Taiwan machine tool industry needs upgrading to remain competitive

Island’s machine tool manufacturers faced with stiffer competition from China and South Korea.

Taiwan needs to step up its investment in machine tool industry upgrades amid increased competition from China and South Korea that is bringing about a qualitative change in the sector, according to an industry expert.

Eric Chuo, founder of Hiwin Technologies Corp., made the case for Taiwan to boost its machine tool manufacturing prowess through three approaches. These are cooperation between the industry and academia, expanded investment in research and development, and restructuring, reported CNA.

Hiwin, a major manufacturer of linear motor products, is one of the Taiwanese heavyweights that participated in EMO Hannover 2019.

Chuo said he has observed the enhanced quality of machine tools presented by South Korean and Chinese manufacturers at the exhibition. Taiwan should pursue a value-added resolution to keep ahead of the competition, he added.

Taiwan saw 2 012 workers from 26 employers placed on unpaid leave between August 1 to 15, reflecting reduced output as a result of the economic slump. Three of the enterprises implemented layoffs for more than 300 workers, including two machine tool manufacturers and one component supplier.

European machine builders hope for rapid market recovery: Uncertainty but no panic
After years of good growth, the industry is facing some setbacks this year. German machine tool builders, for example, saw 20 per cent fewer orders in the first half of 2019, said the chairman of the Association of German Machine Tool Builders (VDW). The statements made at the press conference of CECIMO, the European Association of European Machine Tool Manufacturers, were no different. Brexit, the Iran conflict, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the trade conflicts between China and the USA, the most important export markets of the German and European machine manufacturers, were named as the main causes. Although both associations do not expect a pronounced recession, the export-oriented European industries in particular are suffering from declining world trade and stagnating global industrial activity.

New report warns of automotive upheaval
One of Europe’s iconic car brands will go out of business in the next three years, according to a survey of the European automotive sector by digital manufacturing specialists, Protolabs.

More than half of respondents to The Innovation Race – a Protolabs report that explores the challenges and opportunities for Europe’s car makers – expect a big name to fall victim to the unprecedented period of change currently being seen across the globe.

Stricter environmental regulation in the coming 12 months was deemed to be the most pressing short-term concern (55%), whilst 52% believe a new entrant will disrupt the market with a revolutionary new kind of vehicle over the next three years.

The survey, which interviewed over 300 senior leaders from car makers and major suppliers including BMW, Daimler, JLR, Magneti Marelli, Volkswagen and Williams F1, also highlighted the move to the next industrial revolution, with 71% indicating that they need to adopt Industry 4.0 or digital processes in order to survive.