As I look back on Hardinge’s performance in 2006, I first want to take a minute to thank our customers, our suppliers, our shareholders and our employees for all they did in helping Hardinge to have a great year in 2006. We remained focused on our goal to continue expanding our sales through development of our product line and growth of our markets and customer base. At Hardinge, we want to be our customer’s prime supplier for turning, milling, grinding and workholding / industrial product solutions aimed at small to medium-sized parts. By executing this business strategy, we are moving Hardinge to the forefront of the machine tool industry.
To briefly recap 2006, Hardinge increased its worldwide revenues to approximately $327 million while also continuing our growth of new orders. New orders for 2006 were approaching $350 million. These increases highlight the strong acceptance b y customers of our many new products released into the market in the past few years. Job shops and OEM’s are extremely pleased when they see the tremendous advances we have made to all of our worldwide product brands of Hardinge, Bridgeport, Kellenberger, Hauser, Tschudin and Tripet. Today Hardinge has the most extensive line of products for machining small to medium-sized parts that is available from one supplier in the market.
Two of our most exciting recent product releases are our two new flagship Multi-Tasking Turning Center product lines available in 6”, 8” and 10” chuck versions called the SR-Series (chucker model) and 1 5/8”, 2’ and 2 ˝” bar versions called the RS-Series (collet ready spindle). These new high end turning centers were designed from the ground up based on customer needs and expectations, placing our new products at the forefront of the market. When comparing our new chucker series to the major players in the turning market such as Mori Seiki and Okuma, our products are superior in terms of horsepower and torque, resulting in superior functional performance and cutting capability. Our new bar series has been designed to take high performance turning to the next level in terms of accuracy and rigidity. Hardinge has always led the market when it comes to precision machining and we have now established a new benchmark in terms of part accuracies in a production environment.
Another series of product releases that has created a buzz in the market is that Hardinge has elected to participate in the entry level market for turning centers and machining centers where price and delivery are critical criteria for the customer. Our new products are priced in line with competitors such as Haas and Hurco, however the cutting capabilities of our machines far exceed that of these competitors. The Hardinge SV-Series horizontal turning centers and the Bridgeport XV-Series vertical machining centers offer high quality machines rich with features and functionality at very affordable prices. Don’t take my word on it though…Hardinge has created a simple and interactive comparison that will let you decide who offers the best entry level machines in the market today. Go to www.hardinge.com/challenge to choose for yourself! Customers just can’t believe they can buy a Hardinge for the price of a Haas!
Another key Hardinge initiative is the merger between Kellenberger and HTT (Hauser, Tripet and Tschudin), our two grinding companies. This merger will allow us to strengthen our worldwide distribution network in regards to grinding and bring together over a combined 250 years of grinding knowledge. This merger will have a very positive impact on our customers, resulting in an increase in application support and better coordination of new product development for our grinding product line.
As I have said before, the current key limiting factor for Hardinge is educating the market on just what products and services Hardinge companies have to offer. Customers can now source products from Hardinge that range from the price sensitive market to products that lead the market in terms of technology and accuracy. To help inform the market about our capabilities and product offerings in 2006, we launched a new magazine, Super Precision and Productivity, we updated our new corporate website infrastructure (www.hardinge.com), and we increased training for our sales and support personnel so they are equipped to provide exceptional customer support.
We have also made significant progress expanding our manufacturing operations in Taiwan and China, but that topic will have to be discussed at a later date in another feature of “corner view”.