Product Focus: Fryer Machine Turning Centers

Fryer Machines

One of the fantastic product lines that Brooks represents is Fryer Machine.  This American made product comes right out of Patterson, New York and has nearly 40 years of solid reputation to stand on.  Fryer Machine has made a name for themselves with their over 50 different models of milling machines, turning centers, lathes, and custom built machinery.  Each of these different product lines offers something completely unique to the industry.  Let’s take a deeper dive into the Fryer Machine System’s Turning Centers.

There are two different options within the turning center’s: the VT Series & the SL Series.  The VT Series is a vertical turret lathe with a completely innovative traveling column design.  The unique design of this machine allows for a large swing in a small footprint.  The size of the swing you need will determine the model you select.  Each model number indicates the inches of swing.  VT-30 for example has a 30” swing while the VT-80 has an 80” swing.  One of the other defining features of a Fryer Machine VT series turning center is the horizontal turret, which provides incredible clearance for both long and short tools.  The automatic turret is designed for either 8 or 12 tools.  The VT series also offers full C axis contouring, positioning and live tooling.  The Fryer-Siemens Touch 2200 CNC control is designed to assist with fast conversational programming right on the shop floor.  The easy set-up of this machine means you’ll be in full operation in no time.

The SL Series is Fryer Machine’s high accuracy slant lathe.    It features a 45° one-piece slant bed, the utmost in rigidity resulting from the box way construction, and the highest accuracy available.  In order to ensure accuracy, the SL Series uses a C1 class double nut ballscrew, a precision spindle cartridge, P4 NN roller spindle bearings and a high precision hydraulic chuck.  As with the VT Series the SL Series also offers a fully functional C axis and live tooling.  This machine really is the only option for shops needing the highest precision turning center available.  The model numbers for the SL Series reflect the chuck size selected.  The models range from the SL-6 with a 6” chuck, up to the SL-12 with a 12” chuck.  To maximize productivity the SL Series machines include a tool and part probe system as well as a chip management system.  Of course they come standard with the 2200 digital CNC control and premium software package as well.

Brooks Associates has had a great partnership with Fryer Machine for years.  With many happy customers throughout New England we would love to talk with you further about how a turning center from Fryer Machine could revolutionize your business.  Give us a call today to set-up a demo or talk further about your application.

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Upcoming Eastec Preparations

Eastec Show

While it may seem that May 14th is a long way off, it’ll be here before you know it.  While you’re contemplating whether to attend, which vendors to visit, or how to retain the most pertinent information from the educational seminars, you should also give serious thought to the potential of stealing a pre-show deal.  Brooks will have equipment from the majority of the OEM’s we represent either in our booth or in other booths around us.  All of these machines are costing the manufacturers a tremendous amount of money to bring in from all over the country, set-up and demo throughout the show.  There’s nothing better for the manufacturer than to sell that show machine and not have to pay to haul it back across the country.  How does this benefit you?  Pricing and delivery at a premium.

If you’ve been thinking that 2019 is the year, you’ll be ready to move to a new abrasive waterjet, a wire EDM, or a machining center than you should give Brooks Associates a call today.  At this point manufacturers are getting prepped for which machines they’ll be bringing to the show.  Decisions about accessories and optional features are being finalized, and you could influence those choices.  If the OEM knows that the machine is sold they will outfit it with the exact set-up the buyer is looking for.  This means no one will be trying to push a show machine on you that isn’t exactly what you wanted, but also gives you the show discounted pricing.

Over the next 6 weeks Brooks will be promoting all of the EASTEC specials and letting customers know what the pricing discounts will be, but if you want to lock in your machine ahead of time and make sure no one else gets that price break give us a call today.  There will only be one of each of these machines and when they’re sold there won’t be another opportunity to get these units at these incredible prices.  Not to mention the savings in shipping costs for a unit that’s no longer coming from the west coast but is instead shipping from Massachusetts.

Interested in hearing more about the EASTEC show?  Brooks has been a fixture at this great northeast show for many years.  We know all the ins and outs and would love to talk with you about how you can capitalize on all this show has to offer.  We would also be more than happy to schedule a time to meet you during the show to walk you through our booth as well as those of our other equipment manufacturer’s in the area.  Let us put our expertise to work for you and maximize the full potential that EASTEC has to offer this year.

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Feedback on Markforged

Markforged Feedback

As a distributor we like to stay on top of what our customers think about the companies we represent.  We try to be diligent and in-tune with market feedback both on their products and the company itself.  Over the years we’ve certainly heard the good, the bad, and the ugly about various OEM’s, and we’ve used that information to make certain that we’re partnered with only the very best companies in each industry.  After some recent research on Markforged here’s what we’ve learned:

Customer Thoughts – in looking at several different sites ( and Google Reviews) the customer feedback was overwhelmingly positive to the tune of 8.2/10 and 100% of customers recommending this purchase to others.  Customer feedback rated software and print quality as the two strongest features of the Markforged product with build quality, failure rate, value, and customer service right behind.

Employee Thoughts – as Markforged approaches the end of its 6th year in business they’ve gone from a small start-up to an employer of nearly 200 people.  As you might expect that comes with some growing pains.  That being said employees, both current and previous, give the company 4.3/5 stars on  100% of these employees said that they approve of the job the CEO is doing and 90% said they would recommend working here to a friend.  Those are fantastic numbers for any company.  When asked what the “cons” of working at Marforged are the most common refrain was that the company is just growing so fast that it’s hard to keep up.  Most followed that up with a statement of confidence that these problems were getting resolved.

Here are a few of the quotes directly from customers:

“The Mark One sets itself in a class all on its own. From the moment you look inside one and compare it to any other 3D printer on the market within the sub $6k price range and you won’t find a more well-made machine. Each component is precision machined. I’ve printed 474 files on my Mark One, 463 files were successfully completed. It is an extremely reliable printer. I blame crap STLs on the prints that failed.”

“Markforged has recently updated their equipment line-up. The Onyx One is available for under $5,000 CDN, making it an awesome value for a commercial application 3D printer. Our Mark One was upgraded to the Mark Two; it is the most reliable, high quality FFF printer I have encountered in the past 5 years.”

“Very easy to use and reliable. I have run over 200 prints on the Mark 2, and had very few fail. Amazing surface quality. I spend almost no time post processing parts. The Eiger software is very intuitive and easy to use. Quick responses from their support thus far.”

If you’ve got thoughts to share on Markforged or any of their products let us know.  We’d love to hear from more of our customers about their experience owning and operating these printers.  Brooks Associates is always aiming to partner with industry leaders who are building solid products and solid companies.  We believe Markforged is one of those companies and we look forward to seeing what the future brings with them.

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Surviving the Tariffs

tariffs in manufacturing

As talks appear to be coming to an end concerning the trade war between the U.S. and China you may be wondering how quickly you’ll feel the relief should an agreement be reached.  Unfortunately even if everything gets hammered out in the next few weeks, most manufacturing companies are likely to feel the effects of the steel and aluminum tariffs for at least the remainder of 2019.  The last round of substantial tariffs put in place for these industries took place back in 2002 under the Bush administration.  While those taxes only lasted about a year it took at least another year afterwards for the industry to normalize.

At this point steel has taken a 25% hit while aluminum a 10%, hit but that could seem manageable if other threatened tariffs, such as the proposed 25% tariff on imported cars and car parts, get put in place.  Certainly steel makers are enjoying the benefits of these tariffs as more domestic steel is being purchased which is resulting in record profits for these companies along with an expected increase in employment of about 23,000 jobs.  Unfortunately this is being offset by the loss of nearly 150,000 other jobs from smaller businesses who need to purchase these materials, especially fabricators and food processing companies.

Emerging technologies are also being impacted by the increased taxes.  As the U.S. looks to maintain its position as a global leader for innovation in the automotive industry through the development of autonomous vehicles and electric cars, the challenge to fund the R&D for these will grow if the cost for their existing automobiles increases and sales decline.  Many fear that major car manufacturers will be forced to stop, or slow, their R&D process as a cost cutting measure if taxes slow current sales.  Other tech businesses such as solar and turbine are being impacted by direct tariffs forcing their products to come to market at a higher than expected cost. One such solar cell installation company is preparing for a reduction in their workforce of up to 23,000 jobs.

While we’re all hopeful that this recent round of tariffs and trade wars will have a positive impact in the end, history does not support such an idea.  In most cases one industry benefits while another loses. A look back at the U.S. economic history shows primarily a trail of tariff disasters from both Democrat and Republican leadership.  Tariffs failed to work for the Great Depression, Bush, or Obama but time will tell whether Trump’s tariffs have different results.

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Is a Waterjet Right for My Shop?

Abrasive waterjet cutting has been around now for many years, and most folks are generally aware of how it works and what it does, but have you given serious consideration to whether a waterjet might be the right next step for your shop?  Certainly an abrasive waterjet is not the right answer for every application or every manufacturer, but the benefits it offers make it a tool that most companies could utilize.

Capacity – whether you need to cut an extremely large part out of a huge sheet of material, or a micro component from a 1” square – abrasive waterjet can handle the job.  We encourage our customers to err on the side of too big vs too small.  You never know what the next job will look like and having a large table will allow for future growth.  A perk of the waterjet is that you can go from that giant job to the micro job all on the same machine.  Do you need to cut just 1 part, or a 10,000 part run?  A waterjet can handle either.  The advanced software package that OMAX offers allows you to nest large runs to maximize material usage and minimize waste, while the easy set-up makes single part runs feasible too.

Environmental Impact – every shop is looking to minimize their impact on the environment, and steer clear of government regulations.  Abrasive waterjets are an extremely environmentally friendly option.  A waterjet avoids the creation of waste products that have to be disposed of such as noxious fumes, smoke, oil, coolant, or other harmful chemicals. Other than the rare customer who is cutting hazardous materials such as lead or beryllium, the waste water generated by the waterjet is safe to put down the waste water drain.  The garnet and kerf material are equally safe to be sent to a landfill.

Maintenance & Operation – an advantage of the OMAX waterjet products is their incredible ease of both maintenance and operation.  Routing maintenance is required for both the high pressure pump and the cutting head, but neither requires a factory technician.  Thousands of shop owners and machine operators handle the maintenance entirely on their own with ease.  The PC based software package allows anyone with even minimal computer knowledge to operate the OMAX, and the simple clamping needed to hold material can be taught in no time at all.

For many customers adding a machine tool that can cut virtually any material at any thickness revolutionizes their business.  Just consider the opportunities that adding an abrasive waterjet to your shop could bring this year.  Brooks has been working with OMAX and MAXIEM from the beginning and we’ve helped hundreds of customers reap the benefits of adding an abrasive waterjet to their business.

Contact Brooks a today to get started with a machine demo or test cut.

Posted in Advanced Manufacturing, Manufacturing, Maxiem Waterjets, Omax, Water Jet Cutting, Waterjet Cutting Machines | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cold Weather Can Slow Production


You may not have given much thought to the affects that the cold can have on your manufacturing equipment, but with record cold temperatures on the way, maybe it’s worth some consideration.  Everything from your tow motor to your waterjet could be impacted by extremely cold weather.  There are several areas to consider when completing cold weather maintenance in your shop.

Air Pressure – anything requiring air pressure should be double checked during cold weather.  Many items will lose pressure due to the temperature drops and will likely need to be adjusted appropriately.  This could simply be the tires on your tow motor, but it could also include other pneumatic equipment.

Batteries – again anything using a battery should be double checked in the winter as extremely low temperatures can cause batteries to drain pulling voltage, and thus make it more difficult to get equipment to start.  Before you find yourself stuck without power look for signs of battery weakness and impending failure.  Some of these signs would include leaking, corrosion around the posts, and slow engine crank.

Fluids – many fluids will thicken when exposed to very cold temperatures.  This thickening can cause equipment not to be able to move as freely as it should, which can cause friction on joints and impact seals.  Anything that requires oil or hydraulic fluid should be flushed and then monitored during the winter.

Here is a general checklist that we recommend for winter maintenance:

Fully charge batteries and remove and built up dirt or corrosion

Change filters and engine oils

Top off all fluid levels

Test all lights and switches

Inspect belts for signs of wear and replace as needed

Lubricate the exterior of the machine

Lubricate all joints

Fix any minor repairs or at least note them for monitoring until Spring

Equip mechanical water/fuel separators and fuel warmers to diesel engines

Add fuel stabilizers

Make sure there are no fluid leaks

If you need any assistance with maintenance or winterizing for your OMAX, Maxiem, Hurco, or Sodick equipment contact Brooks Associates today.  Our team of fully certified technicians is available to come along side your maintenance staff and assist, provide training, or completely take care of the job.  As the winter weather makes just getting out of your driveway more difficult, don’t let it also shut down your manufacturing line.  Some simple preventative measures can make all the difference.

Posted in Advanced Manufacturing, Machine Tools, Machining Applications, Manufacturing, Maxiem Waterjets, Omax, Water Jet Cutting, Waterjet Cutting Machines | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Markforged X5

markforged x5

If you’re in need of a 3D printer with the capability of making strong, load-bearing components, than the X5 from Markforged is for you.  With this tool in your shop you’ll be printing parts faster and cheaper than you could machine them, and they’ll stand up to the job. We know there are applications where using ABS isn’t going to cut it – functional prototypes, tooling, fixtures – which is why the X5 makes parts that are 20x stronger and 10x stiffer than ABS.  By using fiberglass composite parts you’ll not only be able to get a strong part, you’ll also save money.  These parts are 1/20th the cost of their machined aluminum counterparts.

The benefits to the Markforged X5 are endless.  In addition to getting strong parts at a fraction of the cost, you’ll also be able to get them same-day.  Gone are the days of your production line being shut down for days waiting for tooling.  Now you can print new tools, and functional replacements for old parts, the same day.  In one example, the machined part was going to cost $285.61 but the cost for the same part off the Markforged printer was $9.45!  That’s a serious cost and time savings.

How does Markforged get these incredible results?  By using a dual nozzle print system for speed and weaving a strand of continuous fiberglass throughout the part for strength – that’s how.  The X5 comes with the most powerful and effective software platform in the industry.  Having a machine that can produce fast parts won’t help you if your programmer needs 3 days to have the part ready.  Markforged makes is simple for an operator to get the part programmed and ready to be printed.

Features of the X5

  • Build Volume 330 mm x 270 mm x 200 mm
  • Layer Height 50 µm
  • Technology FFF & CFF
  • All aluminum unibody enclosure
  • Ultra-flat gantry system
  • Machined aluminum stage with kinematic bed coupling
  • Motor encoders
  • Calibration laser

Brooks Associates has been working with Markforged for several years now and has had the privilege of being part of the launching of several new products during that time.  We’ve seen this company take the 3D printing industry by storm, and completely revolutionize the power of 3D printed parts and the process to get there.  At Brooks we have a Markforged system available for demonstration anytime. We would be happy to walk you through its features and benefits and discuss how a Markforged 3D printer could change how you do business in 2019.

Posted in 3D Printing, Advanced Manufacturing, automation, Digital Manufacturing, Machine Tools, Machining Applications, Manufacturing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sodick K6HL Small Hole EDM


Looking for something to increase your capabilities in 2019?  Consider the small hole EDM from Sodick.  The K6HL machine was specifically designed for the aerospace industry with the ability to make quick work of jobs requiring shaped diffuser holes.  Because of the patented electrode feeder capabilities, the K6HL is able to run production jobs to EDM vanes and blades with ease.  This unique design is only available on Sodick equipment, and will definitely set your shop apart from all the others.  This could be a great way to take your business in a new direction, and keep you leading your competition.

In one titanium job the K6HL had a run time of 0.07-0.17 seconds of machining time per hole with surface angles from 0°- 45° while running 0.8mm copper pipe electrode.  The incredible surface finish and speed of this machine make it truly revolutionary.  This system comes standard with Sodick’s fully optimized servo control which improves cutting speeds by up to 200%.  The team at Brooks Associates can arrange a demo and allow you to run your own sample parts to confirm speed and accuracy.

Some of the other features of the K6HL include the highly accurate fine feeding process which is controlled to create stable machining, as well as the automatic programming system, LN Assist.  The LN Assist is allowing even novice operators to easily run complex cutting programs.  The back end of this software is designed to handle all of the most complicated calculations and provide the operator with an easy-to-understand graphic display.  In addition the K6HL comes standard with an Automatic Electrode Feeder in order to enable continuous cutting with several electrodes.

In addition to leading the industry in functionality, the K6HL also sends a new standard for being eco-friendly.  This machine utilizes the best in energy-saving designs and technology which allows it to reduce energy consumption by up to 60% over other hole drillers.

Machine Specs:

X-Axis Travel = 23.62”

Y-Axis Travel = 23.62”

Z-Axis Travel = 19.69”

W-Axis Travel = 15.75”

X-Y-Z Axis Drive = Rigid Linear Motor

Electrode Diameter = ɸ.004”-.12”

Work Table Size = 29.53” x 29.53”

Distance from Guide to Table = 2.17”-17.91”

Machine Dimensions = 62.09” x 84.25” x 96.06”

Maximum Workpiece Weight = 1,102 lbs

Machine Weight = 6,614 lbs


Machine Standard Features:

  • Automatic Electrode Feeder
  • W-Axis
  • Workpiece Clamping Kit
  • Energy Saving Circuit


Optional Features:

  • Amp Booster
  • Automatic Electrode Changer
  • Automatic Guide Changer
  • A/B Table Interface
Posted in Advanced Manufacturing, automation, EDM, Machine Tools, Manufacturing, Sodick | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Benefits of a Distributor

Brooks Associates has been a proud distributor of machine tools in the New England area for more than 80 years.  We’ve served customers in every area of manufacturing – tool & die shops, aerospace, job shops, mold makers, medical suppliers, automotive, electronics, sign manufacturers, and many more.  One of the great benefits to being a distributor for such a variety of products is that we get to interact with such a wide range of customers and learn about so many different applications.  At some point you may have wondered, “What’s the benefit to me for buying equipment through a distributor instead of directly from the OEM?”  Here are a few of the reasons that working with Brooks is an asset to your company.

Product Experience – because of our long history in manufacturing we’ve had the chance to watch many new products come to market, and either fail or succeed.  We know which brands are high quality, good investments for our customers and we’ve chosen to partner only with those companies.  If we see that a product isn’t meeting our high standards we can move to a better choice.

Application Knowledge – as we’ve visited hundreds of shops in the area we’ve gotten the chance to really see everything and we can use that knowledge to help our customers find the best tool for the job.  We have years of experience to help you more quickly rule out options that we know aren’t going to work well for your situation and zero in on the optimal solution faster.

Product Offering – when you bring in a sales person from an OEM they’re going to do everything they can to make your application fit their machine tool, Brooks isn’t going to do that.  We offer a variety of different tools – abrasive waterjet, vertical machining centers, wire EDM, etc. – which allows us to hear what you’re need is and then recommend the tool that will do the job best.  We’re not going to be trying to shove a square peg in a round hole simply to get the sale.

Local Expertise – we live and work in this area, we know in real time what’s happening in this market and are able to use that to help our customers.  We know what the tax situation is, what the labor market looks like, what impact recent weather is having on business, what the utility regulations are that affect our customers, and so much more.  What works for someone in California isn’t necessarily the same for someone in Hartford.

Service and Support – another perk of partnering with a local distributor is the ability to get service and parts faster.  We’ve got what you need to keep your operation running smoothly and it’s all coming out of the Boston area rather than the other side of the world.  Our customers have the advantage of immediate help when a problem arises.

Our long history gives our customers the benefit of knowing that we’re going to be here in 20 years when the machine they bought in 2018 has an issue or they need support.  You can count on us supporting you for the long haul and you can trust that our recommendations for equipment will have your best interest in mind rather than our bottom line.  We’re looking forward to another 80 years of supporting New England manufacturers.

Posted in Advanced Manufacturing, EDM, Machine Tools, Manufacturing, Turning Center, Waterjet Cutting Machines | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Direct Drive Pump Benefits for Abrasive Waterjet


In the world of abrasive waterjets there are basically 2 options when it comes to pumps – the hydraulic intensifier and the direct drive crankshaft style.  For many customers figuring out which is a better choice for their needs can be confusing and end up getting overlooked during the buying process.  This could prove to be a huge mistake, the pump is the heart of the machine.  If the heart stops beating, it’s game over.  Finding a pump that’s reliable, easy-to-service, efficient to run, and durable for the long haul is a critically important component of selecting an abrasive waterjet system.

Generally speaking OMAX is the primary manufacturer for direct drive style pumps, while the majority of their competition have elected to go with a hydraulic intensifier.  You may be thinking is that because everyone has figured out that the intensifier is a better choice?  OR Does OMAX have a better mousetrap and they refuse to change to the intensifier simply to reduce manufacturing costs?  To sort it all out let’s consider the origins of these pumps and how they work.

The hydraulic intensifier was invented prior to the direct drive pump.  It utilizes a complex system that requires an electric motor, hydraulic pump, oil reservoir, manifold and plunger.  The direct drive was invented to simplify the mechanics of this down to just the electric motor, which is powering a crankshaft-driven set of plungers.  Due to the incredible inefficiencies found in the hydraulic losses of the intensifier pump, the direct drive pump can deliver a higher percentage of its electrical power to the cutting nozzle.

At the end of the day what matters for waterjet operation is the horsepower at the nozzle, not the horsepower at the pump.  That’s where the direct drive and the hydraulic pump have substantial differences.  It takes a 70hp intensifier pump to deliver the same horsepower to the nozzle as a 50 horsepower direct drive pump.  The intensifier is only 60% efficient while the direct drive is 85% efficient.  That adds up to a lot of wasted electricity with an intensifier pump to get the same cutting speeds as the more efficient direct drive.

Another cost savings with a direct drive pump is in water usage.  As water becomes more of a precious resource, and waste water more of a regulated resource, it makes a lot of sense to seriously consider the amount you’re going to need for your waterjet pump.  A direct drive pump typically uses 60-80% less water than an intensifier pump because it does not require a separate water supply for the cooling of the hydraulics.

Brooks Associates encourages our customers to do their homework.  The direct drive style pump provides a more steady pressure for smoother edge finish, uses less power and less water, and is far quieter during operation than the intensifier pump.  We recommend getting a demo of both styles of pumps before making a purchase.

Posted in Advanced Manufacturing, automation, Machine Tools, Manufacturing, Omax, Water Jet Cutting, Waterjet Cutting Machines | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment