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WALDRICH COBURG unveiled the new TAURUS machining center with great fanfare at the AMB in Stuttgart towards the end of 2014. “For WALDRICH COBURG, TAURUS represented the start of a new direction in our product philosphy,” says Managing Director Sales & Marketing Falk Herkner who joined the company in a newly created position on 14 August 2017 and took over overall responsibility for the sale of project machines, standard machines and service contracts. “TAURUS was created to serve growing market demand for small and medium-sized machines and assure WALDRICH COBURG’s future growth.”
To a lay person, the term small seems like a misnomer in relation to the TAURUS machining center. However, for WALDRICH COBURG, it represents the lower end of the scale in its portfolio.
“While we consider the TAURUS to be the baby of our range, for other manufacturers, a machine of this size represents the upper limit of what they can do,” says Mr. Herkner. “However, there is increasing demand for machining centers of this size which makes this a market we cannot afford to neglect.”
WALDRICH COBURG’s core business remains the design and construction of custom-built large scale machining centers. Project-based contracts currently account for 55% of turnover which last year corresponded to contracts worth over 50 million EUR.
“Growth in this sector of the market is stagnating in the coming years,” explains Mr. Herkner. “The market for standard machines with a typical price tag of around two million EUR currently accounts for 20% of our turnover. Here, we are predicting moderate annual growth of 3%. Servicing accounts for just under a third of turnover.”
Although TAURUS is classed as an off-the-peg,
standard machine, it still offers ample scope
for customization in line with customer requirements.
Managing Director Sales & Marketing
WALDRICH COBURG’s own research and the sales figures confirm that, while there will continue to be demand for large scale machining centers of the sort in which the company specializes, the real driver of growth in the industry will come from the compact end of the market.
“The market that we are targeting is not yet big enough to absorb all of the machines we have the capacity to build,” says Mr. Herkner. “By shortening production times and targeting efficiencies throughout the value chain, we will be in a position to build up to 20 TAURUS machining centers each year. Our initial forecast for new models in the TAURUS product family envisages sales of ten machines for the first few years. That figure matches up with our market research and we see it as realistic.”
The success of TAURUS depends on WALDRICH COBURG’s ability to keep production costs under control. In this way, the company can offer customers quite a lot of bang for their buck. “Although TAURUS is classed as an off-the-peg, standard machine, it still offers ample scope for customization in line with customer requirements,” notes Mr. Herkner. “For example, TAURUS can be fitted with three different control systems in line with local preferences. Here in Germany, small and medium-sized businesses favour control systems made by Heidenhain. In the US and Asia, Fanuc control systems are widely used and in automated applications where several machines work in concert, Siemens control systems are the preferred option.”
Additionally, TAURUS does not skimp on quality. Major machine components are made from high quality cast iron and provide superior damping characteristics while castings are constructed with thick walls and strong ribbing to guarantee stability and rigidity. Stiffness and damping are the basic criteria for high productivity and precision.
WALDRICH COBURG has also equipped TAURUS with the latest technology to extend the lifetime of the machine and ensure it is low maintenance. TAURUS is the only wear-free machine in its class thanks to hydrostatic guideways throughout with zero contact between sliding components. “We have put all of our expertise into the design of TAURUS,” says Mr. Herkner, who has been tasked with hitting the ambitious sales targets for the new line of standard machines. “We have high hopes for this sector of the business, particularly in light of the fact that 90% of these machines are sold to new customers.”
The greater focus on standard products has meant the implementation of wide-ranging changes within the company. “I have joined WALDRICH COBURG at a key point in its development and am relishing the opportunity of building up this part of the business,” states Mr. Herkner. “The limited range of options, such as just two table sizes, means that these machines do not have to be built to order. We can therefore deliver the completed machine to customers within six to eight weeks compared to six months for a fully customized machine in which the customer has been able to specify every feature.”
The success of TAURUS and the rest of its standard programme owes much to the reputation the company has built up with its project business. “Our customized machines enjoy such a strong reputation that we win most of the projects for which we submit a bid anywhere in the world,” says Mr. Herkner. “We are now also the market leaders for standard machines but our sales team still has to work hard to secure orders.”
TAURUS was created to serve growing market demand
for small and medium-sized machines
and assure WALDRICH COBURG’s future growth.
Managing Director Sales & Marketing
There are areas of the market in which TAURUS struggles to compete, which is why new product launches are slated for the future. “The company is changing but that process is still ongoing,” says Mr. Herkner. “We will have completed the restructuring process by 2020 and are targeting annual growth of 3% per year for the coming decade. Our motto is ‘precision by experience’ but besides experience, we also need innovation to bring long-term success. TAURUS shows that we can demonstrate both. Our goal is to continue to pursue technological leadership.”
The key trend for the future is automation, even for large machining centers. “We are actively engaged in designing the factory of the future which will involve not just individual machines but entire production lines,” says Mr. Herkner in conclusion.