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?
KB: We have used computer modeling to develop a potential field of a surface of an electrode. Together with the area of a surface of plates, this potential surface of an electric field defines potential volume of a lattice and describes the full electric, geometric characteristics 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. Then, 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?
KB: The biggest challenge is maintaining a stable quality of production. On our assembly lines we use special equipment so that 100 per cent quality assurance in welding is established. We have developed a system of internal audit for our basic suppliers.
AI: How much of your business comes from the auto sector?
KB: The Ukrainian market is made of factories and the car assembly enterprises such as 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 in the country is up from 19 thousand pieces in 1998 to 403 thousand pieces in 2007. ÐºÐ¾Ð½ÐµÑ†Ñ„Ð¾Ñ€Ð¼Ñ‹Ð½Ð°Ñ‡Ð°Ð»Ð¾Ñ„Ð¾Ñ€Ð¼Ñ‹NAC ISTA’s has a strong presence in the market with 40 per cent of vehicles exported from here equipped with our accumulators.
ZAZ and Bogdan are the biggest customers of our accumulators. We have a long-term contract with the Renault Group and with the Open Society Avtoframos (Russia). Plus we enjoy a long-term relationship with both Minsk tractor and automobile factories as well as Gorki and Ulyanovsk AZ.
AI: What are some of the emerging markets NAC ISTA is looking at doing business in?
KB: NAC ISTA is an export orientated company with about two-thirds of our sales coming from foreign markets. The biggest export market for us is Russia which is the biggest and fast-growing market in region. Owing to the our wide assortment and high quality accumulators, we enjoy 4 per cent of the secondary market. We have long-term, mutually advantageous relationships with clients in Belarus and Kazakhstan, Moldova and Azerbaijan. We are building up business in Central and 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.
KB: The Ukrainian automobile market is dynamic and our country is in 9th place among European nations. Both the domestic as well as export markets are growing – for both automobile manufacturers as well as for auto parts makers. We also have an increasing number of new and second-hand foreign cars in our country which means better business for our accumulators.