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."
Infinity Metalworks, Inc.
?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.
“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.”
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.
“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 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.
"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.
"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.
“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.
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. TheHTX500 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 HTX500.”
"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.
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.
“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.
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.