Volume 5 | Issue 8 | Year 2002

General Electric, Rolls Royce, Pratt & Whitney, Honeywell, Johnson & Johnson and Williams International is a portion of The Huffman Corporation’s impressive client list. Dedicated to improving methods, systems and increasing revenue for its customers, Huffman has had more than three decades of innovation and success. But the company supplies more than just equipment to customers. The ability to configure machinery to individual customer applications and deliver unique customer benefits and proven, predictable process solutions differentiates Huffman from other supply alternatives.

Founded in 1961, Huffman Corporation provides multi-axis, computer numerical control (CNC), contour-capable, high-precision machine tool systems. The company also sells to the flight and industrial gas turbine, medical, cutting tool, on- and off-road vehicles and materials processing markets worldwide and is headquartered in Clover, S.C., just outside of Charlotte, N.C.

Huffman manufactures multi-axis superabrasive grinding systems, multi-axis laser drilling, cutting and powder fusion welding systems and multi-axis precision abrasive waterjet systems. In addition to multi-axis CNC systems, Huffman offers CAD/CAM integration, machine vision, virtual simulation, Open Architecture Control (OAC), CD-ROM documentation and remote diagnostic systems and services. Huffman is an ISO-9001 and CE-approved supplier.

Products and Applications
Flight and industrial gas turbines, cutting tools, medical equipment, vehicles and more – Huffman Corporation is about manufacturing solutions. Huffman’s CNC multi-axis grinding, laser and waterjet machining systems provide benefits for customers in many application areas and markets.

“Huffman Corporation’s CNC multi-axis grinding, laser and waterjet systems are not simply a purchase, but an important investment in your manufacturing process,” says Huffman President Roger Hayes. “Our dedication to creating a total machining center has lasted for over 30 years and we’ve remained at the forefront of machining technology.”

For turbine component manufacture or repair, whether aerospace or land-based, businesses rely on flexible, dependable and predictable processes and equipment to deliver higher quality, lower costs and better service to their customers. Huffman’s product line synergy is attractive to many customers in the turbine industry, because it is the only company that can deliver all three complementary machining technologies: grinding, laser and waterjet. Huffman’s process development team, combined with the proven technology on its systems, delivers a total solution for customers.

Huffman’s turbine capabilities include superabrasive grinding of blades, vanes, shrouds and other components; laser drilling of cooling holes; laser powder fusion for hardfacing z-notches; abrasive waterjet cutting and drilling of components and castings. Huffman products also have applications in the medical industry. Constantly looking for ways to push the limits of precision manufacturing, Huffman machining systems produce high-standard components such as surgical instruments and implants for hip and knee surgery.

Huffman’s machining systems also offer productive solutions for a variety of high-quality, precision parts for power steering systems, diesel fuel injector systems, and other subsystems for automotive manufacturers and their suppliers. The company also has been a major innovator and driving force in the cutting tool CNC manufacturing industry. For more than 30 years, Huffman has provided multi-axis precision machinery to the metalworking industry.

Collaborate, Innovate
“Companies buy machine tools because they want to make a radical improvement to the economics of their business,” says Hayes. “To take the uncertainty out of the buying process for customers, we use a method called collaborative process development before any purchase is made. We want to learn more about your business, your problems, your challenges, the things that make your company unique, so we can maximize your process and financial investment and ultimately ensure your success.”

To be successful today, says Hayes, manufacturing companies need to collaborate with machine vendors to create predictable processes. They want machine builders that are flexible in their application of available technology to suit their specific process needs. “At the same time they expect standard pricing and rapid payback,” he adds. “That’s where we deliver – every time.”

By working collaboratively with the customer, the customer’s customer, the customer’s suppliers and partners, as well as its own partners and suppliers, Huffman can define the aspects of the customer’s process that are key to creating unusual value. “Together we learn what our customer’s customer values in performance of the product to be processed,” says Hayes. “We find ways to eliminate errors and create a robustly capable process. We discover how to collapse the total time to produce the product, to speed delivery, and increase capacity to delivery rapidly. We reduce labor to produce and support, and reduce materials consumption, scrap and waste. We also learn how to maximize human and environmental safety. Working together to define these critical to outcome characteristics, we incorporate them into a new process that results in significant improvements to financials results.”

The results of working this way with customers have been remarkable. For initial investments applying Huffman replacement technologies of superabrasive grinding, laser cladding, and precision waterjet cutting, cleaning or drilling, Huffman’s productivity gain has averaged over 3X – 300 percent, or 100X, the national average annual productivity gain of 3 percent. Still often Huffman does substantially better, having achieved some improvements in the last three years of 6X, 10X, 12X, 24X and 80X productivity gains. “The key to the larger gains is the intensity and dedication of the customer to working collaboratively to develop the process,” adds Hayes.

“Ultimately, we’re about making something perform better, and thus helping our customers increase revenue. We help to create turbines that are lighter and more energy efficient, we create medical devices that reduce surgery time. We’re in the business of making things better.”