More MACH accolades roll in

8 min read

As exhibitors follow up on leads taken during MACH, the worth of the show at the NEC in commercial terms is becoming ever more apparent.

On the GF Machining Solutions stand, more than 350 different companies, and 480 visitors in total, took time to meet company staff and view the four machines being showcased on its Hall 5 stand over the five days - with the new CUT E 600 wire EDM machine, which was making its UK debut at MACH, earning rave reviews and generating a significant number of leads and enquiries. Comments Martin Spencer, manager director at GF Machining Solutions UK: “MACH 2016 was a great show for us. Over 30% of the companies that visited us were ‘new’ (i.e. not existing customers), and we took five orders direct from the stand as well as sealing the deal on a further six machines. This was our first MACH show since 2010, and our stand, its position and the mix of machines we showcased all contributed to making our return to MACH a triumphant one.”

CGTech, the developer of VERICUT, the independent CNC simulation and optimisation software, welcomed around 220 visitors onto its stand. A popular destination for existing customers, and those considering protecting their machine tools and improving efficiency, was the Reviewer ‘demo bar’. Although running Vericut reviewer files costs nothing, this powerful software from CGTech provides enterprise-wide manufacturing collaboration that even extends beyond the geographic location of any company.

Tooling vendor Mapal's managing director, Wayne Whitehouse, says: “On reflection, MACH was excellent for both existing customer and new enquiries. It allowed us to demonstrate our ever expanding product portfolio, which we expect will significantly increase our customer base.”

John Cove, marketing manager of metrology machine and band saw specialist Starrett UK, explains MACH’s appeal: “Starrett had two stands at MACH 2016, one for our metrology and measurement systems, and the other for our range of band saw machines and blades. We successfully secured substantial machinery sales from both of these stands at the show, and took the first orders before the show had even concluded. Because the show attracts a high number of industry-leading specialists, exhibitors leave with more than just one-off sales, they can leave with long-term supply partners.”

Tool manufacturer and regrinder AA Tools also had a boost from the show, says Chris Birt, business development director: “MACH proved the ideal venue to showcase our new-look tool manufacturing and regrinding capabilities to not only a wide range of visitors but also to fellow exhibitors interested in utilising our CNC tool grinding capacity. Indeed, if only 10% of the enquiries we’ve received convert into new business, we will be able to look back on a very good show!” The Sheffield-based company has enhanced a range of traditional tool manufacturing and regrinding machines, thanks to the purchase of its first CNC tool grinder: a Walter Helitronic Basic (tool capacity: 320 mm diameter by 350 mm long), supplied with optional Eco tool loading system to enable large batches to be automatically processed.

Another agent of grinding machines (and other types), RK International Machine Tools, took the decision to double the size of its MACH stand compared with 2014. That choice has paid dividends, it says, allowing it to exhibit a greater number of machines and focus on the high-precision grinding sector. Overseas machine principals supported RK as representatives travelled from Italy and Taiwan to support the Robbi Delta and Perfect grinding machines on display. The result was an increase in enquiries over the previous exhibition, with a significant lift in the potential value of those enquiries. “The investment has paid off in terms of the increased level of interest, especially in the high precision grinding that we have available,” the company says.

With an exhibition stand more than double the size of previous events, Schunk’s MACH presence proved the ideal platform for announcing new product launches, a new web portal and also new area sales managers. The bottom line was that the show brought Schunk a record number of sales leads and enquiries from exhibition visitors. A particular highlight was the eGrip system, said to be the world's first fully-automated design and ordering tool for additive manufactured gripper fingers. Users can specify grippers to suit parts online. The software automatically configures the gripper fingers around the part, generating the optimal finger design, and immediately gives price and estimated delivery information. (pic: schunk)

Metrology company Blum UK's managing director David Mold says: "The show was extremely positive for us. Our lead generation was considerably up on previous shows whilst the amount of companies requesting more information for future reference was also a huge increase on 2014. In addition, we had a lot of our equipment on the stands of machine tool builders such as DMG, ETG, YMT, Exeron (CNC International), Heller and also the Roeders machine on the Hurco stand. For us to have our equipment on these high-end machines is a huge coup for Blum and a testimony to the quality of our metrology systems."

For managing director of workholding provider Hainbuch UK, Nick Peter, its stand location was crucial. He says: "At MACH 2014 we were located in Hall 4, away from the machine tool suppliers. This year we were located very close to the machines that were using our equipment and this paid dividends for us. The high number of machine tool sales and enquiries at MACH, resulted in machine tool engineers directing their buyers straight to our stand for the workholding solution. We sold a lot of equipment to new customers as part of this strategy and the synergy we have built with machine tool builders is invaluable.”

Director of deep-hole drilling subcontractor Hone-All, Andrea Rodney, reports that she was predominantly pleased with the overall event: "The overriding factor was that MACH was better attended and more positive than people expected. Furthermore, with the large machine tool companies having a great show and selling large quantities of machine tools; it brings the confidence factor back that has been ebbing away in recent months in the wake of an underperforming oil & gas sector and the clouds that have loomed over the UK steel industry. Its extremely positive for so many subcontractors and OEMs to be buying plant at the show, as this gives the whole industry the shot in the arm that it needed.” However, she says she was disappointed by the positioning of the UK Manufacturing Zone at the back of Hall 5.

The CNC Training Academy, the UK and Ireland’s CNC programmer and operator training organisation, welcomed hundreds of visitors onto its stand at MACH. Says Jeff Hart, CNC Training Academy manager: “By covering the full range of our training provision at MACH visitors were able to see and appreciate that the academy is one of the few training organisations that provides clear and recognised training progression (e.g. from CNC operator/setter through to CNC programmer), for manufacturers. Not surprisingly we were inundated by requests - and enquiries about all our courses came in thick and fast throughout the five days, with specific interest in our Siemens CNC programmer courses being worthy of special mention.”

Micro-machining specialist Rainford Precision used MACH 2016 to educate the marketplace; but what it found was that the apprentices were as keen to learn as the serious buyers. Managing director Arthur Turner says: “The aim was to be informative and make engineers realise what is easily achievable when operating within optimal parameters. Many visitors were having difficulty sourcing drills and end-mills in the 0.1 to 0.7mm range, we demonstrated that Rainford is the leading source for small tools and technical expertise and that these small dimensions are what constitute our everyday business. We also had an 8 micron diameter drill on the stand that generated the wow factor among engineers. What genuinely impressed us was the line of questioning from apprentices and university students. These engineers of tomorrow are not going to be buying tools from Rainford at MACH for another 10 years, but their line of enquiry at MACH 2016 was truly positive and enlightening.”

DEALS DONE

Large subcontract manufacturer from Hartlepool JJ Hardy signed a two-year contract with TaeguTec to supply cutting tools. Working in conjunction with distributor Alliance Tooling, a programme of continuous improvement will be undertaken to drive down tooling and production costs whilst improving cycle times. Commenting upon the new agreement, JJ Hardy managing director Andrew Pailor says: "After using our existing tooling supplier for over 24 years, we felt the progression of tooling developments had stagnated and we needed to up the ante to maximise our productivity. The package offered by TaeguTec and Alliance Tooling is certainly going to drive us forward."

Discussing the deal signed at MACH, TaeguTec UK general manager John Conlon says: "JJ Hardy is a very well respected company in the rail, automotive and oil & gas sectors. The daily workload for JJ Hardy is volume production of cast iron components and this is where TaeguTec excels. JJ Hardy is already reaping the rewards of our 90degree ChaseMill; and with volume production, it's easy to quantify the benefits we are already delivering. The first tool is saving over £10,000 per year on a single job on just one machine. This immediately justified the customer's choice and the confidence from this first job is why they came to MACH to sign an agreement." Conlon continues: "Aside from this success story, MACH reaped huge rewards for TaeguTec. Our lead generation was very positive and the feedback we had from show visitors has given our sales engineers an overwhelming number of companies to follow up. After this success, we'll definitely be returning in two years time."

EDM machine distributor Sodi-Tech sealed a deal at MACH with Bob Tunks, owner of toolmaker and moulding specialist BK Tooling, for the company’s latest acquisition – aSodick AD35L linear motor die sink machine – to ensure BK’s EDM capabilities stay ahead of the game when tackling the intricacies of the latest medical device designs. Tunks says that the Sodick machine offers a competitive edge over other brands, in terms of speed and quality of finish.

The need to further improve competitiveness with the advantage of shorter machining cycles on smaller and often high accuracy turn-milled parts, drew HPC Services to the stand of lathe manufacturer Citizen Machinery to conclude an order for its 11th Citizen Cincom CNC sliding head machine. Says managing director Paul Cobb: “We have excellent opportunities to produce smaller parts and the Citizen L12-VII gives us the best combination of speed, accuracy, flexibility and access for fast changeovers. Also, with the ability to quickly switch from guide bush for long slender work to non-guide bush, the new machine will create even greater savings on shorter work.” The 5-axis L12-VII will join nine 32 mm capacity and one 20mm L20 Citizen machines installed at its IIkeston factory. Cobb’s decision was finalised on the first morning of the show. Reflecting on the entire event, Citizen Machinery UK’s managing director Geoff Bryant says: “We found the exhibition exceeded our expectations with visitor intent and customers planning investment for the short term which created five orders for Citizen and Miyano machines from the stand. However, we left the show with an ongoing order potential that is very positive. Customers are now seriously considering purchases from the recent additions to our machine range which would ideally suit their production needs in the medium term. This has certainly given our sales and application teams a host of projects to work on.”

Vollmer’s new Vgrind 160, fresh from its world premiere at the Grindtec exhibition in March, was sold on the second day of MACH to a prestigious UK cutting tool manufacturer. Vollmer also reports that serious enquiries were significantly up on the 2014 event.

Live machining demonstrations and almost 200 strong sales leads were the highlights for Vero Software at the recent UK MACH exhibition. The show was also the first opportunity for manufacturers to see the new and enhanced features in the latest releases of four of Vero’s CAD/CAM solutions. Coinciding with the issue of Edgecam, VISI and WorkNC, the exhibition was the perfect showcase for a preview of their features which improve cycle times and product quality. The 2016 release of the sheet metal CAD/CAM software, Radan, was also on show. Radan Product Manager Olaf Körner says: “MACH was the perfect setting for us to demonstrate how Radan is actually a whole suite of connected products. For example, there’s a major connection between 3D in CAD/CAM and the Radbend press brake software. When manufacturers unfold a model they need to know how the bend process will be affected further down the production line.”

The principal focus of the Werma UK stand was the innovative low cost easy to install wireless machine monitoring and work cell call for action system.Simon Adams, managing director of Werma comments: “ the MACH show is an ideal platform for us to present our systems as so many of the visitors to MACH are involved in machine shop production where monitoring up and down time is critical to improving overall efficiency of the operation.” Also on show were the latest generation of long life LED beacons and sounders from Werma. “Over 90% of interest and enquiries on the stand were generated from the monitoring and call for action system. The team are now very busy following up the interest with quotations and arrangements for site visits being organised and already orders for the system have started to come in, so, all in all we can say that MACH was a resounding success for us,” concludes Adams.