As business opportunities for intelligent manufacturing continue to expand, a revolution within the global manufacturing industry is just on the horizon. Of course, such a revolution will necessitate a growth in intelligent machinery, too. A machine tool sector that is experienced in a variety of core manufacturing technologies is well positioned to lead the promotion of intelligent manufacturing. And Taiwan–with its well-developed ecosystem of intelligent machinery industries, the necessary capabilities in software and hardware integration, and competitive product production–is home to just such a sector.
After hitting a trillion-dollar output in 2017, Taiwan’s machine tool once again grew by 7.3%, reaching NT$1.18 trillion. Today, the export output value of the indigenous machine tool sector is ranked fifth in the world, and Taiwan continues to play a crucial role in the global market as a key supply chain for major global brands. In order to help global automotive manufacturing customers to incorporate intelligent manufacturing practices into their existing businesses, Taiwan’s machine tool manufacturers have been developing strategic blueprints to integrate intelligent practices. Today, the hard work put in over the past decade is beginning to bear fruit, with manufacturers such as Hota Industrial MFG Co. Ltd, Goodway, FEMCO, and Fair Friend Group leading the charge in a fast-growing wave of intelligent manufacturing expertise.
Hota Industrial MGF Co. Ltd – Building intelligent factories
Helping customers to efficiently adapt to new market needs
Hota is the largest transmission component supplier in Taiwan and the tenth largest in the world, supplying parts to BMW, Chrysler, and other global brands. In recent years, the company transitioned from a traditional manufacturer of automotive components to a leading Industry 4.0 automatic manufacturer, and with its association of intelligent factories is today an integral player in the global electric car manufacturing supply chain.
As Hota has foreseen, the key to a successful future in manufacturing is being able to rapidly and efficiently cater to changing market demands, and Hota has long been employing intelligent manufacturing solutions to improve its traditional models. For instance, the introduction of virtual reality system integration into their intelligent transmission shaft production line allows them to easily employ different machines to a wide array of manufacturing. At the same time, through mechanisms such as automatic measurement, Hota is able to effectively increase the productivity of a transmission shaft. What was once a 90-day delivery schedule for a single precise transmission shaft is now only 90 seconds–a staggering 86,400-fold increase in production speed.
The company is also seeking ways to consolidate its sixty-plus years of manufacturing know-how into easy-to-access formats for both customers and staff. By making this wealth of valuable data easily accessible, Hota and its customers can have better control over the variables in any given project: from the sourcing and quality of raw materials to manufacturing of the machines themselves. The key to their success? Hota is always thinking ahead of their customers to forecast any obstacles that might impact the manufacturing process, ensuring the company is poised to seize market opportunities as they arise.
Goodway – Promoting human-machine cooperation with intelligent solutions
Maximizing machining quality and efficiency
Goodway has been manufacturing lathe machinery for over forty years. It is the largest lathe manufacturer in Taiwan and a prominent player global electric car manufacturing. Goodway’s intelligent manufacturing mission is to provide a stable and efficient service. Different materials combined with different processing parts produce different vibrations, which in turn leads to problems specific to the individual combinations of factors. Goodway uses this insight into the variations specific to its industry to satisfy the manufacturing needs of both small and high quantity purchasers while maintaining a high standard of quality.
The company builds intelligent production lines for its customers that feature individually invented centralized control software, such as G.LINC, G.NET, and SVI. By connecting equipment, machinery, and people within the same area, Goodway is able to use IoT technology to achieve total system operation, monitoring, and analysis, and efficient production schedule planning. This eliminates the need for the laborious, step-by-step operations of traditional quality control and system detection and results in smoother, more efficient operator-machine cooperation. For example, Goodway’s GTW-1500 (Turrent/Gang tooling multi-axis turning center), equipped with the newest G.LINC 350II software, was developed specifically to meet global automotive manufacturing needs. Not only does the integration of G.LINC cut down material costs by 5-10% and increase the self-made rate of key parts, but it also maximizes processing efficiency and precision.
FEMCO – Overturning the production process with AI and AR
Full-scare implementation of the mission: zero defects and high efficiency
FEMCO has over seventy years of machine manufacturing experience and ranks among the world’s top three aluminum rim suppliers. Witnessing a global shift toward Industry 4.0, FEMCO quickly realized that the intellectualization of machines is the key to the future of its sector. The company quickly began to implement intelligent automatic production lines for its automotive aluminum rim manufacturing and introduced AI/AR technology into its factory with the AVM (Automatic Virtual Metrology) system.
Ahead of the curve, FEMCO is the first company in the world to adopt a cloud monitoring system for aluminum rim manufacturing. This clever combination of intelligent machinery and software systems allows managers to monitor the operations of the factory remotely and in real-time. And importantly, they can react instantaneously to anomalies. This eliminates difficulties in cooperation between managers, engineers, and the QC department, making the company’s “zero defect manufacturing” goal possible.
The dedicated adoption of intelligent manufacturing strategies has also allowed for the integration of machinery, visual identification, and other new technologies. As such, FEMCO can operate mixed-line production, allowing the company to efficiently adapt to the small quantity-high variety manufacturing requirements of different aluminum rim sizes. The company’s adoption of intelligent aluminum rim production lines has assisted its customers in raising production efficiency by 20-30%, and stabilized product quality, ensuring FEMCO’s position as a leading participant in the global electric car manufacturing supply chain.
Fair Friend Group – Developing strategies according to global systems and newly developed technologies
Securing opportunities for intelligent manufacturing
Fair Friend Group (FFG) has been in business for close forty years. In recent years, FFG has acquired several European machine tool manufacturers and today owns 37 machine tools brands globally. With fifty manufacturing bases, it has become third largest machine tool group in the world, and enjoys the largest market share in the automotive industry. FFG is supplies high-end production equipment to BMW, BENZ, Ferrari, and other leading automotive brands. With its powerful technology resources and lengthy experience in the global market, FFG is dedicated to helping customers by providing a customized, whole-line solution that includes intelligent machinery, production lines, and even entire factories to turn-key solutions.
FFG has also started cooperating with local partners to build a 100% local-made Industry 4.0 production line. By combining this with the implementation of innovative applications such as unmanned, cloud-controlled production, the company is seeking to make the bridging of internet technology (IT) and operating technology (OT) possible. Right now, FFG is in the process of building a “5G future factory”, the first of its kind in the Asia region. Trial run data has shown that with the introduction of 5G internet capabilities into the production line, different machines and equipment can be closely linked to exchange information, reducing the chance of production delays due to unplanned downtime. This is set to increase production rates by as much as 20%. James Huang, chairman of TAITRA (Taiwan External Trade Development Council) notes that in recent years, Taiwan’s machine tool industry has undergone a successful transformation from traditional manufacturing to a sector ready and willing to embrace the latest technologies. The successful innovations made by the machine tool manufacturers outlined in the above case studies are laying the foundations for a revolution in Taiwan’s wider machinery industry, where intellectualization with be implemented through the purchase and development of new intelligent equipment, product lines, and factories. The benefit to automotive sector customers around the globe is clear: Taiwan’s manufacturers are able to provide the smartest, most customized, and most efficient solutions to their production needs.