22.10.2021 | Clients

“The control is ideal for us”

The firm “Ingenieurbüro Martin Braun” swears by its HURCO machines: “The control is ideal for us, and these machines give us a competitive advantage,” is the word from Enkenbach-Alsenborn just outside Kaiserslautern. Recently the number 10,000 acquired surprising significance during the purchase of yet another machine in the form of a “HURCO VM 30 i Plus.”

When Martin Braun receives an order, unexpected developments can be waiting just around the corner. Especially in view of the fact that 80 percent of the firm’s clientele stems from the mechanical engineering and construction sector. And the spectrum of potential parts in this sector is particularly variegated: The number of firms active in this field comes in at just under 6,600 companies ─ primarily small and medium-sized enterprises ─ with an emphasis on export markets, and with product ranges embracing everything from A to Z, with “machine tools” right in the middle. For contract fabricators this translates into: “For us, there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ part.” “You could balance some components on the tip of your finger,” continues Braun, “while you need a forklift to move some of the others.” This work is complemented by a small but significant number of orders from the automotive industry, where “we deliberately avoid lim-ited series in order to concentrate on production processes by providing products such as equipment.” The other focus is on customers “with unique requirements.” At the same time, the employees in Enkenbach-Alsenborn devote most of their time and energy to fabricating individual aluminum and stainless-steel parts for mechanical engineering firms.

Protean application spectrum

You don’t know today what you will be machining tomorrow, and this is why flexibility is essential. The critical attribute is adaptability, in structures, in staff members, and in the machinery: A staff numbering 12 employees forms the current composition of the team in Enkenbach-Alsenborn. They are backed up by 14 machining centers, and exactly half of these are from HURCO. “We use them for everything: lathe-turning, milling, drilling,” reports the company owner. He can choose the ideal machine size for each component. Does the job require a travel path of 2.1 m? Does the part weigh several hundred kilograms? Does the job entail comprehensive machining? “At this moment, we have an aluminum plate measuring 700 x 700 mm on the HURCO,” mentions Braun by way of citing a representative example. “The assignment consists of producing a recessed motor mount with a diameter of 200 mm at the center. The part will also feature chamfered passages and threaded sockets. The whole part is being milled on both sides and then it will receive a black anodized finish.” Slabs of this kind appear in numerous versions and sizes, and in each case the suitable HURCO springs into action.

The perfect constellation

Braun has consolidated his machining potential and enhanced his flexibility with the purchase of a VM 30 i Plus. This 3-axis machining center lets him get moving with a maximum table load of 1,800 kg on a clamped surface area of 1,321 x 508 mm, a 15 kW spindle spinning at up to 12,000 rpm and an SK40 interface along with a tool changer featuring 24 positions. “In metal machining, you always concentrate on the control sys-tem,” is how Braun defines his focus. “When the hardware and the software operate in perfect harmony to support operators in doing their jobs, what you have is the perfect constellation.” Here, Braun is making a clear reference to the “Max5” control system that his associates use to program virtually every aspect of machine operation. “It works superbly on our parts with their milled surfaces, their bores and passages, and their precise fits and clearances. When we need larger recesses and a specific material thickness, we exploit the entire range of features that combine with the easy programming to form synergistic perfection.” Considerations complemented by yet another aspect: “We just mentioned a motor housing. For this, we have fabricated a tool assembly that lets us clamp multiple parts,” explains Braun. “Once we have programmed the entire machining operation at the machine, the HURCO takes over and runs through the whole sequence.” This ability lets the machines proceed through reliable, semi-automated, independent production of limited-series parts without operator interven-tion. “A major asset is the enormous flexibility in assigning our workforce: At our company, each employee operates every HURCO and they all enter their own program-ming data at the machine. I don’t need to mention how quickly we can now train new employees.”

Derisory repair costs

Braun has now been a loyal HURCO customer for seven years. “Back then, we sub-jected the market’s options to intensive analysis, and then we decided to buy a HURCO. With convincing results: This machine is still providing trouble-free performance. As precisely as on the first day. And throughout these years, the repair costs have been almost zero. Which is something that applies to all of the other HURCOs. Then you are more than ready to buy another machine.” At which the most recent acquisition was a VM 30 i Plus that lets Braun achieve even more consistency in satisfying machine-engineering requirements. “Both on the machine side and at the service end, we have found the right partners for our operations,” is how he summarizes the situation. “At the end of the day, the HURCO machines are perfect for our economic success. We have great versatility and can make virtually anything. For us, it is important for customers to know: Braun Engineering Consultants will help us.” When the time comes, they may call upon the services of the Anniversary Machine, because Braun’s VM 30 i is the 10,000th HURCO delivered in Germany.

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