There is no doubt that Taiwanese machine tool manufacturers are producing quality equipment and are striving for excellence.
The Taiwan International Machine Tool Show (TIMTOS) displayed row after row of advanced equipment aimed at aerospace, automotive, oil and other high precision industries. Multi-axis machines, mill-turn machines, robotics, conversational controllers, educational machines were machining away.
Machine tool builders in Taiwan are typically small businesses and are often family owned but they manage to succeed at R&D. How can these little companies afford to invest in innovation? The government's belief in growth through manufacturing plays a major part in supporting their industrial base, but let's not forget the driven and entrepreneurial nature of this culture. Their efforts are paying off, the capabilities and sophistication of the machines keep on increasing despite global competition, despite the general decline in machine tool world sales and despite cheaper players in emerging economies.
Whatever the secret is, it's working. Research centres like the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) are leading this cutting edge industry and are helping put Taiwanese companies on the map.
"Most Taiwanese machine tool builders and controller manufacturers that we talk to, have either worked or collaborated with ITRI in some way." says Mike Nicholson, Sales & Marketing Director at MachineWorks. Moreover, ITRI has helped many of MachineWorks' customers to integrate MachineWorks simulation software on their CNC controllers.
Machine tool manufacturers lacking software resources but with the desire to be at the forefront of technology have formed technical partnerships with ITRI to develop machine tools equipped with MachineWorks software that simulates any type of CNC machining and detects clashes and gouges in the full machining environment in real time. This allows operators to find any programming errors before any machining takes place and to monitor cycles throughout the actual machining.
During TIMTOS, the Nangang Exhibition Centre gathered an impressive concentration of machine tools showing full machine simulation and collision detection fully integrated within the CNC controller's software. Among those brands with MachineWorks software inside were Goodway, Tongtai, Vision Wide, Quaser, Dahlih, YIDA and Feeler from the FFG group.
The Taiwanese machine tool industry proves that small business can be innovative too.
See MachineWorks real time simulation on CNC machines in Taiwan at http://bit.ly/16zttCR
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