example, we had some slides (multicavity tool with multiple slides per cavity) and they have angled holes through them on 20 degrees,” he elaborates. “There’s a 25-degree angle on the back with tapped holes. To machine these in the past, we would have one set-up for each operation on a 3-axis mill and it would have taken probably five set-ups with an hour to an hour-and-a-half on each block. When we do it on the VMX30U, it is one set-up and 20 minutes in each piece.”Another payoff is higher accuracy. “Each time you have to take the piece out of the machine to put in another setup, you take a chance of everything not blending out,” he explains. “Now we just pick it up one time and we will cut from the top and the machine will rotate and cut the piece from the side—so accuracy is better. We maintain .005 micron accuracy on our work.” Vawter is very pleased with the VMX30U. “Once we made the leap, we continue to find more benefits—things we didn’t even consider are now possible. We have had it a little over a year and we feel like we are just starting to scratch the surface of what we can utilize it for. We will definitely consider another five-axis purchase by year’s end.”Injection Mold, Inc. / (812) email@example.com / injectiomoldinc.com
Click this link to read the article about Injection Mold as it appeared in MoldMaking Technology Magazine
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.
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.
There are a number of purpose-built 5-axis / 5-sided machining centre designs on the market, including types with a rotary table and either a trunnion support or a swivelling B-axis head to provide the fifth CNC axis. A number of companies including Hurco supply such machines, but neither configuration suited Brunswick Tooling, Brighouse, a manufacturer of reamers and special cutting tools, both solid carbide and indexable-insert.
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.
When BAW Precision Engineering Ltd emerged from the global downturn under new ownership in July 2010, the primary aim for the new directors of the Swansea Valley company was to build the order book and re-establish the subcontractors’ prestigious reputation.
“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.