With the crashing economy, Prototek inevitably picked up many new customers from other sheet metal production shops. It reached the point where their Pulsar laser and Vipros Queen turret were running 90% of the day, every day! This being a great side effect of a poor economy, the new problem was simply not being able to handle the workload.
Prototek has continually added bigger, faster, and more accurate milling and processing machines to their arsenal over the years, trying out new technologies to find what fits them best. Earlier this year was seven new Hurco milling machines and the most recent addition is the VC Nexus 410A from Mazak Corp. (Florence, KY). Materials the company commonly works with include ABS resins, all stainless steels, and all non-ferrous materials including Kovar, Invar, tungsten, and titanium. Turning projects are held to tolerances of plus or minus 0.0001 in., milling to plus or minus 0.00025 in.
Recently faced with an 8% across-the-board price cut demand from a major customer, the company turned to its newest acquisition, its VC Nexus 410A from Mazak. “It’s not always the job, it’s how fast you can get it on and off the machine that often makes the difference,” Isabelle explains. “The faster we push our Nexus, the better it cuts.” The Nexus 410A features a powerful 25Hp 12,000 rpm AC spindle motor that increases torque in the lower range and enhances performance in the high range. Spindle speed in the Nexus represents a 20% increase over previous models and horsepower is a 25% increase. The chip-to-chip tool-change time is 2.7 seconds.
“We absolutely had to cut time on existing jobs, and tool-change time is critical,” Isabelle
Explains. “When we began dealing with Mazak, it was clear they took machine construction and specifications seriously.” Programming capability, along with well-laid-out electrical components also aid profitability. A program running on a Haas mini mill was loaded onto High Tech Turning’s Nexus 410A, and without any changes the Nexus cut 45 seconds out of a four-minute cycle time, a nearly 20% reduction. Other medical parts run on the Nexus machine achieved nearly 50% reduction in cycle time, and an ABS component for a cough-assist machine run on the Nexus
could not be run on High-Tech’s other machining centers. Precision linear guide ways are used on all Nexus 410A axes for maximum accuracy and rigidity. Rapid traverse rates of 1417 inches per minute are a result, as well as positioning accuracy of plus or minus 0.0002 in. High-gain digital AC servo motors are coupled directly to the ballscrews, eliminating the need for belts and gears that can otherwise negatively affect machine accuracy. The Nexus design is environmentally friendly as well. An automatic save-energy mode shuts the machine down when not in use, which can cut electric power consumption up to 20%. The Nexus grease lubrication system reduces waste oil 57%, and the absence of tramp oils from the linear guide lubrication system extends coolant service life. In addition, all solenoids, valves, and fluid level gauges are mounted on a single panel, making a visual status check quick and easy.
“We always have to look at how we can cut cycle time out of a part,” Isabelle states. “If you can’t get the job out of the shop quickly, you don’t get the job. With the Nexus, we feel we have the technology to address our customers’ concerns and still maintain a profit.”
A subsidiary of Oguchi, Japan-based Yamazaki Mazak Corporation, Mazak Corp. was
first established in the United States in 1968, and the Florence, KY offices and manufacturing facility was opened in 1974. Currently the only Japanese machine tool company with US-based design and production facilities, Mazak has invested more than $130 million in North American facilities since 1968. From advanced multi-tasking machine tools, vertical and horizontal machining centers and turning centers to fully automated Palletech Manufacturing Cells, Mazakengineered developments provide customers tangible value-added benefits and the most productive machine tools available. Application assistance from 10 regional Mazak Tech Centers is always accessible. For more information, contact the Mazak Corporation at (859) 342-1700 or visit the Mazak website at http://www.mazak.com
About Prototek Manufacturing
Prototek Manufacturing started in October of 1987 specializing in rapid prototyping of precision machining and precision sheet metal for the hi-tech industries. Their facility is a new 40,000 sq. ft. building. Prototek currently has 65 employees and has expanded into a one stop shop for all machining and sheet metal needs. They are home to state of the art welding and bending departments, as well as plating rooms, assembly department, and much more. Prototek's niche has always been a solid commitment to on-time deliveries of quality products. They fabricate from 3D solid models or CAD (computer aided design) files, and keep a large, constant supply of necessary materials, sheetmetal stock, machinable plastics and metal, and PEM hardware. Prototek is currently ISO 9001:2008 certified and also ITAR and DFAR compliant.