A charged company In 1995 a young man with initiative left his government job and, in the true spirit of free enterprise, started a company to manufacture rechargeable batteries with basic premises and a handful of employees.
Wang Kai Feng the proud Moulding Department SupervisorIn 2003 this entrepreneur, Wang Chuan-fu, was rated one of China’s top ten businessmen. In only 8 years, his company, BYD, had grown into the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile phone rechargeable batteries, with over 60% market share. It now employs around 30,000 people and has operations in several Chinese provinces, as well as Japan, Korea, Europe and the USA. So it’s quite likely that inside your mobile phone or your laptop you will find a BYD product – even if the brand name on the product is Nokia or Motorola, for example.
Producing 62% of the world’s mobile phone batteries
Row upon row upon row... BYD’s injection mould tool making and mass production division is based in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. Wang Kai-feng, Supervisor Moulding Department at Shenzhen, is proud of the toolroom which has an enviable line-up of machines. 43 die-sinking EDM machines (Makino, Sodick, SKM), 8 wire EDM machines (Charmilles, Fanuc, Sodick), 19 CNC milling machines (DMG, Röders, Mazak, Mori Seiki) – with the Röders machines being used entirely for electrode manufacture. And they need to be, since each tool requires around 100 electrodes – half graphite, half copper.
The impressive CAD department Wang Kai-feng explains: “Here we produce 120 mould tools a month with 80 more at our Shanghai factory. We have been in these premises for four years but in February 2005 we are moving to new premises, eight times the size. We need the space as we expect to be producing 500 tools a month in a few years’ time. At the same time as the move, we are installing 30 more die-sinking EDM machines and ten Röders CNC milling machines.” The toolroom employs 500 people – 380 of these being operators or toolmakers – in three shifts – and with a high proportion of women. Productivity doubled! Jin Xu-li, Assistant Manager of Tooling Department is highly enthusiastic about System 3R: “We introduced the Macro system in February 2004 and although not all our machines have been fully equipped, the results have been excellent. Accuracy is now twice as high. We can interrupt a machining operation to do an emergency job. Production costs have been reduced by one-third and productivity has doubled. We’re counting on System 3R meeting our future needs.”
A look into the future? Finally, we simply had to share with you an item from Forbes Magazine: In 2003, BYD acquired the Xian Qinchuan Auto Company, which was producing 20,000 cars a year. Now the cars are being made under the name BYD Auto, the first privately-owned carmaker in China. Admittedly, 20,000 cars is scarcely 0.5 % of the huge Chinese market, but even so… Possibly the world’s leading manufacturer of rechargeable batteries combined with carmaking – do you have a feeling something might be going to happen?
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