Taiwan’s machine tool industry has been playing a substantial role in the global market for quite sometime now, especially when it all comes from one tiny island. Taiwan’s machine tool sector is focused on making available customised products to meet clients’ wide-ranging requirements. Plus, they continue to work towards providing quicker models so as to make their worldwide presence more prominent.
Due to the inevitable trend of the global Industry 4.0, most foremost Taiwan machine tool builders have turned to smart machinery, making single machines intellectualised and multitasked, including assembly lines becoming smart. Using customised softwares or human-machine interfaces, so as to surge the added value of the machine tool industry, has also helped them attain differentiation. In this context, EM recently attended the 27th Taipei International Machine Tool Show (TIMTOS), which was held on March 4-9, 2019 at TWTC and Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center (TaiNEX), showcasing high precision key components, intelligent machines and production lines, and smart manufacturing solutions. Organised by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) and Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry (TAMI), the exhibition saw up to 1,230 exhibitors, with its theme this year being “Industry 4.0 & Smart Manufacturing”.
“What makes TIMTOS 2019 special is that it has become one of the world’s top three machine tool shows,” elucidated James C F Huang, Chairman, Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) and continued, “The machine tool industry pays attention to its roots in Taiwan. The exhibition will be seeing a lot of international visitors, which is a boost to the Taiwan machine tool industry.”
David DuBois, CEO, International Association of Exhibitors and Events, also put across that Taiwan actively works for the MICE industry and is regarded for its technology advances. Wen-Sheng (Vincent) Tseng, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Economic Affairs, further stated that the ministry will listen to what the industry wants and try to make it into a policy-making process.
Key statistics of TIMTOS 2019
TIMTOS 2019 saw several new elements to it, from the exhibitor to visitor front. Some of the significant ones were:
Launch of Taiwan’s first “Gold-Standard Green Exhibition Hall”, TaiNEX 2
1,230 exhibitors from 26 countries, with 7,000 booths
Sessions on Machine Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT), Additive Manufacturing, Innovation in Aerospace Manufacturing and more
International visitors including China, Japan, India, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, USA, Russia, Singapore and Turkey
Overseas buyers from 120 countries, such as, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey, Russia and India
Taiwan Machine Tools Industry Award 2019 for Excellence in Research and Innovation
Highlights & trends
The exhibition saw participation from umpteen international companies, who all came together and addressed the most prominent trends and happenings in the industry through this platform.
International participation: A total of 26 nations' brands were exhibited at TIMTOS 2019. Many international brands were seen at the show, including Mazak, DMG Mori, Fanuc, Mitsubishi, Heidenhain, Siemens, Haas Automation and Universal Robots.
Industry 4.0 & Smart Manufacturing: The TIMTOS 2019 theme was "Industry 4.0 & Smart Manufacturing". There were abundant exhibits for new system integration and digitalised manufacturing solutions. These include robots, sensors, IoT technology, cloud platforms, and Big Data analysis, which enable Industry 4.0 production for small quantities and diverse requirements.
AI technology: Many domestic and international exhibitors showcased their new AI technology and collaborative robots. By incorporating AI into manufacturing systems, “human-machine synergy” manufacturing can be created. This new collaboration further decreases human error while enhancing work precision and product quality, resulting in more efficient production lines.
Growing the machine tool industry in Taiwan
Jia-Chyuan Su, President, Legislative Yuan, Republic of China (Taiwan), informed that a lot of people work in factories where there is a risk of safety. “With the advance of machines, we can take the quality of our products to the next level,” he said.
Furthermore, Dr Ing-Wen Tsai, President, Republic of China (Taiwan), added, “With our exhibition centres, we are going to provide more platforms for the Taiwan tool industry to network with its international friends. We are developing smart machining and automated supply chains for this industry to grow in Taiwan.”
Taiwan SMEs and catching up with Industry 4.0
It is well known that Taiwan is dominated by SMEs. Today, in response to the global trend of smart machinery and manufacturing, the government has included smart machinery in the “Five Plus Two” innovation industry plan.
“This plan is in line with the needs of Taiwan's next generation,” explained Ingo Chen, Chairman of Machine Tool Committee, TAMI and continued, “In the process of development, we strive to achieve balanced local development in northern, central and southern areas, promote and connect foreign industries through industrial settlements, introducing overseas talents, and linking to international markets. The goal is to achieve visualised cloud service utilisation, connectable system integration and smart upgrades for Taiwanese SMEs.”
Chen also added that the reason why Taiwan can catch up with the trend of Industry 4.0 is because they have the capability to integrate talent in the latest technology. Industry 4.0 has different layers and is not only limited to cloud computing. TIMTOS 2019 has exhibited all these middle layers.
Sharing his views, Habor Hsu, Chairman of Machine Parts & Elements Committee, TAMI, said, “Taiwan has developed a strong capability to deliver high-end and customised machinery & parts. The inquiries for high-end and customised products are gradually increasing even in this time of market stagnation. This proves the high value of the Taiwan-made machinery and parts.”
Taiwan metalforming industry
The Taiwan metalforming machinery makers are now transforming their China factories to total smart manufacture, where they have structured a complete smart manufacturing system with widely utilising the IoT technology as well as the remote surveillance platform through subcontractor’ support. Wen Lung Hsiao, Chairman of Metal Forming Machinery Committee, TAMI, asserted, “Through the IoT technology, Taiwan makers have now achieved the production status online monitoring on their presses. Next, these Taiwan makers will then replicate the successful experiences back to Taiwan and help their Taiwanese factories also speed up their development toward visualised management.”
Where India stands
India is one of the top ten markets in terms of Taiwan machine tool exports, with it being in the top 10 in terms of the number of buyers. “Since there are a lot of development plans for India, such as, ‘Make in India’ or Smart Cities, the manufacturing sector in India is also growing very fast,” Thomas Huang, Executive Director, TAITRA cited and went on, “TAITRA also holds exhibitions in India to not only promote Taiwanese machine tools, but also Taiwanese tourism, culture, education, etc. We do this because we are very optimistic about the potential of the Indian market. I personally believe that the trade volume of machine tools between Taiwan and India will grow in the future.”
Also putting across his thoughts on how the machine tool industry in India and that in Taiwan can come closer, C C Wang, President, TAMI, conveyed, “The export value of the Taiwanese machine tool industry is USD 3.6 billion and that of the machine parts is USD 3.3 billion. So, together, the export value becomes USD 7 billion. This means that we have very good machine parts with a very competitive price and comprehensive supply chain. This is an opportunity for India, as India is a very big country and it can buy machine parts from Taiwan and build machine tools in India.” One of the Indian exhibitors at TIMTOS was Fenwick and Ravi. Upon asking the relevance of TIMTOS to their company, Sreekumar R, Manager – Sales, Fenwick and Ravi, said, “We have been participating in TIMTOS since 2005. We import most of our products from Taiwan. So, there is a good market for us in the state, giving us an excellent customer base here.”
Celebrating the industry
The biennial exhibition celebrated engineering and human resourcefulness on the small island nation, addressing major global challenges in the machine tool and manufacturing industry. It brought the industry closer internationally, helping understand how the industry can work together as one and be shaped into a better sector.
Palmary Machinery produces kinds of centerless grinders, cylindrical grinders, internal grinders, vertical grinders & surface grinders. The company was founded in Taichung, Taiwan, in 1998 and has two production bases with 20,000 sqm space. Insisting on sustainable development of management strategy is its vision and it keeps moving to achieve the target of being the world’s top-grade grinding machine manufacturer. With over 20 years of manufacturing experience, the company has stuck to its core values, including innovation, quality, lean production and teamwork.
Habor Precision is into providing temperature control, starting the business in 1981. The company works with the vision to set up a safe and comfortable environment for its employees to work in. When it comes to its customers, it makes it a point to focus on R&D and innovation, to supply diversified products and service. One of its pivotal products is the oil cooler for hydraulic/lubrication oil, which stabilises oil pressure and prevents oil vibration. Another product by the company is the heat exchanger, which uses the heat pipe with high conductivity.
TBI Motion , a professional transmission component manufacturer, currently has five main products, including ball screws, linear guides, ball splines, rotary series and single axis actuator. The range of application of their products include sectors from the automation industry and robotics industry to the machine tool industry and the green energy industry. A great portion of sales revenue for the company has been coming from Asia, including Korea & Japan, and especially China, for the last couple of years.
Syntec specialises in PC-based CNC controllers. Syntec’s business covers a variety of controller products in the fields of lathe, milling, and dedicated machines. Coming to the age of “Industry 4.0”, the company also has integrated resources to capture the emerging opportunities in hoping to fulfill its vision goal – Trusted Technical Service. The company works with the business philosophy of building an ideal office environment by excellent organisation process and culture and provide high quality service through continuous innovations and teamwork.