How One Company is Weathering the Storm - Chia Chung: Radial Arm Saws Packed Full of Muscle


2008-11-03
During these tough economic times many companies are coping by running operations at half mast. WFD requested an interview with the president of CHIA CHUNG MACHINERY, Mr. Bae, Shyr-tsong, which he kindly arranged time for. Surprisingly, while lots of the local competition has been downsizing in wait for the world economy to turn around, CHIA CHUNG has build a brand new facility. The factory is nestled tastefully behind a spanning courtyard landscaped much like a miniature Yellowstone Park, the perfect setting to sit back and take in the insights of this industry veteran. In 1989, Mr. Bae, Shyr-tsong took the bull by the horns after a career as mechanical engineer with woodworking machinery, and established CHIA CHUNG MACHINERY. At that time the focus was on various grinders for woodworking cutters. It was a wise decision since quality and efficiency are largely dependent on sharpness, and Mr. Bae’s ingenuity as a hands-on engineer led the company to come out with some very practical high quality machines. The range of models went from T.C.T. Cutter Grinders, Copy Grinders, Throw-Away Knife Grinders, Finger Jointer Cutter Grinders, Milling Cutter Grinders, Heavy duty and Super Sharp Straight Knife Grinders to Carbide Circular Saw Blade Grinders and the ultimately suited to woodworking factories Universal Grinder. That model in particular could handle combined cutter grinding, circular saw blade grinding and straight knife grinding, with each station strategically configured into the single unit to save space. As if the years of experience under his belt fuelled a pent up arsenal of innovative insights, the establishment of CHIA CHUNG unleashed technical momentum which just seems to snowball. Mr. Bae builds his machines with a simple idea in mind, that they be as precise, smooth and flexible as possible. To this end, some of the technologies incorporated into the grinders are as follows: linear guides with ball bearings or cross roller linear motion guides, index heads with micrometric adjustment, digital scales for feed control, frequency inverter travel speed control, magnetic chuck plates, and various special purpose clamping devices. ***Q&A*** Q: This facility of yours is beautiful. Is it new? A: It is. We built it a couple of years ago, and it spans about 1,600 pings. (That's around 58,000 square feet) Its construction is the result of about ten years specializing in grinding machines, and since then we have branched out into industrial feeders and radial arm saws. Q: If I were a buyer from the West, which of your machines would you focus my attention to? A: We are quite proud of this particular radial arm saw. We've got more than twenty models to choose from, depending on the application. But this model is our most advanced one to date. We call it the BS-969A Automatic Universal Radial Arm Saw. Q: Can you point out some of its advantages? A: Basically, it has all the functionality of a compound miter saw, but the saw saddle can be adjusted to do a whole lot more. Obviously you can adjust the piloting arm across 180 degrees from right to left for miter cutting, and the saddle tilts to any angle for compound miter cutting. The piloting arm is super rigid and along it the saw saddle travels on 8 specialized ball bearings on interchangeable ways. You can adjust the blade to run parallel to the fence for squaring and trimming, and in that position it can tilt to any angle down to perfectly horizontal, or level with the table. This position is for plunge-notching and grooving. Q: Is that thing a laser? A: Correct. It helps a lot in accuracy when you are using the machine manually. But this saw is also fully automatic if you are set up with a conveyor and feeding system, which we also provide. It's powered by 5.5 horsepower, and the head travel motion is extremely smooth and effortless. It is set up to perform precisely for years on end. In the control box we've equipped it with a frequency inverter which governs saw travel speed and jog control. Once the saw returns to its original position, there is a 3 second delay before it repeats the operation. Q: What dimensions can it handle? A: Anything up to 900mm wide by 180mm thick. You'll notice a very sturdy table and base construction which makes for superior support under heavy loads. Q: Has your company had to deal with many technical challenges? A: Sure, but that's what we thrive on. In terms of our users in Australia and Europe, their safety standards are more stringent. It's nothing we can't handle though, and all of those devices are integrated into the machines. One thing we found odd is that standard angle settings in most countries including the States are at 10, 22.5, 30 and 45 degrees. In France however, they don't want 22.5 degrees. They require 22 degrees instead. Q: That doesn't make sense. A: What makes sense is to make what the customer wants. So that's what we do for France. Q: Good point. Can you tell me about your R&D department? A: That would be me, predominantly. Each and every one of these machines is designed by me. Of course I delegate certain responsibilities such as Autocad and 3 dimensional graphic design, but essentially I am the idea and innovation man. Of course you get Italy and Japan coming out with lots of innovation, but I often see room for improvement on those ideas. There on the wall you can see examples of some of my patents. Lots of them pertain to automation, and actually you won't find any other companies producing machines like ours. You asked about technical challenges. Whenever you develop a new model or function, you're going to encounter some glitches. So a lot of my time during that stage is spent working out the details and making sure they get taken care of. Hydraulics are complicated to tune in precisely, for example. But once you dial it in, you're set to go. Q: How is the competition? A: A lot of them are hurting right now. It has gotten to the point where many factories run 3 days a week because they just don't have the orders. We are going full-time, thankfully. And even if times are a bit slow as they can be recently, we keep on a regular schedule to be sure our clients are getting the support that they need. Q: Can we see one of the machines in action? A: Absolutely. Let's take a walk... Precise, Smooth, and Flexible During a blizzard the less evolved caveman would just suffer the misery of not being able to hunt, while the wiser one would use the time to hone the tips of his spears. CHIA CHUNG understands the importance of keeping the tools sharp, and this insight is what brought the company into its current success with radial arm saws and more. We actually got a hands-on demonstration of a radial arm saw. The power is immense, the swivel, tilt, angle adjustment and travel action superb. With a machine of this caliber one could produce some beautiful work, and with a very reasonable price tag, shops across the globe may want to check out CHIACHUNG MACHINERY to explore how this company can help increase profitability. The website is: http://twma.46.so-buy.com.
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