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For decade years, Taiwan used to be known to the world as the “Kingdom of Hand Tools”. Wresting with mounting material price and less favorable cost, Taiwan has been seeing its global market share steadily erode. In 2003, her gave up the throne to China. As competition in the Hand Tools market has become truly international, Taiwan manages to battle back with renewed vigor. Although with little hope to reverse the trend and to regain the dominance, Taiwan is gaining ground in high-end low alloy steel tool products, special-purpose Hand Tools for medical equipment. In the help of digital data analysis on the torque against users, the local participants successfully incorporate new technology in developing more user-friendly Hand Tools products such as impact wrenches and the like. In 2007, there are four high value-added products launched, including thin-wall sockets, high-torque sockets, high-strength shears & pliers. The above-mentioned products target to increase extra 3~5% added value. Generally speaking, the average added value rate created by Taiwan firms reaches over 35%, superior to 30% of general international level. Taiwan’s participants make efforts not only on the R&D of new tech, new items, higher added values but also on methods for RoHS Enforcement Guidance Document, hoping to conform to the ecological standards and regulations in Europe and other regions.
The industrial upgrades on tech are proven as seeing the increasing unit prices of exports, on the basis of US$5.6 per kilogram, much higher than those made in China at US$ 2.3 per kilogram. The price still tends to move higher year after year. So far, the local participants consume 200,000 tons steel annually to turn out US$ 1.63 billion worth of sales, second to US$ 2.31 billion of China. Island’s Hand Tools products are highly export-oriented while 92.4% of output for oversea markets, mainly to U.S., accounting for 36% of the total output, and for mechanic maintenance use.
China plays collaborating part as well as challenging one for Taiwan. In 2005, China imported US$64.5 million worth of Hand Tools s, or 28.7% of overall imports from Taiwan, followed by Japan, US$38.6 million or 17.1% and Germany, US$37.6 million or 16.7%. The stronger-than-expected domestic demands are contributed to booming housing sector and increasing homeowners, who now have more pastimes to do house decoration and remolding. Currently, the Industry has fundamentally full-built as a complete production system from upstream to downstream, mainly located in Zhejiang, Sichuan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Shanghai, Guangdong, and Tianjin. By statistics, Taiwan has over 5,000 tool manufacturers have set up the factories in China. Some of them are flexible to make use of the respective edges across the strait to maximize their capability, efficiency, customer service and the ability to win more orders from overseas markets.
In 2005, China exported US$2.3 billion worth of Hand Tools s, soaring 26.1% as compared to the level of 2004. Major export items include Hand Tools sets, pliers, nippers, screwdrivers, household tools, hammers, sledge hammers and circular saw blades, etc. 30.6% Hand Tools s made in China were shipped to U.S. China and Taiwan grab more than 60% of U.S. Hand Tools import market. The market share is still inching up year after year. As DIY market is really on fire, there will be a bright outlook ahead.
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Fastener demands are subject to the boom-bust cycle of global economic climate. Generally speaking, more industrialized, more fasteners needed. The demands will rise with increases in construction activity and manufacturing output, particularly in production of motor vehicles, aircrafts, electrical /electronics, appliances, furniture/office equipments and other equipment in which fasteners are essential components. Industrial fasteners are generally classified as standards, specials, or proprietary designs, in members fundamentally of bolts, screws, socket screws, cap screws, studs, nuts, washers, blind rivets, pins, inserts, tapping screws, machine screws, set screws, SEMS, and rivets and special industrial fasteners. Non-threaded standard fasteners continue to outsell other types in fastener family spurred by growth in global construction expenditures and backed by stepped-up spending for aircraft and military equipment in many areas. Nevertheless, the sales of application-specific fasteners soar at a faster pace than the standardized products and more OEMs replace non-specialized items with application-specific designs.
Recent innovations and improvement on fastener design spotlight on new generations of self-locking and self-sealing fasteners. The newest generation of self-locking fasteners threaded highlights a promising future for manufacturers seeking for the fasteners with greater strength and reliability, achieved by reduced product weight, heightened joint strength, better resistance to vibration, temperature extremes, axial-torsion loading and less material fatigue. Lately, there is a new look in fastener family called flexible fastener. It looks like a normal bolts or screw, except the shank is composed of a flexible material such as nylon or steel cable, which allows the bolt to bend or flex laterally, yet not stretch axially. The fastener can be used to secure surfaces various types of surfaces either non-parallel or non-aligned where compliance is needed, owing to production or construction errors.
Fastener are big business. World fastener market scale is predicted to reach US$46 billion in 2006, up 4.8 % than the previous year, and to hit US$55 billion by 2010, boosted by forthcoming economic expansion within the developing nations of Asia Pacific Rim, Mideast, Latin American and Eastern European regions. Robust growth will also be seen in India, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, Turkey and Russia. The growths in the above-mentioned areas tend to outpace those in the US, Western Europe and Japan. The price war of fasteners continued for several years, which made many industrial players struggle to live out. Recently, the price competition is somewhat eased, not as fierce as in the previous years.
U.S. Fastener industry operates nearly 350 manufacturing facilities with 40,000 employees. Every year, there are over 200 billion fasteners consumed mainly by the miscellaneous industries of automobile, aircraft, appliances, agricultural machinery and equipment, and the construction of commercial buildings and infrastructure. Among them, 26 billion pieces are used solely by the auto industry. In recent years, growth in fastener demand slow down as manufacturing output and construction spending moderate. However, U.S. is still the biggest buyer of fastener products. The country imports more than US$3 billions worth of fasteners from China, Taiwan and Japan annually.
China consumes 9% of world demands and surpasses Japan as the second largest fastener market in the world behind the US. At present, there are nearly 8,000 fastener enterprises in China. In the first half of 2006, the export value of China fasteners totaled 1.229 billion US dollars, or 40% of the national fastener output. Invariably, price maintains a crucial factor in decision-making. Buyers from the EU, the US and Australia prefer to buy more affordable fasteners made in China. Local enterprises are working on transfer the low-end bolts and nuts under the property class of 8.8 to the higher-ends of property class from 6.8 to 10.9. Since fastener technology has been relatively mature in China, the significance of differentiation has been constantly discussed. Recently, China government promotes local enterprises with “Made by China” program, namely by resorting to brand strategy, international standards such as GB, DIN, JIS and IFI, etc. and well-known certifications to overall upgrade the industry from labor-intensive low-ends to tech-based, value-added high-ends. ISO 9001 or ISO/TS 16949 is essential certification required to improve the quality, service and logistics.
Taiwan exports more than 90% of the Fastener it produces every year. Nowadays, Taiwan has shifted from mass production mode to customized service provider. Proprietary design fasteners are made to the patented designs, licensed to several manufacturers, for threads, drive types, head types, locking devices, points, etc. For industrial upgrading, the quality-uplifting financing program of US$875,000 was officially approved by the government, aiming to boost its exports of automotive fasteners to 40% of its total export from current 20% in two years. Meanwhile, the program hopes to increase retail price from about US$1.9 per kilogram on average, barely of 40% of the average price of Japan-made products to US$2.2 per kilogram in 2009 and US$2.87 in 2014.
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Security sector has been boomed for years, dancing with increasing public concern on security issue. Industrial players are brainstorming to develop brand-new and more innovative security systems for buildings. Popular is integrated concept, namely the hybrid of mechanical Security technology, electronic access control, video monitoring, fire alarms and intruder detector systems.
However, the mechanical locksets, safes and vaults are still widely used in new buildings or for remolding purpose. In PRACTICAL WORLD Cologne, we were convinced that electronic security systems function more as a complement than a replacement for mechanics. New mechanical locking technology aims at improved burglary prevention. For instance, the solution comes in innovative reversible key systems with security features, compliant with the rule of “one key for all doors” and keys that provide enhanced protection against moisture and temperature fluctuations, making them suitable for use in cold-storage facilities or dockyards. Lock cylinders are made more resistant by building appropriate locking tools into the cylinders. With regard to safeguarding escape routes, self-locking locks with built-in panic function are one of major focal points. The safes of user-friendly interfaces become mingled with interior designs, which are setting a trend away from mechanics towards mechatronics or electronics.
The biometric identification technology, basically fingerprint identification and facial and iris recognition emerges to be used on security systems, highly promising and potential in near future. Non-contact electronic control systems in use of transponder technology ensure the optimized comfort and humanist way of recognition. Biometric components now comprise only 1% of all components used in admission control systems, however, it is expected to increase to as much as 10% in a few years. The biometric-based Security system will be spurred by the rising identification demands in banks, large IT companies, where high security is required and international airports against ubiquitous terrorist activities.
The designs of mechanical security systems focus not only on the pure functional aspect, but also on aesthetic properties. Although brass is still a significant material for locks, used to beautify the appearance of overall systems, stainless steel grows more popular to render a sense of clean-look and contemporary. Special surface treatments grant diversified attractive variants. There is a comeback of classic designs, especially on bronze locks. Exquisite designs can be frequently seen on door handles and furniture fittings.
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INDUSTRIAL FASTNERS are generally classified as standards, specials, or proprietary designs, in members fundamentally of metal bolts, nuts, screws, rivets, washers, formed and threaded wire goods and special industrial fasteners. Standard fasteners are mass-produced, and typically cold-headed threaded parts.
China is the fastest-growing supplying nation in this field thanks to the advantages of cheaper labors and raw materials, along with land acquisition. Special fasteners are usually based on standard designs, yet sometimes incorporate non-standard tolerances, pitch and diameter combinations, drives, lengths, etc. or made in assigned requirements on alloys or separate secondary operations including drilling and punching.
Taiwan has shifted from mass production mode to customized special fastener supplier. Proprietary design fasteners are made to the patented designs, licensed to several manufacturers, for threads, drive types, head types, locking devices, points and more.
fasteners are big business. For instance, every year, U.S., the biggest buyer, consumes over 200 billion fasteners. And automobile industry alone uses 26 billion pieces in 2005. The booms of fasteners industry in the Asian Pacific Rim, mainly Taiwan, Japan and China enable these countries to expand exporting territories to U.S., Mexico, Canada, Europe, and South America. In 2004, the consumption of fasteners in U.S. reached $9,878 billion. Total imported value of $3,065 billion worth of fasteners was primarily from Taiwan (US$1,715 billion), Japan (US$501 billion), and from China (US$421 billion). Oncoming global consolidation and acquisitions make large companies even bigger. This enables them to devote to the development of highly engineered, technologically advanced fasteners and offering value-added customer services such as “just in time” (JIT) delivery and customer-designed or specialized design/engineering services.
BEARINGS are basically used to ease friction between moving parts or to carry load in certain industries such as those that handle materials. They can be broadly categorized into two segments, bimetals and anti-friction bearings. There are four main types of bearings, including ball bearings, cylindrical roller bearings, taper roller bearings and needle roller bearings.
Bearings are generally regarded as a barometer of the country’s technical advancement since they function as the backbone of the national industrial future.
Bearings are largely used in automobile industry, followed by general engineering, electrical industries, heavy industry and railways industry. The materials used to manufacture bearings vary from conventional steel to ceramics, brass and plastics. The most common material used to produce bearing rings, balls and rollers is alloy steel conforming to specifications SAE 52100. Still, this standard material is also distinguished by if it can render prolonged life span and improved quality on purity and oxygen content.
In response to ever-changing market demands, industrial players focus on developing bearings with reinforced compactness, reduced weight and noise, greater speed capability, higher accuracy, longer life, and better performance such as on extremely low and high temperatures and vacuums. In addition, bearing suppliers are also ready to provide technical supports to customers from development to mass production in meet their specific needs throughout all stages.
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The packaging machinery industry is closely relevant with the boom and bust of the consumer goods industry. A rise in the demand for consumer goods is commonly reflected on the sales of packaging for these products and, therefore, in turn benefiting packaging machinery players. Currently, mounting environmental awareness, problems of waste disposal, a growing scarcity of raw materials and the consequent statutory regulations, are demanding a fast response from all industrial sectors, especially in packaging machinery arena. In response to the up-and-coming recycling concept, packaging machinery manufacturers must be prepared to invest in continual development of their products and technologies.
In China, the major exports included food grinding machines, mixer, juice extractor, food and beverage makers, cereal and bean processing machine. By the statistics, the largest growth lay in diary product processing and brewing equipment.
Thanks to the improved living standard and gradual shift of eating habit, the sales of food packaging machinery in China will continue to increase in the on-coming years. By a survey, in 2005, the overall demand is expected to hit RMB65 billion, highly potential as compared with the existing market scale of RMB30 billion, marking an average growth of more than 12 percent every year.
Fueled by growing proportion of food industrial output value, probably up from the current 0.3-0.4 percent to 0.5-1 percent, more and more industry players target Chinese market, seeing the coming years as hay days to expand their market share.
Rising meat consumption will boost the demand for meat processing in the food industry from the present four percent to 10 percent with the output reaching 6 million tons, together with the improved proportion of grain processing from eight percent to 15 percent and with the processing volume peaking 82.50 million tons. Meanwhile, the output of sugar will climb to 10 million tons in 2005, the output of diary products, 800,000 tons, various feed, 27 million tons, liquid milk, two million tons, edible oil, 30 million tons, and tin food, 3.80 million tons.
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Nowadays, cars and light trucks aim to entertain and inform drivers and passengers, not merely transport them from one place to another. Car owners, familiar with iPods, Blackberrys, handheld video players, portable games and so on, expect their vehicles to cater to their miscellaneous “infotainment” needs. Modern gadgets carry features to make navigating easier. The latest GPS devices are miles away from the old handheld ones. In help of speech recognition, drivers can speak commands to the GPS without having to take their hands off the steering wheel. If they are driving at a significant speed, or in heavy traffic, they don’t have to take their eyes off the road because voice prompts will navigate them. Some devices even can be linked to a driver’s mobile phones, and voice calls can be made using the GPS as a hands-free gear. Read the following news via Dialog NewsEdge to find more new techs on automotives.
Sizzling Portable Navigation Devices (PND)
In a release, Research and Markets noted that report highlights include:
Globally, the satellite navigation system is still a nascent industry with market penetration of only 4 percent and this offers lucrative opportunities for all the players in the supply chain of this industry. Western Europe and North America are the potential markets for Portable Navigation Systems, a technology/medium for automobile satellite navigation system. However, still these two regions remain massively under-penetrated with Europe’s satellite navigation penetration currently stands at only 15 percent and in North America at 4 percent. Since, the satellite navigation industry has low barriers to entry; the list of entrants is long and growing. But there are only a few leading players that have dominance in this industry.
The Thinnest GPS Unit in the Industry
Wireless News via NewsEdge Corporation:
Magellan has announced a second generation of its Maestro series of portable vehicle navigation devices that will feature the thinnest GPS units in the industry. Designed to be pocket-sized for easier portability, the new units feature a streamlined look and functionality built into a new, sleeker industrial design. At only 17.8 mm thick and just 82.5 mm tall, the new Maestro packs dozens of advanced mapping features and bright 4.3-inch or 3.5-inch QVGA screens into the industry’s most compact, portable auto navigation units.
Automotive Hard Disk Drive Shipments to Rise by Fie times by 2013
M2 PressWIRE via NewsEdge Corporation:
The explosion of digital multimedia infotainment systems in cars is prompting auto makers to adopt Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) for storage and playback of music, video and other digital content. Shipments of HDDs for automotive infotainment systems are expected to reach 16.6 million units by 2013, nearly five times the 3.5 million in 2006. Automotive HDD shipments will rise at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 25.1 percent from 2006 to 2013, making hard drives the fastest-growing storage solutions for cars in the coming years. The attached figure presents iSuppli’s forecast of shipments of HDDs and other storage formats for automotive infotainment applications.
Audio Streaming Bolsters Automotive Bluetooth
Wireless News via NewsEdge Corporation:
The migration of Bluetooth for music streaming into the automotive and portable navigation markets is increasing automotive Bluetooth adoption, reports Strategy Analytics. In fact, the research firm noted, this wireless technology is set to account for 94 percent of in-vehicle communications system shipments by 2013, according to a new Strategy Analytics report, “Automotive Bluetooth: Heat Unit Integration and A2DP Present New Opportunities.” Over the last 12 months, key product trends were emergence of audio streaming via the Bluetooth Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP), Bluetooth integration on embedded automotive infotainment systems and an increase in portable navigation devices offering Bluetooth hands-free functionality.
Satellite Radio Increases 26%
Wireless News via NewsEdge Corporation:
“Nearly 40 percent of consumers report having satellite radio capability in their new-vehicle’s audio system-marking a considerable increase from 26 percent the previous year, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study released. Additionally, 94 percent of owners indicate that their satellite radio is factory or dealer installed-increasing from 92 percent in 2006. “Buyers want the latest technologies included in their new vehicle’s audio system, and the increase in market penetration is a reflection of auto manufacturers’ response to consumer demand,” said Allison LaDuc, senior research manager of automotive product quality at J.D. Power and Associates. “New and redesigned vehicles-particularly those within the luxury segment-are increasingly being equipped with the latest multimedia features, including satellite radio, MP3/auxiliary output and navigation systems. Market penetration for these audio features will likely increase as time goes on.”
Adding NIR Capability to Portfolio of Single-Chip Automotive
Wireless News via NewsEdge Corporation:
“The NIR capability significantly improves functionality for automotive safety and security applications while allowing OEMs and automotive manufacturers to simplify system designs and reduce the overall system bills of material. The new night vision capability is made possible by the development and successful implementation of a number of process-level enhancements that expand the sensor’s spectral light sensitivity up to 1050 nanometers, the equivalent of NIR sensitivity. This enhanced sensitivity enables OmniVision sensors to perform object detection in complete darkness with the support of only a few very low-power LEDs and allows automotive cameras to see both beyond and outside the range of a vehicle’s headlights.”
Increased MEMS-Based Applications in Automotive Industry
Wireless News via NewsEdge Corporation:
“Demand from end-user markets such as automotive, medical and consumer electronics spurs growth in the world microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors markets, reports Frost & Sullivan. The consulting company said that its new analysis, World MEMS Sensors Markets, reveals that the market earned revenues of $1.6 billion in 2005 and estimates this to reach $4.2 billion in 2012. “Demand from key applications such as electronic stability control (ESC) and tire pressure sensors in the automotive market will likely drive the MEMS sensors market,” notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Prashanth Venkatesh. “Regulations passed by the U.S. highway and safety authority that mandate the installation of tire pressure sensors, also fuels demand. Moreover, environmental and legislative mandates increase the need for fuel-efficient cars, thereby supplementing demand for sensors in the automotive market.”
Simultaneously, the adoption of inertial sensors for the purpose of adding functionality and safety in devices such as mobile phones, gaming devices and e-notebooks, drives growth in the consumer markets.
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Fastener Industry Up 5% Per Year Through 2007
Industrial fastener demand, usually dancing with the pace of industrialization and business circle of the world, is predicted to climb no less than 5% every year through 2007 to over $11 billion. Generally speaking, the demand will be spurred by robust growth in durable goods production and building spending. Accelerating global economic growth will also contribute to help speed in aftermarket fastener demand, even though improvements in fastener quality will somewhat curb maintenance/ repair /operations sales growth. Building sector, electrical and electronic equipment manufacturing will enjoy the fastest growth in end-use markets for fasteners.
Standardized industrial fasteners will continue to govern overall product demand. However the sales of application-specific fasteners jump at a prompter pace than other standardized product types while more OEMs take the place of non-specialized items with application-specific designs. In the other hand, demand for aerospace-grade fasteners is predicted to soar at better-than-expected rate through 2007, fueled by new momentum in aircraft production as global economic climate bodes well military expenditures keep climbing. Recently, innovations and improvement on fastener design focus on new generations of self-locking and self-sealing fasteners, which can be installed without the use of tools and fasteners fabricated from advanced alloys, composites and plastic materials. As more reinforced plastics are successfully developed and launched, plastic fasteners will be widely applied in a growing number of settings.
Global Valve Demands to Rise 5.5% Through 2007
Global demand for industrial valves is predicted to climb 5.5% per year through 2007 to over US$60 billion. The growth momentum is specially attributed to the blooming macroeconomic growth in the developing regions of Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. The markets in the US, Japan and Western Europe, although not very prominent in performing, will also show slight improvement. Rising fixed investment levels will boost most valve consuming sectors and strengthen underdeveloped infrastructures in these regions.
Die-casting Hardware Boosted from Auto Sector
Die-casting is a process to form metal shapes from molten material, in most cases, typically nonferrous metals such as aluminum, magnesium, and zinc. Die-casting processes include sand casting, precision investment (lost wax) casting, and permanent mold casting. Generally speaking, the major market for die-casting is the automotive industry. Especially smaller electric motors calling for the application of die cast aluminum housings and end covers, further promote the usage of die-castings. Additionally, for further development of the die casting industry, production scale is of prime importance for industry players. However, the prerequisite for a large production size is large investment. The automotive industry is surely a strong support. In recent years, attention has been paid to the development of large capacity die casting machines, bringing up hot chamber machines accordingly.
Variety Uses of P/M, Powder Metallurgy
The basic P/M process uses pressure and heat to form precision metal parts and shapes. Powder is squeezed at room temperature by itself in a rigid precision die into an engineered shape like a gear. After the mass of powder is squeezed into a shape and ejected from the press, it is fed slowly through a special high-temperature controlled atmosphere furnace to bond the particles together. In contrast to other metal forming techniques, P/M parts are shaped directly from powders while castings are formed from metal that must be melted, and wrought parts are shaped by deformation of hot or cold metal, or by machining. P/M parts are used in a variety of end products such as lock hardware, garden tractors, snowmobiles, automobile engines and transmissions, auto brake and steering systems, etc. New Developments include improved manufacturing processes and commercialization such as metal injection molding: (MIM), rapid solidification, P/M forging, spray forming, high temperature vacuum sintering, warm compacting and both cold and hot isostatic pressing. The use of P/M hot forged connecting rods in automobiles and a P/M camshaft for automobile engines. The use of P/M composite camshafts in auto engines and main bearing caps, and stainless steel ABS sensor rings and exhaust system flanges. New submicron and nanophase powders for cutting tools and other specialized applications.
Bearings, Small Parts Big Use
Bearings belong to a major component in a machine to reduce friction and, simultaneously maintain the expected precision and stability while machine working. By statistics, the size of global bearing market approximates US$30 billion every year. Coming in over ten thousand kinds, bearings can be found everywhere in a gear from small drivers, motor cars, conveyors, electrical machinery to big ships. Fundamentally, bearings are composed of two parts: sliding bearings and rolling bearings. The most frequent-used bearings are linear bearings, connecting bearings, ball bearings, roller bearings, trust bearings and needle bearings. The precision quality of bearings depends on hardness, wear rate, mechanic strength and stability along with concentricity, sphericalness and roughness. In these years, the users of conventional ball bearings and roller bearings have been gradually upgraded to ball guide bars, linear bearings, connecting bearings and oil-less bushings. Some higher-level bearings should resort to the help of technicians. King-size bearings for steel-making or petrochemical industry are heavily installed and traced by technical suppliers. The popularity of NC/ CNC machine tools and automated warehouse systems provides a stable-growing background for bearings industry. The up-and-coming trends follow the advantages of high precision, high speed, compact size, lightweight, maintenance-free and durability.
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Tech Trend Watch
To cope with changing business environment, technical modernization is a sustaining challenge in all sectors of industry. As we saw in EMO Hannover 2005, process integration and reconfigurability make automation practicable and liable for large-scale users. Here, the concepts are elaborated on integrated system, for instance, machines equipped with robots, image processing systems and sophisticated materials handling capabilities, namely combining as many processing steps as possible in single gear to enable fast changeovers, thus allow numerous different products to be dealt with. Multifunctional gears not only provide optimized user-friendliness but also reduce machining times and the associated logistics, meanwhile with greater precision, enhanced productivity and space-saving advantage. The new robot application for bending tubes simplifies the programming of such automated installations by offering the same controller interface for all elements in the production line from the robot to the machine, meaning that the robot no longer required to be instructed.
Spurred by the up-and-coming nanotechnologynanotechnology, micro machining makes high-precision machining possible on larger workpieces from the tool and mould construction sectors. Surface qualities of fifty nanometres are now utilizable and workpieces no longer need to be polished in some cases. The minimum tools applied in micro machining have a diameter of 30 ?gm for drills and 100 ?gm for milling cutters. Still, machining with such tools is workable merely with modern and adapted machine concepts delivering a corresponding temperature control and superior damping properties. The greater precision makes miniaturization and microproduction possible with considerable future potentials. At the same time, it also largely raises process reliability.
Rapid prototyping and rapid tooling are significant in shortening the time to market of new products. Advanced and integrated coating techniques involve the sensor -based monitoring of machine components, the automatic correction of tool wear as well as remote information and diagnosis functions via mobile phone, the Internet and other communication media.
Global Market Watch
Japan is the world’s largest maker and second exporter of machine tools. According to Japan Machine Tool Builders Association (JMTBA), the orders in 2004 at $11.4 billion soared 45% from the year before, hitting the third largest level after the bubble economy years of 1990 and 1989. Exports surged by 38% thanks to the recovery of machine tool demand in the United States and Europe, besides the expansion in China and the emerging markets including East Europe. JMTBA predicts that overseas orders in 2005 and 2006 at $10.64 billion and $11.11 billion, respectively.
Germany is known as a major technology leader in the arena, also the world’s largest exporter and second producer with a 20% share of the market. In 2004, German machine tool makers sell 60% (or US$5.6 billion worth) of their machines outside the country. Exports grew by 10% in 2004 while domestic sales rising by 4%. In spite of the strength of the euro, overseas orders climbed by 25% during 2004, while domestic customers merely placed 11% more orders. China contributes to the biggest buyer of German-made machine tool, accounting for 17% of foreign demand and 13% of all exports. And the USA, the second biggest customer has been undergoing structural market changes. It was not until 2004 that exports began to increase again. An average 65,000 employees were employed in 2004, about 3% or approximately 1,900 employees less than the previous year. According to German Machine Tool Builders’ Association (VDW), a 4% growth in production is expected for 2005.
Italy remains the third producer and exporter and the fifth consumer in the world machine tool market with export up 17% to US$2.29 billion and imports up 4% to US$0.97 billion. In 2004, Italian machine tool builders experienced an increase of around 13% in their index of aggregate orders, yet mostly from foreign buyers. In the first quarter of 2005, the overseas orders placed to Italian builders of metal working machine tools have marked a 4.6% increase compared to the same period in 2004. However, the domestic market is still stagnant with extremely low value of the index, 30% lower in comparison with that of the base year.
China is the world’s biggest buyer of machine tools, followed by the USA, importing US$5.78 billion, hitting a 39% increase in 2004. Famous as so-called “world factory”, China has been in great demand for machinery products in recent years. In 2004, the consumption of metal -working machine tools reached US$9.46 billion. The country consumed 70,000 units of CNC metal-cutting machine tools, including 47,000 units of domestic-made CNC metal-cutting machine tools. At present, there are more than 2,055 machine-tool-specific enterprises. The domestic builders manufactured a total of 389,284 units of metal-cutting machine tools, a rise of 35.9% over the previous year; 51,861 units of CNC machine tools (+49.8%); 4,354 units of high precision machine tools (+75.3%); and 7,151 units of large-type machine tools (+72.0%).
Taiwan machine tool builders exported $2.29 billion worth gears, marked as world’s No.4 supplier. In 2004, 36.3% of exports were for Mainland China market while 17.9% were for the US market. In fact, the machine tool industry is one of the island’s largest industrial sectors. Among major products, there were 9911 units (+153%) of NC lathes manufactured; 26,636 units (+122%) of non-NC lathes; 1,147 units (+199%) of NC drilling machines; 33,104 units (+138%) of non-NC drilling machines; 1,951 units (+105%) of NC milling machines; 27,673 units (+117%) of non-NC milling machines; 86,751 units (+101%) of bench grinders and 191,007 units (+122%) of sawing machines.
South Korea exceeds US$2.0 billion, recording a brisk performance for the past three years, spurred by investment in production facilities by the major manufacturing industries such as automobile, ship building, telecommunications, and electronics. The current size of the Korean market of imported machine tools is valued at US$1 billion, accounting for 40-50% of total market share. Korea’s metal working sector explains 25% of the total machine tools market share, followed by the automobile industry at 24%, the general machinery sector at 22%, the electronics industry at 11%, and the ship building industry at 5%.
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The personal protective gears are comprehensively designed to protect people from chemicals, airborne particles, bio-hazardous and any other hazardous threats while working or being exposed to a crowded place. In past years when SARS still overshadowed the world with fatal infection, myriads of masks and respirators in the shelves had been snapped up by skittish people as an ultimate self-defense measure. Now as bird’s flu quickly spreads worldwide, people begin to consider wearing masks to secure them from the list of victims. Personal protective gears such as goggles, face shields, safety glasses, or full-face respirators, half-masks must be used when a potential hazard exists. In a workplace, the protective gears chosen for specific work situations depend upon the nature and extent of the hazard, the circumstances of exposure and personal needs.
Respirators, or industrial mask look a little like gas masks, yet there isn’t any eye protection and filters are not so complicated. Fundamentally, respirators guard the users in two ways: by the removal of contaminants from the air or by supplying clean respirable air from another source. However, respirators should only be used as a “last line of defense” as engineering control systems are not feasible. Commonly, respirators have two kinds: full face and half-mask. Full-face respirators offer the best guard against general dust, chemical and smoke. And in use of half-face ones, respirators have not to focus on the advantage of comfort and user-friendliness at the expense of eye protection. For clear sight, polycarbonate or Trivex lens provide the optimized impact protection in prescription safety glasses.
A special kind of hospital mask, called the “N95 ” could be also function to keep us from the most biological agents. The mask, matching with gloves and protective clothing, is recommended for those who handle people infected with bio-warfare agents or deadly viruses. Nevertheless, these wouldn’t absolutely fend off chemical agents or viruses.
According to National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH, chemicals with low volatility may readily penetrate the skin barrier, may be highly toxic, and may tend to bio-accumulate within exposed persons over time. Gloves provide resistance to chemical permeation and adequate protection for skin as wearing. A wide spectrum of materials is used for making gloves such as natural rubber, polyvinyl chloride, butyl rubber, nitrile, or neoprene. Optimal materials should be comfortable to wear, good tactility, unfragile and easily accessible and affordable.
Goggles provide better impact protection and greater defense against dust, chemical splash and welding light than conventional safety glasses. Goggles for splash or fine dust isolation should have indirect venting. To reduce fogging in use, direct vented goggles grab a big chunk of market share. Safety goggles launched in the wake of ski type goggles with higher air-flow are efficient to lessen fogging.
Face Shields render full-face protection for spraying, chipping, grinding, and critical chemical or blood-borne jeopardy. The can be tinted or metal coated for heat and splatter protection. The curve of the face shield will direct particles or chemicals from the side into the eyes.
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For decade years, Taiwan used to be known to the world as the “Kingdom of Hand Tools”. Wresting with mounting material price and less favorable cost, Taiwan has been seeing its global market share steadily erode. In 2003, her gave up the throne to China. As competition in the hand tool market has become truly international, Taiwan manages to battle back with renewed vigor. Although with little hope to reverse the trend and to regain the dominance, Taiwan is gaining ground in high-end low alloy steel tool products, special-purpose hand tools for medical equipment. In the help of digital data analysis on the torque against users, the local participants successfully incorporate new technology in developing more user-friendly hand tool products such as impact wrenches and the like. In 2007, there are four high value-added products launched, including thin-wall sockets, high-torque sockets, high-strength shears & pliers. The above-mentioned products target to increase extra 3~5% added value. Generally speaking, the average added value rate created by Taiwan firms reaches over 35%, superior to 30% of general international level. Taiwan’s participants make efforts not only on the R&D of new tech, new items, higher added values but also on methods for RoHS Enforcement Guidance Document, hoping to conform to the ecological standards and regulations in Europe and other regions.
The industrial upgrades on tech are proven as seeing the increasing unit prices of exports, on the basis of US$5.6 per kilogram, much higher than those made in China at US$ 2.3 per kilogram. The price still tends to move higher year after year. So far, the local participants consume 200,000 tons steel annually to turn out US$ 1.63 billion worth of sales, second to US$ 2.31 billion of China. Island’s hand tool products are highly export-oriented while 92.4% of output for oversea markets, mainly to U.S., accounting for 36% of the total output, and for mechanic maintenance use.
China plays collaborating part as well as challenging one for Taiwan. In 2005, China imported US$64.5 million worth of hand tools, or 28.7% of overall imports from Taiwan, followed by Japan, US$38.6 million or 17.1% and Germany, US$37.6 million or 16.7%. The stronger-than-expected domestic demands are contributed to booming housing sector and increasing homeowners, who now have more pastimes to do house decoration and remolding. Currently, the Industry has fundamentally full-built as a complete production system from upstream to downstream, mainly located in Zhejiang, Sichuan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Shanghai, Guangdong, and Tianjin. By statistics, Taiwan has over 5,000 tool manufacturers have set up the factories in China. Some of them are flexible to make use of the respective edges across the strait to maximize their capability, efficiency, customer service and the ability to win more orders from overseas markets.
In 2005, China exported US$2.3 billion worth of hand tools, soaring 26.1% as compared to the level of 2004. Major export items include hand tool sets, pliers, nippers, screw drivers, household tools, hammers, sledge hammers and circular saw blades, etc. 30.6% hand tools made in China were shipped to U.S. China and Taiwan grab more than 60% of U.S. hand tool import market. The market share is still inching up year after year. As DIY market is really on fire, there will be a bright outlook ahead.
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