cens logo

Fasteners for Higher-end Applications to Sustain Development of Taiwan's Fastener Industry

Aug 10, 2016 | By Steve Chuang

With ever more insiders venturing into higher-end segments of the global fastener market, Taiwan’s fastener industry is undergoing upgrades (photo courtesy of UDN.com).With ever more insiders venturing into higher-end segments of the global fastener market, Taiwan’s fastener industry is undergoing upgrades (photo courtesy of UDN.com).

With a history of more than half a century, fastener production is today one of Taiwan's most globally competitive industries in the southern region. This achievement is attributable to insiders' efforts on moving forwards high value-added fasteners for higher-end applications, including cars, aircrafts, medical supplies and implants, wind turbines, and many others, hence seeing a gradual uptrend in value.

An incontestable proof of the industry's continuous growth is the statistics compiled by Metal Industry Intelligence, an industry and market research division affiliated with Metal Industries Research & Development Centre (MIRDC), a Taiwan-based semi-official R&D institute, showing that Taiwan's annual fastener output increased from NT$95.15 billion (US$3.17 billion) in 2006 through NT$112.37 billion (US$3.74 billion) in 2010 to NT$123.87 billion (US$4.12 billion) in 2013. The value is estimated to have reached NT$124.38 billion (US$4.14 billion) in 2014 and then mount to NT$124.73 billion (US$4.16 billion) in 2015.

MIRDC reports that the positive development results mainly from the payoff of the hard work by Taiwanese manufacturers to continuously improve manufacturing capabilities in association with local R&D bodies to turn out various fasteners with excellent functionality and consistent high quality that meet high-end requirements by professional end-users, which, in turn, enhance not just the industry's overall production value but its presence in different sectors.

In an exclusive interview with CENS, Kristy Chi, industrial analyst from the Industrial Research Section of MIRDC's Planning & Promotion Department, provided insights into the industry's current development driven by high-valued fasteners developed from the R&D body and local makers.

Fasteners for High-end Requirements
The most conspicuous fasteners developed in recent years to drive the industry's global profile higher are perhaps the fastening products and implants for medical applications, which, Chi mentioned, have been displayed at MIRDC and promoted by local makers globally to earn high reputations.

Among those products, the polished anodic coloring treatment of titanium alloy self-tapping bone screw is made using the newest electropolishing technology for titanium from Germany, which gives quality-approved brightness and cleanness to the screw's surface and ensure evenness of color distribution from anodic treatment, measuring up to requirements for medical applications in developed nations, stressed Chi.

Also notable fastening products and related systems developed by MIRDC and local manufacturers for the application include radius bone plates of titanium, implants, rigid abutments, transfer abutments, cover screws, hex drivers, dental implants, dental implant surgery assistant guiding sleeves, with some of which having already been applied in clinical trials. “Development of such products will surely help boost value of the industry's output and local economies in southern Taiwan,” said Chi.

Compared to fastening products for medical application that still need time to develop to be volume-manufactured and heavily promoted, Chi noted that fasteners for car production have become the strongest propeller among other applications for the industry's growth for years, mainly fueled by strong demand from global carmakers, particularly from Japan.

“Many of Taiwanese fasteners manufacturers have become part of global makers' supply chains as Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers,” said Chi. “In the segment, suppliers have to upgrade their production process and quality management in different ways to meet various standards established by different carmakers.” It makes sense such products that generally have customized specifications and call for higher manufacturing technology levels to ensure superior safety and generate nice profits will contribute ever more to the industry's output value in the years to come, given that the global new-car market has continuously expanded over the past years, and is expected by global research institutes, such as IHS Automotive to reach 100 million units in 2018. Chi went on to say that backed by deep manufacturing knowledge, exceptional production flexibility and strong commitment to R&D and quality, Taiwanese manufacturers are building ever stronger global presence in this sector.

Requiring top-end technology to produce and bearing much higher unit prices than ordinary fasteners, aircraft fasteners are also saddled with insiders' expectations to become the industry's ace in the hole to blow away the global competition, particularly in the face of underselling rivalry from emerging countries is intensifying.

Chi said that presently only a few of Taiwanese fastener makers who have truly penetrated into the global aerospace industry's supply chain as Part C suppliers, mainly through AIDC, which has been contracted by global customers to supply engines and fuselages for trainers and commercial aircrafts. She introduced, “Such fasteners generally have standard specifications and are subject to stricter certifications than any models for other applications. But, with AIDC's support, local suppliers are more likely to tap the segment.”

As eco-awareness remains a concern to drive development of global energy industry, another potentially lucrative business for Taiwanese fastener makers, Chi noted, is fastening products for wind turbines.

For long-term reliability and safety, wind turbines require complicated engineering and higher-end fasteners, making the so-called smart fasteners that feature better tightening reliability and stronger structural strength a buzzword in the industry. In light of the trend, MIRDC has researched and studied such fasteners to pave the road for local suppliers to the segment.

One of the most commonly seen smart fasteners is the Direct Tension Indicating Bolt, which is built with the director tension indicator washer to help engineers make sure the required initial bolt tension is carefully controlled when installing a bolt. Such smart fasteners have been widely used in construction, and increasingly applied to wind turbine engineering.

The Permanent Mounted Transducer System (PMTS) is a rising technology deriving from smart fasteners, which, Chi reported, is developed by Intellifast GmbH to ensure consistency of bolt tightening process and has also been regarded as an ideal solution to wind turbine bolting products.

Chi mentioned that bolt tension is given by torque but could vary with time due to material properties and ambient conditions; therefore, it is hard to record and maintain in practice. The PMTS incorporates ultrasonic measurement technology to materialize the concept of bolts with sensors, and allows engineers to control and monitor embedment conditions of bolts and joints even more effectively than other solutions.

The PMTS turns out a bolt that goes through the ion vapor deposition to be equipped with the state-of-the-art Piezoelectric Sensor on the head, and gives each bolt a 2D data matrix bar code. Engineers use the LP3000B device to identify sensor-built bolts, check bolt tension and record measurement results. In short, PMTS assures not only reliability of initial bolt tension, but also data traceability and maintenance of bolts, suitable for wind turbine bolt engineering.

Upgrades of Materials and Production Technologies
Mainly motivated by the rise of those high value fasteners mentioned above, the Taiwanese fastener industry is undergoing thorough upgrades, from material development to thermal and surface treatment and testing technologies, which will enable insiders to not just raise product value but establish distinct images as high-end fastener suppliers in the world.

Since development of high-end, high-strength materials provides the basis for high value fastener production to develop in Taiwan, Chi introduced that various titanium-based alloys, as well as related molding technologies, have been researched and developed by local leading materials suppliers, R&D bodies and manufacturers for making fasteners used in cars and aircrafts for now.

She pointed out that the trend is fueled by China Steel Corp., Taiwan's largest steelmaker and the biggest supplier of wire rods by size, who has successfully started up mass production for Alloy A-286, which can withstand high temperatures of up to 700 degrees Celsius without compromising strength and corrosion and are ideally for producing fasteners for aircraft and car engines. “Since the high-strength alloy is mostly imported presently,” Chi said, “China Steel's mass production will enable local makers of aircraft and automotive fasteners to secure stable supply of the key components at more competitive prices, which, in turn, will help them to solicit more orders in the future.”

In thermal treatment technology development, Chi indicated that Taiwan's fastener industry has also made a progress in this field. Mainly to meet customers' requirements for high-strength, high-safety fasteners, she introduced, local makers are generally capable of skillfully applying in production various advanced thermal treatment technologies, including austempering, which is mainly used to produce bainite that is formed at a cooling rate between that for martensite and perlite so as to give fastener's structure better elasticity and strength; carburizing, which is for enhance absorption of liberated carbon during the heating of metal materials to make them harder; martempering, a technology using interrupted quenching process to produce fine tempered martensite structure to further harden the fasteners; nitriding, a structure hardening technology by diffusing nitrogen into the surface of a metal; and spheroidizing that spheroidizes iron carbides within the perlite structure.

Chi stressed that a couple of Taiwan's fastener and related equipment manufacturers have been engaged in developing spheroidizing annealing furnaces, with some models being significantly improved with more effective process control systems, user-friendlier operation and smarter computing functions, which ensure lower power consumption, higher productivity and more consistent quality of heat treated fasteners.

To fill orders for bone screws and dental implants, Chi went on to say that several thermal treatment technologies are increasingly popular in the industry, such as SLA (sand-blasted, large-grit, acid-etched), MAO (microarc oxidation) coating and . plasma spray coating. But, the most impressive one that can ensure maximum space between threads to allow adhesion of the most possible cells to the implants and screws to enhance functionality is the PDL (pulsed dye laser) surface treatment technology.

Perfect for application in the 3C, photovoltaic, IC, flexible electronics and biomedical chip industries, the PDL features expanded pulse width, high frequency and high power, and can process high precision parts and components with microstructure without causing thermal failure. Chi reported that Industrial Technology Research Institute, a government-funded R&D institute has begun transferring the technology to local fastener makers to help upgrade production from conventional screws into high-margin dental implants.

As for testing technology, Chi noted that there are also encouraging results from local companies to build up the industry's future competitiveness. For instance, a fastener inspection equipment company has just released its newest sorting technologies for screws and bolts, while some have been dedicated to developing instrument for detecting tightening torque and tension loads of screws with different shapes. In the field of metallurgical analysis, she went on to say that a Taiwanese firm has also worked out a new machine that can automatically detect and measure spheroidizing rates and ferrite decarburized depth, which is likely to draw more attention to metallurgical analysis, of which development in the industry is backward.

In addition to manufacturing technology upgrades, Chi feels that a few of Taiwanese fastener manufacturers have also placed heavy emphasis on introducing the state-of-the-art information technology into daily operations, so as to enhance operational efficiency and generate added value for customers. For example, some leading companies, such as Jinn Her Enterprise Co., Ltd., a supplier of more than 20,000 kinds of screws, are building automatic warehousing systems to improve their inventory management and delivery efficiency,

Under this transition, Chi opines that big data is a promising IT technology that can result in a makeover to this traditional manufacturing industry composed mostly of contract makers engaged in built-to-order production. She pointed out that suppliers can build databases of customers' order volume, ordering frequencies, preferences and other valuable information using big data analysis, and take advantage of that to forecast customers' inventory levels and take initiative to send inquiries right before they truly need to restock. “In doing so, suppliers not just offer build-to-order manufacturing, but help customers with inventory management,” she said, “This will enable suppliers to better improve customer relationships and secure business chances.”


Industry Reports

K, the leading global plastic and rubber trade fair (Photo courtesy of Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann)

K, The World's Leading Trade Fair for Plastic and Rubber Industry

Jul 24, 2020

2019 K Show, the leading global trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry, had been held in Düsseldorf on 16-23 October, 2019. There were 3,330 exhibitors from 63 nations proved impressively: plastics continue to be an innovative, indispensable material. But they also unanimously underscored the necessity of having operational circular economies along the complete material chain and to this...


Photo courtesy of CENS

Digital Healthcare & Technology at the Heart of Las Vegas CES 2020

Jul 14, 2020

■ Hubert Chih The number of healthcare exhibitors at the 2020 CES in Las Vegas increased significantly by 23% from 2019. According to the analysis and report by the CES organizer, digital healthcare and technology were the focus in the healthcare exhibition. In addition to the continued expansion of healthcare coverage, the reduction of healthcare costs, the improvement of effectiveness and th...


The Taiwan Hardware Show sees global buyer attendance. (Photo provided by Kaigo Co.)

Taiwan's Hand Tools Seeking Opportunities Amid Global Crisis

Jul 10, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe, most of the international hardware shows slated for this year has been moved to 2021. However, as Taiwan’s efforts combating the new virus has proven to be successful, the 2020 Taiwan Hardware Show (THS) will continue as scheduled, beginning on Oct. 13 and ending on the 15th at the Taichung International Exhibition Center, thus becoming the only sh...



Industry In-Focus

SINOSTEEL Corporation: Rising price in Steel</h2>

SINOSTEEL Corporation: Rising price in Steel

Jun 05, 2020

Brazil’s new crown pneumonia epidemic has rapidly increased. Brazil’s Vale, the world’s largest iron ore producer, is facing an out-of-control impact. The market is worried that iron ore production and sales will be affected. new highs. Experts from Sinosteel (2002) evaluated that steel prices will rise steadily under the effect of rising costs, with a promising outlook. According to a legal p...


Apple Invests Millions in LED Plant in Taiwan</h2>

Apple Invests Millions in LED Plant in Taiwan

Jun 01, 2020

Apple is considering to invest over US$330 million in a factory in northern Taiwan to manufacture both LED and micro-LED displays for its iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and other new devices. Apple is teaming up on the new factory with Epistar, Taiwan's top LED producer, and Taiwanese LCD panel maker, AU Optronics. The plant will be located in the Longtan branch of the Hsinchu Science Park and Appl...


Taiwan Machinery Was Applauded in COVID-19</h2>

Taiwan Machinery Was Applauded in COVID-19

May 18, 2020

What the epidemic showed was the amazing flexibility of Taiwan's machine tool industry. Taiwan, which has allowed the semiconductor industry to specialize in the past, has finally realized that these machine tool industries with amazing strength are the "invisible champions" of Taiwan's economy. In early February, three companies -- Habor Precision, Tongtai Machine & Tool and Taiwan Takisawa -...



Supplier News

With professional technics and rigorous quality control, Kung Hsing gains high-reputation in the industry</h2>

With professional technics and rigorous quality control, Kung Hsing gains high-reputation in the industry

Jul 23, 2020

Kung Hsing Plastic Machinery Co., LTD., founded in 1972, is the brainchild of the company President Tsai Chin-lien’s over 48 years of experience in designing and producing extrusion machines. The firm stood by its belief to uphold integrity and offer the best quality and services, eventually becoming a leader in the extrusion machinery industry in Taiwan. Kung Hsing currently has two factories; t...

KUNG HSING PLASTIC MACHINERY CO., LTD.


INTYPE ENTERPRISE CO., LTD. TUNG TAI MACHINE WORKS CO., LTD. </h2>

INTYPE ENTERPRISE CO., LTD. TUNG TAI MACHINE WORKS CO., LTD.

Jul 21, 2020

■ Tseng Lung-nan Intype Enterprise has built up 55 years of experience in producing extruders, though the firm is placing greater consideration on rapidly degrading of the global environment. In the past 20 years, Intype has become an active contributor to building up a global ecosystem, enabling them to reuse the products manufactured by their own extruders and avoid further waste. The firm t...

INTYPE ENTERPRISE CO., LTD.


YFCM Carbon Fiber Driveshaft Lauded in the field of Modified Cars for its Flexibility </h2>

YFCM Carbon Fiber Driveshaft Lauded in the field of Modified Cars for its Flexibility

Jul 14, 2020

■Hsiao Yung-le Yifeng Technology Co., Ltd. specializes in the research and development of carbon fiber transmission shafts and the manufacture of carbon fiber related products.The carbon fiber material has the characteristics of lightweight, impact resistance, fatigue resistance, and corrosion, and chemical stability is quite high. The product type is increasing in the extensive range with an ...

YI FENG COMPOSITE MATERIAL TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD.



Insiders' Views

Caption: Pictured from front row, third right, Changhua County Government Economic Affairs Department Director Liu Yu-ping, County Magistrate Wang Huei-mei, Secretary Chen Bo-tsun pose in front of the exhibition booth. (Photo provided by CHCIA)

Changhua County Government Shores up Biz-Matching to Global Buyers

Nov 18, 2019

■Yang Feng-Chun In a bid to assist manufacturers in Changhua County to expand their market reach overseas against severe competition in the globalized market, Changhua County Government has been an active player in pushing for a makeover and innovation of its local small and medium-sized enterprises. This is done in hopes of establishing stronger connection with international markets. An ex...


Paul Master offers high-quality chassis and engines parts for passenger cars, trucks, and industrial trucks. (Photo courtesy of Paul Master)

Paul Master Builds Reputation with Auto Chassis and Engine Parts

Nov 18, 2019

Founded in 1980, Paul Master Auto Parts Co. is headquartered in Taiwan, a professional manufacturer of chassis and engines parts for passenger cars, trucks, and industrial trucks including forklifts. General Manager Terry Liang said the company has its own professional design department, which provides customized products and specifications for global buyers, including automobile steering and...

PAUL MASTER AUTO PARTS CO.


Nan Hoang Traffic Instrument Co., Ltd.</h2><p class='subtitle'>Taiwan First brakes Technology Co., Ltd. </p>

Nan Hoang Traffic Instrument Co., Ltd.

Taiwan First brakes Technology Co., Ltd.

Sep 04, 2019

Nan Hoang Traffic Instrument Co., Ltd is one of the major manufacturers of automobile friction materials in Taiwan and globally. Chairman Austin Cheng has implemented the double-arrow strategy this year - own brand of “YangPo” is adopted to focus on global channels while the “NHC brand focuses on improving market shares in global markets, such as Europe, America, Asia, Australia, and the Middle E...



Exhibition Highlights

Koelnmesse (Beijing) Co., Ltd.

Announcement on Postponement of China International Hardware Show 2020 (CIHS 2020)

Jul 10, 2020

In view of the continuous spreading of COVID-19 all over the world and the latest epidemic prevention requirements of China and the government of Shanghai, in order to guarantee the health and safety of exhibitors, purchasers and professional visitors, China National Hardware Association and Koelnmesse have prudently decided to postpone China International Hardware Show 2020 (CIHS 2020) from Augu...


Automechanika Shanghai 2020 creates channels for cross-sector collaboration</h2>

Automechanika Shanghai 2020 creates channels for cross-sector collaboration

Jun 16, 2020

This year, Automechanika Shanghai continues to serve the entire automotive value chain by offering opportunities for information exchange, marketing, trade and education. Both vertically and horizontally, from OE, vehicle production to the aftermarket, it incorporates all elements of manufacturing, supply networks, services, new business models and information technology. Companies across the...


Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Co Ltd

CAPAS defers to 2021

Apr 20, 2020

Following the Chinese Government’s initiatives to prevent and control the COVID-19 outbreak, the organisers of the Chengdu International Trade Fair for Automotive Parts and Aftermarket Services (CAPAS) have announced the defer of the show’s 2020 edition. The fair, originally scheduled from 21 to 23 May 2020, will now be held from 20 to 22 May 2021. In China, the State Council issued an announc...