Nearly 20 companies attended, less than half the number that would be expected in a normal year. However, managing director David Waghorn said the event was nevertheless worthwhile, with four ex-demonstration machining centres sold, including a 5-axis model. New machine sales for the month of October were actually a little better than in the same period last year.

In addition to showing machines under power to visitors in person, Hurco staged eight remote machine walk-arounds and control demonstrations via Microsoft Teams. One was for a customer in the North West of England that had booked their attendance but then decided it would be better not to travel during the pandemic. Interestingly, one virtual meeting would have not have been feasible to hold any other way than virtually, as it involved a customer in Milton Keynes, Hurco staff in High Wycombe and Stratford-upon-Avon and three ProCobot automation specialists in two locations in the US.

Says Waghorn: “All our staff have been back working full-time since 1 June. Obviously, it has been a challenging year, but there are some positive signs. We are seeing a lot of reshoring of work from the Far East and Europe, especially of moulds and dies but also of general subcontract work.

“Through the period of government restrictions there has been more engineering resource available - as well as extra space in our new building - to refurbish second-hand machines. We have sold 14 so far this year, a mixture of lathes and mills.

“Another area that has been little affected is customer training, as this has continued seamlessly on-line. It has been especially useful for machine operators in the south of Ireland, where travel is particularly difficult at the moment due to their government's current policies.”

He adds that considerable interest was shown during the open house in the new range of Hurco driven-tool lathes that was being launched. Two machines were sold prior to the event and orders are now being taken. Three models are currently included in the range, two of which (TM8Mi and TM10Mi) are in stock, with the third, largest machine (TM12Mi) due to arrive in early 2021. Further models will be added next year, including a lathe with a Y-axis turret and another with a Y-axis and sub-spindle.

The next Hurco Open House is being pushed forward from its usual pre-Christmas slot to early 2021. Dates will be announced shortly.