Hurco gift is a gamechanger in experiential education

Posted: June 20, 2023
Students use one of the Hurco CNC machines located in Scott Laboratory
Students use one of the Hurco CNC machines located in Scott Laboratory.

A leader in the machinery manufacturing industry is helping engineering students at The Ohio State University operate at full throttle.

Thanks to a generous investment from Hurco Companies, Inc.—an industrial technology company based in Indianapolis, Indiana—students in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) and the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) are being exposed to innovative technology through hands-on learning. In 2019, Hurco donated state-of-the-art computer numerical control (CNC) mill and lathe equipment to the student machine shops located in Scott Laboratory and CAR.

The machinery, which is used daily, has allowed students to manufacture quality parts for their various projects at a fraction of the time compared to their manual counterparts. For Buckeye engineers working on capstone or motorsports projects, the result has been a gamechanger.

Student teams at CAR have not only been able to make more complex parts for their vehicles, they’re also able to make more parts in the same amount of time, giving them an advantage during competition.

“Now when things break, we’re able to just replace it with another part immediately,” said Max Wright, CAR’s laboratory project supervisor. “In years past, as soon as we broke a piece, that would be it—the team would be out of the race for that year. The Hurco machinery has really allowed the teams to push further in their own design and they've been able to compete at a higher level.”

Along with the machinery, Hurco’s gift also included its advanced technology software and training support. The company’s generosity has completely changed the scope of projects mechanical engineering students can tackle, according to Chad Bivens, technical laboratory manager for MAE.

“It has really allowed students to raise the bar,” he said. “In the past, a lot of things were not capable of being done because of the lack of equipment to complete those projects. They either had to be sent out to a vendor, they were too expensive to send out or they were just totally abandoned. Now students can envision projects that they couldn't before the donation.”

CNC lathes and mills are quickly replacing manual machines due to their ease of operation, repeatability and accuracy. For engineering students, relevant lab experiences using current technology are a crucial component to their future success in the workforce.

“It puts them a step above the rest of their peers in industry because they're able to just hop in on day one and start being a productive member of their new team right away,” said Wright.

“People want to come out of college with a skill that really applies to industry and they want to drive the real machines. We didn’t have anything like that until Hurco gave us the CNC machine,” added Andrew Young, a fifth-year mechanical engineering student. “The Hurco is 100% what would be used in a real machine shop.”

For Hurco, the partnership with Ohio State seemed like a natural fit. Prior to the company’s gift, Hurco’s President and CEO Gregory S. Volovic toured the machine shop in Scott Lab and was struck by the students’ energy and the faculty’s commitment to blending practical, hands-on experiences with classroom education. He decided Hurco could help further enhance those opportunities and excitement.

“Being associated with such a prestigious institution that prepares engineers for the future aligns perfectly with our overall mission of continuous innovation to both develop engineering technologies that can help drive improvements in productivity and profitability for our customers’ businesses, and to be a technology leader for our industry while supporting outstanding academic programs,” Volovic said.

This article originally appeared in Forward 2021-22, the college’s annual philanthropy report. Read the full issue.

by Meggie Biss, College of Engineering Communications |

Categories: StudentsOutreach