Industry Scuttlebutt

I talked to Jim Kucharski, National Sales Manager, of Maier USA, about the health of the company. Maier has made inroads as a new player in the North American CNC Swiss marketplace. It is now pushing in the medical and department of defense markets like the other contenders.

With the total Swiss market around 50 percent of last year, everybody is scrapping hard for business. Maier is a family business according to Kucharski, and son Michael recently bought the company out of reorganization in Germany to take out his father’s interest in the business. The senior Maier is a cancer survivor, but has suffered a recent setback in his health. Business is very soft in Germany with automotive suffering mightily. Michael had been leaning on his father to downsize the firm to meet reduced demand. With son Michael now fully in control the company has downsized the workforce at the German Black Forest plant.

According to Kucharski, Maier is selling machines now and business has stabilized since the reorganization.

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Okuma has a clever new promotion to goose interest in a sleepy market. The company is doing a contest for a two-year free lease of an Okuma machine tool. The winner will be chosen Okuma and will be determined by an essay or video submission explaining why they most need the machine. Go to their Web site for a more complete description of the contest.

I like the idea. It is already generating buzz. They are publicizing it on social media like Facebook and Twitter and will be putting up a sampling of videos on a YouTube channel. The winner will be announced in December. Meanwhile, they will be collecting emails and stories which will be valuable for many years to come, as well as accumulating points for being cool and fun.


Okuma America’s COO Explains Contest

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I’ve been collecting machine tool discounting stories. I recently talked to a West Coast company who said they have bought several Mazaks lately and received 10-15 percent off list. I heard of a 35 percent off sale on a Nakamura lathe last month.

Question: If I was looking to buy a new mainstream CNC lathe in the $150,000 list price range, what is the real price I can expect to pay?

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