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  • /en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/testimonials/tpem%20matt%20at%20machine.jpg

    The Precision Edge Machine: Hurco Feature Saves Shop Thousands of Dollars

    ​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-volum...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Conversational, Aerospace, Medical, Motorsports, UltiMotion

    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.


    Why Hurco?

    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.

     tpem matt programming at control.jpg


    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.

    The Precision Edge Part
    “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.



    The Future

    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.”

     

    tpem part with ultimotion.jpg 

    Matt Smith says Hurco’s patented UltiMotion feature reduced cycle time by 20 minutes on this part. UltiMotion is technology exclusive to Hurco and relies on software to direct the motion control system instead of hardware. The result is faster, dynamic look-ahead that is optimized by the UltiMotion software.

     

    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

    763.856.8355

    http://www.tpemachine.com/

  • 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.




  • /en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/testimonials/_t/Injection%20Mold%20MMT%20022013_jpg.jpg

    Injection Mold - Hurco Eases Moldmaker's Transition to 5-Axis

    ​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 autom...Read moreTags: 5-Axis, Moldmaker, Conversational, Automotive, Medical


    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 Advantages
    Injection 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) 346-7002
    inject@tls.net / injectiomoldinc.com

     

    Click this link to read the article about Injection Mold as it appeared in MoldMaking Technology Magazine



  • /PublishingImages/home/m-tech.jpg

    M-Tech Lab: 35% Faster Throughput with UltiMotion

    ​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 elimina...Read moreTags: UltiMotion, 3-Axis Mill, Medical, NC

    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.

     

    DSCN0471.JPG

     

    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.

     
    Another noticeable benefit M-Tech has experienced is the lack of machine jerk. “With UltiMotion our machine runs very fast and we don’t get any jerks,” observed Miller. In the long run, smooth motion reduces stress on the ball screw and minimizes the wear and tear on the machining center's components. 
     
     
    Miller opened M-Tech in 1995 and fills approximately 10,000 prescriptions for custom orthotics each year. His customers are physicians throughout the United States and the U.S. military, which provides soldiers with inserts for their combat boots. Miller started his business in his basement, then moved to his garage, and opened M-Tech Lab in 1995. His organization was an important partner in allowing Hurco to test UltiMotion so it would be a software feature that would deliver measurable value to customers in terms of cycle time reduction, which ultimately increases the profit margin of each part.
     
     

    DSCN0470.JPGDSCN0474.JPG

    Tom Miller
    M Tech Lab
    8653 Bash Street
    Indianapolis, IN 46256
    www.mtechlab.com


     
  • /en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/RSTEngineering4.jpg

    RST Engineering Ltd - Cycle Times Reduced by Two-Thirds

    ​Founded in 1987 as a mouldmaker and subcontract machinist specialising in wire and spark erosion and manual milling, RST Engineering, Leighton Buzzard, i...Read moreTags: 5-Axis, Moldmaker, Motorsports, Medical, Aerospace, 3-Axis Mill

    ​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.


    The circuit board housings are 200 mm square and have to be machined from aluminium billets on six sides to dimensional tolerances within 15 microns.  In the process, over 90 per cent of the material is removed.
     
    When the part was milled on the 3-axis machine, five sides were completed in eight to 10 hours, including repeated manual refixturing.  The part is now machined in around three hours on the 5-axis Hurco.  As only one additional set-up is needed for machining the sixth face, the component is produced in just two milling operations followed by sparking.

    The steel component in the foreground is a fixture that was machined on the VM2 to secure ball bearings for blind holes to be sparked. Commented Mr Taylor, “A really useful feature of the 5-axis VMX is that the aircraft housing and similar, relatively simple cube-type parts can be programmed at the machine on Hurco’s twin-screen Ultimax control.
     
    “This takes a fraction of the time that would be needed on our Vero VISI 3D CAD/CAM system, which is freed for more complex programming.  “A further benefit is that the setter-operator does not have to walk back to the office to edit a program to adjust a tool, for example – it can be easily done on the shop floor using the control’s WinMax software.   
      
    ”He is particularly impressed with the NC-Merge feature within WinMax, which allows complex parts of a program to be generated off-line using a CAD/CAM system and imported into the Ultimax control for the remainder to be completed, taking advantage of the best of both systems.
     
    There are occasions when this strategy allows a more efficient program to be written than would be possible using off-line CAD/CAM alone.  One recent example was a 3D part that needed holes drilled in it after rotation.  They would have had to be drilled straight to depth, whereas pecking cycles were easily added in WinMax.
     
    Other 5-axis jobs machined on the VMX30U include plastic clock parts and a wrist support plate in titanium, both of which required fully interpolative 5-axis machining.  Mr Taylor suggests that while this is useful, allowing RST to take on extra work that it could not have tackled before, the main benefit of 5-axis is to reduce set-ups when machining components on five or six sides.
     
    “Every time you want to mill a sharp corner in a pocket to replace a radius, or drill a hole at a compound angle, it would involve another set-up,” he said.  “This not only adds production cost and risks introducing accumulative errors, but is monotonous for our operators if there are, say, 50- or 100-off to produce.
     
    Automatic 5-axis positioning in-cycle avoids the potential problem of an operator’s attention wandering and the consequent risk of scrapped parts.”
     
    A good example of a contract where 5-axis benefits are considerable is the production of components for high-voltage electrical switchgear.  They were previously produced in three operations but are now machined in one hit on the VMX30U.  In August 2010, 25-off of each of 10 varieties were produced and the customer wants a further 175-off.  That will be 4,000 set-ups saved.
     
    In RST’s case, with its EDM specialism, the 5-axis Hurco machine is assisting in the production of copper electrodes, which are also becoming more complex.  Accuracy of ± 6 microns is easily held on the VMX30U, which Mr Taylor describes as rigid, reliable and repeatable.
     
    In summary, he used the familiar expression: ‘how did we do without 5-axis machining before’.  In his opinion, it is becoming essential to compete for the production of all but the simplest of parts.  These tend to be manufactured overseas now unless volumes are low, in which case there is little money to be made anyway.
     
    He finds that designers these days are constantly using the power of their modern CAD/CAM systems to push the barriers of component complexity, which again dictates a move to 5-axis machining.

     

    Mr Taylor also said that people using 3-axis machining centres should not be put off by thinking that 5-axis machining is too complex.  It took only two days’ training to become conversant with programming 5-sided milling and drilling routines on the Ultimax control.
     
     
     

     

  • /en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/BAW4.jpg

    BAW Precision Engineering Ltd - Hurco Helps BAW Hit Niche Markets

    ​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 Swanse...Read moreTags: 5-Axis, Custom Machinery, Medical, Aerospace, Automotive, Energy Sector, Conversational

    ​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.

     
    The re-emergence of one of Wales leading subcontractors commenced less than a year ago with the introduction of new management, employee training and a lean manufacturing philosophy. These building blocks have been supported with new sales and marketing structure that can now promote the new capabilities provided by the subcontractor’s latest asset, a new 5-axis machining centre from Hurco.
     
    Already boasting marquee customers such as Biomet, The Royal Mint, Honda, Continental Teves, Walkers Foods, Borg Warner and Bosch to name a few, the diverse customer base sees BAW work in the medical, aerospace, automotive, power generation and hydraulic sectors among others. This extensive subcontract expertise is supplemented by an internal department that boasts one of the UK’s few specialist concept to component automation machinery builders. 
       
    With both departments increasingly winning new business, a new machining centre was a necessity. As BAW Precision’s Operations Manager, Mr Andrew Hoseasons comments: “The new ownership and internal developments at BAW has delivered an influx of new business and despite already having 3+2 axis set-ups on our existing machines, we acknowledged that we needed full simultaneous 5-axis capability to drive the company forward. We have identified a need in the marketplace and the new Hurco will be our first step to filling this gap in the market.”
     
    When Pontardawe based BAW entered the market for a new 5-axis CNC machining centre, the fact that the company already has nine Hurco machining centres purchased over a period of 20 years, influenced the decision. As Mr Hoseasons continues: “Despite having an excellent working relationship with Hurco, we still investigated the marketplace to review and consider alternative suppliers. However, we quickly found that the Hurco VMX30U was the most suitable machine for the type of parts we produce. Additionally, our experience informed us that Hurco machines offer exceptional reliability and user friendliness that is matched by excellent performance and productivity levels.”
      
    Emphasising such points, Mr Richard Gunn, Group Engineering Development Manager of RG Tooling, BAW’s development arm, is keen to highlight the immediate impact of the Hurco VMX30U with its integrated Trunnion table. “At present we are machining toolholders for sister company Eurogrind, a manufacturer of standard and bespoke milling and turning toolholders. The simultaneous 5-axis machining has already slashed production times. Previously, our square shank toolholders underwent three individual set-ups that took 10 minutes each. Added to the set-up times were three machining cycles of 15 minutes each, resulting in a complete part time of 75minutes per toolholder. Now, the new VMX30U only requires one ten minute set-up and one 15 minute machining cycle.”
     
    As one of the first jobs on the new Hurco, BAW are delighted with a time saving of 50 minutes. The company initially expected the VMX30U to deliver productivity gains of 25%; however this one job has delivered a saving that has surpassed 60%. This is credit to the reduced set-ups, efficient 5-axis tool paths and higher speed and feed rate capabilities. To put the saving in perspective, BAW machines the toolholders in batches from 10 to 30 with an annual production exceeding 500 units.
     
    Whilst the production times are being cut, Mr Gunn is keen to emphasise the benefit of the new Ultimax control system on the new acquisition, stating: “We have always found the Hurco control system easy to use, but the latest version takes user friendliness a step further. Each function box offers a foot note prompt that tells the operator exactly what to do, making errors difficult to make. From a productivity standpoint, we specified the twin-screen control. This enables us to machine a part with the existing program running on one screen whilst the operator can simultaneously program the next part on the second screen. As the majority of jobs passing through the machine will be small batches of 1 to 10-offs, this will drastically reduce programming times and improve operator productivity, especially as 90% of jobs are programmed on the shop floor.”
      
    “Other features on the Hurco Ultimax control that already benefit us, is the ‘surface finish feature’ that improves cycle times by automatically increasing or reducing speeds and feeds according to the cycle. Additionally, the new control has a transfer plane command that takes the trigonometry calculations out of any programming. It also enables us to merge NC code with intuitive 5-sided conversational programming, further simplifying and speeding up the programming process,” continues Mr Gunn. 
     
    One of the niche markets BAW is targeting is the oil & gas and hydraulic valve sector. The company set this strategy in motion when specifying the VMX30U that was installed in February 2011. The trunnion table with a 420mm face plate accommodates a diverse range of chucks and is ideal for producing complex valve components. As Mr Hoseason concludes: “We identified a gap in the marketplace and acquired the ideal machine for such complex components. This acquisition has enabled BAW to expand its target markets. When we promoted our extended capabilities and new machine at the recent Southern Manufacturing Exhibition, we had a major success winning over 15 new customers and significant orders in the process. Looking to the future, we will be implementing AS: 9100 to get a stronger foothold in the aerospace market. We will also be adding to our plant list – and with immediate impact of the Hurco VMX30U, there is little doubt we will be specifying Hurco machines in the future.”

     

     

     

  • /en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/RitewayEngineering2.jpg

    Riteway Engineering - Galway - Hurco Lathe Cuts Production Time in Half

    ​Over the past few years, there has been a significant increase in research and development activity at medical device manufacturing facilities around Gal...Read moreTags: Medical, 3-Axis Mill, Mill Turn, NC, Conversational, Great Service

    ​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.

     

    One contract machinist that was quick to spot these trends is ISO 9001:2000-accredited Riteway Engineering, located on the Liosban Industrial Estate in Galway City. To help it take advantage of business opportunities generated by the expanding medical sector, the company has invested in new machine tools, notably from Hurco Europe, and has forged links with NUIG (National University of Ireland - Galway) and GMIT (Galway - Mayo Institute of Technology).
       
    Riteway's specialisms are computer aided design and quick-turnaround manufacture of highly accurate components for the surgical, pharmaceutical and machine automation sectors. Batch size ranges from prototypes to several hundreds-off and over 95 per cent of turnover is currently in the medical sector.
     
    Company directors and equal partners, Chris Murphy and Keith Donnellan, founded the company in 2006 with a handful of manual turning, milling and grinding machines and one customer. They now employ 10 staff and operate wire-cutting and drilling EDM machines, a fused deposition modeller and laser marking equipment in addition to CNC turning and prismatic machining centres from Hurco.  Latest to be installed, in 2009, was a Hurco TMM8 lathe with 8 inch (203 mm) chuck, 12 driven stations in the turret and a short bar magazine for feeding stock up to 52 mm diameter.
     
    "The machine at least halves production time across the turned components we produce, allowing us to make parts less expensively," said Chris Murphy. "It has also allowed us to bring in-house some of the more complex turn-milling work that we previously had to subcontract out."  He commented that tight tolerances need to be held on some parts, often down to ±10 microns, which the lathe accomplishes without issue.
     
    As ever during comparative appraisals of machine tools that involve Hurco products, it was the simplicity and power of the manufacturer's CNC system that was the deciding factor at the time of purchase.  In particular, the Windows-based, conversational control offers consummate graphics support during programming.
     
    Mr Murphy mentioned that the screen graphics are especially important when proving out turn-milling jobs, as rotating components have much more momentum than cutters on machining centres, so there is the potential for heavy collisions if a program is not correct.
       
    It was a contract to produce 500 anodised aluminium carrier plates for transporting stents that led in 2007 to the purchase of Riteway's first of three vertical machining centres (VMCs), a 3-axis Hurco BMC30. The job was too labour intensive to complete economically on the company's 2.5D CNC milling machines and manual mills.
     
    Mr Murphy knew Michael Gannon, Hurco's local representative in Ireland, from contact at a previous manufacturing company and asked him to source a used Hurco VMC for machining the carrier plates. Again, the manufacturer's proprietary control with its conversational programming was instrumental in the selection of this make of machine.
     
    Called Ultimax, the CNC system has, alongside the left hand alphanumeric screen, a second screen on which a graphic of the part being programmed is continuously generated. The facility is useful for checking that the cycles are correct as programming progresses. Mr Murphy, who at the time had no prior experience of using CNC, confirmed that he was proficient with the control in just three days.
     
    Later the same year, a new, smaller capacity Hurco VMC joined the BMC30 on the shop floor. The 3-axis VM1 provided additional capacity for producing prismatic parts at the lower end of the size range. It was followed in 2008 by a similar, 4-axis model fitted with a CNC rotary axis for higher-added-value work, reflecting a trend in the medical industry towards ever more complex components. The latest machine's single-screen Max control is shipped with Hurco's latest WinMax software, similar to that in the Windows-based control on the lathe.  Continued Mr Murphy, "A lot of what we do requires small batch production, so efficiency of programming is very important to us.
     
    "Even though the Hurco controls are quick and easy to use, we only enter data manually around 25 per cent of the time. A majority of input is created in our MasterCam and Vero PEPS computer-aided manufacturing systems and downloaded as DXF files, which the Hurco controls can read directly.  "A big benefit of WinMax software is being able to toggle between conversationally generated code and external data blocks, merging them seamlessly to produce a finished program. We can do similar in the older controls, but it is more time consuming."
     
    Mr Murphy indicated that a point in favour of purchasing Hurco machines in Ireland is that it is relatively easy to find operators that have used them, so when they join Riteway their learning curve is short.
     
    After-sales service, training and support provided by Hurco from its High Wycombe headquarters in the UK are all good, he says, even over the telephone or if a drawing is emailed to High Wycombe for advice as to the best approach to programming.
     
    Riteway is now poised to take its business to the next level. Later in 2011 it will move to premises three times the size of its current unit nearby in the Galway City area. Chris Murphy and Keith Donnellan will take the opportunity to DNC-link all of the CNC machines and gradually increase the company's capacity list with a view to expanding into the computer, automotive, food and aerospace sectors. All of these industries have been serviced in the past but have had to take a back seat due to the concentration on medical work in recent years.
     
    Further Hurco machine tools will undoubtedly form a cornerstone of this new platform for business expansion.

     

     

     

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    Schivo Group - Conversational Control Cuts Cycle Times by a Third

    ​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 Ire...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Medical, Conversational

    ​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. 
     

    All of the Hurco machines were supplied through local Irish representative, Michael Gannon. The earlier model, which complemented manual-tool-change mills on site, was equipped with touch probing to speed workpiece set-up and boost productivity. It added machining capacity and high metal removal capability for manufacturing mainly medical devices and instruments in batches of typically 10- to 50-off.
     
    Jack Lyng, Technical Director of Schivo Precision, said that the success of the VMX42 installation prompted the purchase of the two new machining centres. Now, however, the programming software in the proprietary Ultimax twin-screen control has been upgraded to Windows-based WinMax, which is considerably more capable and speeds conversational programming.
     
    CAD data of particularly complex components are supplied by some customers and run through a hyperMILL CAM system at Waterford. Cutter paths are output in DXF format so that the programs can be conveniently downloaded directly into the Hurco control.
     
    For 85 per cent of the time, however, programming is carried out on the shop floor from drawings using the powerful conversational capabilities of WinMax. It displays graphics on the second screen at the same time as programming progresses on the first screen using convenient drop-down menus. The programmer can therefore check in real time that the cycles are being input correctly.
       
    Schivo programmer, Conrad Nolte, is enthusiastic about the facilities built into WinMax, citing so many advantages over the earlier software that the list needs to be curtailed here for reasons of practicality.
     
    A general observation he makes is of the control's user-friendliness, especially the fully-rotatable 3D graphics and tool movement simulation, which allow programming errors to be spotted quickly. Tool set-up is also faster, owing to the software's ability to assign spindle speed and axis feed rates automatically to achieve optimal surface cutting speed and chip load for any given tool type and workpiece material.
     
    New canned cycles speed data entry, such as pocket milling without having to define the boundary of the feature. Input of internal or external, clockwise or counter clockwise thread milling cycles, including for tapered threads, is made easier by restricting the amount of data that has to be input.
     
    Another new cycle allows drilling at different rotational speeds any number of times during a single operation. It was developed by Hurco for machining composite materials to avoid delamination, but comes into its own at Waterford when drilling at an angle using an indexable-insert tool. Slowing the speed during entry improves tool life when the inserts are taking interrupted cuts.
     
    When setting up the next part, bearing in mind that the soft jaws used by Schivo can vary positionally by 20 or 30 microns, or when measuring a critical feature in-cycle, probing speed is dramatically increased using the new 8 m/min rapid approach. This has had a big impact on productivity, according to Mr Nolte.
      
    He commented, "Before, without the facility to rapid the probe, the cycle took typically one minute, whereas now the same is completed in less than half the time.  "It not only shortens the overall cycle, but also encourages more frequent use of this function, enhancing product quality."
     
    He said that having WinMax has increased production output by speeding the cycles. What previously took 30 minutes to machine now takes, say, 20 minutes, which makes a massive difference over a large batch. Operators have therefore rewritten most of the old Hurco programs using the new software to speed the cycles on the VMX30t machines, while the VMX42 has been retrofitted with WinMax so that it too can gain the productivity benefits.
     
    Furthermore, WinMax will convert any conversationally prepared program into NC code so that it can be used on other makes of machining centre. Mr Nolte says that it is rather like having a CAM system on the shop floor, while an off-line version for office use is available which Schivo may install to free up the Ultimax controls. A DNC link to the machines is also planned.
     
    Assembly and test in clean rooms forms a major part of the service provided by Schivo, which has held ISO 13485 medical device certification since 2008. Work is also done for the semiconductor, aerospace, computer and oil/gas sectors.

     


     

     

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    Dawnlough Ltd - 50% Increase Production Output with Hurco

    ​Galway-based subcontract machinist, Dawnlough, which specialises in manufacturing components for the medical industry, has bought equipment to the value ...Read moreTags: Conversational, Medical, Mill Turn, 3-Axis Mill

    ​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.

    Other investments include Solidworks / Solidcam CAD/CAM seats, a CMM and vision system from Mitutoyo, two Fanuc wire erosion machines and a Citizen sliding-head lathe. Financial assistance was secured through funding from Enterprise Ireland, the Government agency responsible for supporting Irish businesses in the manufacturing sector.
     
    Established in 1990 by Brian McKeon's father, Patrick, the subcontractor started out as a general toolmaking company focusing on press tools. From the mid 90s, medical firms started springing up across Ireland, especially in the Galway area, and Dawnlough concentrated more and more on this sector.
     
    Today, 100 per cent of its business is in the design and production of special-purpose jigs and fixtures to assist in the manufacture of catheters, stents and other items for treating vascular and neurovascular disorders. Dawnlough is accredited to ISO 13485, which means that its management system meets stringent requirements for the design and manufacture of medical devices, and the company also holds ISO 9001:2000.
     
    One of the factors that kick-started the investment in Hurco machining centres was the length of time it took to program jobs on a pre-existing 3-axis VMC from another well-known supplier. At the time, Dawnlough operated a lot of manual machine tools but were keen to "CNC everything", as director Brian McKeon put it, to raise component quality and accuracy.
     
    He commented, "Production here is mainly one-offs and small batches, so we wanted to be able to program each new part quickly on the shop floor, otherwise job preparation becomes too large a proportion of overall manufacturing time, reducing profitability.
     
    "Conventional G-code programming on our old VMC was really quite slow. So we looked around for a faster solution and homed in on the conversational Max CNC fitted to Hurco machines. The Max control is the compact, single screen version of Hurco’s popular Ultimax control.  "The difference was staggering. We found we could program up to six times more quickly by manual data input at the Max control, and as we only make small quantities of parts, it has translated into a 50 per cent increase in production output overall."
     
    He went on to say that from programming demonstrations performed in his office by Michael Gannon in 2005 using a dummy Max control, it was already clear that big savings were possible. The exercise was directly responsible for Dawnlough's purchase of the first Hurco machining centre, a VM3. It was joined two years later by a similar model, followed by a line of three smaller-capacity VM1s in 2009 and three of the updated VM10 version in 2010 and 2011. Of the eight Hurco VMCs currently on the shop floor, three are fitted with an integrated Hurco H200 rotary table to provide a fourth CNC axis that can also be programmed conversationally, direct at the control.
     
    The more modern machines have controls equipped with Hurco's powerful, Windows-based WinMax software. Over 75 per cent of programs are prepared on the shop floor, rather than being downloaded from the CAD/CAD department, so the extra functionality of Winmax is proving particularly beneficial.
     
    Even some complex 3D cycles are generated conversationally using the software's Swept Surface function, whereby a 2D surface is defined and swept along a contour to create a 3D geometry in a single data block. In addition to saving time, the continuous tool path generates a smoother surface finish.
     
    Until the beginning of 2011, while efficient prismatic machining at Galway was firmly in place, the subcontractor was struggling with the turning element of some drawing packages. That was when the Hurco TMM8 CNC lathe was installed, with its capacity for producing components up to 256 mm diameter by 588 mm long.
     
    The lathe is also driven by WinMax software, so rapidity and flexibility of programming is now enjoyed in respect of mill-turned parts as well. According to Mr McKeon, the accuracy of the lathe is particularly impressive, quality is better, lead time is quicker, and as batch sizes are also low for turned parts, profitability is up.
     
    He explained that these benefits are particularly noticeable now that his operators have become more familiar with the lathe and are confident in exploiting the driven tooling. Floor-to-floor time for some of the more complicated components is 60 per cent shorter than when other lathes are used. An additional benefit of milling and drilling in-cycle on the TMM8 is that the machining centres are freed from performing these duties.
     
    A wide variety of materials is machined by Dawnlough, from titanium and stainless steel to aluminium and plastics. General drawing tolerance of ±10 microns is easily held and good surface finish is achieved, resulting in components with the all-important aesthetic look so important in the medical industry.

     

     

     

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    Pharma Tooling - Increases Flexibility with VMX64

    ​Cheltenham subcontractor, Pharma Tooling, (www.pharmatooling.co.uk) which until the middle of 2007 could prismatically machine parts up to 750 mm long in...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Aerospace, Medical, Conversational

    ​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.


    Said owner and managing director, Phil Vines, “My plan is to grow the business and to do that, we have to be able to take on anything that comes through the door, 24 hours a day.
     
    “We can now machine bigger components within the Hurco’s working envelope of over 1,600 x 850 x 750 mm, and we also have the flexibility to produce smaller parts by setting up two or even three together on the table, using the 4th axis if required.
    “Additionally, the 18 kW high-torque spindle and availability of through-tool coolant means that we can efficiently cut stainless steels including Duplex, as well as other tough alloys, which we are doing increasingly for customers in the offshore and other industries.”
     
    Around one third of Pharma Tooling’s business is pharmaceutical-related.  Blister pack tooling is regular work, which involves machining a 1.6 metre long, aluminium bedway that joins the forming and sealing sections in the production line.  The bedway is now machined in one hit on the Hurco, rather than in two clampings as previously.
     
    Aerospace work accounts for another third of turnover and is currently a particular focus for Pharma Tooling, which was granted AS9001 approval during 2007.  The company is a member of the West of England Aerospace Forum and follows cGMP (current good manufacturing practice) guidelines throughout all stages of design and manufacture.
     
    The SBAC (Society of British Aerospace Companies) has recently trained the subcontractor’s 16 staff in lean manufacturing and capacity planning.  The company is aiming to become a signatory to SC21, which is designed to accelerate the competitiveness of the aerospace and defence industry by raising the performance of its supply chains.
     
    Most of the work put on the VMX64 so far has been either prototypes or small batches of 1- and 2-off.  Some dimensional tolerances, especially for medical and aerospace applications, are tight at ±0.05 mm, a level of accuracy that Renishaw component and tool probing helps to maintain.

    All jobs for the Hurco are programmed on the shop floor.  The ease and speed with which this is carried out using the proprietary Ultimax twin-screen control system was one of the principal reasons for Mr Vines selecting this machine tool manufacturer.  With small batch work, fast turnaround is of the essence to ensure profitability.  A 24-hour lead time from order to delivery is not unusual, particularly for pharmaceutical components.
    Luckily, Mr Vines was familiar with the benefits of Hurco machines and their Ultimax CNC system from his work at previous companies.  The VMX64 is the first machining centre that he has acquired since he bought the Cheltenham subcontract firm from administration in 2003.  There are eight pre-existing vertical and horizontal machining centres on site, all 4-axis models, which are programmed off-line, batch size on these smaller machines being typically 50-off.

     

    The capacity list also includes four CNC lathes and a new Robofil 300 wire EDM machine that was installed in 2007 at about the same time as the Hurco.

     

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    Formagrind - Electronics Sub-Contractor Expands to Beat Foreign Competition

    One British subcontractor fighting back against the threat from China, India and Eastern Europe is Formagrind (www.formagrind.com) based in Neath, South W...Read moreTags: Automotive, Medical, 3-Axis Mill, Conversational
    One British subcontractor fighting back against the threat from China, India and Eastern Europe is Formagrind (www.formagrind.com) based in Neath, South Wales.  Despite a tough period during 2002 and 2003 in the electronics industry that it predominantly serves, the company has carried on investing in an average of one Hurco vertical machining centres per year since the late 90s, and now has eight on the shop floor.
     
    Commented Formagrind's manager, Mike Couser, "Our customer base is unrecognisable compared with five years ago, showing how quickly we have had to adapt to stay in business.
     
    "We face a double threat – loss of work to overseas subcontractors as well as relocation of factories from South Wales to low-wage countries.  Five major electronic firms have announced plant closures in this area in the last few years, most recently Sony and Panasonic."
                   
    He explained that to keep production costs down, Formagrind concentrates on multi-manning the Hurco machines and minimising set-up times, allowing competitive prices to be quoted.  At the same time, over-reliance on one sector, that of making parts for printed circuit board assembly and wafer processing machines, has been cut back from 80 per cent of turnover to 35 per cent.  In its place, the company has won new contracts from the automotive and health care sectors, albeit still with the accent on electronic components for engine management systems and medical apparatus, for example.
     
    Driving down non-productive time has been crucial.  In this respect, the ease of shop floor programming on Hurco's proprietary control system has been helpful.  Mr Couser says that around half of all components are programmed on the shop floor, as the menu-driven CNC system is particularly user friendly and quick, taking the load off the company's CAD/CAM systems, which are reserved for programming more complex work.
     
    He continued, "The advantage of our Hurco VMCs is that we can produce long and short runs economically on them, giving us considerable flexibility and allowing us to offer quick turnaround to match our top quality and competitive prices.
     
    "For example, we currently devote two machines over two shifts to the manufacture of 20,000 components per month for one customer, whereas other machines frequently produce prototypes and small batches.
                                                                                                  
    "The reliability of the Hurco machines has also proved to be very good, so downtime does not eat into our profits."
     
    Serving customers in a wider variety of industries has dramatically expanded Formagrind's experience in machining different materials.  The majority of tools and fixtures produced in the early days were steel, whereas now the firm is routinely working with tungsten, titanium, ceramic, silicon carbide, silicon aluminium and exotics such as Kovar, Super Invar and other controlled expansion alloys.
     
    General tolerances are ± 10 microns, although ± 2 microns is routinely held for some applications.  Quality control is underpinned by CNC co-ordinate measuring and SPC software.  ISO 9001:2000 has been held since 1994.
     
    Recent examples of parts made by Formagrind on its Hurco VMCs include an electronics package for a GPS tracking satellite, machined from aluminium alloy in a two-hour cycle and then ground; and five-sided machining from solid round Super Invar of a microscope stage for nanotechnology, with subsequent wire erosion.
     

     

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    Caragh Tool & Die - Shop Floor Programming Saves Time

    ​A steady increase in subcontract work for the medical industry coupled with the trend towards greater component complexity has prompted Caragh Tool &...Read moreTags: 5-Axis, Conversational, 3-Axis Mill, Medical

    ​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.

     

    Founded in 1982, Caragh employs 80 people at a 2,300 sq m. facility in Galway, Ireland.  It provides consultancy and product design optimisation services followed by machining of prototypes and small batches up to production volumes.  Typical components find their way into transport refrigeration systems, semiconductor manufacturing plant and gas chromatography equipment.  Materials machined include titanium, stainless steel, aluminium and a range of plastics.
     
    In 1998, a separate division called Caragh Meditech was formed to meet the highly specialised demands of the expanding medical device sector.  Now accounting for 45 per cent of turnover, its products include parts for ventilators, drug delivery systems, dental apparatus, ophthalmic and orthopedic surgical instruments, manufacturing tooling for various medical products and implantable devices such as stents.
     
    The latest machining centre, supplied through Hurco Europe's sales agent in Ireland, Michael Gannon, is a VMX30S 5-axis model fitted with twin rotary axis table, 15,000 rpm spindle and 24-station tool-changer.  Its normal mode of operation is with two linear axes and one rotary axis interpolated while the other two are fixed. 
     
    It was in the early 90s that the first Hurco was installed in the factory, a BMC30, which was chosen largely due to its twin-screen, graphics-based control system.  It lends itself to easy shop floor programming and is ideal for both experienced and less experienced operators, according to Caragh's engineering manager, Pat Ryan.
     
    He commented, "G-code programming may be better for high volume work or where the part contains complex surfaces, but for prototypes and short runs, conversational programming on the Ultimax is much quicker and more flexible for the majority of jobs. "Speed is of the essence, as set-up time is long compared with total machining time if there are only a few parts to produce, so lengthy programming procedures would reduce profitability."
     
    Shop floor programming is used for 85 per cent of jobs on the Hurco's at the Galway firm, even for producing components with complex contours.  The company's CAD/CAM system is used when complex 3D surfaces need machining and where the production of a DXF file, for download to the Ultimax control, is easier than direct conversational programming.
     
    As most of the Hurco machines and controls date back to the 90s, Caragh has opted for an Ultimax off-line programming station.  It uses the latest and most capable software that is better for tackling complicated jobs and provides more powerful 3D simulation of the cutting cycle.  Around 10 per cent of work is currently programmed off-line using the Ultimax software, and the resulting code runs on any of the machine / control combinations, even the earliest.

     

    "This backwards compatibility is one of the things we like about Hurco controls," said Mr Ryan.  "The machines have also proved to be very reliable during three-shift operation over the years."

     

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    DW Engineering - Standardised on Hurco Due to User Friendliness

    ​Since its formation in 2005, DW Engineering has expanded its Hamilton, South Lanarkshire contract machining business at an impressive rate. Its success i...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Aerospace, Energy Sector, Moldmaker, Medical, Conversational

    ​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.

     

    A further reason for the company's rapid progress, according to owner, David Watt, is the exclusive use of Hurco vertical machining centres (VMCs) for prismatic metalcutting.  He said, "They allow fast, accurate shop floor programming as well as easy import of externally prepared data.  "The machines have been central to our ability to offer top quality work, quick turnaround and attractive prices.  "As a result, we gain most new business through recommendations from existing customers."

    Main sectors serviced are gas sensing, medical, aerospace (2nd tier supply) and oil/gas, for which injection moulds are machined for producing plastic components. The variety of materials machined is vast. Metals include stainless and mild steels, titanium, copper, bronze, brass and aluminium.
     
    In addition, a broad spectrum of plastics is cut, including PTFE, PEEK, Delrin, all grades of nylon and glass filled laminates. Considerable knowledge has been accrued in workholding, tooling and machining strategies for the often delicate materials.
     
    Accuracies routinely achieved are ± 0.1 mm but some gas sensing and aerospace parts have drawing tolerances down to ± 10 microns, which are easily held. The gas sensing components are used in anything from domestic boilers to laser-based drug testing equipment and airport scanners for explosives.
     
    Some contracts are exacting. A recent job won back from the Far East, due to poor accuracy machining carried out by a Chinese supplier, required an array of 750 aluminium gas sensor parts to be machined from aluminium plate. This particular job was supplied by the customer as a DXF file, which Hurco controls can import directly.  Each part has three fine-pitched, M3 x 0.25 mm tapped holes. The milling, drilling and tapping operations are carried out on a Hurco VM10  in a 7-hour cycle, after which the individual components are separated from the plate and transferred in batches to a Hurco VM1 for second and third operations. They involve clamping the parts 12 at a time in two fixtures for skimming and then drilling of a single cross hole in each component.
     
    DW Engineering also machines stainless steel screws and pins for this sensor assembly. Another contract for the same industry entails deep hole drilling two 300 mm long by 6.35 mm diameter holes through an aluminium billet. Each 47xD hole is machined in 12 minutes using a long-series carbide drill from ITC.
     
    Mr Watt's first experience of Hurco machines was operating a VMC and a knee mill in his father's subcontract business during the early 1990s. Both were equipped with the manufacturer's own Ultimax conversational control system, which is characterised by having two screens. One is used in touch mode for entering data via the drop-down menu buttons, while the other displays a graphic of the part as it is created, allowing most programming errors to be spotted immediately.
     
    It was this early exposure to the user-friendliness and power of the CNC system that encouraged Mr Watts to standardise on Hurco VMCs when he started his own company. First on-site were a BMC2416 VMC with nominal half-metre-cube capacity and two Hawk 5M mills. The VM1 with 4th axis was installed mid 2009, followed by the VM10 a year later.
     
    By this time, the control had become even more powerful due to the introduction of considerably expanded functionality and the adoption of the Windows operating system. The so-called WinMax software suite contains a feature called Swept Surface that is particularly useful to DW Engineering. It allows complex mould tool machining cycles with advanced cutting strategies to be generated in one conversational data block by sweeping a 2D surface over a contour.
     
    "It is unbelievably quick," confirmed Mr Watt, "and the continuous toolpath generates a very smooth surface finish."
    The facility is ideal for DW Engineering, as lately mouldmaking has increased to account for some 15 per cent of turnover, principally for a company in Aberdeen that supplies cable joints used on subsea control pods and camera mounts.  Each half of the aluminium injection mould spends two to three hours on one of the Hurcos, as very small step-overs are used when programming the ball nose milling cutters to perform the finishing passes. The end user's name and logo are sometimes engraved into the mould surface during the cycle using WinMax Lettering software.
     
    The quality of the moulds directly off the Hurcos is excellent, according to Mr Watt, who said that the mirror finish requires hardly any polishing. Each mould produces around 5,000-off plastic joints.  Programming is invariably done on the shop floor in WinMax due to its simplicity, although the subcontractor operates seats of AutoCAD and SolidWorks to handle customer files supplied in those native languages or in the IGES and STEP neutral data formats.

     

     

     

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    Acrona Engineering - The Magnificent Seven

    ​Seven vertical machining centres from the same supplier, HURCO Europe, have been installed during the past 10 years in the Witney, Oxfordshire works of A...Read moreTags: 5-Axis, 3-Axis Mill, Aerospace, Custom Machinery, Medical

    ​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 investment was prompted by existing customers in the aerospace, medical and motor sport sectors in particular asking the subcontractor to manufacture more complex parts from a variety of materials.  However, the machine’s presence on the shop floor has attracted additional work from new sources as well.

    One of the first jobs onto the machine was an aluminium component for equipment designed to secure screw-on caps to the tops of drinks bottles.  Another application was one-hit 5-axis machining of cryogenic components from copper, involving positioning two of the CNC axes and interpolating the other three.  In an example of fully interpolative 5-axis machining, Acrona Engineering produced clutches from titanium billets for an F1 race car.
     
    Albert Soave, owner and managing director, commented, "We are winning more and more contracts from first-tier suppliers to the aerospace industry, which now accounts for about a quarter of our turnover.  Our plan is to move further into this type of high-added-value work, for which the 5-axis machine is ideal."
     
    A high-speed Hurco VMX42HS machining centre with 15,000 rpm spindle and a fourth axis was installed recently to fulfill a job for the brewery sector, involving the production of 1,500-off components from billets of black acetyl, 88 at a time, in two set-ups.
     
    The first operation was programmed conversationally at the HURCO control running WinMax Windows-based software.  The extra CNC axis, provided by a rotary indexer, was then used for complex profiling on the reverse of the component in a second operation that was programmed off-line on a Pathtrace CADCAM system.
     
    A high spindle speed was needed for this application not only to raise productivity but also to achieve a fine surface finish.  Normally such parts would be moulded, but in this instance the volumes were not high enough to warrant the expense of having a mould tool made.
    Another application for the same industry involved machining food-grade plastic (Nylatron) for the production of a cider and slush dispenser.  This particular application required the use of the fourth axis for complex surfacing work.
     
    A further job for the brewery sector, which should gladden the hearts of sports enthusiasts keen on a beer at half-time, was Acrona’s production from a similar plastic material of a fast-pour spout.  It is employed to dispense four pints of lager in six seconds in sports stadia across the country.
    The VMX42HS is also highly productive when machining light alloys.  For example, a part was machined at Witney from aircraft grade aluminium for Britain’s Beagle 2 Mars lander.
     
    To fulfill a contract for the pharmaceutical industry, this time from 6082 aluminium, Acrona Engineering produced a batch of feed-through tubes that deliver tablets into blister packs before they are sealed.  The component is first turned and then transferred to the fourth axis indexer on the machining centre for a spiral to be milled down part of the length.  The component’s complexity required programming to be carried out off-line, tolerances being down to ± 10 microns.

    Where many subcontractors serving the aerospace industry have moved towards HURCO’s larger capacity, gantry-type machines, Acrona has gone the other way, favouring the manufacturer’s smallest VM1 vertical machining centre with 660 x 355 x 457 mm working envelope.  One was installed in 2007 and a further model, this time with a fourth axis, was installed earlier this year.

    Continued Mr Soave, "These machines are good value for money and very compact.  Our bigger machines are more economical when producing larger parts, whereas the VM1 is ideal for machining smaller components in batches ranging from one-off to several hundreds.
     
    "Our plan is to move towards larger volumes of more sophisticated, higher value components.  Already a number of existing customers as well as some new companies have asked us to quote for this type of work."
     
    To this end, Acrona Engineering has also been strengthening its turning department and has recently installed its first sub-spindle lathe with Y and C axes.  It brings to seven the number of turning machines on site.
     
    In conclusion, Mr Soave highlights the long-term accuracy of HURCO machining centres, stating that his first three machines, installed a decade ago, are still in daily use and reliably holding tolerances as tight as 10 microns.

     

     

     

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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.