Victor Hydraulics recently installed a Mazak HCN 4000 horizontal with multi pallets and tool hive with 312 tool locations.

This was driven by the need to be focused on how to keep competitive. In the past, Victor Hydraulics also bought ‘like for like’ machines for “standardisation reasons,” but then realised over time they were not getting any gains from new technology and were stuck in a rut.

“This need for standardisation was constraining our thinking,” says manufacturing manager Darryl May. “But the constraints are mainly in the mind, because we tell ourselves this is the way we have always done things, by doing this we were seriously limiting ourselves.”

So, Victor Hydraulics sent out specification requirements to four different suppliers; the overall offering that met Victor Hydraulics’ vision for the future in terms of size, controller, tool hive, pallet system and market support was Mazak.

“There was quite a bit at stake and the specifying and install process was very smooth – no-one cut any corners and I am very comfortable with the support we are getting from the team. From a commissioning point of view, it was well coordinated with good communication in advance so there were no surprises,” he says.

No-one attends the machine during the night shift. The tool hive allows the Mazak to run unmanned using the tool monitoring and there are enough tools in the machine to call back up tools. Without the hive Victor Hydraulics would not have a chance of aiming for this goal.

“The technology and configuration allow you to achieve delivery nimbleness. This machine gives us zero set-up time by the ability to set up pallets while another is being machined, our spindle cut time is very high and the smooth controller is super impressive and very intuitive.”

Even with adding more operations to the part being machined, within two months Victor Hydraulic have doubled production rate and halved labour content, and throughput per hour has gone up considerably – the machine is now running 21 hours per day.

With any machine tool investment, the quality of the after sales service is a huge decider in which direction the purchaser will go. When put to Darryl, he says: “Victor Hydraulics realised that while NZMT is a new agent for Mazak, its associated company Iscar Plus was not going to put their cutting tool business with us at risk with poor service, and we realise that Iscar have been in the industry for a long time. Victor Hydraulics trust they will get it right.”

Director John McCallister adds: “Victor Hydraulics are focused on through-put, that’s our main measure”, we have added value by adding to our capability which appeals to our clients and we can also offer design improvements because of the new capabilities.”