Kitamura, Hurco or Mazak
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  1. #1
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    Default Kitamura, Hurco or Mazak

    Not sure this is the correct forum to post this but we are looking to purchase a new VMC with a 4th axis.
    We have narrowed it down to three machines. Could use some opinions on them.

    Kitamura Mycenter 4XD
    Hurco VMX42i
    Mazak Nexus 530C2

    We do all programming using Mastercam so the programming features on the control are not a benefit to us.
    This is for a small shop doing 1 offs machining anything from tool steel to plastic. the machine would not be used for production
    Also the machine would have a 4h axis mounted permanently.

    Any opinions would be appreciated.

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    IMHO, the Hurco is not in the same class as the other two.

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    The question is better answered when the OP decides to fill in his location.

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    The horizontal kitamuras I ran had horrible problems with chips getting underneath the way covers and getting stuck to the z axis limit switch, not sure if the VMC version has anything like this problem.
    Never ran a hurco, have not even heard anything about them in person, I have seen their ads in mms.
    I run two mazaks everyday using EIA (gcode), I program with mastercam and have not had any issues between the two. There are some features I like that I haven't been able to replicate with fanuc, though I have gotten around the issues with different code. I know you say the conversational programming is of no benefit now, but once you get used to it, at least for me, doing quick 2nd op type operations can be really quick.

    With that said, I almost always use gcode for quick programs anyway and fool around with mazatrol while the machine is running a part.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philabuster View Post
    The question is better answered when the OP decides to fill in his location.
    Pretty sure peoples opinions on these machines will not change based on MY location.
    But, just in case i have updated my profile to include lacation.

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    The Kitamura will be a box-way machine. The Mazak and Hurco will be linear-guide machines. All three have very different controls. What about service for your area? Do you have a strong dealer presence in your area for all three machines?

    What's more your cutting style? Hog it all off in one pass, or use facny HSM toolpaths? There's lots to consider here...

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    I've heard plenty of good things about that Mazak.
    Why aren't you considering an Okuma M560V also?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Madmur View Post
    Pretty sure peoples opinions on these machines will not change based on MY location.
    But, just in case i have updated my profile to include lacation.
    Your location is part of the rules. I wish Milacron would fix that glitch.

    Your location--not mine--will determine if you have good factory support for a particular machine brand or not. What good is a Mazak (my preference) if the machine is not working and you are stuck waiting days or weeks for factory guy to come and look at it?

    Shit breaks down regardless of brand. New machines under warranty usually mean the factory has to come out to do any repairs.

    My preference is to buy an old used but reliable machine I can fix myself and not wait for a factory tech. This forum has been my 'tech' over the years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by imholdinout View Post
    I know you say the conversational programming is of no benefit now, but once you get used to it, at least for me, doing quick 2nd op type operations can be really quick.
    I would second this opinion. Don't overlook a good conversational control. I program mostly using Surfcam but for simple parts and making fixtures it's so much faster using conversational. It's nice just to make a simple program right at the machine.

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    Mazak has a training center very close, I am not sure if they send the repair tech guys from there? I wish my fanuc had conversational for doing small one off stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by twr View Post
    Mazak has a training center very close, I am not sure if they send the repair tech guys from there? I wish my fanuc had conversational for doing small one off stuff.
    Be careful. We are pretty close to their factory and still struggle getting service/support sometimes...

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    To me it's a no brainer and it's not because I am a biased Kit owner, but I do own 4 of them. The Hurco is not in the same class as the other two it is an economy machine such as a Haas. MAZAK uses Mazatrol where Kit is Fanuc, Yasnac, and now Mitsubishi on their entry level machine which is still way better than the Hurco. It's much easier to find someone who versed in regular G code than Mazatrol. The skilled Mazak laborers will be far and few between and pricey. Our Kits are anywhere between 17 & 22 years old and run all day long with only minor issues over the years. All of the Kits except the lightest duty models come with boxed ways too. Good housekeeping and PM will help prevent a lot of potential issues.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sqwerl View Post
    To me it's a no brainer and it's not because I am a biased Kit owner, but I do own 4 of them. The Hurco is not in the same class as the other two it is an economy machine such as a Haas. MAZAK uses Mazatrol where Kit is Fanuc, Yasnac, and now Mitsubishi on their entry level machine which is still way better than the Hurco. It's much easier to find someone who versed in regular G code than Mazatrol. The skilled Mazak laborers will be far and few between and pricey. Our Kits are anywhere between 17 & 22 years old and run all day long with only minor issues over the years. All of the Kits except the lightest duty models come with boxed ways too. Good housekeeping and PM will help prevent a lot of potential issues.
    You are aware that the Mazak also accepts EIA programs (regular G code)? Do people actually think that in 2014 a major manufacturer would require you to use their proprietary conversational programming?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sqwerl View Post
    MAZAK uses Mazatrol where Kit is Fanuc, Yasnac, and now Mitsubishi on their entry level machine which is still way better than the Hurco.
    I'm interested in knowing why you think Hurco WinMax is the lesser of those controllers? Having used Fanuc and Mazatrol previously, I've found that neither of those come close to how good WinMax is. It's the easiest and quickest controller I've ever programmed on, personally.
    Last edited by bong.m3lvin; 10-20-2014 at 11:29 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by boosted View Post
    You are aware that the Mazak also accepts EIA programs (regular G code)? Do people actually think that in 2014 a major manufacturer would require you to use their proprietary conversational programming?
    It took Mazak a LONG TIME to make G-code a standard feature (EIA programming) on their machines instead of an optional feature, even though using G-code sucks balls compared to the utter simplicity of Mazatrol. Optional G-code IMHO was a major fuckup on Mazak's part as it really hurt their sales to the masses. Even years later, the first thing people will ask is if a particular used machine has G-code or not. I think it took Mazak up until the Fusion control came out to make G-code standard feature.

    I have the G-code option on my old 1986 Mazak T-3 lathes and I never use it. I view G-code programming just like the old DOS programming vs Windows. They both worked, but which one was more user friendly to the end user and easier to actually use?

    G-code is very useful on mills because the majority of programming is usually performed by some offline CAM system and G-code just does the grunt work telling the machine what to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bong.m3lvin View Post
    I'm interested in knowing why you thick Hurco WinMax is the lesser of those controllers? Having used Fanuc and Mazatrol previously, I've found that neither of those come close to how good WinMax is. It's the easiest and quickest controller I've ever programmed on, personally.
    The biggest problem with Hurco's control is that it's just 'different' than more traditional CNC controls. For someone used to just about any other control, it takes time getting adjusted to the way the Hurco control is laid out. That's not really a slam against their control - they actually have some nice features that I wish everyone else would include on their controls. (Interrupt button/function, Draw button/function to name a few...) But getting used to that control takes time, and it's enough to shy some people away from considering them, however good the rest of the control might be.

    If Hurco wanted to attract more buyers to it's control, there's a few things they could fix. Just a few that come to mind would be: fix the Cycle-start/feed-hold/reset button thing. There's nothing wrong with a conventional Cycle-Start, Feed-Hold, and RESET button arrangement, and I'm not sure why Hurco feels they need to do it differently. This just spells "Crash-o-matic" for someone who's coming from another control, to the Hurco control. Also, they need to include a real, conventional MDI function. Soft-key/touch menus are ok, but for doing a tool-change, it doesn't take a mental heavy-weight to press the MDI button, then type in "T1M6;" .

    On the whole though, it's not a bad control. Just 'different'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bong.m3lvin View Post
    I'm interested in knowing why you thick Hurco WinMax is the lesser of those controllers? Having used Fanuc and Mazatrol previously, I've found that neither of those come close to how good WinMax is. It's the easiest and quickest controller I've ever programmed on, personally.
    And with the ISNC productivity package (or whatever it's called) feature and performance parity with the top line Fanucs. Winmax is an awesome control, even if you do all your programming in CAM - I do, and I still much prefer the Winmax over the other controls here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jashley73 View Post
    If Hurco wanted to attract more buyers to it's control, there's a few things they could fix. Just a few that come to mind would be: fix the Cycle-start/feed-hold/reset button thing. There's nothing wrong with a conventional Cycle-Start, Feed-Hold, and RESET button arrangement, and I'm not sure why Hurco feels they need to do it differently. This just spells "Crash-o-matic" for someone who's coming from another control, to the Hurco control. Also, they need to include a real, conventional MDI function. Soft-key/touch menus are ok, but for doing a tool-change, it doesn't take a mental heavy-weight to press the MDI button, then type in "T1M6;" .

    On the whole though, it's not a bad control. Just 'different'.
    Hurco do use the conventional Cycle start, feed hold, reset setup on the Winmax. The only (minor) difference is reset is called Cycle stop, but functionally it's the same. The older ones were indeed different though.

    I totally agree that a real MDI mode would be nice, but I don't really miss it when I'm on the Hurcos. You can do most things you'd need MDI for on Winmax, not like the old Hurcos that for example had no means of running the spindle in reverse in manual!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jashley73 View Post
    The biggest problem with Hurco's control is that it's just 'different' than more traditional CNC controls. For someone used to just about any other control, it takes time getting adjusted to the way the Hurco control is laid out. That's not really a slam against their control - they actually have some nice features that I wish everyone else would include on their controls. (Interrupt button/function, Draw button/function to name a few...) But getting used to that control takes time, and it's enough to shy some people away from considering them, however good the rest of the control might be.

    If Hurco wanted to attract more buyers to it's control, there's a few things they could fix. Just a few that come to mind would be: fix the Cycle-start/feed-hold/reset button thing. There's nothing wrong with a conventional Cycle-Start, Feed-Hold, and RESET button arrangement, and I'm not sure why Hurco feels they need to do it differently. This just spells "Crash-o-matic" for someone who's coming from another control, to the Hurco control. Also, they need to include a real, conventional MDI function. Soft-key/touch menus are ok, but for doing a tool-change, it doesn't take a mental heavy-weight to press the MDI button, then type in "T1M6;" .

    On the whole though, it's not a bad control. Just 'different'.
    In all honesty, the time it takes to learn isn't much time at all, which is testmant to it's ease of use, although I do agree that people might perhaps be put off by the fact they're different. I think perhaps you've overstated the time it would take to learn how to use WinMax proficiently, though. One of it's biggest draws, in my opinion, is just how easy it is to use and learn. It took me no time at all, and providing the person knows how to machine, programming in WinMax is very, very easy.

    I echo gregormarwick regarding Cycle Start, Feed Hold and Cycle Stop. I concur with you both about an MDI function too, but I don't miss it when running my Hurcos.

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    At the time I was learning to use one, I was already proficient on Fanuc and Okuma controls, so learning the WinMax was strange for me. If I were forced to learn it, especially if it were the only machine in the shop, I'm sure it wouldn't be too much trouble. It is off-putting though for those leery of learning something else.

    What tricked me about was how the Cycle-Start button, (or is it the Yellow button? - I can't remember what it was called...) doubled as the feed-hold. If I wanted to stop the machine, I was reaching for the big red button (not the E-stop) which aparantely, works as the RESET key. Am I remembering all this correctly?

    There were other minor things I didn't care much for, but they weren't something one couldn't learn to live with. We didn't have this option, but what is most impressive to me is the ability to import solid model directly onto the machine control. If someone were starting out, being able to use that feature, and save the cost of a CAM system would be a huge selling point in favor for Hurco...

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    Quote Originally Posted by imholdinout View Post
    The horizontal kitamuras I ran had horrible problems with chips getting underneath the way covers and getting stuck to the z axis limit switch, not sure if the VMC version has anything like this problem.
    Never ran a hurco, have not even heard anything about them in person, I have seen their ads in mms.
    I run two mazaks everyday using EIA (gcode), I program with mastercam and have not had any issues between the two. There are some features I like that I haven't been able to replicate with fanuc, though I have gotten around the issues with different code. I know you say the conversational programming is of no benefit now, but once you get used to it, at least for me, doing quick 2nd op type operations can be really quick.

    With that said, I almost always use gcode for quick programs anyway and fool around with mazatrol while the machine is running a part.
    Newer Kitamura models from the past 1.5 yr or so have 1 piece covers to eliminate this issue.

    Now this is a common problem...especially if machining cast iron... for ALL machine tool builders....so take this outdated complaint with a grain of salt. That being said, not many other builders have the one piece covers Kitamura now has. Please feel free to contact me direct if you have any questions.
    Last edited by Payton; 12-06-2017 at 09:48 AM. Reason: grammar


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