Smart Machinery and Innovation for Sustainability
Since our founding in 1989, HIWIN has expanded from a linear motion component manufacturer into a manufacturer with systematic integration capabilities. In recent years, the world is facing labor shortages from declining birth rates. Many countries are now advocating for transformations in the manufacturing industry, e.g., Industry 4.0 in Germany, Made in China 2025, the U.S. reshoring manufacturing and make in USA, Japan's smart factory initiatives, and Taiwan's smart manufacturing.
In addition, Taiwan and Japan are both facing reduced production capabilities from aging societies. There is now a dire need for smart automatic factories and medical healthcare products. HIWIN is able to offer robots, automated platforms, servo motors, motion & components, and other parts required by smart automatic factories.
HIWIN's origins are in linear components. Ballscrews and linear guideways are both critical high precision and high efficient components for machines. Using highprecision and energy-efficient components to assemble machines will grant those advantages to the machines. As HIWIN produces all critical components for medical healthcare equipment, we have a cost advantage and keen insight into the consumer market. The cold mechanical parts now have a warm human touch.
R&D Targets & Resource Planning and Distribution
Base on innovative management and service thinking, HIWIN allocates 4~6% of our annual revenue to fund research and development. We have continued to innovate existing products to fulfill customer demands and also integrated motion control system products vertically to offer Total Solution services, such as special bearing, Torque Motor Rotary Table, DATORKER® Strain Wave Gear, etc.
Horizontally, HIWIN is able to provide Intelligent Ballscrews (i4.OBS®), industrial robots, healthcare equipment, etc., to satisfy the demands of smart automatic industries and healthcare. HIWIN endeavors to create a better way of living for mankind.
2017~2021 Investments in Research & Development
Establishment of the R&D Project Management System
- The R&D Project Management System complies with the HIWIN Measures for R&D Project Management. The process flow for developing product projects and co-designs (including collaborating for designs and information) is shown on the right:
- Transitioned from providing aftersales services after passively receiving orders to an open and interactive pre-sales service. The R&D Department regularly visits customers to exchange industry information and experiences. R&D teams also collaborate with major customers to co-design and develop new products, accelerating the time to market for customers and creating a win-win situation.
"Lights-out manufacturing" is the vision of the smart manufacturing generation. Achieving smart and automated production lines with the help of robots is the key to transforming and upgrading the global manufacturing sector. Industries in Taiwan are also actively investing in transformation and upgrades to give new value to the manufacturing sector. In addition, they are integrating smart platforms and applying large quantities of data to overcome bottlenecks and limitations in traditional manufacturing. HIWIN's mission is to help the traditional manufacturing sector upgrade, developing alongside partners in different domains and providing comprehensive solutions to drive an all-inclusive innovation in smart manufacturing.
- Employ 3D visuals and automatic guided vehicles (AGV) and integrate industry knowledge and big data analysis across different domains to continue helping traditional production lines upgrade to smart production lines (e.g, welding, plumbing hardware, handtools, etc.).
- The next generation goal is to give customers insight into production progress, help them overcome limitations to production capacity, and deliver smart management applicable to the Industry 4.0 era.
- Develop equipment solutions such as intelligent predictive maintenance or energy management to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and other advantages in future products.
- Comply with global carbon reduction targets and circular economy concepts.
(1)Cooperation of HIWIN Electric-Gripper with other Robot Brands
Integration with end effectors enables robots to carry out comprehensive functions. HIWIN's electric grippers (S & X series) can be integrated with industrial robots and collaborative robot(cobots). HIWIN has conducted comprehensive risk assessment and software/hardware development to also enable integration with compatible robots. This allows workers on the production line to work alongside robots comfortably, thereby expanding the applications of HIWIN's electric grippers.
(2) Certification for Various Robots
HIWIN's offering of robots includes articulated robots, SCARA, and wafer robots. To align with the global market and industry, HIWIN continues to work with impartial third-party agencies to obtain verification and certification, thereby ensuring that the quality of our robotic arms complies with international safety, environmental protection, and health standards or industry standards. We have also acquired CE and SEMI compatibility certification for our robots to encourage our customers to use robots as a smart automation tool and ensure machine safety.
With HIWIN's rich experience in manufacturing critical components and developing robots, the company has expanded into the healthcare industry. HIWIN has developed assistive medical robots for rehabilitation, surgeries, and nursing. These robots can provide high-quality services for various medical centers and make nursing equipment more ubiquitous in communities in the spirit of "improving the way of life for mankind." In addition, HIWIN's medical team simultaneously tracks product use by visiting service locations in person. During the on-site visits, our medical team collects up-to-date and genuine user feedback for comprehensive analysis that can then be applied to optimize equipment. This can help ensure that HIWIN products conform to market trends, build up our presence in the healthcare industry, and contribute to the health of mankind.
(1) Robotic Gait Training System (MRG-P100)
Patients suffering from strokes or spinal cord injuries face an arduous rehabilitation journey, which has resulted in a large demand for healthcare workers. The robotic gait training system (MRG-P100) developed by HIWIN adopts a safe and comfortable three-point support system in place of traditional suspension systems (where users are tied to the system), which reduces the patient transfer time (30 minutes ➡ 5 minutes), giving therapists more energy and time to interact with their patients. According to HIWIN's data, the MRG-P100 has been used, around the world, over 431,938 times between 2017 and 2021. As such, calculations indicate that the MRG-P100 has saved up to 179,974 hours in patient transfer time, effectively lowering treatment times, reducing the physical load on therapists, and, therefore, improving the overall quality of healthcare.
Compared to traditional suspension systems, the MRG-P100 can reduce patient transfer times by:
(2) Robotic endoscope holder (MTG-H100)
The MTG-H100 robotic endoscope holder can be used in minimally invasive surgeries to stabilize and move endoscopes with precision. To enhance surgical safety, HIWIN has also adopted the Remote Center of Motion mechanism to prevent the robotic endoscope holder's movements from enlarging incisions. The latest robotic endoscope holder can now support endoscopes with 360-degree visualization and overcome challenges with turning the endoscopes in limited spaces to increase surgical efficiency.
HIWIN has also produced fasteners for different endoscopes applied to different surgeries. To ensure the fasteners are sterile for surgical use and to distinguish fasteners for medical workers, HIWIN fasteners have been oxidated into a range of colors, ensuring that patients can receive better healthcare quality.
Developments in Green Design Products
HIWIN has long endeavored to provide a better way of living for mankind. The company has continued to invest in components (ballscrews, linear guideways, special bearings, and reducers), subsystems (single-axis robots, rotary tables), and even systems (industrial robots and medical equipment). Related products have been circulated across the global automation and medical industry.
(1) Ballscrew Series
In response to energy and air pollution topics in Taiwan, corporations have always been concerned with how to conserve and save energy in industrial manufacturing. Systems driven by electric servers in allelectric injection molding machines use 40~60% less energy than oil compressors. HIWIN's heavy-load ballscrews are used in all-electric injection molding machines and have helped conserve 2,980 GWh between 2012 and 2021.
2012~2021 Graph of Energy Conserved
• Intelligent Ballscrew, i4.0BS®
HIWIN launched the Intelligent Ballscrew (i4.0BS®®) in response to production demands from Industry 4.0. Sensors installed on the ballscrew can detect and transmit signals to edge computing modules for real-time calculation and analysis. The i4.0BS® can also provide life prediction, smart lubrication, vibration diagnosis, and thermal diagnosis functions to assist operators but, more importantly, compile important information for managers so they can better manage production.
Using the ballscrew's algorithm to calculate lubricant levels and refill accordingly, the smart lubricant function is energy-efficient, ecofriendly, and an added layer of protection for machine parts. It decreases lubricant consumption by around 40~70%, which reduces about 80kg of CO2 emissions (calculated according to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines Vol.3 IPPU Chapter 5).
After ten years of efforts, the i4.0BS®has now become the world's first product to integrate IoT, sensors, and edge computing technologies. We are proud to say that the i4.0BS® is also our first foray into smart manufacturing. The product has been adopted by a major Japanese injection molding factory, a Singaporean semiconductor equipment factory, and important semiconductor, handtool, and plumbing hardware manufacturers in Taiwan. The i4.0BS® received the International Innovation Award in 2018, the 29th Taiwan Excellence Award (Silver) in 2020, and the Outstanding Award in the Innovative Application R&D Category - System Integration Application Group at the 1st Award of Robotic System Integration (ARSI) from the Industrial Development Bureau, MOEA in 2021.
• Ball Spline
The HIWIN Ball Spline is a rolling mechanical component specially designed for guiding linear motion. It consists of nut, shaft, and retainer holding the steel balls. Three motions: linear, rotating, and spiral are integrated onto one axis. When automated equipment requires linear and rotating motions, the use of both ballscrews and linear bearings is required to achieve the two motions. Using ball splines can save space, reduce equipment weight, and decrease the number of parts for better production efficiency, energy efficiency, and environmental protection.
• HIWIN Miniature ballscrew
HIWIN Super Z miniature ballscrew adopts optimized structures and tangential recirculation devices and can be applied to industries such as semiconductor, medical, AOI equipment, single-axis robot, etc. It can satisfy different customer demands and even generate demands from new applications. The Super Z miniature ballscrew is applicable to semiconductor equipment, medical equipment, electric optoelectronic detectors, single-axis bionic robotic equipment, and other equipments. Low frictional resistance of the nut reduces energy loss and extends the ballscrews' life cycle. The unique nut structure is produced using a new process that has better efficiency, faster lead times, and less energy loss, making our miniature ballscrews eco-friendly products.
(2) Linear Guideway Series
• HIWIN Super Miniature Guideway
The HIWIN Super Miniature Guideway simplifies complex recycling systems and uses 75% fewer components compared to traditional miniature guideways. The all-inone component design makes assembly more efficient and the simple appearance showcases HIWIN's exquisite craftsmanship and professionalism.
All parts and components in the super miniature guideway comply with RoHS specifications. All metal parts are made from stainless steel materials, which were selected for their excellent anticorrosive properties. HIWIN has also reduced the use of anti-rust oils or any hard-to-recycle materials to prevent unnecessary waste and to protect the environment. Customers can also opt for added protection against corrosion with trivalent chromium (Cr3+), a type of eco-friendly black chromium certified by the EU, plating.
• Non-black Linear Guideways
The previous generation of blocks largely used black oxide coatings. Only the bearing surface remained metallic. To support environmental sustainability, in 2016, HIWIN started to terminate black oxide coating processes that pose a threat to the environment (manganese(II) phosphate and zinc phosphate). Products are now designed to keep their original metallic color. To effectively prevent block corrosion, increase the quality of linear guideways, reduce production time, and decrease carbon emissions, HIWIN has introduced new processes that have allowed us to conserve 1.8 GWh in energy and reduce 904 metric tons of carbon emissions.
Production Time - Original Process vs. New Process for Non-black Linear Guideways
(3) Crossed Roller Bearings
With the advent of Industry 4.0, industries are facing transformation trends. As such, robotic arms for smart manufacturing, five-axis rotary tables, and automatic equipment are in need, and demanding the lighter and energy-efficient design. Such equipment must also be able to bear loads and torques from different directions within a limited space. Angular contact ball bearings are largely the solution, but their related components are heavy. HIWIN's crossed roller bearings can bear loads from different directions and has higher stiffness over angular contact ball bearings. Without affecting performance, the crossed roller bearings are able to make assembling faster and reduce energy loss on the application end.
Volume Comporison between Crossed Roller Bearing and Angular Contact Ball Bearing (both with the same inside diameter of 100mm)
(4) Torque Motor Rotary Table
As the machine tool industry and electronic industry flourish, so does the complexity, precision, and production efficiency of their products. The average machine can no longer satisfy such products. Processes in these industries must now integrate rotary tables to enhance machine quality and efficiency.
HIWIN's rotary tables are equipped with the Torque Motor, a direct drive motor, which has higher drive efficiency and faster acceleration. It effectively increases production efficiency and reduces the machine's running hours, which also helps conserve energy.
(5) Energy Saving Solution for Rotary Tables
The machinery industry is developing towards multi-axis machining and higher efficiency levels. As such, high-quality parts and components are the only way to elevate the industry's value and competitive advantage.
Through talent cultivation, industryacademia cooperation, and years of investments in drive technologies, HIWIN has developed advanced technologies and innovative R&D capacities. In addition, HIWIN has launched a high-accuracy rotary table equipped with composite carbon fiber to meet diversifying industry demands and changing future trends.
HIWIN's high accuracy torque motor rotary table uses composite carbon fiber to achieve a lightweight design, making it 30kg lighter (10.7% less weight) than its counterparts. The lightweight design optimizes the complementary motor drive module, which helps reduce energy consumption by 42%. It can also reduce run cycles to simultaneously increase production efficiency, which aligns with green manufacturing trends that call for energy conservation and carbon emissions.
(6) HIWIN DATORKER® Strain Wave Gear
The HIWIN DATORKER®) Strain Wave Gear employs an optimized gear design in the spirit of environmental protection and green energy. The design drastically increases the meshing, is lighter in weight, and has a high reduction ratio.
Given the same torque output, motors with our robot reducer use up to 85% less energy than regular motors. Though small and light, it doesn't compromise torque output and, in fact, enables an even greater torque output.
The HIWIN DATORKER® Strain Wave Gear saves energy, reduces carbon emissions, and is great for applications in the robotics arms, automation, machine tool, and semiconductor industry.
Regular Motor vs. Motor with HIWIN DATORKER® Strain Wave Gear