2019 has been an interesting year for Star GB and the industry as a whole. Despite the scepticism amassed through the continued uncertainty of the economy and political climate, it is encouraging to see that a number of new users have invested in Star sliding head technology for the first time alongside continued investment from many existing customers. In addition, we are delighted to have expanded our team and enhanced our facilities to adapt to our changing business needs and evolving customer demand.
The diversity of applications made possible using Star technology continues to grow with more engineers realising that the capabilities of sliding head machines go far beyond just turning and drilling. With demand increasing for more complex applications and improved process efficiency, the hard work and dedication of our applications department has helped our customers harness the full potential of Star technology, enabling them to be more competitive, reduce costs and gain greater process control.
October’s open house was our most advanced event ever to date are delighted to have welcomed over 250 guests to our Technology Centre in Derby. Our emphasis this year was on innovation and automation, whilst promoting the flexibility of Star machinery and giving visitors an insight into a wide range of application possibilities.
These applications included an automation cell comprising a FANUC pick-and-place robot in conjunction with Renishaw’s Equator post-process gauging system, a new remnant processing solution to minimise material wastage, a custom-built solution for long parts and several of the latest innovations in mist extraction, work holding, fire suppression, in-process measurement, software and more from our new and long-term partners.
We were also proud to host the UK premiere of the new SX-38 following its unveiling at EMO Hannover. The machine represents the latest in sliding head technology and combines some of the best features from the SV, ST and SR series, therefore gathering a huge amount of interest ahead of its expected release date at the end of Q1 next year.
This year we have heavily invested in the development and distribution of our software solutions. Our highly acclaimed conversational programming system, NC Assist, has been updated with even more Star models and has become increasingly popular with users looking for a cost-effective yet comprehensive programming solution. Our SMOOSS-i remote monitoring software has also been expanded, giving users a range of new features and functions including the ability to monitor other machines equipped with FANUC CNC and FOCAS software.
Our High Frequency Turning (HFT) software has been regarded as a ‘game-changer’ among customers and has now been installed on over 200 machines. This popular add-on enables intermittent cutting on any linear axis to break up stringy swarf into more manageable, smaller chips. With installations on some machines over 15 years old, it is the only software of its type which is capable of being retrofitted to most Star models regardless of age. This demonstrates our long-term commitment to supporting each of our customers.
The teams at Star GB who make all of this happen, from sales and applications through to service and spares, have been pivotal to our success and we are pleased that our company is seen as an innovative, thriving and rewarding environment to be a part of. This dedication has certainly resonated with our customers as we are pleased to have received so much excellent feedback throughout the year.
Going into 2020 and beyond, our aim is to continue helping all companies maximise productivity, reduce cycle times and increase profitability to keep British manufacturing strong for years to come. With continued support from the government in our sector, we look forward to another year of the increased Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) set at £1 million which many companies are already benefitting from.
This coincides well with the most anticipated event in the industry – MACH 2020 – running from 20th-24th April at the NEC, Birmingham. We are delighted to be exhibiting again and work is already underway designing our stand. We will be announcing more information in the New Year and we hope to welcome you all to our stand.
From the team at Star GB, we would like to thank all of our customers and suppliers for their continued support and we wish you a very Merry Christmas and success for the coming year.