Michigan Company Wins Hurco Lathe

Highlight Industries won the “Win a Hurco TM6 Lathe” Sweepstakes.

Hurco Companies, Inc. introduced the sweepstakes at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago. Carl Reiser, the Fabrication and Maintenance Supervisor at Highlight Industries, is the employee who entered the sweepstakes and took advantage of the additional entry opportunity. More than 1,400 owners or employees of manufacturing companies entered the sweepstakes and participants could get an additional submission by writing a short essay explaining what they like best about Hurco.

Carl’s entry illuminated the importance of the people who represent Hurco: As for what makes Hurco a great company, it’s the people—the same service tech who always goes the extra mile and the friendly voice on the other end of the phone. The beliefs of the company founders are still evident today—Conversational programming, never accept the status quo [keep inventing and innovating]. At the end of the day, it’s never about one person, the iron, or the soft touch of a button, it’s about the people and the parts.

Carl says this is the first time he has ever won anything. “When I found out I had won, it took a while to sink in. At first I thought, ‘What did I get myself into…what if this is some kind of a sales ploy or something?’ Nothing personal against Hurco. I just had a bad experience in the past when I had gone to a trade show and entered my name into a drawing and it ended up to be kind of a scam. But this experience with Hurco has been wonderful and it turned out very well. It is very exciting to have won this lathe for Highlight,” says Carl.

According to the owner of Highlight Industries, Kurt Riemenschneider, Highlight Industries produces the most technically advanced stretch wrap equipment in the world, and is recognized as the leader in quality control equipment for stretch film and resin producers. Highlight offers the largest selection of stretch wrap equipment on earth with products ranging in price from 50 cents to $500,000.

“We’ve been very fortunate. We’ve had strong growth in the last year. We have a good group of people and the Grand Rapids area is a great place to work out of. We’ve doubled the size of our facility and bought a company in Canada in the last year.  We have pretty aggressive growth plans for the next year and that’s why the Hurco lathe fits in quite well. The timing is perfect,” says Kurt, who found out about the Hurco sweepstakes when Carl told him they had won.

Highlight Industries uses their new Hurco TM6 slant-bed lathe to fill the gap for one-offs and small volume jobs they previously produced on a manual lathe. “We use that particular machine as a gap to fill the lack of production versus one-offs. We can do the parts with precision, repeatability and save time. It takes us half the time on the Hurco TM6,” explains Carl. His favorite feature is DXF Transfer, which imports 2D data from a dxf file into the control, eliminating data entry mistakes. While it’s not a CAD system, the intuitive interface lets the operator do basic editing of DXF geometries right at the control, chain the contours, and select hole operations based on the hole diameter.

Highlight has two other Hurco machine tools, the mill they have affectionately named Big Blue is the Hurco MB1. “We use it for very large parts. It’s been a good machine for us. We’ve had it for 15 years.  We’ve had the other Hurco mill, a Hawk 5, since 1989, and we bought it used so it’s like 30 years old,” says Carl.

Kurt appreciates equipment that stands the test of time, especially since he builds equipment for the packaging industry. He started Highlight Industries from his basement in 1981 when he invented his first product, the Highlight Hand Wrapper. His goal was to produce and sell 20 hand wrappers a week. Soon, with the added help of four employees, Highlight outgrew the Riemenschneider's basement and Kurt rented a building in Wyoming, Michigan in 1983. The current facility is the second building the company has built as they continued to grow the company’s product line, customer base, and workforce. Highlight was recognized as "One of the Top 100 Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies in the State of Michigan" in 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1992.  Highlight now employs 73 people with a total of 160,000 square feet in three plants located in Wyoming and Grandville, Michigan, just east of Grand Rapids.