In Indianapolis, Indiana, Hurco is launching a technology that has the potential to radically rearrange shop floors around the globe.
The 46-year-old company is intent on providing machine shops with a way to give their existing equipment an additive manufacturing facelift by using an adapter capable of turning CNC milling machines into functional 3D printers.
"We designed an additive manufacturing adapter that – in combination with proprietary Hurco control software – effectively turns a CNC milling machine into a 3D printer. Hurco has a long history of inventing technology that allows our customers to be more productive and profitable. This is yet another Hurco innovation making advanced technology accessible to a broad range of customers," says Gregory Volovic, President of Hurco Companies, Inc. "With this new additive manufacturing capability, users may go from print to plastic prototype to finished metal part on one machine without repeated set-ups and without multiple prototyping utilizing costly metals and raw material."
That's a groundbreaking statement of intent, and it's also bound to ruffle some industry feathers.
"We recently filed a utility patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office describing and claiming a variety of novel features of our 3D printing technology," Volovic said. "Our control technology will provide our customers speed and ease of use in performing CNC-based, 3D printing and prototyping."
If the company is successful with the launch and the patents, it would represent a breakthrough which might save manufacturers millions of dollars by allowing them to repurpose their milling equipment. It remains to be seen as to whether or not such machines can compete on a performance level with existing high-end 3D printing systems, but it's an intriguing idea nonetheless.
The company is hardly a newcomer to the game. Hurco Companies is an industrial technology enterprise which designs, manufactures and sells computerized machine tools for the metal cutting industry. Hurco boasted earnings per share of 90 cents during the first six months of this fiscal year, and while the revenue potential for its conversion product is unknown, it's a good bet that manufacturers will find the idea intriguing.
Hurco's targeted markets for the company's products are primarily independent job shops and short-run manufacturing operations within large corporations in industries such as aerospace, defense, medical equipment, energy, transportation and computer equipment. Based in Indianapolis, Hurco also has manufacturing operations in Taiwan, Italy, and China, and sells its products through direct and indirect sales forces throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, and boasts sales, application engineering support and service subsidiaries in China, England, France, Germany, India, Italy, Poland, Singapore, South Africa and the US.