Despite many machine tool companies selling into the UK reporting a softening of the market in 2019, Hurco Europe Ltd (www.hurco.co.uk
) reported its second-best turnover ever, only slightly below that of the record year of 2018.
At an Open House held on 2 and 3 December at the firm’s new 26,000ft2
headquarters, showroom and technical centre in High Wycombe — attended by more than 88 visitors representing 53 companies from the UK, Ireland and Sweden — a successful trading year was sealed by three further orders for machining centres, including a double-column model.
David Waghorn, managing director of Hurco Europe, said: “We were pleased to be able to preview a cobot (collaborative robot), following our group’s purchase earlier this year of Pittsburgh-based ProCobot.
"It was demonstrated automatically feeding one of our VMX30UHSi five-axis machining centres with aluminium billets from a table and returning finish-machined components.”
He said that Hurco Europe had seen a rise in automation, having sold around half a dozen machining centres equipped with a Swiss-built Erowa pallet storage and retrieval system.
“This example, along with others, reinforces the notion of a gathering pace towards autonomous machine tending.
“The company is also supplying a greater number of five-axis machining centres, both B-axis and trunnion-types; these now account for 30% of our turnover.
“The rise in the adoption of five-axis technology is partly down to modern CAD/CAM 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 for manufacturers to remain competitive.”
Mr Waghorn concluded: “Although there is some uncertainty in the market at present, the feedback I get from our sales engineers is that they are optimistic about 2020.
“We are expecting a sustained pick-up from April’s MACH