AUSSIE BATTERY PRODUCTION HITS RECORD DEMAND
A Queensland-based battery maker has recorded its biggest month of production in its 93-year history
In July 2020, Century Yuasa Batteries started mass production with equipment commissioned through a $7 million capital investment project focused on improving factory efficiencies, equipment utilisation and quality consistency.
Century Yuasa General Manager of Operations, Matthieu Anquetil, said the Carole Park facility’s immediate focus was on increasing production of lead plates, a critical component of lead acid batteries.
Matthieu said the gradual increase resulted in a 58 percent growth in production on Century Yuasa’s new multi-million-dollar Rotary plate making line, creating the March 2021 record.
“We are looking for another 12 percent increase between now and July,” Matthieu said.
“The last 12 months have been challenging. Increased customer demand has taken everyone by surprise during the COVID crisis. All aspects of operations have been at the forefront, and everyone stepped up with great professionalism.
“I believe Australia witnessed how much we need Australian manufacturing and I’m extremely proud to work with my team on making and delivering the only Australian made automotive batteries to our customers.
“It is the on-going market volatility coupled with fresh demand by consumers to support local companies, that will continue to drive Australian businesses to bring overseas manufacturing jobs back into the country.
“At the end of November 2020, we started a night shift in our assembly area creating 11 new positions. At the end of February 2021, we started a night shift in our charging area and created seven new positions: (that is) 18 new positions allowing us to increase production by nearly 13 percent.
“As the domestic aftermarket continues to grow with increased demand for Australian made batteries, the only option was to increase our local manufacturing capacity to satisfy our customers’ needs.”
With operations across all of the eastern states and South Australia, along with owning a two-car Supercar operation, Waverley Forklifts Group Managing Director, Charlie Schwerkolt, signed as a customer of Century Batteries earlier this year.
A fifth-generation company, and one of the largest fully independent forklift and transport businesses in Australia, Charlie said it was critical manufacturing continued to grow along with prioritising relationships with local companies.
“Relying on imports is not ideal. If we can manufacture in Australia as much as we possibly can, it not only secures jobs but also wealth and prosperity for our country: unfortunately, it took a pandemic for some companies to wake up to be less reliant on the importation of goods and controlling their supply chain for the future,” Charlie said.
Century Batteries’ success has not been without problems, with COVID contributing to significant international freight congestions and issues, but Matthieu says the company draws from as many other Australian businesses as it can.
“Our manufacturing operations extend across the country as far south as Port Pirie in South Australia for lead, to New South Wales for recycled components and back to Queensland for plastics and signage,” Matthieu said.
“We have over 8,000 customers in Australia and 3,000 in New Zealand.
“So, we need to remain on the front foot to be innovative and reliable. In the first quarter of 2021, we have also conducted renovations of our technical laboratory: allowing for new testing equipment to increase testing capacity and conditions, along with improved safety.”
Century Yuasa Batteries registered as a business on March 9, 1928, first operating from Alexandria, New South Wales, extending its footprint into Victoria in the 60s before relocating to Brisbane in the 1970s.
Across Australia and New Zealand, it employs more than 600 people involved in research and development, manufacturing, sales and distribution.
For more information, visit www.cyb.com.au