70 YEARS OF EMCO: Machines that can do everything

70 YEARS OF EMCO: Machines that can do everything


Machine Tool Manufacturer to Celebrate Anniversary and Invest EUR 1 Million in Apprentice Training


The EMCO Group, better known as EMCO, is one of Europe`s leading machine tool manufacturers. High production quality and functional design are among the group`s crucial factors of success. Based on forward-looking technology and comprehensive know-how, the Austrian machine builder has expanded its portfolio from a standard machine manufacturer to a turnkey solution provider. The company, which has become one of the well-known greats in the machine tool industry, is going to celebrate its 70th anniversary this year. For the 17 industrial apprentices being trained at the Hallein location to become metal engineers, toolmaking technicians, mechatronics engineers or cutting machine operators, EUR 1 million have been invested to create the ideal framework conditions for theoretical and practical training on a total area of 700 m2.

Business Results for the 2016/2017 Fiscal Year (1 April 2016 – 31 March 2017) – Outlook for 2017/18: The positive overall economic trend in the first half-year is reflected in EMCO’s high volume of incoming orders. Especially in Europe, the figures give us reason to remain confident during the coming months. Our optimism is substantiated by the forecast made by Cecimo, the European Association representing the common interests of the Machine Tool Industries at EU level. According to the Association’s forecast, continuously increasing consumption is to be expected in Europe (with the exception of Russia and Turkey).

In the 2016/2017 fiscal year, EMCO – as a very export-oriented, medium-sized family business with 694 employees – achieved revenue of EUR 155.02 million within the group. The export rate amounted to 85%. ‘As regards the current fiscal year, we expect a clear increase in turnover of approx. 10% for the whole year’, expresses Dr.-Ing. Stefan Hansch, CEO of the EMCO Group, his optimism.

‘To develop and build even better, more efficient and more intelligent machines so as to make sure they meet the customers’ production requirements as completely as possible.’ Based on this principle, EMCO has developed and manufactured intelligent machining systems ever since the company was established. The range of products includes everything from conventional turning and milling machines to CNC turning centres and vertical machining centres as well as fully automated manufacturing cells and high-speed milling and drilling centres. ‘Using our turnkey solutions, our customers are able to implement highly complex manufacturing processes at a reasonable price as well as quickly and efficiently,’ says Dr. Stefan Hansch, managing director of the EMCO Group. The machines are used in mould making, in the automotive industry or in general engineering in order to produce, for instance, high-volume components such as wind turbine main shafts, hydraulic cylinders for construction machines, ship propellers or drill heads for oil production. The company group employs around 700 workers across the world. Its branch offices are located in different countries including Germany, Italy, the USA, Russia and the Czech Republic. The company`s headquarters are located where others like to spend their holidays: in Hallein, Austria, in the heart of the Salzburger Land.

How Everything Started – Here in Salzburg, everything starts in 1947. Whilst the country is being reconstructed two years after the end of the war, engineer Karl Maier decides to found a crafts enterprise and manufacture turning machines. In the same year, the company MECOF is founded near Genoa. The abbreviation stands for Officine Costruzioni Meccaniche, which means “mechanical workshop”. It will still take several years before the two companies meet and start a successful partnership.It is in the mid-1950s that Karl Maier lays the foundation for his success with the small UNIMAT turning machines. Since the company founder knows exactly what his customers want, he decides to expand the portfolio by adding hardness testing machines – and succeeds. After the death of Karl Maier, his son Ernst Alexander takes over the company at the end of the 1970s. It is under his management that the company is renamed Ernst Maier Company – or EMCO for short – and advances to become the technology leader in both hardness testing and machining. The company keeps growing until the beginning of the 1990s and establishes itself as a manufacturer of CNC industrial and CNC training machines, hardness testing equipment, woodworking machines and laser cutting machines. Business is going well – until 1993. The machine tool industry experiences one of its worst crises and EMCO is not spared either. A-Tec Industries AG, an industrial holding company based in Vienna, takes over the manufacturer. In order to master the crisis successfully, the machine builder focuses on its core competency: CNC industrial and training machines as well as conventional machine tools.

Knowing what the customer needs – a motto that had already helped the company founder succeed. At times when ergonomics are hardly an issue in the industry, EMCO cooperates with an experienced designer. This cooperation aims at both designing attractive machines and ensuring consistent user-friendliness. The result: thanks to their compact design and modular structure, the machines are, despite their complexity, an easy-to-use and clearly designed tool for the operator. Something that the “Industrie Forum Design Hannover” agrees to, as well: in 1994, the two lathes EMCOTURN 465 and PC Mill 50 are awarded for their functionality, user-friendliness and particularly innovative design elements. The topic of flexibility becomes increasingly important, also as regards productivity – especially at times of just-in-time and increasingly shrinking batch sizes. At the beginning of the 1990s, EMCO is even awarded the “German Federal Award for Outstanding Innovative Achievement” for its dual lathe EMCOTURN 425.

The principle of simplification proves to be extremely successful when it comes to technical training. EMCO has been developing independent machines for this business segment since 1982. The company offers PC-controlled training machines the design and functionality of which match the models used in industry, but which, due to their particularly clear design and easy operation, are recommended especially for trainees. However, EMCO`s commitment goes far beyond the machine sector. In cooperation with schools, universities and industry, EMCO trains skilled workers across the world. The training specialists have been advising companies and training institution in Europe, North and South America, Southeast Asia as well as in the Near and Middle East for many years. EMCO`s commitment and innovations in technical training and development have also been confirmed by the sought-after Worlddidac Quality Charter. The Worlddidac Association represents trading partners from the education sector from more than 50 countries. It awards the exclusive quality certification to companies in the international education industry.

Fast-Paced Upward Trend – Around the turn of the millennium, EMCO employs more than 500 workers throughout the world. The company`s turnover, 20 percent of which the machine builder achieves in Austria, is consistently growing. The remaining 80 percent are generated primarily in the European countries and the USA, but also – especially in the training area – in Southeast Asia and South America. With the objective of hitting the ground running as a full-service provider for machining production, the machine tool manufacturer takes over MECOF in 2005. The mechanical workshop based near Genoa has become one of the market leaders when it comes to large CNC machining centres. FAMUP – meaning Fabbrica Macchine Utensili Pordenone – is taken over by the company group in the same year. Today, EMCO milling centres are developed and built at the FAMUP premises.
The company group is successful – which cannot be said of the parent company. In 2010, A-Tec Industries goes bankrupt. 630 employees worry about their future for more than one year. The “Austrian solution” with a long-term perspective comes from the Salzburg construction machine dealer Günter Kuhn, who takes over the EMCO Group at the beginning of 2011 with his Kuhn Holding.

The Consolidated Six – With production sites in Austria, Italy, Russia and Germany, the EMCO Group ranks among Europe`s leading machine tool manufacturers. Besides EMCO and EMCO MECOF, the Italian EMCO FAMUP has joined the group of companies, as well. Right from the start, the Italian manufacturer of CNC machining centres enhances the group`s range of products by contributing a complete line of production machines for the machining industry. The cooperation results, for instance, in the Maxxmill 400 and 500 machines. These have been designed for the 5-axis machining of workpieces featuring edge lengths of up to 500 x 500 x 475 millimetres. Another company follows: EMCO MAGDEBURG, a specialist in the field of vertical lathes and milling centres. The one thing that all have in common: ‘We cooperate to develop our intelligent production solutions in line with our principle Made in the Heart of Europe’, explains managing director Dr. Stefan Hansch. Using exclusively European branded products, the group develops and produces in Central Europe.
All machines are designed according to EMCO`s maxim “Design to Cost”. Both the entire development and production take place in Europe, whilst all EMCO production companies are required to implement the highest standards as regards quality, production and efficiency.
‘Starting in the design phase, we focus on our customers’ fundamental needs – it is due to two factors that our systems are of interest to the market: the development of tailor-made solutions in close cooperation with the customers and the endeavour to deliver European high-quality technology at a competitive price’, explains Dr. Hansch. In this way, the company group manufactures around 1,200 machines every year.

The Best of Two Worlds
All developments of the individual EMCO Group companies are made in close cooperation with the headquarters in Hallein. Thus, the group benefits from particularly comprehensive know-how, which leads to forward-thinking solutions that allow users to work even more efficiently. The merger of EMCO`s turning skills and EMCO MECOF`s milling know-how – both companies are going to celebrate their 70th anniversary this year – resulted in the Hyperturn 200 Powermill, a high-performance turning and milling centre. Thanks to this powerful system, companies are able to implement high-precision complete machining of workpieces featuring diameters of up to 1,000 millimetres and lengths of up to 6,000 millimetres.

EMCO from Our Customers’ Point of View
Long-Term Partnership
Thomas Mösl, area production manager for bushings and thrust rings at Miba Gleitlager Austria GmbH Miba has relied on Emco turning centres for many years already. Today, Thomas Mösl’s department counts as many as 16 machines made by the Salzburg manufacturer. ‘That was another reason why we opted for the Hyperturn 95. We simply know that we can rely on Emco. Although the close proximity surely plays a role, too, it is especially the straightforward and competent support in all areas that we do not want to miss,’ praises Mösl the good cooperation.

Good service that continues after the purchase
Ingo Suchanke, owner of Suchanke GmbH (Rheinfelden)
‘I checked the offer of several providers and looked around on trade fairs,’ reports Ingo Suchanke. ‘Emco’s division manager was very committed in demonstrating the “live operation” of the respective machine, which means he wanted to show us how it runs at the premises of a user in everyday practice. This user, a Swiss company, was very satisfied with the machine tool. And the service and price-performance ratio add up as well.’ By now, Ingo Suchanke confirms from his own experience: ‘On-schedule delivery and commissioning went well. But even after that, Emco still wants to ensure that we realise our user benefit.’

Not Machines but Solutions
Antonio Gasparini, managing director of Zenit S.p.A., Caorso (PC)
According to Gasparini, ‘The Hyperturn 200 Powermill certainly constitutes a strategic investment for Zenit S.p.A., because it has given our company the opportunity to expand its know-how and expertise when it comes to 5-axis machining. Although the technology is quite complex, the support of EMCO`s technicians helped us acquire this know-how rather quickly. The cooperation between customer and supplier always plays a vital role. In this case, however, I dare say that the counselling and support have almost been more important than the machine itself.’