DRB-Hicom unit opens new painting plant

DRB-Hicom Bhd’s unit, Hicom Automotive Manufacturers (M) Sdn Bhd (HAMM), has launched a high-technology automotive painting plant in Pekan yesterday in an effort to strengthen its position as one of the region’s top vehicle assembly centres.

Equipped with the latest robotic painting technology from Germany, construction of the RM230 million plant on a 3ha site began in January 2016 and completed in June this year.

“The plant is equipped with a robotic painting system for the primer and base layer paint application, a feature that will reduce production time by 50% compared to the manual method.

“It is also equipped with the region’s first E-Shuttle 360 degree pretreatment electro dipping rotating machinery,” said HAMM CEO Ismail Pandak.

He told reporters this after the official launch of the painting plant and DRB-Hicom’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration which was officiated by Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob.

Ismail said the system would allow the entire car frame to be submerged in the paint solution, thus ensuring a uniform application and minimising paint wastage which usually occurs during the initial dyeing process.

“The plant would enable HAMM to double its production from 25,000 to 50,000 cars per year, once it becomes fully operational by year-end,” he said.

HAMM has been operating in Pekan, Pahang, for the past 30 years and has produced about 500,000 passenger and commercial vehicles from 20 international brands, including Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class, E-Class, S-Class, GLC-Class and Actros.

Ismail said the latest facility is part of the company’s effort to increase its capabilities in facing the Industry 4.0 revolution — which has changed the manufacturing industry’s landscape with the emergence of modern factories in a bid to reduce production costs without neglecting the human capital development aspects.

“The new plant will create 210 jobs for those living in Pekan, Kuantan and around Pahang, and local engineers will have the opportunity to learn about the latest technology in car painting,” he added. — Bernama

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