A Taiwanese research partnership to make all-electric injection molding presses said it has developed key components to make Taiwan-built machines, which industry officials said would let local press makers be more competitive against high-end Japanese and European electrics.
Tainan, Taiwan-based press maker Fu Chun Shin Machinery Manufacture Co. Ltd. earlier this month announced it will unveil the results of the T$120 million (US$3.84 million) research project when it introduces a 50-ton electric press at next month's Taipei Plas show.
Several other Taiwanese press makers involved in the research alliance have said they also will introduce machines built with technology from the joint development project. Multiplas Enginery Co. Ltd. in Taoyuan, for example, said it used the project's technology in horizontal and vertical all-electric models it plans to unveil at Taipei Plas, set for Sept. 18-22 in Taipei.
The research, done under the auspices of the Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry in Taipei, is designed to free up Taiwan's press makers from needing to buy costly licenses for foreign technology, often from Japanese firms, to build electrics.
The alliance has developed Taiwanese technology to make servomotors and ball screws, which could make Taiwanese machines 30 percent cheaper than comparably performing Japanese machines, said Tony Liu, FCS research and development manager.
The lack of local technology has been a handicap for the Taiwanese industry. Taiwan, which is among the world's largest machinery production bases, was finding itself without homegrown alternatives in the growing electric press market.
FCS feels that its new electrics will be able to compete with Japanese and European machines on performance but Taiwan needs time to prove itself in the field, said John Hsieh, vice manager of FCS' global logistics.
``Our machine technology is as good as the Japanese companies, but only the product image, the brand name of the Japanese, is much better than the Taiwan machine maker,'' he said. ``So we need time to build up our machine reputation.''
The FCS machine uses a two ball-screw design with a servomotor, and R&D manager Liu said the firm is applying for a patent for the design.
The company plans to focus initially on Taiwan and mainland China, and then expand to Southeast Asian and South American markets, targeting the computer, communications and consumer electronics industries, Hsieh said. Electric presses could account for 20 percent of FCS' sales in the future, he said.
Like many other Taiwanese firms, FCS tried to develop electric press models, earlier this decade, using key components from Japan, but the machines cost nearly the same as Japanese machines, so the project never took off, said Liu.
``That is the reason we have this alliance to develop the Taiwan-made electric machine,'' he said.
FCS plans to focus initially on electric models under 200 tons of clamping force, and depending on customer reactions, could expand to 300 or 350 tons, Liu said.
Multiplas Vice President David Chang said his company will present its new electric models, a 90-ton horizontal and a 155-ton vertical press, at Taipei Plas. Chang said the research project is a significant step forward for Taiwanese firms.
``Right now we are doing the final testing,'' he said.
Another alliance member, Victor Taichung Machinery Co. Works Ltd. in Taichung, said it plans to release an electric press at Taipei Plas using technology from the research partnership, but a spokesman would not delineate. Victor Taichung is one of the few Taiwanese firms that sold all-electrics before the alliance began. The new model will have a wider platen and injection speeds of 400 millimeters per second, the company said.
Other alliance members are servomotor supplier Teco Electro Devices Co. Ltd. in Taoyuan, and stretch blow molding machine maker Chum Power Machinery Corp. in Taichung Hsien.