Taiwan continues to have the corona crisis well under control. One industry that is developing particularly well, alongside IT and electronics, is the machine tool industry. It is one of the pioneers when it comes to intelligent manufacturing solutions and automation. Geared to the production requirements of an Industry 4.0, we present three companies with their developments that have also become indispensable in other countries.
Author: Dipl.-Ing. Nicole Steinicke, editor-in-chief, World of Industries, Industrial Automation
Campro Precision Machinery Co., Ltd. was founded in 2003 and since then has continuously developed into a CNC machine tool manufacturer that can compete with the big players. The recipe for success is based on a high level of customer orientation. This means that the machines are developed very close to the needs of the market. This is also confirmed by the long-standing and trusting cooperation with many business partners and customers.
Due to the advancing globalisation and the increased requirements, Campro has concentrated on the development and production of CNC machine tools in the middle and upper segments in recent years. This is where the company saw the greatest potential to remain competitive. Modern simulation tools and the experience of the employees allow a precise analysis of each machine tool model, so that, based on this, the product lines can be constantly optimised and thus meet the new requirements in terms of stability, rigidity, precision, efficiency and reliability. The company is thus one of the manufacturers of high-quality CNC machines with a balanced price/performance ratio. We take a look behind the scenes and talk about the special features of the company.
With which machines and systems are you successful on the international market?
We offer 5-axis machining centres as well as a modern lathe/milling lathe concept. Both products can be used as a flexible manufacturing system and as a robot system for automated production and are characterised by high performance and long-term accuracy. The optimised manufacturing process as well as our sophisticated cell module design were awarded the 2021 Taiwan Excellence Silver Award and the 2021 Taiwan Excellence Award.
With your professional staff as a basis and a common goal, you have defined “six key work areas“. Is this the secret of your success?
We see the key to success in promoting a positive working environment. People are at the centre of Campro’s corporate culture, quality, service, product development, sales, production management and production. With this, we define the six most important work goals and also support the promotion of talents. We are also expanding green spaces, implementing energy savings and environmental protection, and helping employees to perform their work in a pleasant environment.
You offer a so-called tooling management system. What is behind it and what benefits does it bring?
Our Campro Tooling Management System is a digital inventory management solution that can reduce human error by 90%. The benefits: easy replenishment, 24/7 service, instant alarm system, tool recycling, data analysis and inventory management. It helps companies safeguard their tooling inventory, reduce downtime and increase labour productivity.
Next-generation machines are driving the development of smart factories. For example, do your machines have controllers with ‘deep learning’-enabled AI?
We invest huge resources in IoT research and today it has reached the point where our machine collects machining data such as tool wear and forwards it directly to the central monitor. In addition, our machine can record alarm messages and report them to a manager via text. Deep Learning is a long-term development that will benefit CNC machining by increasing operational capacity and avoiding unnecessary downtime.
Industrial 5G is paving the way for trendsetting applications in the industrial environment. How far along are you here?
Our manufacturing system runs on an internet communication framework. Industrial 5G will help our system achieve greater reliability and extremely low latencies. We are therefore focusing on solutions that help our customers use robots in production, for example.
The supply of steel, electronic components and other raw materials remains tight. How do you deal with this?
These are serious problems! We speed up delivery times by being conservative in our raw material procurement forecasts and by controlling our production processes according to strict criteria. This makes our machine tool industry very resilient!
“Teamwork and technology goes hand in hand in our machine tools.”
The global company Axile develops and builds smart 5-axis high-tech machining centres (VMCs) equipped with state-of-the-art automation technology. The target market is manufacturers of complex parts and components in aerospace, tool and mould making, medical technology and general contract manufacturing, among others. They do not have to choose between high-speed and high-performance 5-axis machines.
Because by combining agility, digitalisation, automation and a new standard of machining process, Axile has created a whole new approach: Agile Smart Machining. In short, our team of industry experts combines ultra-high metal removal rates, maximum precision and 24/7 production reliability in every single Axile 5-axis machine. The Axile service and support network spans nearly 50 countries with more than 70 distributors in Asia, Europe and the Americas, as well as a service centre in Croatia. And the end of an expansion is far from sight. Reason enough to take a closer look at this company, especially in the field of smart automation solutions.
You are one of the largest manufacturers of high-end machine tools in Taiwan. What machines do you develop and manufacture – what makes them stand out?
We offer a wide range of products, from small 5-axis machines to large machines. The size is defined based on the working capacity of the machine. The product ranges include our G-series, a high-quality vertical machining centre in gantry design, which is characterised by precision and very high removal rates and is used for complicated and difficult cuts in all types of metal. Our DC series is defined as a large 5-axis machining centre suitable for aerospace, power generation and mould making applications.
And with our automation series, we cover most customer requirements, for example as a motorised pallet changer (MPC) or a robotic pallet changer (RPC). What’s more, Axile machines are also ready for fully digitalised, intelligent automation! Supported by our patented SMT and AR technologies, Axile’s digitalised automation solutions redefine the world of work, increasing operational efficiency and productivity. In short, with our Digitalized Intelligent Automation brand, we are setting new standards in smart manufacturing.
Axile is at the forefront of smart manufacturing solutions. What is so special about it when we think of reliability, digitalisation and automation?
We call our concept “Digitalised Intelligent Automation”. This means we combine our machine systems (MPC, RPC) with advanced machining technologies such as SMT and automation solutions such as ART, enabling manufacturers to achieve significantly shorter lead times and flexible and optimised production. Our intelligent system allows users to check the real-time status of the machine at any time on mobile devices. By using the OPC UA protocol and compatibility with the umati (Universal Machine Technology Interface) platform, our automation solutions can be easily integrated into an ecosystem of third-party products, solutions and systems.
To enable agile, intelligent manufacturing and a higher level of degree of automation, you have developed the ART monitoring system. What can this system and what benefits does it bring in practice?
ART monitors all wear parts in real time, energy consumption and fluids such as lubricants and coolants. This makes it possible to make well-founded decisions at an early stage that optimise operation and production efficiency. The focus is on reliability maintenance (RM), the manufacturing process (MP) and energy management (EM).
1.) The ART Reliability Maintenance function provides complete transparency for machines and components, ensuring consistently optimal performance. Sensors in the machine identify necessary repairs and prevent potential failures.
2.) Furthermore, insight into the real-time status of CNC machines is crucial for efficient production. The Manufacturing Process application, part of the ART monitoring system, provides this important transparency by collecting and analysing data on machine status and the production schedule of each machine.
3.) The third point is energy efficiency, which is becoming increasingly important in manufacturing. To reduce costs, the ART Energy Management application provides round-the-clock monitoring of energy consumption. This allows machine operators to make daily adjustments to machine operation and thus achieve the best possible energy efficiency.
Countless awards testify to your innovative strength, including the Taiwan Excellence Gold Award 2021, which you received for Axile Smart Automation. Tell us: What makes a total solution for smart manufacturing?
Our innovation strength is clearly in the area of digitalised and smart automation, consisting of a range of innovative pallet changing solutions and flexible manufacturing systems supported by our proprietary SMT and ART technologies. In this way, we increase efficiency in the manufacturing industry many times over, especially in the use of high-end 5-axis machines in the aerospace, automotive and medical technology industries. And that is exactly what distinguishes our machines.
It’s always good to have a perspective. What goal are you striving for?
From our point of view, the future of the entire ecosystem lies in digitalisation. Axile is therefore not only dedicated to research and development in the field of digital management solutions, but also in the areas of digitalisation of production processes, quality control, sales monitoring, and personnel and office management. Our goal is to achieve a global market share of 10% for 5-axis machines in 2027 and to be one of the leading suppliers of high-tech machines on the world market.
“To stay ahead of the competition – and to stay ahead – you need an agile mindset.”
Machine tools that optimise themselves, follow the trend of digitalisation and enable almost any machining and application in many different variants – this is what the name Quaser Machine Tools Inc. stands for. The company was founded in 1991 by Mr Edward Shar and Mr Samuel Shieh and has always been based on the two pillars of quality and service (Quaser) and is complemented by continuous design innovations.
Not only commitment and determination led to success, but also the establishment of long-term partnerships with renowned OEM and international distribution partners. Subsidiaries in Taiwan, China, Switzerland and the USA as well as a worldwide sales and service network speak for the success in the machine tool industry. And to ensure that it stays that way, the employees are continuously trained and further educated.
This is the only way to maintain the high productivity and efficiency standards in production and to secure competitive advantages in the global machine tool industry. Not to forget research & development, which is a high priority for Quaser. The latest CAD software and finite element analysis software is used in machine design, leading to cutting-edge technology in vertical, horizontal CNC machines through to 5-axis mill-turn machines and entire manufacturing cells. We take a look behind the scenes and think tank from Taiwan.
Your machine tools are high-performance and are characterised by high availability. Is this due to your so-called Quaser technology? What is the secret of your successfully established machines in the market?
Through Quality Service we know who we are. Our values are defined by our customers. Our core competence is module design and the sale of complete solutions. The same casting, the same spindle, the ATC or the same chip conveyor can easily be used in our different machine models. This not only simplifies management, but also makes assembly much easier. We also put together specific machine packages based on the requirements of our major customers. This avoids the complicated á la carte selection of machines and accessories.
Through a higher degree of automation, operating costs can be operating costs can be reduced. How do you meet this do justice to this task?
Our HX504/HX505 series CNC milling machine cells for automated metalworking offer high productivity at low cost. With 8 or 14 pallets, they are designed for mixed production with a variety of different tasks. They are highly flexible, making them perfect for small batch production of a wide range of different products with frequent changeover requirements. They are also ideal for unattended machining, for example during night shifts.
Digitised processes provide important information about a machine and the production process. The prerequisite is the use of software that supports real-time communication. Do you offer this possibility?
Yes, we offer this possibility with our software IQS (Intelligent Quaser Software), which I would like to briefly describe to you below with its features:
- condition monitoring and machine data display in real time
- statistical analysis of all machine conditions and utilisation
- seamless data transfer between CNC controls and the Management Center
- Online system diagnostics of the machine including components
- Pre-programmed service and maintenance recommendations
Real-time production management with statistical data collection
To protect their trade secrets and data, more and more of our customers are using their own software. We are therefore preparing for solutions that are IoT-ready and provide the appropriate interfaces!
“Create a link between the real and virtual production” – an interesting guiding principle. What do you mean by that?
Our machine is designed using modern 3D CAD software, for example the clamping device, the tool cutter and other components. We have gained a lot of experience in the field of so-called adaptive feed control, load control and active damping control and are therefore able to simulate the result very accurately even before the real machining. This gives the operator the certainty that his machine settings are correct. This helps to avoid reworking and unnecessary costs.
You work with international partners such as Siemens, NSK and Heidenhain. Can you give us a few examples?
We value the cooperation with German partners very much and maintain our trade relations. For example, our 5-axis milling machines of the UX series (UX500) have an integrated temperature-controlled cooling system for the powerful main spindle drive from Siemens. In addition, these machines are equipped with the highest expansion level of the Heidenhain TNC 640 control for fast 5-axis simultaneous machining. In addition, we supply customised brake carriers for BMW motorbikes. Through this cooperation, we achieve a high level of CNC performance.
“We offer continuous design innovation for the machine tool industry.”
Source: Campro Precision Machinery Co., Ltd.AXILE Machine, Taiwan, QUASER MACHINE TOOLS, INC.
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