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Taiwan Machine Tools | October 17, 2017

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Cooler system: Essential for high-speed precision cutting

0114-6

Written by Cheng Lin

Before the dawn of the industrial revolution, methods of machining metals were quite different to what exists today. Industrialization brought transition to new metalworking processes. Clockwise rotary cutting was then invented, including milling and multi-axis machine tools designed for even more complicated workpieces. During the development of CNC machine center, manufacturing has already stepped into ultra-precision machining. Until 1970s, manufacturers adjusted the precision standard from 0.1-1μm to below 0.1μm and surface roughness Ra lower than 0.1μm to 0.02μm‏. In the era of micro processing, temperature becomes a crucial parameter that directly affects the final output, thus cooler systems are recognized as an essential component in machine tool equipment.

Taiwan machine tool and cooler sectors

Covering less than 0.02% of the global land territory, Taiwan plays an important role in the world economy and industry. For instance, Taiwan’s export and operation turnover ranked top five, so does the exports of machine tool components. The small island is indeed one of the core of Asian machine tools industry. Manufacturers in Taiwan range from upstream to downstream, rough to hi-technology, and conventional to cutting edge; hence Taiwanese can manufacture one advanced machine tool from end to end without foreign assistance. This capability allows machine tool makers to have total control in making their products.

The central Taiwan, the most important area where thousands of metalworking manufacturers are located, is considered by many as one big factory with 60 sqm coverage. All equipment and component suppliers are there working hard to support orders from the global market with tens of thousands of products per month. The Toyota TPM integrates suppliers to mass produce altogether. The mass production strategy achieves competitive prices, the frequent manufacture exercised by each factory collected valuable technical energy. Thus, Made in Taiwan (MIT) goods are able to compete with middle class products made by German and Japanese competitors, with better prices brought by integrated mass production management.

Coordinated mass production by suppliers bring DC inverter cooler

The cooperation between suppliers and primary machine tool unit factories produce machine tool cooler with steady ±0.1K performance for end users in 3C, automotive, aerospace, and medical processing. These coolers are sold to domestic machine tool companies and then shipped abroad as indirect export, while many coolers are also sold directly to foreign machine tool manufacturers in Europe, Japan, and emerging markets such as mainland China and India.

Many Taiwanese cooler maker focuse on product design and final assembly, but outsource manufacturing from the metalworking supply chain around. In other words, these companies are responsible of the sheet metal and heat exchanger production to control delivery time, while suppliers develop all other critical components including compressors.

World strategy: Specific coolers for specific markets

Since buyer’s feedback is valuable, cooler makers adopt three phase compressors to combat unstable voltage issues. The adoption of three phase mechanism successfully prolongs cooler lifespan. In India, the announced voltage is supposed to be 415V but many places use 420V. Together with ±10V variation and high temperature in ordinary working environment, Indian users’ use coolers that are designed based on the local circumstances, matching their environment. Technicians not only adopt three phase compressor but also change many electronic components.

Coolers are not standardized but highly customized. The designs are based on the working environments including knowledge and comprehension of the product. Japanese customers are comprise of Japanese firms: MAZAK, OKUMA, MAKINO, OKK, MITSUBISHI and other famous companies. In Europe buyers are: Posalux, Schmoll, Mikron, and Spinner.

In looking forward to the future, Taiwanese cooler makers will continue to build and develop products and systems, complying with the latest trends, while leveraging development, sourcing and distribution capabilities.