5-axis machines remain popular Despite headwinds: Hurco satisfied with machine sales in 2022
Despite all the headwinds in the economy, manufacturing has had a buoyant 2022, if Hurco's experience selling its machine tools is anything to go by. Order intake in monetary value was close to a record high, beaten only just by the exceptional figures posted in 2018.
Machine engineering company Hurco is looking back on a successful year. Managing director David Waghorn noted: “5-axis machines in all sizes have been very popular this year, accounting for a higher proportion of our turnover than ever before.” The VMX-SRTi series with B-axis spindle head and flush rotary C-axis table continues to be the front runner due to the option of loading large components for 3- and 4-axis machining. According to Wahorn, the trunnion-type 5-axis machines are also selling well, many of which the company supplies with an Erowa pallet storage and retrieval system.
Apart from selling its own ranges of machining and turning centres, Hurco is sole agent in the UK and Ireland for German-built Roeders super-high-precision machining centres, two-thirds of those installed being equipped with automation. Users say that the mirror finish achieved when milling moulds and dies eliminates the need for any hand finishing, resulting in considerable labour cost savings. Moreover, jig grinding can be completed on the same machine platform. Heading the sale of these machines is product manager Steve Turner, following the retirement of Graham Maskell. Waghorn added: “The outlook for 2023 is good. The vast majority of our customers are subcontractors and all seem to be very busy. It is helped by the raised level of activity in the aerospace and oil & gas sectors. Both are now booming, after having been in the doldrums for an extended period, while motorsport is perennially active. Against this background, we needed to employ five new service engineers in 2022 and continue to recruit more. We are also looking for extra applications engineers in the High Wycombe area.”
As far as automated loading of components is concerned, he said that a lot of interest is being shown in the company's Pro Cobot collaborative robots. One was demonstrated at the open house feeding a Hurco VM20i 3-axis machining centre. The pick and place instructions to the cobot are sent from an app running directly in the machine's twin-screen Win Max control, making plug and play for automation a reality.
The company hosted another open house event this year. Seventy companies pre-registered to attend the company's open house at its headquarters in High Wycombe in early December (6th and 7th) and a total of 104 people were welcomed over the two days, generating 650,000 pounds of sales.
Attendance on the Hurco stand at Mach in April was an 25 percent up on the previous show. The event marked the launch of the company's new lathes with driven tools, with 8-inch chuck model TMX8MYSi on the stand. The 10-inch chuck version was available for public inspection at the open house for the first time.