The Industrial Technology Department (ITD) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) plans to introduce high-tech functional light-weight alloy materials into the Taiwan transportation vehicle parts industry to generate another growth momentum.
ITD's move is expected to first help the local magnesium-alloy sector enjoy big jumps in the future, according to ITD.
ITD recently demonstrated the R&D achievements by the department's Science and Technology Development Projects. In conjunction with the energy-saving and environment protection development trend, many local companies have rushed to develop and produce auto parts made in high-tech, light-weight functional materials, such as aluminum, magnesium and titanium alloys, in cooperation with counterparts in Japan, the U.S. and Europe. The products demonstrated included magnesium-alloy handle wheels, combustion-engine cylinder heads etc.
A senior official of local Metal Industries Research & Development Centre (MIRDC) said that auto parts made in magnesium alloy can enjoy a weight cut of 30% to 60% if compared with general steel counterparts. With the promotion of ITD, he added, the annual consumption volume of magnesium alloy by the transportation vehicle parts industry has grown to about 3,000 tons now from 00 tons in 2001, accounting for over 30% of the total consumption of such materials in Taiwan. In addition, the annual production value of magnesium-alloy parts has grown to outstrip NT$10 billion (US$320.51 million at US$1: NT$31.2) in 2004 from about NT$6 billion (US$192.31 million) in 2001.
Statistics compiled by the steering committee of the European Union (EU) showed that the emission volume of CO2 decreased by 10.8% during the 1995-2002 period, but EU's goal is a cut of 35%. Based on the goal, EU automakers have promised an average CO2 emission volume of 140g/kilometer with automobiles produced in 2008 and thereafter.
After the execution of ITD-approved Science and Technology Projects, the MIRDC official said, the liquid-forming production technique has been successfully adopted by local bicycle makers to upgrade product values. Giant Manufacturing Co., Ltd., for example, utilized such a technology to develop the Reviver comfort-bike model and exported about 20,000 such bikes to the U.S. market in 2004, making it the world's No. 1 bike maker.
ITD claimed that the R&D achievements of the ITD-subsidized projects are expected to attract intensive investments from local enterprises in the future, thus helping the magnesium-alloy sector expand application ranges from mainly 3C (computer, communication, and consumer electronics) into also transportation-vehicle parts business. ITD stressed that Taiwan is expected to become a big magnesium-alloy production nation in the future.