ShibataFenderTeam is proud to announce a milestone development for their group. Shibata Industrial, the Japan-based majority shareholder of SFT, has invested heavily in a cutting-edge, fully owned mixing plant for rubber compounds and fender production in Klang, Malaysia. The new factory is scheduled to begin production in mid-2018.
“The steep growth in demand for SFT’s high-quality rubber fenders was the catalyst for this far-reaching investment decision, which will further strengthen our global position as a leading fender manufacturer,” explains Hiroto Suzuki, Director at Shibata Industrial in Japan and Managing Director of the ShibataFenderTeam office in Malaysia. Shibata Industrial will invest around US$7m in predominantly Japanese-made rubber mixing equipment for the new factory.
The investment plans were first presented to employees and agents at the company’s Global Agent Meeting and bi-annual sales conference in Berlin, Germany, earlier this year.
The opening of two new ShibataFenderTeam offices in the past two years has accelerated the company’s growth and demand for additional production resources. Situated in Klang, Malaysia, the factory building is a new three-storey complex, which hosts the mixing facilities, office space, a thermal insulation room, a comprehensive laboratory, and additional fender production. ShibataFenderTeam will be the first fender manufacturer to use the latest-generation compound mixers and associated technology.
Conventional single-stage or fast mixing processes would stress and damage the rubber molecular chains, negatively affecting the compound quality and consistency. Therefore, Shibata Industrial invests in a two-stage mixing facility.
Prior to the start of the mixing process, the rubber is pre-heated in thermal insulation rooms, which has a positive influence on the mixing process.
The mixing facility itself employs a two-stage mixing process that produces about 76l of high-quality rubber compound per mixing batch. The advantages of this sophisticated two-stage compound mixing process are fully automated ingredient weighing systems, an automated temperature control during the mixing cycle and a much higher carbon black dispersion rate.
The fully equipped laboratory is located adjacent to the mixing equipment. Information from the production floor is swiftly relayed to the R&D and vice versa. This will further extend and strengthen the group’s R&D capabilities.
Rubber compounds, and especially their production, are critical to ShibataFenderTeam’s ethos of highest quality fender manufacturing. After almost a decade of very close cooperation with Shibata Industrial, the new factory is an important milestone and a clear sign of SFT’s commitment to both the production location and the market.