According to the latest research, the production value of the Taiwanese machine tool industry is around US $4.49 billion and ranks seventh in the world. This value is estimated to reach US $ 6.91 billion by 2020. The growth is expected to be generated by industrial needs from aerospace, submarines, precision machinery, medical material and consumer electronics manufacturing.
To facilitate this growth, the government of Taiwan is promoting the Taiwanese machine tools industry globally. Keeping this in mind, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) had recently held a four day factory tour, which provided us with the opportunity to interact with seven prominent machine tool manufacturers of Taiwan through plant facility visits and exposed us to their latest products, technology and manufacturing practices.
Tongtai Machine & Tool
The first day of the factory tour included a visit to the Tongtai Machine & Tool. Based in Kaohsiung Science Park, the company’s main products include customised machine tools, machining centres, CNC lathes and PCB drilling machines. The company’s turnkey solutions include management of the entire machine manufacturing process. Tongtai has also established the Tongtai Technical Application Center (T-TAC) to provide advanced machining technologies, machining solutions and trial operation to customers. Their customers include companies in the automotive, aerospace, electronics, mould and general part machining industries.
Speaking on the company’s vision, Lin Yen, Assistant of Chairman, Chairman Office, Tongtai Machine & Tool, said, “We hope to become the total solution provider in the metal machining industry with our strong R&D team. Our target right now is ‘Double 20’, which means to double the revenue and be amongst the top 20 machine tools group in the world by 2020.”
Falcon Machine Tools
The second day of the media tour included a visit to the Falcon Machine Tools, also known as Chevalier. This company is a leading manufacturer of grinding, turning and milling (machining) centres. Their machines are assembled in their own ISO 9001-certified factories that include departments of R&D, machining, sheet metal production and electronics. Their customers include companies from aerospace, automotive manufacturing, construction, defense, wind power, medicine, printing, semiconductors, energy, moulds and machine tools.
Speaking of their manufacturing facilities, Michael Chang, Vice President – Marketing, Falcon Machine Tools Co, said, “Most precision machining process are completed in-house with dedicated, top-notch CNC manufacturing machines. All structural assembly work, including electrical and controls, are assembled by our team of highly trained and experienced assembly engineers.” He further added, “After assembly, all of our machines are measured and calibrated by laser calibration and ball bar test equipment. This ensures precise verification and compensation of our machines, resulting in increased accuracy and repeatability.”
Commenting on their plans to strengthen their market share in India and confirming their participation at IMTEX, Chang said, “We are planning to promote our hi-precision machines in India, which is an untapped sector there. We also wish to focus on custom-made machines in India and are planning to target their upcoming aerospace industry.”
Vision Wide Tech
The third day of the factory visit included a visit to Vision Wide Tech. Their main products include vertical machining centres, bridge-type machining centres with vertical, 5-face, 5-axis fixed-beam, moving-beam hard rail and linear guide models, and gantry-type machining centres. As a manufacturer of double column machining centres, the company develops equipments of key machining technology in accordance with the demands of different industries. Their products are applied in the field of components machining, plastic, motor, train aerospace, vessel and power industries.
Sharing the company’s vision, Michael Chen, General Manager, Vision Wide Tech, said, “We keep the core values of employees’ education through the operating management of TQM system, Numerical Objective Management and teaching training system, to create an active-thinking work environment, implementing continual improvement, creativity and execution. We encourage our members to embrace the shared company vision to achieve the mission of contributing to human society.”
Recognising India as a potential market, Chen emphasised, “India has ranked sixth in the global automobile market. This has attracted our attention for its upcoming transport manufacturing market, especially in aerospace, automobile and railways and its strong government support for transport infrastructure. For instance, India recently bought 250 aircrafts and there would be an additional demand for 1,290 new aircrafts in the next 20 years. Keeping this in mind, we plan to start a new factory in India in the coming 5 years, and the factory will be our main supplying centre to meet the global demand."
The next company that we visited was Everising Machine. They specialise in mid to large-size band saws and circular saws. Their R&D innovations have yielded a series of breakthroughs that have helped drive output at their factories in Taichung, Taiwan and Kunshan, China beyond 2,000 units per year. They provide full-scale sawing technologies and sell to over 60 countries through a network of over 40 distributors.
The company follows lean manufacturing system in its factories and focuses on accuracy in the process. Elaborating on the company’s core values, Scart Chiao, President, Everising Machine, said, “We have consistently made quality, innovation and leading technology as our priority. This customer-focused strategy has enabled the company to achieve sustained growth as well as enabled us to receive international certification including the CE mark and successive versions of ISO 9001.”
Speaking on the Indian market, Chiao shared, “We are doing business with India for the last 12 years and have made sales worth US$ 1 million in the last two years. Thus, we consider India an important market for us. While we have no concrete plans of opening a facility in India yet, it is an on-going discussion that we are taking part in.”
The next company that we visited was Jainnher Machine. This company is a specialist in centreless grinding technology. It is focused on the development of high-precision centreless grinders, cylindrical grinders and internal grinding machines, and also develops a range of NC and CNC automatic loading and unloading systems. With sales in over 40 countries, they are known to provide customised solutions.
Discussing the management philosophy of the company, Yi-Tung Chen, Vice President, Jainnher Machine Co, said, “Our focus is on quality, which includes putting the customer first, taking part in quality control and giving priority to innovative technologies.” In terms of their products, she further shared, “We do the assembly of our machines in-house while the making of the machines is outsourced.” Their industrial applications include sectors such as transportation, electronics, precision machine tools, molding industry, tool industry, dentistry, recreation industry, consumer products and the energy sector.
As per future plans, Chen said that they would continue to develop new types of grinders and improve their machinery structure and design so that machine operation is made easy with more friendly controllers and is more efficient by saving time and reducing the cost. Confirming their participation at IMTEX 2017, she said that they will highlight the centreless grinding machine at the exhibition.
SEYI Machinery Industry
On the last day of the factory tour, we visited SEYI Machinery Industry. This company has been a part of the metal forming industry for the past 50 years. It manufactures mechanical presses, ranging in size from 25 to 4,000 tonnes at manufacturing facilities in Taiwan and China. The company is also expanding its Total Solution Service to highlight the importance of peripherals such as feed mechanisms and transfer equipment in maximising the productivity of SEYI presses. Future growth areas for the company include the automotive, aviation machinery and medical equipment industries.
Speaking on the company’s core values, Tony Tseng, Special Assistant, Chairman Office, SEYI Machinery Industry, said, “Our company’s core values include integrity, which means delivering our promise, accountability which stands for taking responsibility for our commitment, service which means giving our best and innovation which involves monitoring our system and transforming from manufacturing style to service style of operation.” He further elaborated on his company’s competitive advantage and shared, “Our servo press technology is over 10 years old and this eco-friendly smart device finds application in sectors like automobile, aviation, electronics, home appliance and medical appliance.”
Also showing optimism for the Indian market, Tseng noted that they have been doing business in India for more than 20 years. He spoke of the company’s future plans with regards to the Indian market and added, “We want to focus on Tier I and Tier II cities in India and are looking forward to our major clients setting up offices in India. Some of our clients are moving to India as early as next year. This will help us penetrate the Indian market with our already established clientele to whom we can continue to provide after-sales service.”
The last company that we visited was DEES Hydraulic Industrial. It specialises in manufacturing an array of hydraulic machinery. Spread over 50 countries across the globe, the company has built over 3000 machines. Infact, it has developed Taiwan’s first CNC press brake with Bosch and Cybelec. Headquartered at Taipei, it has also developed hi-precision closed loop servo hydraulic die spotting press. Some of the major industry verticals that the company caters to includes the automotive industry, electronics, home appliances and aerospace.
As per HH Huang, President, DEES Hydraulic Industrial, “The company has over 70 engineers across Taiwan and China SEYI has been a part of the metal forming industry for the past 50 years and incorporates automation system, including robotics in the factory. The company’s USP includes space-saving technologies, for instance, usage of one machine instead of four; labour-saving methodology, for instance, employing only one or two operators for each machinery, and cost and energy saving modules implemented on the factory floors.” Huang further believes that manufacturing is a perfectly orchestrated department and the company claims to have over 95% of customised machines. Expressing keen interest over India’s growing economy and labour price stability, he stated that they have plans to increase their market share in India in the future run.
Towards future technologies
Summarising the advantages of the Taiwan machine tools sector, Thomas Huang, Deputy Executive Director, Exhibition Department, TAITRA, concluded, “Our companies continue to provide high quality and competitive pricing products and apply flexible manufacturing in response to the rapidly changing needs of the market.” He further added that they plan to showcase these customised smart manufacturing technologies at the 26th Taipei International Machine Tool Show (TIMTOS), which is being held on March 7-12, 2017 in Taiwan. It will be centered on the procurement of top-quality ‘Made in Taiwan’ machine tool products and total solutions for the machine tools industry.
The international exhibition is expected to attract over 55,000 visitors including 7,500 foreign buyers. The topic of the expo will be ‘Industry 4.0 Plus and Smart Manufacturing’ and it will integrate the advantages of Taiwan ICT technology with IoT and big data to provide the Industry 4.0 whole-plant output technology of ‘Smart Manufacturing’ and ‘Smart Factory’.☐