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Honda Shuts Automobile Production In Philippines

Honda Shuts Automobile Production In Philippines

Honda Cars Philippines (HCPI), Incorporated which produces passenger cars, BR-V, City has announced that it will stop production operations in its plant in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, effective March, 2020. The automaker has struggled to shore up global automobile operations.

According to Reuters, the automaker has seen a decline in profitability by more than half in the past two years, led by quality-related issues. However, automobile sales and after-sales service operations in Philippines will continue through Honda’s Asia and Oceania regional network.

To meet its customer needs in Philippines for reasonably priced and good quality products, the company has considered efficient allocation and distribution of resources. As such, Honda will focus and optimise efforts in production operations in the Asia and Oceania region.


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ABB Supports Growing EV Market In Indonesia

ABB Supports Growing EV Market In Indonesia

ABB hosted its “2020 Smarter Mobility Innovation Forum” in Jakarta, focusing on smart solutions to support successful adoption of electric vehicles (EV) in Indonesia. This is in support of the growing EV market in Indonesia, which is undoubtedly gaining pace, especially after President Joko Widodo issued a Presidential Regulation that will accelerate the development of EV in Indonesia, laying out government support for the EV industry in August last year.

READ: Investments worth US$900 million in Indonesia’s automotive industry

Indonesia, which is one of South-east Asia’s largest economies, registers annual car sales of about one million units. The government aims for electric vehicles to make up at least 20 percent of total domestic vehicle sales by 2025, reducing the country’s reliance on imported fossil fuels and enabling Indonesia to maximise its abundant nickel reserves, a key material for making lithium-ion batteries.

A broad range of topics related to the EV industry in Indonesia were discussed, including global trends and technology shaping the market, different impacts and benefits of smart mobility, and technical matters such as reliable AC and DC fast charging stations with robust connectivity and innovative on-demand electric bus charging systems.

READ: The Auto Industry: Roadmap To The Future

As part of ABB’s Mission to Zero, the company offers total solutions across the full e-mobility value chain, from power generation and distribution to connection to the vehicle. These efforts by ABB have provided strategic support to the government’s effort to adopt smart, reliable and emission-free mobility solutions.

“ABB has sold more than 13,000 DC fast chargers in more than 80 countries including Indonesia and the demand keeps on growing. Our state-of-the art EV charger solutions are example of how ABB keeps innovating on technologies that will help our customers and partners pursue their goals toward a zero-emission future,” said Jorge Aguinaga, Local Business Manager for Electrification business in Indonesia.


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Toshiba Spot Welding Inspection Robots Revolutionises The Automotive Industry

Toshiba Spot Welding Inspection Robots Revolutionises The Automotive Industry

Strength tests on samples taken from parts consisting of 4,000-5,000 spot welds on a vehicle are an indispensable part of the automobile manufacturing process, which is costly and time and labour-intensive. Toshiba has developed a system that allows testing to be carried out automatically by robots in a non-destructive manner, and is poised to spark a massive revolution in manufacturing in the automotive industry.

As cars become lighter and stronger in recent years, high-strength steel sheets known as ‘high-tension materials’ are increasingly being used. The properties of these high-tension materials make it hard for chisels to be inserted and returned to normal once they are deformed. The welded spots are often destroyed in the course of inspection.

Tapping on technology for medical use and power generation plants, Toshiba developed an ultrasonic testing device known as Matrixeye, the world’s first 3D SAFT (Synthetic Aperture Focusing technique) inspection equipment with phased array function. Matrixeye allows welds to be inspected non-destructively and inspection to be performed automatically by robots.

The challenge in non-destructive inspection technology was creating structures for automating spot welding inspections through robot control. The tilt estimation engine is a new technology that automatically adjusts the measurement angle of the inspection probe. Based on the ultrasound reflection data measured by the Matrixeye, it estimates the tilt of the welded part and then a robot automatically corrects the angle of the inspection probe. Through this, inspection time is shrunk from 30-40 seconds for human beings to approximately seven seconds.

As the concept of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) develops in the future, the number of public vehicles will most likely increase as well. To support this coming era, factories will be expected to put structures in place to enable them to provide high-quality vehicles in a speedy fashion. Toshiba is carrying out verification tests with a goal of launching this spot welding inspection technology within a year, and for the technology to be adopted in other fields of manufacturing too.


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Powering Additive Manufacturing With Data Analytics




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Powering Additive Manufacturing With Data Analytics

Powering Additive Manufacturing With Data Analytics

In an interview with Asia Pacific Metalworking News, Dr. Mohsen Seifi, Director of Global Additive Manufacturing Programs at ASTM International, discusses the benefits of additive manufacturing (AM) in manufacturing and the role of data analytics in AM.

Dr. Mohsen Seifi, Director of Global Additive Manufacturing Programs, ASTM International

  1. Tell us more about ASTM International, for those who may not be familiar with the organisation.

ASTM International is one of the world’s leading standards development organisations, founded in 1898.  We have 150 technical committees that oversee about 13,000 standards that are widely used around the world.  Several of those committees are in emerging industries, including one for additive manufacturing technology that now has nearly 1,000 members, known as F42.  For over a decade, this group of the world’s top additive manufacturing experts has been meeting and working through ASTM to develop groundbreaking standards that have begun to form the technical foundation for the future of additive manufacturing.  Furthermore, ASTM International has made a dramatic investment in front-end research to develop even more standards through our Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence, a network of high-profile partners around the globe which includes Singapore’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC).  Please visit our website for more detailed information.

  1. In the Industry 4.0 era, greater efficiency and product innovation are key priorities for manufacturers. How can they leverage additive manufacturing/3D printing to achieve both?

A big challenge for manufacturers is the lack of communication between stakeholders at different steps in the process chain. Smart, digital manufacturing could allow manufacturers to effectively transfer the most relevant information across all stages of product development, from designers to end-users. Additive Manufacturing is an integral part of Industry 4.0 and is an excellent technology for product innovation that could significantly reduce the time for product development through iterative design capabilities.

Also, Additive manufacturing can substantially improve the efficiency of the manufacturing process by parts consolidation. This will enhance the effectiveness of a system as a whole in terms of weight reduction, material optimisation, and reduction in fuel consumption.  For AM, digital manufacturing means integrating physical system-oriented manufacturing with digital system-oriented Industry 4.0 technologies (e.g., artificial intelligence (AI), big data, robotics, cybersecurity, and Internet of Things [IoT]). To fully unlock the potential of smart, digital manufacturing, there are still issues to address, which include cybersecurity concerns, data management challenges, and other critical gaps. ASTM uses various roadmaps to develop standards to address these gaps and to meet the industry needs.

  1. Which end-markets do you see increasing adoption of additive manufacturing?

AM has the potential to impact all manufacturing-related sectors—from aerospace, medical and automotive to oil/gas, maritime and other sectors—and we anticipate adoption will increase exponentially across the board in the next 10 years. In particular, AM holds great promise for aerospace/defense and medical applications. Both of these sectors require complex, specialised parts, which AM is capable of producing. More importantly, the demand for AM qualification and certification in these high-tech areas/end-markets is high. This is because successful qualification and certification provide end-market users with increased confidence (i.e., improvements in quality and reduced safety concerns). According to a recent survey, the three most significant challenges to adoption of AM for end-market users over the next ten years are: 1) the certification of finished parts and products, hindering its mainstream commercial uptake in the future; 2) the quality and standardisation of material inputs; and 3) unknown quality of printed components.

  1. What are the biggest challenges when it comes to additive manufacturing?

As an emerging field, the AM industry still needs a shared language and framework for addressing problems. Lack of standards is one of the biggest challenges for additive manufacturing in addition to other challenges such as lack of qualified workforce, limited availability of materials, and the lack of full-fledged certification programs. Standards provide a common reference point to help the industry avoid the time and expense of solving problems by trial and error. For example, there is an ongoing need for a better understanding of feedstock properties, methods for in-process monitoring and control, machine-to-machine variation, and rapid inspection methods for AM parts, among other topics. In addition, standards are a key enabler of the qualification and certification procedures that were mentioned above.

To accelerate the development of standards to address these challenges, we launched the AM Center of Excellence (CoE), a collaborative partnership among industry, academia, and government that integrates research and development (R&D) with standards development. By initiating R&D projects that target specific high-priority standards needs, I believe we can speed the overall advancement and adoption of AM technologies. Detailed information will be available in our upcoming external R&D roadmap, which will be released this spring. In the meantime, our annual report provides an overview of the AM CoE’s activities.

  1. Why is analytics a feasible solution?

One benefit of analytics is that it presents decision-makers with the key information required to make informed decisions. Manufacturers have access to a wealth of data about their products and processes but are not always able to use it. Analytics is a great tool to convert data into actionable knowledge that can be used to optimise product development. In the case of AM, solutions such as data-enabled material screening, build monitoring, and post-build characterisation ensure the product meets its specifications with as few iterations as possible, helping minimise production time and cost.

  1. How will data analytics make additive manufacturing more efficient?

AM generates more data than any other manufacturing field—this data has great value, but there are challenges to extracting useful information. Structuring data in a way that adheres to FAIR principles (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable) will be vital to the success of AM. Data analytics holds the key to processing and making sense of vast stores of data, which will ultimately accelerate the AM development timeline. Data analytics is a solution that cuts across all sectors and is already shaping the future of technology as we know it.

Through AI, which encompasses machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL), the AM industry can quickly decode quantitative structure/process/property/performance relationships, which is a core challenge in the AM field. For example, it is possible to use AI to sift through potential AM materials to find those with optimal properties or functionalities. AI can also enable data-driven in-situ/real-time monitoring for identifying better processes. However, to enable these data-driven advances, the AM community needs an AM data ecosystem that enables the easy and secure generation, storage, analysis, and sharing of data. ASTM and America Makes recently convened a workshop on manufacturing data management and schema to identify and prioritise challenges and potential solutions for strengthening the AM data ecosystem.

  1. What is your outlook for additive manufacturing/3D printing this year?

It is very hard to predict the future of AM because technology is rapidly changing, but I would like to see 2020 as the year of standards. There is an exciting opportunity for more integration between AM and other elements of industry 4.0, in terms of automation, robotics, cybersecurity, and big data—creating these links is a great way to connect the physical world and digital world. I believe that the best way to create synergy between these critical technologies is through standardisation to add trust. The more we can focus on developing standards, the sooner we can see these advances.


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Coronavirus Hits Automotive And Aerospace Supply Chains

Coronavirus Hits Automotive And Aerospace Supply Chains

As the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus outbreak, its impact can also be felt by automotive and aerospace manufacturers. Auto parts manufacturers across China such as Nissan, Honda Motor and PSA Peugeot Citroen, have suspended operations to keep their workers at home in order to minimise spread of the virus.

Wuhan, the capital of Hubei and the epicentre of the disease is one of the major auto-industry hubs in China—home to seven major domestic and foreign auto manufacturers, as well as hundreds of auto parts suppliers. According to China Passenger Car Association, the province produced 2.2 million auto units in 2019 which accounted to nine percent of the country’s total production.

“Carmakers will face severe parts-supply issues, something companies didn’t encounter during the SARS period,” said Cui Dongshu, secretary general of China’s Passenger Car Association. “Wuhan is the most cost competitive among China’s car-industry hubs, therefore many parts makers produce components there and supply their clients around the world.”

Automakers are expected to lose 350,000 units or about seven percent in the first quarter of the year if plants in 11 provinces responsible for two-thirds of China’s vehicle production are down until February 10, according to automotive research firm IHS Markit.

Most recently, Hyundai has halted one of its assembly lines in its South Korea factory due to the lack of auto parts from China as a result of the outbreak. The company also plans to gradually suspend production in its factories due to the supply chain disruptions—the first global automaker to do so outside of China.

Similarly, aerospace manufacturers are also affected by this crisis. Airbus has shut down an assembly line in China which is responsible for 10 percent of production for its most popular jet. The company said that domestic and international travel restrictions were posing logistical challenges for operations of its factory.

In a statement, Airbus said that they are “constantly evaluating the situation and monitoring any potential knock on effects to production and deliveries and will try to mitigate via alternative plans where necessary.”

With major supply chain disruptions in the manufacturing sectors caused by the outbreak, IHS forecasts a loss of more than 1.7 million units for the first quarter if automotive plants remain closed until mid-March. Given the unpredictable nature of the virus, manufacturers will have to remain vigilant and monitor the global situation closely.


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Toyota Strengthens Automotive Production Amidst Challenging Year

Toyota Strengthens Automotive Production Amidst Challenging Year

Thailand’s automotive market reached 1,007,552 units in 2019 according to Toyota Motor Thailand, which represents a three percent decrease compared to the previous year. This is the fourth time in the history of the Thai automotive market to hit over one million-unit level even though the market showed a sharp decline in the latter half of last year, especially from September.

2019 Market Result

2019 Sales Difference
Compared to 2018
Total Sales 1,007,552 units -3.3%
Passenger Cars 398,386 units -0.3%
Commercial Vehicles 609,166 units -5.1%
1-ton Pickups (Including PPV) 492,129 units -3.8%
Pure Pickups 431,677 units -3.4%


However, 2020 will be another challenging year for Thailand’s automotive industry. Mr. Michinobu Sugata, President of Toyota Motor Thailand projected, “We are facing with the headwinds, including the decreasing level of consumer confidence and private consumption, tightening car-loan scheme, and continued uncertainty of the global economic trends. Taking these unfavourable factors into consideration, we expect that the total market will be 940,000 units, representing a seven percent decrease from last year.”


2020 Domestic Sales Forecast

2020 Sales
Compared to 2019
Total Sales 940,000 units -6.7%
Passenger Cars 358,500 units -10.0%
Commercial Vehicles 581,500 units -4.5%


In 2019, Toyota was able to overcome the market negative growth and achieve a six percent increase in the domestic sales (accounting for 332,380 units), owing to the positive feedbacks from valued customers and the launch of their all-new model passenger car and commercial vehicles.

For 2020, Toyota will be focused on strengthening their product line-up with the upcoming models and product improvements to respond to various customer needs, while also enhancing the ownership experience of their customers from the very first day of their purchase to the end of the product life cycle.

“As the automotive industry has entered a once-in-a-century period of profound transformation, Toyota is now aiming at transforming from a car manufacturing company to a “Mobility Company” which implies a proactive engagement in all kind of services related to mobility to people in the society,” Mr. Sugata commented.

The company is committed to the creation of an Ever-Better Society through a wide variety of environment-friendly initiatives such as hybrid EV introduction in various models and providing good fuel efficiency as well as lower CO2 emissions. Moreover, to create a sustainable green society, Toyota aims to expand and transfer environment-friendly knowledge to local communities through two learning centers—“Toyota Biotope” and “Toyota Green Town Ayutthaya”.

Furthermore, to foster a sustainable economy, Toyota has helped improved businesses and develop the local economy through transferring business knowhows and practices to SMEs, under “Toyota Social Innovation” project.

“All in all, we are deeply proud to be a part of contributing to sustainable growth alongside Thai society,” Mr. Sugata concluded.


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Thailand Sets Sight On Industry 4.0

Thailand Sets Sight on Industry 4.0

Thailand is gearing up for Industry 4.0. Here’s a look at the opportunities and strengths that the second largest economy in ASEAN has to offer, and its manufacturing outlook for this year.

Thailand is the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, consistently achieving robust economic growth driven by its strong fundamentals and diverse industries. Its GDP expanded by 2.4 percent in the third quarter of 2019, driven mainly by increases in private and government final consumption expenditure and investment, according to the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI). From January to September 2019, Thailand’s economy expanded by 2.5 percent overall, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The industrial sector represents between 35 percent and 40 percent of Thailand’s GDP, with manufacturing as its main component. Top manufacturing products include automobiles and electronics products. During the first three quarters of 2019, automotive parts and accessories, and computer, equipment and parts are the country’s top two exports, according data from the Ministry of Commerce.

Thailand’s exports to the United States has somewhat benefited from the trade diversion caused by the continuing trade tensions between China and the United States. According to data from the US Census Bureau, Thai exports to the United States reached $27.77 billion from January to October 2019, up by 4.23 percent compared to the same period in the previous year. This accounted for 5.3 percent of Thailand’s total exports during the period.

Many companies in China that export to United States have relocated to ASEAN to circumvent tariffs. Thailand is the second highest recipient of the relocation, with Japanese companies being the majority, particularly in automotive parts and electrical appliances.

The impact of these relocations to Thailand will be more evident in 2020 and is expected to be among the main drivers of the country’s economy, together with greater government spending.

Dr. Djitt Laowattana

Dr. Djitt Laowattana

Gearing Up for Industry 4.0

At present, there are a lot of investments from mainland China, South Korea, and Japan, coming to Thailand, according to Dr. Djitt Laowattana, Executive Advisor, Eastern Economic Corridor Office (EEC) of Thailand. And most of them are already Industry 4.0, he adds.

“But the local industry is still not acquainted to it. We are still lagging. We are at around Industry 2.5 or 3.0, so, it is a big change in the landscape of the local industry,” says Dr. Laowattana. Based on his recent study, he notes that the necessity for implementing and adopting robotics and automation is a reality now in Thailand.

“Before, when you install one robot, the breakeven is maybe around four or five years. But now, when you install one robot, the breakeven can just be around six or seven months. There’s no need to convince factories anymore,” Dr. Laowattana explains.

EEC Infra Projects in Progress

Dr. Laowattana is currently responsible for five clusters that will be set up in the EEC: Robotics, Aerospace, Medical/Health, Digital Hub, and Biofuels/Biochemicals. “I am responsible for the investment strategy and the human resource development at EEC. We projected that for the 10 clusters, within five years, Thailand will need about 475,000 workers for the industry,” says Dr. Laowattana.

While training and education are important to take advantage of these new manufacturing and technology developments, those already in the industry will also be able to enhance their knowledge on these new technologies through trade events and exhibitions, for instance, the Manufacturing Expo 2020, which is ASEAN’s leading machinery and technology event for manufacturing and supporting industries; as well as trade publications.

The Thai government has earmarked THB1.7 trillion for the development of the EEC. One key development is the upgrading of the U-Tapao International Airport into an “aviation hub”, which will include a maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) centre.

The region currently has spearheaded three smart cities, which aims to be smart cites for logistics, financial hub and aerotropolis. According to Dr. Laowattana, when investors look at the EEC, they are not looking at it as a portal of Thailand, but as a portal for CLMV—Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

“The FDI [foreign direct investment] is expected to be about THB4 trillion for the next five years,” says Dr. Laowattana. “Right now, the investments are about THB800 billion—of which, 58% is from China, followed by Japan. We are in a good track. With the investment of THB1.7 trillion for the infrastructure and expected FDI of about THB3 or THB4 trillion for the next five years [in the EEC], anybody can compute and collate that the GDP will be up 2 or 3 percent easily.”

Evolving Manufacturing Landscape

The necessity for implementing and adopting robotics and automation is a reality now in Thailand.

The necessity for implementing and
adopting robotics and automation is a
reality now in Thailand.

Thailand’s EEC aims to promote industries that are considered to be key driving forces for sustainable economic growth. And one key area of further development is the automotive manufacturing sector.

Thailand has developed from an assembler of automotive components into a top automotive manufacturing and export hub. It ships to more than 100 countries and has an established presence of almost all the world’s leading automotive manufacturers, assemblers and component makers.

In fact, by 2020, Thailand aims to manufacture 3.5 million units of vehicles to become one of the top performers in the global automotive market.

According to Dr. Laowattana, because Thailand’s automotive industry is huge, the challenge for new technologies such as hybrid and electric vehicles (HEVs) is the development of the supply chain around it. “But because this is a global trend, we cannot avoid it. Some of the part suppliers, we have to convert them to become precision parts manufacturers for the aerospace industry. When vehicles become EVs, the precision parts of the engine will be obsolete; so, the suppliers, manufacturers of precision parts, they have to move from the automotive to the aerospace,” Dr. Laowattana says. “My responsibility is to convert them to be the parts manufacturer for the aerospace industry. And there will be a major MRO set up in the EEC. MRO will be a critical component in the aerospace cluster.”

Regarding the transition to EVs, automotive leaders such as Toyota and Honda have already applied for investment incentives for EVs in Thailand. “It seems to me that they are finally doing it, while still maintaining the traditional automotive business. They are now trying to come up with prototypes to test whether EVs and hybrid vehicles will be practical in the Thai market.”


Thailand’s economic outlook is set to pick up this year because of improving state investment after the 2020 fiscal budget is disbursed, which is set to kick off in February. Another thing to note is the investments earmarked for the EEC. Likewise, private investments are also expected to rise despite myriad uncertainties, while exports are seen to improve. In addition, TDRI notes that household consumption is expected to grow at around 3 percent in 2020.

Productivity, in particular, is expected to improve in 2020. “New players are coming; in fact, we have one of the global leaders in robotics coming to Thailand,” says Dr. Laowattana. “I think the outlook for industrial automation will be better.”

Manufacturing Expo 2020, to be held 24–27 June at BITEC, Bangkok, is set to write a new chapter in manufacturing.

Expo 2020, to be held 24–27 June
at BITEC, Bangkok, is set to write a
new chapter in manufacturing.

Such optimistic outlook bodes well for technology suppliers to Thailand’s high-tech industries, including automotive manufacturing. As Thailand gears up to enter the Industry 4.0 area, system suppliers and equipment makers will find a lot of opportunities to help Thai manufacturers upgrade their manufacturing capabilities, further improve their efficiencies and quality, and take their production to the next level.

As the world changes significantly and the manufacturing industry enters a new era where every single production process is being connected together with Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, and big data solutions, Manufacturing Expo 2020, to be held 24–27 June at BITEC, Bangkok, is set to write a new chapter in manufacturing by gathering the newest manufacturing technology innovations and solutions from 2,400 brands from 46 countries. The event aims to highlight the latest breakthroughs and changes happening in the manufacturing industry, and be the industry’s platform to further empower manufacturing development in Thailand.


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Reducing Cost-Per-Part Of Your Tools

Reducing Cost-Per-Part of Your Tools

Drilling and threading work with round tools influences approximately 15 to 50 percent of the total costs per part in the automotive industry—therefore being able to reduce costs here remains a key factor for success. Article by Walter AG.

Not only does the Walter Technology Centre present opportunities for visualisations and simulations, it also allows developers to test new solutions on the machine.

The cost per part (cpp) is the gauge by which process efficiency is measured in the automotive industry. The machining tool represents a not inconsequential cost factor in this regard. This is particularly true of solid carbide tools (round tools), which are primarily used for holemaking, milling and threading.

Estimates calculated by tool specialists Walter AG indicate that these tools already make up around half of the machining applications in the automotive industry today. Depending on the characteristics of the component, drilling and threading work with round tools influences approximately 15 to 50 percent of the total costs per part. Being able to reduce costs once again here remains a key factor for success.

Up to Speed with Automotive Industry Trends

The Walter TC 430 thread former produces tear-resistant threads under the application of dynamic force.

The transition from combustion engines to electric motors or other alternative drives, which is gaining momentum as a result of tighter environmental regulations, touches every area of the automotive industry—right up to every last detail in the production processes. Walter has been on hand to actively accompany the sector through these changes from the very start: The company presents car manufacturers and suppliers around the world with a comprehensive portfolio of tools and services, which is constantly expanding through the addition of innovative new solutions. This means the automotive experts at Walter are always up to speed with the ever-growing number of new materials. What’s more, existing tool solutions for established processes are also optimised, usually to meet customer-specific requirements, or alternative solutions are devised on the basis of new technologies.

Lightweight materials now represent a significant portion of automotive production. For instance, the proportion of engine blocks made from aluminium today is already around 70 percent—in an area of industry that until only recently still favoured traditional materials such as grey cast iron and steel. Aluminium alloys have already become the default materials for transmission cases or oil pump housings, both for chassis elements and in structural components. And with the growing trend for electric drives, we will see more and more of these alloys in use.

Seeing the Bigger Picture to Reduce Costs

Complicated machining tasks, including those involving these new materials, or sophisticated part geometries with a lot of cavities increase the complexity of the machining process and, in turn, put extreme pressure on costs. This is where the Walter machining experts come in.

“As a manufacturer of premium products with 100 years of experience, we already offer highly effective and optimum solutions for a diverse range of applications from our standard range, which comprises more than 25,000 products in the solid carbide segment alone. Walter’s expertise, or ‘Engineering Kompetenz’, however, extends far beyond the individual machining tool. We focus on the overall machining strategy and the customer’s machining process. If our experts are involved in the development of production and tool management processes from an early stage, customers will often experience efficiency gains that are felt via more than just the machining tool,” explains Gerardo Campitiello, Component Manager Transportation at Walter. “Requirements, such as making unmanned production processes safe, ensuring reproducible process reliability and quality across a company’s production sites, or making tools available at all times, can only be met by taking a holistic approach. Whether selecting the right tools from the Walter standard range or developing a special tool to meet process-specific specifications, it takes careful consideration of the full picture.”

A Quick Path to an Instantly Productive Special Tool

In the automotive industry, processes that may seem time-consuming on paper are actually completed in very tight time frames in practice. It is with this in mind that Walter establishes its own processes and structures: For instance, tools from the standard range are with the customer within 24 hours of ordering. The Walter Xpress special tool service ordinarily delivers tools, which are developed and manufactured to customer specifications, within two to four weeks. This is based on an automated 3D process, which can be adapted to suit the project in question. A dedicated in-house department (Business Applications Development) constantly monitors market trends to improve existing application solutions and develop brand new approaches. This team of engineers takes on the role of Component Managers, responsible for individual components such as engine blocks, housings, e-axle drives, turbine casings, or crankshafts. They are among the first to know about the market trends and technological advances, which is reflected in their product development work.

The new Walter solutions can be tested in true-to-life situations at the Technology Center in Tübingen, Germany: the test run on the machine incorporates the very latest visualisation and simulation technologies.

This means Walter customers in all areas of the automotive industry benefit from the in-depth technical expertise of an innovative service provider who is active the world over and is also involved in the relevant fundamental research. The company makes major investments in its own R&D projects, and in the development of its own production capabilities in areas that competitors often contract out to third parties—such as being one of the few providers on the market to have its own coating system.


 Greater Pull-out Strength Under More Dynamic Forces: The Walter Thread Former

When forming threads in ISO P materials, the process reliability primarily depends on how susceptible the thread former is to breaking. With its TC430, Walter provides a model that stands out  for its durability. The extremely long tool life of the TC430 thread former, which is suitable for blind-hole and through-hole threads, is the result of a new substrate, the geometry with more  polygons, and an innovative new kind of pre-treatment and post-treatment. The result is that, despite having more polygons, the TC430 Supreme reduces the torque by around 30 percent. This  means that the thread former is also well suited for use in machines with a low power consumption.

Walter is planning to launch another carbide thread former for ISO P materials in early 2020. The new tool has already proven its exceptional properties in ongoing field tests. Designed for blank holes and through holes of up to maximum 3.5xDN, it demonstrates twice the tool life of comparable formers, and enables the reduction of power consumption on the spindle by more than 30 percent.




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Philippines Automobile Sales Grows 3.5 Percent In 2019

Philippines Automobile Sales Grows 3.5 Percent In 2019

According to a joint report by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (Campi) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA), Philippines Automobile Sales experienced a 3.5 percent growth in 2019, selling nearly 370,000 units. Campi and TMA member-companies sold 369,941 units in 2019, an increase from 357.410 units in 2018.

The sale of commercial vehicles increased by five percent from 248,390 units in 2018 to 260,744 units in 2019, accounting for 70.5 percent of total sales. While sale of passenger cars grew 0.2 percent from 109,020 units in 2018 to 109,197 units in 2019.

Auto sales in December gave the final push, as data showed that 33,715 units were sold in the last month of 2019, up by 5.5 percent from the 31,945 units sold in the same month in 2018.

The report also showed that Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. (43.79 percent share) remained the market leader last year, followed by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (17.32 percent share), and Nissan Philippines Inc. (11.54 percent share).

According to Campi President Rommel Gutierrez, the growth was a “welcome relief” for the industry. “The year 2019 has been challenging for the industry due to various internal and external factors. Thankfully the industry’s collective efforts, supported by sustained economic growth, have paid off,” Gutierrez said.

“We will not rest on our laurels as we aim for further growth in the coming months, and hopefully for the whole of 2020,” he added.


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Sutton Tools Discusses Automotive, Aerospace Trends

Sutton Tools Discusses Automotive, Aerospace Trends

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News sat down with Jeff Boyd of Sutton Tools to talk about trends and opportunities in the cutting tools market, and some of the product innovations at the company. Article by Stephen Las Marias.

Established in 1917, Sutton Tools is a family owned company manufacturing cutting tools for the metal cutting industry. The company supplies tools to end-user markets including automotive, medical, mining, power generation, aerospace, defence, and the oil and gas industries. Founded by William Henry Sutton, the company is currently managed by the fourth-generation Sutton family.

At the recent EMO Hannover 2019 trade fair in Germany, Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News sat down with Jeff Boyd, export manager at Sutton Tools, to talk about trends and opportunities in the cutting tools market, and some of the product innovations at the company.

Tells us about yourself and your role in the company.

Jeff Boyd (JB): I have a background in product engineering and technical R&D. That kind of matured into a more of a technical role in the field. In 2011, I headed up to Singapore, where I ran the company’s operation and distribution centre. I was there for nearly five years, running the Asian markets. Currently, my role is to support our teams globally, and bring the necessary market information back to our head office to support our production facility.

We offer a wide range of solutions for the metal cutting industry. We have a division in Europe, based in the Netherlands, which supplies the European region; and then from our Melbourne, Australia headquarters, we are very focused on the Asian market, where we supply various engineered cutting tools, to increase the end-users’ productivity. We have salespeople located in all the major markets in Europe and Asia. And for a company our size, that’s probably where we mainly focus on. In these markets, we have a particular focus on aerospace machining of difficult high strength materials and automotive tapping.

What challenges are you seeing in the industry?

JB: Every market has a different challenge. If I bring it down to one thing, it is finding the right people in those markets. People that are engaged in the market, and have very good relationships, because, we know we have a very good, very stable product at a competitive price and the right quality. But at the end of the day, you really need the right people that you can trust to be able to really find the right solution to offer the customer, to bring the benefit to the customer; to bring these products to them.

What opportunities are you seeing in southeast asia?

JB: I would say Southeast Asia has a very strong aerospace/aviation market. Our experiences and successes in the machining of titaniums and Inconels, particularly in the French aerospace markets over the past few years, have allowed us to leverage this knowledge and open up a number of new opportunities for Sutton Tools in Southeast Asia. That said, automotive tapping applications in Thailand and Indonesia is also of particular interest, when it comes to thread forming of forged steel components.



What can you say about e-mobility?

JB: We have a number of customers, particularly in China, for electric vehicles (EVs), and, you know, a lot of materials there are silicon-based aluminium. We have very good solutions for producing threads when it comes to forming taps for those materials. As the internal combustion engine is seeing a demise, we are focusing on EVs, and diversifying our offer; focusing from an engineering point of view on those materials necessary to produce the electric vehicles.

What products are you highlighting here at the show?

JB: We are highlighting industry-based solutions here, so we have a program for super alloy materials for the aerospace industry. In terms of machining, we have a very good carbide grade and geometry ideal for high metal removal rates with dynamic type machining strategies. We have done a lot of independent testing with our tools, and we have about three sales guys in south of France supporting the market there for the subcontractors to Airbus, which is really seeing a lot of growth in the market, particularly this year. That’s a very important area for this exhibition for us.

But we are also showcasing some new products ready for 2020. We’ve recently purchased some new equipment to produce extra-long series carbides drills. We’re releasing a range of 15xD, 20xD and 30xD carbide drills in 2020, as well as a lot of our taps for automotive tapping applications.

The cutting tools market is very competitive. what makes your products unique in the market?

JB: Sutton Tools is flexible in the way we go about our business. We really like to work with the customers, and the end-users. We are very focused on talking to the end user, understanding what their challenges are, and we try to be flexible enough to offer a solution in that way.

You mentioned you were in philippines recently. what are the opportunities you are seeing in that market?

JB: I was in the Philippines for the PDMEX 2019 event, to support our distributor there. We have a couple of aerospace customers and a few automotive customers in the Philippines. It is kind of similar, the aerospace companies based there are very much machining exotic materials including titanium; and we have a very good relationship with them for many years. There are also quite a few automotive customers, again for tapping. And they are our two strengths, really. We like to do things really well, and we put a lot of our resources into supporting the brand.


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