TAIPEI, TAIWAN — For years, Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group has been the world's largest contract manufacturer for electronics, with more than 1 million employees worldwide churning out smartphones, tablets and gadgets for nearly every company in the global computer industry.
Now it wants to sell you an injection molding machine.
The Taipei-based manufacturer used the opening day of the Taipei Plas show Sept. 26 to publicly launch its new business selling all-electric injection machines.
True to its reputation as a tight-lipped organization, executives were cautious when speaking about future plans.
In an interview in their booth, they said they're starting small, with a factory in the industrial city of Taichung in central Taiwan.
But given Foxconn's manufacturing expertise and huge resources — with 2013 sales of $131.8 billion — it's bound to be a closely watched entrant into a crowded field.
At the show, its Foxnum Technology Co. Ltd. subsidiary presented its FAE series all-electric machines ranging from 50 tons to 450 tons clamping force, with injection speeds of up to 350 millimeters per second, targeting precision manufacturing markets including medical, packaging and electronics.
The company has been manufacturing the machines for internal Foxconn Group use since 2009, but this was its first trade show. Executives said they believe Foxconn's knowledge gained from working with demanding customers like Apple and Dell will give Foxnum a leg up in understanding what the broader market needs.
As well, they said they plan to focus on offering complete manufacturing lines, including “Foxbot” robots, also made by Foxnum, on display in the booth.
“Because our technology is made by ourselves, all the injection molding technology is made by ourselves, including the software, we can integrate all the peripheral equipment and match the customers' needs,” one company executive said. “And we can adapt immediately.”
Another aspect of Foxconn's corporate culture — its secrecy — was also on display, in what made for a somewhat unusual trade show interview.
The three managers interviewed in the booth all spoke on condition they not be named, even to discuss molding machines. Foxconn's strict policy only allows for Chairman Terry Gou to speak to media, they said.
Foxnum's molding machinery business is a miniscule part of Foxconn's overall business. They say they've sold between 100 and 200 all-electric machines internally to Foxconn since 2009.