Hurco reports a record year for sales

2 mins read

Against a backdrop of difficult trading conditions in the UK machine tool industry during 2023, Hurco Europe's turnover to the end of its financial year in November was surprising. It turned out to be a record year for sales, higher than the best previous figure, achieved in 2018.

When interviewed at the latest Hurco open house in High Wycombe on 4-5 December, attended by almost 100 customers and prospects from the UK and Ireland, managing director David Waghorn said, "We delivered a few more lathes than last year and, while the number of vertical machining centres (VMCs) we sold did not increase, their unit price was significantly higher. 30% of them were delivered to users new to Hurco.

"Well over one-third of the VMCs ordered were 5-axis machines, either trunnion-type, B-axis, or with an add-on compound rotary table. They command a higher value than 3- and 4-axis machines, while other models we sold had larger working volumes, which also increases the value per sale.

"Additionally, many negotiations included requests for extras like mist extraction, through-spindle coolant, probing and extended warranties. Likewise, since the 2022 launch of the TMX lathes with live tooling, Y-axis and sub-spindle, we are selling more lathes and at higher prices. This is because a greater number of operations can be completed on these machines in a single handling."

He added that another option that raised the value of some orders was the addition of a Hurco ProCobot collaborative robot to feed components autonomously into VMCs. The number delivered was two and a half times up on the previous year and all are operating 24/7 in UK factories.

Software also contributed to the record sales, with the proprietary Solid Model Import option for the WinMax control taken up by triple the number of customers compared with 2022.

Waghorn advised that engineers really need to see it in action; it cannot be sold efficiently from the literature. Once people discover how effective it is at programming 3+2 routines on the shop floor from an imported IGES CAD model, they frequently add the software to all their machines. It is fast, uncomplicated and takes the load off manufacturer's CAM stations.

Sales of German-built Roeders super-high-accuracy machining centres, for which Hurco is the sole sales and service agent in the UK and Ireland, were maintained during 2023 with four units sold, often 5-axis models and most with automation.

In other news, with effect from the day before the open house started, Hurco appointed Josh Adams to work alongside Colin Brice in the Midlands, while at the same time splitting the sales territory into two to enable more effective coverage of this important area for manufacturing.

Extra recent appointments have included two new service engineers to take account of the increasing installed base of Hurco machine tools in the UK and Ireland. Two applications engineers were also taken on to support customers, especially subcontractors, that are being asked to produce ever more complex components.

Looking ahead to 2024 and in particular the MACH exhibition in April, Waghorn added, "There are signs the sluggishness in the machine tool sector is beginning to ease, so we are hopeful of another year of record sales. The Birmingham show, coming early in the second quarter, should help to boost trading further. We will have one of the largest stands there with 11 machines under power, some with automation.

"It is pleasing that the 100% capital investment write-down against corporation tax has been made permanent. This is a huge positive for anyone considering a new machine purchase. Plus, as interest rates look as though they have plateaued and should start dropping over time as inflation is brought under control, these factors in tandem could lead to a very buoyant business environment going forward."