Taiwanese machinery and technology
Throwing caution to the wind The slowing down of China’s economy, Europe’s debt crisis and high US unemployment are not deterring Taiwanese machinery companies from expanding. Speaking to PRA’s Editor Tej Fernandez, the companies say they have been enjoying higher growth this year, though most are cautiously optimistic of the future. not have many customers in the Asian country. While it expects to chalk up a turnover of US$7.7 million this year, the company is projecting a higher growth of 25% next year, based on the new product lines.
Mould maker maintains its edge With almost 85% of its output exported, mould maker Pass Card is in an enviable position. But it needs to maintain its edge by continuously enhancing its capabilities. The Taichung-based company’s product range includes PET preform, cap/closure, IML and interchangeable moulds.
Forwell displays innovative streak Though Forwell Precision Machinery relies on a large customer base in China, it does not expect the slower market to affect its business, according to its President Xiao Wen Long. “We are expanding our market to countries like India, South Africa and Turkey.” Set up in 1987, the company produces quick die change systems that can be adapted with various mould clamping systems for punch presses, injection moulding and die casting machines. Its facility in Ningbo, China, assembles the equipment with parts coming from its facility in Taiwan, where it also maintains a R&D centre.
Pass Card’s Sales Manager Chad Huang says the company is continuously innovating its product range to keep up with market trends
To keep up with the competitive market, it is now expanding into moulds for producing test tubes. “We are undertaking R&D on a new generation of high-end moulds for the medical and cosmetic industries,” said Chad Huang, Sales Manager, adding that Pass Card has its own in-house research facility. It is also making a thinwall mould for a customer in Sri Lanka that will use it on a Swiss-made Netstal injection moulding machine for a packaging application. “Research is our strong point, not cost or manufacturing capability. Through R&D, we are able to optimise designs for different products,” he added, explaining that the intricacies of a mould design extend from its function of blowing a preform to how to reduce the footprint, weight and logistics costs for customers. As a result of its R&D, the company has been able to develop a 48-cavity mould for caps/closures and 32cavity mould for a hotfilling application. “We are ready to expand in this sector, too, and will be able to supply 72 cavities, if there is a request,” added Huang. This is a far cry for the company that specialised only in producing moulds for wide-mouth containers when it was started up 14 years ago. These were mainly exported to the US and Canada. “ To d a y, o u r m a i n e x p o r t m a r k e t s a re Vi e t n a m , Thailand, the Middle East, Africa and the US,” said Huang, adding that the company is at the moment immune to the overheated Chinese economy since it does
Forwell’s President Xiao Wen Long standing outside the company’s new facility in Chang Hua that was set up three years ago
Born into a peasant family, Xiao’s is a classic rags-toriches story. He started his career as a technician with Kenda Tire and worked his way up the ladder to become a design engineer. He left after nine years to set up Forwell. Xiao says he developed 100 different equipment designs while working with Kenda. This innovative spirit is evident at Forwell that has close to 40 patents (the company spends up to NT2 million a year to maintain these patents). “Several companies have similar products but we are a leader in the business because of the quality of our systems and because we are able to provide solutions to customers’ problems,” claims Xiao. This year, the company developed a multi-injection 5
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Taiwanese machinery and technology mould machine quick die change system (MCS), a multi-punch machine quick die change system (DCS) as well as a rapid mould changing system. “Our new range is targeted at companies setting up new facilities and for more complex operations.” This applies to a system that takes into account the height of the machine and space for the mould. It also incorporates a sensor for positioning the mould. The ISO9001 and CE-certified company has supplied its die changing systems for up to 4,000 tonne-machinery and also works closely with Taiwanese injection moulding machine maker Hwa Chin. “We follow through our principles of quality, service and developing innovative products to help companies reach their automation and labour saving goals,” Xiao told PRA, explaining that the phonetic translation of Forwell into English is “Give You the Best.” Forwell sells more than 1,000 units of its systems a year and has set itself an ambitious target of reaching a turnover of NT100 billion by 2015. Portfolio expansion for Tung Yu Moving into a new facility in Nantou City in 2006 allowed rubber injection machine maker Tung Yu Hydraulic Machinery to expand its product base further. “We have double the capacity at our facility now,” said Vice General Manager, Steven Yen. Amongst its latest products are the TRV closed-loop rubber slicer/preformer and the hydraulic BOM tyre curing press. “The BOM is targeted at the industrial, motorcycle, light truck and agriculture tyre sectors. It is different to traditional designs as Tung Yu uses FEA (finite element analysis) to enhance the mechanical strength,” claimed Yen. The company has already sold “hundreds of units” and expects to expand into other models later. As a result of its cooperation with French rubber press maker REP in 2004, Tung Yu developed the RTIP rubber injection machine based on REP’s design. It followed this up with the launch of a compact RT9 series that also features more precision control, according to Yen. Another development launched two years ago is the chip compactor, w h i c h c o m p re s s e s w a s t e m e t a l chips into blocks that are then used to power up furnaces. “Scrap metal can be turned into economical, compact blocks that are worth more than non-compacted scrap metal. T h e m a c h i n e s q u e e z e s o i l f ro m the metal scrap and it can then be recycled. With a lower volume, it is also easy to ship the blocks and less storage space is required in a facility,” says Yen. The company has sold its YCP model to machining centres, operating CNC lathes, in Thailand and South Korea. Tu n g Yu e x p e c t s 3 0 % h i g h e r turnover this year. “But we are not sure of the future – the situation is changing since the global economy is cooling down,” said Yen. Nevertheless, 2012 will be an important one for Taiwan’s plastics and rubber industry since the biTung Yu’s metal chip compacting machine annual Taipeiplas exhibition will be 6 I n j e c t i o n M o u l d i n g A s ia • o c t o b e r / N o v e m b e r 2 0 1 1
Taiwanese machinery and technology globally, even with the 15% higher price (compared to the hydraulic model), said Yang. “We have increased the daylight and clamping area. It is also servomotoroperated allowing for lower energy consumption of up to 70%,” he claimed. The machine is available in clamping forces of 150-500 tonnes. “When Jing Day started producing rubber moulding machines about 20 years ago, the concept was to produce t h e m o s t p ro d u c t i v e , h i g h - p e r f o r m a n c e m o u l d i n g machines. That philosophy has not changed,” explained Yang, adding that this is one of the reasons for the company’s success today.
held. “We will introduce new machines for the tyre market at the show,” revealed Yen, adding that the company has mainly concentrated on custom-made machinery and it will restrategise its focus to include more standard machines for the tyre market. Jing Day to move to new facility Expansion seems to be a trend in the Taiwanese plastics and rubber industry, denoting that the sector is doing well. “We are looking forward to moving to a new facility at the end of this year,” said Robert Yang, General Manager of rubber injection moulding machine maker Jing Day Machinery. Also in Tainan city, the facility will have a built-up area of 6,000 sq m. While Yang says a reason for the move is to cater to the growing demand, another reason is that the present facility is in the vicinity of a riverbank causing it to be flooded on more than one occasion.
CLF pumping up efforts in Southeast Asia Another company that is expanding its production base is injection moulding machine maker Chuan Lih Fa (CLF). It expects to open a new facility in Vietnam by next year to cater to the domestic and Southeast Asian markets, said Sales Manager Vicky Yen. CLF already operates two facilities in Taiwan (in Tainan) and one in China. “Since the European and American markets are slowing down, our focus next year will be on Southeast Asia. At our Vietnamese facility, we will produce smaller models to cater to household and packaging applications,” she said. But it will continue to make its larger models, of which it claims a 50% market share, at its home base in Tainan, with most of the component manufacturing subcontracted and some parts imported from Japan and Europe. “The big models require stability, precision, efficiency and strength, which are CLF’s characteristics for its machines.” As for the portfolio, Yen says the major product line is still hydraulic machinery, even after having introduced the AE all-electric series a few years ago. The all-electrics were previously manufactured by CLF for Japanese injection moulding press maker Meiki until it was taken over by another Japanese company JSW. CLF took over the series completely, rebranding it as AE. Now, Yen says CLF is looking at introducing a newer version of an energy-saving series, especially for the Chinese and Indian markets where electricity costs are high. Yen also said that South America, India, Turkey and Africa are the company’s biggest markets, especially the automotive sector, while Taiwan has slipped down the scale due to moulders having moved their processing operations to China. Having generated a turnover of US$78 million last year, Yen says the company is looking forward to a higher growth of 20% this year.
Robert Yang says Jing Day will move to a new facility at the end of the year
Nevertheless, since water is wealth in the Asian system of geomancy known as feng shui, the overflow of water (however inconvenient) must have had some bearing on the company’s earnings! “Last year was better, but this year it will be not too bad,” Yang shared with PRA. The company had a turnover US$17 million in its previous financial year and this year, Yang expects 5% more. “We make about 200 machines a year and the new facility will allow us to increase our output to 250,” he added. Jing Day also has another facility in China, in Wuxi, where it makes all its models, catering mainly to the automotive market. As for its markets, the company sells a third of its output to Brazil, Thailand and Indonesia, which are growing rubber markets, with the rest going to China, Europe and Russia. One of its targets next year is to concentrate more effort on the Indian market, where it has sold 100 machines over the last ten years, mainly to the automotive, industrial and medical sectors. Of its machinery range, the high-bed JDRH moulding series, launched last year, seems to be selling well
Improved heating on Keenpro blow moulders Stretch blow moulding machine maker Kin Precision Industry Corporation dedicates a majority of its R&D efforts on the design of its machines, which are sold under the brand name of Keenpro. “This is to meet the rapidly changing market, environmental protection issues 7
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Taiwanese machinery and technology important factor for the production process, with uneven heat distribution resulting in cracks or Cost High Low over-crystallisation, with different bottle shapes subjected to varying Power Consumption High Low heat distributions. “ To m a s t e r t h e s e v a r i a b l e s Heating Pipe Distribution Complicated Simple efficiently, we utilise FEA to analyse the heating distance, energy, time Impact on environment Oil mist Clean a n d e f f i c i e n c y, t o s u c c e s s f u l l y develop the electrical heating and The above is a tabulated comparison between thermal oil and electrical oil heating temperature control technology for and the impact of the Economic Cooperation Framework our blow moulding machines,” adds the spokesperson. ◆ Agreement (ECFA) that will bring challenges as well as business opportunities to Kin,” a company spokesperson told PRA. One of its improvements is on its PET hot-fill blow moulding machinery. “By using electrical heating to replace the traditional thermal oil heaters, the temperature control has become more accurate,” explained the spokesperson. “When designing the PET hot-fill bottle mould, the bottle’s style, function, production condition and forming cycle time must be taken into account. Since the shape of the bottle is spherical, during the blowing process, the heat conduction between the mould surface and macromolecule material is the key factor of smooth forming,” he added. As such, an even heat distribution is the most Kin Precision’s high-speed stretch blow moulding machine ITEM
Thermal Oil Heating
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IMA October-November 2011 Issue feature