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A trio of Hurco milling machines expands capabilities

Superite Tools can now load tools up to 2,200 x 1,700 x 750mm on the bed and weighing up to eight tonnes

Posted on 02 Jul 2024. Edited by: John Hunter. Read 1200 times.
A trio of Hurco milling machines expands capabilitiesHurco DCX 22 vertical machining centre in situ at Superite Tools

West Midlands-based Superite Tools Ltd, a plastic mould tool and pressure die specialist, has recently invested in a trio of large capacity CNC milling machines to further extend its capacity. The three Hurco machines, have been put to work helping modify, repair and enhance the UK’s customers’ tooling.

The company was established in 1955 by Alan Collins, a time-served engineering apprentice and Naval Petty Officer. Today, the family-owned and operated business is under the auspices of his son, Martin and his management team which collectively have over 100 years of industry knowledge and experience. As managing director, he has steered the Walsall-based company to ensure it offers services and capabilities that are often ‘above and beyond’ the norm. This includes being able to work on large tooling up to 15 tonnes, with craneage and material-handling systems in place to manipulate large workpieces

General manager Craig Dingle explained: “Being one of the few companies in the country that can handle tools weighing up to 15 tonnes means we have very little direct competition, and this has established a sustainable customer base for us. Our latest investment in three Hurco milling machines has enhanced this even further because we now have the ability to load tools up to 2,200 x 1,700 x 750mm on the bed at weights of up to eight tonnes.”

This impressive capacity is provided by a large double column Hurco DCX 22 vertical machining centre that features a 12,000rev/min 18kW spindle, supplied by a 40-tool automatic tool changer (ATC). With rapid traverse rates of 24m/min and cutting feed rates of up to 7m/min, it can certainly chew through some metal.

Alongside the twin column machine are two Hurco VMX 60T three-axis vertical machining centres that are designed to productively deliver high-precision capabilities for batch production, one-offs, or mould & die work. Offering X, Y, and Z travels of 1,524 x 660 x 610mm, these machines can accept workpieces up to 2,000kg on the 1,676 x 660mm worktable.

As well as tooling modification and tooling repairs these machines will also provide an increase in the capacity of the precision machined parts that the company produces as a sub-contract service. Although a high variety of parts are machined by Superite Tools the batch sizes are kept intentionally low.

Craig Dingle said: “We try to stay between single parts and 100 off due the demand of our market, this ensures our engineers are equipped to deliver high-quality and cutting-edge solutions to meet the diverse needs of our customers.”

All these latest machines installed in Superites Tools’ impressive purpose-built 12,000ft2 facilities feature Hurco’s twin screen Winmax control system. It allows Superite Tools to directly transfer files from the latest suite of Visi CAD/CAM software used by it engineers and supports both conversational programming as well as G and M code input directly at the controller.

Tooling manger Adrian Brown said: “Although the control system was a departure from the Heidenhain CNC systems we use on our other five machine tools, everyone has quickly adapted to the different control system which is testament to their flexibility and skill levels.”

Technical manager Craig Smout added: “Of course, when you are looking to repair or enhance over 80 tools per month, which we regularly do, you must consider every step of the operation. Using the latest CAD/CAM software ensures we can accept various CAD files from our customers as well as all the industry standard file extensions. For legacy tooling we can scan and reverse engineer the parts to capture the necessary data.

“Superite has the ability to collect a tool nationwide from a customer that is in dire straits and get it back to us within 24hr, this is all part of our ‘rapid response’ service. Once the tool is here, one of the management team can quickly evaluate the work required and swiftly provide a quote and estimated turnround time. Our three managers have a combination of over 100 years’ tooling project management experience, the unique element of this results in our customers having consistent support and service from one of the managers ensuring an end-to-end single point of contact philosophy.”

Not all of the tooling supported by the ISO 9001:2015 accredited company are large, and modifications and repairs can be carried out on smaller injection mould tools. Martin Collins is also keen to point out that the business is tooling agnostic. As he explained: “Toolmaking is a global industry, and many businesses purchase tooling from overseas to meet cost and delivery constraints. At Superite Tools, we accept this as part of the ongoing development of the industry and we will support the rapid repair and modification of any tool from anywhere in the world. The key for us is to get our customers back into production in a timely manner with a repaired or enhanced tool that meets the high-quality levels we set ourselves and that the customers have come to expect from us.”

Having operated successfully for over seven decades, Superite Tools has come a long way since Martin’s father borrowed £150 to purchase his first lathe and worked evenings in a wooden shed. With Martin’s children already working in the thriving family business, Superite Tooling is set to continue along its chosen path — great news for both existing and potential new customers.