After suffering a long period of sluggish sales that began in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis, Taiwanese manufacturers of machine-tool components and accessories rebounded with robust sales in the first three quarters of 2011 thanks to the robust recovery of the world economy.
The machine-tool components and accessories industry began developing in Taiwan more than five decades ago and grew along with the island's booming general machinery and production equipment industry. Many domestic manufacturers in the line have a long history, and so are able to turn out a variety of high-end machinery components and accessories that sell readily to industrialized markets.
A major strength of this industry in Taiwan is its vast variety of components and accessories made to a wide range of specifications that meet the special requirements of buyers. Most producers in the line are dedicated to keeping up with global trends, and have invested large amounts of money in the development of unique technologies and innovative products.
To boost product quality, many manufacturers have installed advanced production equipment (including CNC, or computerized numerically controlled, machines) and state-of-the-art inspection instruments. Some of the larger companies have even acquired plants from manufacturers in industrialized nations as a means of boosting their share of the international market.
According to customs statistics compiled by the Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry (TAMI), Taiwan exported US$931.27 million worth of machine-tool components and accessories in the first 11 months of 2011, up 32.1% from the US$704.85 million for the corresponding period of the previous year. TAMI president C.C. Wang attributes this performance to the strong recovery of the machine-tool industry worldwide, explaining that Taiwan-made are priced at levels that make them popular with machinery makers everywhere.
LED Machine Lamps
This LED subminiature high-illumination waterproof work light was developed by Eminent Main.
One of the foremost companies in the line is the Eminent Main Industrial Co., which was founded in 1986 and supplies a variety of halogen work lamps, LED machine lamps, magnifier lamps, tower lights, fluorescent work lights, and waterproof machine lamps for industrial purposes. Years of effort have built a solid worldwide reputation for the company.
In June 2011 the company inaugurated a new operating headquarters in Taichung City's Dali District, in central Taiwan. The new headquarters, in combination with a modern plant, is aimed at boosting production efficiency, increasing capacity, and developing innovative products. The new facilities will also enable the company to expand its product line to include commercial lighting fixtures, and the performance of the products will be enhanced through the development of fiber-optic illuminators. .
Eminent Main insists on doing all of its manufacturing in Taiwan to assure the quality of its products, which are marked with the “Em” logo.
To help improve the generally poor working environment in the machine-tool industry, the company has developed work lamps that are highly waterproof, resistant to lubricants and coolants, and have efficient heat-dissipation properties.
Eminent Main began producing halogen work lights in 1986, using light sources from the famous German manufacturer Osram, and years later moved into the development and production of PL lights and other products.
Exports began in 1993, with lamps being shipped to big European, American, and Japanese buyers, including WEST of Italy, S.E.I. of Spain, OKK and DNE of Japan. The next year, Germany's FKB contracted with the company for the supply of ODM (original design manufacturer) products.
In 2007 the company introduced LED subminiature high-illumination waterproof work lights made of aluminum alloy. It is committed to the constant development of green products, and feels that LEDs will become mainstream lighting sources in the foreseeable future.
Eminent Main's products have won certification by CE, TUV, GS, Nemiko, and other international standards.
Autogrip specializes in the development of precision chucks.
Another Taiwanese manufacturer that focuses on the production of precision machine-tool components is the Autogrip Machinery Co., formerly known as the Chia Her Machinery Co., which specializes in making power chucks and rotary cylinders. The company has worked hard, ever since its birth in 1989, to distinguish itself from its peers through the precision of its products.
Headquartered in Puxin Township, in the central Taiwan county of Changhua, Autogrip operates a 43,200-square-foot factory and is known for the ability of its R&D department to create innovative products. It has acquired SLG ISO9001 and CE certification; it is promoting its own “Autogrip” brand which, it says, is a synonym for “great rigidity” and “infallible precision.”
Over the past several years the company has expanded its product line to encompass a complete 18-inch-and-under set series as well as such products as rotary joints and valves for cutting fluid, facing heads, and synchronous clamps.
Autogrip products can be categorized into six major categories: power chucks, rotary cylinders, synchronous clamps, facing heads, rotary valves/joints, and standard jaws.
The power chucks and rotary cylinders enjoy SLG, CE, and ISO9001 certification, and the company promises to continue improving the quality of its products and strengthening its after-sales services.
The company's high-quality products are made using a variety of precision production equipment, including CNC lathes, grinding machines, machining centers, rotary cylinder testing instruments, and pressure-testing machines.
The company's three-jaw through-hole power chuck features a highly rigid structure and high clamping accuracy. Its rotary cylinder is equipped with a built-in check valve that prevents sudden declines in internal pressure.
The firm introduced a new product line, consisting of large-sized hollow rotary hydraulic cylinders with hole diameters of 165mm and 205mm, in the middle of 2011. It recently began intensive efforts to develop an extra-large check series, which is expected to hit the market in the not-too-distant future.
Most of Autogrip's products are exported to mainland China, Europe, and the U.S., and the company is now boosting sales in Eastern Europe and India. To provide quick after-sales services, it has established five bases in mainland China, one each in Beijing, Shanghai, Ningbo (Zhejiang Province), Nantong (Jiangsu Province), and Guangzhou.
Spindles and Tailstocks
Fepotec produces high-end spindles for machining centers.
The Fepotec Industrial Co., established in 1996, is one of the few companies in Taiwan that make spindles and tailstocks for a variety of high-precision, high-performance machine tools. The company expanded in January of 2009 by moving production to a new 14,400-square-foot plant in Wuri District of Taichung City.
Ever since its inception, Fepotec Industrial has focused its efforts on state-of-the-art spindles and tailstocks for machine tools. “With our expertise and professionalism in the development of spindles and tailstocks,” comments company president Allen Wen, “we have built a good reputation both at home and abroad.”
The company's product line currently includes lathe spindles, lathe tailstocks, grinding machine handles, machining center spindles, and spindles for semiconductor application. Among its most recent offerings are high-speed built-in spindles for the semiconductor industry, and high-speed spindles for the printed circuit board (PCB) industry.
Fepotec's machining center spindles feature high rigidity and accuracy, and are suitable for machines that operate at spindle speeds of 6,000 to 12,000 rpm. The firm can also turn out custom designs with unique specifications, and all of its products have to undergo stringent noise, rigidity, running, accuracy, and dynamic balance testing.
Success in developing sophisticated products has boosted the company's annual sales growth to double-digit levels during the past five years, and revenues broke the NT$500 million mark for the first time in 2009. The company is confident that sales will continue growing in the years ahead.
“We will constantly upgrade our R&D and manufacturing capabilities through the efforts of our own R&D team,” Wen says. “In the next few years we will also strengthen our management system with the aim of becoming one of the world's top manufacturers in this field.”
Customers include such top domestic machining center manufacturers as the Leadwell CNC Machines Mfg. Corp. and Tatung-Okuma Co. Major export areas include the U.S., South Africa, mainland China, and advanced Western European countries. Fepotec's spindles and tailstocks are made in compliance with ISO standards to ease their sale in the international marketplace.
Quick Mold Change Systems
This quick mold change system was developed by Forwell.
The Forwell Precision Machinery Co. specializes in the development and production of quick mold change systems for injection molding machines and mold casting machines, and quick die change systems for mechanical presses, setting its sights on becoming the largest supplier of its kind in Asia in terms of branding and sales.
To that end, Forewell is making all-out efforts to develop turnkey automated mold change systems that meet the strictest international standards. The company has more than two decades of experience in the development of automated quick mold change systems and related automation equipment, which has carried the “Forwell” brand ever since inception.
Forwell claims that it leads the industry in the building of corporate identification systems and winning ISO and CE certification.
Over the past few years the company has set up production bases and distribution channels in China, and has succeeded in developing automated cold change systems for presses, hydraulic machinery, injecting molding machinery, and mold casting machinery.
The quick mold change systems can be used with a variety of mold clamping systems for automatic machines such as punch presses, injection molding machines, and mold casting machines. The quick die change systems for mechanical presses can be used with various kinds of mold clamping systems for die casting machines, punch presses, and injection molding machines.
The company recently completed development of a rapid mold change system for multi-unit injection molding machines and a die change system for multi-unit presses, marking a milestone for the industry. Company chairman Hsiao Wen-long reports that Forwell has supplied prototypes of these products to end users so that they can assess the feasibility of their use in automated production.
The adoption of these products, Hsiao believes, can greatly enhance the efficiency of injection molding machines by carrying out such operations as automated mold interchange, mold locking, and mold retrieval.
The chairman suggests that users introduce his products into small-sized production equipment in order to achieve a labor-saving, automated, high-efficiency, and safe production environment. A mold warehousing system is under development and is expected to be introduced soon, helping customers move toward fully automated production.
Forwell can turn out custom-designed transportation carts as part of service packages that include everything from equipment supply and production site layout to construction, test runs, and training.
(by Ben Shen)