With 23 million people crammed onto an island that covers just more than 36,000 sqm, Taiwan ranks among the 20 most densely populated places in the world. However, amazingly, you will not feel cramped/jammed anywhere in the country, thanks to Taiwan’s “Forward-Looking Infrastructure Program”. Although the industrious island has built a global reputation for cheap electronics, this is one Asian tiger that offers far more than stickers on the backs of calculators. Economically there's little it has left to prove, but Taiwanese people remain a proud and determined bunch. EM was one of the few magazines from all over the world invited for the preview conference of TMTS 2018, the biennial Taiwan International Machine Tool Show, organised by the Taiwan Machine Tool & Accessory Builders’ Association (TMBA), followed by visit to a few major machine tools companies in Taiwan.
The biennial Taiwan International Machine Tool Show (TMTS) is organised by the Taiwan Machine Tool & Accessory Builders’ Association (TMBA) and will take place on Nov 7-11, 2018, in the Taichung HSR Special Zone, with 750 exhibitors occupying 4,300 booths. Besides Taiwan, exhibitors will come from over 14 foreign countries, including Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, The Netherlands, France, USA, Canada, Japan, South Korea, China, Malaysia, Singapore, and Australia, etc.
Themed with “Manufacture Linking - Activate the Future”, TMTS this year will call on the leading brands of Taiwan machine tool and accessory builders’ industry to demonstrate the country's comprehensive and diversified industrial supply chains, such as metal cutting machines, metal forming machines, machine tool accessories, parts, fluid power components, control and drive system & auxiliary equipment, cutting tools, toolholding & workholding devices, measurement instruments, CAD/CAM, etc, as well as the machines with smart functions (such as temperature rise compensation, collision avoidance, and process optimisation), and automated production cells and production line applied for "Integrated machine tools and automation facility (such as robotic arm)". Under the trend of Industry 4.0, global industries are moving toward smart manufacturing and applications. For instance, Big Data, IIoT, and automated peripheral equipment have also been innovated in the hope of increasing production efficiency, product quality, and reducing costs. The Taiwan machine tool industry has been following this trend in order to grasp huge business opportunities. This will be demonstrated at TMTS.
The scale of the exhibition is larger than that of the previous show. It is estimated that 85,000 buyers from domestic and overseas markets will visit this year, making it the largest machine tool show in Taiwan this year. In order to assist the Taiwan manufacturers to expand overseas business, as well as to seek cooperation opportunities with foreign companies, the organisers will be holding purchasing conferences during TMTS 2018 and will be inviting international buyers and exhibitors to conduct face-to-face matchmaking meetings, which is the quickest and best way for exhibitors to meet buyers' needs, and is a significant platform to expand business opportunities and interactions, and to further grasp the market pulse.
Gardner Research published its rankings for the top machine tool producers, importers, and exporters in 2017 by country in its latest issue. With the rising demand from China for midrange products and automated manufacturing cells, Taiwan's annual output value reached USD 4.29 billion, ranked 7th in the world, and annual export value reached USD 3.35 billion, once again ranked the 4th largest exporter in the world. The consumption of machine tool in Taiwan reached USD 1.78 billion in 2017 ranked 9th in the world, while annual import value was USD 840 million.
Due to the strong growth in the North American and Chinese markets, the output value of Taiwan’s machine tool industry in Q1 2018 was USD 1.05 billion and the export value was USD 0.83 billion, up 7.6% and 20.3% year over year, respectively. The machine tool industry in Taiwan is export-oriented, with exports accounting for 80% of the output. The main export countries are China (accounting for 33.2% of total exports), the US (accounting for 11%), emerging countries in Asia, and some parts in Europe. Overall, Taiwan occupies a global market share of 5-6%.
The imports account for more than 44% of total machine tool consumption in Taiwan, and the major import country is Japan. The top 3 import models are machine tools of non-traditional processing methods, such as electrical discharge, laser, and ultrasound; lathes; machine tools for forging, hammering, or die-stamping.
90% of Taiwan's machine tool industry are small and medium-sized enterprises, which are capable of flexible production and quick delivery. Under the specialised network among machine, module and accessory, a flexible and rapid supply chain is established to create industrial characteristics of low transaction cost and short delivery time. There are 1,801 machine tool and accessory builders in Taiwan with 40,405 employees, investing USD 85 million in R&D and USD 3 million on technology purchase.
Up to 90% of Taiwan machine tool and accessory industry is located in the central Taiwan, especially at Taichung. The tight connection from accessory production to machine tool assembly offers the best solution for global equipment end-users, allowing central Taiwan to become a unique cluster of machine tool industry in the world. Meanwhile, central Taiwan is also the largest community of automation and machinery users in the manufacturing sector. Taiwan's machine tool products have the competitive edge of price–performance ratio. Their application scopes include the manufacturing of automobiles, motorcycles, aerospace, rail transportation, 3C products, moulds and various mechanical accessories. Hence, they have significant influence in the international market.
Major companies visited
During the visits to major machine tool companies in Taiwan, it was observed that most of the manufacturers are moving towards smartification of machine tools, gradually putting intelligent factors in the overall manufacturing process. Taiwan's machine tool manufacturers are aggressively using their strong information and communication technology (ICT) knowledge, along with today’s mobile devices such as smartphones/tablets, to provide smart functions such as remote management and monitoring to end users, improving their competitiveness level in the global market. The smart technologies have also been used to enhance environmental protection and energy-saving functions so that their products can meet the standards and requirements of the international manufacturing industry. Here are the key highlights of the companies visited.
With 50 years of experience in machining center research, development and manufacturing, Hartford is supposed to be the largest machining centre manufacturer and exporter in Taiwan having a world-class factory with 95% inhouse production. The company has successfully installed over 46,000 machines in more than 65 countries worldwide. The current turnover of the company is USD 160 million with 90-95% export, and about 3% to India. Electronica Hitech Machine Tools is Hartford’s exclusive dealer in India. The major customers in India include Craftsman, JBM, Sonalika, etc. “We have specially developed 5-axis and 3-axis milling machine models for the Indian market, for automobile, aerospace and die & mould industries”, informs Hill Chang from Hartford.
APEC (Asia Pacific Elite Corporation) is a TT Group company that specialises in large scale 5-axis machining centres, with aerospace and automotive die & mould manufacturers as their key customers. It is the only Taiwanese machine tools builder which entered the supply chain of Boeing and Airbus for wing spar, beam, and stringer manufacturing, and to machine CFRP cascade for the aircraft engine. The turnover of TTGroup in 2017 was about USD 328 mn and APEC exports over 80% of the products. According to Andrew Kung, Director, India is the big potential market for their products and is represented in India by agents at various locations; Intelmac, Pune, being the main distributor.
Ching-Hung Machinery & Electric Industrial Co Ltd, popularly known as CHMER, offers intelligent linear motor driven wire-cut EDM with innovative designs to improve machining efficiency for its customers. The company has 77 sales offices in 55 countries and 7 factories in Taiwan and China, informs Brad Wang, Marketing Director. The company claims its position as “first in Taiwan, second in China, and fifth in the world” in its product segments. It posted a turnover of USD 50 mn (Year 2017), with export of 90% of the turnover. With the export to India of about 2.5-3.0% of the total turnover, the company sees a big potential to grow in India with its wire-cut, sinker EDM, EDM drilling products. CHMER is represented in India by its agents - Automac Service, Technoplus Engg, Sanki Machine Tool, and Manav Marketing. A few of the important customers in India include: Vasantha Toolcrafts, Amritha Toolcrafts, Acme Toolings, Godrej & Boyce, Elmex Controls, INA Bearings (India), GKN Sintermetals, JPM Tools, etc.
Quaser Machine Tools
Established in 1991, Quaser indicates Quality+Service, which is the company’s product positioning and business operating philosophy. Quaser’s main products are machining centres, including VMC, HMC, 5-axis and automation series. With the turnover of USD 67.6 million, the company devotes 3-3.5% of the turnover in R&D, and the export is 84.8% of the turnover, informs Rock Liao, President, Quaser Machine Tools. The products are exported to Eastern Europe, China, South-East Asia, and USA, with technical centres in Switzerland, USA and China. The company is represented in India by Quattro Engineering India.
Founded in 1954, YCM (Yeong Chin Machinery Industries Co) specialises in a wide range of machining centres manufacturing. Alex Wei, International Sales Department, YCM, informed, “We export about 68% of our turnover, out of which 5% is to India, mainly vertical machining centres and double-column machining centres”. It is represented in India by S&T Engineers. YCM has invested a great deal of resources and man power in growing its manufacturing technology, and has also developed its own software, i-Operation Plus and i-Direct.
Yinsh Precision Industrial Co
Yinsh Precision Industrial Co is a specialised manufacturer of precision parts and components such as locknuts for bearings in machine tools, for defence, diagnostics and aerospace industries. With the current turnover of 15 million USD, the company exports 50% all over the world, and about 0.6% to India. Yinsh is represented in India by its distributor Superslides & Ballscrews Co India. “We use high precision manufacturing equipment to improve every detail of the production process, as well as being the first to establish a Precision Locknuts R&D and Testing Lab”, informs Roy Wu, General Manager, Yinsh.
Chevalier Machine Tools Co
Falcon Machine Tools Co offers high-efficiency surface grinders, CNC machining centres and turning lathes under Chevalier brand. Established in 1978, the company received the Research and Development award by the Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry (TAMI) in the CNC grinding machine category.