Established in Taiwan in 1976, Dees Hydraulic Industrial Co. Ltd. makes hydraulic presses for multiple automakers including Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo. In recent years, it has invested in newer technologies such as deep-drawing presses and hot-forming lines to feed demand for complex parts made from tougher-to-form alloys.

In 2016, the company began a massive expansion of its main factory in Taiwan to further expand its capacities. The following is a conversation with Dees Sales Manager Ale Lee.

Today’s Motor Vehicles (TMV): What does it take to succeed in sheet-metal processing in today’s market?

Photos courtesy of Dees Hydraulic

Ale Lee (AL): We try to continuously improve our hydraulic press technology to give us an edge over our competitors. Most of our customers are in the automotive industry, with very stringent quality requirements. During the past two years, for example, we have been focusing our efforts on building presses with higher speeds, reducing oil leakages, and fitting accumulators and servo feeds for energy-saving. We are also developing the capability to produce different molds on the same presses. Most of the press parts are made in Dees factories and every part is monitored by our quality control engineers – including options such as moving bolsters, 180° tilting slide tables, safety devices, servo valves, and servo motors.

Strategically, we want to build our presence globally so that we can provide full service and support to our customers, so we have developed sales partnerships in several key countries and markets such as Russia, Indonesia, Brazil, and Mexico. The U.S., South America, and Europe are important markets and we wish to develop more sales partners/agents in these regions. Our long-term objective is to construct a global distribution service network, find reliable agents, and provide good service to customers in our markets.

We export to almost 80 countries, and you will find us at most of the major sheet metal exhibitions globally, such as EuroBlech in Hanover, Germany and Fabtech in the U.S.

TMV: What challenges are your customers presenting to you, and how are you addressing them?

AL: Many of our customers are turning away from cheaper machine tools and placing their focus on stability and quality. Generally, customers want faster speed, greater control, more accuracy, and higher productivity from their presses. Industry 4.0 and increasing levels of automation are also important issues. Dees has built many tandem lines with full automation as many clients require a complete solution for feeding systems, hydraulic presses, transfer systems, and robotic arms.

Our focus on customer service and support packages are value-adds to customers. User-friendly systems make operation and maintenance easier, while Ethernet link technology in electrical systems enables our technicians to monitor press operation or fix software programs in real-time, shortening downtime.

TMV: What changes are you seeing in the global metal-forming market?

AL: The move to lightweight material production is a very important trend. New car designs require new materials which, in turn, require new stamping and tooling processes. For example, we recently built a new 2,500 metric ton hot forming press for sheet molding compound (SMC), a soft plastic material. I foresee this type of demand for stronger and lighter materials will increase in the future.

Hot forming is an important focus. Key sectors, such as electric car production, have been especially profitable for us. In terms of orders this year, we supplied a 300-metric-ton die-spotting press to a tooling development center in Mexico at the beginning of this year. We also received a repeat order from a customer in Argentina – a third order (they already have 12 presses from us) for 600-metric-ton and 300-metric-ton deep-drawing presses.

TMV: Where do you see the biggest challenges/opportunities?

AL: Competition and price are increasing in markets such as China, India, and Vietnam. Duties and tariffs in some countries can make our products less competitive.

However, in terms of opportunities, more customers are asking for solutions, bringing drawings of a part to show us. More of them want us to plan the entire production process for specific parts and offer entire production solutions for them as a one-stop shop, without other partners. I see this as an important opportunity for us in the future, along with the trend for more lightweight, higher-strength parts in the automotive industry.

Dees Hydraulic Industrial Co. Ltd.