cens logo

Mask Makers Built on Taiwan's Machinery Industry Gets International Spotlight

Aug 20, 2020 | By CENS

TMBA’s mask-making team holds a meeting. (Photo provided by Hiwin Technology)TMBA’s mask-making team holds a meeting. (Photo provided by Hiwin Technology)
By Huang Wei-Shiou

Gov't Successfully Keeps COVID-19 at Bay with Teamwork
As news of the COVID-19 virus overwhelms the world, Taiwan's government acted quickly to increase investment in expanding the country's mask-producing volume to 60 machines. This mammoth effort was headed by domestic firms – Chang Hong Machinery and NCM Nonwoven Converting Machinery. The goal was to expand production to churn out millions of masks per day by March. The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) teamed up with Taiwan Machine Tool & Accessory Builders' Association (TMBA) to lead around 30 machine tool manufacturers, assembly factories and parts suppliers, as well as organizations like the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), Precision Machinery Research & Development Center (PMC), Metal Industries Research and Development Centre and Textile Industry Research Institute Foundation. They formed the foundation of Taiwan's “national mask-making team,” a team with the goal of setting up production equipment for mask-making factories. ITRI also assigned personnel to oversee commercial rights of automating mask-making equipment and setting up machinery and production chains. The strong synergy bolstered the team's ability to roll out production equipment that could be put into use at once. Under non-stop efforts, the team was able to deliver 60 mask-making machines in early March, a feat that would normally take half a year to fulfill.
Caption: President Tsai Ing-wen oversees the finished mask production lines, expressing gratitude towards the machine tool firms that completed such an impossible task.Caption: President Tsai Ing-wen oversees the finished mask production lines, expressing gratitude towards the machine tool firms that completed such an impossible task.
Mission Impossible: 60 Production Lines in 25 Days?
However, as machine tool firms lack the expertise of producing mask-making equipment, TMBA Chairman Hsu Wen-hsien, Honorary Chairman Yen Jui-hsiung and PMC General Manager Lai Yung-hsiang set up talks to discuss assisting the MOEA to expand production lines. The plan was to shorten the timeline of producing and assembling mask machines from half a year to only one month, a feat that was considered impossible.

After compiling the needs from equipment providers and TMBA's resources, TMBA Chairman Hsu name the main three demands from machine tool industry members: the first being personnel support for assembling the mask-making equipment. The type of personnel also includes talent in electronics and electrical control to assist in power distribution, assembly and tuning. Secondly, the machine tool factories have first priority to process and resolve material shortage should they run out of materials during the production process. Lastly, once the machines are delivered, the machine tool industry will continue to offer support once production has stabilized, in consideration of a successful handover as well as eliminating any human errors.

Commenting on delivering the mask-making machineries ahead of schedule, TMBA Chairman Hsu said that European and Japanese firms all expressed disbelief: “it's impossible to deliver ahead of schedule.” Foreign companies didn't believe that it was possible to finish producing 60 production lines in 25 days, even if Taiwan was able to deliver, Hsu said. When those European and Japanese firms inquired about Taiwan's success, Hsu invited those firms to visit the island in the future to see for themselves.

The government requested for more production lines at the end of February as the pandemic worsened, making up a total of 92 production lines. All of them began operations on March 20, bolstering the country's production capability to 15 million masks daily. Taiwan's successful handling of the COVID-19 pandemic launched the country back into international spotlight, and proved to be a “beacon of hope” for the industry in Advantech board director Chaney Ho's eyes. Ho suggested that Taiwan should consider offering a complete package of the mask-making production line to potential buyers, from raw materials, film, meltblowing equipment and other equipment, as well as inspection gear and processes. “The entire standard operation of mask making know-how, package plant export, are entirely a huge business opportunity for Taiwan's industry development, especially for the precision machinery industry.”

Package Plant Export: The Industry's New Hope
While Taiwan's machinery industry total output topped NT$1 trillion in 2017, due to the impact of the trade war between China and the U.S., firms that had the ability to do so quickly sped up its plans to implement smart manufacturing and smart machinery capabilities. A “package plant export” not only exports the machinery, including the primary equipment, but also the know-how to operate, maintain the machineries, essentially the packaging of the experience and product, services and technologies as a solution. Other characteristics of package plant export show it as a complex and time-consuming delivery process, as it includes tangible and intangible items to deliver to the client.

Singapore's 3M factories implementation of its N95 mask production lines was a case study of package plant exporting, showcasing three factors led to setting up a factory in the Southeast Asian hub: high security protection, a prime location as a global supply chain, as well as abundant local talent. The fight against the virus is often likened to military warfare, therefore the idea that mask materials have become as important as warfare resources isn't entirely outlandish. While Taiwan has donated masks, PMC General Manager Lai revealed during a livestream with Advantech, that the U.S. and Canada both received mask production equipment from Taiwan. As mask production chains in those countries were already broken, Lai pointed out these countries “didn't just want the equipment, but to rebuild the production chain locally.” Domestic firms should take advantage of this opportunity to improve their businesses, including implementing smart machinery into the package solutions. Smart features would include the visualization of data from the production lines and implementation of IoT for Machinery. “We can assist firms to set up the new features, and once domestic firms have trained up the necessary personnel, they could promote the solution globally. Package plant exporting is clearly a critical support measure,” Lai said.

Developing Taiwan's Manufacturing Industry Amid COVID-1
Hiwin Education Foundation Director Cho Yung-tsai believes that “a country's economy is built upon its manufacturing prowess” and that “precision machinery is especially the foundation of the manufacturing industry and a society's stability.” This COVID-19 pandemic has once again, proven the importance of manufacturing. After the ban on mask exports was lifted in early June, firms can continue to sell locally and overseas. Members on Taiwan's “national mask-making team” have expressed excitement, emphasizing Taiwan's consistent quality and general positive feedback from overseas markets. An example of the trust in Taiwan's firms: several mask-making firms saw overseas clients order over a hundred thousand boxes of masks in one go.
Caption: Taiwan’s machinery industry, talents, corporate values and production standards show great potential.Caption: Taiwan’s machinery industry, talents, corporate values and production standards show great potential.


Industry Reports

Photo credit: UDN

Gov't business climate monitor signals fifth booming month

Jul 28, 2021

The National Development Council's business climate monitor signaled a fifth consecutive red light in June, with its index just one point less than in May, an optimistic outlook of Taiwan's economic situation. Council director Wu Ming-hui said the current domestic economy is continuing to warm up. Despite the localized COVID-19 outbreak throughout May and June, the manufacturing industry was n...


Photo courtesy of UDN

E-commerce giants turn to chartering shipping containers ahead of peak Q4

Jul 26, 2021

The U.S. consumer market is preparing for peak season in Q4, and this has led to a situation where global entities are charting shipping containers to ensure delivery. International e-commerce giant Alibaba recently announced that it would begin operating a chartered shipping route initiative between East Asia and the U.S. western coast. Each week would see around 3,000 TEU and a monthly 12,00...


Photo credit: UDN file photo

ASEAN-bound exports hit all-time high

Jul 21, 2021

The Economic Ministry Department of Statistics' latest statistics showed a booming performance for export orders in June, specifically from the ASEAN region, amounting to a record-breaking USD$5.45 billion and an over 40% annual increase. The government report also highlighted that major export destinations in the U.S., China, Hong Kong, and Europe saw new highs in terms of comparing same-mon...



Industry In-Focus

Local auto parts suppliers brace for Q3-Q4 demand surge</h2>

Local auto parts suppliers brace for Q3-Q4 demand surge

Jul 19, 2021

Taiwanese auto parts suppliers are preparing for the surge in demand in Q3, prompted by the reopened economies overseas and improving auto chip shortages. Suppliers are already reaping the benefits. However, other shortages, ranging from workers and raw materials, could also challenge and disrupt supply chain resiliencies, a situation shared by many different suppliers in varied industries. Fo...


CSC chairman Wong Chao-tung. UDN File photo

Machinery and steel stakeholders open communication channels to ensure material supply

Jul 16, 2021

State-owned China Steel Corporation passed an internal solution on Thursday to adjust steel sales for domestic and outbound markets to help Taiwan's machine tool industries maintain a consistent supply of raw materials. Machine tools and the machinery industry were impacted by steel suppliers stocking up, causing price increases or even suppliers refusing to sell—meetings between the Industria...


Photo courtesy of Reuters

Auto parts, machine tools, textiles hit hard in continued global container shortages

Jul 14, 2021

Global shipping shortages, capacity shortages, and port congestion issues are expected to continue until the second half of this year. Industries including machine tools, auto parts, and garments impacted by port congestion have reported full production capacity yet unable to ship at all due to the shipping shortages. Auto parts supplier Tong Yang Group (TYG) reported that their storage has be...



Supplier News

Tair Wang Enterprise Co., Ltd.</h2><p class='subtitle'>Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, restoration parts for classic cars, auto parts and accessories, hardware parts, and all kinds of high-quality die casting products.</p>

Tair Wang Enterprise Co., Ltd.

Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, restoration parts for classic cars, auto parts and accessories, hardware parts, and all kinds of high-quality die casting products.

Jul 20, 2021

Founded in 1978, Tair Wang Enterprise Co, LTD. is a zinc die-casting manufacturer with ISO 9001 quality certified. With the excellent reputation as a professional OEM manufacturer, Tair Wang has actively expanded its businesses abroad in the past 15 years by providing high-quality products and services for the clients. Currently, Tair Wang provides the parts for the Harley-Davidson motorcycle...

TAIR WANG ENTERPRISE CO., LTD.


Plastic Packaging Producer Young Shang Transforms Biz with Smart Solutions</h2>

Plastic Packaging Producer Young Shang Transforms Biz with Smart Solutions

May 17, 2021

Entering its 52th year since opening its business, Young Shang Plastic's focuses on improving its production technologies and product quality. As a packaging producer, Young Shang passed FDA approval for making 100% recyclable plastic bottles from poly grain raw materials. The company has sold tens of billions of plastic products through production processes compliant with ISO9001, ISO14001, ISO2...

YOUNG SHANG PLASTIC INDUSTRY CO., LTD.


Home Resource Has Reached the Final Round of the iF DESIGN AWARD 2021!</h2>

Home Resource Has Reached the Final Round of the iF DESIGN AWARD 2021!

May 12, 2021

The international top-class panel of 91 experts has selected Home Resource to take part in the final round of the iF DESIGN AWARD 2021 for the design of the Halo Wireless charging pad with bedside lamp. As a result, Home Resource has successfully made the cut in one of the most important design competitions in the world and qualified for the iF Final Jury. In the second and most important roun...

HOME RESOURCE IND. CO., LTD.



Insiders' Views

OmniEyes CEO and Co-Founder Chun-Ting Chou. (Photo courtesy of OmniEyes)

OmniEyes' AI Technology Paves the Way for Traditional Industries' Digital Transition

Dec 15, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the industries' timeline for implementing digital transformation. However, the how's and what's of applying new technologies and improving the added value to existing products and services can be daunting. Three professors from the National Taiwan University College of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science founded the startup company "OmniEyes," basi...


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...


Hong Kong Lighting Fair(Spring Eidition) Exhibitor TUYA showcases the latest application of Bluetooth mesh.

Latest Bluetooth Tech Updates Geared for Smart Lighting, Cities and Wireless Devices

May 07, 2019

Founded in 1998, Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) is a non-profit trade association that oversees Bluetooth® technology. As it supports more than 34,000 member companies, the Bluetooth SIG promotes collaboration among its members to create new and enhanced specifications, extend technology, drive global interoperability through world-class product certification programs, and develop brands ...



Exhibition Highlights

International Fastener Show China 2021 is always going up </h2>

International Fastener Show China 2021 is always going up

Jul 16, 2021

With an exhibition area of 42,000 square meters, there were breakthroughs of the scale and level for International Fastener Show China 2020. IFS China gathered 725 renowned enterprises and set up 1936 booths, attracting 36,080 visitors including 4212 overseas visitors from 53 countries and regions in 2020. For last edition, IFS China 2020 boasted an active participation of overseas equipment ...


One month-long COMPUTEXVirtual kicks off this week with keynote speeches</h2>

One month-long COMPUTEXVirtual kicks off this week with keynote speeches

Jun 01, 2021

The 2021 Taipei International Computer Show (COMPUTEX TAIPEI 2021) kicked off its #COMPUTEXVirtual online exhibition on May 31, peppering online keynote events throughout the one-month event. Intel Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer Michelle Johnston Holthaus led the opening keynote speech, sharing how the rapidly accelerating digital transformation can release a new era of inn...


2021 INTERMACH presents an important platform for business opportunities.</h2>

2021 INTERMACH presents an important platform for business opportunities.

Apr 08, 2021

The 38th edition of INTERMACH presents an important platform for business opportunities. The show features the latest industrial machinery and technology that meet industry's needs today including Automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Robotic Arm technology. There will be advanced machinery technologies that enhance production potential and effectively reduce costs; along with meetings, s...