Hurco open house brings successful 2019 to a close

2 min read

Despite many machine tool companies reporting a softening of the UK market in 2019, machining centre and lathe manufacturer Hurco Europe has enjoyed its second-best turnover ever, only slightly below that of the company’s record year in 2018. The announcement comes following Hurco Europe’s latest open house in early December, which was attended by representatives from 53 manufacturers.

Held on 2-3 December at the company’s recently opened 26,000 sq ft headquarters, showroom and technical centre in High Wycombe, the open house attracted 88 visitors representing 53 companies from the UK, Ireland and Sweden. The event saw three orders placed for machining centres, including a double-column model.

David Waghorn, managing director of Hurco Europe, says: "We were pleased to preview a cobot [collaborative robot] following our group's purchase earlier this year of Pittsburgh manufacturer, ProCobot. It was automatically feeding one of our VMX30UHSi 5-axis machining centres with aluminium billets from a table, and returning finish-machined components."

Waghorn adds that Hurco is developing plug-and-play solutions built around the ProCobot systems that it hopes will offer seamless integration with an application being tested in the machine's proprietary WinMAX control. There are four standard products of different sizes in the ProCobot range, all of which are equally well suited to feeding lathes or machining centres. The company plans to have sellable ProCobot options available in time for MACH 2020 (Birmingham NEC, 20-25 April).

Hurco Europe has already seen a rise in automation, having recently sold around half a dozen machining centres equipped with Erowa pallet storage and retrieval systems. For example, Waghorn states that one customer, a subcontractor in Rutland, recently automated a Hurco 5-axis machining centre with a Belgian RoboJob Milling Assistant, as well as a 3-axis model with a Midaco automatic pallet changer.

Business at Hurco Europe is also witnessing greater demand for 5-axis machining centres, both B-axis and trunnion-type, which now account for 30% of company turnover.

Waghorn suggests this rise in the adoption of 5-axis technology is partly down to modern CADCAM systems being able to drive such machines competently for fully interpolative machining, together with a general recognition that one- or two-hit production using the extra rotary axes for positioning is essential if manufacturers want to remain competitive.

Looking forward to MACH 2020, he expects a number of announcements. For instance, the show will mark the official launch of the ProCobot, and the first of a newly developed generation of driven-tool lathes, the TM8Mi. Furthermore, Hurco will be showing the dual-column DCX22i, which will coincide with the anticipated release of an upgraded version of the large-capacity, 5-axis DCX32-5Si.

"Although there is some uncertainty in the market at present, the feedback I get from our sales engineers is that they are optimistic about next year, so we’re expecting a sustained pick-up from MACH onwards,” says Waghorn. "Our new High Wycombe premises, which opened in August 2019, gives us a great base from which to grow. We are really proud of the new machine demonstration area and encourage anyone considering a machine purchase to pay us a visit.

"In addition, we will continue our joint venture association with Kirklees College in Huddersfield, which provides students and apprentices with modern Hurco equipment for training and cutting demonstrations, while simultaneously providing us with a showroom facility in the north."