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    Ed Carpenter Racing + Hurco

    Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) partnered with Hurco to gain an edge in the competitive world of IndyCar. Two Hurco CNC machines grind out parts for the motorsp...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Motorsports, Conversational, Lathe, NC, 5-Axis
    Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) partnered with Hurco to gain an edge in the competitive world of IndyCar. Two Hurco CNC machines grind out parts for the motorsports team located in Speedway, Indiana. In return, the Hurco logo is displayed on the team’s cars and uniforms in addition to special access for customer events during the IndyCar season.

     
    Robbie Ott, the head machinist at CFH Racing runs the machine shop. He discussed the transition to Hurco machines after we installed our flagship Hurco VMX42i mill and a TM8i lathe. Ott also elaborated on the possible benefits he expects when the shop adds the Hurco VMX42SRTi 5-axis machine.

    Setup Time

    "Switching from manual machining to 3-axis CNC, setup times have been reduced, even with the need for cutting soft jaws. Although the soft jaws take a lot of time that would not have been spent necessarily in the manual world, the time savings incurred is priceless. The CNC's manual jog and DRO also save time making part setup quick. I would imagine that when I make the switch to 5-axis machining, setup times will be reduced again, possibly more than the reduction from manual to 3-axis.The need for only two setups per part vs. six (or even more) will reduce setup times tremendously and I am looking forward to making the switch," said Ott.  

    Workholding/Tooling Reductions

    “Workholding was nearly non-existent in the manual world, so moving into 3-axis opened up a new world for me with fixturing. I have built some pretty extravagant fixtures for machining 4-6 sides of a part (not including the initial 'first op' side).   A great deal of the work I do on the Hurco is experimental and proprietary damper parts.The Dampers, or 'shock absorbers' are one of the most important parts of an Indy car and Hurco has allowed us to make strides in developing our own manifolds for managing fluid flow. These parts require multiple fixtures for machine opps on all sides and some angular setups.I am eager to get started with the VMX42SRTi and reduce my fixturing to one simple mount for the other 5 sides of a part or 'hemisphere' if you will.”  

    Part Accuracy

    "I would say that the accuracy of parts is tremendously better with the 3-axis CNC vs. manual machining.I would say that the accuracy of parts is tremendously better with the 3-axis CNC vs. manual machining.I was pretty good at holding half of a thousandth tolerance on the manual machine (if needed), but it was painful.With the Hurco machines, I get tenth of thousandths tolerance without even trying.The major advantage of moving from 3-axis to 5-axis I anticipate will be the accuracy in which the respective operations line up on the finished product.We all know that a half of a thousandth difference in surface matching is visible and can even be felt.Getting it perfect in the 3-axis machine is next to impossible (you are only as good as your fixture is!).Need I say I rarely attempted these types of operations in the manual mill, and at the end of the day, functionality was key, and abrasives were almost always necessary," explained Ott.  

    Surface Finish

    "I was completely amazed the first time I saw the Hurco cut metal!I had never seen such beauty.The combination of being flooded in Quaker coolant and the precise match of feeds and speeds left a surface finish that I never knew could be produced.The improvement that I look forward to in the switch to 5-axisis in the transition from surface to surface as described before."  



    Processing

    "Having a TMX8i and VMX42i machine next to each other has become a processing dream.After I became fluent in both "languages" if you will, I find myself often making use of both machines at the same time. Often I am turning a part in the lathe that I will then put in the mill for some milling opps to turn out a finished part efficiently. One example of this is threaded spring perches which I have made often, even before Hurco.This part has a series of holes around it for a spanner wrench, and a couple of threaded holes as well. I write 8 short programs, placing a position block in between so I can open the door and turn the table to press start again.This may seem barbaric, but believe me, it is still 10 times faster than doing it on a manual mill.This is a processing improvement that I look forward to when I switch to the 5-axis machine, no more rotary table. Other times my Hurcos are making completely different items, either way, it can be extremely productive for me."  


    Flexibility in prototype manufacturing

    "I especially like using the Hurco when building prototypes. Just recently we built prototype damper parts. And like with most prototypes, we did not succeed the first time. Hurco gave us the flexibility to make modifications quickly and easily without starting from scratch.Hurco and HSM Works solid modeling allowed us to build these extravagant and complicated parts that would not have been possible on the manual machine," concluded Ott.

     

  • 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.




  • /SiteCollectionImages/product-sliders/vertical/vm/VM10i.jpg

    S-3 Industries - Right Equipment is Key to Success

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

    ​S-3 Industries in Ontario, Canada, produces a wide variety of products using multiple materials, such as aluminum, nickel-based alloys, castings, stainless steel, cold-rolled steel, titanium, exotic metals, and plastics. Customers include aerospace, military/defense, satellite and communications, and enery and resource companies.

     

    S-3 purchased a VM10i due to the power of the integrated Hurco control. S-3 Operations Manager Vince Ferri says, "You can do many production pieces on the VM10i with ease, but it's also great for secondary operations...It is fast to set up, and incredibly user-friendly."

     

    To read the entire article, which appeared in Metalworking Purchasing & Production, click here.

  • /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/ShopfrontVeem.jpg

    Veem Engineering - Forget the Vuvuzela, Get the Minizela

    “We are also currently working on additional designs for the other sports. So watch out rugby fans.” -- Sacha Vere, General Manager, Veem Engineering, S...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, NC, Moldmaker, Energy Sector

    “We are also currently working on additional designs for the other sports.
    So watch out rugby fans.”

    -- Sacha Vere, General Manager, Veem Engineering, South Africa
     
    When people think of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, they instantly remember the Vuvuzela. Now get the football hooter known as the Minizela. Unlike its big, cumbersome more famous cousin, the Minizela is only 14 cm in size and comes in a completely different shape. The principle of blowing to make the sound that is just as pervasive and noisy as the Vuvuzela holds true, but in the case of the Minizela, far less effort and technique is required.

     

    As one can see by the pictures in this article the shape of the Minizela is completely different to the Vuvuzela and has been 100% patented, according to its developers Veem Engineering.
     
    Veem Engineering was founded in 1969 and today is run jointly by equal share partners Sacha Vere and Debbie van der Westhuizen. The company, started by Sacha’s father who was a tool and die maker, focused initially on general engineering with emphasis on special tooling manufacture and high pressure zinc die casting. This type of work continued to occupy the company’s shopfloor until 1995 before a change of emphasis took place. Plastic products and components were making their mark so Sacha Vere decided to purchase a plastic injection moulding machine. He had the design experience to make the moulds and was soon manufacturing a variety of plastic components for a number of industries.
     
    As the plastic injection moulding business flourished, there came a greater need bring some of the tooling manufacture in-house. This would help to improve product quality and speed of turnaround. Sacha Vere comments “The plastics side of the business was very successful and we needed to maintain our reputation so we decided last year to take control of the situation and start investing in the tool room again.”
     
    New Hurco CNC machining centre
    Last year the company moved forward in this department by investing in a Hurco VM1 CNC high speed machining centre with conversational programming.When Sacha started looking for CNC equipment with a low-cost investment for the tool room he was not sure what he wanted. However after he saw Hurco’s VM1 at a local show, he realised that he could get machining centre performance and productivity without sacrificing fast programming and setup. His decision was easy.
     
    Hurco’s VM1 machining centre hit the mark for the versatility Veem Engineering needed. Its X-Y-Z axis travels at 660mm x 356mm x 457mm, packaged on a 2 700 Kg frame that only takes up 3.5 m², made it a perfect fit for their operations. Coupled with its 15 HP 10,000 RPM spindle, 18 mpm rapids and 16-station swing arm ATC, the VM1 was ideal for the challenges that they face.

    “We are now able to make and maintain our moulds again. Our tool designer also invested in SolidWorks and Autocad packages on the design side as well as MasterCAM on the machining side” explained Sacha.
     
    “We can now provide customers the unique service of designing the required product, manufacturing the mould, designing the necessary tooling and then manufacturing the final plastic product.”

    Other products produced by Veem Engineering include low cost lighting and SABS approved electrical fittings that are sold to various electrical wholesalers and distributors, and mining products manufactured to ISO specifications that are currently sold to Impala Platinum mines. The mining products are used in underground drilling machines. Other products include hi-tech computer controlled smoke detection units made under licence, promotional items in plastic and zinc as well as a range of custom mouldings for the telecommunications industry.
     
    The Minizela
    The idea to design and manufacture the Minizela was conceptualised in 2009. “We believe that the Vuvuzela is a cumbersome product that is very ugly when you look at it. We admit that it has enthralled the masses but there is always room for a product that is unique to the sport. You will see with the first one that we have designed, that it comes in the shape of a football” said Debbie.
     
    “The design was quite challenging especially as you had to ensure that the sound emanating from the product was ‘pleasant’ on the ear and right from the beginning we had decided that the product had to be something more manageable in terms of its handling aspects” continued Debbie.
     
    “The Minizela is made up of four components and a diaphragm. We make the mould tools on the Hurco and injection mould the components in-house. Each cycle time is about 30 seconds and we are capable of producing about 80,000 a month.”  “The beauty of the Minizela is that the branding is a simple task and is identified via a sport. For example if you wanted a Manchester United Minizela we make up the plastic shrink wrap to your design. The possibilities are endless in this area. We are currently working on additional designs for the other sports as well, so watch out rugby fans” Debbie enthused.  “We made it just in time for this 2010 Football World Cup and we are very pleased that it is a Proudly South African product” concluded Debbie.
     
    Veem Engineering is based in Knights, Germiston, Gauteng and utilises 600 m² of factory space. The current staff compliment is 17.
     
    For further details contact Veem Engineering on Telephone: +27  (0)11 822 7671

     

     

     

  • /en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/ToolandGauge2.jpg

    Tool and Gauge Invests in Hurco to Compete in Global Marketplace

    ​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...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, NC, Moldmaker

    ​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.

     

    The company specialises in providing customers with a high level of consultancy at the early development stages of a product, followed by project management from design through optimisation and manufacture of the mould to tryout runs on seven machines rated up to 400 tonnes.  Plastic injection moulds are the core business, although some thermoset, compression, rubber and blow mould tooling is also produced.
     
    Managing director, John O'Donnell explained, "We started using Hurco machines back in 1988, as conversational programming at the twin-screen Hurco control was intuitive and quick, giving us good 2.5D modelling capability.  So we avoided the difficulty of using G-codes, as on other machining centres.
     
    "Today we program almost exclusively by downloading files from our CAD/CAM systems, as parts have become full 3D and much more complicated.  However, the latest Hurco CNCs have more powerful processing capability, giving us the flexibility to program simple to relatively complex 3D jobs, if necessary, from a drawing on the shop floor."
     
    Driving the recent investment is fierce competition from overseas toolmakers, particularly in China.  Mr O'Donnell says that three Chinese toolmakers a week send him e-mails offering their services, so they must be blanket-mailing all of his competitors and customers in the UK as well. 

    Tool brokers are also calling on customers regularly to offer their services.  Portuguese toolmakers are around, but Tool & Gauge does not find difficulty competing with them on price.  There is not so much direct toolmaking competition from Eastern Europe at present, although some UK firms are relocating out there and sourcing their moulds locally.
     
    "Where companies like ours score is in the level of service we can provide, not just in design and consultancy, but also in speed of order turnaround," continued Mr O'Donnell.  "Whereas five years ago we used to quote 14 - 16 weeks delivery, this has fallen to 8 - 10 weeks now."
     
    "Overseas toolmakers, especially those in China, find it almost impossible to compete with those time frames; and if things go wrong or design alterations are needed, deliveries take much longer.  There is evidence that some work is coming back from the Far East due to long lead times and quality issues."
     
    Prices have to be competitive, however.  Tool & Gauge quotes the same price for a job today as it did five years ago, yet material costs and overheads have risen considerably, so charge-out rates have dropped in real terms.  To make a profit as well as to meet tight delivery deadlines, it is essential to invest in modern production plant, hence the installation of two Hurco VMX42s, a VMX64 and a VMX42 over the past three years, which joined a VMX30 and an older BMC2416.
     
    Labour costs also have to watched carefully over the two- and sometimes three-shift operation.  Two operators look after all six Hurco machines, even though some cycle times are as short as one hour; but this is offset by other jobs being on a machine for up to a week.
     
    Concluded Mr O'Donnell, "Price and delivery of Hurco machines are good and they do exactly what we need them to, reliably and efficiently.  To continue our push towards more complex, higher added-value contracts, we will probably invest in a 5-axis machine next."
     
    Established in 1956, Tool & Gauge (www.toolandgauge.ie) employs 50 people at its 3,500 sq ft factory in Tubbercurry, Co Sligo.  There are over 45 metalcutting machine tools on the shop floor including machining centres, lathes, wire and sinking EDM, and both surface and cylindrical grinders.  Markets served stretch from Ireland and Britain to mainland Europe and the USA.

     

     

     

  • /en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/WyeValley1.jpg

    Wye Valley Precision Engineering - Faster Turnaround for Rubber Mould Tools

    ​Installation of a Hurco vertical machining centre (VMC) in the toolroom at the Ross-on-Wye factory of rubber mouldings manufacturer, Wye Valley Precision...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Conversational, NC, Moldmaker

    ​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.


    For example, a rubber mould might contain, say, 1500 holes in four blocks which used to take several hours to program.  Using the Ultimax control, it is simply necessary to program one block, highlight it on the right hand graphics screen, and then rotate and repeat it three times around the appropriate PCD.  It is then possible to input the commands for centre drill and drill for all holes at the same time, instead of individually.  Another feature is the unlimited number of islands that may be created within a pocket boundary (the previous maximum was 12) and the automatic, gouge-free machining.
     
    A further area of programming that is speeded is the generation of 3D parts from 2D contour profiles followed by automatic creation of roughing and finishing cycles after telling the control which tools to use.  This is a real benefit to Wye Valley Precision Engineering, as more and more it is being asked to design and produce 3D moulds for the manufacture of keypads, for example.
     
    "The Ultimax control is by far the best on the market for one-offs,” said Mr Griffiths.  “It is so quick to use that sometimes I have difficulty believing the program is right.  I have more confidence in this CNC system after one month than I had in the previous control after 10 years."  When the machine is cutting metal, various features within the control contribute further to faster mould production.  Conversation touch-probing of the tool allows periodic checking of the tip for wear, with the appropriate offsets sent automatically to the control.  Alternatively, if necessary, a command is sent to replace the cutter with a sister tool from the 24-station magazine.  Mr Griffiths also highlights the recovery/restart feature within Ultimax, whereby after the spindle has been stopped it is possible to resume cutting immediately at the same point, without having to cycle through from the beginning of the last whole program block.
     
    Certain design characteristics of the machine itself promote high productivity with minimal operator attendance.  Flood coolant is effective at washing swarf to the front of the machine, from where a spiral augur transfers chips into a bucket at the side.  It is not necessary to stop the machine to clear swarf from the working area.  Notable also is the high speed of the Hurco VMC compared with the previous CNC mill.  10,000 rpm is 2.5 times higher than the previously available spindle speed, and cutting feedrate is double at 2 m/min with the possibility of 8 m/min utilising new tooling currently under investigation.
     
    Paul Nelson, manufacturing director of family-owned Wye Valley Precision Engineering, was surprised at the variability of response from the eight machine tool vendors he contacted when he was researching the market.  One well known supplier had an old fashioned showroom, derided the competition's machines and failed to keep its website up to date.  Some had outdated looking machines and / or controls.  Others wanted to make an additional delivery charge to take account of the restricted height of the door at the Ross-on-Wye factory.  "In the end, Hurco was the obvious choice," said Mr Nelson.  "All the machines in the range are modern and good value for money, the Ultimax control is a clear advantage and the approach of the company was very positive and helpful.  We felt that it conducted its business in the same way that we do.”
     
    In conclusion, Mr Nelson confirmed that he had proceeded with updating his toolroom after the company had rejected the option of outsourcing the manufacture of mould tools.  "We like to be in charge of  our own destiny," he said, "and rapid availability of tools is important to us in order to ensure a prompt service to our customer's.  "We can turn round a rubber mould in one week, including design and manufacture, or perhaps in two weeks if the tool is particularly complex.  We could never match this by going to overseas suppliers.
     
    "In any case, the high quality and low price of foreign-sourced moulds appears to be a myth.  We had a tool made once in France which was very poor quality; and a number of Portuguese toolmakers sent us prices that were not far below those quoted by UK suppliers.  In the end, it made sense to keep this important function in-house."

     

     

     

  • /en-us/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/AandG2.jpg

    A & G Precision - The Profitability of 5-Axis

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

     

     

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    RP Tooling - Hurco Machines Facilitate Toolmaker's Success

    ​Brett Mitchell and Darren Withers founded their new company, RP Tooling, as recently as June 2005. Yet by September 2010, turnover had grown to the point...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, NC, Aerospace, Automotive

    ​Brett Mitchell and Darren Withers founded their new company, RP Tooling, as recently as June 2005. Yet by September 2010, turnover had grown to the point where they were able to move out of a rented industrial unit in Halesowen and purchase a freehold property nearby.  The two partners, who now employ 20 additional staff, put their success down to following the market and targetting industry sectors that are buoyant at any given time. For example, three years ago a majority of work was for the aerospace industry whereas presently, moulds for automotive customers account for half of throughput.


    Purchase of seven vertical-spindle,3-axis machining centres from Hurco has also played a part in the toolmaker's expansion, allowing high quality products to be delivered on time and within budget. It is noteworthy that three of the Hurco machines as well as a Mitutoyo CMM were installed in summer 2009, right in the middle of the recession, underlining Mr Mitchell's opinion that regular investment in new plant is crucial for business expansion, even in difficult times.

     

    RP Tooling specialises in short-lead-time design and manufacture of aluminium injection moulds for producing plastic prototypes and short batch runs, typically up to 5,000-off. Some smaller steel tools are machined for longer production runs. The firm also makes investment tooling for production of castings, destined mainly for export markets in Europe.
     
    Another facet of its business is low-volume machining of bespoke jigs and fixtures as well as components in anything from resin board through plastics and aluminium to hardened steel, predominantly for Formula 1 teams and luxury car manufacturers.
       
    At the outset, Messrs Mitchell and Withers researched the market for mid-range vertical machining centres (VMCs) that could cope with such a wide variety of work.  Mr Withers commented, "We chose Hurco VMCs because their sturdy construction and build quality stood out from the rest. Compared with some of the machines we looked at, there was a big difference in robustness.

    "The Hurcos have also proved easy to use. Two days' training is provided with each machine, but we have not been on any of the courses. The engineer that commissioned the first machines showed us a little of how to program using the conversational control and we just took it from there."
     
    RP Tooling is not a typical user of Hurco VMCs, however. The powerful, Windows-based Ultimax control running proprietary WinMax shop floor programming software is often the deciding factor at the time a customer purchases a Hurco machine. It had no bearing on the Halesowen toolmaker's choice, though, as staff rarely use the facility. It only comes into play for engraving part numbers around tools and for preparing programs for machining some components and fixtures.
      
    Invariably, mould design and programming are carried out off-line using ZW3D (formerly VX) CAD and NCG CAM software based on an imported solid model of the end product supplied by the customer. A single post processor is needed for downloading machine code to all seven Hurcos via DNC links. As the machines have similar sets of cutters resident in the tool magazines, jobs are freely interchangeable, providing considerable production flexibility. Mr Mitchell added, "Although we do not use Ultimax for programming our tools, we do find the control's 'work offset' feature useful when running machines unattended overnight and at weekends, which we do regularly.
     
    "It means we can maximise productivity by fixturing multiple jobs on each machine table, as appropriate. We may import, say, three programs created on our CAD/CAM system and simply enter two additional G-codes to tell the spindle to redatum automatically after each job has finished."
       
    All CNC plant for prismatic machining at RP Tooling is from Hurco. The machines work alongside a CNC toolroom lathe and various manual mills, drills and lathes and a small sparker. There is also a 130-tonne injection moulding press on site for proving out tools and undertaking low volume runs for customers, and two wax presses for proving out investment tools.
     
    The company's next purchases will be a 5-axis Hurco machining centre to expand component manufacture and speed complex profiling jobs; and a much larger DCX22 with a 1.75-metre Y-axis to tackle larger moulds that the company is currently having to turn away.

     

     

     

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    Crossen Engineering Ltd - Toolmaker Expands into Aerospace Sector

    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 subcontr...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Aerospace, Automotive, Moldmaker, NC, Conversational

    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.

     

    The contract has boosted the proportion of aerospace sector work done by Crossen Engineering to 20 per cent of turnover.  The company received AS9100 quality management accreditation in 2010 and intends to grow the aerospace side of its business further to 75 per cent by 2015.  Another recent aerospace project, for University of Ulster spin-off, LenisAer, Belfast, was to design a press tool for forming a sector for an engine nacelle lip skin from a sheet metal blank, currently aluminium but perhaps also titanium. The concept, to extend the trailing edge, promote laminar flow and eliminate a join, has been proved and production quantities are being considered. A lip skin prototype will be exhibited on Crossen Engineering's stand at the International Paris Air Show 2011 in June.  Pressworking contracts carried out in other industries include making a tool and supplying hood reinforcement parts for lift trucks; and tools used in the production of the Audi A8.
     
    Started in 1978 by Paul Crossen's father, Derek, to service a local need for press tools, the firm moved into the manufacture of steel and aluminium mould tools in the mid 90s. It gradually established an injection mould shop which now has machines from 60 to 500 tonnes clamping force to fulfil subcontract runs in short lead times. Today, the split between press tool and injection mould work is roughly 50:50.
     
    A recent success was winning back a contract previously lost to China, namely tool manufacture and production of plastic moulded parts used in flat-pack kits for polling booths and ballot boxes marketed by Pakflatt in Derry. Another injection mould, machined on a Hurco VMX42, is for producing parts for ABS dummies assembled by a Belfast company, Trucorp, for resuscitation training.
     
    A customer in receipt of both mould and press tools together with the plastic and pressed parts is roof window manufacturer, Keylite, Cookstown. These days, Crossen Engineering is rarely asked to make only the tool.
     
    Derek Crossen bought the company's first Hurco, a BMC40, 25 years ago through local Irish representative, Michael Gannon. "The machine gave 20 years of excellent service, cutting a range of materials including prehardened steels," confirmed Paul Crossen, "and although not currently in use, it is still operational."
     
    The machine's reliability and suitability for toolmaking, with its ability to manufacture one-offs efficiently and move on rapidly to the next job, is behind Crossen Engineering's decision to purchase prismatic metalcutting equipment only from this source. In the last six years, the company has installed four VMX42s, the latest in April 2011, and a VMX64 to increase the size of parts that can be machined in-house. All are 40 taper machines.
       
    The first VMX, with 12,000 rpm spindle, arrived in 2005 to produce aluminium injection moulds for manufacturing rubber mats for cars. Suppliers to Porsche, Mazda, Kia and Mercedes Trucks number among the many users of these moulds.
     
    One of the other VMX42s has a higher speed spindle capable of 15,000 rpm. It was bought to concentrate on machining of aluminium parts for aircraft, such as seat supports and trim, as well as to produce vacuum forming tools.
     
    The VMX64, with its 1,626 x 864 x 762 mm working envelope, was acquired in 2009 for machining bolster plates and other larger components whose production was previously subcontracted. A similar machine will replace the BMC40 at the end of 2011.
     
    Programming efficiency at Crossen Engineering is just as important as machining time, because very often only one part is produced. In this respect, Winmax software in Hurco's latest Ultimax control is proving beneficial.  Although it is possible to use the conversational capability to program relatively complex 3D shapes on the shop floor, this is mainly done in Delcam Powermill and downloaded. Programming of 2D shapes is well within the control's remit, but again, the toolmaker tends to do this in Autocad and send a DXF file to the Ultimax, which is able to read the data directly. The rationale is to eliminate the possibility of human error.
     
    Conversational capability in the control is used to prepare some simpler programs. However, it really comes into its own for conveniently copying and pasting existing macros for pocketing and drilling, for example, into downloaded NC programs. The software also provides flexibility for editing programs quickly on the shop floor, without having to return each time to the CAM system in the office.  Conversationally generated elements of the program can be integrated seamlessly with blocks of G-code in Winmax. Moreover, merging of the two can be completed in background while the previous part is being cut, so valuable production time is not lost.
     
    One operator runs two Hurco machines at Newtownards over a single shift at present, so there is plenty of capacity to ramp up output, if order levels dictate. Nevertheless, Crossen Engineering already benefits from production hours after each manned shift, as one or two machines routinely are left to run unattended overnight and at weekends. Some jobs, such as profiling of the car mat injection moulds, continue largely unattended for 48 hours.

     

     

     

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    Cube Precision Engineering - Manufacture of Automotive and Aerospace Components

    Black Country toolmaker and subcontractor, Cube Precision Engineering, has installed its largest Hurco machining centre to date, a 3,200 x 2,100 x 920 mm ...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Dual Column, Automotive, Conversational, NC

    Black Country toolmaker and subcontractor, Cube Precision Engineering, has installed its largest Hurco machining centre to date, a 3,200 x 2,100 x 920 mm capacity, bridge-type, vertical-spindle DCX32. Delivered at the end of May 2012, it is the fifth machining centre from the same supplier to be purchased.

     

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

     

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

     

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    Ayrshire Precision - 2-Meter DCX22 Leads to New Work for Energy Industry

    Few contract machinists in Scotland have a modern, vertical machining centre to match the 2,200 x 1,700 x 750 mm capacity of the Hurco twin-column, bridge...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Conversational, Energy Sector, NC

    Few contract machinists in Scotland have a modern, vertical machining centre to match the 2,200 x 1,700 x 750 mm capacity of the Hurco twin-column, bridge-type DCX22 installed at the Coylton works of Ayrshire Precision. This was precisely why managing director, Bert Bradford, purchased the machine on spec in February 2011. Since taking the plunge, the company has secured new work in each of its main industry sectors – mining, nuclear and oil / gas.

     
    The first new job to come along was refurbishment of explosion-proof, steel covers for transformers used in coal mines. They are cooled by water flowing through a hollow jacket, the inner surfaces of which need to be roughened to create turbulence and increase heat transfer to the water. These and other plates up to four metres long are machined for the mining sector on the 50-taper DCX22, the larger workpieces requiring two clampings on the 2,100 x 1,600 mm table.

    Forty-metre-long distillation tanks for nuclear waste storage require many large, high tensile steel panels to be machined and 25 such vessels are planned in the UK to cool and make safe spent radioactive material. Ayrshire Precision has won a contract to contribute to this project, which involves not only milling the panels but also drilling large numbers of holes to accept temperature probes.
     
    More recently, 500 mm diameter flanges for the oil industry have been machined cost-effectively on the DCX22, the first such machine to be installed in Scotland, thanks in part to the ability to set up four at a time on the table. Each flange requires milling and drilling of 16 holes. Centres have to be within ± 25 microns, while the tolerance held on a sealing groove is 18 microns total.
     
    All four parts are completed in one hit to minimise tool changes and maximise production efficiency. Moving from one part to the next is achieved rapidly and automatically using the 'work offset' feature of WinMax, the conversational programming software in the proprietary Hurco control system. The same feature can be used for multiple part machining, even when setting up dis-similar jobs for unattended running.
       
    To maximise, flexibility, Bert Bradford bought a universal angle head from Hurco for use on the DCX22, which is proving especially useful for machining internal slots and angled holes. A separate WinMax module was written by Hurco to accommodate this extra facility.
    Mr Bradford commented, "During the MACH 2010 exhibition in Birmingham, Hurco gave a good demonstration of their WinMax-based twin-screen control system.
     
    "We use the menu-driven, conversational programming nearly all the time, as it is so quick and easy at generating cutting cycles for our jobs, which in most cases are relatively simple. Occasionally we will program off-line on our Edgecam system for more complex work.

     

    "The DCX is our first Hurco machine, but our lead programmer, David Torbet, had no trouble picking up WinMax and our other machine operators can use it as well."

     

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    Bowtech Products - Hurco's NC Merge Capability is a Big Advantage

    Bowtech Products was established 22 years ago as an importer of products used for underwater applications, but now designs and manufactures its own equipm...Read moreTags: Mill Turn, 3-Axis Mill, Conversational, NC

    Bowtech Products was established 22 years ago as an importer of products used for underwater applications, but now designs and manufactures its own equipment. Exports currently account for two-thirds of turnover, which has helped to double the size of the business over the last five years and was one of the reasons for the company winning the Subsea UK Global Export Award 2012, sponsored by Scottish Enterprise.

     
    Manufacture of components has historically been subcontracted but is gradually being brought in-house to control costs and quality as well as to shorten lead times from weeks to days. Two CNC lathes and a machining centre from Hurco underpin this activity at Bowtech's production facility on the Kirkhill Industrial Estate in Dyce, near Aberdeen airport.

     

    Typical batch size is 100-off, which is now more economically produced on-site, while small runs and prototypes are machined much less expensively than when they were put out to external machinists.  Cameras and LED lights are core Bowtech products, particularly those mounted on remotely operated underwater vehicles. Business is so brisk at present that, so far, efforts to reduce subcontracted manufacture have been thwarted, as internal manufacturing capacity has been consumed by growth in demand. So Bowtech has decided to build a new, dedicated machine shop which will become operational in 2013.
     
    Meanwhile, the Kirkhill unit continues to lead the way within the group in bringing machining in-house. The main activity of the division is production of polyurethane joints that connect submerged electric cables. Manufacture of injection mould tools to make the joints is the province of a Hurco VM1 vertical machining centre, installed in 2009.
       
    Stuart Rowley, Cable & Mechanical Moulding Manager at Bowtech, said, "After I have designed the two halves of a tool, production takes two to three days on the Hurco, whereas lead time was much longer when we had the mould made outside.
     
    "Before we bought the VM1, we looked at a similar machine in operation making mould tools at the Great Yarmouth factory of SEACON (Europe), whose underwater electrical connectors we sell in Scotland.  "We realised that the WinMax software in the Hurco control was ideal for small quantity mould production, due to the powerful conversational programming capabilities. It takes next to no time to master.
     
    "To maximise its effectiveness, we bought the manufacturer's 3D Mold package and practically every other software option."
       
    The success of this first in-house machining venture encouraged Mr Rowley in 2010 to consider making camera and light housings on site, which need a lot of drilled and tapped holes on the ends of round components. The Hurco TMM10 CNC turning machine with 10-inch chuck and driven tooling was the obvious choice, as it is controlled by Windows software that is so similar to the milling version that Bowtech staff did not even need to go for the training that came with the lathe purchase.
     
    Most recently, a Hurco TMX8MY lathe has been added. Of 8-inch chuck capacity, the machine has a Y-axis to allow off-centre cross-drilling of holes and milling of flats, functions that are not possible on the TMM10 machine.
      
    The company tends to pick higher added value work to turn-mill in quantities of up to 100-off. Larger runs, which can be as high as 1,000-off, continue to be subcontracted for the time being. Materials range from anodised aluminium through stainless steel to titanium alloy for the high value end of Bowtech's product range. Accuracies held are typically 0.125 mm total, although some O-ring grooves need to machined to a tolerance of 0.025 mm.
     
    Mr Rowley opted to install Hurco's off-line WinMax programming software on his PC. It arrived ahead of the VM1 and at the outset was a useful facility for self-training. Now it is used to review the next program off-line while a part is being machined on the machining centre or one of the lathes. This approach allows the progression of a live program to be monitored at the machine controls, instead of tying it up programming the next cycle in background.
     
    Mr Rowley continued, "If more complex cutter paths are needed for any particular routine, such as engraving our company logo into the curved surface of an injection mould, we use AutoCAD Inventor to create the design and output it as a DXF file that the WinMax control is able to read directly.
     
    "The big advantage of Hurco's NC Merge capability is that we can program conversationally around the DXF element to generate the complete cycle, without having to use tedious G and M codes. It is surprising how easy it is to do."
     
    A probable next step for Bowtech will be to consider 5-axis machining to address milling of complex titanium components, which have to be machined from the solid, as casting are very costly. Such work also tends to be expensive if put out to subcontract.

     

     
     

     

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    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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    Belkin Corporation - Hurco VM Mill Invaluable for Prototyping Needs

    ​“In the fast changing world of computer peripherals, innovative design is the key. Rapidly converting these designs into prototypes requires a high capab...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, NC

    ​“In the fast changing world of computer peripherals, innovative design is the key. Rapidly converting these designs into prototypes requires a high capability machine tool. When compared to the competition, Hurco’s VM machining center won hands down.”

    ―John Hoppe, 3D Lab Manager
     

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
     
    When John Hoppe was granted a budget to buy a VMC to create prototypes in his lab, he contacted four different builders with machines in his size and budget range. He asked each to cut a 3D surface part using a tool path he had generated on Pro/Manufacturing. He knew that if he controlled the data used in the test, he would have the best chance to evaluate actual machine performance -- what he could really expect to get in his shop.
     
    Hurco’s VM2 Comes Out On Top 
    When all the samples were submitted and checked, Hurco’s VM2 machining center achieved the best surface finish with the fastest cycle time. Given its very competitive starting price of under $50,000 and its small footprint of 40″ of X travel, the decision to buy the VM2 was easy.
       
    Equipped with an optional 10,000 RPM spindle, the VM2 provides cutting feed rates up to 600 IPM for fast prototype machining. The Hurco Max control is network compatible and the program changes can be rapidly downloaded from the design group. Downloads can be made even when the machine is processing a different part. With a substantial hard drive, even huge programs can be stored for later use. The control’s RAM was expanded to 256 MB to handle very large programs without the need for drip feed or other time consuming steps. 
       
    Since the Max control is equipped for automatic machine shutdown after program completion, the VM2 is ideal for lights out extended shift operations. Many programs run all night and are ready for evaluation the next morning.

     

    Summary
    Mr. Hoppe has found the Hurco VM2 invaluable in helping him meet the prototype needs of the design team. Schedules are not only met, but exceeded while critical inputs on fit, feel, and assembly can aid in the cutting the project team’s cost. When the design is finalized, the complete design in Pro-Engineer software can be transmitted to suppliers around the world. Working in the design studio and using Hurco’s VM2 machining center has allowed Belkin to produce its prototypes even more quickly and efficiently than before.

     

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    Western Carolina Tool and Mold - Hurcos Are Flexible + Easy to Use

    “When we formed our business five years ago, we knew that we needed flexible and easy to use equipment. The Hurco’s really fit the bill.”  Woody Scott, Pr...Read moreTags: Conversational, NC, 3-Axis Mill
    “When we formed our business five years ago, we knew that we needed flexible and easy to use equipment. The Hurco’s really fit the bill.”  Woody Scott, President, Western Carolina Tool and Mold
     
    Formed five years ago by 5 mold makers, Western Carolina has grown into a 10 man shop that specializes in molds for the textile and consumer goods business. Using advanced EDM equipment, a wide range of molds are produced to fine tolerances and demanding time schedules. The key to making their electrodes are two Hurco Machining Centers.The Hurco machines provide the accuracy, flexibility, and ease of use that is key to their operations. The high quality molds that Western produces demands intricateand very accurate electrodes. The Hurco’s consistency delivers on all counts.
     
    The Hurcos are fully capable of machining both graphite for electrodes and tool steel as needed. With large RAM and hard drive in the control, Western can download very complex surface geometries with speed and precision. Yet the control is simple enough to program that about 50% of their electrodes can be programmed right at the machine. That increases flexibility and shortens lead times.
     
    Finally, it was very important that the machine control be easy to learn and use. To meet the demands of their customers, Western wanted to avoid operator specialization if possible. Especially with the machining centers, they wanted all of their shop employees to be able to set-up and run the Hurcos. They can and it has become a key element to their operations. 
     
    Key Hurco Advantage
    Western Carolina elected to purchase Hurco machining centers equipped with the single screen control. While it programs exactly like the traditional twin-screen control, it differs by only displaying either the text or graphics screen at any one time. It is easy to switch between them and thus the full functionality of the control remains.
     
    The mix of programs at Western Carolina is split about 50-50 between programs created at the machine on the shop floor. And those created off-line. In both cases because of the use of small tools, run time tends to be long. This is why the single screen control made sense. There is no loss in performance or capability with the Single Screen control, yet they save money on the initial purchase price. When coupled with network compatibility, the Hurcos are an integral part of the operation.
     
    Summary
    Western Carolina has been steadily growing their business over the past five years. They are in the process of building a new facility that will increase their capacity about 50%. Working with a core group of skilled individuals has created a base for customer satisfaction that keeps Western Carolina unique. And their Hurcos are a key part of their success.
     
     
  • 5-Axis CNC - Swivel Head

    NuCon - Rigid Machine + Phenomenal Service Network

    The people at NuCon Corporation are experts when it comes to impellers. More specifically, they are experts in the manufacturing of radial and axial compr...Read moreTags: 5-Axis, NC, Great Service, Energy Sector, Aerospace

    The people at NuCon Corporation are experts when it comes to impellers. More specifically, they are experts in the manufacturing of radial and axial compressors, pumps and turbines, shrouded impellers, expanders, diffusers, and jet engine cases. They’re also experts in 5-axis machining processes used to manufacture those impellers and the aforementioned parts.


    Since 1973, NuCon Corporation has used their proprietary Impeller Machining System to machine thousands of configurations as small as 5 mm in diameter up to 73 inches in diameter. The majority of their products are used for marine propulsion and pumps, industrial compressors, and power generation, but they also machine parts for aircraft and rocket engines. NuCon primarily machines stainless steel, but they have experience machining a variety of materials including aluminum, titanium, exotics, and plastics. They can do any blade configuration a customer needs including straight line element, arbitrary blade shape, blisk, an open or shrouded impeller, and an open or closed turbine. Different blade shapes within a single stator/rotor can be accommodated.


    NuCon primarily relies on 15 vintage Sundstrand 5-axis machining centers at their 35,000-square-foot facility in Livonia, Michigan to manufacture these complex blade configurations for customers around the world. In fact, there are only a handful of companies capable of serving this niche market.  The NuCon crew has upgraded, retrofitted, and refurbished the massive Sundstrand machining centers so they can handle large parts that vary in complexity and weight, with some blanks weighing as much as 11 tons.


    Co-owner David Bernhardt says he started shopping for a smaller 5-axis machining center because it didn’t make sense to tie up a large Sundstrand for smaller parts that were up to 22 inches in diameter. While he considered other brands of 5-axis machines, Bernhardt says a demonstration at Hurco’s technology center in Indianapolis sealed the deal and NuCon purchased two VMX42SR machines. “The VMX42SR’s table had the capacity to handle the weight of stainless steel, which is important because that’s the material we use the most,” explains Bernhardt.  The VMX42SR’s C-Axis table with a 24-inch diameter can handle up to 1,100 lbs and the machining center is designed with a B-axis swivel head and C-axis rotary table that lets the tool access hard to reach areas faster. The tilting head design is perfect for the swept surfaces and complex contours NuCon routinely machines. Other advantages of the Hurco VMX42SR include 600-block look ahead, up to 600 ipm programmable feed rate, and processing speed up to 2,277 bps.


    Hurco was especially honored that NuCon chose Hurco for its 5-axis machining needs of smaller parts considering the collective expertise of the owners and the exacting standards they demand. NuCon owners David Bernhardt and David Stormont know machine tools inside and out: literally. They were machine tool designers in the 60s at the Buhr Company in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a company well known for developing machine tools designed specifically for the automotive industry.  Because of the collective expertise of Bernhardt and Stormont, NuCon has successfully developed their proprietary Impellar Manufacturing Software, designed the spindle head for their rotary head machines, and created their own PC-based controllers. They have achieved accreditation for numerous quality programs and implemented verification and inspection programs throughout their operation.

    Bernhardt says he is enamored with the motion control on the Hurco and both VMX42SRs have performed perfectly. Beyond the machine, Bernhardt says the phenomenal service network Hurco has established is probably the best he’s seen in his career. “It’s really something you should promote. The knowledge and customer support is outstanding. I even sold a machine to a fellow down the road. He asked me about our Hurcos and I told him about the phenomenal service network you have and the outstanding performance of our machines. This is still an industry that relies on word-of-mouth, which means a company’s reputation for how they treat customers after they have bought the machine is important,” explains Bernhardt.

     

    While Hurco machine tools are often known for their intuitive conversational programming, NuCon uses the NC side of the control exclusively. The integrated Hurco control powered by WinMax includes both conversational and NC programming methods with ISNC and NC Productivity Packages available for enhanced performance. With an enhanced NC interpreter, the recently released WinMax version 8 (WinMax8) is compatible with more CAD/CAM programs than ever. Other additions to the NC side of the control include Tool Review, Transform Plane, Rotary Tangential Velocity Control, Automatic Safe Repositioning, Recovery Restart, and Cylindrical Wrap.

    “It really says a lot for us to go to another machine with an alien control when all of the Sundstrands and turning systems we have use the control system we developed. The integration has been seamless and all of the operators picked up the Hurco control quickly,” says Bernhardt.

    NuCon also invests in other technology to enhance efficiency, minimize waste, and maintain outstanding quality. Bernhardt says software packages from OpenMind and Predator are useful to his operation because they analyze part programs to achieve maximum machining efficiency. 


    Bernhardt attributes his company’s success to great customers, great employees, and the drive to continually find ways to increase efficiency while maintaining the highest quality. “The core of our manufacturing philosophy at NuCon has always been to satisfy our customers. The job isn’t finished until the customer requirements are met. We believe in continual process improvement. You always need to look for ways to work smarter even while you’re working harder,” says Bernhardt.


    For NuCon, purchasing the Hurco VMX42SRs helped the company work smarter for smaller 5-axis parts.

    NuCon
    34100 Industrial Road
    Livonia, MI 48150
    734.525.0770
    www.nuconcorp.com

    Hurco Companies, Inc.
    One Technology Way
    Indianapolis, IN 46268
    800.634.2416
    www.hurco.com

  • http://www.hurco.com/SiteCollectionImages/product-sliders/vertical/vmx/vmx42i.jpg

    Xcentric Mold - Shop Chooses Hurco for Reliability and Overall Value

    ​"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 , Xcentri...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Moldmaker, NC

    "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 Advantage

    Xcentric 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. 

    Summary

    At 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.​

    www.xcentricmold.com

  • TGM

    TGM Ltd - DCX32 Expands Capabilities for Aerospace Contractor

    ​"Having the large-capacity DCX allows us the opportunity to pitch for a lot of new business up to 3.2 meters by 2.1 meters that we could not have pr...Read moreTags: Dual Column, Aerospace, 3-Axis Mill, Conversational, NC, Great Service

    "Having the large-capacity DCX allows us the opportunity to pitch for a lot of new business up to 3.2 meters by 2.1 meters that we could not have previously undertaken."
    -Steve Holmes, Director, TGM, Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom

     

    TGM, an aerospace subcontractor in Preston, England, doubled its Y-axis capacity on the shop floor when the company invested in the Hurco DCX32 machining center with a work envelope of 3.2 meters (126 inches) by 2.1 meters (82.7 inches) by 920 millimeters (36.2 inches). With the DCX32, TGM can machine larger airframe components or fixture multiple parts for more efficient production.

    Nearly half of the components that TGM machines are made from titanium, including wing and fuselage parts, such as longerons for BAE Systems’ Eurofighter Typhoon. The remainder of throughput is aluminum. TGM also does a lot of Airbus wing work in both materials, such as leading and trailing edges as well as main details for delivery to the OEM’s Broughton factory via Tier 1 suppliers.

    The latest Boeing 737-600 has a backswept wing tip, which TGM manufactures, that yields significantly improved fuel efficiency because of the superior aerodynamics. Boeing has decided to retrofit similar wing tips to its entire fleet of 767s currently in service.

    Hurco DCX32Steve Holmes, a director at TGM who joined shortly after its formation in 1998, says, “We see a bright future for the aerospace sector despite the downturn over the past 18 months. Having the large-capacity [Hurco] DCX allows us the opportunity to pitch for a lot of new business up to 3.2 meters by 2.1 meters that we could not have undertaken previously.” Optimism has translated into significant investment recently at the Preston facility, which has doubled in size to 16,000 sq ft. A new factory unit houses the DCX32, which has a twin-column, bridge-type construction that allows the large Y-axis travel without loss of rigidity. A 60 kW spindle mounted in a vertical ram gives ample cutting power and torque for machining titanium. A 40-station, swing-arm toolchanger keeps the carousel clear of swarf and maximizes the work envelope. Before TGM purchased the DCX32, their largest machine was a Hurco VMX84 vertical machining center, which was installed in October 2009, and has travels of 84 x 34 x 30 inches. A total of 10 Hurco machining centers now constitute a majority of TGM’s machining capacity.

    Holmes says TGM chose Hurco when they decided to expand into large size machining centers because they have experienced a decade of prompt service and reliable production using smaller Hurco equipment. In particular, Holmes cites the proprietary, integrated Hurco control system that runs the latest WinMax® Windows®-based software. The control has a 40GB hard-drive with 2GB RAM and high-speed contouring capability. Approximately 40% of the programs, even complex 2D jobs, are written quickly and easily on the shop floor at TGM’s Preston facility using the control’s conversational programming. The time savings allows TGM to respond promptly to urgent jobs, particularly AOG (aircraft on ground) requests. The remaining 60% of programs are prepared off-line using MasterCam. Whether the customer provides a digital file or a drawing of an older component, a 3D IGES file or a 2D DXF file can be prepared quickly and downloaded directly to the control on any of the Hurco machines for immediate use.