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The 25th for TIMTOS

This slideshow includes images and information about new machining technology I spotted at this year’s TIMTOS trade show in Taiwan.

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TIMTOS, Taiwan’s Taipei International Machine Tool Show, held its 25th edition in March. It is currently the world’s fifth-largest machine tool show and Asia’s second largest, this year attracting more than 47,000 visitors and 1,015 exhibitors in 5,411 booths over its six-day run. Three-quarters of this year’s exhibitors were domestic Taiwan equipment manufacturers.

The show is organized by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) and the Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry (TAMI). TIMTOS is spread over four separate sites: one at the Nangang Exhibition Hall, two at the Taiwan World Trade Center and, for the first time, one for metalforming equipment at the Yuanshan EXPO Dome. Most of the machine tool builders are located at the Nangang site, although shuttle buses are available to transport attendees between all four of the sites.

The first TIMTOS I attended was in 2011. This year marked my third trip to see the show. Each time, the president of Taiwan, Dr. Ying-Jeou Ma, attended the opening ceremony and toured the Nangdang show floor, recognizing the important role that manufacturing plays in Taiwan’s economy. In fact, John Hsu, TAMI chairman, believes Taiwan’s machinery industry (machine tool builders and machine parts manufacturers) will reach NT$1 trillion (US$3.17 billion) by the end of this year, making it one of only three Taiwanese industries to reach that level of annual sales.

Alan Lu, TAMI’s machine tool committee chairman, says the U.S. market continues to offer opportunities for Taiwanese machine tool builders. However, he recognizes that manufacturers in the States are looking toward advanced equipment especially in industries such as aerospace, automotive and energy. Mr. Lu feels Taiwan builders must continue to develop equipment with specialized functions to make greater inroads into these markets, rather than general-purpose machines. He also recognizes the impact that “big data” and Industry 4.0 will have on manufacturing, believing that the Taiwanese builders have the IT advantages to keep up with the specifications of “smart machines” and necessary peripherals.

In fact, I have noticed that the level of machining technology at TIMTOS has increased over the years coinciding with a larger presence of automated demonstrations. For example, Tongtai presented seven new machines at the show wrapped in more contemporary enclosures. This included a hybrid machine that combined traditional subtractive machining functions with additive and workpiece hardening capabilities. The company also offered an ultrasonic machine for exotic materials such as ceramics. Wele offered a vertical turret lathe with tooling to enable machining of large gears as an alternative to dedicated gear-machining equipment. You-Ji displayed a vertical turret lathe, too, having both vertical and horizontal rams. CHMER’s linear motor EDM technology on display is said to be the first available from a Taiwanese builder.

The slideshow below includes images and information about these and other new machining technology I spotted at this year’s show.