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  • Automotive Parts made by Seido


    Before he committed to purchasing a Hurco VMX30 instead of a locally made Vertical Machining Center (VMC), he checked with friends in Canada and Singapore...Read moreTags: International, Vertical Machining Centers, Automotive

    Before he committed to purchasing a Hurco VMX30 instead of a locally made Vertical Machining Center (VMC), he checked with friends in Canada and Singapore who gave Hurco a good word and said Hurco machine tools can handle complex parts but are simple to use.

    S. Anand, the owner of Seido Automotive Components, graduated as an engineer in tool and die making and then spent a year in Japan where he further honed his skills. Upon returning to India, he joined the family business in the hotel industry but missed the satisfaction of creating something. With one die cast machine and $10,000, Anand started Seido in 2003. Seido means precision in Japanese. Seido has grown rapidly and Anand says the only thing holding him back is finding another Magnificent Seven—the nickname Anand has given to the seven trusted and competent managers at Seido. According to Anand, the Magnificent Seven are experts in all areas of operations at Seido. The Chennai shop has grown to 65 employees and has three vertical machining centers and three lathes. They run three shifts seven days a week to keep up with demand.


    Anand says he purchased a Hurco VMX30 based on the recommendation of Suresh, the local distributor whom he trusts. Before he committed to purchasing a Hurco instead of a locally made Vertical Machining Center (VMC), he checked with friends in Canada and Singapore who gave Hurco a good word and said Hurco machine tools can handle complex parts but are simple to use. Seido predominantly serves the automotive industry, specializing in steering components. They do both the casting and the machining at Seido and use approximately 20 tons of material each month. With 50 active part numbers, they produce approximately 80,000 parts each month.


    Anand is proud to have the first Hurco vertical machining center in Chennai and says he is pleased with its performance. The versatility of the VMX30 with its user friendly control allows him to use it to make die molds and to run production. With the largest travels in its class (762 x 508 x 610mm), the VMX30 is built to handle the demands of shops that need big output but have little space to fit a VMC. The high-speed feed rates on the VMX30 ensure superior surface finish quality. Seido is committed to quality improvements—the shop is ISO 9001:2000 certified and it uses Statistical Process Control daily to increase productivity. All Hurco models are made with many standard features that are typically offered as options on other brands of vertical machining centers. Hurco machine tools are a great value and a great investment because the technology takes complicated programming and makes it easy to learn and easy to use.

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    BAW Precision Engineering Ltd - Hurco Helps BAW Hit Niche Markets

    ​When BAW Precision Engineering Ltd emerged from the global downturn under new ownership in July 2010, the primary aim for the new directors of the Swanse...Read moreTags: 5-Axis Machining, Vertical Machining Centers, United Kingdom

    ​When BAW Precision Engineering Ltd emerged from the global downturn under new ownership in July 2010, the primary aim for the new directors of the Swansea Valley company was to build the order book and re-establish the subcontractors’ prestigious reputation.

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




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    RST Engineering Ltd - Cycle Times Reduced by Two-Thirds

    ​Founded in 1987 as a mouldmaker and subcontract machinist specialising in wire and spark erosion and manual milling, RST Engineering, Leighton Buzzard, i...Read moreTags: 5-Axis Machining, United Kingdom, Vertical Machining Centers

    ​Founded in 1987 as a mouldmaker and subcontract machinist specialising in wire and spark erosion and manual milling, RST Engineering, Leighton Buzzard, installed a Hurco Hawk 30 CNC mill in 1998 to speed electrode production and other prismatic machining jobs.
    It was not until 2007 that the company traded in the Hawk for a 3-axis Hurco VM2 vertical machining centre, taking advantage of automatic tool change to fulfill contracts more economically for increasingly complex aerospace, medical and motorsport components.  Two years later, owner Jason Taylor and his team progressed to 5-axis machining on a Hurco VMX30U machining centre, with very positive results.  It was bought initially to reduce production costs when the manufacture of prototype housings for aircraft on the VM2 moved to large batch runs.

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

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


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


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    Quadscot Precision Engineers - Oil and Gas Specialist Moves into 5-Axis Machining

    ​With a BP quality award hanging on its office wall alongside a platinum  award from Cameron Subsea Systems confirming 24 consecutive months' delivery of ...Read moreTags: 5-Axis Machining, CNC Control, Vertical Machining Centers, United Kingdom

    ​With a BP quality award hanging on its office wall alongside a platinum  award from Cameron Subsea Systems confirming 24 consecutive months' delivery of zero defect products, Blantyre-based Quadscot Precision Engineers is a leading Scottish subcontractor serving the offshore oil and gas sector.

    For its prismatic machining requirements, until recently the company relied on 3-axis vertical machining centres (VMCs) including a Hurco VMX1 installed in 2008 and a 12-year-old VMX42 with Nikken 4th axis.  As part of an on-going investment programme in new plant, two further, larger VMCs were purchased from the same supplier at the beginning of 2010. The objective was to bring the subcontractor's milling capacity more into line with its 1.5 metre by 500 mm diameter turning capability.  One of the new Hurcos, Quadscot's first 5-axis model, was a VMX60SR. It has a 1,525 x 660 x 610 mm working volume, a horizontal rotary C-axis table and a ± 92 degree B-axis head that allows the 36 kW, 40-taper spindle to be positioned within a program anywhere between vertical and horizontal. Renishaw tool and part probing have been fitted to speed set-ups.

    Not only does the machine meet the size requirement stipulated by production director, Jim Smith, but it also allows multi-sided parts and those of complex geometry to be produced more accurately and cost-effectively.  Mr Smith commented, "Some components that previously needed three separate set-ups for milling operations can be produced in one hit on the VMX60SR.
    "The faster cycles and reduced handling result in production cost savings of around 30 per cent for some bigger parts. Our customers therefore benefit from more competitive prices and faster turnaround.  "Moreover, tolerances of typically ± 25 microns are easier to hold when not repeatedly refixturing heavy components in different axes; and fixture costs are also reduced.
    The other new Hurco machining centre is a VMX50-50t 4-axis model with a 22 kW / 8,000 rpm / 353 Nm CAT50 spindle, the most powerful that the manufacturer offers in its VMX range. The machine also has large axis travels of 1,270 x 660 x 610 mm and was supplied with 3D mould software within the Hurco WinMax programming suite running in the proprietary twin-screen control system.
    Jim Smith's partner, sales director Billy Hepburn, said, "A lot of our customers use high performance materials such as Super Duplex, Inconel and Toughmet, which are challenging to machine.  "Having plant like the 50-50t allows us to be more cost-effective when machining tough and exotic metals. The accuracy is there too – we frequently mill parts using 4-axis simultaneous movements to 25 microns tolerance."
    The 44-employee subcontractor was set up 22 years ago by a team of skilled engineers and toolmakers with a wealth of experience in precision CNC subcontract machining. Production of subsea Christmas tree parts, down-hole tools and wellhead equipment are particular specialisms. A highly focussed approach to customer service has been fundamental to the development of the company, along with careful selection and purchase of CNC milling and turning machines. Today, it operates from an 8,500 sq. ft. factory on the Blantyre Industrial Estate, a few miles south-east of Glasgow. 
    The company is a long-time user of Hurco equipment. Indeed, the first VMC it bought back in 1990 was one of the supplier's KM3P knee mills with Ultimax II twin-screen CNC. Even in those days, the control and programming software was well ahead of its time, allowing Quadscot's machine operators to program parts easily without needing to know or even learn G-codes. Any programming mistakes were picked up from the graphic screen before putting tool to metal.
    Jim Smith added, "We have stayed with Hurco equipment over the years largely because of the flexibility of the control system, which has always been much faster than others on the market. That is important to us, as all of our programming is done on the shop floor.  "We looked at a number of 5-axis machines before buying the VMX60SR and even considered a horizontal-spindle, twin-pallet machining centre at one point.  "However, we opted again for the Hurcos due to the combination of the user-friendly control and rigidity of construction, plus the versatility and robustness of the B-axis head design in the case of the 5-axis machine."




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    AB Graphic International - Speed of Programming is Only One Way in Which AB Graphic Maximises Production Efficiency

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

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

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


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    Ayrshire Precision - Large Machining Centre Differentiates Subcontractor From its Competitors

    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: CNC Control, United Kingdom, Vertical Machining Centers

    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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    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: Automotive, Mold & Die, Vertical Machining Centers, United Kingdom, Aerospace, CNC Control

    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 DCX32, 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.


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

    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: CNC Control, Lathes, TMM8, United Kingdom

    ​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.




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

    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: CNC Control, Lathes, United Kingdom, Vertical Machining Centers, VM, Mold & Die

    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.




  • Diamond Light Source  - Hurco Cut Cycle Times by up to 60 Per Cent

    Diamond Light Source - Hurco Cut Cycle Times by up to 60 Per Cent

    ​A workshop servicing one of the UK's leading scientific research facilities, the Diamond Light Source synchrotron near Didcot, has installed new machine ...Read moreTags: CNC Control, Lathes, TM8, United Kingdom, Vertical Machining Centers, VM

    ​A workshop servicing one of the UK's leading scientific research facilities, the Diamond Light Source synchrotron near Didcot, has installed new machine tools from Hurco that cut cycle times by up to 60 per cent.

    The Diamond synchrotron produces intense light beams from infrared to X-ray that are sent down experimental stations called beamlines and used for scientific research.  Diamond is used to investigate the structure and properties of materials for a variety of applications including designing new and better drugs, improving engineering components such as aero engine fan blades, and studying archaeological artefacts like those from the Mary Rose.
    Supplied in April 2010, the first Hurco VM20 machining centre was followed by another a year later, this time a 4-axis machine with a rotary table, at which time a Hurco TM8 CNC lathe was also delivered.
    This led to increased spindle speeds able to deploy small cutters more efficiently and higher torque for heavy milling at reasonable feed rates. Working volume has also been made available to accommodate some larger parts that are currently needed for the synchrotron beamlines.
    Martin Small, a senior mechanical technician at Diamond, said, "The new Hurco machining centres are very versatile, as the 10,000 rpm spindle allows us to use small cutters effectively.
    "For example, we drill arrays of 0.3 mm diameter holes to within four microns positional tolerance on the Hurcos to produce calibration grids.
    "Encoder magnet blocks need slot milling to leave a 0.8 mm wall thickness and require drilling and tapping of 1.6 mm diameter holes.
    "At the other end of the scale, we recently used a 63 mm diameter face mill to rough out much bigger parts taking up virtually the full metre by half-metre table area of the VM20s."
    On all of the new machine tools, productive use is made of solid carbide and indexable-insert tools, because optimum parameters can now be programmed. In addition to increasing feeds and speeds, the Hurco machines also allow finer milled and turned surface finishes to be achieved, down to 3.2 microns Ra in some instances.
    Bob Greening, an assembly technician in the workshop, commented, "We program the Hurco machining centres and lathe on the shop floor using the manufacturer's own Max control.
    "Its Windows-based conversational software, WinMax, is easy to use as it assists in creating cutting cycles, some of them quite complex, using drop-down menus and touch-screen icons.
    "Another advantage is the ability to input DXF files from our CAD department directly into the Max CNC, which then generates the program automatically without the need for any dimensions to be input."
    Versatility of the Hurco equipment extends to the variety of materials machined at Diamond, which includes aluminium, copper, zirconium-copper, stainless steel, Inconel, PEEK and ceramic glass.
    Mr Small concluded, "We have been impressed with this supplier's machines, which have proved very productive and reliable, as well as being good value for money.
    "Hurco's service has also been good throughout, from the original demonstrations through delivery, installation and subsequent service back-up.
    "The telephone helpline has been especially good, with prompt answers given to any queries we have had, so that there is minimal downtime."




  • /IN/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/SE_Eng3.jpg

    S & E Engineering - Zero to Seven CNC Machines in Two Years

    There can be few companies that have embraced CNC machining so quickly and enthusiastically as S&E Engineering.  The family-run subcontractor installe...Read moreTags: CNC Control, Turning Centers, United Kingdom, Vertical Machining Centers, VMX

    There can be few companies that have embraced CNC machining so quickly and enthusiastically as S&E Engineering.  The family-run subcontractor installed its first computer-controlled machine tool in 2005 and by January 2007 had invested in four vertical machining centres and three CNC lathes – all from Hurco.


    Martin Sanderson started the Scunthorpe company in 1988 with a £10,000 bank loan, at which time he had a mortgage and a family to support.  The first month’s turnover was £48, which focussed his mind on swiftly increasing the level and profitability of his business.  This he did, and by 2005 he owned an impressive array of manually operated machines including large horizontal and vertical borers, three centre lathes, one of which can turn parts up to four metres long, and a number of smaller machines.


    There has always been an emphasis at S&E Engineering on machining of larger workpieces, which sets the subcontractor apart from many of its competitors.  Once he started to invest in CNC machines, Mr Sanderson decided to maintain his capability to provide large-capacity milling by installing two Hurco VMX64s, which have working volumes of 1,625 x 860 x 760 mm and can accommodate nearly three tonnes on the tables.  Two smaller VMX42s provide 1,066 x 610 x 610 mm machining capacity for components weighing up to 1,360 kg.
    There were compelling reasons for S&E Engineering to invest in CNC machine tools.  Potential customers were saying that they would not allow non-CNC plant to be used to machine their parts.  Some work for which the subcontractor was asked to quote could not practically be produced on a manual machine to the required tolerances.  Then one customer supplying repair equipment to the offshore industry suggested that more work would be forthcoming if a machining centre were to be installed, although there was no guarantee.
    Mr Sanderson duly bought the first VMX42, which rapidly reached capacity based on his firm’s 7.00 am to 5.00 pm shift pattern.  So it has been with all of the other Hurco machining centres, which have hardly stopped from the time they were installed.  Where possible the machining centres, particularly the larger models, are left unattended to cut a part into an evening ghost shift.
    The second CNC machine on site was one of the lathes – a 254 mm chuck model designated TM10 – followed by another identical machine and a smaller 203 mm-chuck TM8.  The idea was to migrate the benefits that resulted from the first machining centre across to the turning department, in the first instance for batch production of steel components.

    Martin Sanderson’s brother, Jamie, is responsible for running the turning cell and despite having had no previous programming experience, was conversant with generating programs using the Hurco Max controls after just two days’ training.  Previously, his time was spent looking after one manual lathe.
    Commented machine shop manager, Jim Swan, brother-in-law to the Sandersons, “We routinely hold tolerances of 20 microns on all of our Hurco machines and the 100th part off is exactly the same as the first – a degree of accuracy and repeatability that is not possible using manual machine tools.
    “The other major benefit is that labour cost per machine is around one third of what it used to be for a given output, so we have been able to freeze the prices we charge customers to compete more effectively in a global marketplace and still make a profit.”

    All programs are input on the shop floor using Hurco’s conversational Ultimax or Max control systems, which S&E Engineering staff find easy to use and ideal for small batch work and even one-offs, as are frequently ordered by customers working in sub-sea and highway maintenance.  In this connection, bearing in mind that the company is new to CNC, Hurco’s telephone back-up has been very helpful when the occasional programming problem has been encountered.


    The decision to opt for Hurco machines hinged on the capability of the controls, coupled with the high residual value of the equipment, as confirmed by the firm that provided the finance, Hitachi Capital.  Martin Sanderson intends to keep the CNC lathes and machining centres for five years before part exchanging what will be relatively lightly used machines for new models.  On that basis, he will enjoy three and a half years of ‘free’ use of the lathes after they have been amortised and at least two years’ machining centre operation after the finance periods have ended.


  • /IN/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/RutherfordAppletonVM10U.jpg

    Rutherford Appleton Laboratory - 5-Axis Machining of Space Obervation Instruments

    ​Parts for instrumentation used in space observation, both terrestrial and satellite-based, are machined to tight tolerances on two Hurco vertical machini...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, 5-Axis Machining, United Kingdom, Vertical Machining Centers, Aerospace

    ​Parts for instrumentation used in space observation, both terrestrial and satellite-based, are machined to tight tolerances on two Hurco vertical machining centres (VMCs) at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), near Didcot.

    High accuracy is essential, as radio telescopes for which parts are being made, including the ALMA instrument in northern Chile, have to detect high frequency signals in the 95 GHz to 2.5 THz range. Wavelengths are consequently very short and sensitive to dimensional variation in sensing devices.
    The latest machining centre in the Millimetre Technology Group’s Precision Development Facility (PDF) within RAL Space, as the Department is known, is a 5-axis Hurco model, VM10U, which was installed in April 2011. Fitted with Renishaw tool setting, the machine was purchased jointly with another department on the RAL campus, ISIS, which conducts research into atomic scale properties of materials using a suite of neutron and muon instruments. Components required for its beamline accelerators also have to be very accurate and are made on the Hurcos.
    An example of RAL Space hardware machined on the 5-axis VM10U are components which when assembled form parts for the Broadband Radiometer, destined for launch into space in 2012. The component, machined in 3+2-axis mode from solid aluminium to dimensional tolerances at the micron level, has to be as light as possible. To this end, the core is removed by wire-cutting after milling to leave a 0.8 mm wall all round.
    Mat Beardsley, manager of the PDF, explained, "Generally, subcontractors do not like making parts such as this, as the machining strategies take a long time to develop for novel bespoke components.  "Due to the high machining accuracies associated with this type of componentry, it was difficult to find outside suppliers to take on the work, which was a driver for investing in our own 5-axis machine."
    Typical ISIS components produced on a Hurco 3-axis VMC, a VM30 installed in the summer of 2010, are tantalum parts for a beamline target, machined using coated solid carbide cutters to accuracies down to 10 microns.  A high surface finish is specified in readiness for when the parts are assembled using a hot isostatic pressing process. This means that a good machined finish is needed after the parts leave the VM30, which is not easy to achieve due to the material's tendency to tear. Machining strategies as well as feeds and speeds for the tooling have consequently been modified within the CAD/CAM system used in RAL Space.
    More complicated components for the ISIS target are put onto the 5-axis machine, such as the tantalum flange and cross flow guide that are subsequently pressed isostatically around a tungsten core. The introduction of 5-axis machining has also made huge savings in the manufacturing time of several integral parts for space flight hardware.
    Mr Beardsley commented, "Before investing in the Hurco machines, we had used other makes of VMC for more than 10 years and they are still in service. "When the ISIS beamline work came along, however, we needed a bigger capacity machine but we have limited floor space. So we were looking for maximum working volume in the smallest possible footprint and the Hurco VM30 was ideal in this respect [1,270 x 508 x 508 mm axis travels / 2,830 x 2,770 mm floor area].
    "The same goes for the VM10U, which also offers a generous machining cube for the space it occupies. So in view of our good experience with the previous 3-axis Hurco VMC, it was the logical choice when we needed a 5-axis machine."




  • WYE VALLEY PRECISION ENGINEERING - Faster Turnaround for Rubber Mould Tools

    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: CNC Control, Mold & Die, Vertical Machining Centers, United Kingdom, VMX

    ​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."





    RP TOOLING - Hurco Machining Centres Secure 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: CNC Control, 3-Axis Mill, Vertical Machining Centers, United Kingdom

    ​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.




  • Veem Engineering , South Africa

    Veem Engineering , South Africa - 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  ...Read moreTags: Conversational, United Kingdom, VM, Vertical Machining Centers, Mold & Die

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

    -- Sacha Vere, General Manager, Veem Engineering
    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




  • Pharma Tooling

    Pharma Tooling - Increases Flexibility With Large Machining Centre

    ​Cheltenham subcontractor, Pharma Tooling, ( which until the middle of 2007 could prismatically machine parts up to 750 mm long in...Read moreTags: CNC Control, United Kingdom, Vertical Machining Centers, VMX

    ​Cheltenham subcontractor, Pharma Tooling, ( which until the middle of 2007 could prismatically machine parts up to 750 mm long in one clamping, has more than doubled its maximum component size capacity with the purchase of a new Hurco VMX64 vertical machining centre.  It was supplied with a rotary turntable and high-pressure coolant delivery through the BT40 spindle.

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

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


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


  • Dawnlough Ltd - 50% Increase Production Output with Hurco

    Dawnlough Ltd - 50% Increase Production Output with Hurco

    ​Galway-based subcontract machinist, Dawnlough, which specialises in manufacturing components for the medical industry, has bought equipment to the value ...Read moreTags: Conversational, United Kingdom, Vertical Machining Centers, VM, Turning Centers, TMM8

    ​Galway-based subcontract machinist, Dawnlough, which specialises in manufacturing components for the medical industry, has bought equipment to the value of £1.5 million since 2005 to expand its design, production and inspection capabilities. The purchases include eight vertical machining centres (VMCs) and a driven-tool lathe from Hurco, supplied through local sales representative in Ireland, Michael Gannon.

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




  • BFO Motorcycles

    BFO Motorcycles - Bike Designer Follows His Dream into Manufacture

      Hurco machining centre turns as well as mills at start-up motor cycle factory.   Ever since the early 90s, after graduating with a first class honour...Read moreTags: VM, Vertical Machining Centers, United Kingdom


    Hurco machining centre turns as well as mills at start-up motor cycle factory.


    Ever since the early 90s, after graduating with a first class honours degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Abertay, Dundee, Steve Atkins has wanted to produce his own motorcycle.  While pursuing a successful career as a car designer at such prestigious companies as Peugeot, Jaguar and Aston Martin, he spent his spare time designing his own bike and four years ago built a first prototype.

    Two more followed, the last in October 2006, just in time to launch the concept at The International Motorcycle & Scooter Show at the NEC.  He took his first order, the customer paying a deposit there and then.  Together with a small amount of Government funding, it convinced Steve to start his own company – BFO Motorcycles – and press ahead with series production.
    Based on the Honda Fireblade, BFO manufactures a kit costing around £6,500 plus VAT and, within a month, converts the donor bike into a bespoke motorcycle called the ‘switch:BLADE’.  Only the Fireblade’s wheels, suspension, brakes, wiring and engine are retained; the rest is replaced in the makeover.  The plan is to build 100 kits before moving on to a second donor bike, the Suzuki Hayabusa, and repeating the exercise in collaboration with international motorcycle stylist, John Keogh.  This second bike is already attracting a great deal of interest following release of the initial artist’s impression.
    To mill the components, Steve bought in mid 2007 a Hurco VM1 machining centre, listing at £27,900, which with its 660 x 356 x 457 mm working volume he says is the ideal size for producing motorcycle parts.  As he is under financial constraints while building up the business, he is using a 3-jaw chuck and circular interpolation on the machine to produce most of the turned parts for the bike as well, postponing investment in a lathe.

    To buy even one machine tool in addition to renting an industrial unit in Coventry and incurring sundry other expenses, all based on a single bike design, is a big step for an individual.  Steve chose the Hurco machining centre because of its low price and ease of use.  He is a designer, not a machinist, and previously had hardly operated a manual machine tool, let alone one that is computer controlled.
    Manual machines would have been too labour intensive for series production, making the kits too expensive, added to which there is potential for inaccuracies to creep in due to human error.  Learning conventional CNC programming using G- and M-codes would have
    been very time-consuming.  All he wanted to do was get accurate bike components off the machine quickly.
    Steve commented, “I knew of the conversational programming capabilities of Hurco control systems through local subcontractors that had made prototype parts for me on Hurco machines.  “The way the Max control manipulates geometry is similar to my I-DEAS CAD system, so I am in a familiar environment.  The touch screen control makes it very easy to build up a cutting cycle based on the geometry of the part and the tooling I have available.  You simply redraw the part on the Max screen, input feeds and speeds and the program writes itself.”
    For machining more complicated 3D parts such as patterns for producing areas of the carbon fibre bodywork and the seat, which was styled by John Keogh, Steve has installed a OneCNC CAM package that will allow input of complex, 3D cutter paths directly into the Max control.
    He continued, “Just by machining the patterns for the switch:BLADE in house rather than having to subcontract the work, I have saved one third of the cost of the Hurco.
    “All the formed 7020 aluminium tubing for the frame has to be machined so that it fits together first time.  There are fork clamps, mudguard brackets, foot rests, brake calliper mounts, handlebars and a host of other components to be machined from billet, plus most of the traditionally turned parts – I now only have to subcontract the turning of headstocks, which are a little too long for the Hurco.
    “I calculate that there is about £2,000 of machining in each switch:BLADE kit, so together with the saving in pattern machining, the Hurco will have paid for itself after nine bikes.  Everything after that will be for free, except for tooling and running costs.”


  • Vector Precision

    Vector Precision - Rapid Programming for Milling and Turning Makes Small Batch Production Economic

    ​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 b...Read moreTags: Vertical Machining Centers, United Kingdom, VM, Conversational, Lathes

    ​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.

    Said Mr Ford, "The program was written using Hurco's Ultimax conversational programming software, for which we had bought the supplier's 3D mould and simulation packages.  The resulting program consisted of just seven lines, whereas the number of G-code instructions they represented was over 80,000 and took 20 minutes to download to the VM1.
    "To prepare the program conventionally would have been error-prone and taken two or three days.  It would not have been economic so we would probably have had to turn down the job.  As it was, we delivered the aluminium mould to the customer on the Sunday, ahead of the bank holiday Monday deadline."
    Although a job of this complexity is exceptional, Mr Ford commented that it illustrates the power of the Ultimax control system control and software, a copy of which he uses off-line rather than on the shop floor so that the machine is not tied up unnecessarily.  What is not exceptional is the one-off order; most of Vector's work is in batches of one- to 20-off, for which conversational programming is ideal, as it shortens the non-productive part of the manufacturing process.

    Mr Bourne is a chartered engineer and time-served toolmaker, while Mr Ford, also a toolmaker, was for many years a manager of another subcontracting business in the area.  Having established their business in July 2001 with a manual milling machine and lathe, they set about designing and manufacturing automated machinery for the MOD as well as pharmaceutical and food companies.  Vector still undertakes work of this type, and is currently rebuilding two round (ie cartridge and bullet) gauging machines for British Aerospace, at the same time converting them to measure a different gauge of ammunition. 
    Now employing six people in a larger unit in Radway Green, near Crewe, the ISO 9001:2000-approved business has diversified to serve also the rail and aerospace sectors.  Forty per cent of its turnover comes from providing a breakdown repair service, from troubleshooting and design through to component production and machine refurbishment in short time scales, allowing customers to resume manufacture quickly.
    When they moved into the current premises in 2003, Messrs Bourne and Ford still did not have any CNC machines, but soon bought a second-hand Hurco knee-type mill from a local firm.  Quickly they realised how much faster and more accurate it was than the manual machine, so a year later they decided to invest in a new Hurco VM1 machining centre with 660 x 356 x 457 mm working area and 16-station magazine for 40-taper tools.
    Advised Mr Bourne, "We looked at different machines on the market but liked the simplicity and user-friendliness of Ultimax software so much that another Hurco machine was really a foregone conclusion.
    "At the same time, Hurco upgraded our CNC mill with an electronic, variable-speed head so that it would use the same programming software, giving us production flexibility."
    Typical prismatic machining jobs now coming off the CNC machines include a thread-milled acetyl assembly for a quiche-dosing machine, and stiffener plates for a fiberglass moulding that forms part of the cab for an off-road vehicle.  Positional accuracy of each drilled and reamed hole is ± 0.01 mm, so the plates fit precisely to the moulding when assembled with dowels.
    When the time came to upgrade its turning capacity from manual to CNC, Vector turned again to Hurco for a TM6 lathe, which has a 254 mm maximum turning capacity and 12-station turret for fixed tooling.  It uses a conversational programming system similar to that on the manufacturer's machining centres, allowing efficient one-off and small batch production.  The operator simply inputs the profile dimensions and the control does the rest, calculating all intersection points, even for blend arcs and chamfers.  It also sets speeds and feeds according to the tooling selected, while automatic constant surface speed calculation ensures good surface finish on the machined component.
    Components turned by Vector range from small gauge, solid copper bullets through prototypes for cold-rolled products to driving bands for automated machinery that need to be accurate to 0.01 mm total tolerance.  Other examples of precision turned parts are taper threads for BSPT fittings; and, for specialised vehicles such as dust carts and fire engines, 40 mm diameter steel shafts that need to have a near-ground 0.8 Ra finish to take a bush, and a tolerance of +0, -0.02 mm.


    Vector is now in a period of consolidation, as despite expanding into the adjoining unit in March 2004, there is little room to install further machines.  Any increase in business will be accommodated by moving from a single shift plus overtime to a double shift.  They are actively seeking extra mouldmaking work, such as the mince pie mould, as well as contracts to produce other complex 3D parts for which its CNC machines are proving ideal.


  • Tool and Gauge, Co. Sligo Ireland

    Tool and Gauge, Co. Sligo Ireland - 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, has trebled to six, and the moul...Read moreTags: Conversational, United Kingdom, Vertical Machining Centers, VMX

    ​In the last three years, the number of Hurco vertical machining centres on the shop floor at Tool & Gauge, Co Sligo, 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 Ultimax 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 Ultimax 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 VMX 42s, a VMX 64 and a VMX 42 over the past three years, which joined a VMX 30 and an older BMC 2416.
    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 ( 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.





    AEROLUX - CNC Machining Replaces Fabrication in Aircraft Equipment Manufacture

    ​Blackpool-based Aerolux, a world leader in the manufacture of aircraft galley insert equipment such as ovens, refrigerators, wine chillers and coffee mak...Read moreTags: Vertical Machining Centers, VMX, United Kingdom, Conversational, CNC Control

    ​Blackpool-based Aerolux, a world leader in the manufacture of aircraft galley insert equipment such as ovens, refrigerators, wine chillers and coffee makers, has stolen a march on its two main competitors in Germany and the USA by CNC machining many components that were previously fabricated.  Half of all prismatic parts are now machined from solid aluminium on two Hurco vertical machining centres installed in the Spring of 2004 and 2005 respectively.  While safety-critical parts in aircraft are always produced this way to prevent the risk of crack generation, food-related equipment in the galley has traditionally been fabricated.

    The benefits to Aerolux and its customers are considerable, as parts are quicker and less expensive to make by milling than by welding.  Managing director, Ken Metcalfe, says that a fridge door and frame, for example, would require 10 to 12 hours in the fabrication shop whereas they are machined on a Hurco VMX 42 in less than half the time.  A further advantage is that components are more repeatable than when welded, which introduces distortion, so parts assemble more accurately from batch to batch.  Moreover there are no welds to fettle, so a lot of finishing has been eliminated.


    Second-operation work such as drilling and tapping, which was previously carried out by hand on the fabrications, is now completed in-cycle on the machining centre, saving further time.  The cosmetic appearance of products has been improved as well, as it is possible, for example, to radius corners when CNC machining - a refinement that is not feasible when fabricating products.
    The move towards CNC machining has far-reaching implications on the design of Aerolux products.  It is possible, for instance, to mill sections down to 2 mm, much thinner than can be fabricated, resulting in reduced weight.  Another positive change has been to machine on the Hurcos, the groove that accepts the oven door seal instead of having to use two frames, one inside the other, to achieve a similar, heavier result.  Lightness is of key importance to aircraft operators, which are always looking to maximise fuel efficiency.
    Mr Metcalfe has plans for redesigning many other parts and predicts that most of the components that go into the company's products will be CNC machined rather than fabricated within a year or so.  He has also adopted a similar policy for turned parts, many of which now go onto CNC lathes.
    Until the late 90s, practically everything was fabricated at the Blackpool factory, mainly from aluminium for lightness, stainless steel for hygiene, and expensive, heat-resisting plastics approved for aerospace applications.  The plastics were designed out of the ovens, partly due to the high price of the material and of the vacuum forming tools needed to make the oven doors, and also because the plastic was prone to crack when machined.
    At the same time, Mr Metcalfe went to local subcontractors to have frames and doors CNC machined, convinced of the advantages, but found that this was more expensive than fabrication, partly because batches tended to be small.  For the same reason, he found that that he was constantly having to chase work, as subcontractors tend to favour customers that place large volume business.  The quality of the work was also a problem at times and required constant monitoring.  Suddenly, a large order for 100 aluminium and stainless steel oven doors was placed by Kelox, Madrid, for the Spanish Railways (rail industry work accounts for 30 per cent of Aerolux turnover).  This extra business justified the purchase of the first Hurco, which was delivered directly from the MACH 2004 exhibition in Birmingham and paid for itself within a year of installation.

    Once the VMC was installed, other parts such as mounting rails for expresso machines were soon produced from the solid as well, eliminating buying-in castings and machining them by hand on a turret mill.  So successful was this exercise that Aerolux now supplies these components to its competitors.  Fridge frames were next onto the Hurco, followed by rear mounting brackets, and the migration of parts from the fabrication shop to the CNC machining section has continued ever since.
    By the beginning of 2005, the machine was working flat out during the factory’s 10-hour daily shift.  It had become so important in the Aerolux operation that a breakdown would have disrupted customer deliveries; and there was not even time to train more operators.  The obvious answer was a second Hurco VMX42, which was installed in May together with an off-line programming station running WinMax software that mimics the capabilities of the machines’ Ultimax control.  The latter’s intuitive touch-screen, with drop-down menus and second, adjacent screen for displaying a graphic of the component and simulating the cutting cycle, is used very successfully on the shop-floor for programming.  The off-line facility will be used, in the short term at least, for new product development. 
    A typical order from one of the major airlines might result in batch sizes of 25-off doors or frames and 50-off mounting rails, but it can be as low as one-off if the appliance is to be used in a custom executive jet.  Ease of programming at the machine has therefore been of considerable help to Aerolux.




  • Caragh Tool & Die - Shop Floor Programming Saves Time

    Caragh Tool & Die - Shop Floor Programming Saves Time

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

    ​A steady increase in subcontract work for the medical industry coupled with the trend towards greater component complexity has prompted Caragh Tool & Die to invest in a fifth Hurco machining centre with 5-axis capability.  Off-line programming has also been installed to simulate the proprietary Ultimax twin-screen control system fitted to all of the machines.


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


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


  • DW ENGINEERING - Standardised on Hurco Due to User Friendliness

    DW ENGINEERING - Standardised on Hurco Due to User Friendliness

    ​Since its formation in 2005, DW Engineering has expanded its Hamilton, South Lanarkshire contract machining business at an impressive rate. Its success i...Read moreTags: United Kingdom, Vertical Machining Centers, VM, VM10, Aerospace

    ​Since its formation in 2005, DW Engineering has expanded its Hamilton, South Lanarkshire contract machining business at an impressive rate. Its success is largely down to an ability and willingness to undertake anything from prototype work to large batch production for many different industries, and to offer machining expertise in a wide range of materials.


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

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




  • A & M EDM - Hurco Purchase Spurs More Work

    A & M EDM - Hurco Purchase Spurs More Work

    ​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 bigg...Read moreTags: United Kingdom, VMX, Vertical Machining Centers, Mold & Die

    ​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.


    One Birmingham company bucking the trend is A&M EDM.  It is one of the few electric discharge machining specialists in the UK that, working in partnership with other tool makers, helps to manufacture such a wide range of tools including single-stage press tools, progression tools, injection moulds, blow moulds, composite moulds and, increasingly, foundry patterns.  Set up in October 2002 by partners Mark Wingfield and Arthur Watts, the firm has invested over £1 million in shop floor plant, notably wire-cut, die-sink and EDM drilling machines from Sodick, and machining centres from Hurco.
    The customer base numbers more than 200, including all the remaining major press toolmakers in the West Midlands and many pressworkers, as well as automotive and motorsport companies, aerospace manufacturers and even universities.  Sixty per cent of turnover is derived from tool making, the remainder being general subcontract work.
    Said Mark, "It is sad to see such a significant reduction in our tool making industry, which has resulted from some UK suppliers trying to charge excessive rates and some buyers willing to sacrifice our indigenous manufacturing base by going overseas to extract every last bit of profit.  "However, the skills are still here in the UK and if you quote the right price and supply a top quality tool on time, the business is there to be won, especially if the tool is complex or needed quickly."
    The company's progress over the last four years is proof of that, and as there are fewer competitors around, its success is likely to continue.  A&M EDM is also helped by negative issues associated with putting work abroad.  For example at the time of interview, a tool produced in Estonia was having to be extensively reworked, as it had out-of-tolerance features and had not even been dowelled!  "That tool will end up costing the buyer more than having it made here," Mark wryly observed.
    Electric discharge machining is the mainstay of the firm's expertise and accounts for 80 per cent of value-added metalcutting.  Milling has been growing since mid 2004.  At that time, the copper and graphite die-sink electrodes were becoming more complex, necessitating either uneconomical wire-erosion or putting the work out to a subcontractor with 3D machining capability.
    Keen to keep electrode manufacture in-house to control lead-time, quality and cost, Mark decided to buy a vertical machining centre to produce the electrodes.  In addition, more and more customers were asking for a total package including sparked and wired tools plus machined plates, the latter needing a machining centre for their production.
    As he had worked very satisfactorily in the past with a combination of Sodick EDM machines and Hurco machining centres, Mark decided to go the same way again and bought a Hurco VM3 with 1,270 x 457 x 457 mm machining capacity.  When customers saw the new metalcutting facility, other work started to come in for it.

    Then A&M EDM invested in a large wire eroder with 1,100 x 700 mm cutting area, so a larger machining centre was needed to make the tool and die plates.  Furthermore, people were asking for larger, non tool-related prismatic parts to be machined and Mark was having to turn it down.  So in 2006, the company installed a larger Hurco VMX64 with a 1,625 x 864 x 762 mm machining envelope.
    Almost all jobs on both Hurcos are programmed quickly by manual data input at the controls on the shop floor, as components are generally not very complex.  Even some 3D cycles such as for machining electrodes are programmed on the Max and Ultimax CNC systems, these being proprietary controls fitted to the VM3 and VMX64 respectively.  A&M EDM's Camtek PEPS and Delcam Powershape CADCAM systems are reserved for programming the Sodick machines.
    Although parts produced on both of the machining centres are relatively simple, such as platework for the moulds and tools, total tolerance on relative bore positions, for example, can be as tight as 10 microns.  These are easily held on the Hurcos.  Jobs being produced on them when the machine shop was visited were part of a composite mould requiring 3D surface milling on the VM3; and mild steel rolling mill plates on the VMX64.
    The future for the company will be continued steady growth coupled with the pursuit of additional industry approvals and recognitions to add to the ISO 9000 and BS EN 9100 (aerospace) quality standards already held.  Early in 2007, Mark hopes to secure NADCAP accreditation for supplying the global aerospace industry.


    Furthermore, at one of A&M EDM's local customers – Burcas – there is an ongoing supply chain development programme, funded by the DTI manufacturing advisory service, MAS West Midlands.  Aimed at the aerospace, automotive and defence industries, the approach is based on TEC-Concepts, fusing best practices of Six Sigma, Kaizen Blitz and Lean Enterprise with sector-specific standards related to quality, the environment and health & safety.  The result will be recognition of high performing, integrated management systems throughout the Burcas supply chain, including of course at A&M EDM.


  • Acrona Engineering - The Magnificent Seven

    Acrona Engineering - The Magnificent Seven

    ​Seven vertical machining centres from the same supplier, HURCO Europe, have been installed during the past 10 years in the Witney, Oxfordshire works of A...Read moreTags: VM, VM10U, Vertical Machining Centers, United Kingdom, Aerospace

    ​Seven vertical machining centres from the same supplier, HURCO Europe, have been installed during the past 10 years in the Witney, Oxfordshire works of Acrona Engineering, including most recently a 5-axis VM10U with WinMax control purchased at the beginning of 2010.

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

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

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

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




  • Avery Weigh-Tronix - Machines Will Pay for Themselives in Less than a Year

    Avery Weigh-Tronix - Machines Will Pay for Themselives in Less than a Year

    ​The launch by Avery Weigh-Tronix of a new range of on-board weighing products based on digital load cells, designed to fit to the axles of commercial veh...Read moreTags: Vertical Machining Centers, United Kingdom, Conversational

    ​The launch by Avery Weigh-Tronix of a new range of on-board weighing products based on digital load cells, designed to fit to the axles of commercial vehicles to prevent them being overloaded, prompted a comprehensive review of the prismatic metalcutting equipment in use at the company’s Smethwick factory.

    The result has been the appearance on the shop floor during 2008 of three vertical machining centres from Hurco Europe, each fitted with the manufacturer’s proprietary, conversational control system.  Avery calculates that the machines will have paid for themselves in less than a year.


    Said Paul Bates, Production Engineering Manager, “We are ramping up production of the digital underbody weighing systems to 70 per month by the first quarter of 2009, and there are between four and six load cells per system each requiring a tough EN19T steel body to be machined.
    “In addition, we have to machine the aluminium bodies of the in-cab indicators, plus there are even newer weighing systems on the way for tipper and skip lorries.”
    The consequent sharp increase in prismatic metalcutting meant that Avery had to replace some of its older machining centres.  Either they were not big enough to produce the new components, or they were too slow in terms of the feeds and speeds to achieve the required production levels.  One machine was of the right size and had a high-speed spindle, but the torque was not sufficient to mill EN19T. 
    Continued Mr Bates, “Three years ago we had 10 machining centres on site with a variety of CNC systems – Fanuc, Heidenhain and in a couple of instances, the manufacturer’s own control.  “However, we have almost lost the G- and M-code skills needed to program these machines, added to which batch sizes have become smaller – typically 30 to 60 for larger components rising to 120-off for smaller parts.  So we need to be able to program and change over machines faster.
    “Due to our lack of conventional programming expertise, it took a long time to write the programs and they tended not to result in cutting cycles as efficient as they should have been.  Combined with the slowness of some of our older equipment, it had the effect of limiting production output.”
    He went on to explain that with the Max conversation control on the Hurco machining centres, programming is at least twice as fast and the resulting cycles are optimal.  Picking three components at random, not from the on-board weighing project, he said that their machining times on the Hurco VMX30, VM2 and VM1, compared with those on the machines formerly used, were down from 6.75 to 2 minutes, 8 to 4 minutes and 19 to 10 minutes.
    Similar savings are achieved when machining the metric and Imperial, long and short versions of the new on-board weighing elements.  These are mainly produced on the VMX30, as it is equipped with a Hurco 4th-axis indexing unit that allows access to three sides of the component, enabling Op2 to be completed in one hit.  For Op 1, which involves machining on one side only, a steel billet is clamped in MicroLoc vices on the table in front of the indexer.
    Each time the door opens, a finished component is removed.  Total cycle times are 38 minutes for a short element and 48 minutes for the long version.  Part of the Hurco service included advice on the best indexable-insert and solid carbide tooling to use, which is partly responsible for the fast cycle times being achieved at Smethwick, not only on the Hurco machines but right across the shop floor.
    Looking at the bottom line, Avery is making enormous savings.  One component that the company was previously unable to machine used to cost £92.50 to have made outside, whereas in-house production cost is now £20.00.  A large amount of work for the new on-board weighing product range as well as 20 or so other parts, all of which were formerly subcontracted, are now produced on the Hurco machining centres.
    Investment in the three machines and tooling was just £102,000, as the VM1 was acquired from the previous owner in part exchange for another machine at Smethwick.  Mr Bates’ calculations indicate a saving in the first year of £111,000 through improved in-house productivity and reduced spend on subcontract services.  Therefore a six-figure saving will result for every additional year that the Hurco machines are in service.
    Tolerances on the steel weighing elements and aluminium indicator bodies are ± 0.15 mm and ± 0.025 mm respectively, so when it came to choosing the new machines, three makes of mid-range machining centre with conversational programming capability were researched.
    Hurco machines were selected due to their smaller footprint for the working envelope, heavier duty construction and most particularly, for the ease of use of the Max control.  Six Avery staff have been trained to write programs on the shop floor using the touch-screen navigation, drop-down menus, question and answer routines and scalable colour graphics, without recourse to any conventional programming methods.




  • Bartlett Engineering LTD - Programming Is 20% Faster

    Bartlett Engineering LTD - Programming Is 20% Faster

    ​Whether it is a difficult-to-machine Hastelloy component for a petrochemical customer, or a heavy cast iron part for a full-size replica of a steam-drive...Read moreTags: Turning Centers, Vertical Machining Centers, United Kingdom

    ​Whether it is a difficult-to-machine Hastelloy component for a petrochemical customer, or a heavy cast iron part for a full-size replica of a steam-driven crane engine, subcontractor Richard Scourfield and his wife, Kay, invariably produce them on their Hurco machining centre and lathes.  Their company, Bartlett Engineering, is in Tenby on the Pembrokeshire peninsula, half an hour’s drive from one of Europe’s largest oil and gas ports, Milford Haven, where two terminals are currently being built for liquefied natural gas.


    Petrochemical work accounts for 75 per cent of Bartlett’s turnover when the industry is prospering, as it is at present.  A lot of high-grade stainless steel is machined as well as a mix of other materials including boiler plate.  Some of the alloys are difficult to machine, not only the tough, nickel-based materials and stainless steel but also other ferrous alloys such as EN26W steel hardened to 350 BH (Brinell hardness).
    A component produced from the latter material in medium size batches on one of two Hurco TM10 lathes is a washer that requires a 30 mm diameter, indexable-insert drill rotating at 800 rpm to be fed at 80 m/min down the centre of the bar.  The steel is hardened to 380 BH in the process.  A Hurco sales engineer who happened to be present on one occasion when machining started jumped out of his chair when he heard the sound for the first time.  Even he had not seen such a rigorous machining operation carried out on one of their lathes.

    It was agreed during that visit that Bartlett is probably the heaviest user of Hurco machines in the whole of the UK.  The lathes are constantly pulling 80 per cent of available power and 22,000 components have been produced by the two TM10s in the last 12 months.
    One is a bar-fed model for producing components up to 75 mm diameter, while the other is used as a chucker for parts up to 254 mm (10 inches) diameter.  Installed in June 2007 and January 2008 respectively, they have an 18.7 kW spindle with a maximum torque of 312 Nm and through-coolant.
    Mr Scourfield, who served a 5-year apprenticeship at the former Central Electricity Generating Board, has been turning parts since he was 11 years old.  He says that Hurco’s CNC lathes are 12 times more productive than the manually operated lathes that Bartlett has used since the company started in 1966.  He has one word to describe the TM10s: “excellent”.
    The company moved into CNC as recently as 2005 by purchasing entry-level lathes and machining centres from another supplier.  It was a good introduction, but Mr Scourfield soon found that he needed higher power for the type of work that Bartlett traditionally receives.
    This was true not only of turning but also of prismatic machining, so a Hurco VMX60 vertical machining centre with 1524 x 660 x 610 mm travels and 24-position tool magazine was installed in September 2007.
    One of the first components to be machined was larger than the X-axis, so after suitable safety measures had been put in place, the side door was opened to allow the 2.5 metre long part to protrude so that it could be clamped on the table.  The job involved milling slots in the steel cross members, which were sawn from a 203 x 133 mm H-beam.  They formed part of a 20 metre underframe chassis that Bartlett was fabricating for the Isle of Wight Railway.

    Another early component that was longer than the VMX60’s width was a superheater element for a boiler.  Made from 220 mm diameter seamless carbon steel pipe, the two metre long element contained rows of holes that had been machined manually at Tenby for some years, production time being around 24 hours.  Cycle time on the Hurco is just nine hours.
    Half of the contracts received by Bartlett require reverse engineering, such as replacement parts for petrochemical plant that has been manufactured overseas.  Measurements taken from component samples are used to create drawings from which the CNC machines are programmed by manual data input on the shop floor.
    All of the subcontractor’s programming is done this way, as finding staff  in Pembrokeshire with G- and M-code skills is very difficult.
    What Mr Scourfield and his operators particularly like about the Hurco machines is the proprietary conversational control system.  He says it is easy to produce machining cycles using the Windows interface and touch screen commands, and as programming is so quick, it is ideal for Bartlett’s one-offs and small batch runs.  The company has no need at all for off-line programming.
    Whereas Windows software was available on Hurco lathes from the time that they were introduced, this was not the case with the machining centres.  Following the launch last year of the updated Windows-based software, Winmax, the control on Bartlett’s VMX60 has been upgraded, with significant benefits. According to Mr Scourfield, programming is simplified and 20 per cent quicker using the Windows interface, and 3D colour graphics are improved.  Advances in data smoothing have increased contouring speeds and there are many additional features that will be useful for future jobs, such as the ability to select the quality of surface finish.
    In June this year, a Hurco H320 – the largest in the company’s range of rotary tables – was added to the VMX60.  Conversational 4th-axis programming is standard on all WinMax controls, meaning that Bartlett was able to start programming rotary parts immediately, with only a couple of hours’ additional instruction.
    Mr Scourfield concluded, “We pride ourselves on machining parts that no-one else can or wants to produce, but we are only able to do that if our machines are of top quality and back-up is reliable."
    “Our location in west Wales is perfect for ports and refineries, but relatively inaccessible for machine tool vendors.  When we installed the first Hurco lathe, we were promised prompt service and that is exactly what we have received on the few occasions we have needed to call the supplier out.”


  • SFR Turning

    SFR Turning - Machinists Increased Productivity with Hurco

    ​"In our operation, milling and drilling are the final operations on what is now a very valuable product. We must be sure that the program and set-up...Read moreTags: CNC Control, VMX, Vertical Machining Centers

    "In our operation, milling and drilling are the final operations on what is now a very valuable product. We must be sure that the program and set-up are correct. Mistakes at this stage would be very costly.”


    —Kevin Jurus, Partner and Principle Hurco Operator

    SFR Turning in Howell, Michigan is a small, five-man shop that specializes in CNC lathe work.  One of their principle products are wheel-forming dies. While the bulk of the operations are done on CNC lathes, there was enough milling and drilling operations that a CNC machining center could be justified. 
    After a careful review of available equipment, Harvey Wright, President, decided to invest in a VMX24 vertical machining center from Hurco. The result has been an improvement in his shop’s capabilities and operational efficiencies. Prior to purchasing the VMX24 Hurco, all the milling and drilling was done on manual machines.
    Hurco’s UltiMax Control Provides the Flexibility and Power Shop Needs
    Kevin Jurus, Harvey’s partner and the principle Hurco operator,  found that the Hurco VMX24 was a perfect fit for SFR Turning. The VMX24 offers a 24" X-axis travel and a 20" Y-axis travel in a small footprint (54.3 sq. ft.). It’s rigidly constructed to eliminate vibrations – even under the heaviest cutting conditions. The standard, 10,000 RPM spindle compares favorably to many machining centers costing considerably more. With additional features such as the 24-tool capacity and digital drives, the VMX24 provides more flexibility, greater part accuracy and a higher quality finish.
    As with all Hurco machines, the VMX24 is equipped with Hurco’s powerful UltiMax® control. The UltiMax control’s conversational programming software was originally developed for machinists who were used to having complete control of their equipment. These basic concepts of operator/machinist control still remain the hallmark of Hurco’s control operations. For example, the UltiMax control has a “program interrupt” button. This allows the operator to stop the program at any point, have the tool re-track, and permit the operator to inspect the part or make adjustments. Then, when the button is depressed again, the machine resumes its program exactly where it left off. No other control can do this. Most have to restart from the beginning of the program and waste valuable time getting “back in the cut.” “Program Interrupt” gives Kevin complete control and the knowledge that his final operations will be done correctly.
    Kevin also found that the UltiMax control was very easy to learn and program. When the machine was first purchased, SFR had an off-line CAM system, which they used to program their lathes. They began programming the Hurco machining center using the off-line system. However, they quickly learned that editing and changing the off-line generated program was very time consuming. Kevin soon realized that all his programming and editing could be done on the shop floor and at the machine with the Hurco. In fact, much of the programming is now done while the machine is doing another part. 
    The power of Hurco’s UltiMax control combined with the accuracy of the VMX24 reduced the time it took to setup, program, edit and machine a part and increased the productivity of its machinists.  The result is the ability of SFR Turning to multi-task, which is vital to remaining competitive in this industry.


  • Pelletizer Knives - Slashes Setup Times with Hurco

    Pelletizer Knives - Slashes Setup Times with Hurco

    ​“I have found that to compete in a global economy, I must have labor flexibility. That means all of my employees must be able to operate all of our princ...Read moreTags: Conversational, CNC Control, G-Code, Vertical Machining Centers, VMX, International

    “I have found that to compete in a global economy, I must have labor flexibility. That means all of my employees must be able to operate all of our principle machine tools. It eliminates bottlenecks for better product flow and keeps overhead to a minimum.”

    -Greg Messina


    Pelletizer Knives is a small but global manufacturer in Houston, Texas. Founded in 1966, it specializes in making industrial process knives for the plastic and rubber industries. Its product line has over 90 distinct part designs with hundreds of variants for each of these based on material and abrasion resistance requirements. The result is a low lot size production environment with an emphasis on lean manufacturing and process quality.
    Almost all plastics used in the injection molding operations arrive as raw material in a pellet form. These pellets are created using giant extruders and a series of rotating knives that chop the material into pellets. The knives are the wear item and must meet exact standards to maximize life and maintain product quality.
    Pelletizer Knives’s determination to make its knives at the highest quality and the lowest cost has made it an industry leader. Pelletizer Knives sells to major petrochemical companies across 40 countries throughout the world. Fully integrated with heat treat, grinding and machining capabilities, Pelletizer Knives is uncompromising when it comes to controlling quality. 
    With only 22 shop employees, Pelletizer Knives must practice “lean” in all of its operations. One critical aspect for Pelletizer Knives is selecting and utilizing equipment that is not only productive but also easy to learn and use for all of its employees. This flexibility is a vital requirement that frees up bottlenecks that often occur during the production process. Choosing the right equipment keeps unit labor costs down, reduces work in process, minimizes and lead times. 
    The bottom line is that Pelletizer Knives’s prices are the same as they were 10 years ago.
    Hurco’s VMX 42 Slashes Setup Times
    Pelletizer Knives’s first Hurco machining center was a BMC30 purchased in 1992. Its 15 HP 6,000 RPM spindle coupled with 30″ x 20″ travels met the basic needs for drilling and tapping on the blade blanks. 
    About six years ago, Greg Messina, VP of Operations, added the manual work switcher from SMW. It permitted part unload and load to occur outside the machining area and thus increased spindle up-time by 25 percent. While the open work area is acceptable for most of Pelletizer Knives’s applications, it cannot meet the needs when higher spindle speeds and machining enhancers (like coolant through the spindle) are required. 
    Pelletizer Knives researched its options and chose Hurco’s latest machining center, the VMX42 equipped with a Midaco automatic pallet changer. The combination of higher machining rates and the load/unload capabilities of the pallet changer has slashed unit cycle times by 60 percent. 
    Messina purchased the VMX42 because of the unique capabilities of Hurco’s UltiMax® control, a true shop floor workstation. Because UltiMax is easy to learn and simple to operate, anyone in the shop can run the Hurco machines. This allows Pelletizer Knives to quickly respond to its customers needs even when their offline programmers or CNC only operators are not available.
    Pelletizer Knives builds all of their programs using Hurco’s unique conversational programming on UltiMax, which utilizes an easy to learn system with prompts to record all the data needed to create an efficient program. With the helpful drawing holder, the operator pulls up the correct program from memory, verifies it on the right-hand graphics screen, checks tool settings on the left-hand text screen, and makes adjustments as required. Then, the operator is ready for the next job. 
    In a typical operation, it would take an operator about 30 seconds to automatically unload and load fixtures on the VMX42’s pallet changer. He would then press a button and the changer would automatically cycle at the end of the machining cycles.
    Messina’s original plan was for the operator to run another nearby machine when he was finished with pallet load/unload. However, he found that the Hurco machining cycle time was so significantly reduced with the VMX42 that the operator is now a full time load/unloader.
    With 25HP and a 300PSI coolant thru the tool system, the VMX42 is very precise at the milling and drilling operations on the knife blank that is processed at RC 36-42. On the .200″ drilled hold, feed rates up to 20″/min are achieved.
    Messina found that G-code only machines routinely created work-scheduling conflicts because workers could not be cross-trained easily. When Messina purchased his first Hurco machining center 12 years ago, he immediately saw the benefit of using Hurco’s conversational programming software on the UltiMax control. 


  • Precision Reflex

    Precision Reflex - Hurco Control Increased Production + Cash Flow

    “The VM1 is perfect for our shop. It gives us the productivity of a machining center as our production volume grows without losing fast and easy programmi...Read moreTags: Vertical Machining Centers, VM, G-Code, Conversational, CNC Control

    “The VM1 is perfect for our shop. It gives us the productivity of a machining center as our production volume grows without losing fast and easy programming and setup.”

    -Dave Dunlap, President


    Precision Reflex manufactures telescopic sights for rifles and handguns. It’s a small shop with about 15 employees on a single shift. About 10 years ago, Precision Reflex entered CNC machining with a Hurco bed mill. The precision and repeatability that CNC gave its machining operations dramatically increased productivity and the ability to speed the growth of the business. As the business and lot size grew, Mr. Dunlap began searching for a machine that would increase his productivity.
    Hurco’s VM1 Saves Time and Exceeds Shop Owner’s Expectations
    Although he took a close look at Hurco’s VMX product line and knew that a VMX machining center would meet the specifications he needed, Mr. Dunlap decided to purchase a competitor’s machine. However, after he installed the machine he quickly learned that not all controls were equal. The competitor’s machine ran well, but the G-code based programming slowed down the entire operation. Mr. Dunlap did not want to hire a CNC only operator, so he learned G-code programming himself. While spending several months learning G-code, he realized that it would have only taken him two days to learn conversational programming on Hurco’s UltiMax® control. Even using an offline system didn’t save time because many jobs still needed editing in G-code and this had to be done at the machine. As a result, when Mr. Dunlap needed to get a job out quickly, he scheduled it on the manual tool change bed mill.
    When Hurco introduced its VM1 machining center, Mr. Dunlap found that the price was very competitive and the features met his shop’s needs, so he purchased it. With Hurco’s Max control on the VM1, programming and editing was much quicker and easier resulting in an increase in production and cash flow. The shops costs were also down. Mr. Dunlap was also very pleased with the vise and tooling package he purchased from Hurco. He found the vises to be very precise, which has led him to order more for his other machines. Everything was packaged into an attractive lease, and it proved to be a profitable investment.


  • Ottenweller Co.

    Ottenweller Co. - Hurco Control Is Easiest to Use in the Industry

    “It is so easy to train someone to drill, tap, or mill on the Hurco UltiMax® control with the English language programming.” —Mike Ottenweller, Owner   ...Read moreTags: VMX, Vertical Machining Centers, Conversational

    “It is so easy to train someone to drill, tap, or mill on the Hurco UltiMax® control with the English language programming.”

    —Mike Ottenweller, Owner

    Mike Ottenweller is the grandson of Ed Ottenweller, the founder of Ottenweller Company in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Ed began the business in 1916 as a blacksmith shop that manufactured wagon hitches, steel tires for wooden wagon wheels, and forging repair and forge welding for local contractors and businesses. The business evolved over the next 30 years with the company manufacturing parts for International Harvester and General Electric in Fort Wayne.
    Key Hurco Advantage
    The machining department at Ottenweller provides a support function for their main effort in sheet metal and plate fabrication. The company needed a machine with more sophistication and efficiency then a standard knee mill. In the mid-80s, Ottenweller bought their first Hurco machining center. One of the main factors for buying the Hurco machining center was its easy-to-use UltiMax control, which allows the machinist to sequence all the value-added steps needed to machine a part. A machinist using the UltiMax control can reduce or eliminate dead time between steps of conventional CNC operation, resulting insignificant savings. Also, machinists can skillfully use the system within days. The most recent Hurco machines at Ottenweller are two VMX50 machining centers with the easy to use UltiMax controls. “The VMX50 machining centers are very powerful and the coolant through the spindle helps with tool life and for flushing chips during a heavy drilling process,” says Mike Ottenweller.
    Ottenweller and Hurco are in the third decade of their relationship. During this time, the increased power and accuracy of Hurco machining systems have been able to meet the challenge of machining Ottenweller’s more sophisticated and tighter tolerance work pieces. The common thread in this long relationship is the UltiMax control. Today, as it was in the mid-eighties, Hurco's control is the easiest to use in the industry.


  • North Carolina Foam Solutions

    North Carolina Foam Solutions - Hurco Mill Increases Productivity

    ​“When our business started to recover earlier this year we decided to invest in a labor saving Hurco machining center rather than hire back a machinist. ...Read moreTags: VM, Vertical Machining Centers, CNC Control

    “When our business started to recover earlier this year we decided to invest in a labor saving Hurco machining center rather than hire back a machinist. We’ll pay for the Hurco in less than a year.”

    —Dennis Bost, Owner and Operator



    North Carolina Foam Solutions has been in operation since 2000. The company provides support services, primarily repair parts, to foam rubber processors. Generally, foam processors use equipment that slices large foam “bricks” into useable sizes for furniture, automotive and other applications. These special purpose machines have a number of wear parts that North Carolina Foam Solutions makes on a repair basis.
    Hurco’s VM2 Eliminates Overhead to Increase Shop’s Productivity
    The proud owners of Hurco’s VM2 machining center reached their decision to buy it in an interesting way. In 2002, they had manual equipment and hired a machinist to help with the workload. However, they had to layoff the machinist and reduce their own work hours by more than 50 percent due to the business downturn the industry was facing. When business picked up again, they realized that the money spent on wages and benefits for the machinist over the past year would have paid for a new CNC machine. After researching the market, Hurco’s VM2 machining center proved to have the best features and value. In addition, Hurco’s easy-to-use Max® control provided shop floor programming. 

    While the VM2 machine’s 40" X-travel is quite generous, some of their parts require that the side doors be opened so that parts 8, 10 or 12 feet long can be handled. The large 46" x 20" work table with 40" x 18" travels gives the VM2 machining center a great work envelope. When coupled with a 20HP, 8,000-RPM spindle and 16-station ATC, the VM2 is perfect for the job shop looking for machining center productivity at an affordable price. The owners of North Carolina Foam Solutions have also been very pleased with the tooling package and vises they purchased from Hurco with the VM2. The vises are compact and precise. The tool holders cover a wide range of tooling and provide great flexibility.
    The VM2 is used at North Carolina Foam Solutions for a variety of work. Many types of materials such as cast iron, tool steel and aluminum are processed. Because most parts are made to order (generally replacement parts are reverse engineered) the power of Hurco’s VM2 machining center and Max control to solve programming problems on the shop floor is a real asset.


  • Lindsay Machine Works - Control Promotes Growth

    Lindsay Machine Works - Control Promotes Growth

    ​​In 1994, after working for several shops in the Kansas City area and serving his machinist apprenticeship in the U.S. Navy, Mike Lindsay founded Lindsay...Read moreTags: Conversational, VM, Vertical Machining Centers, Lathes, Turning Centers

    ​​In 1994, after working for several shops in the Kansas City area and serving his machinist apprenticeship in the U.S. Navy, Mike Lindsay founded Lindsay Machine Works in Richmond, Missouri. His one-man shop grew to five and eventually outgrew their location. In 2002 he moved the business to nearby Independence, a suburb of Kansas City.


    Mike started his business with manual equipment, serving the general machining and repair needs of local businesses in the paper, food processing and agricultural industries. While Mike could meet the needs of his customers for simple repair work and very small runs, the inefficiencies and time requirements of his manual machines didn’t allow him to compete when quoting even small jobs of more than five or ten pieces.

    Key Hurco Advantage
    Recently, Hurco’s local distributor, Gage Machine Tool, convinced Mike that he needed to make the plunge into CNC and that the Hurco VM1 was the perfect vehicle. CNC was a big change for Mike. He didn’t even have a PC in the shop. But the local distributor promised and delivered on training and Mike was making parts in just a few days. After a month, profits began to soar. These days Mike would not even think of operating his shop without the Hurco vertical machining center. The VM1 made him very competitive and profitable.
    Lathes are also an integral part of Lindsay Machine Works. His huge swing manual lathe could handle very large shaft work, but he didn't have an efficient machine for smaller parts turning work and ended up passing on many business opportunities. Based on the success of his VM1, Mike purchased Hurco's new TM8 CNC slant-bed turning center and installed it next to the VM1, creating a CNC cell. Since Mike and his machinists were already familiar with the Hurco control, they were able to quickly get up to speed.  Should Lindsay Machine Works continue to expand, Mike knows that both new operators and experienced machinists can make the most of the TM8 which can be programmed via Hurco's conversational programming, G-Code and with offline CAM software. Even CAD programs can be imported to the control-- something that cannot be done on other turning centers.


    Lindsay Machine Works depends on quick and reliable turn-around times to keep customers and develop new ones. The Hurco CNC cell, consisting of a VM1 VMC and the new TM8 CNC slant-bed turning center, is a vital part of their business today and in the future.


  • Rigid + Reliable: "We Have Not Had to Call a Tech Out Once"

    Rigid + Reliable: "We Have Not Had to Call a Tech Out Once"

    ​We have a 2006 Hurco VM1, and love the machine. It does not have the WinMax control, although it would be nice. Shop floor programming is still a breeze ...Read moreTags: Conversational, CNC Control, General Purpose, Job Shop, Service, What I Love About Hurco contest

    ​We have a 2006 Hurco VM1, and love the machine. It does not have the WinMax control, although it would be nice. Shop floor programming is still a breeze with the conversational control!!! We have not used the NC side of the control once. The machine is very rigid, and has run very well over the years. We have not had to call a tech out once! We do not have a boring head for the machine, and haven't needed one! With a good carbide endmill, we have circle milled bearing bores without any trouble. We would have had to spend a lot more money on other brands to get the same features and quality!!

    Keep up the good work,
    Jerry Pruitt


    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, CNC Control, Conversational, G-Code, United Kingdom, Vertical Machining Centers, VMX

    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.





    BRUNSWICK TOOLING LTD - Benefits of a Five-Axis Machining Centre Combine with Those of a Mill-Turn Lathe

    ​There are a number of purpose-built 5-axis / 5-sided machining centre designs on the market, including types with a rotary table and either a trunnion su...Read moreTags: 5-Axis Machining, Vertical Machining Centers, United Kingdom, Mill Turn

    ​There are a number of purpose-built 5-axis / 5-sided machining centre designs on the market, including types with a rotary table and either a trunnion support or a swivelling B-axis head to provide the fifth CNC axis. A number of companies including Hurco supply such machines, but neither configuration suited Brunswick Tooling, Brighouse, a manufacturer of reamers and special cutting tools, both solid carbide and indexable-insert.

    Instead, it asked Hurco to supply an alternative 5-axis configuration based on a 3-axis VMX30m machining centre fitted with a 2-axis NC tilting rotary table. Many regard such a solution as inferior to a custom-made 5-axis machine, sometimes referring disparagingly to a lack of rigidity with 'bolt-on attachments'. However, for producing Brunswick Tooling's products, which are essentially rotational components, the arrangement has proved to be optimal.

    The rigidity issue was tackled at the outset by selection of a Kitagawa TT182 hydraulic, 2-axis table with -35 / +110 tilt angle and a 360-degree table rotation. According to Brunswick Tooling's managing director, Paul Briggs, the attachment is so robust that machining performance is just as good as that of purpose-built, 5-axis machines.
    Indexing accuracies of 20 and 60 seconds of arc respectively for table rotation and tilt, with 4 seconds of arc repeatability, ensure top precision metalcutting when combined with Hurco's ± 0.005 mm linear positioning accuracy and ± 0.0025 mm repeatability.  The real advantage of the set-up is that Brunswick Tooling is able to clamp the rotary table in its vertical position and fit a tailstock to the left hand side of the machine bed. In this way, the tools it manufactures can be positioned between centres and clamped securely for prismatic machining operations to be carried out, such as milling of indexable insert pockets.
    The first Hurco machine installed, in March 2010, has been operated in this mode for a large part of the time. However, for certain jobs the tailstock is removed and the Kitagawa table is inclined upwards to position the component at a compound angle for 3-axis machining of complex features on some tooling products. Both rotary axes are currently used in this way, ie indexed and clamped, but they could be interpolated with the linear axes in future, if desired, as the Hurco Max CNC system is able to control full 5-axis cycles.
    It was the flexibility of being able to use the machine either in turn-mill mode or as a 5-sided or 5-axis machining centre that convinced Mr Briggs to choose the Hurco / Kitagawa option. The merits of the decision were underlined by the purchase of a second, identically equipped VMX30m one year after the first. Even the tools in the magazines are identical. Programs are stored on the factory server, allowing any job to be downloaded to, and produced on, either Hurco machine, with certainty that the most up-to-date cutting cycle is being used.
    Mr Briggs said that there is a particular functionality within Hurco's WinMax conversational programming software that lends itself well to 5-sided machining applications, during which the part is tilted upwards at an angle. It is called 'transform plane' and is used in a rotary program to re-establish part zero to any plane for non-rotary 3-axis milling or drilling. This facilitates machining of repeating features on several sides of a component, as the tool automatically moves so that it is always perpendicular to the transformed plane.
    "Essentially, whatever angle the part is at in one or two rotary planes, the Hurco software always knows where the datum is, which has allowed us to increase productivity on complex, high added value products," confirmed Mr Briggs.
    His lead machine tool programmer, Andrew Bell, also commented on the software: "With WinMax, it is easy to program a part without any need for an expensive 5-axis CAM system.
    "We a take the DXF file from the 3D model we create in Autodesk Inventor and load it directly into WinMax. The data is then used to generate the cutter paths using conversational routines, quickly and accurately, without the risk of introducing G-code errors.  "The software is years ahead of its time and always has been, even the earlier, non-Windows version, Ultimax."
    Mr Bell, who uses WinMax software daily, also likes the way a graphic of the part being programmed is generated concurrently in background. He said it allows any potential mistakes in component geometry to be spotted quickly, this being especially useful when programming a cylindrical part, which is difficult to visualise from a 2D drawing.
    Brunswick Tooling manufactures reamers in batches of up to 300-off for world markets, but its special cutting tools are normally produced in ones and twos, for which WinMax software is ideal. Often, the company is asked by firms to design and produce a tool from scratch from a CAD drawing of the end component.
    Customers include Ford, JCB, Airbus, AgustaWestland and BAE Systems, from which it recently received the Chairman's Silver Award for reducing lead-time for a Joint Strike Fighter titanium machining operation from three days to five minutes.
    Mr Briggs concluded, "The Hurco machines are good value for money and have a large working area for the factory space they take up.  "Their accuracy is fantastic – we easily hold 50 microns on indexable insert pocket dimensions and position, despite sometimes machining a long component held at one end.  "We still operate a number of universal, 4-axis toolroom machines, which have a manually tilting table and require longhand G-code programming. They will continue to have their place for manufacturing reamers and some repeat special tools.
    "But for particularly complex tooling designs, which are becoming more and more frequent, the Hurco / Kitagawa configuration is the future for our business and the avoidance of expenditure on CAM software, and an operator to use it, is an added bonus."




  • SCHIVO GROUP - WATERFORD - Conversational Control Cuts Cycle Times by a Third

    SCHIVO GROUP - WATERFORD - Conversational Control Cuts Cycle Times by a Third

    ​Two Hurco VMX30t vertical machining centres (VMCs) have been added to the subcontract machine shop of Schivo Group in Waterford, on the south coast of Ir...Read moreTags: Vertical Machining Centers, VMX, United Kingdom

    ​Two Hurco VMX30t vertical machining centres (VMCs) have been added to the subcontract machine shop of Schivo Group in Waterford, on the south coast of Ireland. Compared with a VMX42 installed in 2004, the latest machines are 50 per cent more productive, due entirely to the increased functionality of Hurco's conversational programming software, WinMax, incorporated into the control systems. 

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




  • Formagrind - Electronics Sub-Contractor Expands to Beat Foreign Competition

    Formagrind - Electronics Sub-Contractor Expands to Beat Foreign Competition

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


  • Bryco Machine

    Bryco Machine - Hurco Lathe Cuts Programming Time

    Bryco Machine is a 20-year-old modern-day shop specializing in CNC turning. They've built a reputation as a world-class supplier of precision turned parts...Read moreTags: CNC Control, Lathes, Turning Centers, Conversational

    Bryco Machine is a 20-year-old modern-day shop specializing in CNC turning. They've built a reputation as a world-class supplier of precision turned parts for industries including electronics, hydraulics, wireless communications, medical & dental, fluid powers, fiber optics and defense.


    In 2004, Bryon Bettinardi, owner of Bryco, decided he needed to expand his capabilities. More and more of his customers were insisting on short run and prototype work in conjunction with the high volume work he was already doing. Trying to do low volumes on his production machines with four to eight hour setup times was not productive but he didn't want to lose these opportunities.

    Bryon purchased a Hurco BMC30 for secondary operations about five years ago and found that not only was it fast and easy to program, it was also an excellent machine tool--productive, accurate, and reliable. When Hurco announced its new line of 2-axis lathes, it was just at the time Bryan needed to do something to solve his short run production problems.
    Hurco had the solution.
    Key Hurco Advantage
    As Bryon studied his short run work he realized it would benefit greatly from having two small lathes and purchased two Hurco TM6 CNC slant-bed lathes. One machine would be equipped with a bar feeder and run low to medium volume jobs using the same quality bar stock that was being used on his production machines. The other TM6 would be used as a chucker or with a bar puller for those jobs in which a bar feeder would not be utilized fully.

    With easy-to-use conversational programming and powerful verification graphics, programming and setup time is down to under an hour between jobs. The operator of the Hurco TM6 appreciates the quick set up times and the unique verification graphics that allow him to see the cuts made on the control before they are actually made. This feature has significantly reduced programming times by two to three hours and he believes machine stoppages will soon be a thing of the past. Secondary operations are done on the Hurco BMC30. Bryon Bettinardi has also been very pleased with the investment. The Hurco lathes are producing high quality, accurate parts with close to the same efficiency as his production machines. With the fast turn around times now possible via his Hurco CNC milling and turning cell, short run jobs are now a new profit center for Bryco Machine.
  • BPR/RICO Equipment

    BPR/RICO Equipment - I Just Had to Have the Hurco Control

    ​“I didn’t buy the Hurco because of the machine. It was fine, but there were many brands with similar specifications. I just had to have the Hurco control...Read moreTags: CNC Control, Conversational

    ​“I didn’t buy the Hurco because of the machine. It was fine, but there were many brands with similar specifications. I just had to have the Hurco control.”

    -- John Carpenter, Shop Manager, BPR/RICO Equipment


    BPR/RICO designs and manufactures a wide range of custom material handling equipment. Over the years, they have found they can best serve their industrial customers by offering unique custom designs to solve specific handling problems. This high engineering intensity coupled with demands by customers for fast delivery at the lowest possible cost places extreme pressure on the manufacturing group to respond to lower and lower lot sizes and yet still reduce unit cost. That meant that attacking set-up time in all its aspects had become an absolute priority. 
    When it came time to look for their first vertical machining center, RICO found that over twenty different brands could meet their needs in terms of working cube, HP, rapids, spindle speed, etc. John Carpenter, machine shop manager, realized that the key to his decision was selecting the machining center with the best ‘operator to control’ interface. The control had to be easy to learn and use yet have ‘power’ to handle a wide variety of machining operations. When Hurco could demonstrate that it could dramatically reduce the time required to create programs, edit existing programs (an absolute necessity for company that builds customs from a basic design), set-up parts and tools, and easily fit into the skills set of the operators on the shop floor, John knew that his vision could be realized. The purchase of the Hurco BMC 4020 has been a critical operational improvement for RICO.


    Key Hurco Advantage
    Hurco solved the problem that frustrated RICO. Every job was the same but different. In the design of its equipment, the basic components were very similar for a given product. The problem was that each order had some element of customization. Holes in a different location, length different, etc. On conventional CNCs, each of these changes required a new program and then edits to finally get it to run. With Hurco UltiMax control programming, altering existing programs is incredibly simple. Just display the part on the graphics screen and ‘point’ at the feature, a hole for example, that needs to be changed. The control automatically goes to the data block that controls that feature and the edit can be made. For new parts, RICO just programs right at the machine. John has found that the Ultimax control’s concurrent programming feature lets him create new programs as other parts are being run.  RICO now is fully capable of meeting its customer’s needs for customized products on time and under budget. As fast as the engineers can design it, the RICO shop is ready to build it.
    The proof is in the productivity. Before the Hurco, only two or three jobs could be programmed, set-up and run in a single shift day. Now six to eight jobs are processed routinely. The reduction is work-in process and lead times have more than paid for the modest extra investment to purchase the Hurco. RICO avoided having to expand overhead with an off-line CAM department. All programs are done on the shop floor. As John Carpenter, Shop manager, realized after an UltiMax control demo – “ I have to have that control.”


  • Bobby Grace Putters

    Bobby Grace Putters - Hurco Brings Winning Touch to the Green

    ​"When I am out on the tour talking with the pros, they want service. With my Hurco back at the shop, I can respond to their wishes almost immediatel...Read moreTags: Vertical Machining Centers, VM

    ​"When I am out on the tour talking with the pros, they want service. With my Hurco back at the shop, I can respond to their wishes almost immediately. If we agree with a change on Tuesday, they're puttin' for a bird on Thursday."

    -- Bobby Grace, Founder


    Bobby Grace Putters designs and manufactures advanced golf equipment using the latest CNC machining technology from Hurco. After great success milling putters in the mid 1990s, Bobby Grace sold his first product line to Cobra®. In 2003, Bobby developed a new and innovative concept in putter design that could be patented and brought to the market.
    Drawing from his experience with his milled putter designs, Bobby found that if he created a putter with a deep body and placed a heavy “mass” at the end of that body away from the face he could create a high moment of inertia with the putter. With this high moment of inertia, the putter has a much larger “sweet” spot, delivers straight putts, and is extremely stable. The MOI or “Moment of Inertia” Amazing Grace putter was born. 
    Bobby had used Hurcos in his first operation during the 1990s. He found the fast and easy-to-use programming of Hurco’s control to be ideal for his innovative operations with constantly changing product lines. He was able to expand his workforce as the business grew because the Hurco machines were easy to operate, versatile and productive.
    Key Hurco Advantage: The VM1 Machining Center
    When he started his new operation in 2003, Bobby was looking for a bed mill as a low-cost investment. After he saw Hurco’s VM1 at a local show, he realized that he could get machining center performance and productivity without sacrificing fast programming and setup for a price not much more than a bed mill. Given his previous experience with Hurco, his decision was easy.
    Hurco’s VM machining center hit the mark for the versatility Bobby Grace Putters needed. It’s X-Y-Z axis travels at 26″ (660mm) x 14″ (356mm) x 18″ (457mm), packaged on a 6,000 lb. frame that only takes up 36 sq. ft., made it a perfect fit for his operations. Coupled with its 15 HP 8,000 RPM spindle, 700 IPM rapids and 16-station swing arm ATC, the VM1 was ideal for the challenges Bobby’s machinists face. With a starting price of $37,900, it has provided Bobby an exceptional return on investment.
    The VM1 machines used at Bobby Grace Putters are equipped with electronic probes. As an example of an operation in Bobby’s shop, a manual pallet shuttle is used to load the blanks for machining. Before the start of the operation, the probe checks the alignment of the blank and corrects the program coordinates for part skew. The result is faster setup and higher quality parts while requiring less operator skill.
    Hurco’s VM machining center is used for prototype development and to provide customization for various clients, touring professionals and companies.
    Bobby markets his revolutionary putters in two ways. First, he sells a large volume of his putters through an international distribution system. However, many professional golfers on the pro tour demand custom putters. While on tour, many golfers routinely e-mail or fax changes to Bobby Grace Putters. This is where the unmatched capabilities of the VM1 and the Hurco control come into play. After making these custom alterations to his putter design, Bobby sends the custom putter in one or two days to his customers. Bobby’s competitors take weeks to make custom designs. 
    Many companies provide custom Bobby Grace putters as gifts or incentives. Hurco’s DXF file transfer allows the machinists at Bobby Grace Putters to download customer logos to create custom putters in hours, not weeks. 
    Using Hurco’s productive and versatile Hurco VM general purpose CNC machining centers and easy-to-use control technology, Bobby Grace Putters will provide amateur and professional golfers worldwide the best chance to sink that long shot!




  • Belkin Corporation

    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: Vertical Machining Centers, VM

    ​“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 new VM2 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 1 Gig harddrive, even huge programs can be stored for later use. The control’s RAM was expanded to 256 Meg 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.


    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.


  • A & A Tool and Die

    A & A Tool and Die - Our Hurco Is Easy to Learn and Easy to Run

    ​“I had to upgrade to CNC to remain competitive but I wanted a machine that would be easy to learn and easy to run. Hurco’s VM1 fit my needs perfectly.” ...Read moreTags: Conversational, CNC Control, VM, Vertical Machining Centers

    “I had to upgrade to CNC to remain competitive but I wanted a machine that would be easy to learn and easy to run. Hurco’s VM1 fit my needs perfectly.”

    —Art Cherkezian, President
    A & A Tool and Die is a small two-man tool shop that has been operating for almost 20 years. It specializes in producing parts for various aerospace divisions that have both metal forming and machining requirements. Until recently, Mr. Cherkezian could meet part requirements using traditional manual mills and lathes. However, due to lower costs and increased demand for part accuracy, Mr. Cherkezian realized that he needed to invest in CNC equipment. He could not afford to hire CNC operators, so he and his assistant had to be able to run the machine themselves. Therefore, he needed a machine with an easy-to-use control.
    Hurco’s VM1 Helps Small Shop Meet Customer Demands
    After viewing Hurco’s VM1 machining center at WESTEC 2003, Mr. Cherkezian was convinced that a Hurco machine would be the right investment. He found that the control was intuitive and easy to learn; yet it could be programmed to do all the machining operations he required. In addition, the small footprint saved valuable floor space in his 3,000 square foot shop. The VM1 is a true vertical machining center due to its 16-station tool changer, which saves valuable time over manual tool changes. The 8,000 RPM spindle can handle the wide variety of material A & A must process. Finally, both Mr. Cherkezian and his assistant were making parts in less than a week.


    The Hurco VM1 provided A & A Tool and Die with greater capability and improved performance. Quality and customer responsiveness have improved dramatically. The VM1 has performance features and easy-to-use controls at a very competitive price. The purchase of Hurco’s VM1 machining center has been a success for A & A Tool and Die.


  • Met-Tek

    Met-Tek - Puts TM6 to Work 2,500 Piece Order

    ​Met–Tek, formerly known as Eagle Manufacturing, is a job shop serving the Central Indiana region. Met-Tek has a long history of providing machined parts ...Read moreTags: Lathes, Turning Centers, TM6

    ​Met–Tek, formerly known as Eagle Manufacturing, is a job shop serving the Central Indiana region. Met-Tek has a long history of providing machined parts and replacement parts for legacy Hurco machines. Through their relationship with Hurco, they've become very familiar with their vertical machining centers and the unique, flexible Hurco control. In fact, there are currently ten Hurco machines being utilized at Met-Tek.

    Key Hurco Advantage
    In early 2005, Met-Tek needed to replace an existing lathe from another manufacturer. Although a line of turning centers was new for Hurco, Met-Tek knew they could count on Hurco for a well-made, reliable machine with an easy-to-use control--whether it was a vertical machining center or a lathe--and they placed the order. The TM6 CNC slantbed lathe was the perfect match for Met-Tek.  Installed in early February, Met-Tek was making parts the next day. As expected, the control was easy to program and they found that its performance and accuracy were outstanding.
    One of the first jobs performed on the TM6 by the Met-Tek machinists was a brass connector part cut on hex brass bar stock. The order was for 2,500 pieces--a demanding job for any turning center. The programming took just 20 minutes and the tooling set-up took 30 minutes. The total cycle time for each part was around 40 seconds and all of the part specifications and tolerances were being met from the first part to the last. The shop foreman appreciates the thermal stability of the lathe. He's finding no variation over time and set-ups are held from one day to the next.


    Met-Tek's long history with Hurco will now move forward. More importantly, Met-Tek will stay productive and competitive in the industry.


  • A & G Precision - Expands into 5-Axis Machining

    A & G Precision - Expands into 5-Axis Machining

    ​The installation of two new Hurco machining centres has allowed Lancashire subcontractor, A&G Precision, to attract more work and produce components ...Read moreTags: 5-Axis Machining, CNC Control, Vertical Machining Centers, VMX, United Kingdom

    ​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.




  • VAN-AM Tool and Engineering

    VAN-AM Tool and Engineering - Conversational Control and G-Code Working Together

    ​“I bought my Hurco VM1 to improve the efficiency of my tool room. Then I found that it saved my bacon with a critical customer when I used a feature I di...Read moreTags: VM, Vertical Machining Centers, CNC Control, Conversational, G-Code

    ​“I bought my Hurco VM1 to improve the efficiency of my tool room. Then I found that it saved my bacon with a critical customer when I used a feature I didn’t think I needed.”

    -- Ivan Russell


    VAN-AM Tool and Engineering is an integrated, full service contract metal stamping plant. It meets the needs of a wide range of Midwest customers. While VAN-AM had purchased a few CNC machines in the past, it always found that programming and editing were very time consuming and inefficient for many of its die component operations. Therefore, Ivan Russell, President, maintained a number of manual and 2-axis knee mills for much of his machining.


    Feature on Hurco’s VM1 Exceeds Customer’s Expectations
    When Ivan’s local Hurco distributor, Dirk Gage, of Gage Machine Tool, discussed Ivan’s operations with him, Dirk was convinced that Hurco’s VM1 machining center would be a profitable investment for Ivan. He arranged a demonstration of Hurco’s UltiMax control for Ivan and his toolmakers. They were impressed with how fast print data could be converted into a program and edited to produce a stamping die detail. Ivan also wanted to make sure that the Hurco conversational control could handle off-line generated g-code programs for the form dies that were also an important part of his business. When shown that the control can handle both types of format with equal ease, he placed an order.
        Dirk spent a couple of days training Ivan’s toolmakers and within a week they were programming and using the VM1 machining center. A form die for a motorcycle headlamp was one of the first parts that was run on the VM1. The contour was generated off-line and downloaded to the control and its 1 Gig hard drive. The pre-hardened steel was cut with no problem, and in this case, sent to the customer for press tryout. For some reason, a misfeed occurred and caused a mark on the die surface. It needed immediate repair. Ivan took the die back to the shop and found that the original program was still on the control’s hard-drive. A re-cut was done overnight and was delivered to the customer the next day. Ivan never thought he would need to store programs for future use and did not think the standard hard drive was important. After that experience, he won’t buy a machine tool without one.

    Hurco’s VM1 machining center equipped with the powerful Max control is easy to learn, easy to use, and very efficient at cutting tools. The VM1 was a perfect fit for Ivan’s needs. His manual and 2- axis mills now see little use and will be sold. Since Ivan Russell purchased Hurco’s VM1, all of VAN-AM’s die details have been produced on it. The VM1 has saved the company valuable time by allowing Ivan’s toolmakers to produce dies 40 to 50 percent quicker than with its previous milling operations. 

  • Quake Manufacturing

    Quake Manufacturing, Inc. - Job Shop for the Automotive, Aerospace and Food Idustries.

    ​"We have been using Hurco for over 15 years. We found the new VM3 to be perfect for a number of repetitive jobs. We can set up five vises and/or fix...Read moreTags: VM, Vertical Machining Centers, Job Shop, Automotive, Aerospace

    "We have been using Hurco for over 15 years. We found the new VM3 to be perfect for a number of repetitive jobs. We can set up five vises and/or fixtures on the long 50-inch bed, and we’re ready to do fast response turnarounds for our critical customers."

    - Paul Quake, President

    Quake Manufacturing, a job shop in Ft. Wayne Indiana, began operations in 1990. In 1996 they expanded into their current 8,000 square foot facility. Paul Quake took over as CEO in June of 1999 when his father, who founded the shop, retired. Like most job shops, Quake caters to just about anyone with a need for machined parts including local customers in the automotive, aerospace and food industries.

    Although Quake specialized in lathe work during the early days, the need to add milling operations became apparent as the business grew. The result was the 1991 purchase of a 3-hp Hurco KM3P precision knee mill with its easy to use UltiMax® control. Two years later, they added a BMC20. However, they have since replaced these machines with even faster, more productive Hurco machines. With lot sizes ranging from a single piece to 50,000 pieces, productivity matched with flexibility is a necessity.
    Key Hurco Advantages
    Quake Manufacturing has maintained a long and beneficial relationship with Hurco. In 1997, they added a BMC4020 vertical machining center. This workhorse is still used today when the newer machines are not available or are underutilized for a particular operation. The next additions were the newer generation vertical machining centers—the Hurco VMX42 and VM3.

    Paul Quake added the Hurco VM3 in March of 2005. Quake says the VM3’s 50-inch X travel was one of the biggest selling points for two reasons. First, Quake handles a fair amount of shaft and bracket work. In many cases, the pieces can reach 50 inches in length. The VM3, with its versatile control, was a real bargain for the machining area. Secondly, Quake has found he can set up five different vices on the long table. This flexibility allows him to do multi-sided parts in one handling or set up each vise for a different repetitive job. Lead times are significantly reduced for small lot repeat orders and his operators can multi-task on other machines.

    Quake also uses the VM3 with permanent setups of 4 vises and a three-jaw chuck. With each vise ‘zeroed in’ he can quickly set up and run a wide number of repeat jobs. If the material is available, turn around times of 24 to 48 hours are the norm. The three-jaw chuck is in place for secondary lathe operations as needed.
    The VM3 has become the perfect complement to the shop’s BMC4020 and the VMX42. Quake Manufacturing utilizes all three machines to achieve maximum efficiency. Quake relies on the VMX42’s speed and power for complex and long runs and the VM3’s 50-inch table to handle the small and repetitive jobs. He counts on the sturdy BMC4020 to fill in the remaining gaps.


  • Hallcraft Machining

    Hallcraft Machining - Tough competion drives shop to Hurco

    ​ “When I started my business five years ago, I thought I could make it with any CNC machine. What I found was that I needed Hurco in order to compete eff...Read moreTags: Vertical Machining Centers, CNC Control

    “When I started my business five years ago, I thought I could make it with any CNC machine. What I found was that I needed Hurco in order to compete effectively in my market.”

    -- David Hall, VP, Hallcraft Machining

    Dave Hall started Hallcraft Machining from a love of motorcycles and making custom parts for them. As he built his business and coupled with marketers that could take him on a national scale, he had to make a key decision on his equipment. With small to medium lot sizes, part programming and set-up time was critical to profitability. His first CNC just could not meet the challenge.
    As he researched available equipment, many other job shop owners told him to take a look at Hurco. He did and three Hurcos later, they are the core of his business. Dave has less than 10 employees and he did not want to purchase off-line CAM systems to generate programs for his equipment. He needed to be on the shop floor solving the myriad of day-to-day problems and opportunities that small shops face. The Hurco with its UltiMax control is perfect. Dave can program it himself quickly and easily. The control is easy to use, so as he adds employees, they only need a general knowledge of machining practices to be productive. In general, Hallcraft’s lot sizes are 50 to 300, so he is really benefiting from his latest Hurco that is equipped with a swing arm tool changer.
    Many of his motorcycle parts have custom designs machined into the surface. Hurco offers a unique DXF file translator that allows DXF files to be loaded directly to the control and converted to a machine code in minutes instead of hours.

    As Dave’s business grew, he began to look for work from many of the large defense and high tech companies along the space coast. He has found that the Hurco is ideal. The power of Ultimax to solve programming and machining problems makes it ideal for short run, fast turn around work. The result is a steady workload from a variety of companies to keep balance to a growing business.
    Key Hurco Advantage
    The owner of a small shop must have total control of his operation. Any small inefficiency can be the difference between success and failure. Profits are won or lost on the shop floor and that’s where Hurco lets Dave spend his time. He is in complete control of scheduling jobs, dealing with process and material problems, adjusting programs to face the demands that each day brings. With it’s easy to learn, easy to use yet powerful control, Hurco Machining centers offer Dave the performance and control that he needs to be successful.
    To meet his customer needs, Dave has expanded his capabilities into high-level TIG and MIG welding along with light fabrication. But the core of his business remains CNC machining on Hurco machining centers. They offer him the speed and cycle time productivity to compete on production work, yet keep the flexibility and control he needs to meet the demands of a wide range of customers. All the while keeping control of the operation.
  • Goodrich Aerospace

    Goodrich Aerospace - Productivity has Increased While Overhead has Decreased

    ​“Our parts became more complex and the need for faster turnaround times increased, so we decided to bring the work inside. We needed a compact, easy-to-u...Read moreTags: Aerospace, CNC Control, Conversational, VM

    ​“Our parts became more complex and the need for faster turnaround times increased, so we decided to bring the work inside. We needed a compact, easy-to-use, and yet powerful machining center. Hurco’s VM1 filled the bill completely.”

    – Mike Ingersoll

    Goodrich Aerospace produces a wide range of avionics equipment, most of which are custom-made, small lot components. The need for faster turnaround times to meet customers’ demands prompted Mike Ingersoll, manager of the prototype shop, to improve his CNC machining operations.  He met with Hurco’s local representative in Kansas City, Dirk Gage, of Gage Machine Tool. When Dirk reviewed the applications and operations at Goodrich, he found that there were several areas of Goodrich’s operations that would benefit from Hurco’s unique control and machine technology.


    The Hurco Advantage
    Goodrich both designs and manufactures parts. Dirk showed Goodrich how he could optimize part data conversion to increase productivity using Hurco’s control. One of the unique features of the Hurco control is its ability to directly read and convert CAD files into operational programs for the machine tool. The result is that CAD files are now produced in an optimized fashion for rapid conversion into machine programs. Even when working with complex multi-level parts, using 10 or 15 different tools, Mike’s team can create programs at the machine in minutes instead of hours.

    Dirk also reviewed Goodrich’s actual machine requirements. In Mike’s prototype shop, floor space was a premium and most of the parts are small and made from various aluminum alloys. Hurco’s VM1 machining center addressed both of these challenges. It has a large work envelope with travels of 26" x 14" x 18", yet only occupies 15 square feet of floor space. Its 8,000-RPM spindle is ideal for processing aluminum and its 16-station swing arm ATC can cover all the operations needed.
    Finally, Dirk and Mike discussed the programming and training time he could save by having his machinists use the conversational programming element of Hurco’s control. Goodrich had an old NC mill that was extremely difficult to program and only one member of his team knew how to do it. Hurco’s conversational control was truly easy to learn and use. Now, though one machinist is the prime user, all of his machinists have been cross-trained to use it.  No matter who is in the shop, Goodrich can produce parts to meet its customers’ demands. This flexibility helps him attain the level of productivity and response that he needs to be profitable.
    Hurco’s VM1 compact machining center with the Hurco control was a perfect fit for Mike Ingersoll’s prototype shop for several reasons. Using the control, Mike’s machinists can now program complex parts in minutes, not hours. The small footprint of Hurco’s VM1 made it ideal for the limited space available in his prototype shop. Only one person could run and program the NC mill in Mike’s shop, but Hurco’s control was so easy to learn that all his machinists can run and program the VM1. As part of the complete solution for Goodrich, Hurco also supplied the tool holders and the table vises. 
    Hurco’s VM1 machining center saves programming and training time for the machinists at Goodrich Aerospace. Productivity has increased while overhead has decreased, allowing Goodrich Aerospace to run its operations in the most efficient way.


  • Western Carolina Tool and Mold

    Western Carolina Tool and Mold - Accurate, Flexible, and 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: CNC Control, Conversational, Vertical Machining Centers
    “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 intricant and 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 Ultimax control. While it programs exactly like the traditional twin screen Ultimax 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.
    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%. A new Hurco is waiting to go in. 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.
  • Kelco Tool and Die

    Kelco Tool and Die - The Hurco VM2 is Ideal for the Versatility Demanded in a Die Shop

    ​“I just couldn’t see adding unproductive overhead to my operation just to get the advantages of CNC machining centers for my shop. Hurco has the perfect ...Read moreTags: CNC Control, NC, VM

    “I just couldn’t see adding unproductive overhead to my operation just to get the advantages of CNC machining centers for my shop. Hurco has the perfect solution.”

    —Kevin O’Donnell, President

    With many die shops, wire EDM machines are a key component. Kelco has four including a new Charmilles Robofil. In the past couple years, the business has grown such that Kevin O'Donnell, president, realized he needed a VMC to keep up with his needs for drilling and tapping mounting holes for all the various die sections that each of his progressive dies required.
    Other shops had setup separate CAM programming departments and hired CNC machine operators, but Kevin knew that adding overhead would make him less competitive. He had competent toolmakers on his staff, so he wanted a machine and control package that would give him shop-floor productivity.
    VM2 Provides Versatility and Accuracy Shop Requires
    The Hurco VM2 machining center is ideal for the versatility demanded in a die shop. It has travels of 40″ in X, 18″ in Y and 18″ in Z. With an 8,000 RPM, 15 HP motor, it has plenty of cutting capacity for tool rooms. With a starting price of $49,900 and a full range of productivity enhancing options, the VM2 was ideal for Kevin’s needs.
    Kevin does all of the die design work in AutoCAD. Hurco’s Max control allows Kevin to directly download the entire CAD file to the control and by simple “point and click” programming create a program that will drill, tap, or ream all the construction and mounting holes he needs. The control is so simple and easy to learn, all of his toolmakers can run it. There are no mistakes due to data entry transpositions or misunderstandings about what is to be done. The accuracy of the VM2 is such that all the components fit at assembly. Costs are lowered and lead times shrink. 
    Kevin has also found that because CNC machines are so accurate (the VM2 is rated at =/- 0.0001” positioning) his toolmakers can eliminate all the time consuming measuring and layout work required by old methods. Since the mounting and locating holes on the die shoe and each of the die details were created in AutoCAD and the Hurco control permits direct conversion of that CAD data to machine programs, the locations are machined correctly every time. Assembly hour timesavings are significant.
    After having the VM2 for three months, Kevin wants to rename it the “Die Master”. He doesn’t know of any other vertical machining center that fits the needs of a die shop so well. When coupled with the options he purchased (Graphics software, DXF file transfer to read CAD drawings, UltiPocket software to mill advanced contours and pockets with islands, flood coolant and a chip conveyor) it meets all the needs of a competitive die shop that is focused on efficiency.
    Under Kevin’s leadership, Kelco Tool and Die is rapidly moving forward bringing technology in-house to improve efficiency, lower costs and remain competitive in today’s market. The Hurco VM2 is a perfect match to increase his toolmakers’ productivity without having to add expensive overhead.  Now, everything can be done on the shop floor.


  • Nova Tool & Mold

    Nova Tool & Mold - Hard Mill Roughing and High-Speed Finish Hard Milling for Automotive Industry

    ​“We have found our new Hurco VM1 Graphite machining center to be an excellent investment in our shop. It’s a very stable platform with excellent accuracy...Read moreTags: Automotive, High Speed, Vertical Machining Centers, VMX, VM

    ​“We have found our new Hurco VM1 Graphite machining center to be an excellent investment in our shop. It’s a very stable platform with excellent accuracy and the price is a fraction of purpose-built graphite machines quoted by other suppliers.”

    - John Novosel, President


    Owned and operated by John Novosel, Sr. and John Novosel, Jr., Nova Tool & Mold of Windsor, Ontario is a mold shop concentrating mostly on large interior and exterior automotive trim molds. In business since 1989, Nova has built its reputation as a consistent supplier to the Canadian auto supply chain. With 50 employees operating in two shifts, Nova designs and builds all of its products to demanding auto industry specifications. Nova is equipped with the capabilities and experience in both designing and building molds for the plastics industry with the latest technologically advanced equipment.
    The Hurco Advantage
    Recently, John Jr. began searching for a machine that could handle both hard mill roughing and high-speed finish hard milling. He spent a great deal of time evaluating a number of vendors including Mazak, Makino and Haas.
    The Hurco VMX42S was the only offering that had the power curve in its dual-wound spindle drive that could produce acceptable torque at roughing rpm’s, yet had up to 15,000 rpm for small tool finish machining. The VMX42S is used to hard mill mold sections and inserts.
    Additionally, Nova had a need for a machine that could produce large electrodes used in EDM operations. Nova found the new Hurco VM1 Graphite to be an excellent value. While they looked at purpose-built graphite machines from other manufacturers, they were all well over $100,000 (USD). The Hurco machine starts at under $80,000 (USD). By combining a high speed, 30,000 rpm spindle from IBAG with the Hurco VM1, the result is the Hurco VM1 Graphite vertical machining center. After a normal morning warm-up cycle, the machine holds electrode tolerances of =/-0.001" throughout the day.


    Since they do not already have a separate, centralized dust collection system, Nova elected to purchase the optional Donaldson Torit system, which they empty on a daily basis due to the amount of volume produced on the machine. The new VM1 Graphite’s performance has met the expectations of Nova Tool & Mold at an incredible value.


  • Erin Mills Machine and Tool Works Ltd

    Erin Mills Machine and Tool Works Ltd - Becomes Competitive in Small Runs

    ​Erin Mills Machine and Tool Works Ltd. is a 17-year-old shop in Mississauga, Ontario that specializes in custom mold making and machining work.   The t...Read moreTags: Lathes, Turning Centers

    ​Erin Mills Machine and Tool Works Ltd. is a 17-year-old shop in Mississauga, Ontario that specializes in custom mold making and machining work.


    The three-man shop, founded by Harry Mistry, has a mix of manual machines and CNCs running on Fanuc controls. In general, Harry has been pleased with the quality of parts produced on his existing machines.  However, set-up times and program times are much too long to stay competitive. More and more of their work is becoming small lot size, requiring quick turnaround.


    Key Hurco Advantage
    This led Harry to purchase his first Hurco, a TM8 CNC slant-bed turning center with conversational MAX control. They purchased the Hurco because the control is easy to use, yet powerful enough to take on a wide variety of work. They have not been disappointed. The TM Series of lathes can handle conversational programming, G-Code, offline CAM programming and even CAD imports--something no other lathe in the industry can do.
    After just a month they were very satisfied with their investment. Erin Mills Machine and Tool Works ran nearly 20 different jobs on the TM8 using a wide variety of materials and different part sizes. The operator has greatly utilized the Hurco MAX control's features and capabilities in solving outside diameter and inside diameter processing. They have had no issues in attaining desired surface finish, part accuracy, and run-time productivity through this range of operations.

    The operator of the new TM8 has quickly become very comfortable with the control and has already reduced programming times for short and medium runs. In addition, he really likes the verification graphics that allows him to see the cuts on the screen before they are made, virtually eliminating wasted material, wasted time and errors. Harry has been so pleased with the TM8 that he plans to add a Hurco VM2 vertical machining center to compliment the lathe.


  • Portchester Engineering LTD

    Portchester Engineering LTD - Shop Floor Programming Speeds Production

    ​​Two-thirds of Portchester Engineering’s  turnover comes from subcontract production of metal and plastic components for the marine industry, shipbuilder...Read moreTags: United Kingdom, Vertical Machining Centers, VM

    ​​Two-thirds of Portchester Engineering’s  turnover comes from subcontract production of metal and plastic components for the marine industry, shipbuilders as well as offshore oil and gas platform operators being regular customers.  To provide additional capacity for machining smaller prismatic parts within a 660 x 356 x 457 mm envelope, the company has added an entry-level Hurco VM1 vertical machining centre to its plant list.


    Samantha Morrison, who bought the six-employee company from a family member in 2002, joined the firm in the early 1990s when all of the mills and lathes on the shop floor were manually operated.  Now there are three machining centres and the same number of CNC lathes in addition to manual machines.  Over the years, the customer base has expanded to include the motorsport and scientific instrumentation sectors.

    Located near Portsmouth and due to celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, Portchester Engineering tends to produce small batch sizes.  100-off is a large order, with five-offs down to one-offs more usual.  So it is  essential to set up jobs quickly to maintain profitability, as fixturing and programming often represent a large proportion of total production time.


    Hurco’s single-screen Max CNC system with slimline touch-screen colour LCD uses drop-down menus, conversational programming and scalable graphics to speed program generation on the shop floor.
    Commented Ms Morrison, "Compared with the older machining centre that the VM1 replaced, which had a control that required G-code programming, the Hurco MAX control is much faster to program on the shop floor, so less time is wasted getting the job into production.
    "Nearly all of our programmes are prepared this way.  Only if the component is particularly complex or needs an engraved identification number do we generate the cutting cycles off-line using Vero VisiCAM."
    Another aspect of the VM1 that she liked in particular when vetting the machine at Hurco’s High Wycombe showroom was the speed of the machine.  The 10,000 rpm spindle option, 19 m/min rapids and BT40 tool change time were all faster than on the previous machine.  In addition, the small footprint of 1.8 x 1.6 metres was useful to minimise the amount of space taken up on the shop floor.
    A wide range of materials is processed by the subcontractor, from plastics through brass and mild steel to Duplex, stainless steel and titanium.  General tolerance is ±0.01 millimetre, which the VM1 easily holds.


  • Hurco VM10 CNC Mill

    "Decision To Buy Hurco Was a No-Brainer"

    ​The following submission was received as part of our What I Love About Hurco contest, which provided people the ability to get an additional entry in our...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, CNC Control, Conversational, G-Code, General Purpose, Job Shop, Lathes, TM6, Turning Centers, VM, VM10, VM20, What I Love About Hurco contest, 5-Axis Machining

    ​The following submission was received as part of our What I Love About Hurco contest, which provided people the ability to get an additional entry in our "WIN A $60K HURCO LATHE SWEEPSTAKES"


    Dear Hurco,
    The Precision Edge Machine (TPEM) would really benefit from the TM6 Lathe sweepstakes.  We are a small shop and we owe much of our success to Hurco.  TPEM started in a 650 sq./ft. two-car garage.  Crammed into that garage were a CNC turning center and a manual tool room lathe.  It wasn’t long before I had to add milling capability.


    The Beginning: Our First Hurco
    My first Hurco was a 1993 KM3P CNC knee Mill.  I bought it to mainly do second milling operations to turned parts. I was amazed how capable a machine of that size was and how easy to program it was.  Fast forward one year.  Business was really beginning to take off!  What started out a turning-only shop was quickly becoming a Milling shop.  My customers were really impressed with the milled parts they were receiving in small quantities and orders for 50 or more parts were very common.  That was a problem.  The KM3P did not have a tool changer.  I was the tool changer!  There simply wasn’t enough time in the day for me to do anything else but babysit that machine.  It was time for a change.
    After shopping for countless hours and weighing everything, I ordered a brand new Hurco VM10.  Even though it was a huge decision, I have never looked back.

    The added speed and capacity the VM10 offered absolutely skyrocketed sales.  It increased sales so much that it forced me to move into a bigger building six months later! The Precision Edge Machine moved into its current location and we have just under 5,000 sq./ft.  I was able to hire a full-time employee and bought two used turning centers one month after moving in, all because the VM10 was so efficient at doing fast 2nd milling operations!


    Success Leads to Our Second Hurco
    Fast forward again eight months. It was clear that we had to add more CNC milling capacity because the VM10 was so backlogged with work.  The decision to buy another Hurco was a no brainer.   The employee that I had hired eight months prior had no previous CNC programming experience.  In eight months that employee learned how to program, setup and run with little supervision.  That is a testament to the power of the WinMax control!  We added a Hurco VM20 with the H160 4th axis.  The VM20 was the perfect size machine for our larger machined products and the 4th axis eliminates the need to fixture parts for complicated side profile machining.  The ability to download the programs into the VM20 that we proved out on the VM10 has saved us so much time and money!  I wish we had that same ability on our turning centers.


    Looking to Hurco for Turning
    Our turning centers are not Hurco’s yet!  They program via g-code and an expensive external CAM system.  The setup process is slow and cumbersome because all three turning centers are different brands with different controls.  The time savings we’ve realized with the controls being the same on our mills is pronounced and I only wish we could be as productive with our turning centers.  With the Mills we are able to program right at the control but with the Turning centers we have to program everything with the CAM system and download the program into the Turning centers via Rs232 cables.  We spend so much time editing code by hand because the posts are not 100% correct.  The lack of conversational programming in our turning department is killing our productivity. 


    Success for the Future
    Hurco has been instrumental with the success of our business.  I can say without any doubt that we would not be the shop we are today without the support of Hurco.  As time goes on we will hopefully be able to replace our turning centers with Hurco’s.  The TM6 lathe would be a perfect addition to our shop.  I’m sure that once in place, Hurco turning centers would increase our productivity, probably to the point that we would have wished that we would have made the switch years earlier!  Sadly, we are just are not in the position to be able to make that switch yet.  Our fingers are crossed that we may win this sweepstakes to take our company to the next level!

    Matthew Smith
    The Precision Edge Machine

  • Hurco VMX42 CNC Mill

    "Our Hurco VMCs Keep Us Competitive"

    ​"The motto in our job shop is 'fast and right'. We can’t sell wrong, and there’s no profit in slow.Our 3 Hurco vertical machines keep us competitive...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, CNC Control, Conversational, What I Love About Hurco contest

    ​"The motto in our job shop is 'fast and right'. We can’t sell wrong, and there’s no profit in slow.
    Our 3 Hurco vertical machines keep us competitive.  Programming at the control is quick and logical.  The conversational menus approach machining the way a toolmaker thinks. 

    Milling, drilling, DXF are fast without any mystery. Part setup is no problem with the moveable jog box, and tool changes are fast. Our machines have tool probe, which eliminates redundant cut and measure time. Our VMX42 has an A-B axis, allowing us to work on 5 sides of a work piece. 

    Many 3D shapes and contours are simplified with Hurco 3D Mold and Surfaces. Dual screen graphics provide 4 view verification and fast navigation through lengthy programs. For the creative toolmaker Hurco features let you expand your creativity not restrict it.

    It’s hard to beat 'Fast and Right”'

    Robert Moll
    Pelco Tool and Mold



  • Hurco TM6 CNC lathe

    "Best Features for the Money"

    ​The following submission was received as part of our What I Love About Hurco contest, which provided people the ability to get an additional entry in our...Read moreTags: What I Love About Hurco contest, Lathes

    ​The following submission was received as part of our What I Love About Hurco contest, which provided people the ability to get an additional entry in our "WIN A $60K HURCO LATHE SWEEPSTAKES"

    "I currently have only manual machines, but I have been looking to expand into some CNC machines. From the research I have done, your lathes have some of the best features for the money. The compact size is a plus considering my shop is relatively small. Thanks for the chance to win the lathe."

    Jame Holzheimer

  • Freedom Machine, Inc

    Freedom Machine, Inc - From Prototype to Production on the Shop Floor.

    ​“As I grew my business from an engineering prototype shop, I found that I could not compete for the production contracts on the jobs I had prototyped. My...Read moreTags: Aerospace, Vertical Machining Centers, Conversational, VMX

    ​“As I grew my business from an engineering prototype shop, I found that I could not compete for the production contracts on the jobs I had prototyped. My Hurco VMX30 was the perfect solution. Now I can move from prototype to production on the shop floor. No need for off-line programming overhead or hard to find CNC machinist. I now have a clear path to grow my business to the next level.”

    ―– Marc Chauvette, Owner, Freedom Machine, Inc
    Marc Chauvette started Freedom Machine 12 years ago part time in his garage. As a trained R&D model maker and test equipment designer, in found a nice business doing prototype work for the aerospace and electronics companies that operate in New Hampshire. Things were going so well that he took the plunge 6 years ago and went after this business full time. While he was successful, he found that his operating costs were squeezing his margins. With his 2 axis knee mills, fine for one or two prototypes, he could not secure the production contracts that would generate a more stable cash flow. He realized he needed a Vertical Machining Center. 

    His first purchase just didn’t work out. With a standard G-code control, Marc, who had no programming experience, was faced with having to hire a class ’A’ CNC machinist to run the machine or invest heavily in a CAM system with the overhead of a full time programmer to make the machine operational. As a small company, he just could not do it. With the market turning soft, Marc was in danger of losing his business he had worked so hard to build. Fortunately, he discovered Hurco and the capabilities of the Ultimax control. Marc is the first to admit he is not a computer ‘jock’. He is an excellent machinist, however. What he found with Ultimax is a CNC control that speaks his language not G-code. From the first day he was producing programs and parts, meeting customer schedules and making money.
    Key Hurco Advantage
    Marc sees the Hurco as his ‘friend’.  It speaks his language and allows him to control his business. During the recent downturn, Marc watched as a number of well-known local shops went under. Marc knew he had to grow his business but keep costs, especially overhead at a minimum. The Hurco VMX30 with Ultimax has shown him a way to succeed. The performance, in terms of speed and accuracy, of the Hurco matches up very well with competitive equipment costing thousands more. So he can compete. He has added customers with his new production capability and the ability to process small lots efficiently.


    As it has proven for over 25 years, the fully integrated UltiMax control with the Hurco VMX machining center provides users with unmatched capabilities in processing short to medium lot sizes with no overhead. All the programming and editing are done on the shop floor in plain English. No G-codes or macros. No off-line programs to post process and edit. Marc is in control of his business. He can find people to run his machine it is so simple to use. His costs and overhead are under control and he can move from the prototype contract to productions runs seamlessly and profitably.


  • /IN/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/VM10 new.png

    Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

    ​Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and Hurco Companies Inc. have formed a strategic alliance that will be executed for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season. D...Read moreTags: Turning Centers, Vertical Machining Centers, VM10, United Kingdom

    ​Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and Hurco Companies Inc. have formed a strategic alliance that will be executed for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season.

    Dreyer and Reinbold Racing will soon take delivery of a VM10 Machining Centre and a TM6 Lathe as part of an expansion of their production facility. Says team owner Dennis Reinbold, “In INDYCAR, there are aerodynamic and suspension items that allow specialized development and with the addition of Hurco as a partner to Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, we feel we have a competitive advantage.  Through our partnership and the use of our new Hurco machines, our engineering staff will be able to grow a concept into a unique finished part in very short time.
    The 2011 partnership also includes Hurco branding on the No. 22 full-time IZOD IndyCar Series entry of British driver Justin Wilson.  Now entering his second season with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Justin originates from Sheffield, England and has previous experience with the Jaguar and Minardi F1 racing teams.

    Dreyer & Reinbold Racing is entering its 12th season of full-time competition in 2011, making it one of the longest-tenured teams in IZOD IndyCar Series competition.  Current Co-Owners, Dennis Reinbold and Robbie Buhl, first teamed in full-time competition at the Walt Disney World Speedway in January of 2000.  DRR now has over 270 starts to tuck under its belt and has qualified a total of 27 cars for the famed Indianapolis 500.  In its history, the team has boasted a championship list of alumni drivers.  Besides Buhl, the team has run Indianapolis 500 winners Al Unser Jr, Buddy Lazier, and Buddy Rice, along with IZOD IndyCar Series race winner, Ryan Briscoe.  The team has one of the longest lines of heritage in American open-wheel racing and the Indianapolis 500 as Dennis Reinbold’s grandfather, “Pop” Dreyer, built leading roadsters that raced at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.


    More information on the team can be found at
    More information on the IZOD IndyCar Series can be found at


  • NuCon

    Why NuCon Chose Hurco VMX42SR 5-Axis Machining Centers

    ​The people at NuCon Corporation are experts when it comes to impellers. More specifically, they are experts in the manufacturing of radial and axial comp...Read moreTags: 5-Axis Machining, CNC Control, Vertical Machining Centers, Energy industry, G-Code, Michigan, NC, SR, VMX42SR

    ​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.

    34100 Industrial Road
    Livonia, MI 48150

    Hurco Companies, Inc.
    One Technology Way
    Indianapolis, IN 46268

  • Florida Precision

    Florida Precision - Part Accuracy and Repeatability.

    ​“I have built my business by attracting top-notch machinists and then giving them the tools to put their talents to work. I have found that the capabilit...Read moreTags: Vertical Machining Centers, VMX, 5-Axis Machining

    ​“I have built my business by attracting top-notch machinists and then giving them the tools to put their talents to work. I have found that the capabilities of Hurco machining centers to do complex, high accuracy work is perfect for my operation.”

    – Mike Vella




    Hurco’s machining centers provide precisely what’s needed
    The five Hurco machines that Florida Precision owns have proved invaluable. The machinists found that the Hurco machines, equipped with the UltiMax dual-screen control, can solve virtually every machining problem they encounter. There is no need for off-line programming that slows operations.
    The machinist is able to determine the best way to machine the part and then uses Hurco’s control to program it. This “multiplication of skills” is the key to growth at Florida Precision. Jobs are turned around fast and competitively. They have become a key source for many parts that are simply too complex for the average shop to tackle.
    Florida Precision, as its name implies, handles tough machining problems. As part complexity continues to grow, so does the requirement for precision. More and more parts require machined tolerances measured not in thousandths, or even half thousandths, but in ten thousandths of an inch (0.0001) or 0.0025 mm. Florida Precision’s latest Hurco VMX 24 vertical machining centers are capable of responding to inputs as small as 0.0001". Using high-resolution encoders, Florida Precision mapped ball screws and high speed processing technology; and the newest Hurco machines are achieving the most demanding levels of part accuracy and repeatability. It has become a key aspect of the operation.

    As part complexity grows, Mike can see the need for 5-axis machines to efficiently produce multi-sided parts in one setup. Hurco’s control is 5-axis capable and its vertical machining centers can be equipped with a variety of precision tables. 

    If a fully integrated solution is required, Hurco has high performance vertical machines with an integral trunion table, which is perfect for processing complex high-precision work in one set-up.

  • Vintage Airplane Hobbyist Turns His Passion into a Business

    Vintage Airplane Hobbyist Turns His Passion into a Business

    This is an email we received as part of the "What Do You Like Best About Hurco" campaign. "I recently started my business machining and fa...Read moreTags: CNC Control, General Purpose, VM20, What I Love About Hurco contest, Conversational, Service, VM

    This is an email we received as part of the "What Do You Like Best About Hurco" campaign.

    "I recently started my business machining and fabricating hard to procure parts for vintage airplanes and warbirds.  I am a self taught machinist who started out making parts on my manual mill and lathe.  Supplying these one off parts for airplanes such as Beechcraft Staggerwings, Lockheed Electras, and others seemed like a good fit for the conversational programming on the Hurco. 


    The Hurco VM20 was my introduction to CNC machining.  I had concerns about stepping over into the world of CNC.  The only knowledge that I had was what I read in the books at night.  It was tough to justify such a large purchase (not knowing if I could handle it) but was comforted with Hurco’s conversational programming.  The conversational programming simplified machining the parts and gave me some time learn more about G-code.  I spoke with several shops to learn what the pros and cons were with their machines.  I finally decided to go with Hurco after speaking with a friend who purchased a new Hurco and was having troubles with it.  I spoke with him about the customer support he received and he was very pleased.  Although he went through these growing pains, the support he received and the actions taken to resolve the issue were what I was looking for.  This was the support I needed going into something new.

    The machine continues to do well for me and I look forward to adding a fourth axis someday.  Machining and fabricating parts for these rare airplanes has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding things I have done." 

    Best regards,
    Tim Ryan
    Infinity Metalworks, Inc.





  • Moughton Engineering Services

    Moughton Engineering Services - Sub-Contractor Grows with its Machine Tool Supplier

    ​Great Yarmouth-based subcontractor, Moughton Engineering Services, has enjoyed 30 per cent annual growth for the last three years and hopes to repeat tha...Read moreTags: Vertical Machining Centers, Turning Centers, VM, United Kingdom

    ​Great Yarmouth-based subcontractor, Moughton Engineering Services, has enjoyed 30 per cent annual growth for the last three years and hopes to repeat that performance in 2006. 

    Paul Moughton, a partner in the family-owned company, says that the upturn in the company’s business can be traced back to 2002 when his father, Brian, used money from his pension fund to purchase a Hurco Hawk 30 CNC mill.


    It was the first computer-controlled machine tool on site and paid for itself within six months.  Since that time, a VM2 machining centre and two TM10 CNC lathes have been delivered by the same supplier, Hurco Europe, High Wycombe.  Coincidentally, it too has increased sales rapidly over a similar period by a slightly lower annual average of 25 per cent, doubling turnover since 2002 to nearly £10 million in the financial year to 31st October 2006.
    The Hawk mill is an object lesson in both machine tool manufacture and user application.  Paul Eden, who along with his colleagues has been trained to set and program all of the Hurco machines at Moughton Engineering, advised that shortly after installation the Hawk was used to machine a metre-long aluminium component for a plastic window-making machine.  The end customer checked the part on a CMM and found that two 38 mm diameter holes had been interpolated at either end of the bar to a relative positional accuracy of -0 / +12 microns.
    A machine of this class is not expected to hold such tight tolerances and indeed there is no evidence that other Hawk mills are able to; in any case, they are no longer made.  What the CNC machine did for Moughton Engineering, however, was to propel it from a general supplier of manually machined components to a subcontractor capable of producing very high precision, repeatable components.
    Encouraged by the success of this project, the company reapproached Hurco when the decision was taken to install a CNC lathe.  The first TM10 was delivered at the end of 2004 and was joined by a second, identical 10-inch chuck model in early 2006.  "We were able to buy both of the Hurco lathes for the price of one that we considered from a Japanese supplier, albeit the latter was of higher specification," continued Mr Moughton.  "The TM10s do not have driven tool capability but have proved to be good machines that hold tolerance well on general turning work.”
    One example is the production of four sizes of CrMo steel fishing spears of 18 to 22 Rc hardness, used to retrieve objects from an oil or gas borehole, such as a broken drillstring or tools.  A typical spear takes 75 minutes to OD profile turn, threadcut and bore from solid billet.Another component regularly put on the TM10s is a 250 mm diameter, 316 stainless steel pressure release plate for sub-sea applications.  Following 45 minutes of OD turning and facing, the part is transferred to a Hurco VM2 three-axis machining centre for prismatic features to be machined on both sides in a one-hour cycle.
    The latter machine was also installed earlier this year to take some of the load from the Hawk mill and to introduce Moughton Engineering to the higher productivity offered by machines with automatic tool change.  The 40-taper VM2, with its 1016 x 457 x 457 mm working envelope and 16-station tool magazine, is described by Paul Moughton as "superb" and he is busily relocating offices onto a new, upper floor to make space for further machines, including a larger-capacity Hurco VM3.
    He concluded, "All of our Hurco machines are very accurate and reliable; so much so that we think it is a waste of money taking out insurance to cover spares and service after the warranty period.
    "When things occasionally go wrong, as they did initially with the first TM10 lathe, back-up from Hurco is very good – and you can even get through to the desk of the MD without any trouble, if necessary.”
    About Moughton Engineering Services
    Moughton Engineering was established in 1974 by Brian Moughton as a toolmaker and subcontract manufacturer of parts for food packaging machinery.  Despite having "retired", Brian remains active in the business at over 70 years of age.  Paul joined in 1984, but by 1997 the company still employed only three staff, including Susan Moughton.
    In that year, a new fabrication side to the firm was started, mainly making conveyor systems for a packaging company whose moulds and dies Moughton Engineering had been producing for many years.  A 2,000 sq ft unit was acquired to house the new division.  However, the packaging customer was forced to close in 2001 due to the high cost of removing asbestos from its buildings, so the Moughtons quickly diversified into the offshore, telecoms and power generation sectors to fill the gap.
    Contracts for the food and packaging industries now account for around half of turnover, mainly in East Anglia, although systems are delivered as far afield as Germany, Nigeria, Australia and the US.  Today, the firm occupies 6,000 sq ft of factory space and employs 36.




  • EMM Machine Shop

    EMM Precision / VM10U

    Because of Hurco’s track record of developing technology that increases productivity and for manufacturing rigid machines that last, EMM Precision purchas...Read moreTags: 5-Axis Machining, CNC Control, Turning Centers, Vertical Machining Centers, VM10U, Conversational, Defense, Job Shop, Mill Turn, TMM8, VMX60, VM10

    Because of Hurco’s track record of developing technology that increases productivity and for manufacturing rigid machines that last, EMM Precision purchased a Hurco 5-axis VM10U. Keith Dalpe, vice president, says the machine was purchased specifically for a new contract that EMM Precision won for a military part. Regarding the VM10U 5-axis machining center, Keith says, “Everybody loves it. It’s just unbelievable what this machine does.

    “With the VM10U, we went from 9 operations to 2 on this military part. We save 40 minutes per piece in cycle time alone and easily save an hour and 10 minutes total. Maybe even more important to our bottom line is the fact that the operator is running two other machines while the VM10U is making chips,” Keith Dalpe, VP, EMM Precision, Conway NH.
    The learning curve on the 5-axis VM10U proved to be just as minimal as the other Hurco machines EMM Precision has (1 VMX60- 3-axis machining center; 3 VM10 3-axis machining centers; 1 VM10P 3-axis production machining center, and 1 TMM8 multi-tasking lathe with live tooling).
    “We had a job with multiple sides and our operator was already running the job on the VM10U when the trainer came for the training session. We do the entire job with conversational on the control right at the machine,” says Keith.
    “Another advantage when you go from doing a part on a 3-axis machine to 5-axis is that you have less handling and you lessen the opportunity for error. The VM10U is right on the money. It was well worth the investment and the accuracy is phenomenal,” continues Keith, adding that the Hurco machine tools are built to withstand the stress EMM Precision puts on them with so many jobs to run.
    “We put these Hurcos through the paces. They’re tooled to the max and we don’t baby them. We run the VM10U 24/7,” says Keith.


  • Lanese Part

    Lanese Tool Shaves Days Off of Jobs

    ​“I had worked some with Hurco mills in the past,” notes Lanese. “I wasn’t even aware that Hurco was producing a lathe, but I had a chance to see one at a...Read moreTags: Turning Centers, General Purpose, CNC Control, Lathes

    “I had worked some with Hurco mills in the past,” notes Lanese. “I wasn’t even aware that Hurco was producing a lathe, but I had a chance to see one at a trade show in Dayton. I ended up making the purchase in early December and the machine was installed just a few weeks later.”

    Mark Lanese

    Lanese Quality Tool of Centerville, Ohio is a start-up shop owned by Mark Lanese. For the past few years, Mark has been producing parts using bed mills and lathes for customers in various industries including robotics, printing equipment, automotive, aerospace and motor manufacturing.

    Key Hurco Advantage

    Since many of his customers are relying on 
    lean manufacturing demands, Mark’s livelihood depends on precision and quick turnover. The poor productivity of his existing two-axis flat bed lathe with a manual four-position tool post was making it hard to compete as cycle times were simply too slow. These factors led to his decision to purchase a new Hurco TM8 slant-bed CNC turning center.

    Mark was able to pick up on the easy-to-learn 
    conversational programming the first day and was producing parts the next. Now he’s regularly running jobs with 100-500 piece quantities and he’s saving days (not just hours) of production time on single jobs.

    The level of automation in the 
    TM8 slant bed lathe with full auto turret has significantly reduced his cycle times and has freed up Mark to work on other jobs or generate new ones.  In just his third job, Mark was significantly reducing cycle times. A 20-piece job would have normally required programming and reprogramming. Also, Mark would have stayed with the machine through the entire process to make sure the cuts were consistent on each piece and to change tools or fix broken pieces. With the Hurco, Mark spent twenty minutes programming and each piece took just three minutes to complete. There was no need to tweak the program. With the older lathes, programming might be the same, but each piece would take 10-15 minutes to complete and he’d have to closely inspect each piece for variations.


    Another job showcases the capabilities of the 
    Hurco TM8. This particular part requires multiple inside diameters, two grooves, and five different outside diameters using 304 stainless bar stock with a total run of 250 pieces. Using his existing flat-bed lathe, the cycle time was 40 minutes for each piece since every tool change was manual. The total job time was 150 hours. Using the new Hurco TM8, the job took 40 minutes to program and just 8 minutes to process each part — a grand total of 33 hours. The TM8 saved Mark nearly five days of machining time — time that can be spent working on other projects.

  • 5-Axis Part - Gregor

    Shop Chooses Hurco to Make Small Lots Profitable

    ​“I bought my first Hurco 17 years ago because I wanted to have a lean, fast turnaround, customer-focused business. After recently installing my 13th Hurc...Read moreTags: CNC Control, Vertical Machining Centers, General Purpose, 5-Axis Machining

    “I bought my first Hurco 17 years ago because I wanted to have a lean, fast turnaround, customer-focused business. After recently installing my 13th Hurco, ‘lean’ is a way of life at Gregor Technology.”

    - John Gregorich, Vice President

    Hurco helps firm go lean from the beginning

    John Gregorich founded Gregor Technology in 1985 and built the business by providing fast turn-around of small-lot quantities for his customers. He needed a machine that could be programmed on the shop floor because he didn’t want the overhead or have the time that a 
    CAD/CAM system can require. When he saw a Hurco control demonstration at a local machine tool show years ago, he bought his first Hurco – a 3HP knee mill. He was producing parts within two days and providing the kind of fast turn-around service that has become his operational trademark today. 
        Gregor is now a 30-man, custom contract, job shop serving New England. It specializes in small lot, just–in-time operations for a variety of customers in the specialty auto parts, aerospace and electronics industries. Gregor has continued to grow, even in this recent downturn, by focusing on customer service. “You want it when?” is not a joke at Gregor Technology. 
        By managing materials from suppliers and focusing on shop floor operations with machine operators, Gregor routinely ships orders in two or three days from receipt of the formal order. The payoff is more business from customers who are cutting back on the number of their suppliers to increase cash flow. This is critical to a small firm’s ability to grow. 
        The latest Hurco addition is the VM1 machining center. Formally introduced at IMTS 2002, the 
    VM1 is specifically designed for shops looking for the efficiencies of a machining center with excellent operating specifications packaged to occupy a minimum of floor space. 
    VM1 is a real winner,” said John. “It is perfect for many of the small parts that Gregor Technology works with every day. When coupled with Hurco’s new MAX® conversational control with a color LCD display, all of our machinists want a chance to run the VM1.”

    The Hurco Lean Manufacturing Solution 

    John has a 20,000 sq. ft. facility, 13 Hurco machines and a growing list of loyal customers. The Hurco machines that John uses have allowed him to operate with low overhead and direct processing of jobs on the shop floor. “Lean manufacturing”, the latest trend in manufacturing, is old hat at Gregor Technology. The Hurco integrated control, software and machine system make programming, editing, and set-up fast and efficient, keeping costs down and cash flow up — two very powerful factors for success in today’s fiercely competitive environment. 
        While several local shops have failed in the recent downturn, Gregor is expanding. Training operators on Hurco machines is fast and easy, so John can take advantage of opportunities as they arise. That keeps customers happy and coming back for Gregor’s special brand of service. 
    Gregor is growing and successful because John organized his business from the start to be a lean, efficient producer of small-lot machined parts. Hurco machines are the perfect solution for this concept.



  • Murray Mold - Machinist

    First-time Hurco Customer Sees Bright Future with TM8

    ​Murray Mold and Die is a job shop in Murray, Kentucky, serving western Kentucky and Tennessee. The twelve person tool and job shop has worked with both C...Read moreTags: Lathes, Turning Centers

    Murray Mold and Die is a job shop in Murray, Kentucky, serving western Kentucky and Tennessee. The twelve person tool and job shop has worked with both CNC milling and turning machines from other machine manufacturers, including a Japanese CNC turning center with an 8" chuck and live tooling. Murray Mold & Die understands what they need in a lathe to be competitive.

    In September of 2004, Jerry Duncan, who owns the shop, attended the IMTS show in Chicago and had a chance to see the new Hurco CNC slant-bed turning centers up close. He realized that he needed to expand his shop to stay competitive, but he didn't like the rising cost of machines from manufacturers that he had purchased from in the past. Although he had never purchased a Hurco machine, he liked what he saw in the new 
    Hurco TM Series and decided to place an order for a TM8

    Key Hurco Advantage

    Casey is Murray Mold & Tool's resident lathe expert.  He’s been using their existing turning center for several years and quickly noticed that the 
    Hurco TM8 was different. After just a month of using the TM8, he was very pleased with the performance and the results.  In particular, Casey likes the verification graphics on the control. Being able to see the cuts graphically-- before they are made--leaves no reason to make expensive and time consuming mistakes or “trial runs” on real stock. This feature alone saves both money and time. The part accuracies and cycle times are exactly what he would expect from any high-end CNC slantbed turning center. While most of the programming for milling operations at Murray Mold & Tool is done offline with CAM software, they are currently not using CAM for turning. Casey has been delighted at just how easy it was to learn the intuitive Hurco control.

  • AML Porocoat Protector

    DePuy Orthopaedics - Medical manufacturer optimizes Hurco's flexible control

    ​"I don't know of any other machine where you can pull down the file and a half-hour later have a form. You can be mediocre in math, mediocre in geom...Read moreTags: CNC Control, Performance, Vertical Machining Centers

    "I don't know of any other machine where you can pull down the file and a half-hour later have a form. You can be mediocre in math, mediocre in geometry, and make a good product in no time." 

    -Jon Heckman, Tool Room Supervisor, DePuy Orthopaedics 

    With 31 years of experience in the tool room at DePuy Orthopaedics, Jon Heckman knows machining. As the tool room supervisor for the past 15 years, he knows the importance of efficiency and how to run a lean operation.

    DePuy Orthopaedics, based in Warsaw, Indiana, is a leader in the orthopaedic medical device industry. Because DePuy designs and manufactures orthopaedic implants that end up inside patients, the implants can't be touched during the manufacturing process—that's where Jon Heckman's group comes in. Fixturing has to replicate the product, which means the tolerances are tight and the prints don't exist, Jon explains. Whether it's a knee or hip implant, Jon's team of 12 must figure out the best way to transport the implants from point A to point B during the manufacturing process and machine the fixtures that protect the implants from being touched during transport.

    Hurco Advantage

    "We're a cost efficiency center," says Jon. "People don't want to put money into fixtures. It's imperative that we be effective from the top down." For maximum efficiency, Jon relies on the Hurco 
    VMX line of machining centers. More specifically, Jon says he is impressed with the control's shop floor programming (called Hurco conversational). The Hurco control enables his expert machinists to get their job done faster due to its user-friendly design and intuitive software. "I can't say enough great things about the Hurco," says Jon. "I don't know any other machine where you can pull down the file and a half-hour later have a form. You can be mediocre in math, mediocre in geometry, and make a good product in no time."

    Jon says the controls on the Hurco VMX24 and VMX30 machines make the most out of any machinist and eliminate the bottlenecks and expense of investing in CAD/CAM seats. "The Hurco is simplistic to the point that it makes anybody productive—anybody. And that's rare…it's rare to have a machine tool that is that user friendly," says Jon. His group uses the lines and arcs part of the programming software often and appreciates the AutoCalculation feature that eliminates time-consuming data entry and the hassle of trigging out the part.

    Although his group mainly cuts plastic and brass, Jon's first experience with Hurco was cutting 17-4 stainless. "One thing that impressed me about the Hurco early on is the way they are built. They are built beefy," says Jon. Another group in DePuy that relies on Hurco machining centers is Prototyping Services. Led by Bill Sellers, this team of eight people meets the challenge of taking the part from rapid prototyping and figuring out the best way to manufacture it. "We're like a job shop within these walls. Our goal is manufacturability of the part," says Bill.


    "In here it’s especially critical that we are able to get up to speed quickly. We don't always have prints, we run one shift, and have about 800 projects a year," explains Bill. With his group, the Rigid Tapping and 
    DXF transfer on their Hurco VMX24 and VMX30 machines are especially popular. At DePuy, employees are motivated to do their best because their work helps restore people’s joy of motion.  At Hurco, we are proud to play a part in the process of this life-changing work.​

  • HMX500i

    Veritas Tools, Inc. - Need To Get Lean

    ​“Veritas operates efficiently and lean. We’re extremely reliant on a fast, accurate, dependable machine and Hurco has met that need with the HTX500.” -S...Read moreTags: Horizontal, International

    “Veritas operates efficiently and lean. We’re extremely reliant on a fast, accurate, dependable machine and Hurco has met that need with the HTX500.”

    -Steve Oszmian

    Based in Ottawa, Canada, Lee Valley Tools, Ltd. has been meeting the needs of serious woodworkers and gardeners for over 25 years as one of the leading mail-order and retail suppliers of woodworking tools, gardening tools, and cabinet hardware. Veritas Tools is the research, development and manufacturing division of Lee Valley Tools and is known as one of the most innovative hand-tool design firms in the world.

    Hurco Advantage

    In order to meet customer demand, Veritas recently expanded their horizontal machining center (HMC) capacity. Although they already had four HMCs from another machine tool manufacturer, they found them to be slow and limiting on the number of tools they held. The newer version of this same machine offered faster tool changes and more tools, but the pallet size was smaller and the axis travels reduced. These machines would not provide the solution Veritas needed. Impressed with the capabilities of Hurco's 
    HTX500 horizontal machine, Veritas soon ordered three units for their woodworking tool manufacturing operation in Ottawa. The HTX500 offers large, 500mm pallets, 60 tool ATC with fast swing arm action, and fast pallet change time. Additionally, the fully integrated 3-axis capability allows complex production parts to be machined efficiently and accurately.

    With product demand expanding, Veritas realized that it could no longer continue with its traditional batch machining processes. Excess or insufficient inventory, combined with supporting 23 different planes and spokes have, called for a different solution. Veritas needed to get lean. They decided to configure their new Hurco horizontals with simple fixturing so that a complete plane assembly would emerge after each cycle. Planes consist of two main machined parts: the “body” and the "toe" or "frog". Instead of producing these pieces in batch quantities, the new approach produces both parts in the same cycle on the Hurco horizontals. The large pallets make it easy for Veritas to use standard tombstones with standard vise fixtures for holding the plane parts. This allows them to quickly change production to match demand. Vises on each machine are designed to take different planes within a family. Each HMC is permanently set up to machine up to six different planes, making it quick and easy to change from one size plane to the next. Since fixtures never leave the machines, set ups are quick and easy. With only complete assemblies being produced, work-in-process inventory is greatly reduced. The results are very impressive. Veritas's work-in-process inventory has been reduced by 70% and time to process and assemble can be as short as two days. With reduction in total cost, the overall return on investment has been excellent.


    As a manufacturer, Veritas is unique because it has a very short link through Lee Valley Tools—its parent company—to the end customer.   In addition, all North American sales of planes and spokeshaves are sold through Lee Valley.  Sales patterns can be analyzed on a daily basis and the production schedule adjusted to meet demand.  Inventory can be closely controlled to match sales.  This ensures having sufficient inventory on-hand without carrying too much of any specific plane.  “Veritas operates efficiently and lean,” notes Steve Oszmian, Vice President of Manufacturing and Operations. “We’re extremely reliant on a fast, accurate, dependable machine and Hurco has met that need with the 


    Xcentric Mold & Engineering - 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 To keep...Read moreTags: Vertical Machining Centers, Performance

    "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

    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 seven CNC 
    vertical machining centers, four of which are Hurco models—twoVMX24s, one VMX42, 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 to100,000 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. 


    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.​


    Sioux Chief Manufacturing - No need for any separate CAM software to write programs

    ​“We have been using Hurco CNC machining centers for about six years in our tool room. They are indispensable for our operations. No other machine and con...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, General Purpose

    “We have been using Hurco CNC machining centers for about six years in our tool room. They are indispensable for our operations. No other machine and control combination can give us the shop floor programming power and machining quality that is vital to our manufacturing operations.” 

    —Joe Stegmeier, Senior Tooling Engineer

    Sioux Chief Manufacturing is an integrated, global supplier of PVC pipe, which is used in residential and commercial plumbing. Over the past six years, Sioux has continually upgraded its ability to produce all of its required plastic injection molds in its own tool room. The key to its capabilities has been the purchase of Hurco CNC machining centers.

    Powerful and Easy-to-Use UltiMax Control Provides Productivity Shop Demands

    Joe Stegmeier, Senior Tool Engineer, has found that Hurco’s powerful UltiMax control is capable of generating all the features and surfaces he needs for his molds. By using Hurco’s optional 3D software package, all of the curved surfaces in the pipe “elbows” and other sections can be generated for both core and cavities. For the 3D surfaces, Joe and his toolmakers model the surfaces as revolutions or translations of simple 2D cross sections. When the machinist uses the print holders on the 
    UltiMax control, he has all the information he needs to create complex programs at his fingertips.  
        Joe does not use any separate CAM software to write his programs. All of the mold base and ejector plates are programmed right at the machine on the 
    UltiMax control as needed. If a CAD drawing is available, it can be directly loaded into the control with a simple “point and click” that generates the required part features. Hurco’s exceptional machine rigidity and advanced servo motion technology then produces high quality machined surfaces.  
        As Sioux Chief has grown, the need for larger multi-cavity molds has increased.  Hurco’s loop and pattern sub routines minimize programming time. Joe can meet these requirements with the full Hurco product line. His latest addition is the 
    VMX50, a 50″ x 26″ x 24″ vertical machining center with a 10,000 RPM, 25HP spindle. The VMX50 can handle mold bases up to 3,000 lbs. and still reach 3D contouring rates of 600 IPM. Hurco’s UltiMax control is equipped to automatically shutdown the machine at program completion, so it is perfect for lights out operation for long 3D surface work. The high torque available is ideal for large hole drilling and tapping in addition to heavy steel milling. 
        Two of the six 
    Hurco machining centers in the Sioux Chief tool room provide 30″ X- travel and are arranged such that one man programs, sets-up, and runs both machines. Hurco machines also have the unique ability to easily make copies of a base program and repeat them to build the final product, which slashes programming time dramatically. The smallest machining center at Sioux Chief is the VMX24. It is offers a 12HP, 10,000-RPM spindle that is perfect for generating fine surface finishes on small parts. 


    Joe’s most important assets are his workers. Hurco’s powerful machines equipped with the UltiMax controlmake programming and running parts simple for all of them. The result is that he keeps all six Hurco machines busy with his three-man staff. Joe could add two more Hurco machines before he’d have the need to hire additional personnel to run the machines. ​

  • G&H

    G&H Tool & Die - Tool & Die Shop Grows With a Hurco LatheG&H Tool & Die G&H Tool & Die

    ​ Bill Hutchison, owner of G&H Tool & Die in Union City, Tennessee, has been growing his tooling and job shop business for about 20 years. While ...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Lathes, General Purpose, Turning Centers

    Bill Hutchison, owner of G&H Tool & Die in Union City, Tennessee, has been growing his tooling and job shop business for about 20 years. While they still operate a few legacy Hurco knee mills, they had not purchased a new Hurco machining center in a number of years and were purchasing machines from other manufacturers. This all changed about two years ago when they purchased a VM2 on the recommendation of one of their machinists.

    Key Hurco Advantage

    The price and productivity was so great that a second one was purchased two months later and was followed up by a
    VMX42 to complement an existing 80” machining center from another manufacturer. Their experience with Hurco’s knee mills and current VMC’s led them to consider the new TM Series of CNC slant-bed turning centers when their need for a lathe arose. Much of the work that G&H does is shaft work for a number of local industries. Therefore, the TM10 was chosen for it’s size—a 10-inch chuck and 14 inch maximum cut diameter. The TM10 was exactly what G&H was looking for.


    The primary operator of the new
    Hurco lathe has 15 years experience with turning, most of which have been spent on manual lathes and small flatbed lathes. Kearney Machinery, the local Hurco distributor, provided installation and training. Within the first week the operator was utilizing the easy-to-use conversational programming unique to Hurco turning centers and machining centers. He finds the control to be very straightforward and easy to learn and sees no problems in gaining mastery of it. The Hurco TM10 has quickly become an integral part of their operation because it is reliable, easy to use and profitable—just what a shop needs.​

  • TGM

    TGM Ltd. - Largest Hurco machine expands capability of aerospace subcontractor

    ​"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: Vertical Machining Centers, International

    "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.

  • Brass Part

    Specialty CNC - Hurco control makes training new employees fast and easy.

    ​ “We run these machines hard and they never give us a problem.”  - Mike Baker, President, Specialty CNC, Bloomington, Indiana, USA   Specialty CNC ...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Performance, Vertical Machining Centers, CNC Control

    “We run these machines hard and they never give us a problem.” 
    - Mike Baker, President, Specialty CNC, Bloomington, Indiana, USA
    Specialty CNC in Bloomington, Indiana, is an entrepreneurial success story that illustrates the fortitude of small business owners across America.

    Specialty CNC - Hurco Customer TestimonialSpecialty CNC owners Mike Baker and Roger Shoufler say they chose Hurco because they need machines that are rigid, reliable, and machines that have a control that is easy to learn. “The Hurco control makes it easy to train. We teach on the job and from our experience, it only takes the new guys a couple of days to get up to speed,” says Mike He adds that each machining center must be flexible enough to handle multiple applications and reliable enough to run lights out. “We run these machines hard and they never give us a problem,” says Mike.

    While Specialty CNC has remained busy throughout the latest economic downturn, building the business certainly didn’t happen overnight. Mike and Roger started Specialty CNC in Mike’s garage in 2001 working nights and weekends after their day jobs to get the company running. In 2005, they went full time with Specialty CNC.

    VMX Series
    Currently, they have four Hurco machining centers in their 2,400 square foot shop: two VMX42 machining centers, a VMX30S and a VMX24. Both owners say they keep buying Hurco machine tools because they are rigid, reliable, and the control lets them save steps and save time.

    “We do one-offs, prototype work, and small production runs of 500-1,000 pieces for medical, aerospace, and government,” says Baker. “One thing that is great is the ability to implement offline programs and use conversational features, such as drilling,” Mike explains when describing the NC/Conversational Merge feature. This feature enables customers to apply numerous conversational features to existing G-code programs. Mike leverages numerous WinMax software features to find the most efficient way to approach each part. For Mike and Roger increased efficiency means keeping their business profitable and continuing their growth cycle. For Hurco, continuing to develop technology that helps customers increase profitability means that Hurco is playing an important role in supporting the economic engine of this county—small businesses that make a difference each and every day.


  • Parts Board

    Die Tron - Cut Costly, Lengthy Set-up Times

    ​“To stay competitive in the stamping die business, we had to address setup time on multi-sided parts. Our new Hurco VTXU has slashed overall processing t...Read moreTags: 5-Axis Machining, CNC Control, Vertical Machining Centers

    “To stay competitive in the stamping die business, we had to address setup time on multi-sided parts. Our new Hurco VTXU has slashed overall processing time on many parts by 70%. Not only that but it can cut! I run out of tool before I ran out of machine.”

    -Dave W. Rose, Vice President

    Die Tron, Inc., is a high-end die maker in the Grand Rapids area specializing in progressive
    form and stamping dies for the automotive industry. Die Tron has been in business for 21 years, currently employing over 50 people and operating two shifts. Survival in the die industry is
    challenging with increased offshore competition and the automotive industry’s reduction in tooling. In order to stay competitive, Die Tron has acquired the right machine tools to shorten lead times and increase productivity.

    Hurco Advantage

    Die Tron recently added a Hurco VMX50 to handle 2D work, detailing and additional 3D machining. Die Tron’s die sets typically use fairly large pieces of D2 tool steel; so heavy cuts are the norm. More recently, Dave Rose, Vice President of Die Tron, realized that he needed to do something about costly, lengthy set-up times for complex, multi-sided parts. Their existing machines were capable of producing desirable tooling for the automotive industry, but lead times were becoming more and more critical. Mr. Rose needed an advantage. After careful consideration of all the potential solutions, he made the decision to purchase a Hurco VTXU five-axis machining center.

    Mr. Rose’s first thought was to look at a VMC with an added compound table. This solution became expensive when the table size needed to process his parts was matched to a VMC of sufficient size to hold the table. Moreover, if he purchased a VMC the size of his existing
    VMX50, the part capacity of the table would actually be smaller than the VTXU that was ultimately purchased. Not only could the VTXU handle his multi-sided needs, it was also a cost
    effective solution. Lead times could be significantly reduced while maintaining throughput and
    surface finish.


    Moreover, the ability to import
    DXF files directly to the control made the VTXU an obvious choice. Mr. Rose already knew that his operators could program the new machines, but the added fact that he knew he could rely on them was also a contributing factor. The person who now operates the VTXU at Die Tron has been using the existing Hurco VMCs, so learning to program and operate the new machine was very straight forward. The VTXU has already made a significant impact on set-up and machining times at Die Tron. About 30% of the die sections produced by Die Tron and their competitors require some form of off angle work. Using
    conventional sine plate setups, these parts could easily make up 50-60% of the total machining time for a complex die set. With the 5-axis
    VTXU, setup times are significantly reduced. In many cases, setup times are reduced by actual calendar days.


  • Arbo Parts

    Arbo Machine - Making Intelligent Investments at Affordable Prices

    “To stay competitive in the New England market, we must continue to make intelligent investments. That means getting the right level of performance and au...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Performance, Vertical Machining Centers

    “To stay competitive in the New England market,
    we must continue to make intelligent investments. That means getting the right level of performance and automation at an affordable price. The new Hurco VMX24S with Midaco Auto pallet changer
    is a perfect example.”

    -Aram Onbashian, Owner

    Arbo Machine is a small but highly productive machine shop in Rockford, Massachusetts. Over the past 20 years that they have been in business, owner Aram Onbashian, has been very careful to create his growth with productivity, rather than capacity. The result is a remarkable number of very sophisticated machines and accessories snugly fit into his shop. Hurco manufactures five of these machines.

    Recently, Aram replaced their knee mill with a new Hurco VM1 vertical machining center. With an automatic tool changer, 8,000 rpm spindle, and large 26" x 14" work cube, the machine fit perfectly into their philosophy of increasing productivity without increasing capacity. There was no need to hire new employees to operate the easy-to-use
    control and the small footprint kept space requirements to a minimum.

    Key Hurco Advantage

    Aram is finding that a number of his machining jobs are generating volumes that warrant investments in automation. Many of these opportunities require aluminum machining, which requires a highly reliable machine with a fast spindle. The Hurco VMX24S, with its 15,000 rpm spindle and proven track record, was the perfect solution. The VMX24S now serves as a base line machine for Arbo. It is especially adept at handling small tools and high feed rates. With its high capacity spindle ring mounted flood coolant, wash down systems, and a chip conveyor, the machine can handle multiple shift production with ease.


    What really kicks up productivity with the VMX24S is the addition of a Series 30 automatic pallet system from Midaco Corporation of Chicago. It performs a pallet change in about one minute. The principle advantage of this system is that the operator can load and unload the pallets outside the machine work area so the spindle can keep running. Changeover time is about 10 minutes, so the operator can be running another machine while the rest of the machining cycle is being completed. Arbo may be a small shop specializing in small to medium runs, but they are able to operate more like a larger shop due to highly productive machines like those manufactured by Hurco. Coupled with the versatility of the control, Arbo is able to get the most out of each machine and employee.

  • Dean Krager - Ferris State

    Ferris State University - Hurco supports advanced manufacturing through university partnership.

    "The integrated Hurco control and its inherent flexibility is advantageous for teaching." - Dean Krager, Associate Professor, Ferris State Univ...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, Turning Centers, Vertical Machining Centers, CNC Control

    "The integrated Hurco control and its inherent flexibility is advantageous for teaching."


    - Dean Krager, Associate Professor, Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan, USA


    The Manufacturing Technology faculty at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., understands the importance of relevant technology and the value of applied education to maximize students’ future success in advanced manufacturing. Since the program’s origination in 1956, the school has earned a reputation for offering classes that ensure students develop a solid technical foundation through applied experiences, including the use of precision manufacturing operations.

    When FSU needed some new machines to keep students competitive, they came to Hurco. FSU and Hurco had worked together in earlier years, but a renewed relationship was established in 2005. The partnership between academia and corporate America has proven to enhance the educational experience of students. VM10_CC.jpg

    FSU opted for three 3-axis machining centers from the general purpose VM Series and two general purpose turning centers from the TM Series. The efficient design of the VM10 machines yields a small footprint with an extraordinarily large work cube. From top to bottom, the VM mills are manufactured to be rigid and reliable. The TM6 and TM8 turning centers are true slant-bed lathes, which is not common for turning centers that are so compact, and the single-piece bed casting provides excellent control of cutting forces.

    According to Dean Krager, Associate Professor of the Manufacturing Technology program at FSU, the integrated Hurco control and its inherent flexibility is advantageous for teaching. The control’s flexibility affords students enhanced learning options because they can learn numerous programming methods, including G-code, both online and offline conversational programming, and CAM. Also, with the Hurco DXF Transfer feature, 2D CAD files can easily be imported and ready to run in minutes.


    Hurco is proud to be a part of the process of educating the next generation of advanced manufacturing professionals through its numerous initiatives that expose students to state-of-the-art technology and real world experiences that are vital for success. Krager says Hurco’s sophisticated machine tools are just one element of support Hurco provides.

    “The exposure Hurco offers FSU students puts Hurco’s corporate support at a different level,” says Krager. Hurco has repeatedly sponsored FSU students to attend the International Manufacturing Technology Show and actually gives them the chance to demonstrate machines at the booth. “This kind of experience really gives students a head start. It catapults their career and complements the applied learning method we use in the Manufacturing Technology program. That’s just the kind of company Hurco is. They always go the extra mile,” says Krager.

  • Parts cut on Hurco lathe

    Etogen Scientific - Inventor selects Hurco technology.

    ​“With the Hurco control, we only need to maintain the program at the machine instead of having a CAM file and a machine program.”- Alex Okun, Owner, Etog...Read moreTags: Vertical Machining Centers, Lathes, General Purpose

    “With the Hurco control, we only need to maintain the program at the machine instead of having a CAM file and a machine program.”
    - Alex Okun, Owner, Etogen Scientific, San Diego, California, USA 

    The story of how Etogen Scientific was started illustrates the spirit of innovation that is responsible for new technology and new products that change the world. 

    Alex Okun, the founder and owner of Etogen Scientific, worked with a company that distributed testing equipment for aluminum cylinders—the kind of tanks that are used by firefighters and scuba divers. Alex knew there had to be a better way to test the integrity of these tanks because conventional testing methods could not provide reliable measurement of the crack width.

    With degrees in both computer science and bio-chemistry, Alex put his ideas into action and created Visual Plus3. This product identifies 100% of neck and shoulder cracks, imperfections, or folds in aluminum cylinders that are used for numerous purposes including fire extinguishers, breathing apparatus for fire fighters, various medical applications, scuba diving, and many industrial purposes. 


    Alex started Etogen Scientific out of his house in 2003. As demand for his products increased, he moved into a 1,500 square foot facility in San Diego and then invested in his own CNC equipment so he would have more control over manufacturing and product delivery schedules. 

    Alex first saw a Hurco machining center at the MD&M West show. He says the integrated Hurco control and conversational programming were key factors in his decision. “With the Hurco control, we only need to maintain the program at the machine instead of having a CAM file and a machine program. Additionally, the ease of use made the learning curve less daunting.”

    Alex says the performance and precision of the Hurco machine tools have proven to be excellent. He purchased a VM10 3-axis machining center and a TMM10 turning center with live tooling. He thoroughly evaluated other brands, but found the functionality of the Hurco machine tools and value/price ratio to be superior. 
    The TMM10 puts the efficiency of multi-tasking in reach for small job shops like Etogen. Not only does the TMM10 slant-bed lathe with live tooling reduce setup time, it retains accuracy because only one setup is required. 

    The VM10 machining center has a small footprint with a large work envelope and the swing-arm ATC makes the work envelope even bigger. The VM10 is flexible enough to meet the variety of machining needs required by Etogen.

    TheHurco control is central to Alex’s process of producing new testing equipment and replacement parts for equipment in the field. In addition to manufacturing parts for the Visual Plus3 System, Etogen Scientific does custom instrument design and manufacturing for external customers. Alex relies on Hurco technology to give him the flexibility a job shop needs to produce a wide range of parts.


  • Gregor Technologies Machine Shop

    Gregor Technologies

    ​ “We truly believe the key to providing quality products is to invest in technology and our employees.” How does a company sustain an average growth r...Read moreTags: 5-Axis Machining, Mill Turn, Performance, Vertical Machining Centers, CNC Control

    “We truly believe the key to providing quality products is to invest in technology and our employees.”

    How does a company sustain an average growth rate of 25 percent during the economic ups and downs of the last 22 years? For *Gregor Technologies, a Torrington, Connecticut contract manufacturer that offers a full machine shop, sheet metal fabrication, contract assembly, and design and engineering services,  the formula for growth is straightforward: the right machines + the right employees + continual customer responsiveness = sustained growth.
    John and Janice Gregorich started Gregor Technologies in 1989 when John bought his first Hurco—a KMP3 knee mill. Twenty-two years later, Gregor Technologies employs nearly 60 people, has 31 Hurco machine tools, and occupies a 70,000 square foot building. Their success is based on being responsive to their customers while investing in technology that maximizes the shop’s productivity so each job is profitable. When it comes to machine tool technology, Gregor Technologies relies on Hurco.
    “I bought my first Hurco because I wanted to have a lean, fast turnaround, customer-focused business,” says John Gregorich. Gregor Technologies is the perfect example of a shop that embraces technology and uses it to be more productive. In turn, they become more profitable. But the Gregor Technologies owners have a healthy skepticism of new technology. “We want to know the benefits and understand the learning curve,” says John Gregorich. This pragmatic approach led Gregor Technologies to Hurco in the very beginning.
    While attending a regional manufacturing show, John took a print of a straightforward part to each CNC mill vendor and asked each one to program the part and dry cycle it. Most vendors took 15-20 minutes to program the part and nearly all of them used a CAD/CAM system, which equaled more overhead in John’s mind. Once John arrived at the Brooks Machinery booth, he watched the Hurco distributor program the part in just 5 minutes on the Hurco mill.

    Gregor-Technologies-Part.jpgAs Gregor Technologies has grown, the company’s investment in Hurco machine tools has grown.  John bought that first Hurco KM3P knee mill in 1989, followed by a BMC30M, and now the Hurco lineup at Gregor Technologies includes a wide range of CNC machining centers and turning centers, including eight VM1 vertical machining centers, several machines from the performance VMX Series, several TM turning centers, and the newest additions, six 5-axis VM10U machining centers and two 5-axis VTXU machining centers.
    This investment in the Hurco VM10U 5-axis machining centers is another example of John and Janice Gregorich’s commitment to invest in relevant technology to meet their customers’ needs more efficiently. Because Gregor Technologies is dedicated to the belief that they are actually an extension of their customers’ companies, they continually work to meet aggressive delivery schedules, cost containment and quality “Dock to Stock” programs of their customers who must succeed in the competitive world of scientific instruments, aerospace, fluid control systems, and homeland security. To exceed their customers’ expectations, Gregor Technologies has used Hurco technology and specialized production software as the building blocks to continually improve and identify efficiencies.

    Some shops look at a 5-axis/5-sided machine as too complicated or think the technology is too expensive for the jobs they’re doing. John again approached this investment pragmatically. Because the Hurco control powered with WinMax software is truly easy to learn and easy to use, it only took John two hours to program his part on the VM10U and start making chips. “The five-sided software is great. It’s very simple to use. Once I used the Transform Part Zero feature, everything else fell into place quickly,” says John. “On our 3-axis machines, we had 6 setups. Now I do the same part on our new VM10U and we only have two setups,” says Gregorich.
    At Hurco, these collaborative relationships with customers like John and Janice Gregorich foster innovation and drive the Hurco team to develop more technology that helps customers be more productive, more profitable, and grow their businesses. In turn, Hurco grows with their customers. Gregor Technologies shares the same philosophy and is dedicated to investing in the best technology to continually help their customers succeed. In turn, Gregor Technologies continues to succeed.
    Says John Gregorich, “We would not be the company we are today if it wasn’t for Hurco.”
    *Gregor Technologies was recently acquired by Metals USA


  • Berry Plastics Machine Shop

    Berry Plastics Corporation - Growth in a Competitive Business

    “Building plastic molds in today’s global economyis an extremely competitive business. Our newHurco VMX50 with Cat 50 spindle is a real workhorse. We’ve s...Read moreTags: Vertical Machining Centers, Performance, 3-Axis Mill

    “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.

    Hurco Advantage

    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.

  • ARC Technologies

    ARC Technologies - Immediate Results with Hurco

    "Like many companies, I needed to find a solution to the small lot jobs many of my best customers wanted me to do. Breaking in to my automated produc...Read moreTags: 3-Axis Mill, CNC Control, General Purpose, Vertical Machining Centers

    "Like many companies, I needed to find a solution to the small lot jobs many of my best customers wanted me to do. Breaking in to my automated production machines was not cost effective and trying to run the parts with CNC knee mills was not labor efficient. I found that Hurco's new VM product line was the perfect solution." ―Chris Nelson, President of ARC Technologies 

    Over the last 20 years, ARC Technologies has grown into a 100-plus employee contract machine shop with over 32,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Operating with an array of high production vertical and horizontal machining centers and advanced CNC turning centers, ARC serves a number of companies in the aerospace, medical, and technology businesses. ARC works closely with its customers, and in some cases, is directly linked to the customer's MRP System, enabling ARC to schedule many production jobs for maximum efficiency. Since many of the company's customers also have needs for smaller quantities of parts (under 100 pieces), ARC has a manual department with simpler equipment. Until last year, the department used several CNC bed mills with manual tool change operation. The problem was that this process was not cost-effective. Therefore, much of the low volume work was sent to other shops and this threatened ARC's overall relationship with its customers.  Chris Nelson, President of ARC Technologies, knew that he needed a low cost machining center with a shop floor control. When he saw an advertisement for a Hurco VM1 machining center starting from $37,900, he contacted Hurco immediately. 

    Hurco's VM1 Provides Immediate Results For ARC

    ARC installed its first Hurco machine and saw immediate results. The two machinists in the manual shop were programming and running parts in less than two days. Programming times were cut in half and cycle times, due to the fast auto tool changer and 8,000 RPM spindle, were 50 to 70 percent faster than before. Within weeks, ARC was able to complete small lot jobs from its customers in a very cost-effective way. A second Hurco VM1 was added a month later, with similar results. After three months, Mr. Nelson decided to eliminate his manual machines and added four more Hurco vertical machining centers. With a total of eight Hurco machines, ARC now handles all of the small lot work from its production customers.  This has lead ARC to become an even more valued supplier to its customers.


    During the day shift, ARC's two experienced machinists program, setup, and run all of their Hurco machining centers and turning centers. The Hurco control can handle thread milling, lettering, helical milling, and a host of other machining operations with ease. Hurco's Max control is also equipped to directly convert CAD files to part programs with its DXF file transfer software. Complex parts that have milled pockets with islands are programmed in simple steps. Several of the VMXs are equipped with indexers for multi-sided productivity. Since ARC already was operating three shifts, it was easy to coordinate operations of a second shift to finish processing jobs the same day. ARC Technologies is now able to meet its customer needs for fast turn around of small lot size jobs, and do it efficiently. In Mr. Nelson's mind, the ability to produce small lot jobs quickly and cost-effectively has become a strategic shift in ARC Technologies operations and capabilities.