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

Motivating Employees in 2019

Motivated employees

As we move into the holiday season you’re likely focused on finishing the year strong, and looking towards next year, but one of the factors that will determine what next year looks like is the happiness of your employees.  You want to be sure that your employees come back from the Christmas break energized, motivated, and ready to get the year started, but what’s the best way to do that?  As many companies have figured out, it isn’t through hosting a company Christmas party.  It turns out the majority of employees who attend, 74%, do so only out of a feeling of obligation.  In addition, 90% of those surveyed said they would rather have the extra vacation day, or holiday bonus, over the company party.  So if the party is off, what is on?

Recent studies have found that there are several items that are most likely to get your employees motivated to work hard, many of which are easy to implement and won’t cost the company large amounts of money.

The first is charitable giving.  75% of employees interviewed for the study stated that it was important to them that their employer participate in charitable giving.  This can be something simple like promoting a food drive or Toys for Tots program with your company being a donation site.  It could be something more unique like giving employees Global Giving gift cards which allows them to then select from more than 3,000 non-profit charity organizations to which they can donate their gift card.  Or you could do something that would both build a sense of team with your employees as well as contribute to charitable giving such as spending a day with your employees helping at Habitat for Humanity or serving at a homeless shelter.  It turns out that younger employees in particular were highly motivated to work for companies associated with charitable giving.

The second option for motivation is to give employees something tangible.  Rather than cash, that will be quickly forgotten, give them something they’ll have for years to come.  The best way to do this is to give something that benefits not just the employee but their family as well.  Consider sending them a gift basket from Omaha Steak or sign them up with a meal delivery service which would allow them to select a few meals per month to be delivered to their home.  If you’d rather focus on the employee maybe a watch, gym bag, or a Fitbit would be a good choice.  Just be sure to steer clear of putting your company logo on it as it shifts from being a gift to being advertising at that point.

As you look towards 2019 and what you might focus on to help reach your company goals, finding ways to support and encourage your employees will pay huge dividends.  With nearly 2/3 of small businesses getting rid of holiday bonuses, maybe it’s time to come up with an alternative to let your employees know you value their service.

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Hurco Lathes – Have you given them a look recently?

Hurco Lathes

TM10i Lathe

While Hurco may be best known for their incredibly powerful software platform, control technology and milling machines, the CNC lathe products deserve serious consideration too.  As you might expect the engineering team at Hurco did not let off the gas when they began the process of designing a line of lathes to complement their existing product lines.  The same attention-to-detail and customer focus went in to the design and building of the Turning Centers as went into the mills.  The company goal of producing equipment designed to “maximize productivity and increase customer profitability” has definitely been met with these machines.

The Hurco system is a slant-bed lathe designed with maximum flexibility to make sure our customers have what they need for every application.  Let’s get down to the nuts and bolts.  All Hurco turning centers are built with an extra wide saddle and large Z-axis rails to provide maximum rigidity.  The 30-degree true slant bed creates larger turning capacity while increasing efficiency for chip removal.  In fact, every part of the chip management process has a purpose.  The telescopic way covers, inside door, adjustable brass coolant nozzles, wash-down and air guns provide industry leading protection for internal components.

Hurco offers two product lines for their lathes – the TM and the TMX.  The TM is perfect for a wide range of applications.  It features chuck sizes from 6-18”, a generous through-hole, and incredible rapid speeds.  The TMX turning centers are built for high performance with industry leading power.  The TMX leads the competition by providing the highest in rigidity, increased travels, faster spindle acceleration rates, faster rapids, and more horsepower.

Customer feedback is constantly helping refine the machine tool design at Hurco.  Throughout the development of the lathe product lines our customers have requested a focus on helping them meet their need to deliver parts in small batches with minimal lead time.  As more and more companies are focused on low inventory, Just in Time production management, it pushes our customers to be able to reliably produce high quality parts with a quick turnaround.  Hurco takes that need seriously and has integrated their WinMax control, tool presetter, bar feeder interface and easy chip management system to maximize efficiency.

Brooks has many Hurco lathe customers throughout the New England area running parts every day.  We’re happy to get you in to see a demo and answer all of your questions about how a new turning center might improve your efficiency and change the direction of your business for the upcoming year.

Posted in Hurco, Lathes, Machine Tools, Manufacturing | Tagged | Leave a comment

Building a Machining Brand

Hurco machine tools timeline

Brooks considers ourselves incredibly fortunate to be partnered with the best machine tool builders in the world, many of whom have a long history of leading their industries.  OMAX has been in the abrasive waterjet industry for 25 years, Sodick has been leading the way for EDM products for over 40 years, and Hurco just celebrated 50 years of product innovation.  What makes these companies able to survive through the start-up phase, a recession, changes in corporate leadership, 13 U.S. Presidential changes, and all of the other difficulties facing businesses today?  One thing we’ve seen that they all have in common – engineering lead companies.

Each of these businesses was built off of an incredible product that was soundly engineered.  Each brand proceeded to challenge themselves to be constantly innovating new products and staying ahead of the competition.  Over time of course, each of these companies has added a sales team, customer service, and many other supporting staff members, but the direction for the company has stayed true to its engineering roots.  Whether it’s software or hardware engineering both areas are pushed to excel.

Just consider the number of patents each of these organizations has been awarded – 80 to Hurco for machine tool control technology, 35 for OMAX ranging from software to pumps and cutting heads, 75 for Sodick covering a broad range of areas. These are companies that have invested a tremendous amount of resources into the development of their product, and the government has recognized the unique value that each of these brings to its respective industry.

Pricing for machinery is another similarity of these companies.  None of them is the cheapest option in their field, nor is any of them the most expensive.  The reality is that to build the best tools possible with the durability customers expect in manufacturing, it can’t be done at the cheapest price point.  Customers throughout the world have come to associate all three of these brands with high quality, well designed products that can stand the test of time – and worth every penny they cost.  Simultaneously each of these companies is led by people who want their product to be available to the average smaller shop as well.  They aren’t looking to price their machinery beyond the means of the majority of the manufacturing companies in the country.  The numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show that of the roughly 250,000 manufacturing companies in the country, 160,000 of them employ 9 people or less.  Those shops are exactly the types of companies that OMAX, Sodick, and Hurco want to see their machinery in.

While the face you see most often is a sales person or a service technician, behind the scenes of these incredibly successful companies there’s a huge team of engineering folks that are determining the future of these organizations.  They’re taking the feedback from customers, service techs, and sales people and improving their equipment for the next generation of products.  Brooks has enjoyed the long history we’ve had partnering with each of these companies and getting to watch them lead the way for the future of manufacturing.

Posted in 5-Axis Machines, Advanced Manufacturing, Hurco, Machine Tools, Manufacturing, Omax, Sodick | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Is abrasive waterjet the right tool for machining composites?

omax-composite-materialWith the use of composite materials increasing every year, more and more customers are pursuing the best method for machining it for their specific application.  In many cases an abrasive waterjet is the perfect tool for the job.  The waterjet cuts composite materials with both speed and accuracy.  An OMAX® abrasive waterjet running a 60,000 psi pump will cut through ¼” thick carbon fiber at up to 180 inches per minute while maintaining taper of less than 0.001” per side.

Other features of the abrasive waterjet that make it ideal for working with composites include its ability to nest parts as well as the easy set-up.  Parts for waterjet cutting can be nested within 1/16” of each other, which means minimal waste and maximum profits.  In many composite applications our customers are doing small runs with a variety of different parts.  This is a very different situation than an application knocking out thousands of the same part over and over again.  For a job with a whole series of part numbers you need software that will easily import and nest these parts together, and you need a machine that can quickly change from one set-up to another.  An OMAX® waterjet can be loaded and ready to run in just minutes.  If you need to go from carbon fiber – to G10 – to a different thickness of carbon fiber – it’s not a problem.  It literally requires a few quick clicks in the software to make the change and you’re ready to start cutting.

Surface finish is another big concern for many of our customers.  With the correct abrasive, composite materials can come off the waterjet with a surface finish of 0.0002” and no need for further processing.  Parts cut on OMAX® machines have been extensively studied and looked at under a microscope to confirm that no abrasive was found impinged in the material.  That means you can cut even consumer grade carbon fiber without fear of your material being damaged during the cutting process.  Because the waterjet doesn’t alter the properties of the material being cut there’s no concern of heat damage or frosting.

In the past, the biggest hurdle for wide spread use of the abrasive waterjet for composite cutting has been piercing.  During the piercing process it’s possible for delamination of the material to occur.  OMAX® has released several accessories to help with this problem.  By piercing at a lower pressure, selecting a specific pierce type in the software, and priming the line with abrasive, the risk of delamination can be dramatically reduced.  However, if a material is found to be especially difficult to reliably pierce, OMAX® offers a pneumatic drill feature that can be mounted next to the waterjet cutting nozzle.  This will guarantee 100% success when piercing your composite material.  The drill will create the start hole, the waterjet nozzle will then automatically move into position over that hole, and the part will be cut from that point on using the waterjet.

With the many technological advances in the OMAX® abrasive waterjet over the years, cutting composites has become one of the many applications that are perfectly suited to waterjet cutting.

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