CELEBRATIONS ALL ROUND
Century Batteries is celebrating 90 years of Australian Manufacturing
Century Batteries is Australia’s oldest and most recognised battery manufacturer with a proud heritage spanning two centuries.
As Australia’s leading battery manufacturer and supplier, Century invests significantly in the areas of research, development and continuous improvement to ensure its product range continues to meet the changing needs of the market place and the next generation of vehicles.
Its journey began in the Sydney suburb of Alexandria with the introduction of Century’s first ever lead acid battery.
From humble beginnings in 1928, its product range has evolved from using hard rubber battery cases to the introduction of Australia’s first locally made Sealed Maintenance Free battery range; designed and built right here in Australia.
For over 90 years, Century’s commitment to new product development and innovation has ensured that its range of iconic blue and yellow batteries are better suited to Australia’s extreme climate and harsh conditions and continue to set new standards in design and performance, it says.
Today, Century continues to innovate and prides itself in offering a range of market leading products and services which continue to set new standards.
A trip down memory lane
A look at the Century history books makes for very interesting reading.
After its establishment in 1928, the 1930s to 1950s was a period of rapid expansion for the company, which grew into Victoria and saw its parent company listed on the Sydney Stock Exchange.
Also during this period, Century began supplying original equipment batteries to Chrysler, before expanding even further into Queensland and South Australia.
In the 1960s, Century established a manufacturing plant in Melbourne while also expanding into Western Australia. At the same time, it would become the first company to introduce polypropylene battery assembly in Australia.
The next decade saw a big move for Century, with a manufacturing plant established at Wacol in Queensland. The company also helped set up a battery factory in Indonesia with a minor shareholding interest and at the end of the decade, was taken over by Repco Limited. In line with the changing times, Century’s hard-rubber container manufacturing plant was closed as the 80s approached.
While its market share in Australia grew and another manufacturing facility was added, international partnerships were front and centre for Century in the early 1980s with a technical agreement signed with the Japan Storage Battery Company.
Century was soon contracted to supply Ford, General Motors, Nissan and Toyota, with the Australian aftermarket distribution network growing following the introduction of the ‘Agency Concept.’
With the mid-80s came the rationalisation of the Alexandria and Footscray plants and the sale of the Century factory in Malaysia, while the Carole Park central manufacturing facility was established. The end of the decade saw joint venture partners Yuasa Batteries Co Ltd of Japan and PT Sapta Panji Manggala of Indonesia take an equity share in the business, with each company injecting even greater technical knowledge and resources.
As it moved into the ‘90s, Century Yuasa focused on refining battery technology and quality assurance, achieving ISO 9000 and QS 9000 accreditations for the Carole Park facility. Century Batteries’ market share grew steadily during this period, ahead of the establishment of a battery manufacturing plant in Auckland to give the Century brand a presence in New Zealand.
The 2000s saw sales grow after Century Yuasa introduced large national aftermarket retail sales networks. Major upgrades were implemented at the Carole Park manufacturing facilities, including the addition of the latest in automated strip-mill and expander-line equipment. Substantial product improvements were also made, such as the introduction of new battery technologies to create batteries better suited to Australia’s harsh conditions.
The ground-breaking ‘Performance Series’ was soon launched, featuring internal improvements and new alloy technologies. The Yuasa Corporation then merged with Japan Storage Battery Company (GS) to form GS Yuasa, one of the largest lead-acid battery companies in the world.
Come 2016, and Century Yuasa was ready for another big step in its journey – the launching of the next generation of Australian-made batteries with the introduction of a new range of Sealed Maintenance Free (SMF) products following a multi-million-dollar investment and two years of research and development.
Designed and built right here in Australia, the new range of Blue and Yellow SMF batteries today continues to build on Century’s reputation for quality and innovation and feature an array of design improvements and specialist internal components to better suit Australia’s extreme climate and harsh conditions.
Celebrating an important milestone
To toast 90 years of Australian manufacturing, this Australian icon recently held a celebration at its Carole Park manufacturing facility.
Attended by Century brand ambassadors, the legendary Aussie cricketer Matt Hayden and footy great Andrew Ettingshausen, along with Century motor racing ambassador Ben Bray, the event was an exceptionally happy occasion.
It kicked off with the unveiling of a replica of one of the very first Century Batteries delivery vans, a 1928 Rugby D40 Light Van, which had been fully restored by Team Bray Racing: you see, for three-time national champion Ben Bray, Century Batteries has been a permanent fixture of his racing career.
“As long as I have been racing, Century Batteries has been supporting us,” Ben said.
“Their support is exceptionally valued and has played a large part in our success over the years. To see them reach this milestone is very exciting and we feel very privileged to play a part in their celebrations.”
Century’s D40 delivery van along with Ben’s Doorslammer and the Factory Xtreme car of New Zealand’s Rod Harvey were all-on display as part of the festivities, with the day taking on a carnival atmosphere with a variety of food trucks and birthday cake.
Staff also enjoyed a rare opportunity to test their bowling against Matt Hayden, who holds a record for 40 centuries in an international cricket career spanning 17 years and is now throwing his support behind the company.
The former international cricketer says there has never been a more important time to remind people to support local businesses.
“There is nothing more satisfying than reaching a century and it’s no easy feat: whether that’s on the cricket pitch or in the boardroom: that number is increasingly elusive,” Matt said.
The day concluded with the acknowledgement of a large number of Century’s staff receiving awards for long service. Century’s Managing Director and attending international board members were all on hand to celebrate their achievements.
Century’s Australasian Automotive General Manager Stu Stanners said Century puts over $100 million back into the economy along with employing 600 people alone.
“When you take into account the other national businesses dependent on our contracts, this stretches to thousands of Aussie jobs,” Stu said.
“Just as Matt Hayden is a hard-working Aussie icon, we need Australians to know, so are we.
“Just as they back their sportspeople– we need them to support our industry, we want people to know we are about keeping jobs here in Australia.
“Our 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.
“We have invested millions of dollars to ensure we continue to be operational in Australia for years to come. We want that ‘century’ and our staff deserve it.”
For more information on Century Batteries, contact your nearest Century Batteries specialist on 1300 362 287 or visit www.centurybatteries.com.au