Thu, Mar 09, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Tongtai to commercialize 3D tech

PROFITABLE PURCHASES:The company aims to grow annual sales by 5 percent, after reporting a 4.3 percent increase last year following the acquisition of two firms

By Kuo Chia-erh  /  Staff reporter

Tongtai Machine and Tool Co Ltd (東台精機), one of the nation’s leading machine tool makers, yesterday said it would commercialize its 3D printing technology this year, setting an annual sales target of NT$200 million (US$6.48 million).

Headquartered in Kaohsiung, the 48-year-old company is the world’s second-largest maker of processing systems for printed circuit boards after Japan’s Hitachi Via Mechanics Ltd.

Tongtai said it would be able to manufacture 3D metal printing equipment through collaboration with US-based Optomec Inc, a system supplier for 3D printed metals and printed electronics.

“3D metal printing equipment is expected to be Tongtai’s next sales catalyst,” company spokeswoman Lulu Yen (嚴璐) said at the Taipei International Machine Tool Show.

The high-end equipment could be widely used in the aerospace and medical device industries, further broadening Tongtai’s global customer base, she told the Taipei Times.

Apart from developing new products, Tongtai is also working on a capacity expansion project.

The company’s new plant in Kaohsiung’s Lujhu District (路竹), which cost nearly NT$600 million, is to start operations next month, Tongtai said.

The new plant is to mainly manufacture large, high-priced machines for customers in the aerospace industry, it said.

Revenue from aerospace companies constitutes nearly 10 percent of the company’s total sales, while sales to automotive companies accounts for about 50 percent, company data showed.

The firm has an annual sales growth target of 5 percent for this year and expects sales in the overall machinery industry to continue increasing, Yen said.

Tongtai last year posted sales of NT$9.78 billion, up 4.3 percent from the previous year, on the back of its acquisition of two European companies.

In 2015, Tongtai acquired a 100 percent stake in France-based PCI Scemm and Austria-based Anger Machining GmbH as part of efforts to increase its presence in the global market.

Taiwan’s machine tool industry was gloomy last year, with machinery exports falling 1.7 percent annually to US$21.1 billion, due to a global economic slowdown and the depreciation of the Japanese yen.

However, this year’s machinery exports are expected to grow 10 percent amid a recovering global economy, the Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry (台灣機械公會) said.

More than 1,100 Taiwanese machine tool makers are taking part in the show, which is to run through Sunday.

The event is forecast to fetch orders valued at US$1.5 billion, the association said.

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