Taiwan machine tool export from January to June 2014 reached 4.9% growth, due to the increasing investment in equipment by Mainland China, Japan, Germany, and the U.S. In June, the machine tool export exceeded US$350 million, which indicated a sign of recovery from 2012. According to the Taiwan official statistical analysis, foreign export rates are: U.S. 11.3%, Turkey 5%, Germany 3.4%, Russia 2.6%, and Netherlands 2.5%.
Aside from machine tools, Taiwanese are also suppliers of machine tool components, such as tool magazines, power turrets, automatic tool changers (ATC), and indexes in the world market. These units are imported to many developed regions in a huge scale. The business is wider than the machine tools market because of good pricing for bulk production. In addition, quality control is also well managed in Taiwan, which is a good indicator for Taiwanese producers of machine tools in the international market regardless of the global economic scenario.
Te-Shin ATC, a producer of ATC systems, sells not only to local machine tool makers but also sells 70% of its products to Asian countries in huge orders. In Taiwan, the overall production output for ATC is around 3,200 units per month, and Te-Shin produces 2,500 units, sharing over 78% of the total volume. In the China market, Te-Shin creates 2,500 ATCs per month, 90% of the market.
The core of external success is internal control
Te-Shin was established in 1982 with only 20 employees. At present, there are now 400 staffs in the three factories around Taiwan and Mainland China.
Since the company has grown, the previous management system is not enough. Mr. Lee directed the company to join the Taiwan machine tool league M-Team, inspired by Corporate Synergy Development Center (CSD), to integrate Taiwan supply chain in becoming a stronger work group.
Under the assistance of M-Team members, Te-Shin adopted the Toyota Production System (TPS), saving inventory cost. In the past, Te-Shin deal with many different order types from customers abroad, as a result, the warehouse of the company became an issue, and TPS was a great help to overcome this order.
On the other hand, the overflowing order requests can no longer be handled by a normal excel software, so the company integrated ERP with ERP II, and imported Workflow ERP, BI system, EasyFlow system, SFT, and Portal to their work structure. After several trials and errors, the material preparation is shortened from three months to 1.5 months.
Lee stated that a growing company needs an organizational restructure. Te-Shin is at present all-digital in both production operation and work staff management.
Critical computer-aided design solution
In order to fulfill all precision requests from customers, Te-Shin acquired a mechanical design system for creating and managing 3D digital prototypes. Te-Shin uses Solid Edge®, a 3D design system that uses synchronous technology from Siemens PLM Software. The software accelerates the design of ATC products, makes revisions faster, and enables better reuse. With 3D CAD, simulation, and data management, Solid Edge has helped Te-Shin design better.
Te-Shin ATC features
Te-Shin ATC is well known for its stable tool exchange speed, zero noise, and high accuracy of repetition, hence the tool holder would not collide with the spindles. Because of the wide division, motion curves can be arranged freely and promises high-speed tool exchange. Simple structure achieves small size with high efficiency.
When ATC technology is still not common in Taiwan, Te-Shin worked with government-founded research center ITRI and other Taiwan universities regarding this, and the company took the lead. As an expert in cam technology, Te-Shin designers utilize cams and rollers as the drivers. The driving modes are designed in different ways with stable performance. The modes include: intermittent, high speed, low speed, and high torque modes.
“Te-Shin will work more closely with tool magazine producers and offer machine tool manufacturers an easier combination of ATC and tool magazine. Also, we will use our cam specialty to develop advanced power turrets and intermittent indexes,” Lee stated.
He added, “Now Te-Shin power turrets are used in milling, drilling, and turning and are designed with BMT structure, so the thickened clutch eliminates the old flaw in rigidity. This achievement is amazing and now the company produces 30 power turrets monthly.”