INT Opens the Way for the Machining of Functional Parts from Cutting to Coatingto Polishing
The Challenges Faced by ‘INT’An Enterprise with a Challenging Spirit and Relentless Passion
“I started a computer-related business, which is far removed from the machining business, in 2005,” said INT CEO Kim Soon-hoon. “But most of my clients were engaged in the machining business, and I quite naturally developed a keen interest in the industry.” On an acquaintance’s recommendation, he took up the challenge of machining a cell phone part. With little professional knowledge about machining, CEO Kim had a ton of things to learn and practice, including the basic principles of cutting tools, the machinability and machining time of each type of major workpiece, and the efficiency and stability of the relevant machine tools. He virtually lived in his factory for the first six months, studying and accumulating INT’s unique machining know-how before starting to look for customers in the machining industry. His extraordinary commitment and hard work began to earn high recognition in the market when INT received a surprising offer.
In 2016, AP Systems, a semi-conductor equipment manufacturer, offered INT a contract to produce the small grippers used to remove protective film and feed glass in the manufacturing process of mobile phone LCDs. “It requires precision machining technologies and even in-depth know-how about coating to machine a gripper, which is a functional part. It took me three months to check all the papers related to the sticking and coating technologies and conduct in-depth research on key materials like polyurethane and silicone and the relevant machining technologies,” recollects CEO Kim. Despite failures, he kept on trying out new approaches and ended up producing high-quality grippers that amazed the client, AP Systems.
Soon, INT began to produce small grippers for AP Systems in full swing, which soon led the company to produce other functional parts required by AP Systems. Most notably, CEO Kim has competed with a Japanese company armed with decades of experience in the area in the domestic market with the aim of ‘localizing’ parts production. The growth of his company is the result, says CEO Kim.
The Key to Success in the Machining of High-Quality Functional Parts is ‘Machine Tools.’
INT produces various kinds of small grippers in different shapes and sizes. Except for plating, INT carries out all the required processes internally, including cutting, manufacturing molds for special coating, coating processed parts, re-processing coated parts, polishing, and binding with resins such as poly-urethane and silicon. To that end, INT initially purchased Doosan Machine Tools’ Mynx 7500 and Mynx 4500, and the company now uses more than ten Doosan machine tools for various processes including metal cutting, the re-processing of coated parts, and polishing.
The metal cutting allowance for grippers is ±0.1mm while the requirement for urethane surface resistance is as high as 106~9. Thus, INT is equipped with coating and polishing technologies of unrivaled competitiveness. Most notably, INT uses large amounts of electric conductive rubber. “Urethane turns into conductive rubber when it is well mixed with conductive liquid and coated on to products,” says CEO Kim. “With patents for the joining of different materials and coating, INT has striven to secure differentiated competitiveness in the field of functional parts machining.
“Re-cutting following the coating of metal materials requires cutting technologies of a very high standard,” says CEO Kim. “The principal contributor to our company’s stable production is machine tools.” He recollects, “When we began manufacturing grippers, we used a tapping machine which could not be used for other purposes. So we looked for a multitasking machine tool, and Doosan Machine Tools recommended using the DNM 4500.” He adds, “Molding is absolutely necessary for the coating of small grippers due to their small coating areas. We could not outsource the coating process for fear of quality issues in addition to concerns about higher costs. That’s why we make the molds ourselves in order to fulfill our customers’ needs in terms of process tolerance, surface resistance, and precision.”
Asked about the biggest advantage of Doosan Machine Tools’ products, CEO Kim refers to ‘their ease of operation and machining precision.’ He added, “The operational ease of machine tools is the most important factor for the production lines of SMEs. I am sure that very few machine tools are as good as Doosan machine tools in terms of operational ease, not to mention their machining precision.” “When purchasing machine tools, one must identify precisely what kind of machine tools one’s company needs,” emphasizes CEO Kim. “Salespeople tend to explain machine tool performance sufficiently, but many people do not really listen to them. They don’t choose all the necessary options, and tend to focus on buying machine tools at the lowest possible prices. Then, while actually using the machine tools, they compare their machines with other brands and become dissatisfied with their machine tools.” As for suggestions to Doosan Machine Tools, CEO Kim proposed that the company add a function for 300mm hole processing so that a machining center can carry out the gun-drilling process. INT is planning to buy an additional VM 6500 machining center prior to the completion of its factory expansion in March 2019.
Competitiveness Never Stays Put
INT, having localized small grippers, has seen an almost 1,000% increase in its sales over the past two years. In fact, INT accounts for 80% of the domestic market share, which everyone seems to take for granted given that INT maximizes the usability of the machine tools that it purchases to produce products of the highest quality, in addition to the fact that it has secured unrivaled competitiveness in cutting, coating and polishing, thereby ensuring stable production and quality assurance. CEO Kim concludes by saying, “We will continue striving to develop INT into a leader in the research and manufacture of functional parts.”