VMCs lead tool room in new direction

Six Hurco three-axis VMCs carry out the majority of prismatic machining in the tool room of Beccles-based plastic packaging manufacturer Berry M&H. Although the firm dates back to 1973, the first Hurco machines, a VM10i and a VMX30i, did not arrive until 2015 when the assets of another tool-making company were acquired.

Berry M&H’s Beccles tool-room manager Kurt Knights, who has been with the company for over 20 years, says: “When we started using WinMax conversational software in the Hurco control, it made shop-floor programming far easier and quicker for our operators – and it simplified training for new employees and apprentices alike.

Offline code generation for a mould takes typically 10 hours, while the shop-floor element takes around two hours, much faster and more simply than is possible on a machining centre driven by a G-code control, says Hurco. It quickly became apparent that the Hurco/WinMax combination was highly suitable for Berry M&H’s requirements, which centre mainly on the fast-turnaround production of moulds from 170 mm-wide Alumec 89 billets. Most moulds comprise neck, body and base blocks manufactured from this high-strength aluminium alloy, held together by a steel back plate.

The company purchased two new Hurco VM5i three-axis VMCs for machining these moulds, with a third added in 2019. In November 2020, a larger Hurco VM30i with a 1270 x 508 x 508 mm working volume arrived that Knights describes as “a superb machine and excellent value for money”. The investment was because of Berry M&H’s decision to move more strongly into the production of bigger moulds up to 700 mm wide and with up to six cavities.

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