Plus version of popular Hurco VMC has many uprated features

2 mins read

One of Hurco's best-selling 3-axis vertical machining centres (VMCs), the VM30i with a 1,270 x 508 x 508mm working envelope in a compact footprint of approximately 4.1 x 2.7 metres, is now available as a Plus version.

It has been upgraded from a single-screen to a twin-screen WinMax control and has a 12,000 rpm / 15 kW spindle instead of a 10,000 rpm version. Additional new benefits include 20 bar through-spindle coolant, LCD remote jog and an auger for efficient swarf evacuation.

Philip Carr, an applications engineer at Hurco Europe, High Wycombe, gave an insight into the far-reaching benefits of the upgraded machine. He started by demonstrating the raw power of the spindle, with a Kyocera SGS seven-flute end mill ripping into mild steel to a depth of 50 mm.

He was running a program that used tool paths created using UltiPocket, a milling software option within Hurco's WinMax programming and control software that allows the boundary of a component to be defined and then pockets or islands within it. The approach eliminates complex calculations and shortens part programming time.

Milling can be from the centre outwards if there are no islands, or vice versa if there are. Of special interest are Hurco's alternative adaptive AdaptiPath routines, Zigzag and 1-Way, both of which are proprietary and support helical plunging.

The former ensures that the tool is constantly in contact with the material surface to decrease machining time, moving the tool in a zigzag pattern with one pass being climb milling and the next conventional.

With 1-Way, on the other hand, milling is either climb or conventional, with the cutter skimming the part surface on its return. In all cycles, the percentage of tool engagement during cutting is set by entering a value in the step-over field.

Rest machining is available with the AdaptiPath routines, allowing the program to specify a small diameter mill to clear out remaining pocket areas, in corners for example, which a larger tool might not be able to reach.

Carr pointed out that the addition of a second control screen allows a graphical image of the part to be generated as the cycle is being programmed and a full simulation to be displayed after it is complete. Operators are provided with a precise visual representation of the cycle and the ability to slow down a simulation enhances understanding and analysis.

Whereas previously only DXF files could be imported into the control, it is possible with the recently-introduced Solid Model Import option to bring in an STP file and work directly from it. There is also now the ability to import a 3D surface from a model into a conversational program at the machine.

Software features in WinMax that enable 2.5D work include Swept Surface with its automatic blending functions and 3D Mold shape rotation around an axis. For some users, all this functionality is sufficient to avoid the expense of sourcing a CAD/CAM system.

Tool Change Optimization is a further feature within WinMax that reduces the number of tool changes in conversational programs. In typical conversational program execution, each data block is completed for roughing and finishing before the program moves on to the next data block.

By harnessing the power of Tool Change Optimization, a cycle is completed sequentially by tool, so all operations that use tool 1 are completed before the program moves on to the operations that use tool 2, and so on.

Significant savings in run times are possible by eliminating unnecessary cutter exchanges, especially when drilling, tapping and perhaps counterboring multiple holes of different diameter, for example.

Carr concluded: "Utilising a Hurco VM30i Plus with our revolutionary WinMax twin-screen control system, a manufacturer can take advantage of a powerful piece of production equipment that doubles as a VMC and a CAD/CAM system.

"With its upgraded mechanical specification as well, the VM30i Plus is at the forefront of cost-effective machining technology. Having this tool in their arsenal, manufacturers can achieve higher levels of efficiency, precision and productivity, all without moving from the shop floor."