Just because a piece of equipment functions doesn’t mean a shop should keep using it. Mast Motorsports realized that a couple machine tools at its Walled Lake, Mich., facility had become technologically obsolete and, therefore, needed to be replaced. The Nacogdoches, Texas-headquartered company manufactures automotive components, such as cylinder heads, intake manifolds and induction systems, for street performance and racing. Mast primarily machines aluminum and plastic.
After researching suitable replacement machines from Hurco North America at a trade show and considering similar offerings from other machine tool builders, Mast purchased two Hurco 5-axis CNC milling machines: a VMX60SRTi and a VMX42SWi. “The best replacement was the configuration Hurco had to offer,” said Cary Chouinard, director of manufacturing at Mast.
According to Indianapolis-based Hurco, the machines are configured to use a swivel head with either an A- or C-style rotary table. The rotary table measures 66"×26" (1,676.4mm × 660.4mm) and enhances versatility because it can provide extra table space for secondary operations or 3-axis work.
Chouinard also appreciates that the milling machines’ controls allow additional work to be performed at the machines. “The whole manual for operating the machine and everything that you want to know is right at the controller,” he said.
In addition, programming the machines isn’t a challenge. “Whether you’re using G and M codes or manually programming them, it’s very simple,” Chouinard said.
Compared to Mast’s outdated equipment, the Hurco machines are almost twice as fast, according to Chouinard. He added that Mast has been able to decrease machining time while reducing the step-over and producing more consistent and higher-quality parts. “The cost savings have been huge,” Chouinard said.
Although the quickness of the machines enables aggressive cutting, Chouinard noted the machines, which have a peak spindle motor horsepower of 48 hp (36.5kW) at 2,900 rpm, are quiet enough so that he can hear what is happening throughout the 7,500-sq.-ft. shop.
“It’s more advantageous for us to run with one line of machines,” Chouinard said, “so we’re trying to go with all Hurco equipment here.”
Read the full story from Cutting Tool Engineering here
Watch The Video From IMTS 2016
Concept Molds in Michigan says the investment in the Hurco VMX42i CNC machine has lowered their costs anywhere from $3,000 to $9,000 per mold. The main advantage of the Hurco CNC machines has been the flexibility of the control that features intuitive conversational programming, but also has industry standard NC. “These are very charismatic machines,” says Concept Mold’s General Manager. Favorite features include the high accuracy of the Hurco CNC machines, the repeatability, ease of programming with conversational, and the interrupt cycle.
What can a company do when it has a healthy flow of work running through its facility but a lack of skilled workers to complete it all in an efficient, cost-effective manner? This moldmaker found the solution in two Hurco VMX 42i CNC mills with conversational programming capability.
Read the full article Case Study From: MoldMaking Technology, Cynthia Kustush , Senior Editor from MoldMaking Technology
Images courtesy of Concept Molds Inc.
An article in Engieering Capacity features Hurco customer RP Tooling, a company focused on toolmaking with 50% of their parts being used for vehicles such as the Range Rover Sport, Audi R8 Etron, F-Type Jaguar and the Ford Ranger. The other half of RP Toolings molds could be components anything from medical equipment to lawn mowers to boilers.
RP Tooling's owner says that a new feature in the Hurco software on the latest machines, called Ultimotion, reduces cycle times by up to 30 per cent. UltiMotion was invented by Hurco and includes software-based look-ahead, which uses an advanced algorithm within WinMax to evaluate the component geometry and motion profile of the cutting cycle to optimise and smooth the tool paths.
The company finds UltiMotion especially beneficial when profiling complex features, reducing manufacturing costs and allowing more competitive prices to be quoted. So great are the advantages that all of RP Tooling’s Hurco controls will be updated this year with the new software.
RP Tooling currently has 11 Hurco 3-axis machining centers and one Hurco 5-axis machining center.
Read the full article.
Image copyright © Mercator Media 2015
During the last 30 years, Injection Mold, Inc. (North Vernon, Indiana) has grown from a small garage shop dedicated to producing lens molds for the automotive industry to a full-service shop that that specializes in Rapid Prototyping (RP) molds for multiple industries, such as medical, electronics, safety, baby products, appliance, and plumbing. A desire to reduce set-up times and increase accuracy led the company to upgrade from three-axis to five-axis machines.
According to General Manager Jason Vawter, Injection Mold has a stellar reputation when it comes to speed. “Customers call us immediately when they need something quick, without even considering their other suppliers, because we are the quickest," he says. This need for speed led Injection Mold to consider upgrading from three-axis to five-axis technology. “A lot of our RP work involves multiple setups on three-axis machines, and with the short deliveries we do, we needed to find a way to speed up our times,” Vawter explains. “Using five-axis technology would allow us to eliminate a lot of set-ups.”Vawter looked at a number of different machines, but all roads led to Hurco. “One of the reasons we went with Hurco is that they are right down the road from us,” he says. “We also owned Hurcos in the past and have been very happy with them. We found that the VMX30U was exactly what we were looking for.” Hurco decided to make 5-Axis a priority 10 years ago and has dedicated resources to the development of features that make the transition easy for 3-axis shops. Hurco even started a website devoted to five-axis education (www.FiveAxisMachining.com) that includes a dedicated telephone number and email that goes directly to Hurco Applications Engineers with expertise in 5-axis/5-sided. The VMX30U that Injection Mold purchased is one of 11 Hurco 5-Axis machining centers that are the result of Hurco’s focus on 5-axis. While the transition from 3-axis machining to 5-axis can be intimidating, most machinists grasp the concept fairly quickly and continue to realize additional benefits the more they use the machine. “Five-axis was a brand new area for us,” Vawter recalls. “Since we have always had three-axis, we grew accustomed to working in three planes. Then, all of a sudden, there were five.” While he says it took the employees several months to get completely comfortable with the machine, Hurco was always readily available to field questions.Multiple AdvantagesInjection Mold bought the machine solely for the purpose of eliminating multiple set-ups, but Vawter notes the more they use the VMX30U, the more they find they can do with it. “For example, we had some slides (multicavity tool with multiple slides per cavity) and they have angled holes through them on 20 degrees,” he elaborates. “There’s a 25-degree angle on the back with tapped holes. To machine these in the past, we would have one set-up for each operation on a 3-axis mill and it would have taken probably five set-ups with an hour to an hour-and-a-half on each block. When we do it on the VMX30U, it is one set-up and 20 minutes in each piece.”Another payoff is higher accuracy. “Each time you have to take the piece out of the machine to put in another setup, you take a chance of everything not blending out,” he explains. “Now we just pick it up one time and we will cut from the top and the machine will rotate and cut the piece from the side—so accuracy is better. We maintain .005 micron accuracy on our work.” Vawter is very pleased with the VMX30U. “Once we made the leap, we continue to find more benefits—things we didn’t even consider are now possible. We have had it a little over a year and we feel like we are just starting to scratch the surface of what we can utilize it for. We will definitely consider another five-axis purchase by year’s end.”Injection Mold, Inc. / (812) email@example.com / injectiomoldinc.com
Click this link to read the article about Injection Mold as it appeared in MoldMaking Technology Magazine
Established in 1985, Wepco Plastics specializes in short-run prototype injection molds in aluminum and steel. The company has grown to more than 45 employees who work at the 10,000 square foot facility in Middlefield, Conn. In the fall of 2008, Wally and David Parmelee (Wepco owners) found themselves at a cross roads in terms of milling capacity for their tool room. Should they continue with their current milling technology (a known quantity with zero learning curve) or invest in the future by purchasing a higher performance machine? They knew this decision would impact their tooling and in-house molding business for many years to come. Introducing new technology to a shop always presents a learning curve, which is an inherent risk, but new technology can also promote growth. For Wepco, the reward of reduced cycle times and increased productivity, which enabled them to book more jobs per week without sacrificing quality, was worth the risk.Pre-Purchase: Identify What MattersWhen Wally and David decided to break stride with their current equipment and purchased a Hurco VMX30 machining center from Brooks Associates (Norwell, MA), four factors were paramount to their decision-making process: a control with an open architecture, mechanical design, local service, and customer references.
Can you measure the benefits of new technology?The decision to move forward and invest in new technology proved advantageous for Wepco. The Hurco VMX30 delivered superior performance and part quality in a fraction of normal cycle times. Wepco primarily focuses on aluminum molds for prototype and short-run batches. The dual-wound 12,000 rpm spindle of the Hurco VMX30, coupled with Hurco’s new motion control system called UltiMotion™, drastically re¬duced total part cycle time by as much as 200-300% in some cases with no loss of accuracy or finish. Before UltiMotion™ Wepco would finish machine at 40 ipm. With UltiMotion, they are able finish machine at rates from 125-350 ipm! According to David, he believes productivity will continue to improve, “We have really started to focus on pushing the machines to see what they can really do, and I have to tell you that every day we do something that just blows us away. With the UltiMotion, along with tweaking our post to make segmented or linear moves, we are achieving extremely high feed rates up to 800 ipm. As an example, we had a cut that would have been at least 100 hours long on our old machines that we did in 30 hours and I believe that we could even cut that in half. We finish cut the cores with a .0469 end mill ground back .500 at 100 ipm. We could have easily doubled the speed and got the same results. And I don't have to polish the mold! The finish is that good!”
These productivity gains yield increased profit margin for existing jobs and additional capacity due to increased throughput. For example, a 30% productivity gain turns a 40 hour work week into at 52 hour week in terms of throughput with zero overtime for labor and zero increase in debt service on the equipment.The VMX30 also offered opportunities for Wepco to expand its capabilities. For example, due to the rigidity and spindle speed of the VMX30, they can do hard milling on inserts. Wepco routinely machines 58 Rc mold inserts made from S7 tool steel. Parts come off the machine ready for assembly in the mold. Success with this type of material is due to advanced cutter technology and the Hurco UltiMotion™ software, which optimizes machin¬ing rpm and feed rates based on part geometry. UltiMotion™ routinely reduces cycle times on 3D programs by as much as 40%. How UltiMotion WorksAccording to Hurco engineers, this new technology from Hurco utilizes the power of software for motion control instead of relying on hardware. The secret to UltiMotion is the advanced trajectory algorithm in the software that generates significantly faster yet smoother motion than any hardware only solution. While there are numerous technical details, some of the straightforward results include cornering velocity that is 2.5 times faster than conventional motion, 50% less machine jerk, and a patented dynamic variable lookahead mechanism that doesn’t require a fixed number of blocks. Instead, the control evaluates the geometry and motion profile and makes sure there is enough lookahead information to make optimized maneuvers. This lookahead mechanism of UltiMotion is another reason why better surface quality can be obtained in a shorter period of time.
Going ForwardWepco was so encouraged by the productivity of the VMX30 that they added a second Hurco VMC shortly thereafter (Hurco VMX24). Both machines have proven to be reliable sources of production for Wepco’s tool room as they continue to grow. Wepco attributes this growth attention to detail and quality, as well as customer satisfaction by diligently following specifications, meeting delivery dates and offering competitive prices on short run injection molding.WEPCO Plastics, Inc.27 Industrial Park Access Rd.P.O.Box 182Middlefield, Connecticut 06455(860) firstname.lastname@example.orgBrook Associates300 Longwater Dr.Norwell, Massachusetts 02061(781) 871-3400Brooks Associatessales@brooksmachinery.comHurco Companies, Inc. 1.800.634.2416One Technology WayP.O. Box 68180Indianapolis, IN email@example.comWindows® is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries.UltiMotionTM is a trademark of Hurco Companies, Inc.
One Friday morning in August 2005, a mince pie arrived in a taxi at the Crewe works of subcontractor, Vector Precision, with the request that the crust be reverse-engineered and a mould made for its volume production. Owners Tony Bourne and Les Ford set about measuring the dimensions of the nine thumb impressions around the periphery of the pie, which was the unique feature of the product. It then took them around 15 minutes to program their Hurco VM1 machining centre to mill the required mould.
“We are also currently working on additional designs for the other sports. So watch out rugby fans.”
In the last three years, the number of Hurco vertical machining centres on the shop floor at Tool & Gauge, Co Sligo, Ireland, has trebled to six, and the mould- and tool-maker has also invested in computer-aided engineering software from Pro/Engineer, SolidWorks and Delcam.
Installation of a Hurco vertical machining centre (VMC) in the toolroom at the Ross-on-Wye factory of rubber mouldings manufacturer, Wye Valley Precision Engineering, has resulted in much faster availability of mould tools compared with when the company was using a manual-tool-change CNC mill. A typical middle plate in P20 tool steel is now programmed and machined in six hours, whereas the same job used to take a week. Said machine operator, Matthew Griffiths, "Programming was very time-consuming using our previous machine because the control system did not accept the DXF file output from our CAD system. So after a mould was designed, I had to program every feature manually at the control and the complexity of the tools meant that there was a risk of making errors, which were subsequently difficult to find and correct."This contrasts with the user friendliness of the Ultimax control fitted to the Hurco VMX-24 VMC, installed in April this year (2003). Mr Griffiths advised that the twin-screen CNC system not only reads DXF files directly and automatically generates tool paths from them, but also has powerful on-board software to simplify creation of the entire part program.
During 2011, 4,000 such seals will be produced in the press shop at Newtownards, which has 17 power presses rated from 35 to 500 tonnes force for subcontract production runs of progression and deep drawn components.
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.
Since its formation in 2005, DW Engineering has expanded its Hamilton, South Lanarkshire contract machining business at an impressive rate. Its success is largely down to an ability and willingness to undertake anything from prototype work to large batch production for many different industries, and to offer machining expertise in a wide range of materials.
2006 saw a rationalisation in the press tool making industry in the West Midlands, with dozens of firms going out of business, including some of the biggest names. A similar shake-up in the plastic injection mouldmaking sector happened a few years ago. These trends are mirrored around the UK as OEMs either relocate overseas or buy their tools from low-wage countries.
"All in all, the Hurco was the best bang for the buck and has the least amount of downtimes over other machines."-Damon Weaver, Owner , Xcentric Mold & Engineering
Watch the Xcentric Mold Video
To keep your business competitive in the 21st century you need to be efficient, flexible and demonstrate a quality product. The Weaver brothers in Chesterfield, Michigan have built their business around those requirements. Hurco is proud to be their vertical machining center of choice. Brendan Weaver and Damon Weaver, owners of Xcentric Mold & Engineering, have defined efficiency by creating a process flow system that lets their employees run three to four machines at a time. “One guy can even run five,” boasts Damon Weaver. Xcentric's flexibility extends beyond the types of molds and parts they create. Xcentric is also flexible in the breadth and depth of services they provide.
“We can turn it from concept to a finished part, and do everything in between,” said the Weavers. “We do part design, FDM rapid prototyping, prototype molds, bridge tooling, and do our own injection molding, all under one roof.” Xcentric's main focus is Fast and Accurate turn around prototype molds and parts with in a 5-16 day delivery to the customer. Xcentric has given new meaning to “fast and accurate turn around” in prototyping. The Weavers grew the business from their CAD and Prototype mold making expertise. “What sets us apart today is, we do what we say and say what we do. Customer service is key and we are proactive in the whole process.” Being proficient in solid modeling, we can propose changes to the customer's solid data, from any format and return the data via email. This service saves days off the build, as being part designers and mold makers we can prepare data for mold ability.
Hurco AdvantageXcentric runs one shift, and routinely runs lights out operations to maximize efficiency. In addition to investing in process efficiency, quality certification (ISO 9001: 2000), and talented employees, Xcentric has invested in top-notch equipment. They have 13 CNC vertical machining centers with 10 of them being Hurco models—two VMX24s, seven VMX42s, and a BMC4020. They also feature Roboshot and JSW, all electric molding machines, and their Engineering department features FDM rapid prototyping, Mold Flow analysis, and seven CAD/CAMseats.
Xcentric utilizes aircraft grade aluminum to produce detail-oriented prototype plastic injection molds that require tight tolerances and longevity, usually up to 100,000 pieces or more. The sample of molds and parts displayed include a variety of consumer products and various automotive parts.One of the Weaver brothers' favorite masterpieces complements their interest in fishing. The Rapid Release Breakaway Rod Holders are proudly displayed on the company's sample shelves. Known for being a true breakaway rod holder, the Rapid Release Breakaway rod holder allows the angler to set the hook and remove the rod from the holder in one motion. This product showcases Xcentric's full-line of abilities—they designed the prototype, made the molds, and produced the actual product. SummaryAt Xcentric, Hurco is the preferred vertical machining center. The operators like the ease of use, especially the ergonomics of the control—slanted screen for easy viewing and big buttons. Additionally, the Xcentric owners say the coolant-thru-the-spindle, the wash down system and chip auger, keep the chips out and the machines clean, “because there is no time to stop the machine when we are building molds,” says Weaver. “All in all the Hurco was the best bang for the buck and has the least amount of downtime over other machines”.
For Damon and Brendan Weaver, another Hurco advantage is the man who represents the company in their area. Damon says Fred Braun, of Braun Machinery, is diligent, extremely knowledgeable, and made the decision to go with Hurco an easy one. As the Weaver brothers expand their efficient prototyping services to more companies and industries, Hurco and Braun Machinery will be there every step of the way.