Hi‑Tech Sees Handwork Grind to a Halt



Hi-Tech Mold & Engineering in Rochester Hills, Michigan, serves the plastics industry in product design and the manufacture of large prototype and production molds and fixtures. Hi-Tech is a full-service tool supplier to the automotive industry. It provides complete program management that includes product feasibility studies, design, CNC programming, and tool manufacturing.

Hi-Tech was feeling intense pressure to improve accuracy and quality, to streamline workflow processes, and to remain financially competitive, so they upgraded their equipment to further drive operational costs out of their processes.


Hi-Tech recently replaced two vertical machining centers with the Makino SNC64. And they installed the Makino MCC2013 horizontal machining center to mill large dies and molds weighing up to 11 tons, which can help them produce multi-cavity automotive door panels and other components of similar size.

Hi-Tech wanted to allow their operators to program offline. Factors such as tool type per run, spindle speeds, feed rate, and finishing quality are determined on the front end of the machining process with Makino equipment. Although there is more time spent preparing a machine to mill, machine downtime between tool changes and programs is reduced significantly. Some machines stop and sit idle between programs, while the Makino performs a tool change in just a few seconds and is off and running again.


The SNC64 reaped immediate benefits, according to Hi-Tech Mold. The machine increased their graphite electrode productivity by 100 percent and reduced cycle time by as much as 50 percent within a few months. Finish accuracy has improved by 100 percent, while time to machine dropped over 30 percent. They also eliminated machine down time during unattended periods.

Hand grinding has been virtually eradicated from Hi-Tech’s operations, with overall bench time decreasing by approximately 30 percent on molds milled by the MCC2013. The company saves on labor costs per project because of the reduced time in machining and benching. And, because Hi-Tech replaced two machines with one SNC64, they saved on electricity and maintenance and freed up precious floor space.

The biggest benefit in buying a Makino machine is the spindle technology that they offer," says Robert Schulte, vice president of Hi-Tech Mold & Engineering, Inc. "They put a lot into R&D and have a lot of people making the effort to come up with a better machine and are not satisfied with remaining stagnant. Makino strives to be the front runner in machine design, and I find that to be true with their products." Many of Hi-Tech’s machines rapid at 200 to 400 inches per minute; the MCC2013 rapids at 630 inches per minute.

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