Manufacturing News

Key Safety Systems to expand inflator production

Global automotive safety system manufacturer Key Safety Systems Inc. is increasing investment and expanding production of airbag inflators at its wholly owned plant in Huzhou in east China's Zhejiang province, which went into operation in June last year.

Key Huzhou Safety Systems makes driver and passenger airbag inflators. The plant has a single production line with annual capacity of 1 million inflators. Two further production lines will be added this year for side and curtain airbag inflators.

Initial investment in the plant was $10 million (68 million yuan). "This year a further $7.5 million (51 million yuan) will be invested in the plant," says company general manager Hu Hailiang.

"Our plan is to have 6 production lines in the next two years," said Hu.  This will be part of the 12,000 square meter Phase 1 development of the plant.

According to Hu, the company plans to have six production lines working in the 12,000 square meter Phase 1 development of its plant within two years. After this, a second phase will be built, with a total of twelve lines bringing annual capacity up to between ten and twelve million airbag inflators in four years' time.

Total investment is likely to exceed $25 million (170.6 million yuan) upon completion of the Phase 2 project, said Hu.

In China, Key Safety Systems makes airbags, seatbelts, steering wheels and electronics at joint venture plants in Shanghai, Tianjin and Suzhou. The Huzhou facility is the company's first wholly owned facility in China.

According to company president and CEO Jason Luo, 80 to 85 percent of Chinese production is for the local market.

Customers in China include Shanghai Volkswagen and Shanghai General Motors as well as joint ventures of Hyundai Motor Co., Peugeot Citroen Automobile Co., Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motors and Suzuki Motor. Local customers include JAC, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., Chery Automobile Co., and Shenyang Brilliance Jinbei Automotive Co.

Key Safety Systems also supplies its airbag inflators to Yangfeng Key Safety Systems and to Korean parts maker Mobis China.

In 2009 Key Safety Systems booked over $300 million in new business in China, says Ron Feldeisen, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Key Safety Systems. "The emerging market of China is one of our main focus areas," he said.

In 2009 Asia accounted for 30 percent of global business, with just under 20 percent attributed to China, said Feldeisen.

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