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Taiwan Machine Tools | June 29, 2017

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Master Hidden Champion in Asia

Taiwanese Machine Tool Plays Important Role in World Manufacture

Taiwan’s economy has been export driven since the 1960’s when the nation underwent a series of industrialization transformations; since that point, Taiwanese machinery in general, and machine tools in particular, have held a prominent position in the world of manufacturing. With its solid foundation in the machine tool industry, Taiwan continues to develop a variety of machinery well sought after in the world market. Accordingly, it is said that regarding the concept of Hidden Champion coined by Hermann Simon, Taiwan is recognized as the Master Hidden Champion of Asia

Irreplaceable Advantage

The world’s biggest metalworking supply chain is located in the central part of Taiwan, covering an area of 60 square kilometers and home to tens of thousands of factories. It is estimated that at least 350 thousand professional experts work in this region, dedicated to the field of metalworking from upstream to downstream. Compared to the industrial supply chains in Hannover, Germany; Nagoya and Osaka, Japan, central Taiwan’s supply chain is the biggest in the world and the most concentrated one that offers integrated services to global buyers.

This area, namely Greater Taichung, is the base of Taiwanese machine tool and relevant component industries. Inside Greater Taichung, specialists from different sectors of the machine tool industry deal with specific aspects of manufacturing every day, including casting and forging materials, linear guides, ballscrews, roller screws, working tables, spindles, tools and tool magazines, ATC systems, locknuts, bearings, controllers, and other corresponding critical components of machine tools. The development of machine tools and their relevant components in Taiwan over the past five decades has born fruitful results. At present Taiwanese machinery competes on par with its German and Japanese counterparts of middle-end levels. As mentioned above, with its capability of developing their own components, Taiwanese suppliers are able to manage the whole production procedure with very little reliance on imported foreign technology; hence besides the middle-end quality, well-managed service is also a significant perk to global users.

For instance, in the 21st century, co-rotating, five-axis machines are the flagships of Taiwan’s machine tool industry. This status is consolidated by the domestic supply of the fifth axis. Local automation and motion control suppliers have developed AC/ AB axes, namely fifth axis products for machine tool manufacturers to install on their products. This self-sufficient advancement in the fifth axis allows Taiwanese machine tool suppliers to manage the delivery time for purchasers all over the world.

On the other hand, the development of domestic controllers is also one of the important features of the Taiwanese machine tool industry. Though not a dominant player at the initial stages, now domestic controllers are booming. At the Taipei International Machine Tool Show (TIMTOS) held in 2015, there was an exhibition area that presented Taiwanese controllers. During the show, PMC (Precision Machinery Research Development Center) claimed that Taiwanese controllers have been installed on five-axis machines and applied to the production line of the automotive industry. Be it PC-Based systems or integrated CNC digital systems, suppliers of Taiwanese controllers thrive in the global market and find their own way in cooperating with machine tool suppliers, cementing the dynamism of the nation’s industry.

Basic Science and Applied Science’s Application in Taiwan

Many aspects of manufacturing lean heavily on the sciences – whether in material, calculation, methodology, engineering, or other essential elements. Thus scientific achievements of a nation affect directly the nation’s success and reputation in innovation and industry. Ranked in the top 4 regarding machine tool export value, Taiwan is a nation with bounteous R&D resources.

It all begins at Academia Sinica, the central national research institute of Taiwan where specialists in physics, chemistry, mathematics, statistics, atomic physics, and other scientific fields gain great international recognition every year. Academia Sinica has been set to promote national science development since the 1920’s, and through its many research studies, people from all over the world have benefited, including Taiwanese people. Reaping the rewards of scientific discoveries on both the domestic and international front, the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) excels in applications, turning academic discoveries into industrial and business results.  In this capacity ITRI is joined by PMC and Metal Industries Research & Development Centre (MIRDC) which are also technological centers in Taiwan that help manufacturers in the industry to advance not by baby steps, but in leaps and bounds. The integrated scientific development helps the R&D in many of the sectors, such as the automotive, aerospace, energy, watch art, and other precision demanding sectors.

For instance in the case of casting foundries, around 80% of the machine tools are made from casting foundries where casting technology relies heavily on a nation’s steelmaking and other refinery-based technology. Only with good a casting foundry at its base can a machine tool maintain rigidity and long-term accuracy. Otherwise, the accuracy of a new machine tool would last a mere three years due to many physical issues. With regards to this issue, both MIRDC and PMC have been working enthusiastically for a long period of time to improve Taiwan’s steelmaking technology and refinery-related knowledge. Institutes in Taiwan work hard from the very first step with regards to metal materials in order to reinforce the value of the industry in Taiwan.

At the other end of the spectrum, private and official organizations also dedicate themselves to increasing the value of Taiwanese machinery by adding various novel functions, such as spindle temperature inspection mechanisms, remote machine control systems, processing procedure management…etc. These innovative features not only give Taiwanese machines the competitive advantages, but also set the trends in the industry. With the dedicated hard work of officials, academics, and private corporations, machine tool products made in Taiwan are upgraded each year.

The Applications of Taiwanese Machine Tools

About 60% of Taiwanese machine tools are applied to the automotive industry, such as the processing of sheet metals, drive shafts, steering shafts, brake components, light frames, wheel rims, C.V. joints, seat shafts, shock absorbers…etc. At TIMTOS 2015, one Taiwanese exhibitor displayed automation systems that manage automotive sheet metals which weld thick and thin sheets, increasing production efficiency by more than 30%. At the same event, there was one boring machine manufacturer that promoted its automatic wheel rim manufacture line aimed at both sedan and big truck wheel rims, with much flexibility in production. Furthermore, there was one cutting machine center manufacturer that presented its intelligent manufacturing with the inspection mechanism of workpieces and the subsequent adjustment procedures. It is projected that based on its growing tempo, the CNC machine of aluminum alloy wheel rims in Taiwan is going to be number one in the world market.

With regards to other applications, large-sized machines of Taiwan are utilized by global suppliers to process oil pipes, energy exploration parts, airplane engine crankcases, and screw propellers. Conversely, small machine tools are used to process tiny objects in the IT industry. It is said that due to Taiwanese machine tools, suppliers of industries all over the world can deliver their products on time.

Race with Manufacturing Trend

With high flexibility, high concentricity, good price to performance ratios, shortened delivery times, and rigid accuracy, Taiwanese machine tool manufacturers are not suppliers of machines but rather, your production line managers.

Intelligent manufacturing is a growing trend, and at the recent local show events, it was observed that Taiwanese suppliers were showcasing automatic feeders and loaders on sites. Taiwanese people are aware of the necessity of integrated services so they make it an added value of their products.

Aside from achievements in automation, Taiwan suppliers are preparing themselves for the Industry 4.0 version of manufacturing. Taiwanese people are now developing corresponding cloud computation, industrial sensors, and data transmission systems for the visualization of manufacturing procedures. In the ICT sector, Taiwanese companies commonly achieve Industry 3.0 by remote control in their manufacturing, and in the near future, it will be the 4.0 version for the machine tool suppliers to cope with the latest trends.

Taiwan Machine Tool: The Hidden Champion in Asia

Taiwan is the place whose hidden champion rate is the densest concentration in all of Asia. Without the help of the many small and middle-sized enterprises and the machine tool supply chain behind those manufacturers in Taiwan, many famous and important international corporations would encounter export difficulty. For example, many high class sedan and sports car manufacturers order Taiwanese wheel supplier to produce the products of their kind, including Ferrari, Porsche, Mercedes Benz, Jaguar, Rolls Royce, Bentley, and Audi. The requested high end forged wheel rims are exceptional, strong, and rigid, even to military standard. These wheel rims made in Taiwan are also processed by Taiwanese machine tools. As well, many Jet Ski producers also request Taiwanese screw propeller manufacturer, who adopt domestic machine tools on their production lines, to manufacture reliable propellers for them. In fact, various OEM manufacturers are in Taiwan and they use domestic machine tools as their first priority capital goods to process or manufacture global orders due to their reliability and reasonable prices. In regard to the manufacture, Taiwanese machine tools are your best choice.