R&D Innovation Management

R&D Innovation Strategy

HIWIN’s long-term investment in R&D innovation and the development of private brands serves as the cornerstone of its sustainable development. The Company actively fosters a learning environment that encourages and manages innovation. By implementing three key strategies ― ” cultivating an innovative culture, ” ” engaging in industry-academia cooperation, “ and ” implementing intellectual property management ” ― HIWIN empowers and motivates its employees to enhance their innovation capabilities. This, in turn, enables the company to strengthen its two core competencies: ” sustainable products ” and ” smart manufacturing. ” HIWIN remains dedicated to developing environment friendly, high-value products to maintain its industry-leading position in the face of intense competition. Additionally, HIWIN integrates company's global resources to focus on advancing the five Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

R&D Innovation Platform

Based on our innovation management and service mindset, HIWIN allocates 3.8%-5.8% of our annual revenue to fund R&D. We have consistently innovated our existing products to meet customer demands. In response to the energy conservation trend, we have applied our motion control technologies to achieve low energy consumption used by various industries, such as semiconductors, robots, green energy, consumer products, the automotive industry, and other emerging sectors to replace less efficient motion methods such as pneumatic and hydraulic systems. Additionally, the company is actively establishing a strong presence in high-end applications, such as industrial/wafer robots, EFEM, strain wave gear, torque motor rotary tables, and intelligent motion products.

(1) Group R&D Capabilities

R&D innovation and brand marketing are the core management of HIWIN. Since our establishment, HIWIN has developed a long-term plan to position itself as the leading brand in precision linear motion components and system technology products. To achieve this, HIWIN has established R&D centers in Taiwan, Japan, China, USA, Germany, Italy and Israel, employing over 500 R&D professionals. Our commitment lies in integrating global resources and driving technological innovation.

The IP Department is responsible for managing and maintaining HIWIN’s intellectual property systems. Regular reports on IP are submitted to the Company’s management team. Additionally, our global subsidiaries R&D centers engage in quarterly exchanges with the headquarters, including activities such as global training and product sharing. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic in 2022, we continued to make progress in R&D through video conferencing.

(2) Internal Innovation Process

Via smart manufacturing to respond to the manufacturing and industry uncertainties and changes. HIWIN has actively cultivated a culture of innovation and enhanced its R&D capabilities since its inception. To foster internal innovation and develop competitive products, we have implemented concurrent engineering to expedite the realization of innovative ideas. Additionally, we have established a product development process that aligns with HIWIN’s culture and values. This process focuses on concurrent innovative ideas throughout the entire development cycle, from initial experience sharing, patent portfolio, and target markets during the design stage, to production equipment, factories, collaborative engineering, logistics information synchronization, and cooperation synchronization during the later stages of R&D. In 2023, through this product development process, HIWIN successfully introduced a range of new products that address market needs and alleviate customer troubles, thereby strengthening the Company’s long-term competitiveness. For instance, the “ Underwater Direct Drive Rotary Table, “ which entered mass production in 2022, is the world’s only direct drive rotary table that can be mass produced with an IP68 water resistance rating. This product can continuously operate at 1,500 RPM, significantly enhancing the efficiency and energy-saving capabilities of the EDM industry. It was awarded the Silver prize at the 2023 Taiwan Excellence Awards, demonstrating both our commitment to internal innovation and the tangible results we have achieved.

(3) Most Beneficial Award

HIWIN promotes and motivates employees to implement innovative ideas in products, processes, and manufacturing through our internal innovation mechanism. This helps us establish a sustainable foundation for our organization’s competitiveness. We also believe in rewarding employees who propose innovative ideas by providing them with tangible benefits.

In 2022, we introduced the ” Most Beneficial Proposal Competition, “ which is divided into four categories: “ Process, Automation, Product, AI & Big Data. “

In 2023, we added the ” Most Beneficial – Environment “ category to encourage employees who propose energy conservation and carbon reduction projects. This initiative aims to create a positive cycle of net zero emissions. Furthermore, we have included two new categories: Patent, Proposal for Improvement.

Below are the rewards granted and the number of proposals received in recent years:

Establishment of Innovation Culture

Strengthening Industry-Academia Cooperation

HIWIN is committed to ongoing innovation in research and development, as well as leveraging the expertise of industry, government, and academia to strengthen Taiwan’s machinery industry. To this end, HIWIN has been providing resources to domestic and overseas universities and research institutes, fostering technological advancements and educational reforms in engineering through the integration of global resources and a commitment to continuous innovation. Recognizing the significance of long-term research and development, HIWIN has initiated collaborative efforts with industry, government, academia, and research institutes in four key areas in 2022.

(1) Industry-Academia Cooperation with Universities

Since 2005, HIWIN has actively participated in industry-academia cooperation projects, investing in fundamental technology research at various universities. In 2022, HIWIN invested US$1.07 million, initiating industry-academia cooperation with a total of 22 universities throughout the year. Notably, HIWIN’s AI models for technology products are the result of successful collaborations with universities. In particular, we have maintained an 11-year partnership with a renowned U.S. university, a global leader in big data engineering, to incorporate advanced technologies such as data mining, AI algorithms, and health diagnosis. By combining sensors, expertise, AI capabilities, and key components, we have successfully developed and mass-produced the world’s first i4.0BS® Intelligent Ballscrew.

(2) Joint R&D Center

The HIWIN-Tsinghua University Joint R&D Center has exemplified successful collaboration between academia and industry, combining the research and development capabilities of the university with the industry’s drive to meet market expection. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, HIWIN has invested US$574.7 thousand in R&D in 2022, resulting in the creation of several cutting-edge products. Over the period from 2013 to 2022, a total of US$8.99 million has been allocated to R&D. Through various sub-projects, we have partnered with 10 universities and engaged over 33 scholars, encompassing research laboratories in mechanical, materials, electrical, green energy, and mathematics disciplines, all aimed at developing high-end products. Furthermore, a significant number of students have been recruited by the HIWIN Group upon graduation, allowing them to apply their expertise to practice.

(3) MOEA A+ Industrial Innovation R&D Program

Since July 2019, HIWIN has been collaborating with the Industrial Technology Research Institute, National Chung Cheng University, National Tsing Hua University, and domestic manufacturers of advanced machine tools on the A+ Industrial Innovation R&D Program. The program ” R&D of key components for domestic manufacturing intelligent five-axis machine tool ” has the goal of developing advanced five-axis machine tools using autonomous and original technologies. It leverages HIWIN’s advantages in mechatronics, mass production, and international marketing to provide HIWIN key components for five-axis machine tools that are in need for intelligent transformetion with competitive integration of good quality, cost-effectiveness, delivery date, and after-sales service and maintenance.

(4) Industry Innovation Program (Machine Tool Standardization Program)

In 2022, HIWIN participated in the Machine Tool Standardization Program led by the Industrial Development Bureau, MOEA. The Taiwan Machine Tool & Accessory Builders’ Association called on the industry to jointly formulate standard specifications for the mechanical interfaces of machine tools’ key components, specifically “ linear guideways and ballscrews, “ in order to enhance the competitiveness of the machine tool industry. As a leading company in precision motion control and precision parts, HIWIN has developed a total of 48 standard specifications for linear guideways and 122 standard specifications for ballscrews. These specifications will be integrated with digital drawings to simplify the complexity and facilitate the development process for designers. Furthermore, the standardization of the mechanical interface promotes modular design in the equipment industry, increases material sharing, and directly contributes to the international competitiveness of the machine tool and machinery industry as a whole.

Innovation Management

(1) IP Knowledge Management System

HIWIN is dedicated to integrating global resources and fostering continuous innovation. To safeguard the Company’s intellectual property (IP), the Chairman’s Office has established a specialized IP Legal Department. Additionally, HIWIN has implemented the Taiwan Intellectual Property System (TIPS), which formulates IP management policies and objectives centered around patents, trade secrets, trademarks, and copyrights. Corresponding implementation methods have been established for relevant departments to adhere to, with the aim of preventing any infringement of others’ IP during product development or marketing. HIWIN actively encourages its colleagues to innovate and develop a comprehensive IP portfolio, thereby upholding the Company’s brand image. Furthermore, effective communication channels have been established to facilitate ongoing enhancements to the IP management system.

(2) Patent Management

Since its establishment, HIWIN has prioritized the development of its patent portfolio to safeguard the company’s significant R&D accomplishments. Before introducing new products, HIWIN implements a rigorous review system to evaluate the patent and infringement risks associated with its products. The IP Legal Department conducts patent searches to enhance the quality of the patents. HIWIN encourages its employees to innovate in R&D and uphold its business philosophy of ” Continuous Innovation ” through a comprehensive approach that includes five stages of patent education and training for R&D personnel, an innovative proposal reward system, and a beneficial patent competition. The five stages of patent education and training are specifically designed for new R&D personnel and cover topics such as specification structure and patent categories, patent searches in different countries, preparation of patent proposals, defense against patent rejections, and identification of patent infringement. This systematic course arrangement enables the Company to cultivate the fundamental patent knowledge of new R&D personnel, improve the quality of patent proposals, and mitigate the Company’s risk of infringement.

As of December 2022, HIWIN has filed a cumulative total of 3,421 patent applications. Out of these, 2,824 patents have been granted globally (Note 1), resulting in a patent licensing rate of 89% (Note 2). In 2022 alone, HIWIN filed a total of 109 patents worldwide. Furthermore, HIWIN has consistently received significant patent awards, as indicated in the table below, establishing itself as a technology leader in the industry.

In response to the growing emphasis on ESG, HIWIN has developed numerous green patents focused on environmental protection and energy conservation. These patents encompass various technologies, including temperature detection, reduction in the use of parts and materials, noise reduction, oil leakage prevention, and improvement in lubrication effectiveness. Between 2019 and 2022, HIWIN applied for a total of 245 green patents worldwide, underscoring the company’s dedication to sustainable management.

(3) Trade Secrets Management

To maintain our Company’s competitive advantage in the industry and safeguard HIWIN’s process technologies, we have built upon our experience of implementing the Taiwan Intellectual Property Management System (TIPS) from 2014 to 2017. We have formulated relevant systems based on recommendations from a third-party verification agency and continuously improved our existing practices.

Currently, we have implemented a trade secret registration system within the relevant departments to ensure proper retention of our self-developed technology know-how. The supervisor at the manager level of the registered unit serves as the manager for the trade secret. The IP Legal Department conducts audits on managers throughout the entire factory. Additionally, access to the area where the trade secret is located is strictly controlled. We have established a reporting and penalty mechanism to address any unauthorized personnel entering the controlled area.

Since 2018, we have expanded the system not only at HIWIN Headquarters in Taichung but also to include factories in Taichung, Yunlin, and Chiayi. Every year, internal audits and management review meetings are conducted to ensure the effective implementation of our management system across all units, thereby preventing the leakage of confidential information, such as manufacturing processes.

Furthermore, the IP Legal Department regularly provides legal courses to HIWIN’s managers and offers IP training to new employees on an annual basis. This training enhances employees’ legal and IP awareness, thereby maintaining our competitiveness in the industry.

(4) Trademark Management

HIWIN has successfully established a global presence with its renowned brand. By the end of December 2022, the ” HIWIN ” trademark had been registered in 85 countries, with applications pending in 3 additional countries. With over 30 years of dedicated brand marketing, ” HIWIN ” has become the second largest name in the global linear motion products industry.

The market share of ” HIWIN ” products in China has been steadily increasing, leading to the exploitation of the brand by unauthorized Chinese companies. To safeguard the Company’s intellectual property rights and protect customers from purchasing inferior low quality counterfeit products, HIWIN has taken decisive action against counterfeit HIWIN products in China. The Company has maintained close collaboration with Chinese law enforcement agencies in this endeavor.

As of December 2022, HIWIN has exposed 76 counterfeit manufacturers and 448 counterfeit sellers, resulting in the seizure of a total of 512,174 counterfeit linear guideway blocks and 12,035 counterfeit linear guideway blocks packaging boxes. In order to prevent counterfeiting, HIWIN diligently pursues trademark infringement lawsuits against counterfeit manufacturers, ensuring the protection of customers’ rights and interests. HIWIN remains unwavering in its commitment to upholding the esteemed brand image of HIWIN and defending its exceptional quality.

(5) Copyright Management

Before announcing copyrights, HIWIN’s IP legal team reviews all products to check for potential infringements. Important products are registered with relevant authorization departments for copyright protection, documenting the date of completion and the development process. In recent years, HIWIN has copyrighted HIWIN Ambassadors, product catalogues, and software interfaces, providing an additional layer of copyright protection alongside trademark protection to further safeguard our brand image.

To protect HIWIN’s copyrights and prevent the circulation of counterfeit products in the market, HIWIN has taken action against counterfeiters in the following ways: ① Several Taiwanese manufacturers published counterfeit HIWIN product catalogues on their websites. After receiving a warning letter, the counterfeiters removed the infringing links, paid damages, and issued an apology in newspapers. ② Infringement lawsuits were filed against two counterfeiters of HIWIN product catalogues in China. The initial courts ruled in favor of HIWIN, and the defendants were ordered to pay penalty for violation of HIWIN IP.

In summary, HIWIN’s copyrights are original. If illegitimate companies attempt to enhance the value of their products through counterfeiting, HIWIN will uphold the spirit of continuous innovation and actively take legal action against such behavior to protect the Company’s intellectual property and brand image.