The HMT Story
In 1991, Kent Horn was a plant engineer for a large medical device company in Fresno, California and he was involved with the purchasing of metal fabrication equipment to increase the plant’s production capabilities and improve the quality of parts being produced. He also designed custom fabrication equipment that solved unique problems for that facility. One of the unique problems he ended up solving was the installation of a new tube bender control and operator interface for a European CNC tube bender that was down and the factory in Europe was unable to support the California facility as the entire factory took the month of August off for vacations. The factory in CA could not afford to be out of business and lose 4 – 6 weeks of production so Kent solved the problem with a new control system and operator interface for that bender and ended up increasing productivity and throughput in the process.
Kent eventually started providing his control system to companies that were rebuilding tube benders in the U.S. and he soon earned a solid reputation not only for his control, but also for his mechanical design capabilities. He eventually pursued the American dream and started Horn Machine Tools and he hired some very talented engineers, mechanics, electricians, and machinists and started rebuilding and improving existing bending machines. In 1997 he started designing and manufacturing the first generation of HMT hydraulic CNC tube benders.
Kent was never satisfied and was always improving the design of his machines. Between 2000 and 2005 he designed and manufactured machines ranging in size from 1.00″OD to 10.00″OD in capacity. Kent also networked with other industry professionals and in 2001 started providing BendPro control systems on all of the HMT CNC bending machines. In 2005 Kent formed a strategic alliance with CSM in Taiwan and began selling their machines under the Horn Metric brand equipped with BendPro CNC controls. This changed the dynamics of the industry and very quickly HMT began to grow at a fast and furious rate. Since then, other companies have copied this business model.
Kent recognized that the market was demanding faster production rates and greater accuracy from CNC tube benders and spent the years between 2005 and 2010 designing the second generation of HMT bending machines which utilized a hybrid design with electric servo driven swingarms. He also started designing multi-stack CNC tube benders which allows HMT machines to start forming very complex parts at high speeds with great accuracy.
Finally, in 2015 HMT introduced its first all-electric CNC tube bender which allowed for incredibly fast setup times and increased the productivity of HMT customers. HMT’s industry partners also continued to improve their products and the synergies between all of HMT’s lines continued to accelerate. Not only are HMT’s benders making quality parts at high speeds around the clock, but with the current trends of factory automation and Enterprise software solutions, the productivity for HMT’s North American customers continues to be unleashed.
Like many manufacturing success stories, HMT had very humble roots. Kent Horn’s persistence and vision has created a culture of innovation and excellent customer service at HMT. So, what comes next for HMT? Stay tuned!