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Stand Tools Sees Challenges & Opportunities in Higher-end Markets

Apr 23, 2015 | By Quincy Liang | STAND TOOLS ENTERPRISE CO., LTD.

Taiwan's hand-tool industry has developed steadily for many years to become a recognized player in the international market for high-quality, innovative and reasonably priced products for global users, especially in the professional and industrial application segments.

Despite its solid foothold in the global market, Taiwan's hand-tool industry still faces challenges ahead, not so much from low-cost competitors as from difficulty of growing and taking market share in high-end markets and upgrading technologically to meet niche needs while taking on international brands.

One person who foresaw this looming challenge before most is Brand Hsiao, marketing director at Stand Tools Enterprise Co., Ltd., who sheds light on how Taiwanese hand-tool makers can advance in the new business environment they face ahead.


Stand ToolsFounded in 1988, Stand Tools is an internationally reputable tool manufacturer with a broad line of products including ratchet screwdrivers and magnet-integrated products, such as multifunctional holders, boxes, hangers, sweepers, trays, and related products. Besides having won a dozen awards from the Taiwan government for excellent R&D, the company is also a leading original design manufacturer (ODM) of hand tools in Taiwan.

With a solid position in the global ratchet and magnet-integrated tool market, the company's younger-generation management decided to steer the firm in a new direction a few years ago, which would guide Stand Tools towards becoming the world's leading manufacturer of high-end digital torque wrenches.

Stand Tools launched its first micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) sensor-integrated digital torque wrench in 2009, after long-term R&D efforts dating back to 2000. Sales of the new product have been growing rapidly, especially in China, as the company continues to introduce new models.

TAF-Certified Torque Testing LabOne of the essential things when upgrading added value of a product is to provide trustworthy testing documentation for customers to prove our digital torque wrenches actually provide reliable level of precision. Many tool manufacturers might opt to invest more in product styling and functionality upgrading, which are correct and necessary, but the investment in setting up a Taiwan Accreditation Foundation (TAF) certified lab is more fundamental, Hsiao says.

Stand Tools was the first hand tool manufacturer in Taiwan to set up a TAF-certified lab with torque testing devices, Hsiao says. He firmly believes excellence in digital torque wrench technology hinges on the precision and accuracy of the torque force applied.

Stand Tools offers high-end digital torque wrenches approved by the company's in-house TAF-certified torque testing and calibration lab.

The company's TAF-certified Testing & Calibration Lab follows all ISO:17025 standards and local laws. Above all, Hsiao stresses, accuracy in torque wrenches helps to ensure product safety. For example, improperly torqued fasteners on carbon-fiber bike frames can undermine structural strength to result in sudden breakage due to vibration. By building an internationally-recognized testing and calibrating lab, Stand Tools can perform tests more efficiently and at lower cost than to outsource such services.

Hsiao says that it took two years to build and equip the lab. The TAF is the only national laboratory accreditation institute in Taiwan that assesses local organizations by evaluating competency in specific certifications, calibrations, testing and inspections, as well as providing proficiency testing services.


World's Next Biggest MarketHsiao's other observation of the future of Taiwan's hand tool industry is the importance of the booming Chinese market. He admits that many Taiwanese companies fear of having their ideas pirated by competitors in the huge market.

Stand Tools set up a branch office in Xiamen, Fujian Province of China, several years ago, having also partnered with various tool brands in China. The mainland is the company's largest market for torque wrenches and sales there are growing rapidly.

"We are also hopeful that torque wrenches will be included for tariff reduction or exemption under the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed between China and Taiwan. The agreement is expected to have a noticeable impact on cross-strait trade in the hand tool and other hardware segments," says Hsiao.

The huge demand for torque wrenches in China comes mainly from infrastructural and public works projects related to railway (high speed railways, subway systems etc.), power generation, defense, and automotive industries (production and repair/maintenance), Hsiao says. Currently, the major export markets for Stand Tools' torque wrenches include China (the biggest), Japan, and Europe.

"In developing the global market, we do not insist on using our own brand. Rather we follow the concept more like the "Intel-inside" by supplying core digital torque-wrench solutions featuring the highest quality and precision level. Under such strategy, Stand Tools cooperates with local brands to increase market share," stresses Hsiao.



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