More For Less, And I Want It Now

One way to succeed in today's competitive environment is to seek out partnerships with other industry leaders to mutually leverage each other's technology advances.

Related Suppliers

It's happening to all of us. To succeed in today's global economy, we need to squeeze out more performance at a lower cost with shorter delivery times. If we extrapolate this trend, the most successful companies will be those who deliver everything, charge nothing and ship yesterday.

Seriously, the need to differentiate your business from your competition is forcing manufacturing firms to improve productivity, strengthen core competencies, lower costs and focus on customer needs. Many firms have embraced technology. Others have pursued rapidly developing markets in China or India and developed manufacturing operations close to their new customers. Yet others have focused on innovation and improving their new product development processes to stay ahead of the competition. Hardinge has done all of these things in the last decade to ensure that customers, no matter what continent they are on, can count on our turning, milling, grinding and workholding products to meet their needs now and in the future.

Take our turning business, for example. Every day I learn of a customer working with Hardinge that needs help to extend the limits of its manufacturing capabilities to maintain a competitive advantage. Our customers' requirements are increasing as they machine parts that have more complex features, more demanding tolerances and surface finishes and often are made of exotic or difficult-to-machine materials. As customers have asked for more and more precision from Hardinge machine tools, the company has invested in developing new products that focus on precision. Our Hydroglide hydrostatic linear guide system provides increased vibration damping, enabling higher quality surface finishes and precision as well as lower tooling costs.

One way to succeed in today's competitive environment is to seek out partnerships with other industry leaders to mutually leverage each other's technology advances. For example, recently Hardinge entered into a partnership with Air Products (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) to market the company's Icefly cryogenic machining technology. The benefit to Hardinge customers is tremendous: Icefly enables customers turning hardened materials and powdered metals to dramatically improve material removal rates, in some cases by up to 200 percent, and benefit from improved tool life. In certain applications, this technology enables the replacement of CBN inserts with ceramic inserts, which further reduces costs.

Last year, we introduced a new machine for customers looking to replace turning and milling machines with a single machine. Our multitasking LMC (Lean Manufacturing Cell) was designed with the principles of lean manufacturing in mind. It uses a “zone” approach whereby each of four zones of the machine can be thought of as a single machine tool. The LMC's tooling configuration, tooling capacity and human machine control interface reduce setup times and human intervention as well as minimize capital expenses.

Many of our customers turned to us asking for ways to finish turn-hardened parts and eliminate grinding from their operations. These customers have realized they can no longer compete if they turn, heat treat and then grind a product. They now use Hardinge Quest lathes to finish turn-hardened parts, thereby reducing not only their cost, but also their delivery time, without sacrificing quality or performance.

To meet the needs of all customers, we have expanded our manufacturing operations over the last decade, increasing our manufacturing efficiencies so we can offer products at all price levels.

We have invested in new technology and partnerships that will enable our customers to improve their machining capabilities while lowering their costs. We have added two manufacturing facilities in Europe and two in Asia to complement our manufacturing operation in the United States. As a result, in our own way, Hardinge is poised to offer our customers more for less.