“Most people don’t realize that large universities have five or even ten machine shops throughout their campus. Some are education centers where students are trained on machinery. Other shops work for the university or even lend themselves outside of the university.” This insight was shared by our valued distribution partner, Gary Kinkela, President of Kinkade Inc. when he was discussing his recent installation of two ACU-RITE products at the University of Pittsburgh.
Gary visited the University of Pittsburgh to meet with familiar faces and discuss their machine shop needs candidly. It became apparent that one of the shops faced challenges with its current equipment, particularly with a bed mill that featured an out-of-date control system. “The previous setup was old. It was aging technology. Parts could not be replaced, and the capabilities just weren’t there,” shared the shop manager, Shawn Artman.
Shawn’s machine shop supports the unique machining and assembly requirements for the University’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences. He elaborated, “We support the labs and research teams. We’ve built parts to support research for Quantum Physics and, we’ve created equipment for the Geology department to study frogs and fish underwater. Anything the school needs to be fixed or built, we do it.”
After their initial shop walkthrough, Gary recommended replacing their legacy bed mill control with the MILLPWRG2. The MILLPWRG2 is a powerful yet easy-to-operate CNC retrofit system for knee mills and bed mills. The MILLPWRG2 offers faster set-ups, shorter run times, and a major boost in productivity.
The upgraded MILLPWRG2 also opens the door to more advanced machining capability at the University of Pittsburgh. “We use MasterCAM, and the old system did not work with that, but ACU-RITE does,” Shawn shared. Gary further explained, “Many controls cannot locally handle the data loaded into machines from the central computer systems. G2 can. We have leapfrogged over the capability of the previous system. The G2 is also really simple for machinists to work with, and it can easily bridge to HEIDENHAIN controls. So if they ever want to advance to the power of the HEIDENHAIN TNC 320, they can now easily do that.”
When asked why Shawn and his team selected ACU-RITE for their shop upgrade, he said, “Most of the team has worked on ACU-RITE at some point in their career. It’s a reputable brand. And when compared with the old control, ACU-RITE is just a better overall system to operate and program.” He also shared, “I am a big proponent of customer service, and the quality and support that Gary was showing us made us want to go that route.”
In addition to the MILLPWRG2 upgrade at the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences research machine shop, the University also completed a standard ACU-RITE retrofit on a knee mill machine for one of the student machine shops. “The students seem to catch on to it really quick. It’s easy for us to teach as well,” said Shawn.
ACU-RITE is dedicated to the advancement of machining in the education sector. A part of that commitment includes ACU-RITE’s official School Discount Program. This program provides deep discounts on select control and DRO packages to all schools with precision metalworking and vocational programs. Many other schools have incorporated ACU-RITE products in their machine shops, including:
- The University of North Carolina (UNC) BioMedical Engineering Lab
- Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center (OMIC) – Research & Development
- Horry Georgetown Technical College
- Randolph Community College
- Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC)
- Southern Illinois University (SIU) College of Engineering
Contact us for more information about ACU-RITE products, to get connected with your local ACU-RITE distributor, or for additional details regarding the School Discount Program.