This year has been a year to celebrate for the Engineering Technology Group (ETG). The benefits of bringing the sales, marketing and service interests of Hardinge into the group in 2013 are now really paying dividends. In fact, sales growth this year is some 26%, compared to the previous 12 months, exceeding expectations, while the volume of unit sales is “through the roof” – a direct benefit of introducing a travelling sales team. What’s more, the trend shows no sign of slowing into 2015.
Today, ETG offers a range of established machine tool marques in the UK, including Hardinge, Chiron, Nakamura-Tome, Handtmann, Stama, Bridgeport, Quaser and Feeler, as well as Hyfore workholding systems and FactoryWiz CNC monitoring software.
The company has additionally spread its wings in 2014 by opening a facility in Ireland (Newbridge, County Kildare). The wholly-owned subsidiary is staffed by a team of five and boasts showroom facilities, plus spares and service support. Already, ETG Ireland Ltd can claim a number of large, turnkey installations, including a Nakamura-Tome NT3 250 three-turret turn-mill centre at motion technologies specialist THK in Dublin. The machine is the second-largest Nakamura turning centre ever sold by ETG and is fitted with an automatic gantry for loading and unloading. It will be used to make precision ballscrew nuts from billets in one operation. ETG Ireland is also developing strong links with local medical companies.
In the UK, the automotive, aerospace and general subcontract industries have proven the most robust during 2014. Chiron, for example, has demonstrated its strongest sales performance in the automotive sector for many years.
ETG has also strengthened its staffing during the course of the past 12 months. Areas bolstered include ETG Finance, which has funded some £8 million in the past year. Offering a range of funding solutions, the operation helps customers support their ETG machine tool purchases, as well as competitor machine acquisition.
Other company operations that have seen employee numbers boosted include the operations department, FactoryWiz and the sales team, with the latter taking in the company’s first representative in Scotland. Following that, ETG has already doubled the number of machine installations north of the border. As for apprentices, the company now has three at its Southam, Warwickshire headquarters and four at Hyfore in Coventry.
With such business success and employee growth, the company is set to expand. ETG is currently concluding a deal that will see the opening of an additional facility close to the Southam headquarters. This will house the PDI (Pre-Delivery Inspection) Department, which is currently based at Hyfore. It will be ETG’s fourth facility, supporting Southam, Coventry (Hyfore) and Newbridge. The company anticipates the new facility being open by the end of the year.
Major product launches in 2014 have included the Hardinge SP (Super Precision) range of turning centres for those seeking micron tolerances and/or solutions to hard turning challenges. Hardinge SP machines are highly engineered products and fulfil the specific need of exceptional prolonged accuracy in a volume production environment. Surface finishes down to Ra 0.15 are possible – and the machines offer impressive straightness and positional compensation capabilities.
The Chiron Baseline range was another significant launch. Chiron vertical machining centres can now be supplied out-of-the-box with a fixed specification. There has also been a renewed focus on Stama in 2014. These multi-spindle, super quick production machines are proving particularly popular with cutting tool manufacturers, in the manufacture of back-ends, for example.
In terms of exhibitions, MACH 2014 in Birmingham proved to be a fantastic experience for ETG that helped enormously with brand awareness. While most have heard of brands like Chiron, Nakamura and Hardinge, many people were still unaware of ETG – hopefully this is changing now. ETG is already looking forward to MACH 2016, where it is likely that an even bigger stand with even more machines will be taken.
(Machinery magazine | December 2014 Issue | Page 49)
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