All about PCI
Four into three will go ...
PCI reboots for the future
Every news story has its heroes: pictured above are Ivan Hess, PCI President (center), Keith Bentz, PCI Manufacturing Consultant (right) and Alex Nowicki, Sales Engineer from Ellison Technologies. In the background, PCI's new Heller HF 3500 is waiting to play a key role in transforming the future of the company.
Under its previous ownership, PCI had a decades-long history of precision machining and service to the Indiana business community. But, when Ivan Hess purchased the company in May 2020, the company was in need of a reboot - machinery that had served them well for many years was beginning to hold them back - a change was clearly needed.
Getting the Machines on to the shop floor
Once we got it through the door, the DVF 8000T could start working. It makes large diameter stainless cam plates for one of our top customers.
The DVF has blown us away. We used to machine a 26” forged stainless gear blank in seventeen hours. Now we do it in two and a half … and we can probably trim another half hour or so. The probing tech is like having your own CMM (co-ordinate measuring machine) - you know you have a good part when you’re done.
Finding the right supplier
In June 2022, Keith Bentz joined PCI as a manufacturing consultant. He and the PCI team reached out to six different manufacturers, asking them to look at their part mix and suggest which new equipment would best fit their needs.
By September, PCI had narrowed the candidate suppliers down to three. At the time, they had concluded that four machines would be needed to completely upgrade their operation, but they also knew that this would severely stretch their budget.
Finding the right machines
Following the recommendation of Alex Nowicki at Ellison Technologies, PCI staff attended the International Machining Technology Show in Chicago. Here, they visited the HELLER booth to see a custom external and internal gear demo on the HF 5500.
That part demo would have required 3 or 4 of our machines and taken about 12 hours to make, the HF did it in one setup in 22 minutes. It was mind-blowing.
The HF 3500 was identified as machine #1 right then and there.
At the DN Solutions (formerly Doosan Machine Tools) booth, the PUMA 3100LSY was chosen because it could easily satisfy PCI’s turning needs.
And the best news of all: the 5-axis DVF 8000T, thanks to its turning functionality, could pull double duty as both a 5-axis mill and a vertical-turning lathe that could handle large turning work. Ellison Technologies' suggestion that the DVT 8000T could do the job of two machines really sealed the deal. Four into three really does go!
Custom workholding from SMW Autoblok allows the DVF 8000T to do the same work as a vertical turning lathe
More than eight times faster ... DVF 8000T
Evolution or Revolution?
The evolution of PCI is satisfying for everyone, Ivan in particular. The company is completely transformed compared to when he bought it in 2020. “We’re a machine shop that’s invested heavily in itself, and we’re ready to take on new challenges,” he said. “We have the capacity. In multiple ways, we’re positioned for growth.”
If you would like to know more about what this means for our customers ... give us a call!
The Heller HF 3500
With the arrival of the Heller, PCI were able to get their machinists off the old 3-axis machines and on to a machine that knocked parts out in a setup or two. The machine makes aerospace parts for PCI, and it does the job brilliantly.
It’s so fast - and it’s hard to overwork it, anything we’ve thrown at it, it takes. We haven’t even begun to tap its full potential.