Hwacheon recently marked its 60th anniversary with the grand opening of its technology center and an open house. More than 2,000 people attended the three-day event where the company had on display its range of CNC machine tools from vertical turning centers to drill and tap machines, horizontal lathes to mold and die machining centers.
Company management greeted the guests and welcomed them into the new technology center in the middle of the company’s head office campus in Gwangju. The center includes ground floor demonstration space filled with the latest machines from the company, and two higher floors for training and meeting rooms and an auditorium. The company also has a technical center in Seoul.
A portion of its adjacent factory for the open house was dedicated to exhibiting 14 new machines from tap and drill centers to a large five-axis double-column die machining center, its large Hi-Tech 850LYMC horizontal turning center, and high precision vertical mills shown machining parts to sub- micron tolerances.
The new machines include larger capacity vertical machining centers, vertical CNC lathes, integrated CNC lathes, and horizontal spindle CNC lathes are aimed at the oil and gas market, die/mold, and general machining and job shops.
Klaus Ludwig, international business unit leader and vice president of Hwacheon Machine Tool Co., Ltd., said the company is making a greater commitment to its markets outside Korea with new facilities and machine development backed by increased stocking of its machines in markets globally.
The first and the largest independent machine tool builder in Korea, Hwacheon is not a mass-producer of machines, yet it sees its competition in terms of product quality and capability from Japan and partly Germany.
Hwacheon machine tools are characteristically highly stable, long-lasting machines, carefully engineered and assembled by Hwacheon in Korea, resulting in a level of very high quality, durability, and performance that assures a total cost of ownership much lower than any other brand machine tool. Hwacheon machine tools are all made in its factories in Korea and no step in producing, assembly or design is outsourced to others. “Mechanically, Hwacheon machine tools are second to none,” Ludwig said.
The company produces from casting through machining and assembly all its spindles (5,000-32,000 rpm), machine bases, columns, and components and geared transmissions.
Established in 1952, Hwacheon operates eight plants, delivering more than 3,000 CNC machine tools worldwide annually, half of which are installed in Korea at automotive, die and mold, and machining job shops.
Hwacheon, a mid-sized machine tool builder employing 1,000, is unusual in that it is deeply vertically integrated, operating not only machining and assembly floors and spindle production, but also a foundry in which it casts high quality grey iron machine bases and columns, and another plant producing gears and chucks.
Although industrial conglomerates such as Hyundai and Doosan have entered the machine tool market, Hwacheon maintains its 20 percent of the Korean machine tool market. Thirty seven percent of the company’s turnover comes from overseas--about 38 countries worldwide.
Ludwig pointed out that its vertical integration approach allows the company to control not only the flow of production but product quality to the last detail and also to adapt machines to specific market requirements as needed without compromising the integrity of the machines. The machine tool divisions operate four factories in Korea, including a production systems plant.
The complete Hwacheon machine tool range includes more than 40 different model horizontal and vertical machining centers, horizontal and vertical turning centers, special purpose metalcutting machines, and double-column vertical turning machines.
Young-doo Kwon, the son of the late Seung-gwan Kwon, the founder and the former CEO of Hwacheon, is the current president and CEO of Hwacheon Machine Tools Co., Ltd. To achieve the company’s goal of reaching its 100-year anniversary, President Kwon has expanded investment in R&D, and the company is concentrating more on overseas sales.
The ISO 9001:9004 and CE certified machine tool operations are part of the Hwacheon Group of companies, a public company with more than $500 million USD in annual revenue and eight manufacturing plants in Korea.