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  • Almond Engineering Ltd

      SUBCONTRACTOR INSTALLS MORE  5-AXIS MACHINING CAPACITY ​Having doubled the size of its premises in 2016 and the same year purchased its first 5...Read moreTags: 5-Axis Machining



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    ​Having doubled the size of its premises in 2016 and the same year purchased its first 5-axis machining centre, a Hurco VMX42SRTi with swivelling B-axis spindle, subcontractor Almond Engineering ( has now installed a second, similar model. Managing director Chris Smith favours this style of 5-axis machining centre over the trunnion-mounted rotary table arrangement due to its versatility for tackling a greater variety of work, including 4-axis machining of large components.

    Last year saw the arrival of a Hurco VMX30i, purchased with a 4th axis rotary table to speed set-ups, increase production efficiency and reduce delivery times, plus a larger 3-axis VMX60i with 1,525 by 660 by 610 mm working volume that significantly extends the size of component that can be machined on the Livingston site.

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    Overall spend in 2018 exceeded £400,000 and half that figure is due to be spent again this year, including on new software. Driving this level of investment was 25 per cent growth in 2016/17, a further increase in turnover the following year and a predicted 19 per cent rise this financial year. It is a pace that Mr Smith describes as "almost too fast" in view of the perennial difficulty in hiring skilled staff.

    Much of the growth has come from winning new business from the medical sector in Scotland, such as the assembly of lines for producing contact lenses and the machining of parts for operating theatre equipment. The industry now accounts for eight per cent of the company's revenue by value. 

    Semiconductor firms across the central belt of Scotland are the other main sector serviced, while contracts are also received from the ever resilient aerospace and defence industries. A hallmark of the subcontractor's service is significant design input into the mechanical engineering aspects of the contracts it undertakes.

    Celebrating the 40th anniversary of its inauguration this year, Almond Engineering now operates eight Hurco machine tools, a TM8 CNC lathe with 8-inch chuck and seven machining centres. The latter form the vast majority of prismatic metalcutting capacity on site, the only other machining centre being a Bohner & Koehle bought in the 1970s. 

    As to the subcontractor's continued purchase of the Hurco brand, Mr Smith commented, "Ours is a prototype and small batch production environment, so efficient shop floor programming is important to us. We rely on it 90 per cent of the time.

    "Back in 2004, we had a number of manual tool change mills and one vertical machining centre, but spent more time programming them than actually cutting metal.

    "To take over from them, in 2004 we bought our first VMX42​ with a one-metre X-axis. The Hurco control was clearly ahead at the time in terms of the speed and capability of its conversational programming and has continued to lead the market ever since.

    "Additionally, the machines themselves are cost effective to buy as well as being robust, reliable and accurate. We regularly hold ± 0.01 mm when cutting virtually any material, from Inconel and Hastelloy through steels and aluminium to plastics."

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    He pointed also to the user friendliness of Hurco machines, with staff able to move seamlessly between the twin-screen WinMAX controls powering the larger machining centres and the single-screen MAX controls on the smaller VM1 machining centre and TM8 lathe. The subcontractor's hyperMILL offline CAM system is used mostly for programming more complex 3+2 axis cycles to reduce set-ups and improve accuracy on the 5-axis machines and to create some fully interpolative cycles as well.

    Organic growth at the Livingston company has resulted in the number of employees rising from 24 in 2011 to 37 currently, including three apprentices taken on recently. Much effort is put into training the existing workforce and cooperating with local schools to promote engineering and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects with an eye to future recruitment of employees.

    Most recently, in June 2019, Almond Engineering completed its first company takeover by acquiring the trade and assets of another Livingston company, Multex, which will see turnover increase by a further 16 per cent. Established in 1991, the firm designs and manufactures test equipment for electronic circuit boards and has a number of customers that are common to those of Almond Engineering.

    A further benefit is the additional CNC and manual machining facilities that are available at the Multex site, giving both businesses increased capacity, flexibility and factory floor space. No jobs were lost as a result of the acquisition and an additional, skilled appointment has already been made, with more anticipated.​

    Published: 8/9/2019  4:43 AM
  • DW Engineering

      ​Modern programming and control  software cuts milling times by a quarter     David Watt, owner of subcontractor DW Engineeri...Read moreTags: Performance

    ​Modern programming and control

     software cuts milling times by a quarter

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    David Watt, owner of subcontractor DW Engineering, has trebled the size of his business since the beginning of the decade, with most of that growth taking place last year (2018), which saw a doubling of turnover. 

    He puts this success partly down to winning contracts for machining batch sizes up to 10 times larger than previously, which he largely fulfils using four Hurco vertical machining centres (VMCs). Orders are now frequently received for thousands-off rather than hundreds. 

    New work in the electronics and gas detection sectors has been won, as well as in the resurgent oil and gas industry, while 80 per cent of throughput is repeat business, some of which has been retained practically since the company was formed.

    A further contributor to increased turnover and indeed profitability is Adaptipath high speed machining software, which includes novel routines for rest material removal, in the latest version of Hurco's WinMAX conversational control. Program cycles are significantly faster, especially when pocket milling.

    Established in 2005 in Blantyre, Scotland, the subcontractor started using Hurco equipment from the outset with the purchase of a machining centre of nominally half-metre-cube capacity and two CNC knee-type mills. 

    Together with a Hurco VM10 machining centre acquired five years later, these four machines were subsequently traded in for three of the machine tool builder's latest VM10i VMCs. One arrived in 2018 and was joined by two more this year. Additionally, there remains on the shop floor a smaller Hurco VM1 with 4th axis purchased in 2009, as well as a bar-fed Hurco TM8​ CNC lathe that was installed six years later.

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    Comparing the performance of the nine-year-old VM1 with that of his three modern, slightly larger capacity Hurco VMCs, Mr Watt referred to an aluminium housing for an electronics industry customer that he has produced in two operations on both types of machine. 

    On the earlier model running a previous release of WinMAX programming software that included Ultipocket milling routines, total cycle tim​e was 165 minutes. That was before Hurco introduced Ultimotion software to control axis movements on its machines, without relying on hardware-based motion control. It has helped to reduce the cycle time for producing the electronics housing to 120 minutes, a saving o​f more than 27 per cent.

    Contributing especially to this increase in efficiency is Adaptipath pocket milling software with its new rest machining routines. The conversational pocketing feature is a module within Ultipocket in WinMax 10, mirroring that used in high-end CAD systems. It smooths the motion of the tool path and keeps chip load between a user-defined maximum and minimum, improving surface finish and extending tool life. 

    In addition to the two standard pocketing cycles involving inward and outward spiralling of the cutter, Adaptipath includes two extra rest machining routines, zig-zag and 1-way, both of which involve alternate periods of climb milling. The amount of material encountered by the cutter is controlled, often allowing a full depth of cut rather than peck level milling, for higher metal removal rates that Mr Watt said can be up to double.

    With rest machining, a larger diameter tool than usual is used after roughing to remove most of the remaining unwanted material efficiently, followed by a finishing pass that automatically swaps the tool for a smaller diameter cutter able to reach areas of the feature that the larger rest milling tool was unable to access. Mr Watt considers this to offer a six to eight fold speed increase compared with previous machining methodology.

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    Looking back at his company's progress over the past 14 years, he observed, "The variety of materials we are asked to process is vast, ranging from stainless and mild steels through titanium, copper, bronze, brass and aluminium to PTFE, PEEK, acetal and nylon. Accuracies routinely achieved are ± 0.1 mm but some parts have drawing tolerances down to ± 10 microns.

    "We have never needed a CAM system to prepare programs for the Hurcos, as their on-board conversational software is so powerful at creating the cutter paths - and there is no need for post processing.

    "If any particularly complex geometry is included in a CAD model supplied by a customer, we use AutoCAD or SolidWorks to produce a DXF file that WinMAX imports directly.

    "The Hurco machines, which continue to evolve and improve, have supported our diverse work and underpinned our success. They are key to our ability to offer top quality work, quick turnaround and competitive prices."​

    Published: 7/19/2019  9:47 AM

          Automation in mould making: milling machine manufacturer as development partner    ​Although complex injection moulding tools are often one-o...Read moreTags: Roeders
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    Automation in mould making: milling machine
    manufacturer as development partner 

    ​Although complex injection moulding tools are often one-off pieces, systematic standardization of processes and automation of the machining steps in conjunction with the use of suitable machines enables benefits to be achieved relating to both quality and costs. However, suitable solutions often require individual adaptations of both hardware and software. Users are therefore well advised, when choosing their supplier, to consider flexibility and efficiency with respect to the development of the necessary adaptation. A case story.


    “Hella is a world-leading supplier of automotive lighting technology, but also of vehicle electronics”, explains Karl-Heinz Uhle, Head of Production at Hella Werkzeug Technologiezentrum GmbH (Hella Tool Technology Centre) in Lippstadt. Such modern lighting systems for the automotive industry are made of plastic in an injection moulding process, which requires numerous and occasionally very large-format tools. The plastic components for such LED lighting systems must be made with maximum precision so that the light produced complies with the requirements imposed both by the customer and the legislator. Quality criteria include, for example, an homogeneous light distribution and defined limits between bright and dark, even at distances in excess of 100 m. Consequently, the corresponding injection moulding tools have to meet stringent requirements in terms of accuracy and surface quality, particularly in connection with the beam-guiding elements. With some 200 employees, the Hella Tool Technology Centre is responsible for supplying the global production plants of the internationally operating automobile supplier with the appropriate moulds, which weigh up to 36 t. Alongside the production of new moulds, another focus of activities is the maintenance of moulds within the Group, which frequently calls for the production of new components to replace those which have worn down. The moulds exhibit a high degree of complexity such as multiple component injection capability and numerous slides and require production times of up to 7,000 hours.
    Although the toolmaker is a subsidiary of Hella, it has to hold its own against bids from the free market on an order-by-order basis. As a matter of principle part of the demand is acquired externally. Alongside quality and due dates, therefore, costs are also of prime concern. Consequently, it was back in the year 2009 that first thoughts were directed towards how the benefits of automating the processes might be exploited. An initial small cell for automated, unmanned production went into operation as early as 2011.
    Machine tool manufacturer as strategic partner
    “In order to exploit the benefits of such a concept to the optimum, we needed a solution that could be adapted to our special requirements with maximum flexibility over the entire scheduled period of use”, explains Carsten Berhorst, Project Manager for the introduction of Röders Automation at the Hella Tool Technology Centre. The appropriate planning steps began back in 2009 and have even been the subject of various academic theses. In addition to the efficiency of the milling machine in terms of dynamics and accuracy, the prerequisites for the project also include the use of uniform software standards for all processes. At the Hella Tool Technology Centre these are Catia for the CAD engineering design and Tebis for the CAM programming. A further prerequisite is a zero-point clamping system with modular scalability, with the aid of which a wide range of workpieces from small parts to moulding plates weighing half a tonne can be clamped using the same scheme with standardized accessories. The original idea was to combine two milling centres from different manufacturers as well as a robot from a third manufacturer in order to supply the cell with workpieces and tools. However, after careful consideration, a decision was taken to seek one single partner as the main contractor instead. This main contractor therefore had to ensure overall supervision of all the constituent parts of the system – both hardware and software. A prime focus of the cell was to take over the finishing of die sections in a hardened state, but in some cases also providing them for rough machining in the “soft” condition before hardening. Usual materials are hot-forming steels such as 1.2343, which exhibit hardness values of approximately 50 HRC, or prehardened steels such as 1.2738.
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    Original configuration
    “The first cell delivered at Easter 2015 ultimately consisted of two RXU 1200 DSH 5-axis milling centres supplied by Röders automated with a robot having a net carrying capacity of 495 kg from the same supplier”, recalls Karl-Heinz Uhle. The decision was taken in favour of this type of system as it optimally met the requirements both for precision of machining as well as for efficiency in rough milling and drilling. In addition, these machines are equipped with highly dynamic and precise linear drives as well as an especially stiff z-axis with no less than four guiding rails. With their working space of 1,000 x 1,050 x 600 mm and a loading capacity for the rotating/swivelling table of 1,500 kg, they are capable of machining all relevant workpieces. They are even robust enough to machine large workpieces made of hardened tool steel with cutter heads of up to 35 mm in diameter. During the process, 3 mm of material are machined down in some cases, with the thickness of the chips reaching 0.2 mm. Holes with diameters of up to 12 mm and depths of up to 250 mm are also drilled into the same workpieces. For this rough application, the machines have been equipped with powerful spindles using the HSK A63 interface, which achieve a maximum rotational speed of 24,000 rpm. Irrespective of their robustness, the plants are so precise they can machine very fine details such as radii of 0.25 mm using milling cutters with diameters down to just 0.4 mm. Concluding high-gloss finishing processes, where necessary, are carried out by polishing operations either manually or in separate plants. Due to the surface quality and also the accuracy that can be achieved, it was possible to significantly reduce the expenditures for these additional processing steps. At the same time, accuracy was also improved because it was possible to reduce geometrical distortions during polishing to a minimum.
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    Operational experience
    “Through training measures and with the assistance of simulation software, we were able to prepare ourselves thoroughly before delivery”, Carsten Berhorst reveals. The fact that Röders has developed a separate control unit for its machines and can therefore take a very flexible approach to individual customer wishes proved to be particularly advantageous. Just how important this was could be experienced, for example, when using smaller tungsten carbide tools with NC programs that had previously been written for other machines that were considerably “softer” and slower in their path guidance. The new Röders systems not only has a very rigid machine frame but in addition controls the tool path with extreme precision, thanks to their 32-KHz control frequency and additionally achieve exceptional dynamics thanks to the linear motors. It is possible to experience this immediately after the commissioning of the machine e.g. because small tools with an extended arc of contact with the work-piece were tending to break off as they were being pushed against the workpiece flanks with substantially higher forces than were customary from previous practice. After the adaptation of these existing NC programs, it was then pleasing to see that the machining operations proceeded significantly faster. Close contact with the support experts of Röders proved to be extremely helpful in this connection. Thanks to the good preparation, production of parts was able to start up only four weeks after delivery, and the subsequent ramping-up process also proceeded in a pleasingly fast and trouble-free manner. The post-processor handbook supplied by Röders, which enabled optimum tuning of the post-processor to the requirements of the Hella Tool Technology Centre, also proved to be very helpful. Familiarization with the RMS6 machine control unit and with the RMSMain Job Manager by Röders also took place quickly and smoothly as the producer of these two software packages not only paid attention to high operational efficiency but also focused on their user friendliness.
    Plant extension
    “The selected solution has proven to be so effective to date that we undertook an initial extension in the summer of 2018”, Karl-Heinz Uhle reports. To this end, the robot was placed on a rail of 5,500 mm in length and the cell extended by adding a smaller Röders system of the type RXP 950 DSH. This unit has a smaller working space of 600 x 905 x 500 mm but has been equipped with the same spindle as for the other machines so that all milling tools can be freely exchanged within the cell. The same clamping system as present on the other machines was of course selected in order to ensure a large degree of consistency. The Job Manager is used to clear assignments for one or both machine types and thus allocate them automatically to the correct machine. In total, the cell now has 543 (external + internal) tool positions instead of the previous 198, and the number of pallet spaces for workpieces has risen from 11 to 21. Discussions concerning the addition of a fourth Röders unit for the future are currently in progress. All workpieces are set up on the previously mentioned modular pallet system with zero-point clamping by operations scheduling so that loading and unloading of the machines can be carried out at any time without personnel.
    Partnership with win-win outcome
    “During the course of the development, it has been seen that we made just the right decision by selecting Röders as the supplier”, says Carsten Berhorst. As expected, he continues, there was a need for adaptation during the implementation of the cell and in the alteration of existing hardware and software. During the course of project planning, installation and the production start-up, Röders has proven, in his opinion, to be both a competent and efficient partner, with whose assistance it has been possible to cope with all the desired conversions. The cell is supervised on a two-shift system by two employees and continues in unmanned operation both through the night and at weekends. Today the three plants each achieve an average overall running time of roughly 6,000 hours per annum. Depending on the mix of jobs, some of the machines reportedly even attain 700 milling hours in a given month in some cases. “Our expectations have been met, and even surpassed with respect to cost-effectiveness”, says Karl-Heinz Uhle summing up.
    Klaus Vollrath
    Box: The Röders RXU 1200 DSH
    The Röders RXU 1200 DSH milling centre has been specially developed with a view to high levels of strain in tool and mould construction. One important feature is the Quadroguide design of the z-axis with four linear guide rails at the four corners of the especially rigidly designed z-axis. This makes it possible to achieve high roughing capacities while maintaining high dynamics and precision. In addition the machine can be equipped with spindles having a maximum torque (S1) of 100 Nm. All axis have powerful, wear-free linear direct drives or torque drives as well as high-precision optical path-measuring systems. The c-axis is supported by bearings on both sides to ensure high stability and machining accuracy, and the counter bearing can take a weight of up to 20 t. The swivelling direction of the c-axis at right angles to the x-axis ensures dynamic decoupling of the directions of motion. The special 5-axis geometric compensation of the Röders control unit guarantees maximum accuracy for any positions and also for simultaneous machining operations. With the Röders Racecut, the 32-kHz control system for the axis allows a particularly high dynamic level to be achieved while maintaining very good surface quality. Running through all essential components are cooling channels, in which a medium stabilized to a temperature of ± 0.1 K circulates. The dimensions of the working space are 1,000 x 1,050 x 600 mm and the maximum weight of workpiece is 1,500 kg. The swivelling range of the table with a diameter of 895mm and swing circle diameter of 1,200 mm is ± 115 °. Chucks for different pallet systems can be integrated into the table. The system can be equipped with various spindles and table geometries.


    Hella Werkzeug Technologiezentrum GmbH, Beckumer Str. 130, 59552 Lippstadt, Deutschland, T.: +49-2941-3833352,,


    Röders GmbH, Scheibenstrasse 6, D-29614 Soltau, Deutschland, T.: +49-5191-603-43,,




    Published: 6/27/2019  5:01 AM

             ​ Versatile conversational programming supports quick-turnaround  contract machining   Almost every component machined on the five Hurco ...Read moreTags:


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    Versatile conversational programming supports quick-turnaround
     contract machining

    Almost every component machined on the five Hurco 3-axis machining centres at Scottish subcontractor Euro Precision is programmed on the shop floor with the assistance of user-friendly menus in the machine tool builder's proprietary WinMAX control software.


    If a profile is relatively complex, as is the case about half the time, it is imported as a DXF file generated in CAD, which the Hurco control reads directly. Sometimes, using the NC Merge feature within the control software, conversational cycles programmed via the CNC touch-screens are combined with data blocks created in an off-line CAM system to define more intricate 3D features of a component.


    Euro Precision's production manager Mark Ramsay explained, "The Hurco software is very versatile, easy to use, and fast at producing 3-axis prismatic machining cycles.


    "So all our quick turnaround work requiring a lead-time of, say, two weeks goes through these machines.


    "We simply take a drawing down to one of our setter-operators and very often they have the job running within an hour.


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    A selection of components machined on Hurco Machining Centres

    "It is faster than if we had to wait for our off-line department to produce the program in our Esprit CAM system, as there is usually a backlog of work for our 5-axis machines."


    Established over 25 years ago originally as Technicut in Auchterarder by Liam Torrance, who in 2009 took over Qualtronic located in the company's current 30,000 sq ft premises located in Glenrothes, Fife, Euro Precision specialises in supplying complex precision components and assemblies. They are mainly machined from aluminium, but also stainless steel and steel, in batch sizes of typically one- to 30-off but sometimes into the thousands. Customers are to be found in diverse industries from aerospace, automotive and defence to electronics, energy, medical and telecommunications.





    The current tally of Hurco machining centres at the subcontractor's production facility includes a VM1, VM2 and VMX24 with WinMAX twin-screen control predecessor, Ultimax. Previously in operation at Technicut, they have been joined by a VM30i installed in 2015 and a VM20i with 4th axis that arrived last year (2018).


    Investment in the latter machine was dictated by the need for extra capacity to meet an upturn in demand, particularly from customers in the aerospace and automotive sectors, as well as those producing automation machines for the medical and FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) industries.


    One of the setter-operators Ian Blues commented, "The WinMAX control is very easy to learn – you can practically do it straight from the manual – although we had three days on-site training from Hurco with the latest machine.


    "There are some particularly useful features in the software, such as the way hole patterns can be copied and repeated, as well as the 'loop linear' routine that repeats a pattern a specified number of times along a line defined in the X-Y plane.


    "All the Hurcos hold our usual tolerances down to ± 20 microns, but it is possible to achieve a quarter of that if you're an experienced operator."


    Mr Blues mentioned an underwater camera housing milled and drilled from solid aluminium on the top and sides in two operations on the VMX30i in a cycle time of one hour and 20 minutes, half of which was taken up by engraving lettering imported via DXF. Inspection on a coordinate measuring machine verified that 5 µm flatness and 20 µm parallelism and perpendicularity are achieved.


    Another example he cited of DXF input involves the complex pockets of an aerospace component with a 0.8 mm base thickness, designed in BobCad running on a PC on the shop floor. It ensures there are no errors in transferring the profiles. An instance where NC Merge proved useful was in the production of a different aerospace part, a lifting frame, whereby the simple basic 2D shape was programmed conversationally in WinMAX but a DXF file needed to be imported to define the draft angle of four radial arms.


    Company owner Liam Torrance concluded, "Over the years we have developed a reputation for customer service as well as quality, reliability and flexibility.


    "Hurco machines with their convenient shop floor programming capability helped us to deliver on those commitments right from the start and continue to do so, especially with the enhanced capabilities of the latest WinMAX software."


    Euro Precision website:

    Published: 6/20/2019  10:59 AM

      Large Castings Milled to   ± 5 Microns Straightness and Flatness         Loadpoint Micro-Machining Solutions, a manufacturer in Cricklade that...Read moreTags:

    Large Castings Milled to   ± 5 Microns

    Straightness and Flatness


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    Loadpoint Micro-Machining Solutions, a manufacturer in Cricklade that more than 40 years ago invented the industry standard saw for dicing semiconductor wafers, avoiding current leakage in electronic components caused by the old method of scribing and snapping wafers, has brought all of its metalcutting in-house following the purchase of three new Hurco machine tools.
    Previously, larger castings that form the bases of Loadpoint's products had to be subcontracted out for milling. That cost is now saved, added to which control over lead-time and quality is much improved. Drawing tolerance is ± 5 microns for both straightness and flatness over the 750 mm length of the largest base casting for a Loadpoint Macroace dicing saw. This accuracy is being exceeded on a 20-tonne, bridge-type Hurco DCX22 machining centre with 2,200 x 1,700 X 750 mm working volume.
    Loadpoint's managing director Clive Bond said, "We need to hold a high level of accuracy when manufacturing our machine components to underpin the precision our customers need when sawing their materials with a resin- or metal-bonded diamond grinding blade, which can be down to 15 microns wide.
    "In addition to semiconductor wafer dicing, these days many applications involve cutting PZT, a piezoelectric ceramic material used for a multitude of applications from parking sensors to ultrasound scanners. Glass for making optical filters, for example, and alumina for the manufacture of hybrid circuits are also frequently processed.
    "Generally, our equipment has to saw material within a tolerance of ± 3 microns over a working area of up to 12 inches diameter. However, a recent application involved producing an inkjet printer head from 200 micron thick PZT to significantly higher precision.
    "Over a 60 mm length, 600-micron deep cuts had to be spaced out at 100 micron intervals with a pitch-to-pitch accuracy of under one micron. Tolerances of this order require that the structure of our machines is extremely precise."
    A one-metre deep concrete foundation was prepared to support the DCX22. Hurco engineers spent considerable time and effort during the commissioning phase to ensure that the required machining accuracies could be attained. They are verified using a Taylor Hobson autocollimator.
    Mr Bond went on to explain the technique that allows tolerances within ± 5 microns to be held over such a large distance. The secret lies in unclamping the heavy casting and simply restraining it in position on the table during the final operation, which involves taking only very light passes with a milling cutter. The process was successfully proved out at a Midlands subcontractor using a similar Hurco DCX machining centre prior to Mr Bond's investment decision.
    Not only do Loadpoint's FEA-optimised structures have to be rigid and accurate to support the three linear axis motions and rotary table movement, all CNC axes having 50 nm resolution thanks to Heidenhain encoders, but so also does the assembly carrying the 60,000 rpm air bearing spindle. Runout has to be better than 50 nm TIR.
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    To this end, a Hurco TM10i lathe replaced an old manual lathe as part of the re-equipment project. It turns the stainless steel or titanium flanges that support and clamp the circular saw blade. To control the bore and complex flange profile to a tolerance approaching a single micron, they are sent to a sister Loadpoint company for cylindrical grinding, followed by precision balancing.
    Another role of the new lathe is to turn a stainless steel disc that forms the carrier for a vacuum chuck that secures material during dicing. After heat treatment, the component is held in a bespoke fixture on the third new Hurco machine on-site, a smallerVM20i 3-axis machining centre, where recesses are milled over one face for subsequently containing the adhesive that holds a high precision, ceramic insert in place. Many of Loadpoint's smaller castings and components are also produced in the VM20i, which replaced a manual-tool-change CNC mill.
    Machinists at Cricklade were familiar with Heidenhain and Fanuc controls, so there was initially some scepticism about using a new CNC system, Hurco's own WinMax, which employs a second screen on controls fitted to the manufacturer's larger machining centres. The system has a reputation in the market for ease of conversational programming. Mr Bond confirmed that his operators were immediately convinced of its suitability during a demonstration at a Hurco open house held in the company's High Wycombe showroom and technical centre.
    Such is the software's ease of use that menu-driven programming on the shop floor using the touch-screens on the controls is carried out all of the time at Cricklade, to the exclusion of offline program preparation via CAD/CAM, even though Loadpoint machine components are created in CAD and available as solid models.


    Loadpoint website:


    Published: 5/9/2019  6:58 AM

    ​   HURCO MACHINING CENTRES MILL WOOD AS WELL AS METAL     At the Market Overton factory of subcontract machinists Hi-Spec Precision Engineering, ...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, CNC Control, United Kingdom

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    At the Market Overton factory of subcontract machinists Hi-Spec Precision Engineering, five Hurco machining centres and various other machine tools are to be found producing parts from mild and stainless steels, bronze, brass, aluminium and plastic over a single daily shift from Monday to Friday. Nothing unusual there, but the weekends bring a different and unexpected role for two of the Hurco machines (
    On Saturdays and Sundays, Hi-Spec's owner Darren Grainger and his brother Gavin indulge their lifelong passion for music by milling electric guitar bodies from solid wood. Initially they used CAD files downloaded from the internet but latterly have produced five designs of their own, including one for a bass guitar. It is a hobby that is proving lucrative, as some of the instruments sell both at home and abroad for up to £3,500 under the brand name Grainger Guitars (, owned jointly by Gavin and Darren.
    Gavin said, "To produce the guitar bodies, necks and other parts from wood, we now mainly use a Hurco VM30i machining centre and sometimes also a smaller VM5i, both three-axis models that were installed in 2017. However, we started out two years earlier using other machines and began selling guitars in 2016 at exhibitions around the UK.
    "All that's needed is to wipe down the machine table on Saturday morning and block off the coolant nozzles to prevent ingress of sawdust. When we've finished profiling wooden components, we simply vacuum out any wood residue, clean down the machine, uncover the coolant holes and we're ready to cut metal again on Monday morning."
    Hi-Spec precision Engineering 2 resized AGAIN.jpgA large and exotic array of woods is used in the creation of the guitar bodies. Early materials were maple, alder and poplar, but lately the Grainger brothers have introduced swamp ash, mahogany, ebony, wenge, walnut, buckeye burl, limba, purpleheart and some wood/resin composites. Pearl and stone materials are also machined on the Hurcos for the marquetry inlays.
    Router cutters were used at the outset but solid carbide end mills and ball nose mills designed for machining aluminium were found to produce a much better result, as the sharpness of the cutters virtually eliminates burrs and produces a fine surface finish. It is consistent with the final use of ultra-fine, 2000 grit sandpaper with an average particle diameter of 10 microns to smooth the wooden components prior to the application of multiple coats of gun barrel oil to achieve a lustrous finish.
    Everything for the guitars is manufactured in-house, including all metal components apart from the pickups and their associated electronics. Unlike the wooden elements, the turned and milled metal parts are sold to other guitar builders worldwide over the Internet via, forming another profitable sideline.
    Cycle times halved using more efficient software and cutting strategies
    Commenting on the company's main subcontracting business, Darren said, "In 2015, we invested in a second 5-axis machining centre from Hurco, a VM10Ui, and the same time upgraded the control software on a similar, pre-existing model to the manufacturer's WinMax 10. The 5-axis machines are used mainly for producing components using 3-plus-2-axis strategies programmed conversationally directly at the control.
    "Two years later we installed the VM5i and part-exchanged a small Hurco VM1 machining centre for the VM30i with a 1,270 x 508 x 508 mm working volume so that we could produce larger metal parts for rock crushers. It is this machine that is also the mainstay of wooden component manufacture for our guitars."
    He added that the Hurco control system on the latest machines has a smoother, more convenient touchscreen graphical user interface. Scrolling through fewer menus allows the operator to arrive at the required screen more quickly. Even a simple operation like entering a code to jog the axes while the doors are open is easier, without having to go through the diagnostics screen.
    In addition, WinMax 10 software enables faster cycles through the use of Hurco's Ultimotion and Adaptipath control software, which has powerful look-ahead and optimisation capabilities that reduce cycle times, especially when milling the corners of multiple pockets. The Tool Change Optimization feature is also helpful, as it automatically rationalises the number of cutter exchanges for optimal efficiency.
    Darren added, "We have been able to save a lot of machining time through a combination of the latest Hurco software plus the use of trochoidal milling with solid rather than inserted carbide end mills.
    "In some instances, we have more than halved cycle times. For example, we produce batches of 38 puller ends for hydraulic tooling two at a time from EN24T billets in two operations on the VM30i in a cycle that previously took more than four hours.
    "Now, taking a 16 mm depth of cut with a solid carbide, 12 mm diameter end mill at 6 m/min feed rate, and using Hurco's twin nozzle coolant delivery together with the standard air blast facility, which incidentally is used on its own when machining wooden components, the same job takes approximately two hours.
    "In another case, production of a steel matrix used to take 40 and 35 minutes for ops 1 and 2 respectively, which have been reduced by an even greater percentage to 17 and 12 minute cycles."
    Hi Spec Precision Engineering is continuing to grow, despite operating with fewer staff compared with two years ago, so profitability is up. The hydraulics sector accounts for around 40 per cent of turnover, with components machined frequently finding their way into hydraulic actuators and valves, rock crushers and access platforms. Automotive and agricultural parts are also routinely produced at the Market Overton factory.
    Batch sizes range from one-off to hundreds for prismatic machining, while production runs on the company's six CNC lathes can be in the thousands. Customers stretch from the south coast of England across to Norfolk and as far north as Scotland.




    Published: 11/5/2018  5:36 AM
  • A&M EDM

      Business Secretary Greg Clark visits A&M EDM         Business Secretary Greg Clark took time after the Conservative Party Conference in Birm...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, United Kingdom

    Business Secretary Greg Clark visits A&M EDM



    Business Secretary Greg Clkark visits AM EDM resized.jpg


    Business Secretary Greg Clark took time after the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham to visit Hurco user A&M EDM in Smethwick to understand what drives growth and the issues facing a manufacturing SME.

    The Business Secretary met A&M’s current and recent apprentices, speaking to each individual about their motivation to become an apprentice, the work they undertake and the skills they are developing by working with highly skilled engineers. All of A&M’s apprentices study for academic engineering qualifications at Dudley College, using the first class facilities.

    Mark Wingfield, managing director of A&M EDM said: “We had an informed discussion with the Business Secretary, Greg Clark on how the Industrial Strategy can accelerate West Midland manufacturing and A&M’s investment to develop our apprentices, skills and machinery as a thriving precision engineering SME.”

    Greg Clark said: “We’re committed to supporting this innovative region. The Industrial Strategy for the West Midlands will harness its distinctive strengths to unlock greater growth and earning power across the region’s cities and places.”

    A&M showcased engines and components manufactured for aerospace and automotive customers. In addition, Greg Clark saw a new Hurco CNC high speed machining centre and handheld alloy analyser in action; these were part funded by a Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership grant to create new manufacturing jobs.

    The Business Secretary discussed what the Government’s Industrial Strategy means in practice for Black Country manufacturers with senior representatives of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, Black Country LEP, Dudley College and EEF, the body for UK manufacturers.

    A&M has grown from a two man start-up in 2002 to 67 staff and record sales over £6m in 2018. This has been achieved using electronic discharge machining (EDM) and CNC machining to design and manufacture precision components and tooling for prototypes and production runs for a range of UK and international customers.

    Web site:
    Published: 10/29/2018  6:06 AM

    ​Hurco user Sharnold Ltd cuts mould design time by half using VISI   Sharnold Ltd are a great example of a Hurco customer that can combine the benefit...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, United Kingdom

    Hurco user Sharnold Ltd cuts mould design time by half using VISI


    Sharnold 2 resized.jpg

    Sharnold Ltd are a great example of a Hurco customer that can combine the benefits of the Hurco control with the additional power offered by a CAD/CAM system. The following article was provided by Vero UK Ltd.

    “Some complex mould tools used to take me nearly a week to design. But when we invested in VISI that immediately came down to a couple of days. And it’s even quicker now.”

    Those are the words of Mark Chapman, company secretary and mouldmaker at family-run business Sharnold Ltd. Designing their moulds in VISI, and machining them with toolpaths generated by WorkNC, ensures that the tight tolerances they need to achieve are met first time, every time.

    The company was established as a subcontract mould maker in 1957, moving to their current 3,500 square foot premises in Northamptonshire, in 1970 with ten employees. Nowadays it is run by just four people: Maurice Chapman, his two sons Mark and Stephen, and Stephen’s wife Tracy. Maurice bought into the business in 1982, eventually taking sole ownership.

    While making tools for plastic injection moulders remains an important part of their business, they set up their own moulding operation in 2000, and now have seven moulding machines – two Boys, two Battenfelds and three Arburgs. The machines mean the company has a locking force of between 22 and 100 tonnes, giving them the ability to supply moulded plastic parts up to 230 grams.

    While they have used WorkNC, from Vero Software, to machine their moulds for at least 15 years, VISI…also from the Vero stable…is a relatively new investment.

    “It’s already proving to be vital for us,” says Mark Chapman. “CAD designers are producing increasingly more complex parts, but VISI gives us the ability to meet those demands quickly and easily. It’s now simple to achieve aspects that we struggled with before. For example, producing split lines is much easier, as is slide generation. VISI has speeded up the whole design process considerably.”

    Sharnold 1 resized.jpg
    The combination of mould design with VISI, and WorkNC driving a recently purchased 3-axis Hurco VM5i machining centre along with a much older Hurco Hawk bed mill, means that everything Sharnold produces is within the required tolerances…sometimes down to + or – 0.05 of a mm. “Every mould we manufacture goes through both software packages. Using the Hurco machines and VISI means that in terms of design and cutting the forms, we save at least half the time…and the overall time taken to produce the complete tool is reduced by around a third.”

     He says their process begins with the plastic component – whether they are producing the tool for another moulder, or to run on their own moulding machines. “A big advantage of VISI is that we can check the model’s integrity before we start. It’s got a variety of tools to ensure that all surfaces meet up, because if we’re trying to work with a poorly designed model, the mould tool won’t work.

    “I check the features with the draft analysis function, making sure it has relevant draft tapers, and then move on to the design. As VISI has a large library of materials with all their specs and characteristics it’s simple to apply shrinkage to the particular plastic I’m working with.”

    And he says core and cavity separation is quick and easy, even with varied split lines, as are sliding block and tricky shot out areas. “I make either the fixed half or moving half transparent onscreen, so I can look inside and ensure the faces are touching, and that everything fits and works properly.”

    Once he is happy with the split he subtracts the part out of the inserts and establishes the insert size around it. While VISI automatically picks the mould base when the insert and part are complete, he is particularly impressed with the speed and accuracy it can be manually tailored if required. “And when working on multi-cavity tools VISI lets me literally copy a completed insert into the next position, and when that operation’s finished it automatically selects the bolster – and, again, there are manual editing tools if necessary.”  

    He says the feed gate generator and library of ejector pins all help to move the design along at a fast pace. And transferring from VISI’s CAD process to WorkNC for CAM is also fast and seamless. “I put each plate on a different layer, so l have my clamp plate, the fixed half form plate and the moving half form plate all saved as individual parts in native VISI files. As WorkNC reads the VISI files, I simply move them across. I can pull a finished plate design out of VISI, and WorkNC is generating toolpaths for it within a minute.”

    Sharnold’s moulded parts are largely for the automotive, security door, electronics, conveyor belt, licensed trade, and airport industries. They include a brewery “Python” strap, and a pulley wheel system for a conveyor belt.

    The Python strap is used for securing pipework leading from pub cellars to the taps on the bar. It comprises reground plastic waste from other manufacturing processes. Once they had been briefed on the project by Dirk Parker, from their Leicestershire-based customer L’isolante K-Flex, they used VISI to create the mould tool from an existing part which was previously manufactured using a different method.

    And the contract for the pulley wheel system came about after producing a small clamping block for Axiom GB. “We made around 5,000 parts, which was their first venture into moulding. It was so successful that they asked us to work on the wheels for their conveyor system. We designed the full mould in VISI and transferred the files to WorkNC for machining the bolster, forms and electrodes.”

    Overall, Sharnold make around a dozen mould tools a year, ranging from 75mm square bolster plates up to 445 mm square, and ship around 40 different moulded products totalling 100,000 piece parts every month.

    “Not bad for just the four of us,” concludes Mark Chapman. He and Stephen, along with their father Maurice, work on the design and toolmaking operations, and Tracy handles the administration work.    


    Issued by Vero UK Limited




    Published: 10/24/2018  7:17 AM
  • Vetech Product Design & Development Ltd

    ​  Pocket Rocket Goes Even Faster With hyperMILL & Hurco       When Vetech Product Design & Development Ltd first opened its doors for busine...Read moreTags: General Purpose, Machining Centers, United Kingdom

     Pocket Rocket Goes Even Faster With hyperMILL & Hurco


    When Vetech Product Design & Development Ltd first opened its doors for business in 1994, the founders of the Buxton Company exploited their expertise in the garden equipment sector to win business from the globally recognised Bosch brand. Providing design, consultancy, subcontract manufacture and mould & die tooling, the Derbyshire business has retained Bosch as a core customer whilst branching into the military, general subcontract, electronic sensor and plastic moulding sectors.

    This diversification has been a welcome respite for a business that has noticed a dip in European business during the Brexit process. Not a business to rest on its laurels, Vetech has applied its expertise to the motorsport sector, converting the Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle engine for use in the Mark I to VII Mini motorcar produced from 1959 to 2000. It is here the expertise of CAM developer OPEN MIND Technologies has come to the fore.
    The subcontract company has a plant list that includes manual and CNC machining centres, injection mould machines and test facilities. Part of the acquisition trail includes a Hurco VMX42M and a VMX30Ti machining centre with the larger VMX42M being retro-fitted with a Hurco 4th axis rotary unit two years ago. Designing and manufacturing complex aluminium mould tools, military sensors and the innovative Hayabusa engine, the previous CAD/CAM system was struggling to cope with component complexity.
    hyperMILL Brings Anti-Collision Confidence to Vetech

    Vetech Motors 2 resized.jpg
    Commenting upon the situation prior to the arrival of OPEN MIND’s hyperMILL CAM system, Vetech’s Senior Design Engineer, Mr Andy Smith says: “Our longstanding CAD package had an integrated CAM system we were using for all our machining tasks. One day we machined a mid-housing part for our Hayabusa engine and the VMX42M did a rapid traverse between two points, crashing into our fixtures and ruining the spindle. The result was weeks without the machine whilst we installed a costly new spindle. The lack of collision detection was a major cause for concern. We then programmed a gear selector barrel that was almost impossible with our old package. We needed to change our CAM software and invited all the leading vendors in to present to us.”

    Vetech Gets Into Gear With CAM Selection
    Being an extremely experienced CAD/CAM designer and programmer, Mr Smith has in-depth experience of all leading CAM packages, coincidentally being one of the first UK engineers to be trained on hyperMILL in the mid-1990’s during his previous employment at The Hyde Aerospace Group. “Re-designing and re-manufacturing the Hayabusa 1300cc engine to fit into a Mini meant we had to re-position the gearbox and add a reverse gear. I gave the gear selector barrel to all the leading CAM vendors and asked them to program it.
    Matthew Coulson from OPEN MIND provided the most efficient and productive solution with an intuitive presentation that detailed the benefits of hyperMILL over its competitors particularly well. Due to our previous experiences, collision prevention was a critical factor, something OPEN MIND certainly convinced us of. Furthermore, we needed to achieve faster programming times for our aluminium mould tools; hyperMILL was once again streets ahead for mould tool programming.”
    The Hayabusa Project
    Re-engineering the Suzuki Hayabusa engine is undoubtedly an impressive feat of engineering that has genuine purpose. Once the power unit for the world’s fastest production road bike; the Hayabusa engine is a compact and powerful powertrain unit that can fit straight into the classic Mini whilst offering reliability despite the massive increase in performance. Such reliability is a rarity for any classic car.  
    The repackaged engine has seen the Vetech engineers retain many of the power producing components of the original Hayabusa. However, the conversion has seen the Peak District Company add internal final drive gears and a differential, re-position the gearbox beneath the engine and crucially; add a fully integrated reverse gear. The engine has been turned back to front. The repackaged engine/transmission has ‘universal’ engine mounts; bespoke mountings have been designed and manufactured for the mini but the engine mounting bosses provided permit easy integration into other vehicles such as the Fiat 500 or Lotus Elise.
    What does all this mean for the Mini enthusiast?
    Vetech Motors 1 resized 2.jpg
    Even the most powerful production Mini variant ever only developed 96bhp, although the vast majority of minis only developed around 65bhp or less. An exceptionally highly tuned model can generate upwards of 120-130bhp, but with very low reliability as a consequence. The Hayabusa engine has a power output of 197bhp as standard and when re-packaged by Vetech, it weighs just 100kg. This is a 32% engine weight reduction over the original unit. For those with an inclination for seemingly jet-propelled speed, Vetech also offers a super-charged 300bhp unit.
    The Fastest Mini In The World...?
    During the development phase of the Vetech Hayabusa project, Vetech entered the 2016 ‘Fastest Mini in The World’ Race at Brands Hatch. Starting in last position on the grid, the power to weight ratio propelled the car to second position in just three laps, only failing to win the race due to a waterpump problem.
    Programming the 11 core components of the re-modelled engine with hyperMILL, Vetech has certainly benefitted from the CAM system. As Mr Smith continues: “Programming and machining the Hayabusa project is not time-critical, what is important for us is the ability to program and machine complex parts with confidence in the collision avoidance system. OPEN MIND have completely modelled the work envelope into the CAM system with fixtures, machine spindle, toolholders and the Hurco 4th-axis rotary table all factored into the model. hyperMILL stores a complete library of toolholders and tools, so we have 100% confidence in the anti-collision system. From a time-reduction standpoint, we programmed an aluminium mould tool for Hayabusa inlet and exhaust caps. With our previous system it took 20 hours to program and with hyperMILL this same tool was completed in less than 10 hours.”
    Cutting Machining Times with hyperMILL
    The upper housing of the engine consists of seven individual set-ups. With its previous CAM package, Vetech couldn’t carry the stock model from one process to the next. As Mr Smith continues: “Without the ability to carry the stock model forward to the next set-up, we would have to manually jog through the cycle on each set-up to minimise non-cutting times or run the program and wait for the tool path to finish ‘fresh-air’ cutting. The Stock Model feature within hyperMILL eliminates fresh-air cutting and enables us to maximise machine utilisation at every set-up. This makes huge savings on complex parts with multiple set-ups.”
    Moulding A Better Future
    With over 60% of Vetech work consisting of aluminium mould tool production, the manufacturer programmes the tool core and cavity with hyperMILL and simultaneously machines the two mating tool components overnight on the two Hurco machines. Efficiently machining core and cavity overnight, the majority of staff hours are consumed in the programming process. To reduce the lead-times, Vetech has invested in two hyperMILL seats, so one team member can program the core whilst another programs the cavity. “We undertake prototype design, development and testing work on lawnmowers and there is often an urgency to respond to the customer. In most cases, we are expected to design, program and manufacture the mould tool (cavity and core) and then mould the plastic prototypes and conduct thermal and stress tests within 3-4 days. To achieve this, our programming and machining times have to be extremely efficient.”
     “One recent example of the time reductions generated by hyperMILL were noted on a height of cut link arm mould tool. The link arm connects the front and rear wheels of a lawnmower and controls height adjustments. The previous tool we manufactured took 8 days to program the mould tool (cavity and core). hyperMILL enabled us to program the same tool in 3 days, a 60%+ programming time reduction. In addition, the machining strategies in hyperMILL then went on to reduce our machining cycle times by an additional 50%. Added to this astonishing cycle time reduction was a vastly improved surface finish generated by the high-feed, small step-over strategies of the hyperMILL finishing strategies. This completely eliminated hand polishing, a labour intensive and time consuming process we factored into the production of every tool.”

    “hyperMILL has slashed off-machine programming times as well as on-machine cycle times. It has also improved the quality, surface finish and consistency of our parts and mould tools. OPEN MIND has achieved all of this whilst giving us 100% confidence the machining strategies and toolpaths, something that is credit to the exceptional anti-collision system in hyperMILL,” concludes Mr Smith.

    Web site:

    This article was supplied by Rhys Williams of Pulse PR Ltd

    Published: 7/23/2018  6:59 AM

    ​PATTERN MAKER BUYS A SECOND FIVE-AXIS MACHINING CENTRE           On the second day of the MACH 2018 machine tool exhibition in Birmingham, a loca...Read moreTags: 5-Axis Machining, Machining Centers, United Kingdom




    Summit Pattern Making at Mach 2018 resized.jpg



    On the second day of the MACH 2018 machine tool exhibition in Birmingham, a local firm, Summit Patternmaking, placed an order on the Hurco stand for a 5-axis machining centre. When the VMX42SRTi B-axis machine is delivered at the end of May, it will double the pattern and tool maker's 5-axis machining capacity, although the firm also operates four 3-axis VMCs.


    Production of models and patterns for vehicle interiors are a particular specialism, accounting for two-thirds of turnover. Gauges, jigs, fixtures and tools for the automotive and aerospace supply chains are also to be found regularly on the shop floor.


    Summit Patternmaking director Duncan Willetts said, "We carry out a lot of 5-axis machining of automotive replication gauges and also of Formula One race car parts.
    "Apart from needing more capacity, we were looking for a bigger working volume to cope with larger parts and a more robust machine to process denser model boards as well as alloys."
    He believes that the 7.5 tonne Hurco machining centre with its 35 kW / 119 Nm spindle he has chosen is ideal for these applications. Provision of the fifth CNC axis via a ± 90 degree swivelling spindle head rather than a trunnion was favoured, as it provides a larger working volume, right up to 1,067 x 610 X 610 mm for 3-axis work.


    Tolerances held at the Birmingham factory are typically ± 0.05 mm. These are easily achieved on Hurco 5-axis machines, which are considerably less expensive than many models on the market that Mr Willetts researched before placing the order.


    Published: 4/27/2018  10:10 AM

    ​STEAM-POWERED ROCKET BIKE           Motorsport and drag racing enthusiast Graham Sykes proudly gave visitors to the Fluid Power & Systems 201...Read moreTags:





    Rocket bike resized.jpg


    Motorsport and drag racing enthusiast Graham Sykes proudly gave visitors to the Fluid Power & Systems 2018 exhibition, held at the NEC in Birmingham from 10th to 12th April, a preview of his steam-powered rocket bike named Force of Nature.
    It is the culmination of almost six years' work by the precision engineer, which involved designing and then producing all of the prismatic parts on a Hurco vertical machining centre, mostly from DXF files output from AutoCad and input directly into the machine's proprietary Ultimax CNC system.
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    A holder of five motorcycle land speed records on his V8 powered drag bike, The Syko, Graham's top speed was 181.39 mph. Dynamic testing of Force of Nature on the track will commence following further satisfactory static tests. They have already seen 600 kgf of peak thrust over six seconds, which should allow acceleration to a speed of over 200 mph in a quarter mile. A public launch will take place later this year when all tests are complete.
    In preparation for a test run, a 60 kW bio-fuel burner will be attached to the bike to heat 50 litres of water in the pressure vessel to 250°C and 40 bar pressure via a flame holder tube running through the centre.
    Meanwhile, Graham Sykes Performance Engineering Ltd continues to design and manufacture components for other race teams, as well as customers in the food industry, from its workshop in North Yorkshire.


    View the website: Click here


    Published: 4/27/2018  10:09 AM

      SUB-CONTRACTOR GAINS AS9100 ACCREDITATION TO TARGET AEROSPACE CONTRACTS           EDM specialist expands milling capacity with Hurco 5- axis ma...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, 5-Axis Machining





    RST 1a Jan 18 resized.jpg




    EDM specialist expands milling capacity with Hurco 5- axis machines




    EDM (electric discharge machining) subcontractor RST Engineering ( decided 20 years ago that a manual-tool-change Hurco Hawk, due to the ease of shop floor programming on its twin-screen control system, was the best CNC milling machine to take over from hand-operated mills for manufacturing copper electrodes, jigs and fixtures. A 10-minute demonstration on the Hurco ( stand at the MACH 1998 machine tool show was enough to convince RST's management that the power and simplicity of the software made it an obvious choice for this type of work.
    The machine proved so fit for purpose that RST had no hesitation in replacing it in 2002 with an automatic-tool-change, 3-axis Hurco VM2 machining centre, which was equipped with a similar proprietary Ultimax twin-screen control as well as a 4th axis Nikken table.
    Over the next decade, the subcontractor milled and drilled more and more of its customers' components on the machine, work that it was previously having to put out to another firm, thereby saving money and enjoying more control over production scheduling and delivery lead-times. The VM2 is now dedicated again to machining only electrodes, however, and is sited in the EDM shop alongside four wire erosion machines, the same number of die sinkers and a pair of EDM hole drilling machines.
    New milling shop
    In an adjacent unit, three additional Hurco machining centres, a larger three-axis machine and two 5-axis models, have taken over production of RST's mainly aluminium, stainless steel and titanium prismatic components. All machines are fitted with Hurco's latest WinMax twin-screen control, which provides much greater functionality for conversational shop floor programming and even generates 3+2-axis cycles. The machines have helped propel the milling side of the subcontractor's business to account for more than one-third of turnover.
     RST 4a Jan 18 resized.jpg
    RST was established in 1986 by Robert and Maureen Taylor and is now run by their three sons, Sean, Jason and Paul. It produces components for a wide range of industries including communications, aerospace, medical and scientific research as well as for more unusual customers making bespoke clocks and shotguns, for example.
    Jason Taylor commented, "Around 40 per cent of our business is in aerospace, involving wiring, sparking and milling satellite communications components like waveguides and diplexers plus some second-tier work producing components such as gimbals and joints for military aircraft.
    "Last December (2017) we gained AS9100 aerospace quality management accreditation and are looking to expand in the sector by taking on long-term commercial aircraft contracts, hopefully building them to account for a quarter of our business in a few years' time."
    The initiative had been in the company's sights for several years and so also was relocation, which took place in August 2016 two new, 7100 sq ft premises on the Young's Industrial Estate in Leighton Buzzard, two and a half times larger than RST's previous unit.
    RST 2a Jan 18 resized.jpgThe move entailed a £300,000 investment that included the purchase of a coordinate measuring machine and a Hurco VMX60SRTi 5-axis machining centre of B-axis spindle design and 1,524 x 660 x 610 mm capacity. It joined a smaller 5-axis Hurco VMX30Ui of swivelling trunnion design purchased two years earlier and a larger 3-axis Hurco VM30i installed the year before to cope with a wider variety of component sizes.
    In the previous factory the VMX30Ui worked alongside a similar VMX30U 5-axis machine installed five years previously, in 2009, fitted with older technology drives and control. Mr Taylor was able to benchmark one 5-axis model against the other and was astonished at the improved performance of the more modern machine.
    He said, "Cycle times were considerably reduced using the same program, for instance when machining a shotgun trigger guard, and the improvement in surface finish was very apparent, especially when milling surfaces and transitions.
    "The gains were so great that it prompted us to part-exchange the older 5-axis trunnion model and buy the bigger B-axis machine, which has similarly improved drives and control system."Only a small proportion of RST's 5-axis machining is fully interpolative, programming of these parts of cycles being done off-line at a VISI CADCAM station. 3+2-axis programming is shared between VISI and Hurco's WinMax control software on the shop floor using the latter's Transform Plane facility (, while 3-axis routines are produced entirely in WinMax.
    Another feature of the software that all RST staff appreciates is NC Merge (, which allows 3-axis parts of a cycle to be prepared at the control and merged with 5-axis sections programmed in VISI. The load on the offline CADCAM station is reduced and in any case, 3-axis programming is more efficiently completed conversationally in WinMax, according to Mr Taylor. It is even possible to program on the shop floor and start running 3-axis/2D blocks of code on a machine and tack on 5-axis/3D blocks downloaded from VISI afterwards, saving time when proving out jobs.
    Mr Taylor added, "The latest Hurco B-axis machine is very versatile and well suited to subcontracting, as it is able to produce 5-axis parts up to 600 mm diameter on the rotary table and a second, 3- or 4-axis part on the fixed table to the side, giving Op1/Op2 possibilities. "Alternatively, one large component up to 1.5 metres in X by 660 mm in Y can be 3-axis milled and drilled.
    "The machine holds very tight positional and dimensional tolerances down to ±10 microns in 5-axis working and half that when interpolating three axes, with excellent repeatability.
    "Together with our trunnion-type 5-axis VMX30Ui and the other 3-axis Hurco, which also have 12,000 rpm spindles, it places us in a good position to enter the civil aerospace supply chain now that we have AS9100."

    Main photo: Hurco VMX60SRTi at RST Engineering, Leighton Buzzard

    Photos:  1: An aluminium waveguide for a communications satellite being machined on the VMX30Ui   

                 2: An inline cup being machined  on the VMX60SRTi. Part of a pharmaceutical production line




    Published: 1/9/2018  8:00 AM

    AEROSPACE SUB-CONTRACTOR EXPANDS 5-AXIS MACHINING  and benefits from an extra seat of CAM software into the bargain          A seventh 5-axis machin...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, 5-Axis Machining


     and benefits from an extra seat of CAM software into the bargain 


     TGM 2017 1182 b resized.jpg

    A seventh 5-axis machining centre has been installed at Preston-based, tier-2 aerospace subcontractor, TGM, primarily to cope with increasing volumes of Airbus A350 work. Two years ago, each month the firm was delivering four port and starboard aircraft wing sets comprising 20 parts each, whereas today 10 sets per month are required and the number will climb further over the next two years.


    The latest addition to the firm's 5-axis capacity is a Hurco VMX42SRTi, which has powerful conversational programming capability built into its WinMax control system. TGM director Sarah Stephens commented, "We already had eight 3-axis Hurco machining centres on-site, including one with an add-on rotary axis, so were familiar with the manufacturer's twin-screen, menu-driven control system and graphical user interface.
    "Our operators have always found it to be user-friendly for shop floor programming and on the latest machine only the fifth B-axis that swivels the spindle head is different, so adaptation was easy. The skill sets were already in place to create 5-axis cycles involving the positioning of both rotary axes.
    "We purchased extra WinMax software to run on a laptop and use it to program around 90 per cent of jobs run on the Hurcos, including the 5-axis machine, with data for the remaining work entered at the controls on the shop floor.


    "Essentially, the Hurco software is an inexpensive way of preparing components for 3+2-axis machining. It is like an extra CAM seat but costs vastly less than the £50,000 purchase price and £5,000 annual maintenance of one of our top-end CADCAM packages alone."

     TGM 2017 1182-3 resized.jpg
    Cycles currently being run on the Hurco 5-axis machine contain no ISO content generated in the CADCAM systems at TGM, although it could be included via the NC Merge capability in WinMax. There are no plans to put fully interpolative 5-axis jobs on the machine either, but that would also be possible with a suitable post processor.

    The Hurco VMX42SRTi, with its more than one-metre X-axis travel and 610 mm movement in Y and Z, is of ideal size for producing smaller parts for Airbus A350 wings, such as ribs, intercostals and brackets. All components are aluminium except for one, which is machined from titanium billet.
    Over two-thirds of TGM's throughput is destined for Airbus, with the remainder going mainly into the Boeing supply chain, notably for the 787 Dreamliner. This prime's build rates are also rising, so all of the machining centres at Preston including the Hurcos are very busy.
    Steve Holmes, the subcontractor's operations director explained, "One advantage of the Hurco 5-axis SRTi design is that the fifth axis is provided by a ± 90 degree swivelling spindle head, so you do not lose Z-axis travel as on a machine with a trunnion-mounted rotary table. The configuration fitted well with our need to produce 40 Airbus T-pieces per month that are over 30 cm tall.
    "The other thing we like about the machine is that we can ignore the flush rotary table and lay a large component across the full 1.27-metre fixed table for 3-or 4-axis machining. Alternatively there are Op 1 / Op 2 to opportunities. The machine provides a lot of versatility."
    He concluded by commenting that the machine has proved reliable since it was installed in late 2016 and there have been no unscheduled maintenance issues.


    Main photo: An Airbus wing fitting being machined on the VMX42SRTi

    Photo:        Spindle head swivelled through 90 degrees to produce features of Airbus spoiler hinge


    Published: 1/9/2018  7:59 AM
  • Sub-Contractor Makes Picture Perfect Parts with hyperMILL and Hurco

    ​   Previously working as an engineer in the F1 industry, it was the unsociable and unpredictable working routines that led Allan Carabine to set up his...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, 5-Axis Machining, United Kingdom

    Hurco open house Dec 14 (20) resized.jpg


    Previously working as an engineer in the F1 industry, it was the unsociable and unpredictable working routines that led Allan Carabine to set up his own machine shop in 2011. Working in the F1 sector taught the new business owner two valuable lessons; the first was to start with a 5-axis machining centre and the second was to implement leading CAM software to drive the machine.

    For the Milton Keynes Company, this marked the arrival of a Hurco 5-axis VM10U and hyperMILL CAM software from OPEN MIND Technologies as the company’s very first acquisitions. Commenting upon this selection that was to base the foundation of the company, Mr Carabine says: "Everyone can do 3-axis work, so when I started; I wanted to start with a 5-axis machine. The next thing I had to get was hyperMILL CAM software. I have worked for F1 teams as well as some of the most prestigious subcontractors in the F1 supply chain, all previous employers in the industry used hyperMILL as it is the only viable package for companies serious about 5-axis machining. I bought hyperMILL on day one of starting the business! OPEN MIND confirmed the post-processors were compatible with the VM10U and from that point, the CNC controller became irrelevant as everything is modelled and programmed in hyperMILL."


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    The Buckinghamshire business started by machining steel mount components for a panoramic camera company, this soon evolved into 5-axis F1 work and six years later the small business has expanded to machining a complete range of rail, cryogenics and motorsport parts. Whilst the four employee business manufactures production runs for the defence industry, the average batch size ranges from 10 to 20 parts, machining materials from aluminium, stainless, plastic and nylon composites. Of course, to take on the additional work, MK Precision required more staff and machine tools. The acquisition trail brought the subsequent arrival of two 3-axis Hurco VM30's, a larger 5-axis VMX30U, a TM8i turning centre and a CMM for ensuring the conformity of F1 components. However, 40% of the company's work remains prototype business and this is where hyperMILL really benefits the company.



    This is an edited version. The full article can be viewed at

    Editorial supplied by Rhys Williams of Pulse-PR Ltd

    Main photo: Hurco VMX30Ui 5-Axis machine (similar to our showroom machine)

    2nd photo: F1 Radiator Part being machined on the 5 axis machine

    Published: 9/22/2017  5:44 AM
  • PAB Coventry


    ​PRESSINGS SUBCONTRACTOR BRINGS TOOLMAKING IN-HOUSE PAB Coventry (, which produces sheet metal components, pressings and fabricati...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, United Kingdom



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    PAB Coventry (, which produces sheet metal components, pressings and fabrications in quantities from prototypes up to 10,000 per year, has since early 2016 invested £1.5 million in new machine tools. They include a Hurco vertical machining centre (, another hydraulic press, and a 4 kW flat-bed fibre laser cutting machine, a 4 kW 5-axis laser cutting machine and a 2-metre press brake, all from Prima Power. The company also bought a second and third industrial unit in Falkland Close, Canley, increasing floor area by two-thirds.

    Underpinning this expansion is strong growth in sales to the automotive sector, which accounts for 90 per cent of turnover. TS16949-accredited PAB specialises in fabricating sub-frame pressings, bracketry and grilles as well as assemblies such as windscreen surrounds for Aston Martin, Lotus and other top-end car manufacturers as well as Triumph Motorcycles.

    The company, which operates 24/7 with close to 100 employees, is moving strongly into the rail industry and has recently used its AS9100 quality accreditation, gained through earlier military work, to win contracts in the aerospace sector.
    Overall, turnover has doubled in the last three years. It is partly due to an association with Imperial College London spin-off firm, Impression Technologies, whereby PAB was the first company licensed to manufacture using the patented HFQ (heat treatment forming and in-die quench) technology. It is a method for deep-drawing thinner and hence lighter weight aluminium components for the automotive industry. Aston Martin is supporting the project by designing components, particularly A-pillars, for manufacture using the process.
    In 2015 alone, PAB spent over £1 million buying in press tools to produce its vast range of components from aluminium, mild steel and stainless steel, mainly up to 3 mm thick. Around 700 line items are handled per month in typical batch sizes of 300 to 350. The expenditure on tooling was becoming so high that Mark Brazier, second-generation director at the family-owned pressings subcontractor, decided to bring some of the manufacture in-house.
    He said, “We already had a smaller Hurco machining centre and one of their CNC lathes which we bought about six years ago to help fulfil a defence contract involving manufacturing blast seats for military vehicles.
    “Various metalcutting subcontractors were letting us down, so my father asked one of his friends in manufacturing which machine tools he would recommend.
    “He was unequivocal in his advice to purchase Hurco machines, so they were installed and have indeed proved reliable over the years. We had no hesitation in returning to the same supplier for a bigger machining centre to address our toolmaking needs.”
    The 3-axis Hurco VMX60Ti, with its 40-taper, 10,000 rpm spindle and 1,524 x 660 x 610 mm work envelope, weighs nearly nine tonnes. It machines PAB’s press tools comfortably to accuracies within ± 0.015 mm. During 2016, it produced 20 per cent of the subcontractor’s tools, helping to manufacture more than one million components shipped that year. In the first half of 2017, the proportion of tools made in the Coventry facility rose to around 35 per cent and Mr Brazier predicts that it will eventually increase to more than half.
    Additional duties of the latest machine are the manufacture of inspection fixtures and composite tryout tools, milling and drilling of large parts such as door sills, and production of smaller components such as bosses and machine pins if the other machining centre is occupied.
    As far as programming is concerned, the complex surface profiles of most press tools require off-line preparation and downloading of machining cycles, in PAB’s case using a seat of OneCNC software. However, for simpler jobs like milling of inspection fixtures and tooling plates, maximum advantage is taken of Hurco’s WinMAX conversational programming software resident in the proprietary twin-screen control. The second screen allows a graphic of the component to be viewed and checked as it is programmed on the shop floor.
    The latest project, PHFHE, will for the first time involve the company in plastic component manufacture. In association with the University of Nottingham, it is helping to develop, optimise and manufacture lightweight polymer micro-hollow fibre heat exchangers that are half the weight of traditional metal heat exchangers, and 50 per cent less expensive. PAB will also develop the heat exchangers for electric vehicles.






    Published: 8/8/2017  9:38 AM

    ​HURCO MACHINING CENTRE FITS INTO TIGHT SPACE         A new subcontract machining firm has been set up near Coventry to undertake small batch manuf...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, United Kingdom




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    A new subcontract machining firm has been set up near Coventry to undertake small batch manufacture and project work that other subcontractors and OEMs may consider a nuisance, as they interrupt production. Called Overstone Engineering (, the company is owned by Richard Dunn, who has 40 years’ subcontract engineering experience.
    The manufacturing facility entrance was the main issue when Mr Dunn was looking to buy a 3-axis vertical machining centre (VMC), as the door lintel is only 2.2 metres from the ground.
    After researching various options, he identified the perfect machine for his needs. It was the recently-introduced Hurco VM5i (, which is less than two metres tall with the ram lowered and has a compact footprint of slightly over 1.6 x 2.2 metres. It nevertheless has a generous working envelope of 457 x 356 x 356 mm.
    The BT40 machine, which was installed and commissioned in January 2017, complements existing plant including a floor-standing laser profiler for prototyping and producing jigs and fixtures, a flat-bed CNC lathe with one metre between centres for turning parts up to 300 mm diameter, and a machine for 3D printing resin models.
    Mr Dunn said, “I could not offer contract machining services during a two-year exclusion period after selling my previous company, Drurys Engineering in Hitchin. Now that I am free to re-enter the industry, I have chosen the Hurco VMC for its size and capability.”
    Overstone Engineering’s target market is the design, production and assembly of items that invariably disrupt activities on other manufacturers’ shop floors. Typically they include machining of prototypes in ones and twos, small-volume milling and turning and electro-mechanical assembly. Additionally, the company provides advice and an engineering service to designers, entrepreneurs and inventors.
    Shortly after the VMC was installed and training had been completed at Hurco’s High Wycombe technical centre in a process described by Mr Dunn as painless, a contract was won for the production of a robotic test rig to be used for non-destructive testing in the aerospace industry. Overstone Engineering assisted in the design, working closely with the customer throughout all stages of the production, which included visits by its staff to the manufacturing facility.

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    Phosphor bronze billet from

    which the prototype part will be

     machined on the VM5i 

    A number of contracts were completed on the VM5i in the first five months of operation, involving materials from nylon and aluminium to phosphor-bronze and steels. The most recent was the production of a single assembly made largely of phosphor bronze for an unspecified application.
    A majority of Overstone Engineering's work is programmed directly at the control using Hurco's conversational programming software. In this case, however, it was simpler to export a DXF file from Mr Dunn’s OneCNC CAD package and use the DXF facility in the Hurco control to generate the cutter paths automatically.
    Mr Dunn continued, “Besides its compactness, another benefit of the Hurco machine is the high level of technology built into its control software. In addition to having the option of a module that allows native handling of DXF files, it can accept externally written G-code for milling 3D freeform surfaces.
    “Ultimotion software was supplied as part of the package, giving fast, smooth, dynamic motion that is exceptional for such a low-cost machine and greatly helps to reduce cycle times and improve surface finish.”
    Throughout his career, Mr Dunn has accumulated a vast amount of engineering knowledge and experience in the aerospace, oil & gas, Formula 1 and security sectors in particular, to which his latest facility is well suited. He also has a long list of contacts in manufacturing companies from sole traders to multinationals and in the material supply chains. He is utilising many of these associates in his current enterprise.
    He concluded, “Many in my position would have retired early, but I missed production engineering. So I have decided to go back into subcontracting full-time and if it works as planned, I will offer an apprenticeship to an aspiring engineer so that I can pass on my knowledge.”


    Published: 6/27/2017  7:45 AM

    ​SUB-CONTRACTOR CHOOSES BIG CAPACITY ROUTE TO 5-AXIS MACHINING     For the latter half of its 16-year existence, Sheffield contract machining firm, I...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, United Kingdom, 5-Axis Machining



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    For the latter half of its 16-year existence, Sheffield contract machining firm, Ian Cocker Engineering, has relied almost exclusively on Hurco vertical machining centres to produce prismatic components, mainly for the oil and gas sector and frequently from difficult materials such as stainless steel and Inconel.


    To extend its capacity in terms of both size and versatility, the company has installed its first 5-axis model, a Hurco VMX84SWi. The machine is the largest in the manufacturer’s VMX range and the first to be installed in the UK.  Proprietor Ian Cocker said, “The large working envelope means that we can machine parts that we previously had to turn away.
    “We produce them cost effectively, as the machine has an integral B-axis spindle head and we have added a fifth CNC axis by purchasing a Kitagawa rotary table.
    “It is a very versatile 5-axis solution, as we can use the rotary table either upright or on its back to tackle five sides of a component in one hit, or for full simultaneous 5-axis cycles.
    “Then if we take it off the table, long components measuring over 2.1 metres can undergo up to 4-axis CNC milling and drilling.”
    In 2014, volume production for the oil and gas industry accounted for 80 per cent of the subcontractor’s turnover. That figure halved due to the slowdown in the sector. Luckily, much of the shortfall was replaced by development contracts in the same field, while additional work was won from the AMRC (advanced manufacturing and research centre) at Sheffield University and also from Sheffield Forgemasters.

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     A batch of components for the latter customer was one of the first jobs to be put onto the VMX84SWi, which was installed in September 2015. The project involved re-engineering seven rack segments, one-meter long, for the axis drives on a Chinese-built floor-type milling machine in use at Sheffield Forgemasters. Each segment required 40 teeth to be machined at an 11-degree angle to an accuracy of ± 15 µm.
    Mr Cocker continued, “Having the B-axis on the big machining centre was ideal for completing this job, as it avoided having to tilt the components to mill the teeth and also chamfer the end of each tooth.
    “Another component recently completed on the machine involved 3+2-axis milling of a test equipment component requiring angled ends and slots. “Previously, it took a couple of hours to set up the job on a 3-axis machine, because the part had to be tilted and test cuts made and measured before production could start.
    “Setting the same job up on the new Hurco 5-axis machining centre with the help of Renishaw part probing takes about 10 minutes, saving an enormous amount of time.”
    He pointed out that in engineering, a machine tool is never quite big enough to tackle all the parts that come along. Subcontractors have a tendency to take on work that is right on the physical limits of their capacity, or even a little too big, and then improvise to get around the problem by refixturing the component, taking off end guarding or other means.
    This is all in the past at Ian Cocker Engineering, as the 2,135 mm x 865 mm x 760 mm travels of the VMX84SWi are more than sufficient to complete all jobs coming from the subcontractor’s current customer base. The machine has differentiated the firm from its competitors and allowed it to take on additional, niche work that others cannot tackle.
    This advantage is about to be taken a step further. Mr Cocker has recently upgraded the company’s OneCNC CAM system for off-line G-code programming to a seat of Open Mind hyperMILL 5-axis CAM software. It provides the ability to produce fully-interpolative 5-axis cutting cycles for running on the new Hurco machine, allowing the subcontractor to accept work requiring complex features and profiling.
    Despite this investment, until now 19 out of every 20 cutting cycles for the four Hurco machining centres on the shop floor, including 3+1 routines as well as 3+2 for the new machine, are prepared using WinMAX 9 conversational programming software running in the machines’ proprietary control systems. Only occasionally has Hurco’s NC Merge feature been employed to construct cycles from conversationally programmed content combined with G-code blocks generated by the OneCNC software.
    Mr Cocker advised, “WinMAX programming software is incredibly easy to use. It was a big factor in our purchase in 2008 of the first Hurco machining centre, a VMX 50, which has a 1,500 mm x 660 mm table. The machine can be up and running in five or 10 minutes to produce a new job, which is especially useful for one-offs.
    “At the time, we benchmarked the machine against a similar capacity model with a conventional control from another supplier. After speaking with users of both types, we concluded that by the time we were cutting on the Hurco, we would still have been programming the other machine.”


    Despite the VMX 50 being of relatively large capacity, Mr Cocker says that the machine still holds very tight tolerances and that features are routinely machined to within 10 µm, even after eight years of service. The other two machining centres in use at the Sheffield site are a smaller VM3 with a fourth CNC axis and a VM10 3-axis model, installed in 2012 and 2014 respectively, which alleviated the queue of work that was invariably waiting for the VMX 50.
    Main photo: VMX84SWi at Ian Cocker Engineering
    Inset photo: Bronze ball valve used for deep sea equipment being machined on the VMX84SWi
    Published: 2/7/2017  7:48 AM


    ​PRECISION ENGINEERING AND RAIL INDUSTRY REFURBISHMENT SPECIALIST RELIES ON HURCO MACHINE TOOLS The rail and engineering divisions of Jones Nuttall, o...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, United Kingdom, General Purpose

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    The rail and engineering divisions of Jones Nuttall, occupying two adjacent buildings on the Bewsey Industrial Estate in Warrington, provide extensive subcontract manufacturing and overhaul services. Multiple materials including tough metal alloys and high performance plastics undergo machining, forming, profiling, fabrication, welding, painting, assembly and test.
    Underpinning most of the CNC prismatic machining are three Hurco VM30i vertical machining centres, two of which were installed in September 2015 in part exchange for older models from the same supplier. It is the subcontractor’s policy that the age of its machine tools does not exceed nine years. Four Hurco Hawk knee-type CNC milling machines are also in use, forming one-quarter of the milling capability on-site.

    Additionally, two Hurco lathes with bar magazines account for 25 per cent of CNC turning capacity. They are a 10-inch chuck TM10 and an 8-inch chuck TMM8 with live tooling and C-axis.


    Jones Nuttall has been dealing with Hurco since 2000, at which time the subcontractor decided to progress from manual-tool-change mills to machining centres. It opted for Hurco machines due to the build quality and high spindle power of the machining centres and lathes.

    Use of the manufacturer’s proprietary WinMAX control and programming software has been a bonus, especially as so many operators are familiar with using it these days. Cutting cycles are prepared quickly using the drop-down, touch-screen menus, which is essential for economical production if only a few parts are to be run off.

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    Components produced by the Hurco machines

    at Jones Nuttall

     A good relationship has developed between Jones Nuttall and Hurco over the last 16 years and the supplier’s after-sales support is reliable, which has resulted in the subcontractor purchasing metal cutting machines almost exclusively from Hurco ever since. A significant advantage of the manufacturer's equipment is that it holds value well, which makes the transition financially viable when it comes to replacing them.
    Jones Nuttall’s turnover is derived from various sectors including the rail industry, which is serviced by a specialist division. Contracts involve refurbishing flexitors, drum switches, reversers, traction equipment, resistor grids, contactors and gangways as well as such items as pulleys, hinges and clevis pins used on Network Rail’s overhead equipment.

    When visited, the company was machining a forged steel centering arm for a railway carriage coupling on one of the latestVM30i machining centres, while the other was milling a mild steel valve flange for a filtration equipment manufacturer.

    The remainder of the subcontract engineering capability at Warrington is spread across multiple industries including oil and gas, petrochemical, defence and aerospace. Metals processed include Inconel, titanium alloy, stainless steel, steels, brass, aluminium, copper and even silver. Engineering thermoplastics such as nylon, acetal and PEEK are also regularly machined, as well as composites such as Railko, Tufnol, epoxy glass and polyester. All products are produced in a dedicated, self-contained unit which benefits from having extraction fitted to all machines.


    Jones Nuttall was founded in 1971 and has been at its current premises for over 10 years. In 2009, the Rail Division expanded into adjoining premises, which added 7,400 m2 of factory space to the existing 20,000 m2. Today, the company supplies over 300 customers, employs 60 staff and regularly takes on new apprentices.

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     Mild steel flange machined on VM30i

    Published: 11/3/2016  12:38 PM


    ​FIVE-AXIS MACHINING SLASHES PRODUCTION TIME BY 75%     Toolmaking and subcontract CNC machining specialist DSM-NE, Newton Aycliffe, has increased it...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, 5-Axis Machining, UltiMotion, United Kingdom
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    Toolmaking and subcontract CNC machining specialist DSM-NE, Newton Aycliffe, has increased its stock of Hurco machining centres to seven, including a large three-axis model and an even bigger five-axis machine, the company’s first, which was installed in October last year (2015).
    One job in particular has benefited enormously from its arrival. A tool steel (P20) die nest, part of a progression moulding machine, initially took 75 hours to machine in six separate set-ups on a Hurco three-axis machining centre. According to DSM-NE’s technical director, Andrew Wilson, the cycle would have reduced to 50 hours after process optimisation.
    However, the same job is completed on the Hurco VMX60SRTi 5-axis machine in two operations taking five hours and eight hours respectively. This is around one-quarter of the best possible time on a 3-axis machine and has turned what was originally a loss-making contract into profit.
    Mr Wilson explained, “We looked first at fitting a 2-axis compound rotary table to a 3-axis machine because nobody here had experience of operating a full 5-axis machining centre.
    “However, we saw the VMX60SRTi demonstrated at a Hurco open house in High Wycombe last year and were impressed at how easy it is to program.
    “We were familiar with the 2D programming capability of Hurco’s WinMAX conversational CNC system, but it can also create quite complex 3D / 5-axis routines involving two positional axes, which takes only a few days to master.”
    For fully interpolative 5-axis cycles, DSM-NE employs two seats of Delcam’s Powermill, which are also used for producing more complex three-axis routines. However, half of all programs at Newton Aycliffe are generated on the shop floor at the Hurco WinMAX controls.
    They allow intuitive, menu-driven data input via a touch screen, with a second screen on the 5-axis machine for simultaneously displaying a graphic of the part as it is built up. All controls accept DXF drawing files directly from the subcontractor’s CAD system, lightening the load on the CAM department. WinMAX can easily take over programming of mould plates, for example. Mr Wilson pointed out that with most other control systems, this would not be possible.
    Technical manager Steven Guz highlighted another benefit of the WinMAX control, namely its Ultimotion software algorithm that optimises look-ahead throughout the cycle to speed and smooth the milling process, even around sharp corners.
    He said, “Identical programs on our older Hurco machining centres without Ultimotion take half as long again to finish and the absence of chatter considerably improves the surface finish of machined components.
    Today, DSM-NE’s business is divided into three parts: subcontract CNC machining; manufacture and repair of plastic injection moulds and compression moulds, particularly for the automotive industry; and injection moulding of plastic parts mainly for the automotive, medical and agricultural sectors.
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     The subcontract milling, turning and wire erosion side of the business has grown steadily since 2011 to account for one-third of turnover. It is largely down to the success of one of the subcontractor’s OEM customers specialising in LED lighting, for which DSM-NE is sole supplier of machined aluminium housings and heat sinks. Other contract machining on site involves producing ancillary parts for customers’ moulding machines. Offshore work normally accounts for a reasonable proportion of turnover, although that sector is subdued at present.
    The broad base of the firm’s current activities stems from the outflow of toolmaking mainly to the Far East during the last decade. It is true that significant income was retained by correcting poorly made imported tools, work that sometimes cost half as much as the originals, but it was clear that this could not be relied upon long-term.
    Shortly after the company moved into its current premises on the Aycliffe Business Park 20 years ago, the first Hurco vertical machining centre (VMC) was purchased, a VM1, which replaced a manual-tool-change milling machine from the same manufacturer. A larger BMC 4020 VMC followed quickly.
    The latter machine ran reliably for 22 years and was eventually replaced by a VM2 during 2008. In the same year, a Hurco TM8 turning machine was installed, the first CNC lathe on site, to streamline the manufacture of parts for compression moulds and also to open up general subcontract machining opportunities. Subsequently, in the run-up to purchasing the two big VMX machines, DSM-NE added three Hurco VM20s in as many years to cope with increasing volumes of LED lighting components.
    Mr Wilson commented, “We continue to buy Hurco machines not only because of the commonality of programming and operation, but also because they are reliable and competitively priced. The latest 5-axis machine was half the price of a similar model from another supplier we benchmarked.”
    Looking to the future, he sees growth opportunities in full 5-axis machining. The VMX60SRTi has already taken over three-axis work from other vertical machining centres, which it completes more economically using 3+1 and 3+2-axis cycles in fewer set-ups.
    Contracts are being sought that can exploit its simultaneous 4-axis and 5-axis machining capabilities, which is enhanced by the B-axis spindle head and rotary C-axis configuration, the latter being flush with the machine table. The arrangement offers a bigger machining envelope than an equivalent trunnion-type, 5-axis model, especially for 3- and 4-axis work, and was the reason that this style of machine was purchased.
    Published: 11/3/2016  10:35 AM


      ​55 YEAR OLD USES HIS PENSION TO START SUCCESSFUL SUBCONTRACTING BUSINESS   It is never too late to become an entrepreneur, it seems. Brian Yates, ...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, Turning Centers, United Kingdom

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    It is never too late to become an entrepreneur, it seems. Brian Yates, a machinist since he left school and latterly a manager in a subcontracting firm, decided in October 2010 at the age of 55 to start his own business, Campro Precision. He invested all his pension fund in renting premises and purchasing two Hurco machine tools, a 3-axis VM20 vertical machining centre and a TM8 CNC lathe.


    His son Peter joined him almost immediately and Dewi Hughes started one year later as a third, equal partner. Six years on and the company is going from strength to strength. It now employs two more staff, having moved in early 2015 to a much larger, 500 m² factory unit on the J Reid Trading Estate in Sandycroft, Deeside.
    Milling and turning for the medical sector account for around one-third of turnover, aerospace contracts are another 20 per cent and the remainder is spread across a wide range of industries.
    Testament to Campro Precision’s success and a vindication of Mr Yates’ decision to risk everything on the venture is the company’s recent purchase of two large-capacity Hurco machine tools.
    In 2014, a powerful TM12i CNC lathe with a 12-inch chuck was purchased, differentiating the subcontractor from most of the competition in the North West. It allows turning of larger components up to one metre in length by 550 mm diameter, such as brass oil sump cylinders, stainless steel rings for the oil and gas industry and wheels for sandblasting equipment.
    Then just before Christmas last year (2015), a VMX60Ui trunnion-type, 5-axis machining centre with a 1,524 x 660 x 610 mm working envelope was installed, taking the firm into a new realm of prismatic machining. Nobody in the company had any experience of 5-axis work, including Brian Yates, who is a turner by trade, but the technology was picked up quickly by the three partners.
    They all commented that shop floor conversational programming of 3+2 axis cycles is intuitive using the WinMAX software in the control, based on their experience preparing 3- and 4-axis programs on the other machining centres. More complex simultaneous 5-axis routines can be prepared using the company’s OneCNC CAM system.
    Dewi Hughes mentioned a job produced on both the VMX60Ui and the TM12i lathe, namely production of steel hubs for overhead cranes in use by Airbus at nearby Broughton. The former production route was one operation on the smaller TM8 turning machine, another on the VM30, back onto the lathe to complete the turning and a further two set-ups on the machining centre.
    Campro pic 7 TM12i resized.jpg
    These five operations, which remove well over half the volume of the billet, have been condensed into two on the larger machine tools. Total prismatic metalcutting time is similar.
    However, the 55 kW / 2,800 rpm spindle with chiller on the TM12i drastically reduces the time needed to turn the component from two and a half hours down to 30 minutes. In addition, there are big savings on inter-machine handling and workpiece set-ups, particularly on the 5-axis VMX60Ui.
    The first component to be put on the latter machine, at the end of last year, was an aluminium bracket that forms part of equipment for the electronics industry. It is an ongoing job and another example of the cost reductions that can be made in handling, setting and work-in-progress using 5-axis strategies.
    Measuring 120 mm x 100 mm x 90 mm, the component was previously machined in 45 minutes on the 3-axis VM30 in four set-ups. The number of operations has reduced to two and the total cycle time is now less than half at 22 minutes. It is down to the higher feed rates and 12,000 rpm spindle speed on the 5-axis machine, as well as its ability to position and clamp the two rotary axes in-cycle to allow efficient 3-axis metalcutting in any orientation, without the need for expensive fixtures.
    Peter Yates commented, “We run a day shift from Monday to Friday, 6.00 am to 6.00 pm, sometimes longer, and there always seems to be enough work to fill the Hurco machines.
    “We operate two lathes and three machining centres, including a VM30 with 4th axis we acquired in 2011, and they have never stopped since they were installed.
    “When we buy a new machine, customers and local companies get wind of the fact that we have extra capacity and approach us with new jobs, especially now that we have 5-axis capability.”
    When Brian Yates started the company six years ago, he already had experience of using Hurco machines during his previous employment. The WinMAX conversational programming software in particular was an attraction, as it reduces set-up time and cost for new components that might only be required in ones and twos.
    He added, “Hurco machines are easy to master. All the operators where I worked before were keen to use them, so it was an easy choice for me to follow suit when I started my own business. They are high performance machines.
    “What I particularly like about them is their high-torque spindles, especially on the lathes. If I am turning a large pitch thread on a big steel billet at low revs, for example, the motor never stalls.”


    Campro Precision looks set to continue to grow, especially in the medical sector and hopefully soon in wind energy. The company’s success means that Mr Yates will undoubtedly receive a better income when he finally retires than an annuity would provide.



    Published: 11/3/2016  8:38 AM

    ​SOUTH WALES SUBCONTRACTOR HAS "STEELY DETERMINATION" TO SUCCEED         Operating under the towering shadows of the chimneys at the much...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, United Kingdom



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    Operating under the towering shadows of the chimneys at the much publicised Port Talbot Steel works, Formagrind is a subcontractor that is certainly playing its part in supporting the local manufacturing community.
    The company based in Neath has recently won a significant order that has led to the delivery of two Hurco machining centres and new tooling innovations from Mitsubishi Materials.

    Founded in 1983, the current Managing Director and son of company founder Tom Couser; Mr. Mike Couser says: "Like any subcontractor, we've had our ups and downs. 

    The business grew steadily through the 1990's with the prominence of consumer electronics giants Panasonic, LG and Sony along the M4 corridor; simultaneously we've had difficulties through the numerous downturns.  However,we have continued with our program of re-investment into new technology during these times and diversified into additional industries so as not to become too exposed to sector downturns.

    The ISO 9001 company has invested continuously in new machinery.  In October 2015, the company moved to a new 11,000 sq/ft factory and also purchased 3 seats of iMachining CAM software.

    When the 26 employee business won a major automotive order in February 2016, Formagrind bought two new Hurco VMX30Mi machines. As Mr. Couser recalls: "The new order was for over 100 complex titanium fixtures that each consist of a carrier base and corresponding top plates that clamp electronic PCB's assemblies during their production and final assembly processes.

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    Firstly, we needed two new VMC's to give us the additional machine capacity; and secondly we needed consistent lights-out production.  This is when Mitsubishi stepped-in with their solid carbide end mills. The base plate and corresponding top plate cover units that clamp the automotive electronic assemblies were initially required in a batch size of 105 bases and 160 cover plates.

    With over 14 hours of machining for each base and 1 hour 50 mins hours machining for each cover plate, Formagrind realised that it needed to run its new Hurco VMX30Mi machines 24 hours a day, seven days a week for almost two months.  With iMachining optimising the process and the Hurco machines purchased for the project, the key factor for unmanned lights-out production was the cutting tools.


    Click here to download the full article


    Published: 10/10/2016  11:51 AM


    ​0 - 100 mph in 0.8 seconds           When it comes to drag racing, there are few people with more knowledge and experience than 16 times NHRA Fun...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, International

    ​0 - 100 mph in 0.8 seconds

    JForce-Sun-Don-Holbrook resized.jpg
    When it comes to drag racing, there are few people with more knowledge and experience than 16 times NHRA Funny car champion John Force.  The John Force Racing team has its headquarters in Brownsburg, Indiana only 20 minutes drive from Hurco's head office in Indianapolis.


    Continuous improvement is the name of the game for John Force Racing, whether squeezing extra horsepower from their nitro fueled powerplants or fine-tuning the suspension for additional straight-line stability.

    The requirement for the latest state of the art technology has inspired a 5 year agreement between Hurco and John Force Racing that involves the supply of 8 Hurco machine tools including a VMX42SRTi 5-axis machining centre.
    John Force Racing manufacture the entire car at Brownsburg including the carbon fibre body shell and the tubular steel framework that protects the driver when one of these beasts strays from the racing line.  Driver safety is paramount, as John Force's own daughters Brittany and Courtney are often competing at the major events in the cockpit of one of these 300mph, 10,000 horsepower dragsters.

    "I am excited about this agreement with Hurco because having technology like these machines will translate to wins on the race track and take us to the next level.  Not only are we getting high quality machines, but we are also getting the experts to help us run them and train our engineers.
    It was great to work out this deal with Hurco and I know all the guys in the shop are excited to get these machines in here and start putting them to work" said John Force.


     David_Plank_Cory_Miller_JForce_Deal_Announcement resized.jpg

    J Force Deal Announcement

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    Race engine component​​

    Published: 8/22/2016  9:37 AM
  • Machine Cell


     AUTOMATED CELL FOR MOULD PRODUCTION     ​     Julius Blum GmbH, an Austrian manufacturer of top-quality slides, hinges and other products for kitch...Read moreTags: Roeders




    Julius Blum Zelle resized.jpg


    Julius Blum GmbH, an Austrian manufacturer of top-quality slides, hinges and other products for kitchen units, uses 3-axis and 5-axis machining centres from Roeders to help maintain the company’s international reputation as an innovator and technology leader. UK and Ireland agent for the German machine builder, Hurco Europe, explains the benefits.


    Three of the high-speed machining centres, which incorporate jig grinding capability, are in an automated cell devoted to manufacturing injection mould tools for producing plastic parts used in Blum’s products. A Fanuc robot on a linear track interconnects the machines with a washing station, a coordinate-measuring machine and several storage systems for tools and workpiece pallets.


    Gerhard Gorbach, operation resources manager of number 3 plant at Blum headquarters in Hoechst said, “Our products are designed to offer customers perfect motion quality and to maintain this characteristic throughout the full life cycle of the furniture they have been built into.


    Julius Blum RHP600 resized.jpg“To maintain quality, we manufacture almost all of our component parts in-house, right down to the plastic bearings in the drawer slides. Every aspect of our products, however marginal some might seem, influences the customer’s overall impression.”


    Ralf Hildebrand, manager of the grinding department added, “Product quality is only one factor for achieving success.


    “The other is cost efficiency. The only way we can achieve that is to extend the quality ethos to the machines we use as well as to our practices on the shop floor, in the metrology department and all the way along to the packing section.”


    Helmut Böhler, manager of the toolroom explained, “Our department works on the same principles as the main factory, but flexibility needs to be even higher.


    “Batch size is low and frequently one-off. To maximise utilisation of our machines, we look to automation and also to reducing in the number of component set-ups.


    “We try to integrate cycles that were previously performed sequentially on one or more machines into a single operation, such as the high-speed milling and jig grinding of prismatically shaped components.

    Julius Blum RHP600 resized.jpg










     Cavities are first milled and then ground to

    size without having to remove and reclamp

    the tool 

     “The approach is not only more efficient and less costly but also increases accuracy due to fewer reclampings.”


    Since 2003, Blum has relied on high-speed milling centres from Roeders. In the early days, they were used for producing highly accurate EDM electrodes in copper or graphite. With the more recent machining centres, the focus shifted to hard milling and jig grinding on a single platform.


    Workpiece datuming is carried out automatically within the machine by a measuring probe. The part does not have to be fixtured accurately, saving time, as its position and orientation are allowed for in the control, which automatically recalculates the NC program. Periodic in-process measurement of key parameters allows tool offsets to be sent to the machine control to ensure machined parts stay within tolerance.


    As they are automated, the Roeders machines can be used with minimal operator involvement, especially as grinding tools can be exchanged in a similar way to the milling cutters and drills.


    In the Blum toolroom, the mix of jobs involves not only complex geometries that need to be programmed off-line but also simpler parts that can easily be programmed directly at the machine. The suitability of the Roeders RMS6 CNC system to accommodate both approaches was an important criterion.


    Moreover, as it was developed in-house, the control software is able to be easily and promptly upgraded. Blum has already benefitted by taking advantage of recently improved cycles for helical and rapid traverse jig grinding. All Roeders machines at Hoechst are updated inexpensively to the latest software release, ensuring that the same post processor may be used and that jobs cay be swapped seamlessly.


    The high speed machining centres are built for top performance in terms of metal removal rate as well as accuracy. Drawing tolerances for injection mould tools are especially tight, typically ± 5 µm for dimensions and ± 3 µm on bore diameters.


    The machines feature linear motors in all axes, linear scales for absolute positional feedback to within 50 nm, patented weight compensation in the Z-axis and fast movement in all axes without stick-slip on reversal, ensuring accurate interpolation. Temperature control of the liquid recirculating through the machine elements is to within ± 0.1 K, ensuring excellent thermal stability.


    Published: 7/8/2016  8:20 AM


    ​IRISH SUBCONTRACTOR'S ENTRY INTO THE AEROSPACE SECTOR LEADS TO DRAMATIC GROWTH           In 2009, almost all of Galway subcontractor Dawnlough’s ...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, Ireland, 5-Axis Machining




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    In 2009, almost all of Galway subcontractor Dawnlough’s turnover came from the design and manufacture of special-purpose tooling for the medical device manufacturing industry. This work continues undiminished and Boston Scientific, Stryker, Medtronic and Abbott are among many regular customers.
    Over the past six years, however, turnover has increased five-fold largely as a result of entering the aerospace sector, which has grown to account for 50 per cent of the firm’s business.
    Managing director Brian McKeon explained, “We anticipate that our aerospace work will rise to 70 per cent of turnover by the end of 2017, which is remarkable as it all happened unexpectedly.
    “Towards the end of 2011, a Chinese subcontractor failed to supply parts to BE Aerospace in Ireland for first-class and business-class aircraft seats, so we were asked to step in and rescue the situation. We produced 2,500 components and it grew rapidly from there.”
    The subcontractor has since gained AS9100 RevC accreditation for quality management in the aircraft industry and has also been awarded Tier 1 supplier status to BE Aerospace and Bombardier. Dawnlough exhibited at the Paris Air Show for the first time in 2015, receiving several promising enquiries.
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    Current aerospace contracts entail machining wing sections and fuselage parts from aluminium and stainless steel, as well as cobalt chrome engine mountings, up to a maximum size of 1,270 mm x 508 mm. This current limit is dictated by the presence on the shop floor of a Hurco VM30 vertical machining centre (VMC). It is one of 23 prismatic metalcutting centres at the Galway factory from the same supplier, which has also delivered one CNC lathe with driven tooling, designated TMM8, for producing components up to 256 mm diameter by 588 mm long.
    Mr McKeon bought his first Hurco machines in 2005 through Irish representative, Michael Gannon, and has added new models regularly. Most are 3-axis VMCs, four of which are equipped with a 4th CNC axis to reduce the number of set-ups required for machining complex parts. Often, 4-axis interpolative machining is needed, as there are few right angles or square edges on aircraft structural parts.
    The rationale ten years ago was to upgrade Dawnlough’s milling section and move away from G-code data input towards conversational programming for one-offs and small batches, for which the Hurco control is ideal. There was still a lot of mould tool production at the time, which was the company’s original specialism when it was formed in 1987.
    Mr McKeon recalled, "The difference was staggering. We found we could program up to six times more quickly by manual data input at the Hurco Max control. As we only make small quantities of parts, it translated into a 50 per cent increase in production output, which is why we have carried on buying the machines ever since."
    One of the most recent Hurco VMCs to be installed is a 5-axisVMX30Ui, which arrived in 2014. It joined another make of 5-axis machine on the shop floor for one-hit machining of components that were becoming increasingly complex. One in particular was an aerospace part produced in left- and right-hand variants that ran 20 hours a day for 18 months.
    Dawnlough 2016 5 resized.jpg
    A recent job on the VMX30Ui involved sculpting a claw foot for the leg of a first-class aircraft seat out of solid bronze using a 3 mm diameter ball nose milling cutter at 14,000 rpm and a 3+2 axis cycle. With its 18,000 rpm spindle, the machine is ideal for such accurate, fine detail work. Cycle times are made quicker by Ultimotion software in the latest Hurco twin-screen control, which runs proprietary WinMax version 9 software. With up to 10,000 blocks variable look-ahead, it delivers fast cycle times and excellent surface finish.
    Having five seats of SolidCam, Dawnlough prepares its more difficult programs off-line. However, Mr McKeon says that it is often faster to program even quite complicated geometries conversationally at the control on the shop floor. This is the case for 2D work and some 3D shapes, where advantage can be taken of the Swept Surface functionality in WinMax to create 3D geometry automatically. The operator can input a 2D shape as the sweeping contour and a second 2D path along which it is to be moved to define the solid shape.
    The next step for the Galway firm will be to equip the 5-axis Hurco with an Erowa Robot Compact automated pallet changer with 205 positions for multiple pallet types. In this way, 24/7 utilisation of the resource will be achieved.

    Dawnlough 2016 1 resized.jpg

     Components machined on the 24 Hurco machines at Dawnlough

     Mr McKeon concluded, “We excel at machining often difficult and exotic materials to tolerances beyond the capability of many other manufacturers.
    “Over the years, there have been no components on which we could not hold tolerance on any of our machines, including the Hurcos. They have been and continue to be very reliable.
    “We also appreciated the supplier’s cooperation at the end of 2014 when we expanded into our present, 20,000 sq ft, climate-controlled premises. Hurco came in and decommissioned all of their machines and recommissioned them over a two-week period.



    “It was a big task considering the number of machines involved, but the process was completed efficiently and on time.”


    Published: 7/8/2016  7:02 AM


      ​NEW SHOP FLOOR RECRUITS HAVE SHORT LEARNING CURVES ON HURCO MACHINE TOOLS           Keith Donnellan and Chris Murphy, directors and joint partne...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, Ireland




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    Keith Donnellan and Chris Murphy, directors and joint partners of Riteway Engineering in Galway, western Ireland, have enjoyed considerable success since starting their company in 2006 with a handful of manually operated machines and a single customer. By 2011 they were employing eight staff and operating a range of CNC machine tools including three machining centres and a lathe from Hurco.
    Business has mushroomed since then. At the end of 2015 the company had twice as many employees, five times the factory space at 15,000 sq ft and six times the turnover. The same period saw the addition of six more Hurco machining centres and a move to double shifts, six days a week, with a third shift added when needed.
    Mr Donnellan said that all of this growth, which continued throughout the last recession, has been organic and has come mainly from referrals from satisfied customers. Rather than just working for firms in the Galway area, Riteway now supplies companies throughout the whole of Ireland and in the UK as well.
    Contracts from the medical industry have held up well and account for about half of the subcontractor’s business, especially the design and manufacture of prototype and pre-production surgical and pharmaceutical products. Additionally, strong entry into assembly aid manufacture for the automotive industry and into telecommunications has seen these sectors each rise to become 25 per cent of turnover.
    It is clear that such rapid business development needs careful management. Mr Donnellan explained, “Doubling our personnel in four years meant introducing a lot of new employees to the way we operate.
    “It was a real bonus that all of our shop floor recruits knew how to program and operate Hurco machines, as there are so many of them in use in the west of Ireland and indeed throughout the whole of the country.
    “We do not have any other make of machining centre here, so every new machine operator was up to speed quickly, making the transition with each intake of people seamless.”
    A majority of programs at the Galway factory is prepared conversationally at the Hurco machine controls using the proprietary Windows-based WinMax software, which offers extensive graphics support. The facility is useful for checking that the cycles are correct as programming progresses. Another benefit of WinMax is being able to merge conversational code with external data blocks for more complex parts of a cycle generated using an external CAM system.
    Riteway 2016 2 resized.jpg
    It was the ease of use of the Hurco control system that was the decisive factor in Riteway opting for this make of vertical machining centre in the early days, when a contract to manufacture aluminium carrier plates for stents was too much for the subcontractor’s 2.5D CNC milling machines and manual mills.
    The directors knew Michael Gannon, Hurco's local representative in Ireland, from contact at a previous manufacturing company and the first of what would become nine 3-axis, vertical machining centres was installed in 2007. A fourth CNC axis indexing unit was also purchased and is swapped between the machines.
    Mr Murphy, who at the time had no prior experience of using a CNC machine tool, confirmed that he was proficient with the control in just three days. He emphasised that a lot of contracts involve small batch production and even one-off prototypes, so efficiency of programming is important to minimise downtime.
    He also said that the after-sales service, training and support provided by Hurco from its High Wycombe headquarters in the UK are all good, even over the telephone or if a drawing is emailed to the supplier for advice on how best to approach a program.
    Riteway 2016 6 resized.jpgThe Hurco lathe has been particularly beneficial to Riteway’s operation since it was installed in 2009. The TMM8 turning centre is equipped with an 8 inch (203 mm) chuck, 12 driven stations in the tool turret and a Hydrafeed short bar magazine for feeding stock up to 52 mm diameter.
    Compared with pre-existing turning plant on site, the machine at least halved production times across a range of turned components, reducing manufacturing cost per part significantly. It also allowed Riteway to bring in-house some of the more complex turn-milling work that was being subcontracted.
    Tight tolerances are held, often down to ±10 or ± 20 microns.
    Mr Donnellan added that the screen graphics in WinMax are especially important when proving out turn-milling jobs, as rotating components have much more momentum than cutters on machining centres, so there is the potential for heavy collisions if a program is not correct.



    Published: 3/18/2016  12:34 PM


    AEROSPACE AND PHARMACEUTICAL MANUFACTURING SPECIALIST CONTINUES TO EXPAND IN IRELAND         TEG, which has been producing parts for the world’s lead...Read moreTags:



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    TEG, which has been producing parts for the world’s leading aircrafts since 2001, has progressed in recent years from a subcontract machining firm to become a multinational engineering services provider exporting to 35 countries, including China.


    With headquarters in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, the company was one of the first manufacturers in Ireland to be certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency to make interior parts for passenger-carrying aircraft built by Airbus, Boeing and other primes. It later gained EASA Part 21(G) approval to manufacture structural parts from metallic and non-metallic materials.
    The company, which is certified to the AS9100C quality standard for the aviation, space, and defence industries, is also heavily involved in supplying AOG (aircraft on ground), MRO (maintenance repair overhaul) and legacy components. Aer Lingus, BE Aerospace, Iceland Air, BAE Systems, Bombardier and Lufthansa Technik are regular customers.
    Another specialism is building automated manufacturing lines and tooling for the biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical sectors. Products include the latest NG range of tablet feeders, blister pack tooling, pharmaceutical packaging design, tablet and booklet feeding systems, bespoke wash racks for sterile fill parts and format change parts for solid dose blister packing. Customers are blue chip names within the industry, such as GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Eli Lilly and Pfizer.
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    TEG, which also holds ISO 9001:2008 approval, provides tailor made solutions and is invariably asked to produce relatively small quantities of parts and assemblies, often involving reverse engineering, 3D printing and non-destructive testing. Between 5- and 30-off is usual for aircraft cabin components, for example, and orders are rarely for more than 100-off. AOG, MRO and legacy parts are normally one-offs.
    On the pharmaceutic side, machinery parts are required in low numbers, while blister pack tooling in aluminium or stainless steel and the associated hardened steel cutting and perforating tools are made in ones and twos.
    When the company started investing in CNC machining centres, bearing in mind the relatively low volumes of production, importance was placed on speed of programming on the shop floor to minimise set-up times and maintain productivity. Hurco's proprietary single-screen Max and twin-screen Ultimax (now WinMax) controls were considered ahead of other conversational CNC systems on the market.
    TEG’s founder Tommy Kelly was already familiar with the supplier’s equipment, having used Hurco machining centres and lathes when he held senior manufacturing positions in previous companies. It brought him familiarity with the novel control technology as well as into contact with the sales representative in Ireland for Hurco Europe, Michael Gannon Machine Tools, through which the machines are supplied.
    John Hunt, joint owner and Managing Director of TEG commented, “Virtually since the start, Hurco machine tools have been the backbone of our company’s growth and success.
    “Our bespoke service, rapid turnaround times and competitive prices can only be fulfilled if the spindles on our shop floor are running for a high proportion of the time.
    “Hurco machines ensure that this happens. A majority of our components are programmed conversationally in WinMax at the controls on the shop floor and are into production very quickly.”
    TEG 3 resized.jpgIn the case of smaller, less complicated parts, the machines can be cutting metal in a matter of minutes. For more complex components, entire cutting cycles or the more difficult elements within them are prepared off-line in one of TEG’s CAM systems and the program is downloaded to the controls.
    Over the years, numerous Hurco 3-axis and 4-axis prismatic machining centres have been installed at the Mullingar factory, together with the manufacturer’s CNC turning equipment. TEG has a policy of regularly replacing its shop floor plant and early machining centres have already been superseded by three of Hurco’s latest i-series models, which arrived in early 2015.


    Another of TEG’s commitments is to training and further education. At any one time, 20 staff are undergoing a four-year apprenticeship under the Irish government’s SOLAS scheme. In addition, employees are kept up to date with the latest techniques in CAD, CAM, CNC machining, surface treatments and assembly.


    Published: 3/18/2016  12:31 PM


    ​  RELIABLE MACHINING CENTRES HAVE BEEN KEY TO AUTOMATION EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURER'S SUCCESS           Brendan Walsh started Allied Automation (www.a...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, Ireland




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    Brendan Walsh started Allied Automation ( in 1998 to design, develop and manufacture bespoke, automated assembly machines used by many of the world’s leading medical, pharmaceutical and life sciences companies. Today, the company employs a team of 28 in the Finglas area of the Irish capital, Dublin, near to the M50 motorway and airport
    It is an established supplier to such as well-known customers as Hollister, Stryker, Abbott Pharmaceuticals and West Pharma in Ireland, as well as their parent companies in the US, and has recently started to work for customers in the UK, mainland Europe and the Middle East.
    Recent projects carried out include the development of a spin welding machine for plastic parts; and the manufacture of a multi-stage packaging line that coils and inserts catheters into pouches after injecting water into a compartment, then seals the pouches, prints them and tests for leaks.
    The automation business has long since surpassed Mr Walsh’s tool and mould making operation, BW Design Workshop, which was formed in 1986. Its early growth was curtailed by the loss to low-wage countries in the mid-1990s of much of Ireland’s electronics manufacture.
    However, the company continues to operate within the same premises in Finglas, with eight skilled toolmakers producing high precision metrology fixtures and end-of-arm tools mainly for the medical and pharmaceutical sectors. Manufactured also in this facility are high precision parts for incorporating into the plant supplied by Allied Automation.
    Mainstay of prismatic machining on site is a cell of three Hurco machining centres, plus a Hurco CNC knee-type milling machine that dates back to 1990 and is still in regular use for roughing work and staff training.
    Allied Automation 1 resized.jpgMr Walsh said, “The old Hurco mill is a good advertisement for the manufacturer. In the 25 years that we have owned it, scarcely anything has gone wrong. Only once did the machine need simple maintenance to the Z-axis drive.
    “Its mechanical reliability has been remarkable and the early cathode ray tube version of the manufacturer’s Ultimax twin-screen control is still operational and relevant today.”
    Fast-forward to 2003 and the first Hurco machining centre arrived on the shop floor. Designated VM1, it was purchased because it offered a large 660 x 356 x 457 mm working volume for the 2 x 2.3 metre footprint. A positive factor in its purchase was the long-term performance of the original knee mill. Following good feedback from other Hurco users in the area concerning the robustness and ease of use of the manufacturer’s products, the VM1 order was placed through local sales representative in Ireland, Michael Gannon.
    User friendliness of the Ultimax control, by then of flat screen design, was another point in the machine’s favour. Extensive early use was made on the shop floor of the menu-driven programming capability, which allowed parts to be in production quickly, shortening lead-times. Now, a seat of AlphaCam 4-axis CAM software with a DNC link to the machines is generally used instead, although the conversational programming option is always available.
    Gradually, components increased in size and larger machine base plates were needed, so a larger capacity Hurco VM20 with one-metre X-axis and modern Windows-based WinMax software was installed.

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    Hurco VM20i

     It was followed shortly afterwards by a VM10i, an upgraded version of the earlier VM1 capable of faster machining cycles with less jerk due to Ultimotion within the control software. The VM10i is also significantly more energy efficient than its predecessor. A fourth CNC axis and tailstock were purchased to reduce the number of set-ups for more complex prototyping work and internal development projects.
    With the accent on medical work, the materials machined encompass stainless steels including the tool steel variety, Stovax, and many types of plastic including PEEK and the high grade acetal, Ertalite. Aluminium is regularly machined to form structural parts of the automation plant.
    A tolerance of ± 5 microns has to be held on, for example, medical component fixtures used in metrology equipment. Similar accuracy is required for end-of-arm tools on robots for the moulding industry and cam-driven assemblies for automated production. This level of precision is well within the scope of the Hurcos.
    The reliability of the machines has endured over the years, according to Mr Walsh, who added, “I cannot remember anyone having to come over from Hurco Europe’s head office in High Wycombe to repair any of the machines. Something like an interlock switch may have broken in the past, but we would replace it ourselves here.


    “Both Michael Gannon and Hurco in the UK provide good back-up and an effective telephone helpline, although we rarely have need to use these services.”


    Published: 3/18/2016  12:24 PM

    AUTOMATED, HIGH-SPEED MILLING CUTS IRISH TOOLMAKER'S LEAD-TIMES BY UP TO 20 PER CENT         A lot of electric discharge machining previously car...Read moreTags: Roeders, Ireland




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    A lot of electric discharge machining previously carried out by Galway Tool & Mould (GTM) has been replaced by high-speed cutting at up to 42,000 rpm on three German-built Roeders machining centres supplied by Hurco Europe, HighWycombe, through its local sales representative in Ireland, Michael Gannon.
    Two of the machines, which are all installed in a temperature controlled environment, have been automated with pallet changers so that they can be operated around the clock, unmanned at night.
    GTM’s owner and managing director, Padraig McFadden, said, “As a result of this and other measures, mould lead-times have been cut by up to 20 per cent to typically 14 weeks and we have increased productivity significantly.”
    The main specialism of the company, which was founded in 1990, is manufacture of high precision injection moulds for the medical, pharmaceutical and high-volume packaging sectors worldwide, from single-impression moulds for prototyping to 48-cavity moulds for producing complex plastic devices such as inhalers.
     Galway Tool and Mould 2.JPGIn addition, a small number of micro moulds is produced to make, for example, miniature rotor gears and screws for medical assemblies or for overmoulding stents. Components down to 10 milligrams can be moulded to tolerances of ± 0.005 mm, consistently and reliably.
    The successful working practices implemented by GTM at its Galway factory resulted in a doubling of turnover between 2012 and 2015 and an increase in floor area from 4,000 to 15,000 sq ft, with an extension of an additional 8,000 sq ft currently being added. There are now 30 employees of whom three are apprentices.

    Migration from EDM to high-speed milling is one factor in that success, but others are the opening of a metrology laboratory for tool validation and an in-house trial facility for moulds equipped with Fanuc electric moulding machines ranging from 100 to 300 tons capacity. Mr McFadden emphasised that customers get a perfect turnkey mould every time, which has been designed, manufactured and tested for process viability, including correct shrinkage allowance.


    2007 was a year of change for GTM, which until then derived a large proportion of turnover from automotive mould making. Much of this work rapidly disappeared overseas, notably to China, so Mr McFadden diversified into other areas, particularly the medical industry for which Ireland had become a global manufacturing centre. Characteristic of medical mould work are the requirement for tighter tolerances and better surface finishes as well as shorter lead-times than are normal in the automotive sector.

    GTM was sparking a lot of small parts for moulds, but electrode manufacture is time-consuming and EDM is itself a slow process. The decision was taken to replace as much EDM as possible with high-speed machining using small-diameter, ball nose milling cutters. It was a move that would save 70 per cent of the time needed for this part of the manufacturing process, according to shop floor manager, Mark Walsh. Every mould that passes through the Galway factory now undergoes some high-speed cutting on one of the Roeders.

     Galway Tool and Mould 4.JPG

    An inhaler injection mould die

    machined on the RXP500

    Mr Walsh said, “Back in 2007 we asked several potential HSC machine suppliers to make test cuts on one of our moulds. The Roeders machine beat all the others in terms of speed, accuracy and surface finish.
    “It was noticeably better in all areas, partly because the German machine builder was an early adopter of linear motors for the axis drives.


    “Coupled with glass scale feedback to the control and compensation for spindle growth via a high precision sensor, it allows us to hold ± 2 µm accuracy.
    “This was three times better than on a ballscrew-driven machine we trialled, which also had the drawback of not being able to achieve the surface finish we require for our moulds.”
    He added that an on-line search revealed Roeders’ reputation for machine reliability, high spindle uptime and good service, so in the end the purchase decision was straightforward.
    A Roeders RXP500 3-axis VMC with a 40-tool magazine was duly installed. Despite it having run 24/5 plus extensively at weekends for more than eight years, Mr Walsh confirmed that the machine is just as good today in terms of the accuracies and surface finishes achieved as when it was new.
    This level of performance led automatically to the purchase of a second Roeders 3-axis RXP 500 in 2013 to cope with raised production levels. Automation was fitted in the form of an automatic, 8-pallet changer that allows any mix of jobs to be set up and run unattended overnight, or over an entire weekend if longer-running jobs are selected.


    During the day, both RXP500s can be attended by one person due to the automation fitted to the second machine. Mr Walsh was palpably enthusiastic when he spoke of how many more hours they were getting out of the spindles for the same number of operator hours.


    One-hit 5-axis machining slashes production time by 75 per cent


    More recently, work has been more heavily centred on pharmaceutical moulds, entailing machining of even greater complexity that requires multiple set-ups on a 3-axis machine, the use of long cutters to access awkward areas from above, and repeated repositioning for side features to be included.
    A 5-axis VMC was the obvious solution, so in May 2015 a Roeders RXP601 DSH with a 96-tool magazine was installed, again with automation but this time provided by a 38-position pallet change system to allow longer periods of unattended running. A second RXP601 could be served by the same automation equipment if required in the future.
    The advantage of using 5-axis machining on some jobs is dramatic. Take the aforementioned inhaler mould, which was previously machined in a total of eight hours on a 3-axis Roeders and an EDM machine in five operations. They comprised milling with an 80 mm long, 16 mm diameter cutter that was slowed to 3,000 rpm to avoid undue vibration, followed by a set-up on either side for further milling, then sparking on four sides and around the skirt. The 5-axis HSC machine tackles the same job in a single set-up in one-quarter of the time – just two hours complete.
    The time saving is a result of eliminating four set-ups and maintaining spindle speed at 30,000 rpm, as the better access afforded by a 5-axis configuration allows the use of shorter cutters. Consequently, more and more work is finding its way onto the five axis cell at the Galway factory.
    The latest innovation is the introduction of off-line set-up of jobs on a coordinate measuring machine, which when fully implemented will add an extra 10 hours of production per week across the three Roeders machines.


    Published: 12/18/2015  7:49 AM


        RAPID SET-UP IS KEY TO ECONOMICAL MANUFACTURE OF SMALL BATCHES   A Hurco can be programmed on the shop floor, set up and cutting metal well bef...Read moreTags: General Purpose, Machining Centers, Turning Centers, United Kingdom



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    A Hurco can be programmed on the shop floor, set up and cutting metal well before another machine with G-code programming is even ready to run


    With a turret mill, a manual lathe and one employee, Steve Forbister founded contract machinists 4B Precision Engineering on the Pennywell Industrial Estate in Sunderland 10 years ago. They were soon joined by engineering manager Adrian Hadlington, who had served an apprenticeship with Mr Forbister and subsequently worked with him at a local subcontractor, where Hurco vertical machining centres (VMCs) were the prismatic metalcutting machines of choice.
    This is also the case at 4B Precision, where six were installed between 2007 and 2013. Last year, the company’s first CNC lathe from the same supplier was added to extend the benefits of Hurco’s proprietary WinMax conversational programming to the production of turned parts. They account for about 40 per cent of the subcontractor’s throughput.
    Mr Hadlington commented, “Typical batch size here is 20-off and we quite frequently machine single parts. It means that quick set-up times are essential to allow us to quote competitive prices. We do not have offline programming, so we rely entirely on manual data input at the machines.
    “On VMCs and lathes with controls that use G-code NC programming, cycle creation is time consuming and error prone. In contrast, Hurco’s WinMax language bypasses G- and M-codes.
    “The cycle is built up in the CNC system as the operator follows conversational prompts on the screen. This is much quicker and he can simulate it graphically to check for errors before production starts.
    “We can program a Hurco VMC or lathe, set up the component and start cutting metal well before a similar cycle is even ready to run on a CNC machine programmed by inputting G-codes.”
    4B 5.JPG

    Aluminium gearbox body

    machined on a Hurco VMC at 4B Precision 

     4B Precision is an archetypal contract machine shop. It undertakes a wide variety of work, from a 3 mm diameter turned sleeve for a battery through mid-size parts like an aluminium gearbox body to a three metre long lifting platen for a brick maker. Steels, aluminium, copper and plastics are the most common materials processed. The current strength of the subcontractor’s business places it at the point where a second shift could soon be implemented.
    The latest machining centre to be installed, in 2013, is the largest with a 1,270 x 660 x 610 mm working envelope. It is a Hurco VMX50t with twin-screen control that allows a conversationally-programmed cycle to be viewed on the second screen as it is being created. To produce the brick lifting platen, as the steel component is longer than the width of the Hurco VMC, both side doors were opened and the workpiece repositioned for machining in two hits. Such versatility is useful to subcontractors; certainly it avoided having to turn the brick platen business away.
    Further versatility is provided by a 4th axis rotary table on the other VMCs on the shop floor. A tubular exhaust manifold with 30 holes around the outside is machined much faster and less expensively than when repeated refixturing in a jig was required. Likewise, a 300 mm long, 30 mm diameter scroll for a battery production line has a helical groove machined along its length, during which a single half-turn of the 4th axis is required. This would be difficult to achieve on a 3-axis machine.


    Five CNC lathes including the Hurco TM10i provide 4B Precision’s turning capacity. Having WinMax software in the latter’s control has proved beneficial to the subcontractor, not only due to the speed of set-up, but also because expertise from the milling section can be used in the turning shop if staff are on holiday. There is a high degree of commonality between the two versions of the programming software.
    Even though it is a relatively small company employing 15 people, 4B Precision has adopted a policy of training its staff internally. Three apprentices are currently on the shop floor and another operator has only just finished his three years. The two latest recruits, who arrived in May 2015, were referred by Seta in Washington, Tyne & Wear, a not-for-profit provider of industry-recognised engineering training.


    4B Precision recently bought a plasma cutter to bring that function in-house, allowing it to control quality more closely and satisfy customers’ short lead-time requirements.
    With respect to prismatic metalcutting, the company is considering entry into 5-axis machining. Automatic positioning of components will avoid additional manual clampings, shorten production times and make tolerances easier to hold. The capacity will be provided either by a dedicated 5-axis Hurco or by retrofitting one of the 3-axis VMCs with a 2-axis CNC tilting rotary table.


    Published: 11/23/2015  8:09 AM

    Allied Automation

    RELIABLE MACHINING CENTRES HAVE BEEN KEY TO AUTOMATION EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURER'S SUCCESS    Brendan Walsh started Allied Automation  in 1998 to design, d...Read moreTags: Ireland, Machining Centers, General Purpose


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    Brendan Walsh started Allied Automation  in 1998 to design, develop and manufacture bespoke, automated assembly machines used by many of the world’s leading medical, pharmaceutical and life sciences companies. Today, the company employs a team of 28 in the Finglas area of the Irish capital, Dublin, near to the M50 motorway and airport.
    It is an established supplier to such as well-known customers as Hollister, Stryker, Abbott Pharmaceuticals and West Pharma in Ireland, as well as their parent companies in the US, and has recently started to work for customers in the UK, mainland Europe and the Middle East.
    Recent projects carried out include the development of a spin welding machine for plastic parts; and the manufacture of a multi-stage packaging line that coils and inserts catheters into pouches after injecting water into a compartment, then seals the pouches, prints them and tests for leaks.
    The automation business has long since surpassed Mr Walsh’s tool and mould making operation, BW Design Workshop, which was formed in 1986. Its early growth was curtailed by the loss to low-wage countries in the mid-1990s of much of Ireland’s electronics manufacture.

    Allied Automation 5.JPG

    Aluminium top plate machined on the VM20


    However, the company continues to operate within the same premises in Finglas, with eight skilled toolmakers producing high precision metrology fixtures and end-of-arm tools mainly for the medical and pharmaceutical sectors. Manufactured also in this facility are high precision parts for incorporating into the plant supplied by Allied Automation.
    Mainstay of prismatic machining on site is a cell of three Hurco machining centres, plus a Hurco CNC knee-type milling machine that dates back to 1990 and is still in regular use for roughing work and staff training.
    Mr Walsh said, “The old Hurco mill is a good advertisement for the manufacturer. In the 25 years that we have owned it, scarcely anything has gone wrong. Only once did the machine need simple maintenance to the Z-axis drive.
    “Its mechanical reliability has been remarkable and the early cathode ray tube version of the manufacturer’s Ultimax twin-screen control is still operational and relevant today.”
    Fast-forward to 2003 and the first Hurco machining centre arrived on the shop floor. Designated VM1, it was purchased because it offered a large 660 x 356 x 457 mm working volume for the 2 x 2.3 metre footprint. A positive factor in its purchase was the long-term performance of the original knee mill. Following good feedback from other Hurco users in the area concerning the robustness and ease of use of the manufacturer’s products, the VM1 order was placed through local sales representative in Ireland, Michael Gannon.
    User friendliness of the Ultimax control, by then of flat screen design, was another point in the machine’s favour. Extensive early use was made on the shop floor of the menu-driven programming capability, which allowed parts to be in production quickly, shortening lead-times. Now, a seat of AlphaCam 4-axis CAM software with a DNC link to the machines is generally used instead, although the conversational programming option is always available.
    Gradually, components increased in size and larger machine base plates were needed, so a larger capacity Hurco VM20 with one-metre X-axis and modern Windows-based WinMax software was installed.

    Allied Automation 2.JPG

    VM10i recently installed at Allied Automation 

    It was followed shortly afterwards by a VM10i, an upgraded version of the earlier VM1 capable of faster machining cycles with less jerk due to Ultimotion within the control software. The VM10i is also significantly more energy efficient than its predecessor. A fourth CNC axis and tailstock were purchased to reduce the number of set-ups for more complex prototyping work and internal development projects.
    With the accent on medical work, the materials machined encompass stainless steels including the tool steel variety, Stovax, and many types of plastic including PEEK and the high grade acetal, Ertalite. Aluminium is regularly machined to form structural parts of the automation plant.
    A tolerance of ± 5 microns has to be held on, for example, medical component fixtures used in metrology equipment. Similar accuracy is required for end-of-arm tools on robots for the moulding industry and cam-driven assemblies for automated production. This level of precision is well within the scope of the Hurcos.
    The reliability of the machines has endured over the years, according to Mr Walsh, who added, “I cannot remember anyone having to come over from Hurco Europe’s head office in High Wycombe to repair any of the machines. Something like an interlock switch may have broken in the past, but we would replace it ourselves here.

    “Both Michael Gannon and Hurco in the UK provide good back-up and an effective telephone helpline, although we rarely have need to use these services.”


    Published: 11/6/2015  10:48 AM


      RELIABLE MACHINING CENTRES SECURE TOOLMAKER'S SUCCESS    Time-served toolmakers Andrew Shields and Phil Dartnall founded mould and tool making busin...Read moreTags: General Purpose, Machining Centers, United Kingdom

    Chapter 1.JPG





    Time-served toolmakers Andrew Shields and Phil Dartnall founded mould and tool making business, Chapter Engineering, in Durham on 1st April 2009, having been made redundant due to the recession. They both have a wealth of tool making experience and another point in their favour was that the firm where they previously worked was selling off a lot of its machine tools.
    In six years, the partners have built the business to the point where the firm is now one of the largest mould makers in the North East of England, employing 10 staff including an apprentice. It operates from newly refurbished, 6,000 sq ft premises on the Meadowfield Industrial Estate where, coincidentally, several of the employees including the owners had previously worked for another tool making company.
    Chapter Engineering’s first manufacturing unit in nearby Ferryhill was just 1,000 sq ft, populated by a manual mill and lathe, a CNC sparker and surface and cylindrical grinders from the former employer. Modifications and repairs to existing tools was the mainstay of the business. The bank manager set a target turnover of £96,000 in the first year, which was exceeded by more than 40 per cent, despite the downturn.
    In the second year, an important contract was won to supply a new injection mould for producing the gear selector surround bezel for the Range Rover Evoque SUV. It resulted from a last-minute design change, which meant that the usual Chinese supplier, which at the time charged one-third of typical UK prices, could not achieve the short lead-time.
    Chapter Engineering took on its first employee, who made the tool in six weeks, allowing Mr Shields and Mr Dartnall to look after the firm’s valuable existing customers. They consider the decision to employ someone at that early stage was pivotal in allowing the company to expand quickly.
    By the end of 2011, another member of staff had arrived and the firm was bursting at the seams, to the extent that the lift truck had to be left permanently outside. It prompted a move to a 3,000 sq ft unit on Meadowfield Industrial Estate, where there was space to accommodate the first of three Hurco vertical-spindle machining centres (VMCs).

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    Close up of a mould plate fixtured on the 

    table of the VM20i


    It was a VMX30T fitted with the manufacturer’s twin-screen WinMax control and was capable of producing everything from the largest plate to the smallest electrode. The machine is fitted with air blast through the spindle, which is used instead of coolant when milling hardened tool steels such as 52 - 56 Rc H13 and 60 Rc D2. It is because coolant would cause rubbing and compromise surface finish when using the shallow (20 to 50 micron) depths of cut necessary for finishing moulds.
    Mr Shields said, “Phil and I previously worked at an engineering company that operated a range of mid-price machining centres including Hurcos. Out of all the machines, they were the only ones that never broke down, even though they were the oldest.
    “The last thing you want when you are starting a manufacturing business is an unreliable machine tool. Our previous employer used to haemorrhage cash on breakdowns, new motors and replacement spindles. If that happens in the early years, it could ruin you.
    “There was never any doubt that as soon as we could start buying new VMCs, they would be from Hurco. The machines combine reliability with competitive price, accuracy and ease of programming at the WinMax control, which frees up our CAD/CAM department for producing more complex 3D cycles.”

    Chapter 6.JPG

    Typical injection mould tool

    machined on Hurco machining centres 

    at Chapter Engineering


    In 2012, the VMC was joined by a smaller VM10, again with air blast, the rationale being that it would produce the copper electrodes while the larger VMX30T would be devoted to plate machining.
    After September 2014, when the latest relocation saw the factory area doubled, there was ample room for a third Hurco VMC. Installed in January 2015, the VM20i has a one-metre X-axis and is employed for machining even bigger plates as well as electrodes. It is therefore sharing the load with the other two VMCs.
    The next investment will be a Hurco VM10HSi with a high-speed spindle and dust extraction to produce graphite electrodes for die sinking machines, including a Neuar C1000 installed in April 2004, which is one of the biggest spark erosion machines in the area. A majority of the electrodes produced so far at the Durham factory have been machined from copper, which is three times more expensive than graphite. The latter material has been milled occasionally but with coolant, which is not ideal, to prevent dust entering the working environment.
    Business expansion at Chapter Engineering, both in injection mould tool manufacture and also in press tools, has now reached the point where a dedicated graphite machining centre can be justified, which will have the added advantage of releasing more time on the other VMCs. Tool making capacity will therefore be increased and machine time will be available to fulfil subcontract machining services. They have been provided in the past to fill spare machine capacity and will be promoted again.
    The future for the Durham firm looks promising. Not only can its modern capacity fulfil subcontract work, but its core business of tool and mould making is being reshored at a quickening pace. The sector accounts for over 90 per cent of Chapter Engineering’s turnover, mainly sourced from supply chains serving automotive, medical and white goods OEMs.
    The current ability of UK tool makers to compete with China and Eastern Europe on price, while exceeding the quality of most overseas suppliers and offering far shorter lead-times, bodes well for British tool making

    Main photo: Andrew Shields and Phil Dartnall - owners of Chapter Engineering :Tel & Fax 0191 3784994

    Published: 9/2/2015  7:13 AM

    Algernon Precision Engineering

           NORTHUMBERLAND SUBCONTRACTOR TARGETS 5-AXIS MACHINING   Algernon Precision Engineering, a subcontractor based in Cramlington, specialises i...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, 5-Axis Machining, Turning Centers, United Kingdom, Performance


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    Algernon Precision Engineering, a subcontractor based in Cramlington, specialises in tackling difficult materials. Parts machined from stainless steels including duplex and super duplex account for three-quarters of throughput. Most of the remainder are produced from nickel superalloys such as Inconel, Hastelloy and Monel.
    In September last year (2014), the company invested in its first 5-axis machining centre, a Hurco VMX42SRTi with twin-screen control. The idea was to simplify the manufacture of increasingly complex components for its diverse range of customers from sectors such as oil and gas, subsea and automotive.
    The 5-axis machine succeeded in achieving significant cost-per-part reductions, mainly through 5-sided machining with three axes interpolated and the two rotary axes clamped, while some 4-axis simultaneous work has also been carried out. Drawing tolerances are generally to within ± 50 microns, although ± 10 microns is sometimes specified.
    The company is now targeting the aerospace supply chain, which is strong in the north of England, to win extra work for which the 5-axis Hurco will be ideal and is also looking to the medical sector, which requires complex parts machined from difficult materials.
    The ISO 9001:2008-accredited subcontracting firm was established in 1987 by managing director Graeme Watson, an experienced engineer who previously held positions in well-known engineering companies in the Newcastle upon Tyne area.
    He started out in 440 sq ft premises on the Algernon Industrial Estate near the north end of the Tyne Tunnel with two lathes, a milling machine and a pedestal drill, all manually operated. Work mainly centred on producing tools and parts for blow moulding machines.
    Even at that time, the company adopted the policy of training its own staff rather than hiring skilled machinists. Ninety per cent of shop floor employees have come through as apprentices, the longest serving having been with the company for 25 years.

    Algernon 8 a selection of machined components.JPG

    Selection of components

    machined on the VMX42SRTi


    A variety of component and fixture manufacture was gradually taken on and three years later Mr Watson added an adjacent rental unit, doubling the factory space. It was not until 2000, however, that the company was able to make a big step forward to a 2,300 sq ft factory on the same estate.

    At that stage, Mr Watson operated only two CNC machines, both lathes, but that was soon to change. The firm was doing well, having received a lot of work from oil and gas customers and other offshore equipment suppliers. Additionally, a substantial amount of machining work was supplied to the automotive sector. Manufacture of repair components for production machines and lines was another specialism.

    Towards the end of his tenure on the Algernon Industrial Estate, Mr Watson bought his first Hurco machine, a Hawk CNC mill. It was closely followed by a VM30 vertical machining centre with a 1.2-metre X-axis and 4th axis rotary indexer. The machine greatly increased the size of component the company could produce and was ideal for milling shafts.
    A key driver for choosing the latter machine was the WinMax conversational control system, which lends itself to shop floor programming of simple to complex components, without the need to use time consuming G- and M-codes.

    After three days of on-site training by Hurco, Mr Watson and his operators were proficient. The speed with which cycles could be created, assisted by the power of WinMax to calculate unknown points on cutter paths, fitted well with Algernon’s need to produce a lot of prototypes and small batches quickly.

    Mr Watson recalled, “Rapid set-ups on the Hurco VM10 made us more competitive, especially on shorter batch work. Similarly, for larger runs into the thousands, we were able to get the first parts out of the door faster, which meant that we could invoice them more quickly.

    “By 2012, we were in a position to take a quantum step forward and move to our current, 10,300 sq ft premises in Cramlington.”  By the time Andrew Marley joined Algernon in May 2014 as business / engineering development manager, three more Hurco machines were on the shop floor.
    One was a TM12 lathe that increased CNC turning capacity from 250 to 415 mm diameter to address bigger shaft work for oil and gas. It also has a Windows-based WinMax control, so was easy for the operators to learn and enabled quick set-ups. It was joined by another Hurco turning machine, a smaller TM10i, that was a direct replacement for an ageing CNC lathe.

    Algernon 1 shop floor.JPG

    Shop floor view showing TM10i lathe


    The third machine was a VMX30m with a high torque motor for tackling tough superalloys. The vertical machining centre has a generous 610 mm Z-axis travel to allow large parts to be machined in a 4th axis and tailstock arrangement clamped to the table.
    Mr Marley commented, “It was apparent when I arrived that Algernon had decided to standardise on this supplier for metalcutting equipment.  “Soon afterwards, the 5-axis machine was installed. It raised productivity and greatly extended the markets that we could target.

    “There has been a lot of interest in the new capacity from our existing customer base and new business has been won as a result, helping to increase turnover.”

    The style of 5-axis machine chosen does not have a trunnion-mounted rotary table. Instead, the two rotary CNC axes are provided by a swivelling B-axis motor spindle that moves in Z and a C-axis rotary table mounted flush with the surface at one end of a table that moves in X and Y.
    The classical advantages of 5-axis machines apply, namely the ability to machine more complex parts and also to produce components in fewer set-ups, without the need for expensive fixtures or incurring the risk of introducing accumulative errors.

    With a B-axis and flush rotary table-type machining centre, overlaid on these benefits are a considerably larger working envelope than on a trunnion machine of equivalent footprint. It also allows the possibility of ignoring the rotary table and fixturing a large component for 3- or 4-axis milling and drilling. Such flexibility is useful for subcontractors, which have to undertake a wide variety of work.

    Algernon Precision Engineering has continued to invest for the future with the purchase in July 2015 of a Hurco VMX60Tiwith 1,676mm x 660mm table, which gives the company a stronger and more competitive position in the manufacture of even larger components.

    Web site: Algernon Precision Engineering

    Published: 8/5/2015  6:37 AM


          Kannect Precision Services quadruples injection mould making in a decade and adds compression tool manufacture     British toolmaking is mak...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, Turning Centers, UltiMotion, United Kingdom


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    Kannect Precision Services quadruples injection mould making in a decade and adds compression tool manufacture
    British toolmaking is making a comeback, according to Hartlepool firm, Kannect Precision Services. In the early 2000s, loss of tool and mould manufacture to the Far East and elsewhere had prompted the company to diversify strongly into subcontract machining of components, which by 2005 accounted for 90 per cent of turnover. Most of the remaining work was modification and repair of worn moulds or substandard ones made abroad.
    Today, manufacture of new injection moulds plus refurbishment work accounts for 40 per cent of turnover, due to erosion of the advantages of having tools made in, for example, China. Kannect’s owner and director, Geoff Beddow, said that increased wages overseas, quality problems, delays and logistics costs have all made the UK more attractive for mould and tool making. This is especially true of tools weighing over one tonne and increasingly applies to smaller ones as well.
    Recently, manufacture of compression tools for a brake pad manufacturer has been added to the subcontractor’s activities, boosting the tool and mould making side of the business to two-thirds of turnover - a far cry from the position a decade ago.
    In recent years, Kannect has relied on machine tools from Hurco ( for much of its production. The supplier’s machining centres have always been synonymous with toolmaking, largely due to the user-friendliness of the WinMax windows-based conversational control system. It lends itself well to rapid set-up for cost-effective production of one-offs and small batches, which are the norm in toolmaking. The benefits are similarly evident for short-run subcontract component manufacture, while longer runs remain economical.
    Kannect 1.JPG
    The first Hurco machine to arrive on the shop floor was a VM2 vertical machining centre in 2007. Kannect had used other makes of prismatic machining equipment since the mid-90s. However, the move towards subcontract manufacture was in full swing and Mr Beddow wanted a more robust machine for tackling low volume, high complexity work in difficult-to-cut stainless steels and nickel alloys for the petrochemical sector. One Hastelloy variant in particular, a corrosion resistant material called C-22, has especially high shear strength and needs a rigid and powerful machine tool.
    Mr Beddow commented, “At the time, we looked at a number
    of alternative potential sources of machining centres. We decided on Hurco based not only on the rigidity of their machines, but also the competitive price and perhaps most of all on the confidence we had in the company, which has a reputation for reliable machine tool supply and service.
    “We were keen to do as much shop floor programming as possible to take the load off our seat of Delcam Powermill CAM software, which was tied up programming our other machining centres that have Fanuc controls.
    “Our operators mainly program conversationally in WinMax at the Hurco controls, with the Delcam system needed only for more complex jobs.”
    During that period, Kannect was subcontracting a lot of CNC turning. The decision was taken to bring most of it in-house, so in 2010 a Hurco TM10 lathe was installed. It uses WinMax software similar to that on the machining centres, so was an obvious choice, coupled with its rigidity to cope with machining large quantities of nickel alloys and steel for the petrochemical industry and the oil and gas sector.
    It led to the purchase of a Hurco TMX10 CNC lathe of even sturdier build and with a more powerful motor for turning components from corrosion-resistant cobalt alloys. Swell chambers for subsea dredging are typical components produced from these tough stellites. Meanwhile, Delcam FeatureCam has been purchased for programming the CNC lathes, but conversational programming of turning cycles in WinMax is used extensively as well.

    Kannect 6.JPG

    An injection mould for producing pet

    tags machined on one of the Hurco VMC 

    Hurco by then had become the metalcutting machine supplier of choice to Kannect. In 2012, one of its VM30 vertical machining centres with a 1.2 metre bed and Nikken CNC202YA fully integrated 4th axis was added to the shop floor in Hartlepool. The trigger for its purchase was a need to mill an Archimedean screw thread for plant that produces magnetic composite materials. The machine is also a valuable resource for producing petrochemical and other components, as the additional axis is used for positioning components for 3-axis milling and drilling, eliminating one or more separate operations.
    Another Hurco machining centre arrived in January this year (2015). It is a VM10i and is a direct replacement for a different make of machine of similar capacity that took up significantly more factory space. Mr Beddow pointed out that the Hurco VMC’s small footprint was an important consideration in his 7,000 sq ft factory unit.
    He added, “The VM10i is capable of higher productivity due to it having the latest iteration of WinMax software.
    “Features include a spiral toolpath for 3D roughing, ramping down by a specified amount on each pass until the final depth has been reached. Metal removal is noticeably quicker and tool life is extended.
    “The latest control includes Ultimotion as standard, so programs are executed faster and corner profiles and areas where the cutter changes direction are smoother and more accurate.”
    Mr Beddow predicted that Kannect will have a Hurco 5-axis machine within the next three years to carry out projects of even higher complexity. Aerospace will be a target market, as the company already produces jigs and fixtures for the sector and has recently won a contract for the time-critical production of satellite parts. Pleasingly, the enquiry came in unprompted via the company’s website - - a point that should be noted by subcontractors whose web presence may need updating.

    Main picture: A selection of parts machined on the Hurco machining centres and lathes

    Published: 7/28/2015  9:27 AM

    Weco Mining

      VMX 42Mi - one of the latest additions at Weco Mining   I take you back in time. In fact nearly five years. The world sat transfixed in front of thei...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, International, South Africa, Turning Centers


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    VMX 42Mi - one of the latest additions at Weco Mining


    I take you back in time. In fact nearly five years. The world sat transfixed in front of their TV’s watching a news story unfold where 33 men were about to undergo an ordeal the likes of which few suffer, and fewer survive. The next time they saw daylight, they would be global heroes, and their lives would never be same.


    The collapse of the San José Mine in Chile on the 5th August 2010 became international news as the men were trapped underground for 69 days, battling starvation and hopelessness as the world waited anxiously for news of their rescue.
    On October 13, the last of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped 630 metres underground for more than two months, was rescued. It was a painstaking and treacherous process to bring each one to safety, but it was successful thanks to the efforts of many and the technological advances in drilling equipment and search and rescue operations.
    In this case, a rock drilling tool manufacturing company in the US produced the custom drills that were used to free the trapped miners. However, the near tragedy emphasised the importance of using equipment that was reliable and of a high quality, and when manufacturing and machining became perilously significant to the lives of 33 men.
    It was one of the most incredibly positive stories of 2010. None more so than for the rock drilling tool manufacturer and for all those other companies involved in manufacturing the equipment used in the rescue.
    It is coincidental that a couple of months before this rescue was seen and celebrated around the world, that Henry Gomes became involved in the South African mining industry. Even more so when you think that the company that he heads up is involved in the repair and service of rock drilling equipment, using locally manufactured component parts. Gomes has taken the same positive outcome and good news story into the company that he purchased, a company that was not on a strong footing five years ago.
    “We like to associate ourselves with South Africa’s World Cup in 2010. We actually signed the legal documents on the very day that the opening ceremony took place. As the last signature was placed on the document, three men walked across the railway line outside the factory, blowing the jubilant and noisy vuvuzelas that were synonymous with the World Cup. Most non-soccer loving South Africans find this noise to be unbearable. For us, it will always be the sound of success. We have one covered in the South African flag’s colours that now takes pride of place in our boardroom,” explained Gomes.
    Docla Automatic, a precision engineering company was started in 1974, by two German Entrpreneurs, Hurbert Wiehl and Willie Kreutle, the company concentrated primarily on general engineering and later they formed Weco Mining to focus fully on manufacturing and supplying high precision component wear parts for the rock drilling industry.


    Weco 1.JPG


    Dumisani Zungu and Henry Gomes 

    With the emphasis of the business squarely focused on the mining industry the primary emphasis was on after sales service and maintenance.  Rock drills are always “almost new” as the mechanical parts are constantly being replaced and refurbished to keep the drifter in tip top condition.”
    “The Germans were very successful at engineering, business and sales and when they decided to retire a management buy out was effected with the existing senior team.  This however was not successful and within the year both Hubert and Willie were back at the helm of a much reduced business under severe pressure.  Shortly afterwards Willie died after a short illness and Hubert was left alone to run the business, this being his primary reason for selling I suppose” says Gomes.
    “That was about the time that I came into contact with the company. More than 80% of its turnover came from one middleman customer and they only employed 11 full time staff. The market and customers were unknown to me. Inside the factory there was a treasure trove of machinery and tools and perhaps it was this factor and the chance to own and play with all these machines that was the deciding factor reason for me to seek a way to purchase the company.”
    “I have a millwright qualification and had previously been involved with a company that manufactured equipment for the refrigeration industry, so the engineering side was not as daunting as finding the finance was.”
    “The niche engineering products were a challenge for us, we had never heard of a drifter and had only passing knowledge of hydraulics. Within the first week of taking over, the reality set in when we realised that most of our plans and dreams were not possible with the current set up and we had to reinvent the company from the ground up. The company had no records to speak of and we had to recreate two years of financials into our accounting software, just to create a stock picture of which customers purchased what products.”
    “The machine shop was a mess, aging equipment and tools, no OHS or safety records and with no work flow or organizational planning. Components were all over the place and can you believe it - the accounting records were still being carried out manually in what seemed like a system from the 1950’s. There was one computer, but it was hardly used, and was soon tossed out with the rest of the scrap metal that was lying around.
    Education and goal setting
    “If we were to position ourselves as the industry leaders, we would need high caliber staff with exceptional technical skills. South Africa, like most countries in the world today, faces a shortage of technical skills. This is also made worse by our poor education system. When we took over, some of our work force were illiterate and none had critical thinking skills. But this has all changed.”
    “In 2011 we formed the Weco training centre and employed a full time in-house teacher to focus on basic English reading and writing and mathematics skills.”

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    Refurbished rock drilling machine 

    The process

    “With each drifter costing between R800 000.00 and R1 million to replace, it’s important for the mines to optimize their maintenance spend and to get as much use out of the equipment as possible. We carefully examine each and every individual component and we are able to offer a service to refurbish some parts, instead of replacing them.  Ensuring that the refurbished parts are in accordance with the original OEM specifications.

    “The repair process starts in what we call our drifter shop, which is in a completely separate building from the machine shop and stores. Here the machine is stripped, cleaned, photographed and quoted. Each machine is housed in its own booth and all components are clearly marked so as to match up with that individual machine. Once stripped, each component is then measured and tested to see if it is within the OEM specifications.
    The decision is then taken to replace or refurbish. After the repair is completed, the machine is then reassembled and tested under pressure for leaks. In accordance with our ISO 9001 accreditation our repair process is strictly controlled. We pride ourselves on our quality parts and service, which is ensured by quality assurance hold points at every step of the repair and manufacturing process.
    Our clients can be found where ever trackless mining takes place. If the client is drilling rock to produce ore, it is likely they are using one of the two main suppliers drills and rigs. Our clients are involved in gold, platinum, manganese, diamonds, copper and chrome mining operations. Currently we do not have a footprint is in iron ore and coal mining, but we are working on that.”
    Machine shop
    “We manufacture a comprehensive list of spare parts, tailor made for various leading brands of rock drilling machines from around the world. At any one time we could have up to 1 000 different components in our stores. We manufacture in economical batches and aim to hold stock of all top moving items to serve both our own repair facility and our spare parts customers.”
    “We locally manufacture the majority of the component parts in our machine shop and rarely if ever import parts from overseas equipment manufacturers. This assists us to control costs as well as lead times, and both advantages are passed directly onto our customers. Lead time is a critical concern for mines as lost drilling time equals lost production at the rock face and cost the mines millions of rands daily.”

    “All of our parts have been engineered in house from our own drawings. We currently use SolidWorks™ for this and fully integrate with our CNC production lathes and milling machines. Manufacturing our own parts allows us to control the quality of the parts used in our repair process.”
    “The shop offers various part-production options. Our turning machines can go up to 300 dia x 1 000mm, our milling machines up to 1 000 x 400 x 400mm, and on grinding, we do external and internal grinding with a maximum length of one metre and 10 microns.”
    “We now have eight CNC lathes, five CNC milling machines, five grinding machines, two broaching machines, a gun drilling machine and eight conventional machines. Additionally we have a guillotine and a press brake when we need to some fabrication work for clients.”
    “As a full service precision engineering facility we are able to manufacture a wide range of components on our machines. The only components that are outsourced at this stage are gear cutting and heat treatment. We are fully in control of the quality process even when the part is off site. All our suppliers are accredited in accordance with our ISO standards. The spare parts and components that we manufacture include valves, connection plates, couplings, covers, piston guides, bushings, liners, rings, studs, bolts, drivers, chucks, flanges, shanks and seals.”
    New machines
    Although there was a treasure trove of machines on the machine shop floor when Gomes acquired the company, he has not stood still in improving his machining operations. Added to the mix since taking over are five new CNC machines, all purchased from Hurco South Africa.
    The first to arrive was a Hurco VMX 42m vertical machining centre.
    “We chose Hurco because of the ease of use, especially with the controls, and they are very cost effective. Times were not so easy in 2013 and 2014, but we continued to invest in the business because we knew if we were to succeed and be recognised for our quality and service, then we would have to bring in modern equipment and manufacturing processes.”
    Subsequently Weco has purchased a Hurco VM 10i, a Hurco TM 10i, a Hurco TM 12i, and the latest investment is a Hurco 42 Mi. All machines are running in conjunction with EdgeCAM’s machining package.
    Government compliance and growth
    The growth is counted in numbers at Weco but it is not the only focus. By South African standards, the company is a medium size company, increasing the staff from 11 to 74 and more than tripling the turnover in the first five years. “Our aim now is to continue to grow generically at 30% per annum.”
    New investment and broadening of scope
    “We have always realised that we have been limited in our product and client portfolio. In fact, we only have 15 major mining clients, but they do keep us busy.”
    “We recently concluded a deal with a company in Durban, KwaZulu Natal, known as Tax Industrial, who supply industrial clients, such as the sugar, oil and gas, water and power industries with a range of Impact gland packings, Ludas couplings, Syntho glass pipe repair kits, scrapers, stainless steel strainers, polyurethane accessories, flexible couplings, bellows, mechanical seals and gaskets.”
    “We have one thing that our opposition does not, a team of dedicated and passionate people all focused on our vision of 20:20. With this team who are as passionate about our growth as we are, we cannot fail. We use the term Rock Solid Dependability™ regularly as both a measure of a job well done and as a promise to our customers of what they can expect from Weco.”
    For further details contact Weco on TEL: 011 762 4341 or visit


    Published: 7/16/2015  7:09 AM


    A West Midlands engineering firm is celebrating a new contract worth £150,000 after receiving help from Green Bridge funding. Pemberton Engineering, wh...Read moreTags: General Purpose, Machining Centers, United Kingdom

    Pemberton Engineering.JPG

    A West Midlands engineering firm is celebrating a new contract worth £150,000 after receiving help from Green Bridge funding.

    Pemberton Engineering, which designs and manufactures press tools, was able to invest in a new Hurco VM20i CNC machining centre and create two new jobs.

    This compact machining centre has an excellent work cube of 1016 mm x 508 x 508 mm and 20HP 10,000 rpm spindle.  The WinMax CNC control allows jobs to be programmed quickly and easily in conversational mode, whilst having full industry standard NC capability.

    The Green Bridge Supply Chain Programme will run over the next two years and support businesses that want to grow. To gain funding the business must demonstrate there will also be an environmental benefit. In Pemberton's case it was able to reduce its energy bills, increase productivity and increase efficiency.

    The fund offers help investing in new equipment, relocation or expansion into new premises and improvements in systems or processes.  Darren Pemberton, Operations Director, said. "The contract win was especially pleasing as we know that this type of work has previously been quoted from China. We were able to show how competitive we are worldwide.

    "Our business is able to compete on more than price - we are also able to help clients with ideas on how a project can be developed in a more efficient way.
    Also the responsive positive service we offer to all of our customers is key."
    Mr. Pemberton is an engineering graduate who joined his father's business and eventually became Operations Director after working every job in the business.  "Toolmaking is a highly skilled career and it's important that we keep these skills in the Midlands for future generations, " he emphasised.

    Pemberton has created two new roles following investment, one of which is filled by an apprentice from Walsall Academy.  In a reverse of the traditional apprenticeship, the young engineer, who is in his final year, goes to school four times a week and then works in Pemberton on the fifth day.

    "This is a really good way for young people to experience the workplace and I was impressed with Walsall Academy's innovative approach" Mr. Pemberton concluded.


    Published: 6/2/2015  5:41 AM
  • Focus Mining Services

    Focus Mining Services

     Leading Global Drilling Expert Installs New Hurco VMX60Mi VMC   One of the leading global drilling experts, Focus Mining Services (FMS) was created i...Read moreTags: International, Machining Centers, South Africa

     Leading Global Drilling Expert Installs New Hurco VMX60Mi VMC


    Focus Mining 1.JPG

    One of the leading global drilling experts, Focus Mining Services (FMS) was created in 1995 in South Africa and quickly expanded to Australia. With the purpose of providing an alternative range of drilling consumables to the African market, FMS has been leading the charge by expanding to international markets and creating custom solutions that are unique to every client.

    FMS has been successful thanks to the partnership shared by William Stuart, Louis Jochimsen and André Herts. Together with all the staff that makes FMS run every day the company is growing daily. It is thanks to the dedication by all the employees that work for FMS that FMS was the first company in South Africa to offer cost per meter packages for drilling consumables.
    Focus Mining 2.JPG
    In 2014 Derick Jochimsen, the manager of FMS South Africa, attended a demonstration at Mid Hydraulics where three Hurco Machining Centres were already in full operation. Impressed with what he had seen at Mid Hydraulics FMS decided to buy their own Hurco Machining Centre.

    In February 2015 a Hurco VMX 60Mi was installed at the Middelburg branch of FMS. With the easy interface of the Hurco Machining Centres, the high load weights and top quality services available from Hurco, FMS is greatly satisfied with their new machining centre.

    When the need arises for a new machine FMS has confirmed that they would buy another Hurco Machining Centre to add to their steadily growing machines.


    Published: 4/20/2015  10:04 AM
  • RP Tooling


     HURCO SUPPORTS GROWTH IN TOOLMAKING AND SUBCONTRACT MACHINING           Family-owned RP Tooling in Kingswinford has always been a pragmatic comp...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, United Kingdom, UltiMotion





    RP Tooling March 15 01.JPG


    Family-owned RP Tooling in Kingswinford has always been a pragmatic company, targeting business in industry sectors that are buoyant at any given time. The policy has allowed the 33-employee firm to grow quickly, a process that has seen three relocations since its inception in 2005. The latest move, at the end of 2014, trebled the size of its factory to 2,300 m2.

    Toolmaking was always at the core of the business and within the past couple of years, founders Brett Mitchell and Darren Withers have set up a plastic injection moulding facility. It comprises six Borche presses rated at between 60 and 320 tonnes for low volume, short lead-time production of high value components with a shot weight of up to 1.2 kg.
    Half are destined for the automotive industry, either as trim or under-bonnet items on such prestigious vehicles as the Range Rover Sport, Audi R8 Etron, F-Type Jaguar and Ford Ranger. The remainder could be components for anything from medical equipment to lawn mowers to boilers.

    RP Tooling March 15 03.JPG








     VMX30Mi with half a mould for a medical

    display cabinet being machined 

    Underpinning manufacture of the mainly aluminium moulds, which are guaranteed for up to 100,000 parts and are often the bridging tool between prototyping and mass production, are 3-axis vertical machining centres (VMCs) exclusively sourced from Hurco.
    RP Tooling started buying from this supplier from the outset and by 2010 had installed seven VMCs. That figure has increased to 12 in the last five years and in addition, the first 5-axis model was installed in 2012, a VMX30U. The last two machines, both VMX30Mi models, were delivered directly to the new facility in Kingswinford. They are of the latest Hurco design with enhancements to machine control and connectivity, significantly lower energy consumption and new livery.
    Frequently, customers mention easy conversational programming at the proprietary Hurco control as a defining reason for buying this make of equipment. In RP Tooling’s case, it is hardly used. Messrs Mitchell and Withers opted for Hurco at the outset due to the rigidity of the machines, which they believed would ensure close tolerance machining of tough tool steels and achieve a good surface finish to minimise hand polishing.
    Staying with one make of machine and control has the added advantage that any of the company’s operators can use any machining centre and work can be swapped between them seamlessly. All are networked with CADCAM systems over an impressive 10 km of cabling at the new factory.
    Another advantage of machine commonality is being able to operate each new model without a learning curve. The Hurcos are so easy to master that RP Tooling personnel have not taken up the supplier’s offer of training after any of the machine purchases, except for two days to learn how to program and operate the 5-axis model.
    RP Tooling March 15 04.JPGThe other side of the firm’s business is subcontract machining of components around the clock in a variety of material from plastics, resin board and wax to aluminium, mild steel and stainless steel. For this type of work, conversational programming using the WinMax software built into the Hurco controls will be used more and more to take the load off RP Tooling’s CADCAM department.
    Mr Withers commented on a major improvement, called Ultimotion, in the latest Hurco control whereby cycles times are reduced by up to 30 per cent. It is down to the patented, software-based look-ahead, which uses an advanced algorithm within WinMax to evaluate the component geometry and motion profile of the cutting cycle to optimise and smooth the tool paths.
    It is especially beneficial when profiling complex features, reducing manufacturing costs and allowing more competitive prices to be quoted. So great are the advantages that all of RP Tooling’s Hurco controls, even those dating back to 2005, will be upgraded this year with the latest Ultimotion software.
    Continuing on the software theme, Mr Withers spoke of two other features that the company uses regularly to good advantage. One is the work offset feature, which is useful when running machines unattended overnight and at weekends. Productivity is maximised by fixturing multiple jobs on a machine table, importing the required individual programs and entering additional G-codes to tell the spindle to redatum automatically after each job has finished.
    Another highlight is the 5-axis software option, NC-Merge, which allows blocks of NC code generated externally to be added to conversational elements created within the control. A typical example of where this is useful is when programming a machine in WinMax to perform simple drilling and tapping cycles and stitching in a 3D engraving cycle created using a CADCAM system.
    Other initiatives coinciding with the relocation to Kingswinford include the installation of a Mitutoyo CNC coordinate measuring machine in the inspection department. In addition, Haimer heat-shrink tooling from Fenn Tool will be deployed throughout the factory by mid-2015 to raise the accuracy of machining and improve the quality of surface finish, especially of mould tools.
    There is a six-week order book for moulds at Kingswinford and some two dozen are progressed through the toolmaking department at any one time. The volume will increase as the injection moulding side of the business increases but RP Tooling’s main growth area is expected to be subcontract machining. It currently accounts for about 10 per cent of turnover but the directors hope to grow this proportion to 40 per cent over the next five years.

    Space exists for another 20 or so Hurco VMCs in the factory and it is likely that some of the next models will be larger 5-axis machines to expand RP Tooling’s scope for 5-sided machining and interpolative profiling of 3D surfaces.




    Published: 3/31/2015  11:59 AM
  • Southern Manufacturing

    Southern Manufacturing 2015 Review

    Southern Manufacturing Goes From Strength to Strength         When investing in new machinery, it is essential that you have confidence that the or...Read moreTags: General Purpose, Machining Centers, Turning Centers, United Kingdom

    Southern Manufacturing Goes From Strength to Strength


    Southern Manufacturing 2015 2.JPG




    When investing in new machinery, it is essential that you have confidence that the orders will keep arriving.  A huge factor in building confidence is to know that everyone else in the industry is busy.  If attendance at Southern Manufacturing is to be used as a gauge to the success of engineering in Southern England, we can be sure that the future is bright.

    Queues had formed from when the doors opened at 9.30 a.m. on Tuesday 10th February. Car parks, aisles and stands stayed busy throughout the show, justifying the organisers decision to extend the exhibition for an additional day this year.  No doubt, delighted to have calmer weather for 2015.
    Southern Manufacturing 2015 1.JPGOn the Hurco stand, we registered an increase in visitors of 15% compared with any previous year and were able to book an order on each day of the show.  On view was a VM10i Machining Centre and a TM6i Lathe, representing the most compact machines within our CNC machine tool range.

    More than 50 control demonstrations were completed during the show.  Vistors continue to be surprised by the simplicity of operation of the WinMax software, which still has great advantages for small volume, or one-off manufacture.

    We still have stock machines available for shipment within this tax year.


    Published: 2/13/2015  7:07 AM
  • Sudami


    Two friends make a business from pleasure     Gerrie de Beer and Sarel Smith are two friends with a passion, and considerable expertise for hunting and...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, South Africa

    Two friends make a business from pleasure



    Gerrie de Beer and Sarel Smith are two friends with a passion, and considerable expertise for hunting and competition rifle shooting. Having practiced the sport for some time they became more aware of the various, repetitive processes all serious shooters had to contend with and the lack of equipment available to assist with these tasks. Both avid rifle specialists engaged in successful competition shooting, they have developed a range of reloading accessories and equipment for the sport.
    After going through the normal design and development stages Gerrie and Sarel set up the Company Sudami X-Ring to produce the parts for their new products. Initial production was on some older CNC equipment and conventional machines. However, as the product has taken off and manufacturing increased Gerrie started to look around for, initially a small CNC Lathe to cope with the increased production. The first Hurco machine, CNC Lathe model TM8i was supplied in November 2013 along with a Hurco Bar-Feeder and after a couple of days training with the Hurco Conversational Programming software Sudami X-Ring were up and running, along with the continued support from Christo Moolman, Hurco South Africa Applications specialist.
    Sudami X Ring.JPG
    The deciding factor in purchasing Hurco was the ease of programming with the Hurco WinMax Conversational control, and, it is since proved the new Hurco Ultimotion motion control has also shown significant savings in production time in respect of one particular part with only 30minutes needed for part programming.
    Just a few months later a second machine was supplied to the Company, in February 2014, this time the Hurco CNC Mill VM10i with Hurco H200 Rotary 4th Axis was introduced to machine other parts and again, with a couple of days training using the Hurco Conversational Programming system in 3 axis and 4th axis modes the machine was producing satisfactorily.
    Almost immediately a third machine was supplied, again in February 2014, this time another Hurco Lathe, model TM6i with Hurco Bar Feeder. And the business continues to move from strength to strength with potential to become a worldwide supplier of a 100% home grown product range. 
    Commenting on Hurco, Gerrie says “Even an architect without any machining experience is able to programming on this machine. What a pleasure.” And Sarel says he is “in heaven with all the new technology at the tip of his fingers instead of the old programming methods he is used to. The saying “you can never teach an old dog new tricks” are totally wrong with HURCO WINMAX. Gone with old in with the new!”.
    Sudami X-Ring also trade as a subcontract engineering Company producing a variety of parts for a growing customer base.
    Gerrie’s background after NDF was studying ND architecture, civil engineering and scaffolding formwork. From there he started his own business contracting work for the SA Air Force, and through his interest in shooting competitively subsequently developed the Sudami X-Ring range of equipment which put him ahead of the pack in the shooting fraternity. Gerrie has received Protea (Springbok) colours for Gallery Rifle and SABU colours and Gauteng North F-Class shooting.
    Sarel joined the SA Defence Force after matriculation and served in the Infantry for three years. After serving a Fitting and Turning apprenticeship with Denel and giving 33years service Sarel was retrenched. He is now the main programmer for Sudami X-Ring and a shooter of excellence in his own right.


    Published: 10/23/2014  11:57 AM
  • Mainpicture

    Hurco reap the benefits of the 4th largest IMTS in history

    114,147 visitors from 112 countries attended IMTS 2014 in Chicago between the 8th and 13th September this year.  The packed aisles and full car parks si...Read moreTags: 5-Axis Machining, Machining Centers, UltiMotion, United Kingdom

    IMTS 2014 Hurco stand.JPG

    114,147 visitors from 112 countries attended IMTS 2014 in Chicago between the 8th and 13th September this year.  The packed aisles and full car parks signified that the US manufacturing economy is in rude health. A recent capital spending survey released by Gardner Business Media forecast a 37 percent increase in metal-cutting machine tool consumption for 2015.

    VMX30UHSi with Erowa Robot Compact.JPGHurco was one of the main beneficiaries of the high attendance.  This year every machine was running under power and cutting metal.  It meant that potential customers could see the machninery operating under similar conditions to an actual workshop.

    Whilst there were several new machine concepts and prototypes on display, it was the current model range that attracted most attention.  With Ultimotion software standard on all machining centres, parts were being cut faster and with an outstanding surface finish.


    Centre-stage of the stand was a VMX30HSi seamlessly integrated with an Erowa Robot Compact System.  Hurco's applications staff were able to show how easy it is to switch between one-off's by day and production runs by night.  The Erowa system adding little more than a metre to the installed width, because of its compact, tower storage design.


    The impressive Darth Vader" helmet was produced in 2 sections on a VMX42SRTi.

    Published: 10/13/2014  5:59 AM
  • Main picture

    EEF Expands Machine Tool Training

        EEF (, the organisation that supports and represents the views of UK manufacturing, engineering and technology-based businesses, open...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, Turning Centers, United Kingdom

     EEF 1.JPG


    EEF (, the organisation that supports and represents the views of UK manufacturing, engineering and technology-based businesses, opened a new, larger technical training centre in Aston, Birmingham last September (2013). As part of the multi-million pound investment, it upgraded the machine tools it uses to train apprentices and upskill the current manufacturing workforce.
    Three VM10i vertical machining centres and a TM6i lathe from Hurco (, together with an offline seat of the manufacturer’s WinMax conversational programming software and a stand-alone control panel, accounted for a large part of the spend. All machine controls are networked to an adjacent computer-aided engineering training department, which has standardised on Delcam prismatic and turning CAM software embedded in SolidWorks CAD.

    Other equipment bought at the same time included an additional CNC lathe, a drilling machine, a press brake and MIG/TIG welding plant. They joined pre-existing CNC lathes and mills, including 14 desktop models, and a number of manual turret mills. The maintenance department was expanded and so also were the classroom areas.

    Part of EEF’s rationale for opening the new training centre was the significant increase in student numbers since the recession. Over 400 apprentices are in full-time or day-release training at any one time, 160 at the Aston centre and the remainder at their employers’ premises. In addition, about 50 mature operators of CNC machine tools are retrained each year.


    EEF 2.JPGEmployees from a wide spread of industries have their skill levels raised, from automotive, aerospace, nuclear and other OEMs to their extensive subcontract supply chains around the Midlands. The organisation delivers services further afield through a network of regional offices in England and Wales.

    In addition to improving practical skills, the courses involve academic studies that lead to City & Guilds or National Diploma qualifications. An increasing number of students are going on to complete HNCs, HNDs and degrees.
    Peter Winebloom, Technical Training Director of EEF, explained, “We selected Hurco for the bulk of our new machine tool investment for three main reasons.  “First was the high quality build of the machines. Another was the supplier’s reputation for good after-sales customer care, including service and training, the latter being especially important for supporting our instructors.


    “The third benefit to us was the versatility of WinMax software. It allows us to teach a powerful conversational programming method in a control that also accepts cycles prepared externally as blocks of G and M code, which can even be merged with conversational elements.

    “Many of our member companies have Hurco machines on their shop floors, so it makes sense to train students on equipment they are likely to encounter afterwards. It is all part of our strategy to support the sector by providing work-ready employees with skills that are fit for purpose.”

    While the existing machining centres at Aston are 3-axis models, Mr Winebloom said that the training centre will install fourth and fifth axes later this year to extend the scope of the training it offers.


    Published: 10/13/2014  5:59 AM
  • Open Day September 14


    This was the type of feedback that was expressed by engineers and students alike when visiting the Hurco Open Day at Kirklees College, Huddersfield in S...Read moreTags: 5-Axis Machining, Machining Centers, Turning Centers, United Kingdom

    Customers at Kirklees.JPG

    This was the type of feedback that was expressed by engineers and students alike when visiting the Hurco Open Day at Kirklees College, Huddersfield in September. 

    Northern Area Sales Manager Cliff Hodgkinson was delighted by the attendance. "We are very fortunate to have such a productive working partnership with Kirklees College".


    turned part - Kirklees.JPG"The Engineering Centre in Turnbridge Road is a superb facility.  We are able to keep 3 brand new machines here on permanent demonstration whilst Kirklees College are able to use them whenever required for student projects and education.  It means that they always have some of the latest, cutting edge technology at their finger-tips without the need for huge capital investment"

    The Open Day was attended by more than 20 customers and an order for a VM20i machining centre was placed during the first hour of the show.

    John Markowycz, Curriculum Team Leader for Engineering Employer Programmes, told us.  "We had another record intake of engineering apprentices.  It confirms that engineering in this area is thriving.  More and more young people are now choosing an apprenticeship as an alternative to university.  It is also becoming more favourable with employers to grow their own apprentices within the company from an early age.

    We are producing well prepared, motivated and interested apprentices. many of whom have hands-on experience of the latest CNC technology".


    Students at Kirklees.JPG
    An extra enhancement for this year's show was the presence of SGS Carbide and EdgeCam. 


    Visitors were able to discuss tooling, programming and machining issues in addition to apprenticeship offerings from the College.

    Hurco displayed a VM10Ui 5-axis machining centre, a VMX24Ti and a TMX8i Lathe.  All three under power and cutting metal.​

    Published: 10/8/2014  7:53 AM
  • VM10Ui at Solihull College

    Advanced Manufacturing Centre - Solihull College

    Advanced Manufacturing Centre at Solihull College invests in a Hurco VM10Ui 5-Axis Machining Centre    Based at the Blossomfield Campus and in close pr...Read moreTags: 5-Axis Machining, Machining Centers, United Kingdom

    Advanced Manufacturing Centre at Solihull College

    invests in a Hurco VM10Ui 5-Axis Machining Centre


    Based at the Blossomfield Campus and in close proximity to several of the largest and most successful manufacturing businesses in the West  Midlands, the new Advanced Manufacturing Centre offers the opportunity for students and technicians to gain hands-on experience in 5-axis machining, digital metrology, robotics and 3D printing.


    Solihull College.JPGRobert Almond, Business Development Manager, (photographed in front of the VM10Ui) within the Advanced Manufacturing Centre, is keen to build links with local industry.


    Mr. Almond said “Everyone knows about the recent success of JLR in our area, but manufacturing in general in the West Midlands is experiencing an exceptional period of growth.  All of the smaller sub-contract businesses are in need of skilled engineers. 


    Solihull College hopes to bridge the gap between skill shortages and academic delivery.  We hope that the ongoing partnership with Hurco will help to attract an increasing number of apprentices to our state-of-the-art facility”.



    Published: 9/18/2014  6:50 AM
  • Ultra high precision parts

    Roeders - Ultra High Precision

    On the path to ultra-high precision "Milling down to the last micron​"   Splitting the micron – as has already been done by some ultra-high pr...Read moreTags: Roeders

    On the path to ultra-high precision "Milling down to the last micron​"


    Splitting the micron – as has already been done by some ultra-high precision machines in the lab – is a task that not even the Röders processing centres can fulfil. Not yet. "But we taking giant steps in this direction – and we are doing so from the right side. With jig grinding, we are already proving what is currently feasible – especially for industrial purposes," says Jürgen Röders, defining the focus of his development. This has resulted in forming tools made of 62 HRC high-speed steel, dies or high-gloss optical moulds for plastic parts.

    Ultra-high precision – machining in steps of 1/10 micron – was surely nothing that Jasper Röders,great-great-great-grandfather of the current director Jürgen Röders, ever imagined. In 1800, tin casting was what counted in the heath between Hanover and Hamburg. Today Röders has a firm place in Soltau: it is the largest industrial employer with 340 employees, 38 trainees and another 450 employees worldwide. And the outlook is good: "We have grown about 30% during the last year," which Jürgen Röders attributes primarily to the quality of his machine tools. For further growth, the managing director also plans further expansion of capacity: By the middle of next year, the air-conditioned production areas in the industrial district of Soltau-Haber are to be expanded once more from 5,000 square metres to 8,000 square metres. The three-story annex for offices and the prefabrication for modules has already been firmly planned. The development department, however, is to remain in the founding premises in the heart of Soltau.
    Roeders article 2.JPGVery fine measurement technology
    Röders only began to build its own HSC machines about 25 years ago. "Even the first machines in 1991 were equipped with our own control units. For me, that was and still is the key to business success and to even more precise machines that can produce still better surfaces and contours," Jürgen Röders comments on the development of his company.
    All told, Röders has already sold more than 2,000 machines, with more than 150 delivered per year. The emphasis is therefore the 85% share of sales for machine tool construction, which puts it well ahead of the company's second mainstay, mould manufacturing for PET bottles, of which Röders produces around 5,000 moulds annually as a service provider."Not too long ago, the ratio was still 2:1. But since mechanical engineering is developing so well, we naturally need to think bigger: not only in terms of capacity, but also our equipment. Last year we upgraded our measurement technology by purchasing a Zeiss Prismo ultra, with which we are now able to measure with micron accuracy."
    Roeders article 3.JPG
    It is true, Jürgen Röders explains, that the manufacturer only guarantees an accuracy of 2 microns. However, due to the air conditioning of the assembly hall, microns can be definitely and reproducibly documented. "This portal measuring machine already enables very fine measurements: When needed, we can measure with a 0.5 mm probe, with a needle, that is, which we can then probe with a minimum adjustable 4 grams of pressure," Jürgen Röders says of the new precision in the measuring room.
    The pivotal point: 32-kHz control
    Meanwhile, length measuring systems with a 4-micron instead of the conventional 20-micron pitch have become the standard for Röders HSC machines; the same applies to the patented vacuum counterbalance for the linear, extremely stiffened Z axis with four guide rails and Y slides bolted to form a triangle, and especially to our in-house-developed control and regulation technology. "The trick is to control the slow-moving axes as well as possible. The focal point in this is our in-house- developed 32-kHz servo control." Its clock frequency is crucial. This is vital for minimizing the position deviation, thus ultimately achieving increased dynamic path accuracies, Jürgen Röders explains. "The other controls available on the market usually provide only 10 kHz. Thanks to our significantly higher frequency, the control gets feedback in the worst case on a milling process malfunction much earlier, for example after 0.03 ms instead of after 0.10 ms." That, according to Jürgen Röders, is clearly noticeable already at the surface contours. Ballscrews would, however, dampen all this away. But linear motors do have their weaknesses. Their natural frequencies are not insignificant factors to be reckoned with when it comes to precision and surface quality.
    "As a machine manufacturer you must master the whole repertoire, be able to handle the frequencies and know filtering options. Without extensive knowledge, real precision is not feasible. We have been working in this area for 20 years. We now have 20 developers who use their skills to advance the programming and design of the control systems, including cards and software, compensation, axis planning as well as the software for any necessary automation."
    Roeders article 4.JPG
    Quadroguide: up to 60,000 RPM or 67 Nm
    Röders is therefore focused on the synchronization of dynamic axes. "Nowadays you can no longer excel in machine construction by offering a broad range of production. That is why most of our mechanical parts are designed by us but manufactured externally according to our specifications. In this way, we can pick the best suppliers of mechanical components, spindles, measuring and cooling systems. These days, the decisive factors are the electronics and the adjustment and compensation of the drive components and axes – in an air-conditioned assembly process. Only in this way can maximum precision and optimal surfaces be achieved." Nevertheless, Jürgen Röders of course optimizes the machine parts, the frame and the individual axes of his machine tools for maximum dynamic performance, precision and rigidity. Two years ago, Röders presented significant improvements with the RXU series and the Quadroguide concept. Here, the Y slide of the 5-axis RXU portal machining centres was connected with the portal on a large surface via eight additional carriages arranged in a rectangular pattern. All axes were equipped with linear or torque drives, high- resolution optical encoders while the Z axes received an even stiffer, square cross-section and four guide rails along the corner edges.
    "In this way we can significantly improve the power transmission to our 30-ton machine frames. Specifically, the rigidity of the Z axis is tripled." An FEM analysis provided Jürgen Röders with proof in numbers by showing that the previous model RXP1200 reacted to a deformation when roughing with a deflection of 0.06 mm, while the new Quadroguide concept in the
    RXU1200 allowed no more than 0.02 mm.
    "This proves that the RXU series offers the ideal basis as a machine for large roughing efficiency in hardened steel or hard to machine materials, but also for jig grinding. For this, we integrate either very strong or very fast spindles with up to 67 Nm in S1 or 60,000 RPM," Jürgen Röders emphasizes. The new RXU 1400 also offers 1,400 mm travel in X, 1,050 in Y and 600 mm in Z, an A and a C axis and can machine workpieces weighing 3 tons. The machines are completed with spindles by Kessler or Fischer which have multiple cooling circuits. "We offer many of other cooling circuits for our machines as an option." Jürgen Röders definitely recommends cooling the track guides. "Some manufacturers only cool the environment. Our cooling circuit, however, runs directly through the screwed-on guide rail. No other manufacturer does this, even though it results in 8 microns less deviation," explains Jürgen Röders.
    Roeders article 6.JPGPerfect synergy: Mill first, then grind to the micron.
    For jig grinding, Röders now offers three machine designs: the 3- and 5-axis RXU and RXP machining centres based on linear direct drives and roller guides. There is also the 3-axis RHP machine concept, of which Jürgen Röders expects will offer significant precision benefits. "In particular, the hydrostatic guides reduce friction to a great degree and result in maximum smoothness, since the axes virtually run by themselves thanks to their oil bearings. This minimized friction is of course ideal for jig grinding, since less friction resistance obviously means less energy expenditure, power and heat." Thus, on Röders standard machines, accuracies of <1 micron and surface accuracies of <0.01 microns can be manufactured without any problems. The great advantage is, as Jürgen Röders points out, that his very precise standard machines can already feed very accurately.
    "Milling cutters need chip volume. A few hundredths of a millimetre at a minimum. So we start by cutting the contour up to an oversize of about 20 microns. We grind the rest with mounted points in up to 30 cycles, including some final cycles with no feed, which only serve to compensate the elasticity of the grinding tool. The mounted points oscillate by an upward and downward movement of the Z axis while rotating at up to 60,000 RPM.
    Depending on the temperature and the equipment, you can feed in 1 or 2 microns, thus being able to finish wonderful surfaces and contours in a single clamping on one machine with the highest precision. This is much faster than having to grind allowances of a few hundredths as with other machine concepts," Jürgen Röders says, making the case for his very productive mill-first-then-grind- and-finish strategy. "Our machines really turn out the parts. Grinding is limited to the absolute minimum" An additional plus for contour accuracy is provided by dressing and measuring the mounted point on the machine – and again before the final grinding cycles if this is required by the processing.
    Roeders article 1.JPG
    For jig grinding, Jürgen Röders recommends cooling the guide rails. "With up to 300 strokes per minute, the Z axis naturally heats up and expands in the X direction by up to 8 microns. Due to the temperature control of the Z guides, we can limit this expansion to less than 1 micron."
    Jig grinding on the Grindtec, innovations for the AMB
    Röders presented its jig grinding machine RXP500 with its 60,000 RPM for the first time at this year's Grindtec in Augsburg. The machine manufacturer promises more innovations for the third quarter at the AMB: "Our machines now cover X paths in the range of 400 to 1,400 mm. We are very
    comfortable with this. We can, however, already promise further performance gains – that is, still more precision leading to processing results with even better surfaces. To do this, we are looking into the possibility of integrating a 90,000 RPM spindle into our machine concepts. Currently, 60,000 RPM is the maximum. This would, of course, be another great leap ahead," Jürgen Röders emphasizes. Even better, optical surfaces in particular could be made this way. To this end, smaller tool holders down to HSK 20 are needed, as well as air-bearing spindles. "Of course, such designs already exist as UP machines, but they are usually relatively inefficient due to long set-up times.
    Roeders article 7.JPGSince our point of departure is the CNC machine tool, we naturally follow the more productive approach: We build machine tools so that our customers can produce parts quickly and accurately – that is, set up the parts quickly and then remove them just as quickly. All in all, we are already progressing quite well on the road to the "productive ultra-precision machine tool". This has been confirmed time and again by our customers, who say: Buy Röders if you want to have high precision."

    Article by Harald Klieber

    Published: 7/22/2014  10:33 AM
  • Fishing reel


      HIGH PRECISION FISHING REEL COMPONENTS MACHINED ON A VM10i AT INGENICO    Shaugn Kornau, is the owner and driving force behind Ingenico. He is also...Read moreTags: International, Machining Centers, South Africa, General Purpose





    Shaugn Kornau, is the owner and driving force behind Ingenico. He is also the designer and manufacturer of a new line of Fishing Reels. Hurco South Africa are proud to be associated with Companies such as Shaughn's and very pleased to have been able to supply a machine that suits his production. The compact footprint was a major attraction, especially with the large working area. Ingenico needed simple conversational programming in 4 axes and very good surface finish straight off the machine. The Hurco VM10i with H200 4th Axis Rotary was chosen as the preferred machine for this application. The part above is just one example of the type of work that they are able to produce.  

    Published: 7/15/2014  11:08 AM
  • Darren Grainger

    Hi-Spec Precision Engineering

      5-AXIS MACHINING EXPANDS CUSTOMER BASE AND RAISES PRODUCTIVITY       Ten CNC machine tools have been installed in as many years at Rutland subcontr...Read moreTags: General Purpose, 5-Axis Machining, Machining Centers, United Kingdom




     Hi- Spec 1.JPG

    Ten CNC machine tools have been installed in as many years at Rutland subcontractor, Hi-Spec Precision Engineering, to support year-on-year growth of between 20 and 30 per cent. The latest machine to arrive on the shop floor, in August 2013, was the company’s first 5-axis vertical machining centre. It is a trunnion-type Hurco VM10U, which joined two 4-axis models from the same supplier.

    Hi-Spec director, Darren Grainger said, “We invested in 5-axis capacity for two reasons. First, we are keen to expand our business by carrying out fully interpolative machining that we were previously unable to take on.

    “Secondly, we wanted to produce components with tightly toleranced features more efficiently, in fewer set-ups and with less operator attendance, using 3-plus-2-axis strategies.  “In this way, we are able to make a reasonable profit on jobs where margins were previously very slim.”

    Mr Grainger was formerly technical manager at a hydraulics manufacturer and brought those skills with him when he started his subcontract business in Market Overton in 2004. His brother Gavin, father, mother and sister-in-law all help in the business, which still derives 60 per cent of its turnover from the hydraulics sector. Components machined at the Market Overton factory frequently find their way into hydraulic actuators and valves, rock crushers and access platforms. Automotive and agricultural parts are also routinely produced.
    Hi-Spec 6.JPG
    The variety of materials processed is extensive, ranging from free-cutting and mild steels, EN8, 16T, 19T and 24T alloy steels, and 303, 304 and 316 stainless steel to bronze, brass, aluminium and plastics. Batch sizes range from one-off to hundreds for prismatic machining, while turned parts can be produced in their thousands. Customers stretch from the south coast of England across to Norfolk and as far north as Scotland.
    The first Hurco machining centre to be installed was a VM1 fitted with an indexing head, which arrived in 2009 and was soon filled with work. Despite the recession, this and subsequent years were good for Hi-Spec, which enjoyed double-digit growth throughout.
    Even though there were other makes of VMC on-site, the Hurco machine was selected as it was ideal in terms of its large machining volume (660 x 356 x 457 mm) in a small footprint, which Mr Grainger said is little more than that of a turret mill. A compact machine was an advantage, as space is limited in the factory.
    A video of the VM1 in operation was so impressive that it was purchased without anyone at Hi-Spec seeing an actual machine. An additional advantage was the WinMax software, which allows rapid conversational programming. As 3-axis programs are entered at the control 95 per cent of the time at Hi-Spec, this is of major benefit to the company.
    The first Hurco machine installation was so successful that a VM10 model with slightly larger linear traverses was added in November 2011. It included additional functionality within WinMax, such as the ability to automatically enter code for single- and multi-start thread milling, which has proved useful to Hi-Spec.
    Hi-Spec 8.JPG

    Since the two machines were installed, swarf augers have been retrofitted to both and the control software has been upgraded to WinMax Version 9. Mr Grainger pointed out that its Ultimotion software feature with 10,000-block look-ahead makes the machines noticeably faster and more productive, even on 3+2-axis jobs.
    Similarly, with the latest 5-axis purchase, almost all cycles are programmed on the shop floor if they involve positioning and clamping the two rotary axes. Only fully interpolative cycles are programmed using a OneCNC 5-axis CADCAM package.

    The Hurco VM10U was operational as soon as it was commissioned. The first component to undergo simultaneous 5-axis machining was a 300 mm diameter bearing pad for a rock crusher, made from a cast disc of PB1 phosphor-bronze worth £400.

    Darren Grainger was confident putting such a job on his first-ever 5-axis machine after just a few days’ training at Market Overton, which also served to highlight extra ways to extract even more productivity from the 4-axis machines. Gavin Grainger, a skilled fabricator with no previous experience of CNC before joining Darren in 2008, also quickly became adept at using WinMax software.

    Since the first VM10Ui was installed, Hi-Spec has taken on so much work for the 5-axis machine that in June 2014 the company had no option but to order a second, identical model from Hurco to keep up with customer demand. Purchase of a bigger 3-axis Hurco VMC is also envisaged to match larger capacity lathes that Hi-Spec is installing.


    Photos: 1 - Director Darren Grainger
                2 - Simultaneous 5 axis machining used to produce bronze bearing pad for rock crusher
                3 - Hinge pivot component for luxury yachts machined on the VM10U


    Published: 6/20/2014  10:14 AM
  • Alfa Machine Kourtoglou SA Greece

      Alfa Machine Kourtoglou SA , a leader in manufacturing packaging machinery, with many years of experience in domestic and international markets, has,  ...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, International


    Alfa Machine Kourtoglou SA , a leader in manufacturing packaging machinery, with many years of experience in domestic and international markets, has,  as part of the upgrade and expansion of mechanical equipment , purchased and installed 3 new Hurco VMX30Ti Machining Centres  at its factory.
    The  "i" range,  which includes the above models, is the new range of machining centres and CNC lathes from Hurco.  The "i" represents the word "intelligent" and indicates the company's commitment to upgrading its latest machine range.
    All new models feature Win Max 9 software. This release includes software that can check and look ahead up to 10.000 blocks. This gives results of 30% faster cutting times and a better finish.
    The global winner for their easy to use CNC control with dual colour display is built on the Windows platform with continuous updates.


    ''After so many years in the machine shop I have worked on almost all computers in the  market", says factory foreman M. Psarros.  "There are no other controls with the capabilities of WinMax 9, it really is a technological diamond. ''

    The Hurco machines are of rigid, fine cast iron construction, and are powered by a 12,000 rpm tigh torque spindle and have a 24 station ATC.

    These machines were delivered and were working immediately, and have already proved to be a welcome addition to the  production line of the factory.


    Published: 5/22/2014  10:39 AM
  • Machining Techniques

    SUBCONTRACTOR'S EARLY ADOPTION OF 5-AXIS MACHINING PAYS DIVIDENDS Many jobs are turned round one-third faster       In 2004, Machining Techniques was ...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, 5-Axis Machining, United Kingdom


    Many jobs are turned round one-third faster 


    Machining Techniques 1.JPG


    In 2004, Machining Techniques was one of the first subcontractors on Tyneside to wholeheartedly adopt 5-axis machining. It allowed the family-run firm in South Shields to carve out a niche for itself, one that still exists today. To begin with, founder and managing director, Dave Ditchburn, bought second-hand machines which he programmed in 3+2 mode for 5-sided machining, but has recently progressed to buying new plant from Hurco.


    Savings in floor-to-floor time are dramatic compared with using 3-axis and 4-axis machines. A typical job put on Machining Techniques' Hurco VMX42U 5-axis machine is a knee prosthetic made from 60 mm diameter aluminium bar. Mr Ditchburn previously manufactured the part on a 3-axis machining centre in six separate operations. Now, using the fourth and fifth axes on the Hurco to position the prosthetic, the number of set-ups has been reduced to two, resulting in a floor-to-floor time saving of around one-third.


    Machining Techniques 2.JPG

    An aluminium prosthetic

    being machined on the VMX42U

     Total machining time is approximately similar, but there is a big reduction in handling time. This not only speeds production but also translates into better accuracy, as fewer refixturings result in less accumulative error and there is reduced potential for human error.
    Another 5-sided component frequently put on the subcontractor's smaller Hurco VMX30U, installed in January 2013, is an aluminium manifold for a hydraulic leg prosthetic. Seven set-ups have been reduced to two and tolerances held are considerably better, to within ± 10 microns dimensionally and ± 2 seconds of arc perpendicularity.
    A large proportion of jobs for the medical and scientific sectors fall within the machine's 762 x 508 x 520 mm working volume, leaving the 1,067 x 610 x 520 mm VMX42U free to produce bigger parts for the oil and gas industry and general engineering sector.
    Both Hurcos are fitted with 40-station tool magazines instead of the standard 20 so that sufficient tools are always available to complete even the most complex of jobs. Renishaw tool setting and part probing was pre-installed on both machines to speed setting and minimise spindle downtime between batch runs.
    Around 60 per cent of components are machined from solid aluminium by the Tyneside subcontractor, although it regularly produces parts in materials ranging from plastics and brass to high tensile steel (eg 4140), stainless steel and tough nickel alloys. Medical work, from prosthetic limb components to structural parts for X-ray machines, accounts for about half of the subcontractors business.
    Mr Ditchburn said, "Although 5-axis machining centres cost a little more to buy, which means you have to charge a higher hourly rate, you can produce parts more quickly. "We are able to quote customers lower prices and win more business, as jobs do not take so long, yet at the same time make better margins. "So we like to stand back and look at every new job, as well as those currently being made on our other machines, to see if we can put it on one of our 5-axis centres."
    The larger VXM42U was delivered from the Hurco stand at MACH 2010. Mr Ditchburn reviewed 5-axis machines from five potential suppliers but decided on the Hurco for two reasons.


    Machining Techniques 7.JPG
    A series of complex components

    produced on Hurco 5 axis machines 

    First, it was keenly priced for a true 5-axis machine, ie one designed and built as such, rather than as a 3-axis machine with a bolt-on compound table. He cited problems of trailing cables and swarf traps with the latter configuration.


    Second, the twin-screen control powered by Windows-based WinMax software allows him and the other setter-operators to program 3+2-axis work at the machine, which is the norm at the South Shields factory, leaving the company’s CAD/CAM system free to concentrate on preparing cutting cycles for more complex work.
    He mentioned a feature in the control that is especially useful in simplifying and speeding the conversational programming of 3+2-axis / 5-sided cycles, namely 'transform plane'. It is necessary to define a datum only once and the software automatically determines all datums in the other planes. In essence, it changes 5-axis programming back to 2.5D programming on a 3-axis mill, eliminating the requirement to factor in the tilting and rotating motions.
    Among other features of WinMax that Mr Ditchburn likes is ‘Conversational NC Merge’, which allows parts of a cycle written conversationally to be combined with G-code elements produced off-line.
    Additionally, the latest version of Hurco's software includes 'Industry Standard NC', which allows the controls to run programs prepared for Machining Techniques' 3-axis and 4-axis machining centres equipped with other manufacturers' CNC systems. It is useful if no complex jobs need to be machined at any given time, bearing in mind that currently 40 per cent of throughput at South Shields does not involve 5-axis cycles.
    Mr Ditchburn continued, "WinMax saves a lot of time, up to an hour on some set-ups. With batch sizes small, from 50-off down to ones and twos, it is common for us to put three or four different jobs on a machine per day, so the benefit to us in terms of maximising spindle uptime is huge.
    "People tend to be put off by the apparent complexity of 5-axis programming, but with Hurco's WinMax control it is the easiest thing in the world. Even our CNC lathe operators and apprentice, Andrew Gray, were quickly able to learn how to use it.


    "It is very difficult to find experienced setter / operators locally, so we plan to grow our own skills base by taking on another apprentice during the first half of 2014. We expect that he too will become self-sufficient faster than if he were using another manufacturers' control."


    Published: 2/21/2014  10:11 AM

      Orders for 10 machining centres and CNC lathes to the value of £500,000 were taken by Hurco Europe at its three-day open house in December 2013, during...Read moreTags: 5-Axis Machining, General Purpose, Machining Centers, Turning Centers, United Kingdom

     December 13 Open House replace 1138.2.JPG

    Orders for 10 machining centres and CNC lathes to the value of £500,000 were taken by Hurco Europe at its three-day open house in December 2013, during which it welcomed 75 engineers from 50 manufacturing companies.

    David Waghorn, Managing Director, commented, "It capped a very successful year, which saw 130 companies buying our machines for the first time, representing 42 per cent of annual sales.
    "We are also grateful for repeat orders from our established customer base for helping to boost to our 2013 turnover to within a whisker of our best ever year.
    "A contributory factor was an increase in CNC lathe sales, up 57 per cent on last year. Five-axis machining centre sales were also at a higher level than in 2012."He added that the new appearance of Hurco machines and the availability of higher speed profiling (Ultimotion) and remote machine surveillance (Ultimonitor) software within the manufacturer's proprietary WinMax control, now on Version 9, all had a positive effect on business. These and other enhanced capabilities, notably full industry-standard NC compatibility including for 5-axis cycles, are not only helping to drive new machines sales but are also giving Hurco engineers a busy time scheduling control upgrades.
    December 12 Open house 1.JPG
    The open house marked the UK debut of the VMX42SRTi 5-axis machining centre with B-axis head and flush table, as well as the VMX24HSi 3-axis, high-speed model with 18,000 spindle and 45 m/min rapids. The latter machine is the first in Hurco's range to use the HSK toolholder interface, specifically HSK 63-A. More machines will be equipped with this rigid, hollow-shank taper in the coming years.
    There were no German-built Röders high-speed, high precision machining centres in evidence this time, although sales in the UK and Ireland of this Hurco agency line remain buoyant. Deliveries to mouldmakers are holding up well, while special production applications like turbocharger and graphite machining are increasing.

    December 13 Open House 3.JPG

    CNC Lathe sales rose in 2013 

    Five-axis Röders models now account for more than 50 per cent of sales. The manufacturer is constantly adding machines of higher capacity to its range, has increased spindle power across the board, and has standardised on linear motors in X, Y and Z and direct drives for all rotary axes.


    As usual, products and services from a number of partner companies were promoted at the open house, including CADCAM software from Open Mind and Delcam; tooling from SGS, Gewefa, and PCM; coolant and cutting oils from MacInnes; Romheld and 1st MTA / Kitagawa workholding equipment and rotary tables; Renishaw probing solutions; and coolant extraction and filtration systems from Filtermist


    In addition, Hydrafeed exhibited an MV65 barfeed unit, the company recently having installed its third HURCO machining centre at its production facility in Milton Keynes.


    Published: 12/18/2013  10:16 AM
  • Kirklees Open Day

    Kirklees Open Day Proves Hugely Popular

      A total of 36 visitors from 21 companies attended the Hurco Open Day at Kirklees College on Thursday 7th November 2013.   This was the first event of...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, 5-Axis Machining, United Kingdom

     Kirklees Open House 1.JPG

    A total of 36 visitors from 21 companies attended the Hurco Open Day at Kirklees College on Thursday 7th November 2013.

    This was the first event of its kind to be held within the new CNC machining department that forms part of the Kirklees College Engineering Centre on Turnbridge Road, Huddersfield.
    Kirklees Open House 2.JPG

    Of particular interest to all visitors was the Hurco VM10Ui machining centre with its compact footprint and full 5 axis machining capability.  The demonstration was able to show how easily conversational programming could be used to make a complex, 5 sided component without the use of an external CAD/CAM system.
    Throughout the day, students took time to get involved with cutting demonstrations, many of whom are now already part way to becoming machine operators, and many others, enthusiastic to learn about manufacturing methods that they will experience when they move into industry.
    Visitors were a mixture of experienced Hurco users keen to see the latest technology and engineering businesses local to Hudderesfield, wanting to understand how the joint venture between Hurco and Kirklees College can best benefit their apprentices.
    Although no orders were placed during the day, sales quotations resulted from every discussion.
     Kirklees Open House 3.JPG

    Cliff Hodgkinson, Northern Area Sales Manager for Hurco summed up his experience. "The Open Day has proven to be a huge success. There is clearly a very active manufacturing base around Huddersfield.  We are looking forward to doing an increasing number of demonstrations and training events at this facility.  Furthermore, I now have several new enquiries that we anticipate will result in machine sales over the coming weeks".


    Published: 11/19/2013  7:36 AM
  • U & L Engineering

    Setting new capabilities in machining at U & L Engineering      Rebuilding and reconditioning is an important line of business for users of constru...Read moreTags: South Africa, Turning Centers, International

    Setting new capabilities in machining at U & L Engineering


    TM12 at U and L Engineering.JPG


    Rebuilding and reconditioning is an important line of business for users of construction, earth-moving and agricultural equipment. For the equipment owners and operators, rebuilding makes economic sense, particularly with regard to the hydraulic components. Since 2006, rebuilding has been in such demand at U & L Engineering that it has now added CNC machining capabilities to its shop, in order to fulfill its requirements.

    Among the critical components now installed at U & L Engineering is a Hurco TM12 CNC heavy duty lathe that has a travel of 305 x 1016 mm, a maximum turning diameter of 550 mm, turning length of 1000 mm, a bar capacity of 102 mm and a spindle of 2.8k, 604 Nm @ 870 rpm.
    “This is the biggest lathe sold by Hurco in South Africa and it is one of the first machines to be installed in South Africa with the re-branded livery, that was only launched a few months ago,” said Ulrich Olivier U & L Engineering’s owner.
    “We chose the Hurco because of the power and flexibility of the integrated Hurco control powered by WinMax®. The control can be programmed on the shop floor with Hurco's patented conversational programming or industry standard NC,” continued Olivier.
    The second major capital equipment purchase by U & L this year is a Sunnen HTA-4100 horizontal tube hone with a four metre stroke, allowing the company to resurface scratched and rusted cylinder barrels as well as manufacturing new barrels. The machine comes equipped with a powerful Siemens PLC with colour touch screen controls, electrical functions of the system in conjunction with standard push buttons and a joystick.
    “This is the first time that we have ventured into the CNC domain. It became necessary for us to go this route because of the increased volume of orders that the company has experienced over the last few years. Bringing this previously outsourced machining work in-house has helped U & L to increase its revenues, add new staff and to improve delivery schedules and costs for customers.”  “These were the principles that the company was founded on in 2006 and we intend to maintain these principles going forward.”
    The main focus of U & L Engineering today is refurbishing hydraulic cylinders. However, it was not so for the company in the beginning. At the tender age of 24 Olivier believed that he could start his own company, even if he did not have a product that he could sell or offer a service that was necessary to an end user. What he did realise was that there was a need for refurbishing of wear parts and better still if he could do it ‘on the fly’ or onsite.
    "Simple economics dictate that there are always going to be customers who are going to be rebuilding machines, especially in this economic climate. We have customers who are tearing down machines in the field and completely rebuilding them.”
    “When I started I did not seek any work that required elaborate or complicated machining operations. It was simple cutting, turning and welding repairs to components that could be easily and quickly refurbished and returned to the customer. Of course this is the source of other more complicated and bigger requests and if I was going to progress then I would have to increase my service offerings.”
    “Before I knew it I was renting a small factory in Anderbolt, Boksburg, took on my first two employees and purchased my own machines. One staff member was a machinist and the other was a turner and we acquired some conventional machines. That was in 2007.”
    “I also purchased my first Sir Meccanica portable line boring and welding equipment. This gave us the opportunity to do the repairs or refurbishment onsite whereby we would carry out boring, overlay welding on inside and outside surfaces, and drilling and tapping operations. Offering this service eliminated the need to disassemble the equipment, reduced down time and avoided costly transport to a repair shop.”
    “This side of the business has kept on growing over the years and compliments the machine shop in many ways. We now have seven sets of the Sir Meccanica equipment of varying sizes and configurations for different applications.”
    “More importantly we have purchased two service vans that are permanently on the road servicing clients, both locally and cross border. You will be surprised at the locations that our vans have travelled to and what repair work they have carried out.”Hydraulic cylinders  Hydraulic cylinders are used in a multitude of applications and come in a number of different sizes. We have been repairing, refurbishing, rebuilding and manufacturing new hydraulic cylinders for several years including hydraulic cylinders for challenging applications in the most difficult of environmental conditions. We rebuild to OEM spec and now that we have the Sunnen HTA-4100 horizontal tube hone we can salvage a cylinder with honing, and the cost and time for the customer is a fraction of replacement. In the current economy, customers appreciate this."
    "We can replace the barrel, rod, rod eyes, head/seal areas, hydraulic lines and connections, or custom-fabricate new cylinders to spec," explained Olivier.  “We have worked on Sumitomo, Caterpillar, Hitachi, Komatsu, Terex, Kawasaki, Volvo Bell, Foxton, Doosan and Liebherr cylinders to name a few. On average we turn out about 130 a month and are looking to increase this figure. Depending on what has to be done our turnaround time is three to four days.”  “Stripping and assembly has its own building which also houses the test bench. All cylinders are supplied with a test certificate.”
    “We have also built a new 600 m² building to house the Hurco lathe and the Sunnen tube hone, with a view to increasing our CNC machining capacity in the future. We installed a 15 ton capacity crane so we are well catered for in this area. It cost us over R400 000 to upgrade our electricity capacity, taking it from 100 amp to 250 amps.”
    “The old machine shop consists of six conventional lathes all equipped with DROs and we can turn up to three metres between centres, a TOS horizontal boring mill, as well as a Scharman 120 boring machine.”
    “When repairing, refurbishing, rebuilding and manufacturing new hydraulic cylinders there are a number of ancillary components that need to be replaced or repaired. These include bushes, pins and others. Most of this work was shopped out but now that we have the Hurco this will all be done in-house. We have taken the decision not to manufacture on order but rather hold stock on these smaller components and this is where the Hurco will be very handy. It will give us the opportunity to machine our own shafts. Ultimately we are going to be able to machine to tighter tolerances, machine more and varied components and bring our costs down which we will pass onto the customers.”
    “We are not limited to the cylinders and these components. We still refurbish a number of other wear parts, for example buckets, h-frames, dippers and other mining and construction equipment wear parts. A client can deliver his machine to us and we will strip, repair and assemble so they don’t have to have the hassle of finding service centres to complete the different operations.”
    “If we need any grinding work done my wife runs a precision grinding shop in Apex Industrial, Gauteng so we send her the work.”
    About U & L Engineering
    When visiting U & L Engineering you do not get the impression that there is a relatively newly established machining and service shop that is on the rise because directions are to a small holding in Putfontein, Benoni, Gauteng. But once you drive down the gravel road, past the high walls and gates you get a very different impression. The company was formed in 2006 by Ulrich Olivier and in 2007 he employed his first two staff members. That same year Olivier rented his first factory in Anderbolt, Boksburg, Gauteng and purchased his initial manufacturing equipment.
    In 2008 the company moved to the small holding taking up occupation in three relatively small garages. In 2009 the company built a 300 m² building, and in 2012 took occupation of a 320 m² building followed by a further expansion of a 600 m² building.  The company now employs 35 staff, which includes six turners, one machinist, three boilermakers, nine fitters, two job inspectors and one honing machinist.
    Besides running a machine shop that caters for most of its needs the company is very active in onsite machining and welding, carries a stock of components, bar and tube and has an all important modern test bench to certify the hydraulic cylinders it has repaired, refurbished, rebuilt or manufactured.
    For further details contact U & L Engineering on 082 311 6045.


    Published: 11/5/2013  5:15 AM
  • Philip James Precision Engineering Ltd

    5-Axis Hurco Simplifies Production of Aluminium Car Parts Knuckle bores machined in 20 minutes rather than 2.5 hours     October 2013 is when the ne...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, United Kingdom, 5-Axis Machining

    5-Axis Hurco Simplifies Production of Aluminium Car Parts

    Knuckle bores machined in 20 minutes rather than 2.5 hours


    Philip James 2.JPG


    October 2013 is when the new, limited edition Jaguar XKR-S GT hits the streets, but it may be difficult to spot, as JLR has allocated only 10 for sale in the UK. Coventry subcontract machinists, Philip James, produced the front steering knuckles for the £135,000, five-litre, V8 coupe on a line of six Hurco 3-axis machining centres.
    More usually, the subcontractor machines prototype suspension, chassis and steering components for practically every current and future make of Jaguar, Range Rover and Land Rover, including the new L550, nicknamed Baby Discovery. Ones and twos up to 50-off are normally produced.  Knuckles in particular require intensive milling. They start as a solid round aluminium billet that is typically reduced from 94 kg to less than 6 kg when the part is fully machined. For subsequent volume production, the components are produced from aluminium forgings – unless it is for a small run of cars like the
    XKR-S GT.
    Philip Whitehouse, Managing Director of Philip James, stated, "One of the front knuckles for JLR was proving problematic to machine. "While most of the milling and drilling could be carried out on one of our 3-axis Hurcos, the component then had to be transferred to a CNC jig borer for five holes to be interpolated at three different angles – and therefore in three set-ups.
    "We decided to buy a Hurco VMX42SR 5-axis machining centre to interpolate all the holes to within ± 10 microns in one automatic, 20-minute cycle, much faster than the two and a half hours it used to take on the jig borer."

    Philip James 5.JPG 

     VM20i used for milling and drilling steering knuckles

    Apart from decreasing the cycle time, the new 5-axis process eliminates the need to use a tooling hole for component alignment prior to boring. One-hit machining on the Hurco also allows Philip James to swap between producing the two hands more quickly. This is important, as JLR often cannot wait for a full batch of, say, 20 left-hand and the same number of right-hand knuckles to be delivered in one consignment. Faster changeovers increase productivity by minimising spindle idle time.

    The Hurco VMX42SR is the first 5-axis machining centre at Philip James.
    Mr Whitehouse asked the manufacturer to modify the machine so that the B-axis head can be tilted past horizontal to allow cutter access for all JLR knuckle bores to be interpolated in one hit. 
    The required negative angle was -8 degrees. Hurco engineers removed the limit switch on the head, allowing it to tilt up to -20 degrees. So other features like undercut faces can also be machined without repositioning the part on an angle plate, again saving time and improving accuracy.
    The modification means that the head guarding comes close to the table and especially near to a laser tool measuring device. To avoid any chance of collision, the subcontractor used Work NC computer aided manufacturing (CAM) software from Sescoi to program the machining cycle and check for interference.
    Although the knuckle application requires 3+2 axis machining, the VMX42SR is capable of full 5-axis cycles. Mr Whitehouse is hopeful that it will attract additional work from the aerospace and motorsport sectors and also pointed out that it will reduce the need to use expensive form cutters.
    Shop floor programming suits small batch machining
    Founded by Philip Whitehouse and James Parry in 1978, the firm started out as a manufacturer of special purpose machinery used for production in diverse industries, from business machinery to cars. It gradually moved into subcontract supply of prototype and low volume parts to a range of sectors, one important customer being machine tool manufacturer, Cincinatti, until the closure of its Birmingham factory in 2007.
    In view of the relationship, it is unsurprising that Philip James became a user of Cincinatti machining centres. The Acramatic control fitted to the machines was popular with the subcontractor's operators, due to its clear and intuitive navigation which made it easy for less experienced users to master a complex mix of control functions.
    At around the time of the Cincinatti factory's demise and as significant contracts from elsewhere started to come in, Mr Whitehouse looked around for another make of machine that would be easy to program on the shop floor, without recourse to G-codes. Hurco's Ultimax, now WinMax, conversational control software was deemed to be superior to others on the market. It was the deciding factor when placing orders for a Hurco VM1 vertical machining centre and a TM8 lathe.
    Philip James 3.JPG

    Philip Whitehouse Managing Director
    It was helpful that one of Philip James' operators, from previous employment, had experience of operating machines from this supplier. The transition was therefore smooth and the other shop floor staff were quick to familiarise themselves with the software.  Mr Whitehouse continued, "The last thing you want when producing just a few components is to spend hours programming the job at the control.  "In our environment, we find that WinMax software on the machining centres and lathes allows fast generation of programs and the same is true of the 5-axis Hurco as well for 3+2 axis cycles."
    Availability of the first two Hurcos brought in enquiries for more work, but the machines themselves were tied up, and largely still are, making stainless steel parts for the oil and gas industry. Investment in further machining centres and lathes from the same supplier followed in 2008 and 2010, prior to the 5-axis machine installation in October 2012.


    Much of the increase in work derives from JLR, although contracts tend to peak during the development phase of a new model. The subcontractor relies on work from the petrochemical industry and also from aerospace to fill the gaps. For these contracts, a range of tough metals from 316 stainless steel to Duplex and Inconel for aerospace parts are machined on the Hurcos, sometimes to tolerances as tight as ± 5 microns.


    Published: 10/31/2013  10:16 AM
  • EMO 2013 REVIEW

    EMO 2013 REVIEW

    'INTELLIGENT' MACHINING CENTRE TAKES EMO BY STORM       Of more than 30 machines sold from the Hurco stand at EMO 2013, nine were the new 5-axis VMX42...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, United Kingdom, UltiMotion, 5-Axis Machining






    Of more than 30 machines sold from the Hurco stand at EMO 2013, nine were the new 5-axis VMX42SRTi vertical machining centre with swivelling B-axis head, which was making its European debut.
    Three other sizes of 5-axis VMC in the manufacturer's latest 'i' series of intelligent machines were also sold. All feature enhancements to machine control and connectivity as well as significantly reduced power consumption compared with earlier models.  Michael Auer, the Hurco manager in charge of the stand in Hannover, said, "The business climate appears to be very positive at the moment and there are strong signs that the European economy is coming out of recession.  "We welcomed 1,100 visitors onto our 400 m2 stand and were delighted with the interest shown in our products and the level of business it generated."

    Managing director of the company's UK headquarters, David Waghorn, commented, "There were quite a few visitors from Britain this year, which should generate extra business for us.  "People seem to be receptive to the improved design of our latest machining centres and lathes – and our WinMax conversational control continues to be a major selling point.
    "This year's show was the first EMO where visitors were able to see our patented UltiMotion software in action, with its dynamic look-ahead up to 10,000 blocks, allowing 25 to 30 per cent faster cycle times and improved surface finish.  "Even the control hardware on our 'i'-series machines has been enhanced to include a solid state hard drive and to simplify servicing, making it even more reliable than before."

    Published: 9/25/2013  9:09 AM
  • Hurco Announce Partnership with Kirklees College

    Hurco Announce Partnership with Kirklees College

        Three brand new Hurco machines, a TM8i Lathe, VMX30Mi 3-axis Machining Centre and VM10Ui 5-axis Machining Centre have been installed at the new st...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, General Purpose, United Kingdom, 5-Axis Machining, Turning Centers

    Kirklees College 1.JPG


    Three brand new Hurco machines, a TM8i Lathe, VMX30Mi 3-axis Machining Centre and VM10Ui 5-axis Machining Centre have been installed at the new state-of-the-art specialist engineering and motor vehicle training centre on Turnbridge Road, just off St. Andrews Road in Huddersfield.


    Kirklees College specialises in giving apprentices the type of vocational training that industry requires.  An apprenticeship is a work based training programme designed to meet the needs of employers, leading to nationally recognised qualifications.  Partnerships with leading industrial companies are therefore essential.  The partnership with Hurco is a perfect example.  It allows trainees to gain hands on experience using the latest CNC controls and machinery.
    Kirklees College 3.JPG
    The Hurco WinMax control is particularly well suited to a college environment, because it can accept data in so many different formats.  This allows students to programme machines using NC code, conversational programming from a sketch or drawing, or direct on the control from dxf.
    "The demand for engineering apprenticeships is definitely on the up" says John Markowycz, Curriculum Team Leader for Engineering Employer Programmes.  "The last two years has seen a 50% increase in apprenticeship uptake in engineering.  School leavers are once again looking at engineering as an interesting and profitable future career".
    Kirklees College is currently training apprentices from larger manufacturers such as Borg Warner, Leeds Bronze and Cummins Turbo Technologies, but are also keen to highlight that many smaller, local businesses such as Highfield Gears and Tom Brown Engineering benefit from the type of training provided.
    Ideally situated close to the M62 in Huddersfield, Hurco will also use Kirklees College as a base for its Northern based engineers to carry out testing-time studies and machine demonstrations.
    Kirklees College 1.JPG 
    Kirklees College Engineering Centre
    Turnbridge Road
    Off St. Andrews Road
    Huddersfield HD1 6AG

    Published: 9/13/2013  7:45 AM
  • Electron Beam Processes

    Electron Beam Processes

    SHOP FLOOR PROGRAMMING SUITS SMALL BATCH SIZES Hurco machining and turning centres produce accurate deep sea components from nickel alloys   One appl...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, Turning Centers, United Kingdom


    Hurco machining and turning centres produce accurate

    deep sea components from nickel alloys

    One application in particular epitomises the stringent quality control that production staff at Electron Beam Processes has to maintain. It concerns the machining of welded, nickel alloy chassis and tube assemblies housing electronic sensors for monitoring deep water exploration and production of oil and gas.
    Of one-inch outside diameter, a standard size in the industry, the high-strength component has an internal O-ring groove that would be almost impossible to turn with a long-reach tool to the required mirror finish and one-thou (50 microns) tolerance. So the part is made in two halves that are machined and subsequently joined by electron beam welding. However, that process causes a certain amount of distortion, albeit small, so inter-stage accuracy required before welding is even tighter, typically 25 microns.

    Electron Beam 5.JPG

    Hurco VMX42T at EBP


    Three Hurco CNC lathes and a machining centre are the machine tools that EBP, based in Woking, Surrey, chooses for high-tolerance metalcutting to produce this family of parts.   Managing Director, Peter Vincent, said, "The machines are easily capable of holding the accuracies we need and are good value for money."That combination, together with the speed with which we can prepare programs using Hurco's WinMax conversational software built into its controls, decided us in favour of this supplier."

    Mark Blastock, Machine Shop Supervisor, explained, "Using conversational routines on some of our older machine tools and G/M-code programming on others, it takes around 50 per cent longer to prepare cutting cycles on the shop floor, compared with WinMax.
    "Typical batch size here ranges from 2- to 20-off, so Hurco's software considerably reduces the programming-to-metalcutting time ratio, especially for shorter runs, and increases productivity.
     "On-screen graphics show the part being built up as the code is written and simulates the cycle before cutting metal to ensure that the first part is good. That is especially important when ones and twos are being produced, as a scrapped part would represent a large proportion of total production."


    Installation of off-line WinMax programming and post processor software for the Hurcos with DNC links to the machines is planned. Currently, even though shop floor programming is carried out in background while the previous batch is being produced, if the run is small it is sometimes not possible to complete and prove out the next cutting cycle quickly enough, resulting in spindle downtime.
    Another facet of the Hurco control software that has been particularly useful to EBP is an upgrade that allows input of programs that were previously prepared and run on other conversationally programmed machines on the shop floor in Woking.

    Electron Beam 2.JPG

    The Hurco TMM10 at EBP


    The first three Hurcos to be installed, around Easter 2012, were a TM8 CNC lathe for turning parts up to 240 mm diameter by 400 mm long, a larger TMM10 with 402 mm swing and 695 mm between centres,
    and a VMX42t vertical machining centre with X:1,270 x Y:610 x Z:760 mm working volume and a 4th axis indexing table with tailstock. The latter is equipped with Hurco's twin-touch-screen control system, which allows the graphics to be viewed on the right-hand screen while data is entered on the left.


    The three machines proved so successful in operation that another Hurco CNC lathe followed a year later, a TMM10 with live tooling. It reduces the number of separate set-ups and operations needed to produce some of EBP's more complex turn-milled components, consistent with small batch production and the need for high accuracy.
    All of the Hurcos either augment or have replaced older plant used on the shop floor since the 1990s, when EBP added machining and X-ray inspection capabilities to what was then one of the UK's first electron beam welding facilities. The company, which moved to its present, 16,500 sq ft premises in Woking in 2001, also specialises in electron beam welding and non-destructive testing of components for aero engines and for the defence, motorsport and medical sectors.
    Training on the first Hurco lathes and the machining centre was given to EBP staff at the machine manufacturer's UK headquarters and technical centre in High Wycombe. Two days' instruction on turning and the same for milling were enough to equip the operators with the skills to start producing components immediately upon their return.
    Similar training was provided for the TMM10 lathe earlier this year. One of the operators, Scott Mace, agrees that programming at the Hurco control is typically one-third quicker than on their other machine tools, but in his experience the time saving can be double that, depending on the type of component.

    Electron Beam 7.JPG

    Close-up of machining on the VMX42


    When commenting on the matter at the end of July 2013, following his training at High Wycombe and a week after the TMM10 lathe was installed, he said, "I have already written five programs today on the Hurco Max control, without any knowledge of conversational programming of driven-tool cycles prior to training.

    "One time-saving benefit is the library of standard macros that can be called up. Take grooving, for example. Whereas in other controls you have to program the start and end points as well as the radius, WinMax calculates and inserts automatically where to begin and finish machining the feature."
    Peter Vincent concluded,
    "The Hurco machines are reliable and do the job expected of them very well, but more than that, they are a good selling point. When customers and prospects visit our factory, as they often do, they are always impressed to see the machines in operation."


    Published: 8/23/2013  11:29 AM
  • Grainger and Worrall Ltd

            When we were approached by Hurco UK to trial their latest software upgrade UltiMotion in October 2012 we were sceptical of their claims, but...Read moreTags: CNC Control, UltiMotion, United Kingdom


    Grainger and Worrall Ultimotion.JPG


    When we were approached by Hurco UK to trial their latest software upgrade UltiMotion in October 2012 we were sceptical of their claims, but agreed to have it installed on two VMX 42's and one VMX 64.

    It only took a few hours to install and the benefits were soon apparent, a much smoother movement in all axes prevailed. Over the coming weeks we were rewarded with superior surface finishes and reduced runtimes of between 15% - 22%  dependant on the complexity of the component being produced.

    After just a few weeks of trials we decided to purchase the UltiMotion software, since then we have been reaping the rewards. I can only congratulate Hurco on a superior upgrade

    Published: 8/8/2013  9:02 AM


     RAPID GROWTH AT FAMILY-RUN SUBCONTRACTOR       The last 12 months have been ground-breaking for subcontract machinist, Justin Green, a former appre...Read moreTags: General Purpose, Machining Centers, Turning Centers, United Kingdom
    Intelligent Engineering Solutions 2.JPG
    The last 12 months have been ground-breaking for subcontract machinist, Justin Green, a former apprentice toolmaker who set up Intelligent Engineering Solutions (IES) in 2006.
    By 2012, he still had his one original machining centre, employed a single setter / operator and worked in the same 600 sq ft unit in Waterlooville where he started. He has since moved twice and now operates from premises five times that size in Portsmouth, running three new Hurco vertical machining centres (VMCs) and a CNC lathe. His wife, sister-in-law, two sons and a nephew have joined the business, together with a mature apprentice.
    The company is looking to employ two further machinists, but is finding difficulty in recruiting the right people – a familiar story in today's manufacturing sector. Until last year, Mr Green's business model was unconventional. He supplemented production on his single machine tool by putting work out to other subcontractors. It allowed him to offer customers a comprehensive one-stop-shop, as he was able to source capacity to suit the contracts he won, however large and diverse, taking responsibility for ensuring that parts were to specification and delivered on time in return for a mark-up. The system was not ideal, however, as some suppliers were unreliable and it was difficult to offer consistent quality.

    Intelligent Engineering Solutions 5.JPG

    TM6 CNC Lathe with Hydrafeed short magazine bar feed

    Work gradually increased, supplying mechanical parts for contact lens manufacturing equipment and solar shading projects in airports and other public buildings, as well as to the tobacco and motorsport industries. The income allowed sufficient money to be set aside which, together with regional growth funding obtained through Lombard, enabled the purchase of three Hurco machines in 2012. Two were VM10 vertical machining centres, one with a 4th axis indexer, and the other a TM6 CNC lathe with Hydrafeed short bar magazine.
    At the start of 2013, IES won a contract to supply a family of 12 different satellite parts in aluminium, with 100-off required of each per month. It ties up two of the VM10s for half of their time, working 24 hours a day. So a third VM10 was purchased in March 2013, using proceeds from the sale of the original VMC as a deposit, so now the Portsmouth subcontract shop operates exclusively Hurco machines.
    When Mr Green was asked for the rationale behind his choice of machine supplier, as is often the case the reply centred on the ease with which the machining centres and lathes can be programmed using Hurco's proprietary WinMax conversational software.  He commented, "We know a lot of subcontractors that use Hurcos. Everyone likes the speed with which a drawing can be turned into a cutter path using the drop-down menus on the touch-screen control, without the need for G and M codes; and how quick it is to learn how to do it, even with little or no previous experience.
    "It is unbelievable; they have thought of everything. The whole process is simple and methodical, from writing the program by keying in the dimensions, through setting the tools, to on-screen simulation of the cycle to make sure it is correct before cutting metal."


    Intelligent Engineering Solutions 9.JPG
    Mild steel components for contact lens production machinery programmed with Winmax and turned on the TM6


    Mr Green advised that all IES operators including Karl Green, hitherto exclusively a manual turner, as well as the apprentice, learnt to use WinMax quickly after just two days' training at Hurco's High Wycombe showroom and technical centre, despite none of them having had previous experience of the control.He also pointed out that the Hurcos were less expensive than other machines of similar specification that he considered. The first two VM10s and the TM6 lathe cost about the same as two VMCs from the other shortlisted supplier, so effectively the lathe was gained 'for free'. 
    Some tolerances are tight, typically ± 0.02 mm on the contact lens machinery parts and 0.01 mm on shaft diameters and bores for the tobacco sector. These are easily held on the Hurco machines. Materials range from various grades of stainless steel and mild steel to aluminium and some plastics. Batch sizes range from one-off to around 1,000-off for prismatic components and more for turned parts.
    As to the future, IES is looking to expand its turning section and introduce larger prismatic machining capacity. It is also considering adding 5-axis machining to help win Formula 1 work, principally 3+2 axis machining, particularly during the busy closed season.


    Published: 7/22/2013  11:49 AM

      SUBCONTRACTOR'S MACHINING CENTRES ARE 30 - 50 PERCENT MORE PRODUCTIVE        During 2011, West Lothian subcontractor,Almond Engineering, invested...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, Turning Centers, United Kingdom



    Almond Engineering 3.JPG
    During 2011, West Lothian subcontractor,Almond Engineering, invested over £100,000 in a new Hurco machining centre and CNC lathe as well as IT equipment, and increased staff from 20 to 24, including a third apprentice. This year (2013) will see one further machine on the shop floor and two additional people employed. By 2018, turnover will have doubled, according to chairman, Chris Smith.
    The Livingston company has continued to grow after a management buyout led by Mr Smith in 2008. Senior personnel remained in place, including managing director, Willie Scott, who started as a miller in 1979 when the subcontract business was formed.  Recent growth has come from winning new business at the light end of the oil and gas sector, as well as from customers in the medical industry who are growing and putting out additional work. Semiconductor firms across the central belt of Scotland, the other main sector serviced, are buoyant as well. Contracts are also received from the ever resilient aerospace industry, for which jigs and fixtures are frequently manufactured.

    Almond Engineering 2.JPG  
    Polyurethane guide roller

    Almond Engineering's business is characterised by production of prototypes and small volumes. Four design engineers are devoted to providing customers with 2D and 3D engineering design input using Creo Elements/Pro (formerly Pro/Engineer) and AutoDesk Inventor CAD/CAM software. Additionally, they are frequently involved in reverse engineering of, for example, legacy items used in semiconductor manufacturing machinery.  With short batch production being the norm, Chris Smith commented, "Back in 2004, we had a number of manual tool change mills and one vertical machining centre (VMC), but spent more time programming them than actually cutting metal.  "So we looked around for a new machining centre that was quick and easy to program, researching local manufacturers to see what they used.  "Hurco VMCs with their Ultimax twin-screen CNC system stood out as being the fastest for shop floor programming, even of quite
     complex parts, so we bought one of their VMX42 machines with a one-metre X-axis.
    "It proved to be 30 to 50 per cent more productive than the older machining centre, not only because it takes less time to enter a program by manual data input, but also due to the faster cutting feed rates and rapids."


    Almond Engineering 1.JPG
    Hurco TM8 at Almond Engineering being programmed by apprentice Katherine Stewart
    This early success prompted the purchase a couple of years later of another Hurco, a VM1 for machining smaller workpieces. Around the middle of 2011, a Hurco VMX30 machining centre and an 8-inch chuck Hurco TM8 CNC lathe were added. Installation of the latter was in response to a new, on-going contract from a medical equipment manufacturer that requires a family of 11 parts turned in batches of 20-off. Pre-existing turning capacity on the shop floor was unable to cope with the size of the parts, or indeed the throughput. 
    Mr Smith points to the user friendliness of the Hurco machines, with staff able to move seamlessly between the WinMax software running in the twin-screen controls powering the two larger machining centres and the single-screen Max controls on the smaller VM1 and the TM8 lathe.
    Further upgrades carried out by Hurco have involved fitting Renishaw probing for determining tool length and part position on the VMX 42 and VMX30. The lathe already had a Renishaw tool setting probe and Max Classic control with expanded memory and network software to accept the download of large, CAM-generated programs.
    A wide range of materials for a broad spread of 204 customers is machined at the Livingston facility, from Inconel and Hastelloy through steels and aluminium to plastics. Tolerances tend to be tight on most jobs, typically ± 0.01 mm.  Mr Smith, a firm believer in nurturing talent in-house, concluded, "We have been established for over 34 years and are here for the long term, so we like to have quality people that grow with the business.   "That is why we have a large proportion of apprentices relative to our size – three out of 25 staff."It is not easy to recruit good engineers, so training our own has been extremely beneficial for our company."



    Published: 7/5/2013  11:19 AM


    Research Centre creating opportunities Hurco VMX30U 5-axis CNC milling machine commissioned to facilitate research into high performance machining of tit...Read moreTags: South Africa

    Research Centre creating opportunities

    Hurco VMX30U 5-axis CNC milling machine commissioned to facilitate research into high performance machining of titanium alloys, and to evaluate the fatigue life of these components

    The Department of Mechanical Engineering Science, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, University of Johannesburg has recently commissioned a Hurco VMX30U 5-axis CNC milling machine to help in its endeavour to be one of the leading tertiary education manufacturing schools in South Africa.


    University of Johannesburg 1.JPG

    Dr Francois Pieterse and Dr Tiaan Oosthuizen

    "Manufacturing of products and goods is probably the most important economic activity in the world. Since the industrial revolution in the eighteenth century manufacturing has been considered to be the main engine of economic growth and development. It contributes to the quality of life of individuals, to the growth of wealth in a nation as well as the power and position of a state," said Dr.Tiaan Oosthuizen, a Senior Lecturer in the department."Our Manufacturing Research Centre (MRC) was established at the University of Johannesburg to ensure advanced research outputs, high quality education and to accelerate the transition of basic research concepts performed within the academic environment, into working aspects for the manufacturing industry."

    The centre is currently conducting research in the following focus areas:
    High performance
    machining of titanium and
    other super alloys
    The manufacturing
    processes for Solar-powered


    Building blocks for
    "In addition the MRC will offer short courses and workshops to its industry partners. The expertise to be developed will have a positive and strong influence on the national level of education, wealth creation and other development factors," continued Oosthuizen."The development of artisans will contribute significantly to South Africa's competitiveness on global markets. The needfor new innovative technologies and production systems to lessen our energy vulnerability, as well as create oppof'tunities for substantial employment are fundamental elements that uplift our social environment and attract local work creation within the broader South Africa and Southern Africa." "South Africa is the second largest producer of titanium-bearing minerals in the world after Australia.


    University of Johannesburg 2.JPG

    Professor Roy Marcus and Dr Pieter Henning

     Mineral beneficiation is not a new concept with regards to potential economic development and it is believed that the manufacturing sector holds the key for further economic growth in South Africa." "Currently the materials research at the University of Johannesburg is focusing on the high performance machining of titanium alloys. The purpose of the research is to systematically characterise the surface integrity of titanium alloys altered by high performance machining and to evaluate the fatigue life of these components."


    "The MRC is a unique solution. Through partnerships with local industry, other University networks and International Institutes we can make a significant contribution to the growth and competitiveness of South Africa. Collaboration is also envisaged with our colleagues in the faculties of Management, FADA,Health Sciences and Science. The Manufacturing Research Centre will also support several building blocks of a socio-economic development framework," concluded OosthuizFor more information, please contact Dr.Tiaan Oosthuizen
    on email




    Published: 2/4/2013  12:20 PM
  • GB Precision

    GB Precision

    Automation set to help GB Precision beat the Christmas shutdown ​ When the Christmas and New Year holidays both fell midweek, some engineering companies...Read moreTags: Service

    Automation set to help GB Precision beat the Christmas shutdown

    When the Christmas and New Year holidays both fell midweek, some engineering companies found that their subcontract suppliers were closed between 21 December and 7 January. However, at Birmingham-based GB Precision, a specialist in the supply of complex tooling solutions and machined parts, highly automated processes meant business-as-usual over the shutdown period, ensuring customers in sectors such as packaging, food, drink, pharmaceutical and cosmetics could continue to meet their own deadlines without fear of delays.
    GB Precision is no ordinary subcontract manufacturer. Following a planned and ongoing programme of investment, this progressive business is making quite a name for itself among a growing list of customers. Along with astute management and optimised, high quality manufacturing processes, technology provides the heartbeat at GB Precision. Taking centre stage at the company’s facility is an automated five-axis CNC machining and die sink EDM cell complete with System 3R WorkMaster robot. This impressive facility not only provides the unfailing repeatability necessary to deliver total quality on a right-first-time basis, it also enables unmanned, lights-out operation. As a result, holidays such as Christmas and New Year no longer have to interrupt important production schedules.
    A Röders RXP500DS high speed milling machine (supplied by Hurco Europe) and an Agie Hyperspark Exact die sink EDM are served by the WorkMaster robot, which loads workpieces onto both machines. The high specification robot was selected for its flexibility and in order to future-proof the cell; GB Precision’s plans include expanding the system to include tool loading for both the Röders and the Agie. In addition, the Workmaster can be modified to become a “linear robot” running on a track and serving a number of machines, which may be added at a later date.
    The high specification, top of the range Röders makes GB Precision the envy of many competitors. The machine offers laser tool probing and part probing, along with linear motors in all fives axes. Linear motor technology means there are no ballscrews and therefore no wear takes place, making it ideal for producing accurate parts consistently.
    The WorkMaster robot is a flexible, modular automation system that changes large and small pallets between magazines and multiple machines in the same production cell. Although serving two machines at GB Precision, its modularity means that the company can add one or more machines to increase production capacity in step with business growth.
    “Over Christmas we had planned a production schedule in the automated cell that ran unattended for 112 hours,” states Paul Turner, director at GB Precision. “After this time we would make a short visit to re-load the machine with another 112 hours of work. As well as helping us keep up with orders over the holiday period, the automated cell also meant we could shorten lead-times.”
    Previously, GB Precision was running an existing graphite machining centre 15 hours a day. However, this wasn’t enough. A rapidly expanding order book meant the company had to make the step up to 24/7 operations, a decision that led first to the acquisition of the Röders machine and subsequently the WorkMaster robot. The robot is in fact the third System 3R unit on site – two existing WorkPal robots serving two other Agie EDM machines elsewhere at GB Precision’s facility.
    “As an existing System 3R user we already had many pallets,” says Mr Turner. “In our automated cell we are using four different pallet systems, all from System 3R, giving maximum flexibility. These go from the largest at 280 x 280 mm down to 32 x 32 mm, although the cell also features the new Macro Magnum pallet system with 156 mm diameter.”
    Customers can have complete peace of mind using GB Precision’s automated cell, which is programmed to reach a safe stop should the system ever detect fault or error. “Bearing in mind that these operations are achieving repeatability at micron level, confidence in the systems capability is paramount. If a pallet was missing, misloaded or dirty and did not seat correctly the system would immediately detect the problem and stop the cell,” explains Mr Turner. “This is vitally important as the materials can be worth thousands of pounds – let alone the cost of the associated time and work.”
    Although installed originally to machine graphite electrodes, realising its benefits, GB Precision now also use the Röders RXP500DS for machining hardened steel up to 55-60Rc, making it ideal for producing mould tool inserts. At present, workpieces and electrodes are produced in a shared workflow, which typically comprises 50-60 electrodes and eight items of hard metal machining, although the mix is infinitely variable.



    Published: 2/4/2013  11:45 AM
  • Cowie Engineering


    Cumbernauld-based subcontractor, Cowie Engineering, is a good example of the type of entrepreneurial company that Government is relying upon to kick-start...Read moreTags: General Purpose, Turning Centers, United Kingdom, Machining Centers

    Cumbernauld-based subcontractor, Cowie Engineering, is a good example of the type of entrepreneurial company that Government is relying upon to kick-start recovery in the UK and rebalance the economy towards manufacturing.

    Started on spec by Rodger Cowie in 1999, he had to endure three months without any work before a manufacturer in the bottling industry ordered a batch of components, which he produced on manual mills and a lathe. It was quickly followed by a contract to machine fireproof switchgear cabinets for the mining sector. In 2006, he doubled the size of the factory and doubled it again at the end of 2011.




     Hurco VM10 at Cowie Engineering


     Grant Cowie overseeing machining on the VMX64


    Now employing 13 including wife Cathie, daughter Julie and sons Grant and Ross, the company has just taken on its first apprentice and plans to add one every year to address a lack of skilled machinists in North Lanarkshire.  At least half of the subcontractor's throughput and variously up to 70 per cent involves machining of stainless steel, so good quality CNC machine tools are essential. A majority on the shop floor are from one supplier, Hurco.   The first machine, a second-hand, vertical machining centre with a one metre by half metre table, was installed in 2001 when Rodger secured additional work making fixings for supporting glass walls and brass frames. They have been used widely in Scotland and beyond, including for prestigious refurbishment projects including at Rosslyn Chapel, south of Edinburgh and the Municipal Buildings in George Square, Glasgow.

    Mr Cowie commented, "I knew the capabilities of Hurco machines and their conversational control system from previous employment.  "As I was producing mainly one-offs and small batches up to 50-off maximum, I bought a used, 1989-built Hurco BMC25, which was quick to program and ideal for those quantities.

    "We carried on using it until the end of 2011, when it was replaced with a new Hurco VMX30, and in all that time it only broke down twice, despite being 23 years old when we sold it."

    Based on this level of reliability, as business grew Mr Cowie took the decision to standardise on machines from the same supplier and currently has seven installed, including a Hurco lathe with a 10-inch chuck. It has similar Windows-based WinMax conversationally-friendly programming software as is used in the latest machining centres.

    Part of Cowie Engineering's success lies in its retention of business. By and large, when new work is won, it tends to represent a net increase in turnover. Thirteen years on, the subcontractor continues to supply its first two customers and as the years have gone by, the switchgear components have increased in size. It prompted investment in a Hurco BMC4020 in 2004 and five years later in an even larger VMX64 with fourth axis.




    Steel locking base for bottling industry


    Close up of the roll shaft to be machined



    "Once the 4-axis machine was installed, we did not need to seek work for it; new business found us said Mr. Cowie.  "One of the first jobs was the manufacture of 2,500 military parts in mild steel, each weighing around 26 kg and requiring about a 40-minute cycle.

    "Using the fourth axis, we got the job off in one hit, whereas the lead contract machinist was having trouble trying to produce the part in three operations on three machines.  "Despite tolerances as tight as -0 / +0.03 mm on hole position and 0.05 mm concentricity of bores, only two of our components needed reworking."
    New business being fulfilled by the VMX64 includes the machining of EN19 steel castings to produce roll shafts weighing up to 400 kg for robotic applications in foundries, notably in China, Russia and the US.

    Software options chosen by Cowie Engineering for its latest WinMax control software include Swept Surface, which allows a 2D surface to be moved along a contour to creating complex, smooth, 3D geometries within one conversational data block. For simpler surfaces involving rotation or translation of a 2D profile, the 3D Mould feature optimises milling tool paths to achieve good surface finishes with fine stepovers. In the rare instances when programs are prepared off-line or CAD files are supplied by the customer, data is downloaded to the appropriate Hurco machine as a DXF file, which the Ultimax controls can read directly.

    In early 2011, the subcontractor took delivery of its first CNC lathe, a Hurco TM10. It was bought to streamline production of mainly small batches of components up to 30-off maximum and has been very busy since it was installed, tackling around 35 different jobs per month. One defence contract involved machining pipe fittings in bronze and nickel alloy.

    More recently, knowing of Cowie Engineering's expertise in machining stainless steel, a new customer in Aberdeen has begun to regularly order hydraulic couplings in 316 stainless which are turned on the TM10 and completed on one of the subcontractor's two Hurco VM1 machining centres.
    Cowie Engineering's burgeoning business has meant that staff has been working 60-hour weeks, including overtime, for the past two and a half years. If thousands of firms around the UK followed its example by keeping customers happy and continuously finding new business, while installing good quality plant to fulfil the work and investing in people to operate it, recovery and balance within the UK economy would be accelerated.


    Published: 1/15/2013  12:29 PM
  • Automotive Parts made by Seido


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

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

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


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


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

    Published: 1/11/2013  9:26 AM
  • Ishida Group

    Ishida Group

      "THREE TIMES QUICKER TO PROGRAM" Hurco machining centres support rapid expansion of weighing and packing line manufacturer   The Japanese, ...Read moreTags: United Kingdom, Machining Centers, General Purpose

    "THREE TIMES QUICKER TO PROGRAM" Hurco machining centres support rapid expansion of weighing and packing line manufacturer

    The Japanese, family-owned Ishida group is a giant in food packaging machinery, with a worldwide turnover in excess of half a billion Euros. Perhaps surprisingly, almost all of the component parts that go into its automated weighing, filling, packing, handling and inspection equipment are made by subcontractors, while assembly is carried out at Ishida factories in Shiga prefecture, Korea, China, Brazil and the UK. Group policy on subcontracting is about to change, however, largely due to the success of a UK subsidiary in Poole, Dorset, and its use of four Hurco machining centres. Here, 80 per cent of components are produced in-house for a new range of semi-automatic tray sealers. Prototype parts are also machined for larger in-line tray sealers assembled at Ishida Europe's headquarters in Birmingham, while customers' bespoke tray sealer tools are designed and manufactured in Poole.

     Ishida 1.JPG

    Ryuichi Ishida (left) Chairman inspecting one of the Hurco machining centres at Ishida Poole

    In the long term, core production of tray sealers will be brought in-house in its entirety, with just very simple parts and seasonal over-capacity subcontracted. The main advantage to Ishida will be faster lead-times. Other benefits are an enhanced ability to control component quality as well as scope for making higher margins by reducing subcontracted machining costs. Despite the recession in many European countries, the demand for tray sealer tools has been increasing over the years, as consumer demand for pre-packed fresh meat and ready meals has been on the rise. This had led to a demand for high-speed packing lines and larger sealing tools to help food processors and packers meet the demand.
    The requirement to mill and drill these larger tools, mainly of C250 aluminium but sometimes 304 stainless steel, which can be over a metre long and weigh in excess of 300 kg, prompted Ishida Poole to purchase its first Hurco vertical machining centre (VMC), a VMX50t, in 2009. Until then, the company had relied on other, smaller capacity VMCs.  Chris Witheford, Production Manager, commented, "We noticed that a local subcontractor to whom we regularly give work uses a similar Hurco machine.
    "I was particularly impressed with the ease of programming using the supplier's conversational software, WinMax, which is a Windows-based suite running on Hurco's twin screen control.   "Our tooling designs are based on core templates containing lots of repeating holes and pockets which need to be copied, sometimes rotated and pasted elsewhere."For this, the pattern location functionality within WinMax is ideal and saves a great deal of time. This is important to us, as batch sizes here are typically ones, twos and threes, so programming takes up a large part of overall production time."

    David Nielsen, machine shop team leader at Ishida Poole, agreed. "WinMax is at least three times quicker at creating programs than the conversational control on our previous VMcs, some of which are still in use for making spares and on which the control systems employ Q-def programming. The latter tend to be laborious, whereas WinMax is more user-friendly."

     Ishida 2.JPG

    Two Hurco VMX50t Machining Centres at Ishida Poole

    Hurco's WinMax controls can be used to prepare programs simultaneously while a component is being machined. A graphic of the component is visible on the right hand screen as the cutting paths are being created. At the end of the process, the entire cycle can be simulated to ensure that there are no interference issues.
    This is particularly important when machining small batches, as a single scrapped part could be a high proportion of total production.  The twin screen also improves staff confidence when running the program, bearing in mind that 80 to 90 per cent of solid material is removed to make a tooling plate. Cycle times vary from around one hour for an insert up to a full shift to machine an entire plate.Mr Nielsen continued, "A valuable feature of the Hurco control for 2D programming is that it accepts DXF files directly from our SolidWorks CAD system.  "One tooling plate might contain 120 holes and it is very time-consuming and error-prone to key in the hole centres individually by hand, whereas WinMax picks them up automatically from the DXF data.  "When we have 3D elements to program, like the front heater plate profile for a tool, we find it quicker to prepare those blocks in a One CNC CADCAM package and add them to 2D elements written conversationally in WinMax, using another of its useful functions, NC Merge."


    All of the machine tools on the shop floor, which now include a further Hurco VMX50t and two smaller VMX42t machines purchased at MACH 2012, are networked to a server at Poole, together with the CADCAM systems. Mr Nielsen added, "Compared with programs previously written conversationally using other controls, those generated in WinMax are more standardised and clearer, which is an advantage for networking."

     Ishida 6.JPG

    Tooling plates showing the simplicity of pockets and holes machined on the Hurco VMC's

    The result is seamless transmission of program data and tooling lists, ensuring that any Hurco machine can produce any part (subject to size compatibility) with minimum delay, creating a lean production environment. Four operators, two fewer than previously, run the machine shop despite there being more CNC machine tools, currently seven.


    The specification of all the Hurco VMX machines includes a 12,000 rpm spindle with a chiller for high speed cutting of aluminium, a dual-wound motor to provide high torque at low revs when machining stainless steel, and an 8-jet coolant ring for flooding the cutting area to remove chips efficiently.


    The four Hurco VMXs at Ishida Poole have transformed the company's approach to prismatic machining and allowed it to take cost out of production. That is important, as the site is a cost centre within the group and constantly takes buy-or-make decisions based on the price of producing a part in-house compared with how much a subcontractor would charge. Invariably, the internal production cost is lower, which fits with the firm's aim of bringing more of its manufacture in-house.

    Published: 12/17/2012  12:32 PM
  • Veem Engineering , South Africa

    Veem Engineering , South Africa - Forget the Vuvuzela, get the Minizela

      “We are also currently working on additional designs for the other sports. So watch out rugby fans.”   -- Sacha Vere, General Manager, Veem Engine...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, South Africa


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


    -- Sacha Vere, General Manager, Veem Engineering
    Shopfront Veem 1a.JPG
    When people think of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, they instantly remember the Vuvuzela. Now get the football hooter known as the Minizela. Unlike its big, cumbersome more famous cousin, the Minizela is only 14 cm in size and comes in a completely different shape. The principle of blowing to make the sound that is just as pervasive and noisy as the Vuvuzela holds true, but in the case of the Minizela, far less effort and technique is required.


    As one can see by the pictures in this article the shape of the Minizela is completely different to the Vuvuzela and has been 100% patented, according to its developers Veem Engineering.
    Veem Engineering was founded in 1969 and today is run jointly by equal share partners Sacha Vere and Debbie van der Westhuizen. The company, started by Sacha’s father who was a tool and die maker, focused initially on general engineering with emphasis on special tooling manufacture and high pressure zinc die casting. This type of work continued to occupy the company’s shopfloor until 1995 before a change of emphasis took place. Plastic products and components were making their mark so Sacha Vere decided to purchase a plastic injection moulding machine. He had the design experience to make the moulds and was soon manufacturing a variety of plastic components for a number of industries.
    As the plastic injection moulding business flourished, there came a greater need bring some of the tooling manufacture in-house. This would help to improve product quality and speed of turnaround. Sacha Vere comments “The plastics side of the business was very successful and we needed to maintain our reputation so we decided last year to take control of the situation and start investing in the tool room again.”
    New Hurco CNC machining centre
    Last year the company moved forward in this department by investing in a Hurco VM1 CNC high speed machining centre with conversational programming.When Sacha started looking for CNC equipment with a low-cost investment for the tool room he was not sure what he wanted. However after he saw Hurco’s VM1 at a local show, he realised that he could get machining centre performance and productivity without sacrificing fast programming and setup. His decision was easy.
    Hurco’s VM1 machining centre hit the mark for the versatility Veem Engineering needed. Its X-Y-Z axis travels at 660mm x 356mm x 457mm, packaged on a 2 700 Kg frame that only takes up 3.5 m², made it a perfect fit for their operations. Coupled with its 15 HP 10,000 RPM spindle, 18 mpm rapids and 16-station swing arm ATC, the VM1 was ideal for the challenges that they face.
    “We are now able to make and maintain our moulds again. Our tool designer also invested in SolidWorks and Autocad packages on the design side as well as MasterCAM on the machining side” explained Sacha.
    “We can now provide customers the unique service of designing the required product, manufacturing the mould, designing the necessary tooling and then manufacturing the final plastic product.”
    Shopfront Veem 3.JPGOther products produced by Veem Engineering include low cost lighting and SABS approved electrical fittings that are sold to various electrical wholesalers and distributors, and mining products manufactured to ISO specifications that are currently sold to Impala Platinum mines. The mining products are used in underground drilling machines. Other products include hi-tech computer controlled smoke detection units made under licence, promotional items in plastic and zinc as well as a range of custom mouldings for the telecommunications industry.
    The Minizela
    The idea to design and manufacture the Minizela was conceptualised in 2009. “We believe that the Vuvuzela is a cumbersome product that is very ugly when you look at it. We admit that it has enthralled the masses but there is always room for a product that is unique to the sport. You will see with the first one that we have designed, that it comes in the shape of a football” said Debbie.
    “The design was quite challenging especially as you had to ensure that the sound emanating from the product was ‘pleasant’ on the ear and right from the beginning we had decided that the product had to be something more manageable in terms of its handling aspects” continued Debbie.
    “The Minizela is made up of four components and a diaphragm. We make the mould tools on the Hurco and injection mould the components in-house. Each cycle time is about 30 seconds and we are capable of producing about 80 000 a month.”  “The beauty of the Minizela is that the branding is a simple task and is identified via a sport. For example if you wanted a Manchester United Minizela we make up the plastic shrink wrap to your design. The possibilities are endless in this area. We are currently working on additional designs for the other sports as well, so watch out rugby fans” Debbie enthused.  “We made it just in time for this 2010 Football World Cup and we are very pleased that it is a Proudly South African product” concluded Debbie.
    Veem Engineering is based in Knights, Germiston, Gauteng and utilises 600 m² of factory space. The current staff compliment is 17.
    For further details contact Veem Engineering on Telephone: +27  (0)11 822 7671




    Published: 11/29/2012  10:16 AM
  • Dawnlough Ltd - 50% Increase Production Output with Hurco

    Dawnlough Ltd - 50% Increase Production Output with Hurco

        Galway-based subcontract machinist, Dawnlough, which specialises in manufacturing components for the medical industry, has bought equipment to the...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, Turning Centers, Ireland


    Dawnlough 1.JPG
    Galway-based subcontract machinist, Dawnlough, which specialises in manufacturing components for the medical industry, has bought equipment to the value of £1.5 million since 2005 to expand its design, production and inspection capabilities. The purchases include eight vertical machining centres (VMCs) and a driven-tool lathe from Hurco, supplied through local sales representative in Ireland, Michael Gannon.


    Other investments include Solidworks / Solidcam CAD/CAM seats, a CMM and vision system from Mitutoyo, two Fanuc wire erosion machines and a Citizen sliding-head lathe. Financial assistance was secured through funding from Enterprise Ireland, the Government agency responsible for supporting Irish businesses in the manufacturing sector.
    Established in 1990 by Brian McKeon's father, Patrick, the subcontractor started out as a general toolmaking company focusing on press tools. From the mid 90s, medical firms started springing up across Ireland, especially in the Galway area, and Dawnlough concentrated more and more on this sector.
    Today, 100 per cent of its business is in the design and production of special-purpose jigs and fixtures to assist in the manufacture of catheters, stents and other items for treating vascular and neurovascular disorders. Dawnlough is accredited to ISO 13485, which means that its management system meets stringent requirements for the design and manufacture of medical devices, and the company also holds ISO 9001:2000.
    One of the factors that kick-started the investment in Hurco machining centres was the length of time it took to program jobs on a pre-existing 3-axis VMC from another well-known supplier. At the time, Dawnlough operated a lot of manual machine tools but were keen to "CNC everything", as director Brian McKeon put it, to raise component quality and accuracy.
    He commented, "Production here is mainly one-offs and small batches, so we wanted to be able to program each new part quickly on the shop floor, otherwise job preparation becomes too large a proportion of overall manufacturing time, reducing profitability.
    "Conventional G-code programming on our old VMC was really quite slow. So we looked around for a faster solution and homed in on the conversational Max CNC fitted to Hurco machines. The Max control is the compact, single screen version of Hurco’s popular Ultimax control.  "The difference was staggering. We found we could program up to six times more quickly by manual data input at the Max control, and as we only make small quantities of parts, it has translated into a 50 per cent increase in production output overall."
    He went on to say that from programming demonstrations performed in his office by Michael Gannon in 2005 using a dummy Max control, it was already clear that big savings were possible. The exercise was directly responsible for Dawnlough's purchase of the first Hurco machining centre, a VM3. It was joined two years later by a similar model, followed by a line of three smaller-capacity VM1s in 2009 and three of the updated VM10 version in 2010 and 2011. Of the eight Hurco VMCs currently on the shop floor, three are fitted with an integrated Hurco H200 rotary table to provide a fourth CNC axis that can also be programmed conversationally, direct at the control.
    The more modern machines have controls equipped with Hurco's powerful, Windows-based WinMax software. Over 75 per cent of programs are prepared on the shop floor, rather than being downloaded from the CAD/CAD department, so the extra functionality of Winmax is proving particularly beneficial.
    Even some complex 3D cycles are generated conversationally using the software's Swept Surface function, whereby a 2D surface is defined and swept along a contour to create a 3D geometry in a single data block. In addition to saving time, the continuous tool path generates a smoother surface finish.
    Dawnlough 5.JPGUntil the beginning of 2011, while efficient prismatic machining at Galway was firmly in place, the subcontractor was struggling with the turning element of some drawing packages.
    That was when the Hurco TMM8 CNC lathe was installed, with its capacity for producing components up to 256 mm diameter by 588 mm long.
    The lathe is also driven by WinMax software, so rapidity and flexibility of programming is now enjoyed in respect of mill-turned parts as well. According to Mr McKeon, the accuracy of the lathe is particularly impressive, quality is better, lead time is quicker, and as batch sizes are also low for turned parts, profitability is up.
    He explained that these benefits are particularly noticeable now that his operators have become more familiar with the lathe and are confident in exploiting the driven tooling. Floor-to-floor time for some of the more complicated components is 60 per cent shorter than when other lathes are used. An additional benefit of milling and drilling in-cycle on the TMM8 is that the machining centres are freed from performing these duties.
    A wide variety of materials is machined by Dawnlough, from titanium and stainless steel to aluminium and plastics. General drawing tolerance of ±10 microns is easily held and good surface finish is achieved, resulting in components with the all-important aesthetic look so important in the medical industry.




    Published: 11/25/2012  5:43 PM


    £500,000 has been spent by Cobra Seats on upgrading the frame shop and replacing old manual machines at its Telford factory. In their place are to be foun...Read moreTags: United Kingdom, General Purpose, Machining Centers

    £500,000 has been spent by Cobra Seats on upgrading the frame shop and replacing old manual machines at its Telford factory. In their place are to be found four new CNC machine tools – a Hurco VMX30t vertical machining centre (VMC), an Amada press brake, a CMS tube bender and a Sirio cold saw. 

    The investment was made at the end of 2011 and is already transforming the company's business. The well-known manufacturer of racing, sports and classic car seats has diversified into marine, stadium and office seating and is also increasing the amount of subcontract work it undertakes.

    VMX30t at Cobra Seats, Telford​
    A second-generation family business run by Mark Dunsford, Cobra Seats employed Simon Baldwin as engineering manager to oversee the changes on the shop floor. Mr Baldwin commented, "In my previous position working at a subcontract machinist, I was familiar with Hurco machines and their WinMax conversational CNC system.
    "As programming is so quick with the control, it is ideal for shop floor use when small batches are to be machined. Thirty-off is a large run for us – we often machine ones and twos.
    "We previously drilled and countersunk holes in box section frame components by hand on a pillar drill, then part-assembled the seat and drilled smaller holes for the webbing. Each part would take four to five minutes to machine.
    Cobra Seats 5.JPG
     Three times winner of the
    British Touring Car Championship, Matt Neal​ 
    using a Cobra seat in his Honda Civic racing Civic
    "Now, machining is completed in one minute per frame section on the Hurco, including loading and unloading. Moreover we know every feature will be reliably accurate to ± 0.1 mm, ten times better than the drawing states, saving time at the assembly stage."
    Previously, there was no milling capacity in the frame shop at Telford, so all such jobs were subcontracted. With the Hurco in place, milling the side mounts on custom seats, for example, and slot milling of runners so that they fit individual cars, can be carried out in-house. So too is much of the prototyping and pattern making that was previously contracted out.
    The presence of the VMX30t means that some machining is performed that formerly would not have been undertaken at all. A case in point, involving the design of Cobra's stadium seating, is milling of holes into round tube, a procedure that would have been avoided if machining them manually. Another example is the mechanism for a new super yacht seat, which will be produced in-house on the Hurco.
    Cobra Seats
    The Cobra Seat​​
    Overall, the amount of production outsourced from Telford has halved from 20 to 10 per cent since the CNC machinery was installed. Mr Baldwin predicts that the proportion will drop further to 5 per cent by the end of 2013, so in the future only seat mechanisms and some very simple parts such as forged inserts will be purchased.  A source of additional revenue for Cobra Seats is the manufacture of products on a subcontract basis, for example general bracketry, bespoke vehicle storage systems and parts for the Ministry of Defence, for which the company is an approved supplier. Currently, production for outside organisations accounts for only 5 per cent of turnover, but is expected to rise to 15 per cent during 2013.
    Mr Baldwin concluded, "The VMX30t will play a major role in this growth, yet it is already paying for itself with the work we are putting on it.
    "We purchased the machine as a 3-axis model but with a view to adding a 2-axis indexing table to give us 5-axis capability in the future, as we gain experience. "Hurco gave us good advice during our acquisition of the VMC and has provided good service when needed, especially over their telephone helpline."
    Published: 11/24/2012  12:34 PM
  • Moughton Engineering Services

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

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

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


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


    It was the first computer-controlled machine tool on site and paid for itself within six months.  Since that time, a VM2 machining centre and two TM10 CNC lathes have been delivered by the same supplier, Hurco Europe, High Wycombe.  Coincidentally, it too has increased sales rapidly over a similar period by a slightly lower annual average of 25 per cent, doubling turnover since 2002 to nearly £10 million in the financial year to 31st October 2006.


     Moughton - Paul Moughton and Paul Eden.JPG

    Paul Moughton and Paul Eden

    The Hawk mill is an object lesson in both machine tool manufacture and user application.  Paul Eden, who along with his colleagues has been trained to set and program all of the Hurco machines at Moughton Engineering, advised that shortly after installation the Hawk was used to machine a metre-long aluminium component for a plastic window-making machine.  The end customer checked the part on a CMM and found that two 38 mm diameter holes had been interpolated at either end of the bar to a relative positional accuracy of -0 / +12 microns.
    A machine of this class is not expected to hold such tight tolerances and indeed there is no evidence that other Hawk mills are able to; in any case, they are no longer made.  What the CNC machine did for Moughton Engineering, however, was to propel it from a general supplier of manually machined components to a subcontractor capable of producing very high precision, repeatable components.

    Moughton Engineering Fishing Spear turned part.JPG 4 types of fishing spear turned

     on the TM10

    Encouraged by the success of this project, the company reapproached Hurco when the decision was taken to install a CNC lathe.  The first TM10 was delivered at the end of 2004 and was joined by a second, identical 10-inch chuck model in early 2006.  "We were able to buy both of the Hurco lathes for the price of one that we considered from a Japanese supplier, albeit the latter was of higher specification," continued Mr Moughton.  "The TM10s do not have driven tool capability but have proved to be good machines that hold tolerance well on general turning work.”
    One example is the production of four sizes of CrMo steel fishing spears of 18 to 22 Rc hardness, used to retrieve objects from an oil or gas borehole, such as a broken drillstring or tools.  A typical spear takes 75 minutes to OD profile turn, threadcut and bore from solid billet.Another component regularly put on the TM10s is a 250 mm diameter, 316 stainless steel pressure release plate for sub-sea applications.  Following 45 minutes of OD turning and facing, the part is transferred to a Hurco VM2 three-axis machining centre for prismatic features to be machined on both sides in a one-hour cycle.
    The latter machine was also installed earlier this year to take some of the load from the Hawk mill and to introduce Moughton Engineering to the higher productivity offered by machines with automatic tool change.  The 40-taper VM2, with its 1016 x 457 x 457 mm working envelope and 16-station tool magazine, is described by Paul Moughton as "superb" and he is busily relocating offices onto a new, upper floor to make space for further machines, including a larger-capacity Hurco VM3.
    He concluded, "All of our Hurco machines are very accurate and reliable; so much so that we think it is a waste of money taking out insurance to cover spares and service after the warranty period.
    "When things occasionally go wrong, as they did initially with the first TM10 lathe, back-up from Hurco is very good – and you can even get through to the desk of the MD without any trouble, if necessary.”
    About Moughton Engineering Services
    Moughton Engineering was established in 1974 by Brian Moughton as a toolmaker and subcontract manufacturer of parts for food packaging machinery.  Despite having "retired", Brian remains active in the business at over 70 years of age.  Paul joined in 1984, but by 1997 the company still employed only three staff, including Susan Moughton.
    In that year, a new fabrication side to the firm was started, mainly making conveyor systems for a packaging company whose moulds and dies Moughton Engineering had been producing for many years.  A 2,000 sq ft unit was acquired to house the new division.  However, the packaging customer was forced to close in 2001 due to the high cost of removing asbestos from its buildings, so the Moughtons quickly diversified into the offshore, telecoms and power generation sectors to fill the gap.
    Contracts for the food and packaging industries now account for around half of turnover, mainly in East Anglia, although systems are delivered as far afield as Germany, Nigeria, Australia and the US.  Today, the firm occupies 6,000 sq ft of factory space and employs 36.




    Published: 11/22/2012  10:19 AM
  • Tool and Gauge, Co. Sligo Ireland

    Tool and Gauge, Co. Sligo Ireland - Invests in Hurco to Compete in Global Marketplace

    ​In the last three years, the number of Hurco vertical machining centres on the shop floor at Tool & Gauge, Co Sligo, has trebled to six, and the moul...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, Ireland

    ​In the last three years, the number of Hurco vertical machining centres on the shop floor at Tool & Gauge, Co Sligo, has trebled to six, and the mould- and tool-maker has also invested in computer-aided engineering software from Pro/Engineer, SolidWorks and Delcam.


    The company specialises in providing customers with a high level of consultancy at the early development stages of a product, followed by project management from design through optimisation and manufacture of the mould to tryout runs on seven machines rated up to 400 tonnes.  Plastic injection moulds are the core business, although some thermoset, compression, rubber and blow mould tooling is also produced.
    Managing director, John O'Donnell explained, "We started using Hurco machines back in 1988, as conversational programming at the twin-screen Ultimax control was intuitive and quick, giving us good 2.5D modelling capability.  So we avoided the difficulty of using G-codes, as on other machining centres.
    "Today we program almost exclusively by downloading files from our CAD/CAM systems, as parts have become full 3D and much more complicated.  However, the latest Ultimax CNCs have more powerful processing capability, giving us the flexibility to program simple to relatively complex 3D jobs, if necessary, from a drawing on the shop floor."
    Driving the recent investment is fierce competition from overseas toolmakers, particularly in China.  Mr O'Donnell says that three Chinese toolmakers a week send him e-mails offering their services, so they must be blanket-mailing all of his competitors and customers in the UK as well. 
    Tool brokers are also calling on customers regularly to offer their services.  Portuguese toolmakers are around, but Tool & Gauge does not find difficulty competing with them on price.  There is not so much direct toolmaking competition from Eastern Europe at present, although some UK firms are relocating out there and sourcing their moulds locally.
    "Where companies like ours score is in the level of service we can provide, not just in design and consultancy, but also in speed of order turnaround," continued Mr O'Donnell.  "Whereas five years ago we used to quote 14 - 16 weeks delivery, this has fallen to 8 - 10 weeks now.
    "Overseas toolmakers, especially those in China, find it almost impossible to compete with those time frames; and if things go wrong or design alterations are needed, deliveries take much longer.  There is evidence that some work is coming back from the Far East due to long lead times and quality issues."
    Prices have to be competitive, however.  Tool & Gauge quotes the same price for a job today as it did five years ago, yet material costs and overheads have risen considerably, so charge-out rates have dropped in real terms.  To make a profit as well as to meet tight delivery deadlines, it is essential to invest in modern production plant, hence the installation of two Hurco VMX 42s, a VMX 64 and a VMX 42 over the past three years, which joined a VMX 30 and an older BMC 2416.
    Labour costs also have to watched carefully over the two- and sometimes three-shift operation.  Two operators look after all six Hurco machines, even though some cycle times are as short as one hour; but this is offset by other jobs being on a machine for up to a week.
    Concluded Mr O'Donnell, "Price and delivery of Hurco machines are good and they do exactly what we need them to, reliably and efficiently.  To continue our push towards more complex, higher added-value contracts, we will probably invest in a 5-axis machine next."
    Established in 1956, Tool & Gauge ( employs 50 people at its 3,500 sq ft factory in Tubbercurry, Co Sligo.  There are over 45 metalcutting machine tools on the shop floor including machining centres, lathes, wire and sinking EDM, and both surface and cylindrical grinders.  Markets served stretch from Ireland and Britain to mainland Europe and the USA.




    Published: 11/21/2012  10:12 AM
  • Caragh Tool & Die - Shop Floor Programming Saves Time

    Caragh Tool & Die - Shop Floor Programming Saves Time

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

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


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


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


    Published: 11/20/2012  2:51 PM
  • SFR Turning

    SFR Turning - Machinists Increased Productivity with Hurco

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

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


    —Kevin Jurus, Partner and Principle Hurco Operator

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


    Published: 11/20/2012  2:29 PM
  • Pelletizer Knives - Slashes Setup Times with Hurco

    Pelletizer Knives - Slashes Setup Times with Hurco

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

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

    -Greg Messina


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


    Published: 11/20/2012  2:29 PM
  • Precision Reflex

    Precision Reflex - Hurco Control Increased Production + Cash Flow

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

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

    -Dave Dunlap, President


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


    Published: 11/20/2012  2:25 PM
  • Ottenweller Co.

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

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

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

    —Mike Ottenweller, Owner

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


    Published: 11/20/2012  2:22 PM
  • North Carolina Foam Solutions

    North Carolina Foam Solutions - Hurco Mill Increases Productivity

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

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

    —Dennis Bost, Owner and Operator



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

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


    Published: 11/20/2012  11:34 AM
  • Lindsay Machine Works - Control Promotes Growth

    Lindsay Machine Works - Control Promotes Growth

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

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


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

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


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


    Published: 11/20/2012  11:29 AM
  • Rigid + Reliable: "We Have Not Had to Call a Tech Out Once"

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

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

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

    Keep up the good work,
    Jerry Pruitt

    Published: 11/20/2012  11:28 AM
  • SCHIVO GROUP - WATERFORD - Conversational Control Cuts Cycle Times by a Third

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

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

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


    Schivo 1.JPG

    Three Hurco 3 axis machines at Schivo 

    All of the Hurco machines were supplied through local Irish representative, Michael Gannon. The earlier model, which complemented manual-tool-change mills on site, was equipped with touch probing to speed workpiece set-up and boost productivity. It added machining capacity and high metal removal capability for manufacturing mainly medical devices and instruments in batches of typically 10- to 50-off.
    Jack Lyng, Technical Director of Schivo Precision, said that the success of the VMX42 installation prompted the purchase of the two new machining centres. Now, however, the programming software in the proprietary Ultimax twin-screen control has been upgraded to Windows-based WinMax, which is considerably more capable and speeds conversational programming.
    CAD data of particularly complex components are supplied by some customers and run through a hyperMILL CAM system at Waterford. Cutter paths are output in DXF format so that the programs can be conveniently downloaded directly into the Hurco control.


    Schivo 3.JPG

    Close up of machined PEEK end plate


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




    Published: 11/20/2012  10:04 AM
  • Bryco Machine

    Bryco Machine - Hurco Lathe Cuts Programming Time

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

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


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

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

    With easy-to-use conversational programming and powerful verification graphics, programming and setup time is down to under an hour between jobs. The operator of the Hurco TM6 appreciates the quick set up times and the unique verification graphics that allow him to see the cuts made on the control before they are actually made. This feature has significantly reduced programming times by two to three hours and he believes machine stoppages will soon be a thing of the past. Secondary operations are done on the Hurco BMC30. Bryon Bettinardi has also been very pleased with the investment. The Hurco lathes are producing high quality, accurate parts with close to the same efficiency as his production machines. With the fast turn around times now possible via his Hurco CNC milling and turning cell, short run jobs are now a new profit center for Bryco Machine.
    Published: 11/16/2012  5:18 PM
  • BPR/RICO Equipment

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

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

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

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


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


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


    Published: 11/16/2012  5:16 PM
  • Bobby Grace Putters

    Bobby Grace Putters - Hurco Brings Winning Touch to the Green

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

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

    -- Bobby Grace, Founder


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




    Published: 11/16/2012  5:15 PM
  • Belkin Corporation

    Belkin Corporation - Hurco VM Mill Invaluable for Prototyping Needs

    ​“In the fast changing world of computer peripherals, innovative design is the key. Rapidly converting these designs into prototypes requires a high capab...Read moreTags: Vertical Machining Centers, VM

    ​“In the fast changing world of computer peripherals, innovative design is the key. Rapidly converting these designs into prototypes requires a high capability machine tool. When compared to the competition, Hurco’s new VM2 won hands down.”

    ―John Hoppe, 3D Lab Manager

    When John Hoppe was granted a budget to buy a VMC to create prototypes in his lab, he contacted four different builders with machines in his size and budget range. He asked each to cut a 3D surface part using a tool path he had generated on Pro/Manufacturing. He knew that if he controlled the data used in the test, he would have the best chance to evaluate actual machine performance -- what he could really expect to get in his shop.
    Hurco’s VM2 Comes Out On Top 
    When all the samples were submitted and checked, Hurco’s VM2 machining center achieved the best surface finish with the fastest cycle time. Given its very competitive starting price of under $50,000 and its small footprint of 40″ of X travel, the decision to buy the VM2 was easy.
    Equipped with an optional 10,000 RPM spindle, the VM2 provides cutting feed rates up to 600 IPM for fast prototype machining. The Hurco Max control is network compatible and the program changes can be rapidly downloaded from the design group. Downloads can be made even when the machine is processing a different part. With a 1 Gig harddrive, even huge programs can be stored for later use. The control’s RAM was expanded to 256 Meg to handle very large programs without the need for drip feed or other time consuming steps. 
    Since the Max control is equipped for automatic machine shutdown after program completion, the VM2 is ideal for lights out extended shift operations. Many programs run all night and are ready for evaluation the next morning.


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


    Published: 11/16/2012  5:14 PM
  • A & A Tool and Die

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

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

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

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


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


    Published: 11/16/2012  5:12 PM
  • Met-Tek

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

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

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

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


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


    Published: 11/16/2012  10:31 AM
  • VAN-AM Tool and Engineering

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

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

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

    -- Ivan Russell


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


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

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

    Published: 11/15/2012  11:45 AM
  • Quake Manufacturing

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

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

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

    - Paul Quake, President

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

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

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

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


    Published: 11/15/2012  10:27 AM
  • Hallcraft Machining

    Hallcraft Machining - Tough competion drives shop to Hurco

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

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

    -- David Hall, VP, Hallcraft Machining

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

    As Dave’s business grew, he began to look for work from many of the large defense and high tech companies along the space coast. He has found that the Hurco is ideal. The power of Ultimax to solve programming and machining problems makes it ideal for short run, fast turn around work. The result is a steady workload from a variety of companies to keep balance to a growing business.
    Key Hurco Advantage
    The owner of a small shop must have total control of his operation. Any small inefficiency can be the difference between success and failure. Profits are won or lost on the shop floor and that’s where Hurco lets Dave spend his time. He is in complete control of scheduling jobs, dealing with process and material problems, adjusting programs to face the demands that each day brings. With it’s easy to learn, easy to use yet powerful control, Hurco Machining centers offer Dave the performance and control that he needs to be successful.
    To meet his customer needs, Dave has expanded his capabilities into high-level TIG and MIG welding along with light fabrication. But the core of his business remains CNC machining on Hurco machining centers. They offer him the speed and cycle time productivity to compete on production work, yet keep the flexibility and control he needs to meet the demands of a wide range of customers. All the while keeping control of the operation.
    Published: 11/15/2012  10:27 AM
  • Goodrich Aerospace

    Goodrich Aerospace - Productivity has Increased While Overhead has Decreased

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

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

    – Mike Ingersoll

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


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

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


    Published: 11/15/2012  10:24 AM
  • Western Carolina Tool and Mold

    Western Carolina Tool and Mold - Accurate, Flexible, and Easy to Use

    “When we formed our business five years ago, we knew that we needed flexible and easy to use equipment. The Hurco’s really fit the bill.”  Woody Scott, Pr...Read moreTags: CNC Control, Conversational, Vertical Machining Centers
    “When we formed our business five years ago, we knew that we needed flexible and easy to use equipment. The Hurco’s really fit the bill.” 
    Woody Scott, President, Western Carolina Tool and Mold
    Formed five years ago by 5 mold makers, Western Carolina has grown into a 10 man shop that specializes in molds for the textile and consumer goods business. Using advanced EDM equipment, a wide range of molds are produced to fine tolerances and demanding time schedules. The key to making their electrodes are two Hurco Machining Centers.The Hurco machines provide the accuracy, flexibility, and ease of use that is key to their operations. The high quality molds that Western produces demands intricant and very accurate electrodes. The Hurco’s consistency delivers on all counts.
    The Hurcos are fully capable of machining both graphite for electrodes and tool steel as needed. With large RAM and hard drive in the control, Western can download very complex surface geometries with speed and precision. Yet the control is simple enough to program that about 50% of their electrodes can be programmed right at the machine. That increases flexibility and shortens lead times.
    Finally, it was very important that the machine control be easy to learn and use. To meet the demands of their customers, Western wanted to avoid operator specialization if possible. Especially with the machining centers, they wanted all of their shop employees to be able to set-up and run the Hurcos. They can and it has become a key element to their operations. 
    Key Hurco Advantage
    Western Carolina elected to purchase Hurco machining centers equipped with the Single Screen Ultimax control. While it programs exactly like the traditional twin screen Ultimax control, it differs by only displaying either the text or graphics screen at any one time. It is easy to switch between them and thus the full functionality of the control remains.
    The mix of programs at Western Carolina is split about 50-50 between programs created at the machine on the shop floor. And those created off-line. In both cases because of the use of small tools, run time tends to be long. This is why the Single Screen control made sense. There is no loss in performance or capability with the Single Screen control, yet they save money on the initial purchase price. When coupled with network compatibility, the Hurcos are an integral part of the operation.
    Western Carolina has been steadily growing their business over the past five years. They are in the process of building a new facility that will increase their capacity about 50%. A new Hurco is waiting to go in. Working with a core group of skilled individuals has created a base for customer satisfaction that keeps Western Carolina unique. And their Hurcos are a key part of their success.
    Published: 11/14/2012  4:26 PM
  • Kelco Tool and Die

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

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

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

    —Kevin O’Donnell, President

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


    Published: 11/14/2012  10:28 AM
  • Nova Tool & Mold

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

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

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

    - John Novosel, President


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


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


    Published: 11/14/2012  10:24 AM
  • Erin Mills Machine and Tool Works Ltd

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

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

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


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


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

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


    Published: 11/12/2012  10:21 AM
  • Hurco VM10 CNC Mill

    "Decision To Buy Hurco Was a No-Brainer"

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

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


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


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

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


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


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


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

    Matthew Smith
    The Precision Edge Machine

    Published: 11/9/2012  12:48 PM
  • Hurco VMX42 CNC Mill

    "Our Hurco VMCs Keep Us Competitive"

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

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

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

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

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

    Robert Moll
    Pelco Tool and Mold



    Published: 11/9/2012  12:09 PM
  • Hurco TM6 CNC lathe

    "Best Features for the Money"

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

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

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

    Jame Holzheimer

    Published: 11/9/2012  12:05 PM
  • Freedom Machine, Inc

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

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

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

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

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


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


    Published: 11/6/2012  10:22 AM
  • NuCon

    Why NuCon Chose Hurco VMX42SR 5-Axis Machining Centers

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Bernhardt says he is enamored with the motion control on the Hurco and both VMX42SRs have performed perfectly. Beyond the machine, Bernhardt says the phenomenal service network Hurco has established is probably the best he’s seen in his career. “It’s really something you should promote. The knowledge and customer support is outstanding. I even sold a machine to a fellow down the road. He asked me about our Hurcos and I told him about the phenomenal service network you have and the outstanding performance of our machines. This is still an industry that relies on word-of-mouth, which means a company’s reputation for how they treat customers after they have bought the machine is important,” explains Bernhardt.
    While Hurco machine tools are often known for their intuitive conversational programming, NuCon uses the NC side of the control exclusively. The integrated Hurco control powered by WinMax includes both conversational and NC programming methods with ISNC and NC Productivity Packages available for enhanced performance. With an enhanced NC interpreter, the recently released WinMax version 8 (WinMax8) is compatible with more CAD/CAM programs than ever. Other additions to the NC side of the control include Tool Review, Transform Plane, Rotary Tangential Velocity Control, Automatic Safe Repositioning, Recovery Restart, and Cylindrical Wrap.

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

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

    Bernhardt attributes his company’s success to great customers, great employees, and the drive to continually find ways to increase efficiency while maintaining the highest quality. “The core of our manufacturing philosophy at NuCon has always been to satisfy our customers. The job isn’t finished until the customer requirements are met. We believe in continual process improvement. You always need to look for ways to work smarter even while you’re working harder,” says Bernhardt.
    For NuCon, purchasing the Hurco VMX42SRs helped the company work smarter for smaller 5-axis parts.

    34100 Industrial Road
    Livonia, MI 48150

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

    Published: 10/10/2012  11:05 AM
  • /IN/why-hurco/success-stories/blog/Lists/Photos/CubePrecision1.jpg

    Cube Precision Engineering - Manufacture of Automotive and Aerospace Components

    Black Country toolmaker and subcontractor, Cube Precision Engineering, has installed its largest Hurco machining centre to date, a 3,200 x 2,100 x 920 mm ...Read moreTags: Machining Centers, United Kingdom, CNC Control

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



    Cube Precision 1.JPG

    Cast iron press tool being machined

     on the DCX 32

    The latest investment follows recent strong business growth, particularly in the manufacture of automotive press tools for producing interior and body components for such famous marques as Land Rover, Jaguar, BMW and Honda. Turnover at the 35-employee firm is expected to increase this year by more than 12 per cent compared with 2011 to £3.5 million.

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


    It is usual for simpler 2D elements of a program to be programmed at the control by the machine operator, however. One of the benefits of WinMax is that such cycles can be easily merged with the 3D cutter paths prepared externally. Previously, such an approach would have resulted in two separate cutting cycles.
    Photos: Views of cast iron press tool being machined on Hurco DCX32 at Cube Precision Engineering


    Published: 10/1/2012  3:45 PM
  • Florida Precision

    Florida Precision - Part Accuracy and Repeatability.

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

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

    – Mike Vella




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

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

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

    Published: 9/14/2012  10:16 AM
  • Vintage Airplane Hobbyist Turns His Passion into a Business

    Vintage Airplane Hobbyist Turns His Passion into a Business

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

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

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


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

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

    Best regards,
    Tim Ryan
    Infinity Metalworks, Inc.





    Published: 8/28/2012  1:38 PM
  • EMM Machine Shop

    EMM Precision / VM10U

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

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

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


    Published: 7/27/2012  12:27 PM