Investment and Strong Technical

 

Support Key to Success for

 

Queensland Manufacturers

 

Three Queensland manufacturers have made significant investment in the future with the latest hi-tech CNC machines and have found that even the remote locations of some are no barrier to high levels of technical support and training from Okuma, both on site and via remote control.

 

Tuff Manufacturing:

After 40 years in engineering, Charlie Quagliata of Tuff Manufacturing established a new business in North Queensland and at the same time initiated a relationship with leading CNC machine supplier Okuma Australia for the first time.

Tuff Manufacturing produces high quality hydraulic cylinders for a range of applications including components for concrete trucks, agitators, with a strong emphasis in the supply of components to original equipment manufacturers including steel and nylon rollers and chute cylinders.

“Operating a precision manufacturing operation approximately one hour’s drive south of Townsville meant that quality, reliability and back up service on the machine was essential and Okuma had what I wanted in a large machine,” said Charlie. “Whilst I have an experienced team of skilled engineers, the high level training aspect was also what we were looking for and the Okuma technicians didn’t leave until we were happy and they have bent over backwards with any early issue we experienced,” he said.

What has impressed Charlie and his team is the versatility of this large 14 ton Okuma Lathe model LB35IIISBBCx1500 machine which was commissioned to do large work and is now also efficiently producing parts of 100 grams in weight. The versatility of the new machine is opening up new business opportunities for Tuff nationwide and allowing improvements to be introduced to existing components through a redesign process which is on-going throughout the range. According to Charlie Quagliata the new machine is making his company more competitive on larger jobs by up to 25% with perfect and consistent accuracy.

Whilst the skilled workforce at Tuff Manufacturing have been used to other equipment, operators have been quick to adapt to the new controller with its ease of programming and are keen to work on the new machine. Charlie commented that as a result of this experience he would have no hesitation in buying more Okuma machines.

Tuff Manufactiring Tuff Manufacturing Rollers for Agitators
Tuff Manufacturing Tuff Manufacturing Rollers for Agitators

 

Hodge Industries:

One of the world’s leading specialists in the manufacture and supply of machinery to the sugar cane industry has also invested in the latest hi-tech Okuma CNC Lathe Model LB3000EXIIBMYCx950 machine, building on a relationship with Okuma of more than 20 years.

Hodge Industries remote manufacturing location in Mackay, North Queensland, being twelve hours or 1100 km out of Brisbane, meant that precision, reliability and fast  technical back up were all essential elements and the new machine offers all of this and more according to Managing Director Wayne Willis.

Founded in 1914, Hodge Industries is a fourth generation family business that has been servicing the sugar cane industry in Australia since that date. It has also been exporting its advanced machinery and expertise to major sugar cane growing areas around the world such as Asia, Africa and South America since 1974. The company also manufacturers a diversified range of agricultural equipment to meet the needs of the general farming community, manufacturing and fabricating products from raw materials to finished painted machinery in-house.

The company has been operating a 23 year old Okuma CNC machine without experiencing any issues and was able to keep all the old tooling and the old programs. Training provided by Okuma on the new machine has been outstanding, extending the knowledge of our operators and the machine has many more safety features and benefits built in, resulting in a seamless changeover according to Wayne.

“The new machine has an impressive range of functions that completely meet our requirements,” said Wayne Willis. “It has more facilities and is easier to program, it is user friendly and the remote service functionality that allows a technician at Okuma to take over the machine and provide direct assistance to an operator on the job is just exceptional. Importantly the machine has saved us time from day one in operation,” he said.

“We are achieving reductions from four different operational stages to one on many jobs with time savings of at least 50% with one set up with hubs, grease nipple holes, key ways, threading etc. all in one operation,” said Wayne.

The investment in this latest technology is showing many advantages with set up times dramatically reduced with jobs now up and running within 30 minutes. This allows cost effective short runs and reductions in inventory to be achieved plus a high quality finished product outcome. The new machine is opening up opportunities to enhance existing products through redesign plus increased business potential with new customers such as methane gas testing cylinders for mine sites.

According to Wayne the Queensland economy is turning around after the slump at the end of the mining boom with coal prices recovering and with the agricultural business good over the last two years. This 103 year old company is looking forward to continuing growth in both its Queensland and export markets using the latest investment in technology to its full advantage.

Hodge OkumaLB3000
Hodge Industries - Okuma LB3000EXIIBMYCx950

 

 

Hillier Engineering:

Having purchased its first Okuma machine in 1992 Hillier Engineering is a long standing customer of this precision machine supplier with the first machine still in operation and it remains as accurate today according to Managing Director, John Hillier.

Hillier Engineering Services is a family owned and operated CNC machining specialist and fabrication shop located at Acacia Ridge, Brisbane established in 1988 by Ray and John Hillier.

The company offers precision CNC Turning, Milling, and EDM Wire Cutting, CMM Inspection, manual Milling and Turning for its Australian and international clients. The company uses the latest machining technology and has developed its own computer manufacturing database ‘Tracking Manufacturing’ to ensure clients requirements and delivery times are achieved at all times.

Hillier Engineering specialises in CNC machining of castings, forgings, fabrications and bar stock in all metals for a broad range of industries such as Agriculture, Construction, Earthmoving, Mining, Railways, Refineries, Transportation, Water Treatment, Equipment Manufacturers, Food and Beverage, Mineral Processing and Marine Industries.

The purchase of the latest Okuma Machining Centre Model MA650VB with OSP-P300MA Control builds on to an extensive range of precision CNC Okuma machines and Robocut CNC EDM Wire Cutting machine already installed in this advanced manufacturing facility.

“Okuma Australia’s high levels of service and back up supported by highly qualified technical personnel and the ability to remotely trouble shoot via ‘Team Viewer’ whilst an operator is on a job is something that we value in our relationship with Okuma,” said John Hillier. “All our programs feed into the machines and although we have very experienced operators on-site we received customised training whilst we were still producing so there was no time lost,” he said.

Having experienced first-hand the quality and standards of the Okuma machines being built during a recent visit to the Okuma Japanese manufacturing plant has given the management of this company a high level of confidence in the Okuma machines.

“The components we are producing on the Okuma machines are up to one ton in weight with fine tolerances of around .01mm with a high surface finish and the 4th axis set up time is very quick for lower volume work,” John commented. “The 4th axis option is a big advantage along with the higher spindle speed of this high speed machine.”

The new machine is opening up new opportunities for Hillier Engineering in both the Australia wide domestic and international markets with an emphasis on Defence and Aerospace contracts, new clients and diversification into R & D electric charging stations. The company has a close relationship with the Queensland University producing components for the Scramjet engine development and intricate parts for R & D projects.

“Our skilled workforce are all enjoying the benefits of the latest technology with its functionality and standardised easy to operate programming which gives us great confidence in producing large and small high quality fine tolerance components,” said John Hillier.

Hillier Engineering   Ray Hillier (left) and John Hillier from Hillier Engineering 
 Hillier Engineering - Okuma Machining Centre Model MA650VB with OSP-P300MA  Ray Hillier (left) and John Hillier from Hillier Engineering