Hardinge Changing U.S. Business Model

Plans to outsource production of non-critical components, subassemblies

Hardinge Inc. is reorganizing its U.S. manufacturing operations, a project that will be carried out over six months. Specifically, the developer and manufacturer of workholding and rotary products will close some operations at its plant in Elmira, N.Y., and will outsource some “non-critical” components and sub-assemblies.
The Hardinge Group includes the Hardinge, Kellenberger, Bridgeport, Hauser, and Tschudin brands. It said it views “the current dismal economic picture” as an opportunity to strengthen and refocus its organization.

“We began an analysis of the company’s overall business performance prior to the collapse of the global manufacturing industry in late 2008,” explained Hardinge Inc. president and CEO Rick Simons. “As a result of this review, we concluded that to remain competitive we must continue to move Hardinge to a more variable cost business model in the U.S. The cost of supporting the equipment and building necessary to continue our vertically integrated manufacturing business model is prohibitive.”

The plant in Elmira will continue to be the “global center of excellence” for Hardinge’s Super-PrecisionTM technology, and will produce critical components like the Hardinge collet ready spindle, collet closers, and certain turret designs. Other operations that will remain in Elmira include final assembly of the Super-PrecisionTM and high-precision RS and Quest series turning centers; manufacturing of collets, rotary products and repair parts; final assembly of Bridgeport knee mills; and development of custom turnkey solutions.

In its statement, Hardinge said these changes will allow it to remain a leading manufacturer of precision machine tools and accessory products. The current Hardinge product line will not be affected, it said, and new product development will continue as planned.

“We have strong, worldwide engineering and manufacturing resources in the U.S., Switzerland, Taiwan, China, and the U.K. that are capable of designing and building the most consistently accurate, durable, and reliable machine tools and accessories in the world. And, we have the benefit of a very strong balance sheet, being essentially debt-free, which is very important as we navigate through these extraordinary times,” said Simons.

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