KUALA LUMPUR: DRB-Hicom Bhd
, through wholly owned subsidiary Hicom Automotive Manufacturers (M) Sdn Bhd, has launched a RM230mil high-tech paint shop in Pekan, Pahang.
In a statement, the conglomerate said this was part of the company’s effort to strengthen its foothold as one of the preferred automotive assemblers in the region.
The paint shop was launched in conjunction with the Aidilfitri celebration, which was attended by Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob.
Adnan was also shown an operations video of the latest facility during the event.
“The establishment of this high-tech paint facility will enhance our standing as one of the region’s most prefered component assemblers in the automotive industry,” said DRB-Hicom group managing director Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar.
Hicom Automotive, which has been operating in Pekan for the last 30 years and assembles continental automotive marques and commercial vehicles, has succesfully assembled nearly 500,000 passenger and commercial vehicles from 20 international marques. These include the C class, E class, S class and GLC class, FUSO and MB Actros under the Mercedes-Benz banner.
DRB-Hicom said the newly-launched facility would allow it to double its production capacity to 50,000 units annually. This is becausde the paint shop can operate round the clock due to its cutting-edge technology that requires little human intervention.
“The new paint shop features a robotic paint system for the primer and top coating application; the feature that has allowed us to decrease production time by as much as 50% compared to the manual application method previously employed,” said Hicom Automotive chief executive officer Ismail Pandak.
The paint shop also includes a 360-degree rotating pre-treatment electro dipping (PTED) shuttle bay allows the body-in-white to be fully submerged in the coating bath.
This ensures a more efficient surface-material contact and minimises paint wastage, which is a typical problem faced by the traditional vertical dipping process.
Syed Faisal, in his speech at the event, said the latest facility was part of the group’s commitment to ensure the company’s readiness to face the Industry 4.0 evolution.
“Industry 4.0 has seen the development of ‘smart factories’ around the world, as industry players innovate and improve their business processes to minimise cost without compromising development of the human capital,” he said.
“Industry 4.0 requires us to develop a knowledge-based economy in our efforts to become a high-income nation. By increasing the technology involved in the production line, we are encouraging Warga DRB-Hicom to increase their technical knowledge and ensuring their skills are at par with their international counterparts.”