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  • Lou Ferriero, owner of PlasTech

    PlasTech - Success with 5-Axis Transition + UltiMotion

    ​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 ...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, 5-Axis, Conversational, NC, UltiMotion, Medical, Aerospace, Defense

    ​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.

     

    UltiMotion

    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."

     

    Quality Service

    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.




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    S-3 Industries - Right Equipment is Key to Success

    ​S-3 Industries in Ontario, Canada, produces a wide variety of products using multiple materials, such as aluminum, nickel-based alloys, castings, stainle...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Aerospace, Defense, Energy Sector, UltiMotion, NC

    ​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.

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    Custom Tech Services: Arizona Machine Shop + Hurco Grow Together

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


    What About the Future?

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

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    A & G Precision - The Profitability of 5-Axis

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

     

     

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    Precision Reflex - Hurco Control Increased Production + Cash Flow

    “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 programmi...Read moreTags: Conversational, 3-Axis Mill, Defense

    “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.”

    -Dave Dunlap, President
      

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Precision Reflex manufactures telescopic sights for rifles and handguns. It’s a small shop with about 15 employees on a single shift. About 10 years ago, Precision Reflex entered CNC machining with a Hurco bed mill. The precision and repeatability that CNC gave its machining operations dramatically increased productivity and the ability to speed the growth of the business. As the business and lot size grew, Mr. Dunlap began searching for a machine that would increase his productivity.
     
    Hurco Mill Saves Time and Exceeds Shop Owner’s Expectations
    Although he took a close look at Hurco’s VMX product line and knew that a VMX machining center would meet the specifications he needed, Mr. Dunlap decided to purchase a competitor’s machine. However, after he installed the machine, he quickly learned that not all controls were equal. The competitor’s machine ran well, but the G-code based programming slowed down the entire operation. Mr. Dunlap did not want to hire a CNC only operator, so he learned G-code programming himself. While spending several months learning G-code, he realized that it would have only taken him two days to learn conversational programming on the integrated Hurco control. Even using an offline system didn’t save time because many jobs still needed editing in G-code and this had to be done at the machine. As a result, when Mr. Dunlap needed to get a job out quickly, he scheduled it on the manual tool change bed mill.
     
    When Hurco introduced its VM1 machining center, Mr. Dunlap found that the price was very competitive and the features met his shop’s needs, so he purchased it. With Hurco’s integrated control, programming and editing was much quicker and easier resulting in an increase in production and cash flow. The shop's costs were also down. Mr. Dunlap was also very pleased with the vise and tooling package he purchased from Hurco. He found the vises to be very precise, which has led him to order more for his other machines. Everything was packaged into an attractive lease, and it proved to be a profitable investment.

     

    Precision Reflex website


     

     

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    Bryco Machine - Hurco Lathe Cuts Programming Time

    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...Read moreTags: Lathe, Conversational, 3-Axis Mill, Defense, Medical

    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.

     
    Bryon purchased a Hurco BMC30 for secondary operations about five years ago and found that not only was it fast and easy to program, it was also an excellent machine tool--productive, accurate, and reliable. When Hurco announced its new line of 2-axis lathes, it was just at the time Bryan needed to do something to solve his short run production problems.
    Hurco had the solution.
     
    Key Hurco Advantage
    As Bryon studied his short run work he realized it would benefit greatly from having two small lathes and purchased two Hurco TM6 CNC slant-bed lathes. One machine would be equipped with a bar feeder and run low to medium volume jobs using the same quality bar stock that was being used on his production machines. The other TM6 would be used as a chucker or with a bar puller for those jobs in which a bar feeder would not be utilized fully.

    Summary
    With easy-to-use conversational programming and powerful verification graphics, programming and setup time is down to under an hour between jobs. The operator of the Hurco TM6 appreciates the quick set up times and the unique verification graphics that allow him to see the cuts made on the control before they are actually made. This feature has significantly reduced programming times by two to three hours and he believes machine stoppages will soon be a thing of the past. Secondary operations are done on the Hurco BMC30. Bryon Bettinardi has also been very pleased with the investment. The Hurco lathes are producing high quality, accurate parts with close to the same efficiency as his production machines. With the fast turn around times now possible via his Hurco CNC milling and turning cell, short run jobs are now a new profit center for Bryco Machine.
     
  • EMM Machine Shop

    EMM Precision - Hurco 5-Axis: "Everybody Loves It"

    Because of Hurco’s track record of developing technology that increases productivity and for manufacturing rigid machines that last, EMM Precision purchas...Read moreTags: 5-Axis, Conversational, Aerospace, Defense

    Because of Hurco’s track record of developing technology that increases productivity and for manufacturing rigid machines that last, EMM Precision purchased a Hurco 5-axis VM10U. Keith Dalpe, vice president, says the machine was purchased specifically for a new contract that EMM Precision won for a military part. Regarding the VM10U 5-axis machining center, Keith says, “Everybody loves it. It’s just unbelievable what this machine does.

    “With the VM10U, we went from 9 operations to 2 on this military part. We save 40 minutes per piece in cycle time alone and easily save an hour and 10 minutes total. Maybe even more important to our bottom line is the fact that the operator is running two other machines while the VM10U is making chips,” Keith Dalpe, VP, EMM Precision, Conway NH.
    The learning curve on the 5-axis VM10U proved to be just as minimal as the other Hurco machines EMM Precision has (1 VMX60- 3-axis machining center; 3 VM10 3-axis machining centers; 1 VM10P 3-axis production machining center, and 1 TMM8 multi-tasking lathe with live tooling).
    “We had a job with multiple sides and our operator was already running the job on the VM10U when the trainer came for the training session. We do the entire job with conversational on the control right at the machine,” says Keith.
    “Another advantage when you go from doing a part on a 3-axis machine to 5-axis is that you have less handling and you lessen the opportunity for error. The VM10U is right on the money. It was well worth the investment and the accuracy is phenomenal,” continues Keith, adding that the Hurco machine tools are built to withstand the stress EMM Precision puts on them with so many jobs to run.
    “We put these Hurcos through the paces. They’re tooled to the max and we don’t baby them. We run the VM10U 24/7,” says Keith.