Taiwan ready to display machine tool prowess

Features - TMTS

November 2018 Taiwan International Machine Tool Show (TMTS) to highlight island nation’s capabilities in aerospace machining.

Elisa Li, vice president of the Taiwan Machine Tool & Accessory Builders Association (TMBA) discusses the Nov. 7-11, 2018 TMTS2018 trade show at a press conference in Taichung, Taiwan. Li says the show will be significantly larger than the 2016 outing with more exhibitors from North America and Europe reserving booth space.
Falcon Machine Tools Co. Ltd. employees build a Chevalier (www.chevaliermachinery.us) double-column vertical machining center (VMC) at the company’s Taichung, Taiwan, plant. Sales Manager Brian Chen says the company’s largest machines are most popular with aerospace companies producing large, monolithic components.

With machine tool sales increasing, especially to targeted aerospace and automotive customers, Taiwan’s machine tool makers are eager to gain more attention for their systems on a global stage. Following a big presence at Hannover Messe in Germany in April, and with several exhibitors expected to display in Chicago from Sept. 10-15, 2018, at IMTS 2018 – The International Manufacturing Technology Show, tool builders are hoping to draw even more international attention to the Taiwan International Machine Tool Show – TMTS2018, set for Nov. 7-11, 2018 in Taichung.

“TMTS will hold a series of purchasing conferences during the show to provide a communication platform for exhibitors and buyers,” says Elisa Li, executive secretary general of TMTS2018 organizer the Taiwan Machine Tool & Accessory Builders’ Association (TMBA). “The number of overseas visitors continues to increase and further raise the exposure rate [for the show held on even-numbered years]. According to the 2016 after-show report, more than 95% of exhibitors were satisfied with the effects of TMTS, and 99% of them considered participating in TMTS2018.”

A technician at Chevalier’s Taichung factory builds a high-speed spindle in a temperature-controlled room. While some machine tool companies in Taiwan buy spindles from European and Japanese manufacturers, Chevalier and others build their own.
A Quaser Machine Tools Inc. (www.quaser.com) employee hand scrapes guideways for a horizontal machining center (HMC). Learned from studying European tool manufacturing, Quaser officials say hand scraping guarantees better fits between critical machine components, supporting higher accuracy in metal cutting.

The TMBA recently invited editors from several international manufacturing publications to tour Taichung manufacturers prior to TMTS2018. With 90% of the island nation’s tool builders concentrated within a 40-mile radius of Taichung, manufacturers say the tooling cluster offers huge advantages.

Brad Wang, marketing director for Ching Hung Machinery & Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (CHMER), calls Taichung “the supermarket of the machinery industry. Any component or accessory we need, there’s a supplier within a few kilometers that can supply it to us.”

CHMER and several other Taiwanese toolmakers have targeted aerospace and automotive sectors for future growth, based on the global backlog of commercial aircraft and steady numbers for car sales.

Lynn Yen, business planning officer for Asia Pacific Elite Corp., says her company has developed large machining centers for aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) components to expand its work with aerospace suppliers. Several of those systems will be on display at TMTS2018.

“We had a lot of success recently with suppliers to Boeing and Airbus,” Yen says. “The growth of the aero engine business has been important to us.”

Asia Pacific Elite Corp. (APEC) (www.apeccnc.com), a division of the Tongtai Group, specializes in equipment for aerospace and automotive companies with tools such as the G series large-format, 5-axis machining center. Versions of the machine are capable of machining 6m x 5m x 1m workpieces (X, Y, Z).

In 2016, several aerospace suppliers, universities, and machine tool companies created the A-Team 4.0, targeting aerospace expansion in Taiwan through Industry 4.0 connectivity initiatives. APEC and its parent company Tongtai are members, as are FFG, YCM, Hartford, and Chevalier. Chevalier Sales Manager Brian Chen says Taiwanese tool companies need to offer the same quality of tool monitoring, unattended operation, and predictive maintenance systems as their Japanese and European competitors, so his company and others are investing heavily in control systems.

“Customers are demanding high levels of connectivity. Everyone wants to monitor production from a phone or a tablet,” Chen says.

An employee assembles internal components for a Hartford (www.hartford.com.tw) vertical machining center (VMC) in Taichung, Taiwan. Founded in 1965, Hartford is one of Taiwan’s largest machine tool producers.

That trend continues in the TMTS2018 theme – “Manufacture Linking, Activate the Future.”

TMBA’s Li says her organization’s members are eager to show off the sophistication of their equipment and control systems. Based on 2016’s figures and the growth of the industry since then, the TMBA expects members to book $400 million in equipment sales at the show.

Taiwan International Tool Show

Taiwan Machine Tool & Accessory Builders’ Association www.tmba.org.tw/en

About the author: Robert Schoenberger is an editor at AM&D and can be reached at 216.393.0271 or rschoenberger@gie.net.