Today, Taiwan is recognised as a major machine tool manufacturer across the globe. The 25th Taipei International Machine Tool Show, held on March 3-8, 2015 at the Taipei World Trade Centre (TWTC) Exhibition Hall, EXPO Dome and Nangang Exhibition Hall, demonstrated the increase in demand in the domestic and foreign markets in the Taiwan machine tool industry. Organised by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) and Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry (TAMI), the biennial exhibition witnessed a total of 7,130 foreign buyers, marking an increase of 8.3% on the previous show held in 2013. “The exhibition hosted 1,015 exhibitors spread across 5,411 booths, including 260 foreign manufacturers from 18 countries. Marking the debut of a host of automated products, the show highlighted the underlying automation of Industry 4.0,” said John Hsu, Chairman, TAMI.
With 47,033 attendees, 7,130 overseas and 294 from India
Under the theme of “Smart Automation Practices”, a total of 5,411 booths at the exhibition
Around 1,015 exhibitors, 298 foreign, 717 from Taiwan
Participation from 16 schools with 40 groups for empowering future industry dynamics
Thirty feature seminars, including Smart Factory Technology Forum, High efficiency machining technique for aerospace industry
The 12th Taiwan Machine Tools Industry Awards for excellence in research and innovation
Participation from countries like China, Japan, Korea, India, Thailand, USA, Turkey, Singapore, Argentina, Vietnam, Germany & Switzerland
The exhibition witnessed trends like robot development, unlocking big data, digital manufacturing, smart manufacturing and laser & electric technology
The six-day event attracted a total footfall of 47,033 visitors, widely catered to the future of the Taiwan machine tool development. The seminars & conferences during the exhibition included the Mitsubishi new generation CNC product presentation; new vision for manufacture-smart factory technology forum, trends in machine tools and resulting challenges for linear drive systems, 3D fibre laser tube cutting technology, high efficiency machining technique for the aerospace industry, fibre laser applications & trends and 5-axis machine focus on aircraft & automotive industry.
The exhibitors, on the other hand, focused on the latest advances and technologies and industry trends, such as industry market development and machine tool intelligence. Currently, the machine tool industry in Taiwan faces competition from Japan and Germany in the high-end market, and China in the low-end market. For a greater market share, Taiwanese producers have been quickly adjusting to changing demands and have identified niche markets through intensive investigation and diversified product strategy. According to Yih Jyh Kang, Executive Director, TAITRA, one of the major highlights of the exhibition was the Taiwan Controller Appliance Pavillion. “The pavilion features three Taiwan-based controller makers - Syntech Technology, Delta and Advantech-LNC with six local machine tool manufacturers to showcase the advanced applications of CNC machine tools, such as cell phone case processing and dental implant processing.”
Trends dominating TIMTOS
Robot development: China together with the ASEAN, currently looks for automation solutions. In anticipating this, many Taiwan machine tool suppliers have already set up a robot division of theirs or even transformed themselves into robotics suppliers. Companies like HIWIN and Fanuc displayed some of their robots at TIMTOS. Also, Delta Industrial Automation’s new SCARA robot DRS40L with high speed and precision has been applied to the company’s plant for enhancing productivity and lowering manpower costs.
Unlocking Big Data: To meet the challenges of the fluctuating market landscape, Taiwan-based manufacturers are aligning data analysis initiatives with the business performance goals. According to reports, cloud and Big Data technologies help aggregate data set across disparate functions to overcome data silos. TIMTOS saw companies diverting their IT spent towards setting up specialised data optimisation laboratories, and traditional factory floor data analysing tools making way for faster & smarter product lifecycle management applications.
Digital manufacturing: With the latest technology advancements, integrating PLM with shop floor applications enables the exchange of information between design & manufacturing groups. As such, digital tools enable the local makers to take on the increasingly challenging global market. To assist local manufacturers to go upmarket to fend off cutthroat competition, the Industrial Development Bureau under Ministry of Economic Affairs proposed a three-year project to boost growth and development of traditional Taiwanese industries. The exhibition saw many local companies concentrating on PLM to ensure informative-driven decisions at every stage in the product lifecycle.
Solution-based products: TIMTOS focussed on solution-based products. In this regard, Wele Mechatronic focussed on manufacturing time saving machines with unique technology. The vertical multi-tasking turning centre’s (which claims to be 50% more efficient than Japan machines) USP is zero breakage with special control in ASS. SEYI, an application & solution provider company integrates machines with different automation, thus enabling solution-based products for customers. On the other hand, PMI Linear Motion Systems has products like cooling nut system that shortens the warm-up time of machines and maintains the performance of lubrication grease and ground ball screws with rotary nuts that can be used in gantry type machining centre.
According to Brian Chen, Project Manager—Industrial Motion System, Delta Electronics, the company provides machine tool solution with industrial robot solution and peripheral solution. “Machine business has become quite competitive. So, the products need to offer customised solutions for customers. In this context, high performance spindle motors is important,” he said.
Smart manufacturing: As per Alan Lu, Chairman—Machine Tool Committee, TAMI, the depreciation of Japanese Yen has greatly left an impact on the Taiwanese manufacturers. “Taiwan’s investment in the machinery equipment is made by the sectors that require advanced technology, such as energy, aerospace and automobiles. Using smart machining processes and developing Industry 4.0 through collaborating with R&D is taking the centre stage for local manufacturing.”
TIMTOS witnessed a host of companies displaying smart manufacturing practices. Bryan Chen, Chairman & CEO, YCM, believes that the company adopts integrated manufacturing model to practice best machine tools, from casting, assembly, inspection and shipment. The company has established “Smart Automation Development Dept” to integrate smart control interfaces into machine tools. In addition, Delta Industrial Automation displayed 10 high-end integrated machine tool solutions, including a high-speed tapping machine, dental milling machine, vertical machining centre and tool turrets solution.
Laser & electric technology: TIMTOS saw many Taiwanese suppliers putting their R&D emphasis on key components, including servo motors and controllers, which is expected to enhance the R&D capabilities. Many Taiwan-based controller manufacturers have launched all electric control systems and have been using laser technology that accounts for 30% better efficiency than traditional presses, thus, boosting the demand for newer machines.
Inviting students: To cultivate future knowledge on the industry dynamics, TIMTOS invited several student groups to understand the major machinery verticals of the industry. Around 16 schools participated in the show. The exhibition saw industry stalwarts explaining the required items catering to the different markets in the world. This helped the students to get an insight of the machine tool industry.
Overviewing the industry
Considering the global market uncertainty, Taiwanese manufacturers have upgraded themselves with blooming trends such as Industry 4.0, intelligent & smart manufacturing systems, along with adequately equipping their plants to keep abreast of the latest technologies. Taiwan has also developed significant strength in the production of machine tool components. As far as technological innovations are concerned, the country is heading towards technological independence & manufacturing intelligence. The industry has already made great progress in the development of controllers and other key components, such as AB shafts and C shafts for direct drive motors and has, thus, freed itself from depending on foreign suppliers. Recent technological innovations have given rise to many potential end-user markets, and with it, new opportunities and challenges for the industry.
Export orders: The total export value of Taiwan machine tool industry early this year went up to $3.75 billion, which is 5.8% growth on the same period last year. In terms of exports, Mainland China ranked first with the value of $1.2 billion, accounting to 32.4% on the total number, an increase of 7.3% compared to the same period last year. The US came second with an export value of $414 million, with 11.1% of the tool and a 3% increase compared to the same period last year. This is followed by Turkey with 15.8% surge, Germany with 8.9% rise. The Netherland with 17.9% hike and Russia with 8.8% increase.
Import value: As per reports of Jan-Dec 2014, in terms of import for the Taiwan machine tool industry, Japan accounts for 52.9% with a YOY of 18.8%. Germany comes next with 12.6%, followed by China with 8.2%, Switzerland with 5.4%, USA with 3.7%, South Korea with 3.1%, Singapore with 2.4%, Thailand with 2.3%, Italy with 1.8%, Czech Republic with 1.5% and other countries accounting for a total of 6.2% import value.
The exhibition witnessed 717 domestic exhibitors and 298 foreign exhibitors, with a total of 7,130 foreign visitors. A major highlight was the German and Swiss Pavilion in the show. The German pavilion featured eight German companies
exhibiting and promoting innovative products. It hosted seminars on topics such as ETEL torque motor and TS 460 touch probe. On the other hand, the Swiss pavilion, comprising 105 booths displayed a wide spectrum of technologies in grinding, milling, sharpening, turning, jig boring, electrical discharge machining, gear cutting and forming. The main focus of the pavilion was to demonstrate the Taiwan metal manufacturing companies innovative and flexible solutions in the product process.
Presence of India
According to CC Wang, President, TAMI, Taiwan’s machine tool sales in India has improved to 12.6%, as compared to the last year. “Our machine tool sale in India is around $100 million. There are around 1,000 Indian buyers in Taiwan and a few factories are located in India too. However, India had a booming market in the past, but in the last few years, the growth has slowed down,” he opined.
Indradev Babu, MD, UCAM, believes that the exhibition witnessed more integration in machines. “This year, TIMTOS had more 5-axis machines with higher technology finish, which showcases the technology advancement.” Speaking on the use of advanced technology in today’s world, T Venkatesan, DGM—Projects, S&T Engineers, suggests that since Germany has a rigid market and Japan has an expensive market, the Taiwanese market is well suited for India, mainly for cost cutting. “TIMTOS is about high-precision machines. Such machine should be followed in the Indian market too. For example, some machines have a magnetic base technology, which minimises the wear-and-tear of the machines,” he said.
Given that with the ‘Make in India’ initiative in the milieu, the Indian market is trying to meet the global standards. Highlighting this, K G Advani, Chief Executive, Chmer EDM, said, “Taiwan-based products are a value for money. These are well-accepted in the Indian market. For the latest multi-axis & solution-based products and for adopting smart manufacturing techniques, it adds value to the Indian market too.” With a total number of 294 visitors from India, the exhibition had two Indian exhibitors Pragati Automation and Fenwick and Ravi.
TIMTOS 2017, scheduled on March 7 to 12, 2017, is expected to scale new peaks to deliver huge prospects across the machine tool industry, thus, developing smart manufacturing practices.