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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“We are also currently working on additional designs for the other sports. So watch out rugby fans.”
Cheltenham subcontractor, Pharma Tooling, (www.pharmatooling.co.uk) which until the middle of 2007 could prismatically machine parts up to 750 mm long in one clamping, has more than doubled its maximum component size capacity with the purchase of a new Hurco VMX64 vertical machining centre. It was supplied with a rotary turntable and high-pressure coolant delivery through the BT40 spindle.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Since its formation in 2005, DW Engineering has expanded its Hamilton, South Lanarkshire contract machining business at an impressive rate. Its success is largely down to an ability and willingness to undertake anything from prototype work to large batch production for many different industries, and to offer machining expertise in a wide range of materials.
2006 saw a rationalisation in the press tool making industry in the West Midlands, with dozens of firms going out of business, including some of the biggest names. A similar shake-up in the plastic injection mouldmaking sector happened a few years ago. These trends are mirrored around the UK as OEMs either relocate overseas or buy their tools from low-wage countries.
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 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.
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.
"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
“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.”
“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.”
“It is so easy to train someone to drill, tap, or mill on the Hurco UltiMax® control with the English language programming.”
“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.”
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 ProductivityThe 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. SummaryThe 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
"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."
“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.”
“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.”
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
"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."
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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 HurcoMy 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 HurcoFast 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 TurningOur 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 FutureHurco 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!
Sincerely,Matthew SmithThe Precision Edge Machine
"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 MollPelco Tool and Mold
"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."
“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.”
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and Hurco Companies Inc. have formed a strategic alliance that will be executed for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
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.
NuCon34100 Industrial RoadLivonia, MI 48150734.525.0770www.nuconcorp.comHurco Companies, Inc.One Technology WayIndianapolis, IN 46268800.634.2416www.hurco.com
“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.”
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.
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 RyanInfinity Metalworks, Inc.InfinityMetalworksInc@gmail.com
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.
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.
“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 AdvantageSince 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.SummaryAnother 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.
“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. “The 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 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 AdvantageCasey 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.
"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."
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.
Summary"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.
“Veritas operates efficiently and lean. We’re extremely reliant on a fast, accurate, dependable machine and Hurco has met that need with the HTX500.”
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 AdvantageIn 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.
SummaryAs 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 HTX500.”
"All in all, the Hurco was the best bang for the buck and has the least amount of downtimes over other machines."
To keep your business competitive in the 21st century you need to be efficient, flexible and demonstrate a quality product. The Weaver brothers in Chesterfield, Michigan have built their business around those requirements. Hurco is proud to be their vertical machining center of choice. Brendan Weaver and Damon Weaver, owners of Xcentric Mold & Engineering, have defined efficiency by creating a process flow system that lets their employees run three to four machines at a time. “One guy can even run five,” boasts Damon Weaver. Xcentric's flexibility extends beyond the types of molds and parts they create. Xcentric is also flexible in the breadth and depth of services they provide.
“We can turn it from concept to a finished part, and do everything in between,” said the Weavers. “We do part design, FDM rapid prototyping, prototype molds, bridge tooling, and do our own injection molding, all under one roof.” Xcentric's main focus is Fast and Accurate turn around prototype molds and parts with in a 5-16 day delivery to the customer. Xcentric has given new meaning to “fast and accurate turn around” in prototyping. The Weavers grew the business from their CAD and Prototype mold making expertise. “What sets us apart today is, we do what we say and say what we do. Customer service is key and we are proactive in the whole process.” Being proficient in solid modeling, we can propose changes to the customer's solid data, from any format and return the data via email. This service saves days off the build, as being part designers and mold makers we can prepare data for mold ability.
Hurco AdvantageXcentric runs one shift, and routinely runs lights out operations to maximize efficiency. In addition to investing in process efficiency, quality certification (ISO 9001: 2000), and talented employees, Xcentric has invested in top-notch equipment. They have 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. SummaryAt Xcentric, Hurco is the preferred vertical machining center. The operators like the ease of use, especially the ergonomics of the control—slanted screen for easy viewing and big buttons. Additionally, the Xcentric owners say the coolant-thru-the-spindle, the wash down system and chip auger, keep the chips out and the machines clean, “because there is no time to stop the machine when we are building molds,” says Weaver. “All in all the Hurco was the best bang for the buck and has the least amount of downtime over other machines”.
For Damon and Brendan Weaver, another Hurco advantage is the man who represents the company in their area. Damon says Fred Braun, of Braun Machinery, is diligent, extremely knowledgeable, and made the decision to go with Hurco an easy one. As the Weaver brothers expand their efficient prototyping services to more companies and industries, Hurco and Braun Machinery will be there every step of the way.
“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.”
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 DemandsJoe 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. Summary
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.
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 AdvantageThe 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.SummaryThe 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.
"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. Steve 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.
“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
“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 changeris 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 AdvantageAram 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. SummaryWhat 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.
"The integrated Hurco control and its inherent flexibility is advantageous for teaching."
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. 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.
“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
“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 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 AdvantageIn 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.SummaryMore 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.
"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.