Autoliv has begun building an airbag cushion manufacturing plant in Chonburi, near Bangkok, Thailand. Its existing plant in the country opened two years ago.
Production starts in July and the new factory will be able to make 4.6m cushions – or 15% of the supplier’s global manufacturing capacity for ‘cut & sewn’ textile cushions for airbag systems. It also produces 20m ‘one-piece-woven’ airbag cushions a year, using highly automated methods.
The new Thai factory will measure 8,000 sq m and employ 800 compared to the exisiting 2,000sq m, 270-worker plant located 10km (six miles) away.
The cost of US$9.4m does not include the leased building.
The new plant, together with a factory in China, will enable Autoliv to produce half of its cut and sewn cushions in-house for Asian markets.
There is room on the 30,000sq m site for a 6,000sq m expansion for total capacity of about 10m cushions.
“This is a critical expansion to ensure that we have enough components for the rapidly growing demand in Asia for our safety products,” said Autoliv chief Jan Carlson.
“Light vehicle production in Thailand is expected to grow by 75% between 2010 and 2015. In addition, we have strong export sales to other Asian markets [supported by an increasing awareness of safety] among [local] vehicle buyers.”