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Taipei Times reported that machinery parts maker Chia Yi Steel Co has begun shipping its newly developed metal powder to tap into the 3D printing market. Mr Tsao Kuang-chao chairman said that Chia Yi Steel is the only Taiwanese supplier capable of producing high-purity metal powder used in 3D printing technologies. He added that the company has secured orders from more than six clients for the new product in the first half of this year. Mr Tsao said that â€œWith a total investment of nearly NTD 200 million [USD 6.7 million], we have been working on the research and development of metal powder for more than three years.â€�
The company, which mainly supplies steel components for the hydraulic, automobile and agricultural industries, is able to manufacture up to 50 tonnes of metal powder per month.
It is expanding its presence in the emerging 3D printing industry as part of the 44-year-old companyâ€™s efforts to boost its profitability by diversifying its product portfolio.
Mr Tsao estimated that metal powder for 3D printing offers a high gross margin of about 60 percent.
To reach more potential clients, the Chiayi-based company has joined a 3D printing alliance pushed by the government-backed Industrial Technology Research Institute to encourage the development of medical equipment.
Chia Yi Steel gave an upbeat outlook for the second half, partly because it expects the foreign exchange rate to have a milder impact on its business this year.
In addition, customer demand worldwide has improved since last year, which has led to double-digit percentage annual revenue growth so far this year.
Chia Yi Steel swung into a profit in the first quarter of the year, aided by high demand and lower transportation costs.
The machinery components supplier posted a net profit of NTD 4.67 million for last quarter, or earnings per share of NTD 0.1, compared with a net loss of NTD 33.99 million in the same period last year.
First-quarter sales soared 43.7 percent to NTD 342.08 million from NTD 238.12 million on an annual basis, while gross margin increased to 15.84 percent from 8.18 percent on the back of continuous improvement in its production processes, the company said.
Cumulative sales in the first five months totaled NTD 594.64 million, up 32.82 percent year-on-year from NTD 447.7 million a year ago, it said.
Source : Taipei Times