E-Mail Newsletter

             Issued by the Asian TOP Panel, May 2004

           The Chinese Mechanical Engineering Society (CMES)
           The Institution of Engineers, Indonesia (PII)
           The Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers (JSME)
           The Korean Society of Mechanical Engineers (KSME)


    According to the agreement made in the 2nd Asian TOP Panel Meeting,
the ENGINEERING NEWS IN BRIEF (E-mail newsletter) has now been edited
by the KSME for the year 2004.



(1) Output Value of Machine Building Industry up 30 pct in Q1
    (Source: CMES)
(2) Changchun to Forge Auto Parts Base   (Source: CMES)
(3) White Goods Go Hi-Tech  (Source: CMES)
(4) Study of developing Implantable Hospital Device  (Source: JSME)
(5) Remote drive of space elevator using laser energy  (Source : JSME)
(6) Wearable see-through display   (Source : JSME)
(7) Self-contained Wall Climbing Robot   (Source : KSME)


(1) Output Value of Machine Building Industry up 30 pct in Q1
    (Source: CMES)

 Total output value of China's machine building industry in the first
quarter this year reached 680.89 billion yuan (more than 82 billion US
dollars), up 29.89 percent year-on-year, latest statistics show. In
the period, the value added output value of China's machine building
industry reached 138.5 billion yuan (16.75 billion US dollars), an
increase of 34.83 percent year-on-year, according breakdowns released
Monday by the China Federation of Machine Building Industry. The
profits of the country's machine building sector reported 37.636
billion yuan (about 4.55 billion yuan US dollars) in the first three
months, an annual increase of 30.28 percent, statistics show. All the
related industrial sectors, except that involving the office equipment,
witnessed a growth rate of over 30 percent during the three-month
period. The auto sector reported the biggest profits, totaling 19.243
billion yuan (over 2.33 billion US dollars), accounting for over half
of the total profits in the industrial sector. While the electrical
engineering sector contributed the most, or 30.54 percent, to the
industrial output value. Statistics have indicated that the total
output value of China's machine building industry reached 2,530.9
billion yuan (some 305billion US dollars) last year, a rise of 31.9
percent year on year.

(2) Changchun to Forge Auto Parts Base   (Source: CMES)

 Changchun, known as the car city in China, is set to add a
10-square-kilometre automotive accessories export base within the city
limits in addition to constructing an international automobile
production area in its southwestern region. According to the Changchun
municipal government, its total output of automobiles will reach
900,000 by 2005, realizing an output value of 150 billion yuan (US$18
billion). And the output value of automotive parts will reach 30
billion yuan (US$3.6 billion), 15 per cent of which will be earned
through exports. As the capital city of Jilin Province, Changchun has
now become the largest production, research and trade centre for
modern automobiles and their components in China, with the latest
technologies and widest range of varieties. Today, 304 enterprises in
the city are engaged in automobile manufacturing and 283 produce
automobile parts. Last year, they manufactured 641,000 automobiles,
accounting for 14.4 per cent of the total output in the nation. The
total output for cars as a whole in 2003 amounted to 118.2 billion
yuan (US$14.3 billion), while that of automobile parts reached 21.5
billion yuan (US$2.6 billion). Besides being home to a raft of
influential enterprises such as First Automotive Works, Changchun has
also built a unique development zone focusing on automobile trade
logistics. It also has a well-known automobile part trading market,
which boasts an annual trade volume of 4 billion yuan
(US$483.6 million). With years of engagement in automobile
manufacturing, Changchun has accumulated an influx of experts and
skilled personnel in the field. Currently, the city has more than 100
research institutes and up to 6,800 researchers associated with the
industry. The local government has launched a joint training programme
with the Chinese Centre of Hanover to train management professionals
and automotive parts technicians. In 2003, Changchun was approved by
the State to establish a quality supervision and inspection centre on
automotive parts so as to advance the quality of products from local
enterprises. About 100 local automotive part manufacturers have
obtained ISO9000 Quality Certification. With such solid foundations
for long-term success in automobile manufacturing, Changchun officials
are now planning to expand related exports. The local government has
established a special office for the automobile industry and organized
a panel to study the development of Changchun's automobile industry as
well as the establishment of an automobile parts export base. In the
meantime, city officials are putting more efforts into creating more
automobile giants and large automotive accessory manufacturers through
investment promotions, joint venture establishment, and mergers and
acquisitions. Technological innovation is another area that is drawing
more attention from local authorities. This year, city officials plan
to allocate 11 billion yuan (US$1.3 billion) to projects relevant to
the industry. International partnerships on automotive part
manufacturing are expected to increase, thanks to rising exports in
that regard. The Changchun municipal government is also committed to
creating a public technological innovation service platform for
automotive accessories. A research and development centre is under
construction, while current related product examination institutes are
going to be upgraded. At the same time, a public information service
platform will be completed to provide more online services for
enterprises, such as online purchasing and sales features. Companies
are also expected to obtain the latest information on policies in
export destinations, along with their purchasing systems and rules.
The local government will allocate 50 million yuan (US$6 million)
annually to establish a development fund for the automobile industry,
which will be used to sponsor the development of key automotive part
projects. More aid will come from local financial institutes, which
will be encouraged by the local government to provide better loan
services. Knowing well that an expansive sales network plays an
important role in automotive part export, the Changchun municipal
government continuously inspires the local enterprises to establish
sales outlets and logistics centres abroad through co-operating with
foreign agents or distributors. The local officials suggested that the
Chinese government should lend more support in raising the automotive
part exports, such as laying out preferential policies, simplifying
examination and approval procedures for foreign-funded enterprises who
want to invest in the sector and obtaining more export quotas.


(3) White Goods Go Hi-Tech  (Source: CMES)

 The 2004 China International Home Appliance Exhibition opened in
Beijing on Sunday. A cleaner way of cooking, a mobile-control
refrigerator and a more intelligent washing machine, that's what's
being offered at the show. They are among the brand-new products that
will soon be launched into the Chinese market. Technology and
Innovation are considered by many foreign manufacturers as the major
factor to win consumer interest. Meanwhile, domestic manufacturers are
also increasing their investment in R&D to gain their share of the pie.
Technology upgrades have also been a must, especially for those eyeing
the international market. Deputy Director Mao said, "The technological
standard is the biggest problem for the "made-in-China" products. For
example, the US has recently adopted new standard for washing machines
in terms of energy saving, which we have adapted to. But adaptation
requires more investment in R&D and equipment." Not only has China
become a global production base for home appliances, but it's now also
one of the biggest consumers for home appliances. However, Chinese
manufacturers are also facing more challenges, especially with trade
disputes in the global market. But experts suggest that Chinese
manufacturers are becoming more mature in the import and export game
after only three years since joining the WTO.


(4) Study of developing Implantable Hospital Device  (Source: JSME)

    Hidetoshi KOTERA, Kyoto University

 To improve the quality of life, it is expected that as an application
of MEMS, micro-TAS (micro-Total Analysis systems) plays an important
role. The Implantable Hospital Device is one of the micro-TAS which
are able to carry out physiological tests inside the body, deliver the
appropriate drugs and transmit the results to a hospital by wireless
network. The Implantable Hospital Device is composed of a micro channel,
micro pump, micro mixer, micro reactor, micro sensor,  transmitter and
so on. Thousands of researchers are engaged in developing the devices,
and we are also studying the devices, micro fluidic systems, micro
antenna and micro actuator. We will present our research results and
introduce research subjects in the near future.


(5) Remote drive of space elevator using laser energy  (Source : JSME)
    Akihiro SASOH
    Institute of Fluid Science, Tohoku University

 Laser propulsion is a method to generate a thrust by remotely
supplying the necessary power through a laser beam. At the Institute of
Fluid Science, Tohoku University, a laser-driven in-tube accelerator
(LITA) has been developed. It is characterized by accelerating a
projectile in an acceleration tube, thereby improving its thrust
performance, reusability, safety, controllability etc. This device is
expected to be applied as the driving force of the space elevator of
which NASA is seriously studying feasibility.


(6) Wearable see-through display   (Source : JSME)

    Marubeni Aerospace Corporation

 NOMAD, a kind of HMD (Head Mounted Display which was developed by
Microvision Inc., Seattle) is a highly prospective product. The
technical feature uses MEMS, which is a unique product of Microvision.
 The technique uses light, which is modulated and directed onto a
mirror, which is then scanned horizontally to "paint" rows of pixels.
The significant advantages are flexibility and adaptability. The
display resolution is SVGA 800 x 600 pixels.
 You can see the image display and surrounding view of your work at
hand at the same time because NOMAD display is transparent. So, for
example, you do not need take along heavy manuals when you do
maintenance or outdoor work. You can see the manuals right before
your eyes.
 This will play an active role in fields of maintenance and training
in manufacturers, automotive, general aviation, marine navigation,
medical service and so on.
 Also, the MEMS, the main system of NOMAD, is capable of achieving
nearly limitless marketing potentioal, as its application can be
altered to suit customers' needs.


(7) Self-contained Wall Climbing Robot   (Source : KSME)

 Professor Hyoukryeol Choi of Sungkyunkwan  University reported the
development of a self-contained wall climbing robot with closed link
mechanism in the recent issue of KSME International Journal.
A self-contained wall climbing robot, called MRWLLSPECT
(Multi-functional Robot for WALL inSPECTion) II, is developed. It is
designed for scanning external surfaces of gas or oil tanks with small
curvature in order to find defects. The robot contains all the
components for navigation in itself without any external teacher cable.
Although it takes the basic structure of the sliding body mechanism,
the robot has its original characteristics features in the kinematic
design with closed link mechanism, which is enabled by adopting a
simple and robust gait pattern mimicking a biological system.
By employing the proposed link mechanism, the number of actuators is
reduced and high force-to-weight ratio is achieved.


Editor : Professor Mansoo Choi of Seoul National University,
         Director of General Affairs, KSME

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