20 December 2012

PP Container Sets Power Business

The HMC Connect case study interview for the 4Q edition is with two of the key managers of Thai United Plastic Industry Company Limited: Khun Kingnarong Vongchanpen, T.U.P’s Director & Sales Division Manager, and Khun Nontawat Kanitkorn, T.U.P.’s Marketing Manager.

Thai United Plastic Industry Company Limited (T.U.P.) is a leading injection moulder and exporter of a comprehensive range of polypropylene battery containers manufactured for the automobile, truck and motorcycle markets.

The company was established in 1989 with the objective of growing its manufacturing expertise and market share in the high quality battery container set market for a wide range of motor vehicle applications. To meet its growth and quality strategy goals, all aspects of the T.U.P. production processes have been constantly reviewed and upgraded to maintain the company’s position as an industry leader.

The same applies to the material selection for their moulded battery container sets. T.U.P. has a close collaboration with HMC Polymers who supplies the company with battery benchmark grade polypropylene grades which deliver processing benefits and savings along with optimal end-use quality ensuring minimal returns after shipping, storage or end use by consumers.

The continuous Research and Development used to create the best possible quality polypropylene battery container sets not only positions the T.U.P. company as a leading injection moulder in the Thai market but also enables its products to satisfy the demands of overseas markets as well. Also, T.U.P. has been active to provide efficient after-sales service and a reasonable pricing structure to further build its customer base.

The use of HMC PP grades has assisted the T.U.P. product value proposition with recent improvements in melt flow, reduced wall section ability, impact resistance, molding cycles and associated energy usage.

Interview
With Khun Kingnarong Vongchanpen, Director & Sales Division Manager, and Khun Nontawat Kanitkorn, Marketing Manager.
“The brand T.U.P. was originally derived from its previous brand of Thai United Industry Company Limited or T.U.I., which was established in 1973. T.U.I. was the first company in Thailand to manufacture separators for lead-acid batteries and we have been in that business for many years. In 1989, following suggestions from our customers, we decided to establish a new corporate entity specifically structured for the manufacture of battery container sets.”

“Both T.U.P. and T.U.I. are part of the Saha Thai Group of Companies. The Group owns companies including T.U.P. for the manufacture of battery container sets, T.U.I., for the production of lead-acid battery separators, T.U.G. the glass fiber manufacturer, and T.U.A. for the manufacture of filter paper products.”

“In the past, battery container sets were produced using hard rubber as the primary raw material. In addition to other issues, it was not particularly durable and the raw material cost was high. From 1987 onwards, the main raw material used for container sets has been polypropylene (PP), replacing hard rubber. With PP providing outstanding properties in durability, heat and chemical resistance, the battery container sets made by T.U.P became more durable and cost competitive.”

“As well as T.U.P.’s core products of battery container sets for cars, trucks and motorcycles, we have also developed and expanded into products for deep cycle battery applications and traction battery applications designed for electric forklifts.”

“In the future, we see a business trend and opportunities for battery container sets as components for maintenance-free batteries. The use of black color sets will replace white battery sets that require regular checks of battery water levels. To manufacture in black, higher temperatures are required for injection moulding and PP grades that require less processing energy are welcomed to offset that need.”

“Besides maintenance-free batteries, the other major trend we see is with big batteries which of course need to not only be strong, but also as light as possible. As a battery container set manufacturer, our objective is to maintain strength but offer our customers the lightest possible products. The reduction of grams translates into customers.”

“With a production capacity of 500,000 sets per month (around half of Thailand’s monthly battery market of 1M sets), T.U.P.’s products are sold across both domestic and international markets. More than 80% of our products are sold domestically, while export markets (mainly in SEA countries) are more likely for motorcycle container sets. Our business is of course directly related to the automotive and vehicle industry and our sales volume of battery container sets has been positively affected by the Thai Government’s first-car policy. As a result, we are running production 24/7 to serve our customers’ needs.”

“In addition to the first-car policy, container sets are also sold to the replacement market for new car batteries.”

“To lower costs for skilled labour and logistics, we expect that Japanese car manufacturers will start to transition a considerable portion of their production capacity to SEA the in the foreseeable future. From our perspective, Thailand is one of the best choices when compared to other countries in SEA. Indonesia is also under consideration, but the island geography could affect transportation fees. Vietnam is also a good possible option, however its infrastructure could not yet be described as advanced.”

“Since starting our business collaboration with HMC we have successfully used HECO EP6006 as the raw material for our products. The results have been very satisfying indeed. We look forward to further growing our business together, not only for battery container sets but also for other PP injection moulded products,” said Khun Kingnarong.