TMTS 2018 – Activating the Future
Held in the second week of November in Taichung, TMTS 2018 created a new record in terms of exhibitor participation and visitor footfalls.
To simplify the purchase procedures and accelerating the matching between sellers and buyers.
As the Cathay Pacific jet banked sharply to the left on its final approach to land at the Taoyuan International Airport near Taipei, the capital of the small island nation of Taiwan, a number of container cargo ships could be seen heading to the calm blue waters of the open seas from the Taipei port. Taiwan ranks sixth among the countries of the world that have the largest trade surplus, which means it exports more than it imports, and was rated as the world’s 18th largest trading economy in 2017. The country is the 7th largest machine tool manufacturer in the world and the 5th largest exporter, indicating its manufacturing prowess.
As over 700 companies gathered in Taichung – reputed to be the world’s only machine tool and accessories cluster – for the 2018 edition of the biennial Taiwan International Machine Tool Show (TMTS 2018, November 7-11), the mood among domestic exhibitors was upbeat with the 2018 Q3 figures indicating a rise in exports to 9 out of the top 10 destinations, Germany being the sole exception with a small single digit decline. Occupying a whopping 91,000 sq.m of exhibition space across 4 Halls and 4,300 booths, TMTS 2018 created a new record with an increase of 8% over the previous edition. Launched in the year 2010 and now in its 5th edition, TMTS is jointly held by Taichung City Government and Taiwan Machine Tool & Accessory Builders’ Association (TMBA) – the apex body of machine tools and accessories manufacturers of Taiwan. The theme of the 2018 edition was ‘Manufacture Linking • Activate the Future’.
As the world’s only exhibition ‘integrated with manufacturing supply chain’, TMTS allows buyers to personally visit the factories – almost all located within the Greater Taichung region – and witness the production process onsite, further simplifying the purchase procedures and accelerating the matching between sellers and buyers. In fact the organisers in the run up to the event encourage overseas visitors to book the pre-arranged factory tours organised during the event to give them a complete experience of the smooth functioning of the supply chain. The fact that TMTS is timed to be held immediately after JIMTOF – Japan’s mega show for the machine tool industry – is no coincidence. It is a carefully thought out decision to facilitate overseas visitors to cover both the events, with just a small detour.
Among the dignitaries present at the inaugural ceremony at the Greater Taichung Expo Centre were Mr Lai Ching-Te, the Premier of Taiwan Executive Yuan; Mr Lin Chia-Lung, the Mayor of Taichung; Mr Yen Jui-Hsiung, Chairman of Taiwan Machine Tool & Accessory Builders’ Association; and the Heads of Machine Tool Associations of major manufacturing countries like Japan, Germany, South Korea and Switzerland – all with strong ties with Taiwan’s machine tool industry. In his speech the Premier noted that Taiwan machinery industry output exceeded USD 1 trillion in 2017, an 11% increase over the previous year. Machine tools form the largest chunk of the machinery segment and its growth was higher at 14%, and the Premier exhorted the industry captains to develop highly customised machines through joint efforts within the close and compact supply chain to achieve the goal of smart manufacturing for the future.
“In recent years, Taiwan’s machine tool makers have embraced immense success in developing new machine models, and expanding the overseas markets. Known for their high quality and reasonable prices, along with the trend of smart manufacturing, the global demand has boosted Taiwan’s machine tool exports. Until the third quarter of 2018, export value of Taiwan's machine tools has reached US$ 2.3 billion, a 13.3% growth compared with that of the same period last year, and the market demands continue to rise,” said Mr Yen Jui-Hsiung, speaking at the inaugural ceremony. “I am grateful for the first-time-ever participation of many prominent international companies from Europe, the USA and Japan, including FANUC – the global leading CNC machinery and robot manufacturer; DMG-MORI – the world's largest machine tool manufacturing group; MAZAK – Japan's top machine tool factory, and Hexagon Metrology – Sweden’s primary measuring instrument manufacturer, etc.,” he added.
Later addressing the members of the international trade media specially invited to cover the show, Mr Yen Jui-Hsiung dwelt on issues that are of concern to Taiwan’s machine tools industry vis-à-vis its major export markets, led by China, USA and Turkey. While the first two were affected with the double blow of slowdown and growing competition, the most hit were exports to Turkey triggered by the currency crisis. Mr Carl Huang, Secretary General of TMBA added that the Taiwan-Turkey Business Association is watching the situation closely, given the fact that it is an important market with its proximity to the Middle East as well as Eastern Europe. India, which is 4th on the list of the largest exports, appears good, though. The strong demand has also led to a longer waiting period as the lead times for critical components like ballscrews/linear guides in some cases extend to as long as a year, but there were also positive actions like HIWIN increasing its capacity for ballscrews. For the record, Taiwan is the world’s third largest exporter of ballscrews.
Replying to a question on the extent of ‘smartification’ of the machines, Mr Yen Jui-Hsiung replied that it is not a single solution but more a matter of the technology being available as different companies follow different strategies. It also depends on what exactly the customer wants and machine tool makers have to customise the product accordingly. But smart and connected machines is the future and it will also benefit the SMEs, he noted.
As the 5-day show came to an end, a total of 86,777 visitors made it to the 4 halls of which the overwhelming majority were domestic business visitors, but nearly 4000 came from abroad, from all parts of the world including India. But that is the present trend where high technology trade shows of international repute are popular destinations for technocrats. With a renewed focus on efficient manufacturing in view of the smart factory trends and smarter machines being produced, all the recent machine tools shows – the IMTS in Chicago, EuroBLECH in Hannover, JIMTOF in Tokyo, and now TMTS 2018 in Taichung – attracted record visitors, indicating the ever present relevance of such large scale events with international participation.
Pix1: Mr Lai Ching-Te (centre), the Premier of Taiwan Executive Yuan, flanked by Mr Lin Chia-Lung (L), the Mayor of Taichung and Mr Yen Jui-Hsiung (R), Chairman TMBA and other dignitaries at the inauguration.
Pix2: MAZAK – Japan’s top machine tool factory, was among the exhibitors at TMTS 2018.
Pix3: TMTS 2018 was the largest international machine tool show in Taiwan this year.
Pix4: Mr Yen Jui-Hsiung, Chairman, and Mr Carl Huang, Secretary, TMBA, addressing the international media.
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