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    Cube Precision Engineering - Manufacture of Automotive and Aerospace Components

    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 ...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Dual Column, Automotive, Conversational, NC

    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.

     

    The latest investment follows recent strong business growth, particularly in the manufacture of automotive press tools for producing interior and body components for such famous marques as Land Rover, Jaguar, BMW and Honda. Turnover at the 35-employee firm is expected to increase this year by more than 12 per cent compared with 2011 to £3.5 million.
     
    One recent high-profile job involved completing work on tools for pressing the door outer panels that go into the new, all-aluminium Range Rover (L405), launched at the Paris Motor Show on 27th September 2012. Other press tools machined on the 3-axis DCX include those for producing the wheel arches for the Jaguar F-Type (X152), a new, aluminium-chassis, two-seater sports car due to enter production in 2013.
     
    Mould tools, progression dies and transfer tooling are also produced on a total of 11 CNC machines running 24 hours a day, 5 days a week at Cube's Rowley Regis factory. The larger machines are fitted with multi-axis heads to enable   3+2 axis CNC machining of complex components.
     
    Outside the automotive industry, the Hurco DCX regularly produces aerospace components, including for jet engine research, and machines parts for armoured personnel carriers and tanks. Materials processed range from aluminium through cast iron, Armox, aerospace grade steels and Inconel to D2 and P20 tool steels. Almost all work is for primes and tier 1 manufacturing companies.
     
    Cube's service encompasses proving the tooling it produces on presses ranging up to 4.5 metres / 1,000 tons-force. For the aerospace sector, the company designs and manufactures tooling used in die quench and super plastic forming processes as well as a range of composite materials.
     
    Neil Clifton, one of three director-owners of Cube, commented, "We are one of very few companies in the UK that has invested in the space, craneage and equipment to machine parts to five metres in X and weighing up to 35 tonnes.
     
    "Finish machining of large-size parts was causing a bottleneck, so we opted for a Hurco DCX, as it was economically priced for a machine with over six cubic metres of working volume.  "Despite its size, the machine easily achieves general tolerances of 0.03 mm and regularly goes down to 0.02 mm, with excellent surface finish.  "We also like the fact that the machine comes with a 40-position magazine and automatic toolchanger for BT50 cutters as standard. Such equipment normally costs extra on a machining centre of that size."
     
     
    Another benefit of the machine to Cube is that its operators, already familiar with using the twin-screen WinMax / Ultimax control on the other four Hurcos on site, could move seamlessly onto the identical CNC system controlling the DCX32. WinMax has powerful, conversational shop floor programming capability and a second screen on which a graphic of the part is generated as the cycles are built up.
     
    Mr Clifton says that, in practice, most 3D cycles are prepared off-line from customers' models, imported into Delcam Powershape, via IGES if necessary, and processed using Powermill CAM software.
     
    Changes to a job can require urgent attention, such as alterations to a tool when automotive body parts are not fitting together properly during a vehicle's initial build phase. So prompt programming offline from a revised solid model is essential while the tool is being transported back to Cube.

     

    It is usual for simpler 2D elements of a program to be programmed at the control by the machine operator, however. One of the benefits of WinMax is that such cycles can be easily merged with the 3D cutter paths prepared externally. Previously, such an approach would have resulted in two separate cutting cycles.

     

  • /en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/ABGraphicDCX22.jpg

    AB Graphic International Increases Efficiency with DCX22

    The world's leading manufacturer of narrow-web label finishing and converting lines, AB Graphic International, used to put out the machining of large plat...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Dual Column, Conversational, Custom Machinery
    The world's leading manufacturer of narrow-web label finishing and converting lines, AB Graphic International, used to put out the machining of large plates used in the construction of its equipment.  Even though free-issue aluminium, mild steel and boiler plate was supplied to subcontractors, expenditure on machining was in excess of £80,000 per year.
     
    So in July 2009, the Bridlington company installed a Hurco DCX22 bridge-type machining centre and brought the work in-house.  The competitive price of the 2,200 x 1,700 x 750 mm capacity machine means that it will pay for itself within 18 months. Phil Robson, operations manager at AB Graphic, commented, "We machine a lot of ones and twos when producing larger structural plates; 12-off is a big batch for us.  "Rapid set-up is therefore very important for economical manufacture of components.  "We chose the Hurco machine partly because the Windows-based conversational control has the ability to import data files directly from our CAD system, speeding program preparation."
       
    Machine operator Andy Playforth takes up the story.  "Over our network or using a memory stick, I download a DXF file of the part to the Hurco Ultimax CNC and it appears on one of the two screens.  The conversational menu within the WinMax software comes up on the other screen to guide me through the programming sequence.  "I extract all component features and dimensions from the 2D file.  For example, the software will identify all holes of a certain size and put them automatically into the program.  I just need to tell the machine which drill to use. "Similarly, pocket coordinates are entered without having to key them in manually.  Again, I simply specify the mill and the direction of travel and the next part of the cycle writes itself automatically. In this way, the program is quickly compiled.
     
    If a repeat job is being run and design changes have been made since the last iteration of the component, which frequently happens due to AB Graphic continually striving for improved production efficiency, edits to the program are made easily on-screen from notes on the drawing.

    Mr Playforth says that a large aluminium plate measuring, say, 2,150 x 1,500 x 20 mm and containing over 100 features can be programmed in less than 45 minutes at the Ultimax control.  In contrast, the same job would take many hours on a different control on the shop floor, as all parameters would have to be keyed in manually, with a consequent risk of human error and potential for scrapped parts.
     
    He continued, "Having two screens on the CNC system means I can see a graphic of the part created as the program is built up.  It is rather like having a CADCAM system inside the control. "You can get similar software for other controls, but it costs extra and we would need to retrofit different packages to all of the various CNCs on our shop floor to achieve the same functionality."
     
    Another big advantage of WinMax, he says, is that the program stores the position of the part on the table as well as the cutting cycle.  So if the next billet is fixtured in exactly the same place and no edits are required, production can start immediately.
     
    Founded in 1953 by George Burton and now in its third generation of family ownership, AB Graphic employs 180 in Bridlington, nearby Middleton and Baesweiler, Germany.  Over 80 per cent of production is exported.

    It is the company's policy to subcontract out half to three-quarters of component production, according to the workload on its own shop floor.  It was one of the local subcontractors, which operates several, albeit smaller, Hurco machining centres, that recommended AB Graphic source its bridge-type machine from the same supplier.
     
    Installation of the DCX22 was described by Mr Robson as "phenomenal", carried out by "consummate professionals".  Apart from the machine’s competitive price and the benefits of the integrated Hurco control, the other feature that impressed AB Graphic’s production staff was the all-round guarding, allowing aluminium to be milled at high speed without showering chips all over the shop floor.  Other bridge mills they looked at only had fence-type or open guards.
     
    In practice, the machine has proved to be very accurate.  Some dimensional and positional tolerances – hole centres for the path rollers that transport the web, for example – are down to 10 microns total to ensure accurate label production and printing.
     
    Based on the success of the DCX22, when another machining centre on the shop floor had reached the end of its useful life, the automatic choice to replace it was another Hurco, a VMX42m with 1,067 x 610 x 610 mm working envelope.  It is fitted with a Max control, which has all of the Windows functionality of an Ultimax, but without the second screen.
     
    Speed of programming is only one way in which AB Graphic maximises production efficiency.  Both Hurco machines, and indeed seven other machining centres on the shop floor, carry drilled jig plates on the tables to reduce the time needed to locate and clamp components.
      
    Renishaw tool length setting and probing for datuming components and post-machining inspection have been fitted to the Hurcos to ensure that machining starts as soon as possible after the component has been fixtured.
     
    A further initiative has been to work with tooling suppliers to maximise metal removal rates.  Solid carbide cutters are used, mainly from SGS for machining aluminium and Fenn for use on steel.  Mr Robson referred to big improvements that have been made in tooling performance over the past year.  The power and rigidity of the Hurco machining centres helps to extract maximum advantage from this latest tooling technology.

     

  • TGM

    TGM Ltd - DCX32 Expands Capabilities for Aerospace Contractor

    ​"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 pr...Read moreTags: Dual Column, Aerospace, 3-Axis Mill, Conversational, NC, Great Service

    "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.

    Hurco DCX32Steve 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.