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Taiwan's FCS looks to tap Europe

On its second showing at Fakuma, longtime Taiwanese injection press maker Fu Chun Shin Machinery Manufacture Co. Ltd. is pitching European-level service and support at an economical price point.

"Actually, for Fu Chun Shin, Fakuma is a bit more interesting than the K show," said Peter Kochs, managing director at FCS's European distributor, Windsor Kunststofftechnologie GmbH of Hanau, Germany. "Fakuma is more focused on injection molding."

At its booth, Windsor is showing a 300-ton machine from Tainan, Taiwan-based FCS.

The Fakuma appearance is part of the 44-year-old Taiwanese company's concerted push into the European market.

"If you start selling Asian machines in Europe or especially in Germany, you are completely against the European manufacturers," Kochs said. "The customers know about the [European manufacturers'] capabilities regarding service and support. So you need to guarantee 24-hour service, 24-hour spare parts, otherwise they will not buy."

Under the 2016 distribution deal, FCS supplies Windsor with hydraulic and servo-hydraulic injection molding machines that meet European standards and specifications.

Windsor handles long-term sales, installation, service and parts supply in the EU and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland — the four countries of the European Free Trade Association.

Kochs has spent much of the past two years building up Fu Chun Shin's continental infrastructure, including signing sales agents in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and Belgium.

"You have to have an agent in the country speaking the language, providing the service," Kochs said. "This is really our focus — service and spare parts."

"We have a spare-parts stock of 2.5 million euros ($2.9 million)," Kochs said. "Eighty percent of the parts that are ordered by our customers, we deliver the same day."

Founded in 1974, Fu Chun Shin in 2004 became the first, and still the only, injection molding machine maker traded on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

At the Taipei Plas trade show in August, FCS highlighted smart manufacturing. At the show awards ceremony, Fu Chun Shin brought home a prize in the Industry 4.0 category for its melt variation control system.

FCS dubs its approach iMF 4.0, or "Intelligent ManuFactory."

At Fakuma, though, Kochs wants to emphasize FCS's tradition of manufacturing.

"Right now, we're just focusing on the machine," he said. "In the end, it's the pricing."

At Taipei Plas, held every two years, FCS exhibited three machines: An electric 300-ton CT-300 produced 100-milliliter ice cream cups with in-mold labeling on a 5-second cycle, a hydraulic 160-ton FA-160 produced small stacking bins on 15-second cycle, and a hydraulic 300-ton FA-300 using Trexel Inc.'s foaming MuCell technology pumped out shoe stretchers on an 80-second cycle.

Standing before the gleaming machinery, Kochs looked forward to talking shop floor nuts and bolts at Fakuma.

"From the technical point of view of the customers going there, it's more focused," he said.

While some Taiwanese machinery makers favor foreign-made servo motors, Fu Chun Shin sources its servos domestically from Tainan-based Intermoda Industry Inc. and Taipei-based Delta Electronics Inc.

For fiscal 2017, ending Dec. 31, Fu Chun Shin posted sales of New Taiwan $3,389 billion (US$110.2 million) up 19 percent from 2016.

FCS has about 300 employees at its Tainan headquarters and factory. On the mainland, Fu Chun Shin's Dongguan factory has 100 employees. A Ningbo factory has 200 employees.

FCS is also experiencing modest success stateside. Deputy Manager Hank Wu anticipates selling 25 machines into the U.S. market this year.

Taiwan's contingent at Fakuma is small, but in the plastics world, the island nation definitely punches above its weight. Smaller than Switzerland with a population half that of Spain, Taiwan is the world's sixth-biggest supplier of machinery, ranking behind only Germany, China, Japan, Italy and the United States.

The U.S.-China trade war will help smaller Taiwanese companies in the short term, but in the long term, Wu believes bigger rivals in mainland China can simply shift production to their overseas factories and avoid the U.S. tariffs.

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» Publication Date: 02/11/2018

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This project has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° [605658].

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