“Building plastic molds in today’s global economy
is an extremely competitive business. Our new
Hurco VMX50 with Cat 50 spindle is a real workhorse. We’ve seen set-up and run time reductions of 30-40% over our older equipment.”
-Kevin Pennington, Tooling Manager
Originally established in 1967, Berry Plastics has grown into a leading U.S. manufacturer of injection-molded plastic packaging, enjoying steady growth through the years to a level of over
$460 million in net sales. Today, Berry Plastics has manufacturing plants in the U.S., England, Italy and Hong Kong. They sell to over 200 major customers in 50 countries.
Berry’s tooling division, located in Evansville, Indiana, builds sophisticated multi-cavity molds for relatively simple products. The key to staying competitive in this industry is to maintain low costs and reduced time for construction.
In looking to improve their efficiency, Berry began upgrading their tooling equipment three years ago. Their first purchase was a Hurco VMX50. The moldmakers at Berry Plastics utilize the Hurco’s ability to import DXFCAD files. Consequently, they have saved hours of programming and communication time.
Matt Schenk, one of the lead moldmakers and a strong Hurco supporter, notes that a machine tool, is only making money when it is making chips. He estimates that the VMX50 is 50% faster than their existing VMC from another manufacturer and accounts this to faster tool changers, more horsepower and higher spindle speed.
In Berry Plastic’s core and cavity work, many operations are improved with the use of a 4th axis rotary table. Matt commented that programming rotary work on the Hurco via conversational language is incredibly easy compared to working with G-code, and he can easily save an hour per setup. Since many times molds require a number of identical core and cavities to be processed, multi-chuck fixtures with several chucks mounted for part holding are used. Hurco’s capability of changing part offsets and part zero points makes setup for these jobs easy.
More recently, Berry Plastics purchased a VM machining center for small core and cavity work. Its excellent cutting capability with tool steel has been a real time saver. The new TM8 slant-bed turning center is the latest Hurco addition to the Tooling Division. Part quality and accuracy are excellent along with metal removal rates. While they have other CNC lathes, they have found that the Hurco is easy to setup and use since it utilizes the same control found on the VMX Series and VM Series.
Lean is a way of life at Berry, so machines must be easy to setup and run. The reliable Hurco VMCs and turning centers, with their easy to use control, have been the perfect fit for Berry Plastics.