Founded in 1961 in southern Taiwan as a manufacturer of brake linings for motorcycles in the very beginning, Nan Hoang Traffic Instrument Co., Ltd. (NHC) has now expanded into friction- material sector, putting out over 8,000 items including disc-brake pads, brake shoes, clutches, CVT clutches, steel plates, and automatic transmission clutch plates, with approximately a quarter made for vehicles to generate around 60% of the company’s revenue. Of the company’s total sales, original equipment manufacturing-based (OEM-based) and aftermarket- based products account for 15% and 85%, respectively.
NHC’s customers are mostly based in Europe, America, Australia, and Japan, where strong demands for high-end friction materials have brought the company tons of orders. Overseas, the company, thanks to decades of diligent marketing efforts, has built solid distribution networks over the past decades in major markets, including some 20 outlets worldwide run by its agents not to mention heavyweight importers and first-tier auto-parts suppliers in Europe and North America.
The company has also seen pay-off from emerging markets, such as the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, which now together account for a satisfactory 3% of its sales. Five years ago, the company began venturing into the mainland Chinese market through local agents.
Chen feels that although electric vehicles have emerged as a future trend in automobile industry, some auto parts would not be phased out when the changeover is happening. “Somehow, automobiles need brake pads whether they are powered by fossil fuel or electricity,” he stresses.
The company has phased in automation since 2013 to boost defect-free ratio and stability of its production in light of rising market demands. Its efficiency- improvement work can be traced back to as early as in 1996, when the company equipped itself with fully-automated dosing and mixing machines controlled by computer. Four years later, the company opened Taiwan’s biggest friction-material laboratory, which is fully equipped with high-performance multi-functional inspection instruments to meet requirements from global OE-based manufacturers.
“Brake pads are among safety-demanding products in automotive industry, thereby having to go through stringent examinations ruled by tough standards, such as ECE R90, R78, DIN and TUV of EU; SAE of North America; JASO of Japan; and CNS of Taiwan. In addition, passing RoHS and REACH is also required,” Chen stresses. Also, the company’s quality has been proven by ISO9002, QS9000, ISO14001, and IATF16949 certificates.
In 2012, NHC began developing zero-copper brake pads as part of its pledge to pursue the goal of becoming an eco-friendly manufacturer for substantial purpose. Chen notes that some American states, for pollution-prevention concern, took the lead in 2010 in drawing up and enforcing rules that make zero-cooper or low-copper brake pads mandatory automotive equipment in these states. Also, among NHC’s eco-friendly products are 100-odd types of asbestos-free materials.