Ukraine is the 9th largest automotive market in Europe with nearly 400,000 new cars sold in 2006. This is good news for Ukrainian automotive companies as well as auto parts manufacturers. Such as battery maker National Accumulator Corporation (NAC) ISTA. The company started business in 1995, making lead-acid accumulator batteries for automobiles, industrial applications, and communications and UPS systems. Since then the company ramped up operations to start a second factory in 2001. The company set up a third plant to make polypropylene boxes for batteries in 2006. NAC ISTA has the capacity to make 5 million accumulator batteries every year.
NAC ISTA’s product range includes starter batteries for use in cars, motorcycles, trucks, buses, agricultural and special vehicles and trains. The company also makes traction batteries for use in electric cars, elevators and industrial vehicles. The company’s third product range is stationary batteries for use in communication systems, electric power stations, and UPS systems.
In December 2007, NAC ISTA accumulator batteries were fitted into Renault’s Logan sedan. The company also supplies to Nissan, Samsung and Dacia. NAC ISTA prides itself on keeping up to international standards of manufacturing and quality. The company has the ISO 9001:2000 quality certification. It uses modern equipment from Europe and the US. NAC ISTA also makes sure it uses high-tech materials for preparation of active components such as alloys with low antimony content and selenium-based alloys. The company says that it spends extensively on R&D and constantly upgrades the skill sets of its workers. NAC ISTA recycles used accumulators and harmful waste products.
NAC ISTA participates in international exhibitions in order to expand its client base. For example, the company took part in Equip Auto 2007, held in France between October 15th and 20th. According to the company, its products branded ISTA and OBERON, evoked interest not only with the European delegates but also with companies from Africa and Asia.
Automotive Industries spoke to Kirill Bilyk, managing director of NAC ISTA.
AI: What are some of the innovations NAC ISTA has made in accumulator batteries?
By development of electrode plates computer modeling a potential field of a surface of an electrode has been applied. Together with the area of a surface of plates, this potential surface of an electric field defines potential of volume of a lattice and describes full electric characteristics of geometry of plates. On the basis of the given development the sizes and weight characteristics of electrode plates for achievement maximal energy-conversion efficiency are optimized. With high creep-resistance special alloys are developed for manufacture of electrode plates.
AI: What are some of the challenges NAC ISTA faces in terms of keeping up quality standards?
For maintenance of stable quality of production, on assembly lines the special equipment for 100 % of quality assurance of welding is established. By development of new production procedures ANPQP, DFMEA, PFMEA are applied. In technological process of manufacture methods SPC of the control of the basic technological parameters of production are introduced. The technique of carrying out of internal audit is developed and the system of audit of the basic suppliers is introduced. At performance of the most responsible operations of technological process system POKA YOKE is applied. Procedure Ð Ð ÐÐ is applied to the coordination of an industrial part of projects. Procedure MSA is applied to the analysis of measuring systems.
AI: How much of your business comes from the auto sector?
The primary market of Ukraine is presented both high-grade factories, and the car assembly enterprises – AvtoZAZ (Zaporozhye), Bogdan (Lutsk, Cherkassy), Joint-Stock Company ” Europenalties” (Zakarpatye region), the Kremenchug car assembly factory, the Factory of a public transport (Lvov) and others. Automotive manufacturing has increased in Ukraine with 19 thousand pieces in 1998 up to 403 thousand pieces in 2007. Positions NAC ISTA in this market are strong enough – about 40 % of export vehicles are equipped with our accumulators (without taking into account the accumulators delivered with auto sets). And on conveyors of ZAZ and Bogdan a high percentage of cars receive our accumulators. Especially important deliveries in long-term prospect of formation of loyalty to production NAC ISTA both in the primary market, and on secondary should become cooperation with the world leader in motor industry Renault Group in deliveries accumulators to the conveyor of Open Society Avtoframos (Russia). Fruitful long-term cooperation connects NAC ISTA with Minsk tractor and automobile factories, Gorki and Ulyanovsk AZ.
AI: What are some of the emerging markets NAC ISTA is looking at doing business in?
NAC ISTA is export orientated company – about 2/3 of our sales it are for the foreign markets. The priority export market for our business is Russia. It is the biggest and fast-growing market in region. Owing to wide assortment and high quality accumulators of our manufacture, we also have a share about 4 % of the secondary market. Long-term mutually advantageous business has been developed with clients in Belarus and Kazakhstan, Moldova and Azerbaijan. Cooperation is growing in the countries of the Central Europe – Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Work with the European partners is under way through our trade mission in Berlin (Germany).
AI: Please tell us a little about how the growth in the Ukrainian auto market is impacting your company.
The Ukrainian automobile market dynamical enough and on results of 2007 has taken 9-th place among all European countries. It promotes that more and more than manufacturers of cars and spare parts look narrowly and enter the Ukrainian market. As consequence – increase in opportunities of a choice for drivers and strengthening of a competition for the local companies-manufacturers of spare parts. One more modern line of the Ukrainian market is the increase in a share of sales through servicing deports. The increase in quantity of new and second-hand foreign cars makes demands to updating let out accumulators – on development of new standard sizes of accumulators, modern “know-how” and maintenance of stable quality.